Gaffes of Serbian diplomacy – they disgrace Serbia, they raise Vučić – Sunday

From Minister Nedimović’s jeans and non-existent tie, over Marko Đurić’s bow tie and Aleksandra Joksimović’s bare shoulders, who still remembers Maja Gojković wrapped in a hijab?

Diplomatic scandals such as those made by the elected officials of Vučić and the SNS for representing Serbia in the world, which have become more frequent and louder in the last year, have not been remembered since Milan St. John’s cowboy boots. It flows. The shame that this brings to the name of Serbia in the world may not be washed away by all the successes of Novak Djokovic, and even before him, our diplomats managed to disgrace themselves. Shaming themselves is less scary here, but the impression that remains attached to our country to many in the world may be that the government in Serbia and its people do not know how to choose the people who will represent them. And what else can be expected when the highest diplomatic functions are assigned, not according to world knowledge and reputation, but according to domestic liking and flattery. The outbursts of our representatives in the world, unfortunately, are perceived that way – only as outbursts, Igor Avžner, a communications expert, told Danas. He explains such gaffes by saying that “representatives of this government” present her exactly as she is – unprofessional, uneducated, tasteless.

“There are a small number of professional people from political structures who can represent our country and our people, because most of the product was a villa in which there was no staffing in foreign policy.” The lack of education, experience, and even culture in general, including the culture of dressing, leads to the remark, and I thought that you only participate at the table, gaining a new meaning, “Avžner points out.

He believes that, as a nation, we deserve better than to be embarrassed by those who came to office with nepotism and not with diplomas, all with the goal of presenting the first man of the state as the best among them.

“Ignorance of the protocols demonstrated by brook officials is not only for the profession and the state it represents, but also a sign of belittling the state in which it is represented, or even the statesman with whom it meets. Inexperience, bad taste and nepotism rule the political scene. Why would it be different in diplomacy? It’s not a shame not to know something. It’s a shame you don’t want to learn. We know that today political diplomas are not obtained through learning, so it is clear why such gaffes occur. Knowledge cannot be bought. In the end, maybe everything was done in a planned way so that there would be only one figure to talk to, according to the principle: He is still good, as bad as everyone else is “, states Avžner.

“Gentlemen” without a protocol for ties and bow ties

The storm around Marko Đurić’s bow tie had not yet subsided when Serbian diplomacy got a new candidate for the biggest gaffe in the protocol – Branislav Nedimović’s jeans.

The Minister of Agriculture and Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia Branislav Nedimović appeared on the red carpet, in front of the Serbian Army line and a distinguished guest from abroad who is coming on his first official visit to Serbia, no more and no less than in bleached jeans, without a tie and jacket.

Any such deviation from diplomatic protocols immediately attracts attention and different interpretations – it will be easier to believe that Serbia wanted to insult the guest who comes to it and send some political message, than that the minister in his second term does not know or did not manage to adequately train .

Minister Nedimović’s jeans managed to overshadow even last week’s embarrassment of Marko Đurić, the Serbian ambassador to Washington.

At least, Đurić’s omission did not offend anyone, nor could it be interpreted that way.

Photo: Twitter

Our ambassador to the USA appeared at the award ceremony of the world-famous artist Marina Abramović, at the Serbian embassy in Washington, with a wrongly tied butterfly bow.

Immediately, the evil tongues on duty on Twitter and other world networks noticed that Đurić did not seem to know how to tie a bow tie, so he put its ribbons over the collar of his shirt, instead of under it.

This omission of the Serbian diplomat remained in the comments as his personal mistake and shame, and not as a kind of shame for Serbia, although the question was asked – why is Serbia sending a man who does not know how to tie a bow tie to the most important mission in the world?

And as an award, he was awarded the first ambassador of Serbia in Antigua and Barbuda (based in Washington).

Đurić showed that he was not touched by hateful comments when, shortly after these criticisms, he published a photo in which he again wears a bow tie, tied in the same way as the previous time, with a rainbow behind him and a nice message.

Ladies in diplomacy – from bare shoulders to hijab

The ambassador of Serbia to Great Britain, Aleksandra Joksimović, submitted a much heavier court to the public earlier.

However, her diplomatic offenses were also much more serious. And her expectations were higher – that she knew at least a little about diplomatic protocol or that, as a Harvard specialist, she was able to learn it easily.

Instead, Joksimovic humiliated Serbia and herself in front of – no less and no more than members of the royal family as well as in front of the best tennis player in the world Novak Djokovic – at the same time.

When she awkwardly and inexperiencedly approached Djokovic after winning the cup at Wimbledon to send congratulations, it would have been better if Aleksandra Joksimovic had not emphasized that she is the “ambassador of Serbia”.

Because both Prince Edward and the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton heard that, in front of whom she entered to shake hands with the first racket in the world, although neither shaking hands, nor certainly pushing in front of the highest ranked in the throne, are out of place.

