The Gazimestan speech was a speech given on 28 June 1989 by Slobodan Milošević, then President of Serbia. It was the centrepiece of a day-long event to mark the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo, which spelled the defeat of the medieval Serbian kingdom at the hands of the Ottoman Empire, as well as the annexation of most of Serbia's territory aside from the Serbian Despotate. The speech was delivered to a huge crowd gathered at the place where the battle had been fought, Gazimestan in the Central Kosovo. It came against a backdrop of intense ethnic tension between ethnic Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo and increasing political tensions between Serbia and the other constituent republics of the then Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia caused by the "anti-bureaucratic revolution".
The speech has since become famous for Milošević's reference to the possibility of "armed battles", in the future of Serbia's national development. Many commentators have described this as presaging the collapse of Yugoslavia and the bloodshed of the Yugoslav Wars. Milošević actually spoke of the "battles" in the context of "implementing economic, political, cultural, and general social prosperity" and he himself later said that he had been misrepresented.
Famous quotes containing the word speech:
“I love eulogies. They are the most moving kind of speech because they attempt to pluck meaning from the fog, and on short order, when the emotions are still ragged and raw and susceptible to leaps.”
—Peggy Noonan (b. 1950)