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Year III  No 10-11, 2015  price 15 KM www.nacionalnarevija.com

Roots and Memory

THE RETURN OF SERBIAN MYTHOLOGY ISSN 2334-8518

9 772334 851009

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On the occasion of 900th anniversary of the birth of Stefan Nemanja,

EXCEPTIONAL ILLUSTRATED MONOGRAPH! Old and new texts, biographies and services, poems and studies, photographs and paintings! Use the opportunity, get your copy with a discount!

PRINCIP PRESS Cetinjska 6, Belgrade; Tel. +381 11 322 70 34, +381 11 322 16 92 www.nacionalnarevija.com, www.turistinfosrbija.com, princip.press@gmail.com


A collage TV show about Serbia, its landscapes and people, cities and customs, cultural and historical heritage and economic and tourist potentials. Travel writings, portraits, lectures, melodies. The most beautiful from Serbia, knowingly and with love! > First Channel of Radio Television of Serbia (RTS 1), Thursdays from 22:45

Cetinjska 6, 11000 Belgrade +381 11 322 16 92 www.nacionalnarevija.com •


P R O L O G U E

DECEPTIVE SUMMER OF 2015

Publisher “Princip Pres” Cetinjska 6, 11000 Belgrade Tel.: +381 (11) 322 70 34, 322 16 92 www.nacionalnarevija.com princip.press@gmail.com Director and Editor-in-Chief Mišo Vujović Editor Branislav Matić Technical Editor Aleksandar Ćosić

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Photography Editor Dragan Bosnić Header and Cover Design Jovan Željko Rajačić Associates Milovan Vitezović, jerej Jovan Plamenac, Nebojša Jevrić, Dragan Lakićević, Bojan Mandić, Jovo Bajić, Dejan Bulajić, Dejan Đorić, Đorđe Srbulović, Mihail Kulačić, Zoran Pejašinović, Slobodan Krstić, Sandra Kljajić, Senka Trivić, Sandra Josović, Dajana Korolija, Radmila Đević, Vesna Kapor, Aleksandra Glišić Translated by Sandra Gagić & “Globe Translations“ Marketing Mirko Vujović, Irena Stolić Secretariat and Distribution Jelena Jović, Dragana Dimitrijević, Milenko Vasilić Print “Portal”, Belgrade Office for the Republic of Srpska “Princip Pres RS” Aleja Svetog Save 7, 78000 Banjaluka Tel/Fax: +387 (51) 304 360 srpska@nacionalnarevija.com Dijana Petković, Director Office for Australia “Princip Press Australia PTY LTD”, 12/24 Loch Street, 3182 St Kilda West, VIC Jelena Janković, Director

Cover page: Symbols from Serbian mythology, a work by sculptor Jovan Petronijević (Photo: Project “Rod”)

nother summer of cheap scenarios with expensive consequences. The season of resolutions on genocide carried around by the perpetrators of worst genocides in the history of this mankind. (Maybe it is truly possible to wash biography and history, money and consciousness in the creek or in Potočari?) Arsonists are putting out fires, murderers are giving eulogies over graces, the dead ones are “the brave warriors” one minute (šehidi), and “innocent victims” the next one. Cynicism, kitsch, obsession with money and ideology of thieves are never as hideous as when they are connected with death. In this, two things are certain. There is a lot of system in this madness. And there is no calm in the territory of Southern Slavs, nor can it come from the outside. Foreign bullies who have been hitting Republika Srpska again this summer will hit the Balkans, they will hit what little is left of Europe. The fate of those Southern Slavs who rejoice this will be like in the song: “The fire roars merrily, it is our tent that is on fire!...” Nobody will be able to say that they didn’t know what they were doing. Is it possible to create a geo-political magazine in circumstances like these? It is and one has to. It does not mean shoving your head in the sand. Division or roles in the described farce is sub-human and unacceptable. Decent people have nothing to do with it. We are following the words of Holy Nikolai of Serbia: “Those who build good are automatically destroying the evil. And those who turn to destroy evil quickly forget to build good and turn into a villain.” In our humble attempt to build good(ness), we went to Ozren, Vrbas, Ukrin. We went on a pilgrimage to Corfu and Zagrađe. We studied Zmijanje embroidery and Serbian mythology. We listened to Choir “Srbadija” and witnessed the “Laboratory of Light”. We talked to Slobodan Despot, Tanja Stupar Trifunović, Nemanja Bjelica, Slađana Golić. (...) That is how we have made this double edition, placing it before you for consolation and joy. s

