Source: Vecernje Novosti
Having survived a personal and national tragedy, she nevertheless faught for her right to publically speak the truth about the Serbian people in America.
When a delegation of Serbs from diaspora visited the Patriarchatelast week, Danielle Sremac and Aleksa Macaski from the Unite Statesbriefed Patriarch Irinej about the creation of the Serbian Institute inWashington, D.C. whose aims is to representthe voice of the Serbian people in America.The head of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC) blessed them with the words, “I know it will not be easy”!
With the establishment of the Serbian Institute, its president Danielle Sremac, expert in international relations from Washington, returned to the American scene as spokesperson for Serbian national interests. During the nineties, she was the most well-known Serbian woman in the American media. Today, she is continuingher patriotic work which she interrupted due to her duties as a mother of three.
Danielle Darcy Sremac is a public relations specialist, lobbyist, artist, composer, writer, mother and homemaker. She was an expert of modern lifefor American women through her lifestyle business that provided information on how to manage their lives.In achievingall this,she was inspired by the life of the American president Thomas Jeffersonwho was a politician, lawyer, painter, architect, gardener and a cook.
It all began in the mid-seventies, when her father Sava Sremac, expert in electronics and computers from Belgrade, got a job in the US.When she was nine years old, she enrolled ina fourth grade elementary school in Cleveland.
“I didn’t speak English, but I picked it up quickly, and even almost I forgotSerbian. My brother Milan was at college, my parents were working, and Iwas happy to be able to bring home some honors and awards from school.I was mostly recognized for my writings, artistic skills and great interest in music,” Danielle Sremac recalls her first few years in the United States.
Her childhood growing up in Cleveland, immersed with Serbs from Vojvodina, was enjoyable. She studied and graduated in philosophy at JohnCarroll University, but later in 1990 persuaded her mother and father, Desa and Sava, to move to Washington, D.C. where she completed her Master’s Degree in International Affairs.
“It was during the time when Yugoslavia was disintegrating, and the entire world of my parentswas collapsing, that Serbs in diaspora witnessed US policyturning against their homeland. I realized that it was not up to Americans to understand us Serbs, instead it was up to us to explain to Americans what kind of people we are.”–says Danielle Sremac, who at the time began to work as the Director of the Washington office of Serbian Unity Congress.
With Father Mirko Dobrijević she organized Serbian demonstrations, was involved with public hearings in US Congress, participated in discussions with White House aides, andprovided information in opposition to lobbyists who worked for the Croats, Bosniaks or Albanians. She would not allow for her arguments in favor of Serbs to turn into quarrelling, even though this is exactly what Haris Silajdzic, Bosnian minister and Joe Diogardi, an Albanian lobbyist wanted to happen.
WAR OF WORDS
Her first book, War of Wordsabout media war by the West against the Serbs, has been used as required reading atthe American University and other universities in the United States. She was on the forefront of Serbian lobbying efforts by others, such as Peter Brock, Peter Maher, Stella and James Jatris and Julia Gorin.
“In the early nineties I appeared 235 times on majorUStelevision and radio programs. I was over 25 times on CNN. At one point, I was the only Serb who spoke in the US media that Kosovo and Metohija is the cradle of Serbia, that Serbs are not criminals, that they are simply defending their homeland. Albanians and Bosnians from the United States were threatening me by phone, they obviously were trying to silence me. I was not worried about my own safety because I was preoccupied with a longing to tell the truth about my people,” – Danielle Sremac explains.
At the time, as director of the Serbian-American Affairs Office, she represented Serbian-Americans and also the Republic of Srpska in Washington. She helped Serbian representatives meet with members of Congress. She worked with Patriarch Pavle, Crown Prince Alexander, with Congressmen Rod Blagojevic, supported George Voinovich and Milica Melissa Bean, but also worked closely with Congressman Dennis Kucinici, who supported her views on Serbia even though his ethnci background is Croatian. Throughout all of this, she continued to wage a personal war against injustice in American policy.
In her public appearances, there were plenty of facts and arguments, but also a clearly evident personal desire that the world should not accept fabrications andinjustice, because this is what hurts the Serbian people the most.
“It was difficult to bear the military attacks and the exodus of the Serbian people in Yugoslavia, and especially the media war that was waged against the Serbs. And even more difficult for me was the death of my brother in 1996, who died from a serious illness.This personal and national drama seemed to be conspiring to defeat me, but somehow I still stubbornly believed that the Serbianpeople and their aspirations were right.” – she describes her most difficult moments of life.
When she married attorney Peter Saari, she devoted herself to her family, because she wanted her children Lara, Nick and Eli to grow up as Americans but also as Serbs.She enjoyed taking them to Crepaja, the small town in Banat, Vojvodina, so that they can learn Serbian alongside their grandparents and experience the relaxed Vojvodina lifestyle.She taught them how to celebrate at home the Patron Saint day of St. Nicholas with food and in a manner that resembled a fairy tale.
“My heart will always beat for Serbia and this is why I am trying to also showAmericans why they should fall in love with Serbia. This is why I published my seond book, Heart of Serbia: A Cultural Journey. It is my way of introducing Americans to the most beautiful country in the world,” proudly saysthis young woman, who is currently promoting her book in Serbia.
Danielle Sremac conveyed information about her new patriotic initiatives with the Serbian Institute Danielle Sremac to President Tomislav Nikolic, Prime Minister Ivica Dacic, Patriarch Irinej and Prince Alexander Karadjordjevic—where she was a guest at the Royal Palace.