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Remove Kebab

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"Karadžić, Lead Your Serbs"
Serbia Strong.jpg
Still from the video showing Novislav Đajić (right) and Nenad Tintor (left) playing the accordion and trumpet.
Song by Željko Grmuša

Remove Kebab is a phrase that originated in the online community surrounding a Serb nationalist and anti-Muslim propaganda music video[1] from the Yugoslav Wars.[2][3][4][5] The phrase has spread globally amongst Neo-Nazi groups and the alt-right as a meme which references and advocates for the ethnic cleansing of Muslims.[2][3][6]

The song was originally called "Karadžić, Lead Your Serbs" (Serbian: Караџићу, води Србе своје / Karadžiću, vodi Srbe svoje, [ˈkaːrad͡ʒiːt͡ɕu, ˈvoːdi ˈsərbe ˈsvoːje]),[7] but is also known as "God Is a Serb and He Will Protect Us" (Serbian: Бог је Србин и он ће нас чувати / Bog je Srbin i on će nas čuvati, [ˈboːɡ je ˈsərbin iː ˈon t͡ɕe naːs t͡ʃuːvati])[a] and "Serbia Strong".[2][3] The song is better known in the rest of the world than in the Balkans, and it doesn't enjoy popularity there.[8]


At the peak of the inter-ethnic wars of the 1990s that broke up Yugoslavia, a song called "Karadžiću, vodi Srbe svoje" (English: "Karadžić, Lead Your Serbs") was recorded in 1993.[2][7] The song was composed as a morale boosting tune for Serbian forces during one of the wars.[7] In the video of the song, the tune is performed by three males in Serbian paramilitary uniforms at a location with hilly terrain in the background.[2] Footage of captured Muslim prisoners in wartime Serb-run internment camps are also featured in the video.[9]

Parts of the tune attempt to instill a sense of foreboding in their opponents with lines such as "The wolves are coming – beware, Ustashe and Turks".[2][3][9] Derogatory terms are used in the song, such as "Ustaše" in reference to nationalist Croat fighters and "Turks" for Muslim Bosniaks, with lyrics warning that Serbs, under the leadership of Radovan Karadžić, were coming for them.[2][3][5][9]

The song's content celebrates Serb fighters and the killing of Bosniaks and Croats along with wartime Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadžić, who was on 24 March 2016 found guilty of genocide against Bosnian Muslims and crimes against humanity during the Bosnian War (part of the Yugoslav Wars).[2][9][10] Karadžić was convicted "of persecution, extermination, deportation, forcible transfer, and murder in connection with his campaign to drive Bosnian Muslims and Croats out of villages claimed by Serb forces."[11] On 20 March 2019, his appeal was rejected and his 40 year sentence was increased to life imprisonment.[12] During the Bosnian War, the song was a marching anthem for nationalist Serb paramilitaries (revived "Chetniks").[13]

The song has been rewritten multiple times in various languages and has retained its militant and anti-Muslim themes.[2] "Remove Kebab" is the name for the song used by the far-right.[5]

Internet popularity

In 2006–2008 numerous edits of the video, originally made for the mockumentary TV show Četnovizija,[14] were posted on the Internet,[2] where throughout the mid-2000s many parodies of the meme mocked the video for its aggressively jingoistic nature.[15] The meme gained popularity amongst fans of grand strategy computer games by Paradox Interactive,[15][16] where it referred to the player aiming to defeat the Ottoman Empire or other Islamic nations within the game.[15] Due to the challenge of differentiating between sarcastic and genuine hyper-nationalism surrounding the meme due to Poe's law, it was banned from Paradox Interactive's official forums.[16]

The song's popularity rose over time with radical elements of many right-wing groups within the West.[2][3] The song is far more famous in the rest of the world than in the Balkans.[8][17][18] Novislav Đajić, the song's accordion player, has since become a widespread 4chan meme among nationalists and is called "Dat Face Soldier" or the image itself as "Remove Kebab".[2][3][4][19][20] Đajić was convicted in Germany for his part in the murder of 14 people during the war resulting in 5 years imprisonment and deportation to another country following his jail sentence in 1997.[2]

The meme has appeared in over 800 threads in the /r/The_Donald subreddit and has been made famous by the alt-right.[4][20]

Academic research found that in a dataset obtained by scraping Know Your Meme in 2018, "Remove Kebab" constituted 1 of every 200 entries per community in a data set sampled for political memes.[21] "Remove Kebab" was particularly common on Gab, a website which "attracts alt-right users, conspiracy theorists, trolls, and high volumes of hate speech".[21]

Brenton Harrison Tarrant, the Australian gunman in the 2019 mass shootings at the Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch, New Zealand, had the phrase "Remove Kebab" written on one of his weapons.[2] In his manifesto The Great Replacement (named after a far-right theory from France of the same name by writer Renaud Camus), he describes himself as a "Part time kebab removalist".[3][19] He also livestreamed playing the song in his car mere minutes before the shooting.[2][5][22][23]

Following the Christchurch mosque shootings, various videos of the song were removed from YouTube, including videos with over a million views.[24] After that, users on the online platform re-uploaded the tune, stating that it was to "protest censorship".[24]

In an interview following the shooting, the main singer of the song, Željko Grmuša, stated: "It is terrible what that guy did in New Zealand, of course I condemn that act. I feel sorry for all those innocent people. But he started killing and he would do that no matter what song he listened to."[7][8]


  1. ^
    It is sometimes simply abbreviated to "God Is a Serb" (Serbian: Бог је Србин / Bog je Srbin, [ˈboːɡ je ˈsərbin]).


