The Sorbs/Wends - in the Europe of the Regions
In 2018, a democratically legitimised Sorbian/Wendish people's representation, the »Serbski Sejm«, was elected in Lusatia. This parliament, which emerged from free, secret and direct elections, is now fighting for the status of a self-governing body under public law for the Sorbian/Wendish people. With this fully developed instrument of indigenous self-determination, the Sorbian/Wendish people are overcoming the status of »inferior«. The idea is not to draw borders around a country, but to develop a cooperation of manageable social and cultural units oriented towards the common good for a sustainable Europe. In this sense, the Sorbian/Wendish parliament is opening a discussion space that is intended to reach far beyond Lusatia. One motto of the Serbski Sejm is therefore logical: We, the people of the Sorbs/Wends, have something to give!
The Sorbs/Wends live in two federal states, they speak two languages - Lower and Upper Sorbian - and follow two denominations. The people of the Sorbs/Wends have no state territory; Lusatia/Łužica/Łužyca is its regional homeland. The Serbski Sejm pursues the goal of a cooperation oriented towards the common good instead of power politics and centralisation. Similar to Slovaks in Serbia or to Sami in Finland, the Sorbs/Wends want co-determination in the management of their land, waters and mineral resources, not in order to own the land, but to use it lawfully according to their traditions and ideas for the future and to preserve it for future generations.
An open people
The openness of the Sorbian/Wendish people has a very special feature: anyone can become a Sorb/Wend, only by professing, not by descent. Separatism and nationalism with the usual means of nation-building - the eradication and expulsion of competing ethnic groups - are alien to them. Their homeland, simply called »settlement area«, has no national border; it only includes the municipal areas of the Sorbian/Wendish communities.
The Sorbian/Wendish people have gone through and survived very difficult times. Feudalist, imperial, National Socialist and Stalinist Germany fought all forms of self-respect of the Sorbs/Wends. They had to endure oppression, forced assimilation and conformity. Not even in the period after World War II did a serious discourse on the difficult German-Sorbian/Wendish relations succeed. Despite legal recognition and a growing sense of individual rights, self-determination for the Sorbs/Wends seemed unattainable.
Unity in diversity
This has changed since a people's representative body, the Serbski Sejm, was freely elected and practises its parliamentary work. That is why Lusatian Sorbs/Wends are looking ahead today and helping to learn to deal with the differences between majority and minority societies in an unbiased way. In their special, central location, they can be mediators as an example for many other small ethnic groups, especially on European borders, to develop the great potential of different cultures as enrichment. Now it is important to make this polyphonic chorus of cultural and ethnic identities resound and to involve people of different languages, cultures and ideas in it. The dynamics of global modernity need regions like Sorbian/Wendish Lusatia for their sustainable common good - as a connecting element between countries and regions, for a growing cohesion within Europe.
The sign of the Serbski Sejm is the fruit of the lime tree
The sacred tree of Slavonic mythology is the lime tree. It symbolises the centre of the community and stands for freedom and happiness. The three-leaved lime tree or the single lime leaf appears in many Sorbian contexts.
We think: The time of maturity has come. The Sorbian culture has something to give to the world that is of essential importance, especially today: The will for peace, community and connection with nature. That is why the symbol shows the fruit of the lime tree. The three nuts hanging from a common stem stand for the will to seek cooperation with all Sorbian groups and to strengthen the bond between the pluralistic societies in the two Lusatian regions.
May the wing of the fruit lend lightness to our efforts and make the Sorbian cause »fly«!