CIP - Каталогизација у публикацији Народна библиотека Србије, Београд 008(497.6 Република Српска) ISSN 2334-8518, COBISS.SR-ID 199401228

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Building Good

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Partner of the Publication: SECRETARIAT FOR RELIGIONS OF THE REPUBLIC OF SRPSKA

THIS MAGAZINE IS PRINTED WITH SUPPORT FROM THE MINISTRY OF CULTURE OF SERBIA


CONTENTS

Panorama 04 PROLOGUE 06 CHRONICLE

Road Sign 10 ALBUM: THE REBELS OF HERZEGOVINA 16 MEMORY: MONUMENT TO PRINCIP IN BELGRADE 20 EXAMPLES: HELICOPTER SERVICE OF SRPSKA 28 FLOW: EUROPEAN RAFTING CHAMPIONSHIP 34 ROADS: OZREN MOUNTAIN 42 GRINDSTONE: MILLS ON THE UKRINA 48 SANCTUARIES: ZAGRAĐE MONASTERY 56 PILGRIMAGES: CORFU, THERE, FAR AWAY

Culture 66 REMINDER: “SOPRONOVA PEČATNJA” 70 OLD CRAFTS: ZMIJANJE EMBROIDERY 78 HERITAGE: RETURN OF SERBIAN MYTHOLOGY 86 VOICES: BIJELЈINA CHOIR “SRBADIJA” 92 SCENE: LABORATORY OF LIGHT AND IDEAS 96 STRATEGY: FOČA, A UNIVERSITY CENTER

People 102 LIFE, NOVELS: SLOBODAN DESPOT 112 MORE THAN A GAME: TANJA STUPAR TRIFUNOVIĆ 118 THE WINNER: NEMANJA BJELICA 126 CHAMPIONS: SLAĐANA GOLIĆ

Introducing 130 GUID: LESKOVAC 134 “MERKUR”: A MEDICINAL PHILOSOPHY SRPSK A  No 10-11  2015

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NE WS S T RE AM >> Literary award “Kočić’s Quill” for 2015 was handed out recently to Belgrade writer Dragan Velikić for his novel The Investigator. >> Four hundred junior members of the city Cultural-Artistic Society “Alat Svislajon” recently introduced themselves in a beautiful concert “Let’s Dance for Life” in the Center of Trebinje. Eleven children’s ensembles performed dances from Herzegovina, Pirot, Krajina and Šumadija, in front of several thousand people. >> Documentary-art exhibition Twenty Years of Vidovdan Race, the author of which is Ognjen Plavšić, a photographer from Brčani, was opened recently in the lobby of the National Theatre of Republika Srpska in Banjaluka. The exhibition will later be moved to Belgrade and Athens, and from May next year it will be a part of the permanent exhibition of the Berlin Sports Museum. >> The Euro Park Day was marked with the lecture Nature is our business, on Tjentište. It also marked the official opening of the summer tourist season in the Municipality of Foča.

The Oldest Hand-Written Spelling Book Venclović’s St, Andria Spelling Book 1717 was promoted recently in the National and University Library of Republika Srpska in Banjaluka. It contains a facsimile edition with interpreted text of the oldest grammar and spelling book among the Serbs, as well as he accompanying study of the editors Dimitrije Stefanović and Tomislav Jovanović. The publisher is Workshop “Venclović”, operating within the Cultural and Documentary Center of Serbs in Hungary, and resumes are provided in English and Hungarian.