  1. ^ Doyle, Gerry (15 March 2019). "New Zealand mosque attacker's plan began and ended online". Reuters. Archived from the original on 15 March 2019. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Coalson, Robert (15 March 2019). "Christchurch Attacks: Suspect Took Inspiration From Former Yugoslavia's Ethnically Fueled Wars". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "Mosque shooter brandished material glorifying Serb nationalism". Al Jazeera English. 15 March 2019. Archived from the original on 15 March 2019. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  4. ^ a b c Ward, Justin (19 April 2018). "Day of the trope: White nationalist memes thrive on Reddit's r/The_Donald". Southern Poverty Law Center. Archived from the original on 1 February 2019. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d Schindler, John R. (20 March 2019). "Ghosts of the Balkan wars are returning in unlikely places". The Spectator. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  6. ^ Hemmer, Nicole (2 December 2016). "Tweedy racists and "ironic" anti-Semites: the alt-right fits a historical pattern". Vox. Archived from the original on 5 February 2019. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  7. ^ a b c d Nestorović, V. (16 March 2019). "Željko objasnio kako je zaista nastala njegova pesma uz koju je Tarant počinio pokolj na Novom Zelandu!". (in Serbian). Archived from the original on 16 March 2019. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  8. ^ a b c "Autor pjesme koju je napadač slušao prije pokolja: "Kakve veze pjesma ima s terorističkim napadom?"". (in Croatian). 16 March 2019. Retrieved 2019-03-16.
  9. ^ a b c d Gambrell, Jon (15 March 2019). "Mosque shooter brandished white supremacist iconography". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 15 March 2019. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  10. ^ Halilovich, Hariz (19 March 2019). "Long-Distance Hatred: How the NZ Massacre Echoed Balkan War Crimes". Transitions Online. Archived from the original on 13 April 2019. Retrieved 13 April 2019.
  11. ^ Simons, Marlise (24 March 2016). "Radovan Karadzic, a Bosnian Serb, Gets 40 Years Over Genocide and War Crimes". The New York Times. New York. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
  12. ^ "UN appeals court increases Radovan Karadzic's sentence to life imprisonment". Associated Press. 20 March 2019. Retrieved 2019-03-23.
  13. ^ "New Zealand mosque shooting: What is known about the suspects?". BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation. 18 March 2019. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  14. ^ Karadzicu, vodi Srbe svoje (Video 1995) - IMDb
  15. ^ a b c Katz, Jonty (13 March 2017). "Video games of the alt-right". Honi Soit. University of Sydney. Archived from the original on 13 February 2019. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  16. ^ a b Winkie, Luke (6 June 2018). "The Struggle Over Gamers Who Use Mods To Create Racist Alternate Histories". Kotaku. Archived from the original on 28 February 2019. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  17. ^ "Autor četničkog pjesmuljka kojeg je Tarrant slušao prije masakra živi kod Knina: Naravno da se osjećam ugroženo". (in Croatian). 16 March 2019. Retrieved 2020-08-17.
  18. ^ "Zašto je ubica slušao krajišku pesmu pre masakra? Šta se krije iza pokreta "Remove kebab", koji poziva i na ubijanje muslimana (VIDEO)". (in Croatian). 16 March 2019. Retrieved 2020-08-17.
  19. ^ a b Weill, Kelly; Sommer, Will (15 March 2019). "Mosque Attack Video Linked to 'White Genocide' Rant". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  20. ^ a b Sixsmith, Ben (15 March 2019). "Guns Internet Life Media: The dark extremism of the 'extremely online'". The Spectator. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  21. ^ a b Zannettou, Savvas; Caulfield, Tristan; Blackburn, Jeremy; De Cristofaro, Emiliano; Sirivianos, Michael; Stringhini, Gianluca; Suarez-Tangil, Guillermo (31 October 2018). On the origins of memes by means of fringe web communities (PDF). Proceedings of the Internet Measurement Conference 2018. ACM. pp. 5, 9.
  22. ^ Koziol, Michael (15 March 2019). "Christchurch shooter's manifesto reveals an obsession with white supremacy over Muslims". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 15 March 2019. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  23. ^ Zivanovic, Maja (15 March 2019). "New Zealand Mosque Gunman 'Inspired by Balkan Nationalists'". BalkanInsight. Balkan Investigative Reporting Network. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  24. ^ a b Covucci, David (18 March 2019). "YouTubers keep uploading racist meme anthem played by New Zealand shooter". The Daily Dot. Retrieved 22 March 2019.

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