On WWI Armistice Day the Chairman of the National Assembly’s Committee on Human and Minority Rights and Gender Equality submitted an initiative with the Belgrade City Assembly for a memorial plaque to commemorate the “Mohammedan Battalion” under the command of Corporal Semso Midovic.
In his written statement, Omerovic says:
“Next year marks a hundred years since the end of World War I. We should always remember the heroic and glorious combat of the Serbian military, great battles and the enormous loss of human lives. We all know about the battles of Cer and Kolubara, the unprecedented retreat across Albania when the people retreated along with the army, the Blue Sea Tomb, Corfu, Salonika Front, captivity, typhoid…
All of this accompanied by immense losses – 28% of the population lost their lives!
We all know about the heroic defence of Belgrade in 1915 and the legendary commander Major Gavrilovic. However few people know that 15% of the defenders of Belgrade were Muslim soldiers of the so-called “Mohammedan Battalion”!
It was the Fourth Battalion within the 10th Cadre Regiment which, along with the Seventh, made up the backbone of the defence of Belgrade. The battalion was under the command of Corporal Semso Midovic from Sjenica. They heroically held one of the last barricades between today’s National Museum and National Theatre as recorded in the Archives of the Serbian Armed Forces. They died defending Belgrade!
This initiative aims to save the role the Bosniak national minority played in the defence of Belgrade from oblivion. Besides our obligation as humans and gratefulness to the people who gave their lives in the defence of Belgrade, if we are responsible we must think of our future. That is especially important now as we witness rising tensions between the two states and peoples. And inflammatory rhetoric.
I am sure that this attitude to the members of a national minority which had taken part in the Serbian Army and defended Belgrade would foster better relations and trust. I hope this is a goal we all share! The positive role of Bosniaks in the defence of Belgrade has to be made visible in the culture of remembrance and public commemoration. It is our duty to mark this part of the heroic defence of Belgrade. We owe it to these soldiers!”