Depths of Film Another “Film Campus” was organized by the Film Archive of Republika Srpska in Pale at the end of May. The program was followed by students from Srpska, Serbia and Montenegro, and numerous filmmakers and film critics and

>> Production of the Publishing House “Katena mundi” from Belgrade was presented recently in the Cultural Center on Pale, and special interest of the audience was attracted by Encyclopedia Katena mundi and study Law and Orthodoxy by Zoran Čvorović. >> At the recently organized Swimming Meeting “Banjaluka Open 2015”, 401 swimmers from 46 clubs and 11 countries participated, and the main promoter was Velimir Stjepanović, twice the champion of Europe.

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film historians participated. The program featured films by Srđan Kolјević, Boro Drašković, Nikola Lorencin and Dragan Ćirjanić. In the official part, in addition to these authors, Radoslav Zelenović, director of the Film Archive in Belgrade, as well as Aleksandar Erdelјanović, archive director of the of Belgrade Film Archive also participated.


Maturity This year’s Theatre Fest “Petar Kočić” in Banjaluka, eighteenth, gathered in the competitive program national theaters from Sarajevo, Priština, Sombor, Kikinda and Belgrade, Theatre of Kruševac, Satirical Theatre “Kerempuh” from Zagreb and Youth Theatre from Novi Sad. The award for best director and best production went to Kokan Mladenović for productions Doctor Nušić (coproduction of the National Theater from Sombor and Theatre of Kruševac) and Cowboys (National Theater from Kikinda). Nenad Todorović was awarded for the best play (Hotel “Kosovo”), best actor was Aleksandar Mihailović, and best actress Hana Selimović.

The Best Library National Library “Ćirilo i Metodije” from Prijedor was the best library in Srpska in 2014, and charter “Đorđe Pejanović” was awarded to the event “Višegradske staze”. This was decided by the Association of Librarians of Republika Srpska. National Library “Ćirilo i Metodije” has been a tenant in the building of Museum of Kozara since 1987, where it operates in 144 square meters of leased space, and manages the City Reading Room with surface area of 116 square meters. Despite the lack of funds and obstacles, as well as the “time of not reading”, this institution has been finding ways to maintain exemplary results.

>> On the occasion of the fourteenth Poetry Gatherings “Prlјača 2015”, Serbian Literary Club “Vihor” from Derventa organized a competition for the best poem dedicated to protection of waters, beauty of rivers and nature. >> This year, 300 contestants took part in the third Marathon “Following the Paths of Branko Ćopić”. The road is 42 kilometers long, from Novi Grad to Hašan, in the municipality of Krupa on the Una River. >> “The Days of Milutin Milanković”, an event dedicated to great Serbian scientist, was organized this summer in Milići. >> The first Congress of Ophthalmologists of Republika Srpska was organized recently in Bijeljina. It gathered more than 300 most prominent experts from Srpska, regional countries, as well as from Czech Republic, Slovakia and Sweden. >> The eleventh International Festival of Humor and Children’s Creativity took place in Derventa. >> Within the celebrations of 600th anniversary of the oldest preserved mention of the city of Doboj, cultural and entertainment event called “Let’s Grow Together” was organized in the local City Park. Two hundred children from preschool institution “Majka Jugovića” participated. >> Conference “Demi 2015”, the leading meeting for presentation of new results of research in the field of electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and informatics, was organized recently in the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering in Banjaluka.

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NE WS S T RE AM >> Anthology of love poetry Taste of Ri­pe Raspberry by Borica Perišić Đekanović was presented in Kotor Varoš. The poetess has been living in Germany for almost a quarter of a century and is a member of Writers’ Association “Urput” in Stuttgart. >> The Carousel of Passion, a book by Dragana Vulić, was promoted in the National Library “Filip Višnjić” in Bijelјina. The publisher is “Alfeus art” from Kralјevo. >> Great humanitarian concert For Na­ đa gathered around three and a half thousand people from Prijedor in the Hall “Mladost”. All income will be donated for the treatment of three and a half year old Nađa Turudija. >> Two books by Đura Kolјanin, Life in Verses and Human Mind and Its Power, were presented in the Cultural Center in Gradiška. >> The fourth review of Russian film took place in the Cultural Center in Han Pijesak. The founder and organizer of the event is Želјko Stojanović, and co-organizers are the Municipality and the local Cultural Center, with support from the Embassy of Russia in B&H.

