18 Oct 2018

Montenegrins could pay for snubbing anthem

Montenegrins who don't stand during the national anthem may have to pay a fine of up to 2,000 euros. This controversial government proposal has been both condemned and endorsed by the public. 

Lidija Pisker
Lidija Pisker NewsMavens, Balkans
Source: Montenegro punishes the flag and anthem
Montenegrins could pay for snubbing anthem - NewsMavens
Montenegro flag, PixaBay

Why this story matters:

Is it a good idea to enforce patriotism through fines? The citizens of Montenegro are divided over the question. You should show respect for your country -- either metaphorically or literally, some say. Others complain the proposal is a potential infringement of civil rights. 

Members of the popular Montenegrin group "The Books of Knjige" discuss the practical aspects of implementation of possible new legislation in the video below, including various circumstances in which one can be found when the anthem is played -- from sleeping, driving the car or working.

They obviously wanted to make fun of such regulations, but the government did most of the work themselves when announcing the legislative amendments. Do you agree such a move is ridiculous? 

"Is there any other place in the world where one should pay a fine for not standing up for the anthem," one of them asked? I don't know the answer. Let us know if you do. 

Details from the story:

  • Montenegrin government's plan to amend the Law on State Symbols and the Statehood Day of Montenegro to include penalties ranging from 300 to 2,000 euros for persons who do not rise during the performance of the national anthem.
  • The draft amendments are soon to be discussed in the parliament.  
  • The proposed legislative amendments also include requiring public institutions to keep the national flag permanently displayed on their buildings.
  • The anthem "Oj svijetla majska zoro" ("Oh, Bright Dawn of May") was introduced in 2004. Before becoming the anthem, it was a popular folk song with many variations of its text.
  • The part of the current version of the anthem was written by Sekula Drljević, Montenegrin politician who was collaborating with the Italian military occupation during the World War II. 
  • Some opposition pro-Serbian members of the Montenegrin parliament boycott the anthem by staying seated when it is played in the parliament.

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