Ministry of defence Republic of Serbia

Serbia, there far away

Members of the Serbian contingent, who carry out their tasks within the mandate of the UNIFIL multinational operation in Lebanon, celebrated Vidovdan (St. Vitus Day), in the Base Miguel de Cervantes 7-2 which houses Head Quarters of the Sector East and the Multinational Brigade. One hundred forty-two Serbian soldiers tried, at least for a moment, to bring Serbia closer to the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, as well as to all open-hearted people who had the privilege and honour that evening to be selected among the three hundred distinguished visitors.

Diligent young men and women, dressed in the Serbian folk costumes for the first time in Lebanon, connected the incompatible. The celebration was modest, yet luxurious, cheerful, but not unrestrained wild, calm, yet intriguing enough, receptive and festive. The girls, who replaced their uniforms with traditional costumes for one day, welcomed Sector East Commander Brigadier General Alfredo Perez and members of his staff, as well as representatives of Lebanese and 12 other world armies, with bread and salt. It must be emphasized that the friends of Lebanon, civilians, recognized this act of welcome with a comment that our cultures are connected by similar traditions and that they feel united with the Serbian people.

Carefully designed scenario led the guests through the introduction to the character of the St. Vitus Day for Serbs. Thus, in the address of the Serbian Contingent Commander Lieutenant Colonel Viktor Dobric, subtly pervaded a thread of Tzar Lazar’s idea that it does not matter what kind, and how great force is attacking us, but the size of the sacred thing to be defended. The audience realized that it was Serbia which for more than six centuries, in the field of Kosovo, defended the achievements of the former European civilization, and among others the ancestors of our current partners and friends.

General Perez praised the Serbian soldiers and reflected on the brave and proud history of Serbia. He also stressed that the Serbs, primarily by their military conduct and organizational skills, have raised the bar to a completely higher level and set the task for the other contingents in the UNIFIL multinational operation.

The ceremony continued then with national folk dances which the girls and boys performed as if they wore folk costumes as their everyday uniform instead of equipment with a sign of belonging to the Serbian Armed Forces. They continued on the rhythms and sounds of traditional Serbian songs, imbued with patriotism, inviting others to join, which was most gladly accepted. The guests also had the opportunity to try the traditional cuisine and drinks.

That evening in Lebanon, the Serbian soldiers felt as real hosts, although they were actually guests, while the formal hosts had for a moment a chance to feel what it means to be hosted in a manner of a good host. Experienced experts in the life and work of the UN members in Lebanon, took the opportunity to acknowledge sincerely and wholeheartedly that the soldiers of the Serbian Armed Forces succeeded in something what many have not managed to do before: to move Serbia to the Asian continent for one night. The guests felt the taste and smell of Serbia, saw it and experienced it, and eventually wished it. Common to all the three hundred souls is that they brought that evening with themselves from the holy Christian country some of the chivalrous spirit, pride and hope for the future. On that pleasant evening, the homeland was there far away, but everything was done to bring it ever closer to the hearts of these young people who represent it in a dignified and proud manner.