Joyful Step of getting Closer Together The International Folklore Festival, which was organized recently in Višegrad, gathered more than three hundred young men and women from Srpska, Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia. Before the festival evening, all ensembles participated in already traditional procession from the Square of Killed Soldiers to the City Hall, performing parts of their choreographies, which was warmly welcomed by numerous citizens of Višegrad and numerous tourists. This beautiful cultural and tourist event was jointly organized by cultural-artistic societies “Bikavac” and “King Peter I the Unifier” from Višegrad.

Obliged to Remember In order to surrender a letter of Serbian gratitude to Greek people for friendship and assistance in difficult times in the ruins of Yugoslavia and establishment of Republika Srpska to Thessaloniki archimandrite Partenios, Nikola Dupalo and Neven Lajšić traveled recently as far as 2,600 ki-

>> On the occasion of the 65th anniversary of the Cultural-Artistic Society “Prosvjeta”, “The Concert of Friendship” was organized in Rudo. Around one hundred participants performed, locals and guests from the territories of Southern Slavs. >> “Homeland writers to their city” is the title of the literary evening during which the members of Association of Writers’ of Srpska from Bijeljina there.

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lometers on their bicycles. They rode from their Novi Grad to Thessaloniki and back, withstanding all temptations and endured tremendous efforts. “We are obliged to remember”, they said when they returned, welcomed by their fellow citizens and representatives of the municipality.


New Hydro Power Plant Newly built hydro power plant “Mesići – Nova”, in the namesake settlement near Rogatica, was formally opened recently. The project is worth ten million Convertible Marks, and it is a run-of-river/derivation type of hydro power plant, the most advanced in the territory of Southern Slavs. It is fully automated, equipped with central monitor-

>> More than 1,200 contestants from around twenty countries participated at the first semi-marathon “M:tel City Race Banjaluka 2015”. The first place in male category was won by Mozes Komon from Kenya, and the fastes woman was Agnes Chebet also from Kenya. >> Student of Russian University of Dramatic Arts from Moscow performed in Banjaluka excerpts from Russian classics Aleksandar Ostrovski, Anton Chekhov, Nikolai Gumilјov, as well as Italian playwright Eduardo de Filippo.

ing system, with possibility of remote production planning and control. Construction of this facility, with designed useful life of seven decades, should bring to “Electric Power Distribution” from Pale annual income of more than three million Marks.

Growing Number of Tourists In the first four months of this year, Srpska was visited by 83,224 tourists, which is by 15.6 more than in the same period last year, as stated in the report of the republic Statistics Office. In this period there were 208,715 overnight stays, 22.4 more than in the same period last year. Of the total number, 45,565 of domestic guests had 99.565 overnight stays (19.5 more than in the same period last year), while 37,659 foreign tourists had 109,150 overnights (25.1 more than in the same period last year). Of foreign tourists, most overnights had those from Serbia and Croatia.

>> Art-Environmental Colony “Bardača – Srbac 2015” gathered from June 27 to July 5 a large number of painters from Srpska, Serbia and regional countries. >> Within the First International festival of Amateur Theaters of Serbian Diaspora in Andrićgrad, Theatre “Duga” from Lopar performed the production of Educated Woman. >> Production of The Magic Flute of Elf Milan, directed by Novica Bogdanović, premiered on the stage of the Youth center in Banjaluka. This “theatrical magic for children and adults” was coproduced by the Children’s Ensemble “Dis Theaters” and Dance Studio “Latino Dance” from Banjaluka. >> In early July, Goran Grujić and Goran Berak caught in Bileća Lake a catfish of 110 kilograms, 220 centimeters long. It is the biggest fish ever caught “in these areas”.