The smallest problem at that moment seemed to be that Joksimović came to the reception with bare shoulders, that is, in a sleeveless dress, although that was contrary to customs and protocols.

Joksimović had already overcome the violation of strict English protocols when she called the British Queen Elizabeth II “Excellency” instead of “Your Highness” as befits.

Diplomatic gaffes of Serbian state officials, which have been ordered in the last year, have almost, perhaps unfairly, suppressed the clothing combination on Maja Gojković’s head from memory.

The current Minister of Culture, and then the President of the National Assembly of Serbia, went to visit the ministers of Iran dressed in one of the most radical versions of the Islamic hijab – al-amir, which means black clothes all over the body, with only a visible face.

Gojković must have tried to show respect to the hosts at that time, going a step further than any official from the West went to this Muslim country.

However, that did not offend the hosts, although they were probably surprised by this kind of support, because it is women from the West who are trying to bring a touch of emancipation and support Iranian women in the fight for freedom of dress and liberation from religious fundamentalism.

Gojković drew more criticism on herself, putting on a headscarf, in the local public, which reminded that as a woman president of the parliament of a secular state, Gojković should fight for equality and equality by personal example.

Folk costumes are also part of the presentation

Contrary to the clumsy attempts of our diplomacy to fit into the culture and customs of the country he is going to, there is a sympathetic attempt of a Serbian diplomat to present his own culture to foreigners.

This is at least what the appearance of the Ambassador of Serbia to Angola, Miloš Perišić, looked like, who appeared in the traditional Serbian folk costume at the lecture of credentials to the President of Angola, exactly one year ago.

This appearance of the Serbian diplomat caused a lot of attention, but it cannot be classified as a diplomatic omission.

The Bulgarian ambassador to India, diplomats from African countries or the Middle East also appeared earlier in the traditional costumes of the countries they represent.

Compared to the recent failures of our diplomacy, Perišić’s styling now seems like a sympathetic, cordial, cultural and, if nothing else – a diplomatic message colored by the Serbian tradition.

Vucic in the background – scandal or message?

On the other hand, there were diplomatic omissions made towards Serbia.

While these domestic offenses, as our interlocutor Igor Avžner says, may be used to present the first man of the state in the best light, some still remember how Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić was humiliated by high French diplomacy, whether by mistake in protocol or with intent – remains question.

Namely, at the big ceremony held in Paris on the occasion of marking the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, Vučić received a secluded seat, although Serbia was on the side of the victorious countries in the war and it was expected that the place should belong to it more prominent and closer the presidents of France, Great Britain and Russia.

To make the diplomatic scandal, or message, bigger, the prominent seat was given to the then President of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci, who was in the second row, right behind the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin.

The later explanations and apologies of the French diplomacy did not mean much either, the impression remained that this sent a humiliating and impressive message to Serbia.

Many called this a “slap in the face for Serbian history” and pointed out the glorious moments from that history in which the representatives of Serbia, and later Yugoslavia, brought great prestige to their country.

From the king to Tito – the order was known, which cannot be said for today.

Gaffes of Serbian diplomacy - they disgrace Serbia, they raise Vučić 3
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Vladislav Jovanovic, a former diplomat who began his career in the late 1950s during Yugoslavia, was also the FRY’s foreign minister, represented Yugoslavia at the United Nations, told Danas that protocols were much more respected at the time, although even then there could be an omission.

“As a minister, I was not in a situation to monitor all protocol events and to know where some mistake was, it came to me sporadically. Surely there were omissions because we were a young country with young diplomacy, people came from different walks of life, insufficiently taught how to behave. However, I must admit that the protocol, at least at the time when I was in diplomacy, from the 1960s onwards, insisted on the good preparation of all those who go to represent our country. And whether someone made a gaffe because of their lack of health, and that is certainly possible “, says Jovanović.

He points out that he does not want to comment on the behavior of ministers and other representatives of the diplomatic corps, who came to office after him, because it is not good to “get smart later”, but he points out that the principle should always be that the protocol, as part of the official invitation, is respected.

Jovanovic points out that “even large countries allow themselves some gaffes”, citing the case of the schedule of President Vučić’s sitting in Paris.

“Our president did not make an incident then, and he could have rightfully left the rally. Probably some man from their protocol cheated it, such things happen. “America used to fall below its level, but there should certainly be no justification for that,” Jovanovic said.

Managers and leaders as ambassadors and consuls

The answer to the question of why Serbian officials make gaffes in diplomatic protocols can also be sought in who the people who represent us are. Many of them do not have any diplomatic experience, some do not even have political experience, but they reach ambassadorial positions through various channels unknown to the public and through connections. The son of the late singer Šaban Šaulić, Mihajlo, whose biography states that he is a manager by profession, who was appointed Consul General in Zurich, or Ivan Bauer, a professor and former host of the Sam Against All quiz, can also be classified as such. Ambassador of Serbia to Morocco.


Source: Dnevni list Danas by www.danas.rs.

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