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A L B U M

 Tripko Grubačić, captain from Nevesinje Pero Tunguz, Duke of Nevesinje Boško Guzina, commander of Upper Nevesinje Battalion

Freedom

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 Petar Radović, Duke of Nevesinje

Photo: Želјko Sinobad

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HEROES OF THE HERZEGOVINA UPRISING AND THEIR MEASURE

hey resurface before us exactly one hundred and forty years later, the same as the rock has remembered them. That same rock of homeland they used as a pillow, home and protection. And they are bony and tough, with high foreheads and bold hearts. Their eyes are filled with that fire that is used to start an uprising and determination with which one rushes before an army. Their mustache is the roof for every story and song. The Serbian Herzegovina Uprising from 1875, known also as the Battle of Nevesinje, changed and accelerated many things in the history of Europe. (The Berlin Congress, independence of Serbia and Montenegro, Austrian protectorate in Bosnia, great withdrawal of Turkey...) Battles on Gradac, Koriti, Prapratnica, in Duga Pass, near Muratovica (...) were being watched in many parts of the world. Everybody had their calculations, great forces were playing their eternal dark game, politicians and merchants were bickering under the table uninterested in whether heads or pumpkins were rolling on the battlefield. And they, before whose images we are standing, had simple ideas: the idea of freedom, idea of honor, idea of survival. To stop torture and humiliation, to liberate and unite. Just like today. It is nice that the self-made painter from Herzegovina Bilјana Ristić reminded us this summer in the Gallery of the RTS in Belgrade on the heroes of the famous uprising. Those portraits on stone, in secco technique, have authenticity and contain i two key nuances: nobility and naivety. As if the incompleteness on the image is an expression of unspoiledness in people. Many are there, from Bogdan Zimonjić to Peka Pavlović, from Petar Radović to Gligor Milićević, from Stojan Kovačević to Miće Ljubibratić, from Jovica Zirojević to Jovan Gutić... Glory to the heroes who lived and died for freedom. s (B. M.)

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Aleksa Jakšić, “Ideologist of the Uprising”

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Stojan Kovačević, Harambaša from Gacko

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Mijat Radović, serdar

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Bogdan Zimonjić, Duke of Gacko

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M E M O R Y MONUMENT TO GAVRILO PRINCIP IN BELGRADE

Sad View of the Balkans

It is clear to every composed and serious person today that this member of “Young Bosnia” and assassin of the Austro-Hungarian Prince Ferdinand, on St. Vitus Day in 1914 in Sarajevo, is neither Bin Laden nor Lee Oswald, but a patriot and assassin of a tyrant, the Hand of Justice, symbol of Freedom. By donating his monument to the Serbian homeland and capital of all Serbs, Republika Srpska has built yet another beacon in this wilderness and disarray. And the fact that the monument presents Gavrilo as he was in the dungeon, means that he is dressed quite suitably for the current Southern Slavic occasions. As an aphorist said: “It is not Gavrilo doing the shooting, but the principles” By: Bogdan Desnica

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t is St. Vitus Day, exactly one hundred years later. A young man is standing upright, looking intensely into the distance. A few wrinkles, deep as the canyons of his native Bosnia, are cutting through his young forehead. The area around him was once Serbia, Europe. It may still be that, only degraded beyond recognition. In a much more miserable condition than then, when he and his comrades had to get up and protest. Their cry from a century ago still echoes around the ravines of the Peninsula. There are no other cries of the displaced tribes. Gavrilo, Gavrilo Princip, cast in bronze, is standing two meters tall and weighing three hundred kilograms. He is wearing his highschool coat, double-breasted, originally tailored carefully, with touching neatness of the poor, and now worn over a naked body to cover prison wounds and bruises. Trousers seem to be tailored in the same style, from

Author and Donor The monument to Gavrilo Princip is the work of Zoran Kuzmanović, a sculptor from Smederevo. It is two meters high, and it weighs three hundred fifty kilograms. It is cast in two copies. Another Gavrilo like this is on the watch in Sarajevo, the Eastern, Serbian one, the only authentic section and inception of the former city. The sculpture is, let us reiterate, a gift from Republika Srpska to the Republic of Serbia, donated on St. Vitus Day in 2015.

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the same material, not like on that famous photograph from Terezin prison. Shoes with no laces are on his feet. Gavrilo is standing, and behind him the lined up Guard of Serbian Army, in those pretty ceremonious blue uniforms. Next to him are two Serbian presidents, of Serbia and Srpska, ministers, priests, poets and chroniclers, the people. And they all know that they are standing in front of a patriot, a tyrant assassin, member of patriotic and liberation organization “Young Bosnia”. Before the person who, on St. Vitus Day in 1914, in occupied Sarajevo, was the Hand of Justice. Serbian, Southern Slavic one. “In my memory, those days are bright and distant. Like great passion, like the best part of life. (...) By feeling events and interpreting them instinctively and correctly, pride was growing inside us and faith in the future, and our activity together with it. And today, if you leaf through modest youth papers from this period, you will stop wondering over an article of a poem, there was so much faith, enthusiasm and often clairvoyance in them”, said Ivo Andrić in an interview for Miloš Crnjanski’s paper Ideje, on November 17, 1934. “The year of 1914 hit us and scattered is so hard that we have never been able to collect ourselves again or stand up. The best were killed, or died in dungeons or in trenches. Nobody betrayed or let down.


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I really don’t know what we, who survived, should do to honor them properly. When I recall them in my memory, I see them as they were when they left before my eyes and from this world. Those were not evil fanatics and dark warriors, but young men who loved life, art, science. (...) It is the natural flow of history, but none of us can break

Inscriptions On the front side of the monument there is an inscription: Gavrilo Princip (1894–1918). On the back: “A gift from Republika Srpska to the Republic of Serbia, St. Vitus Day, 2015.” On the left side, there is an inscription of the final verse of the famous Princip’s prison poem: “He was right earlier / Žerajić, the peregrine falcon: / He who wants to live, should die, / He who wants to die, should live!” On the right side, there is an inscription of Nјegoš’s verses: “Blessed is he who lives forever for he truly had a reason to be born.”

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away from a particular kind of melancholy: that we mourn our suffering more than our lives, our years of deaf struggle more than the years of joy and rest. It is that fiera mealncolia that Torquato Tasso was writing about. It is the melancholy of a generation that was allowed to shift the helm of history. Sometimes I wonder whether it is a kind of mystical punishment for us who have survived?” GAVRO HAS RETURNED Gavrilo is standing on an elevation, in the park, and down there below him, Nemanjina, Balkanska and Hajduk-Velјkova (the extension of Sarajevska Street) streets intersect. Not far from there is the street that carries his name, then tavern “Golden Sturgeon”, where he often came with his friends, then Karađorđeva Street, on the paving of


ezin prison? Why didn’t he show him as a young man, with high starched collar and a tie, with a hat on his head, spirited and passionate, with fire in his eyes, as he had been in the months before the assassination? We asked ourselves and thought about it. And we have realized that the artist is profoundly right in his “metaphorical realism”. The entire Balkan today is “an open type Terezin”. The bronze Gavrilo is dressed quite suitably. True, it looks a little bit different on the Peninsula nowadays. As an aphorist said: “It is not Gavrilo doing the shooting, but the principles.” On that St. Vitus evening, the ceremony started when a cry pierced through the hustle of the city: – Guard, attention! Eyes right! Whenever he hears this, some deeper layers stir up inside an average Serb. They should stay in attention until further notice. s

Photo: Želјko Sinobad

which he worked, to earn money for books, which he considered to be as necessary as bread. Therefore, Gavro has returned to his Belgrade, the city he has never left. By the time the pages of this double edition reach their readers,quick media (unhealthily quick) will report in details on who was there and who said what at the monument unveiling ceremony. And who was conspicuously absent, or didn’t say anything. And who said something, but better they shouldn’t have. We asked ourselves: why did the artist with his monument depicted the imprisoned Princip, as he was on the photograph from the TerSRPSK A  No 10-11  2015

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HELICOPTER SERVICE OF SRPSKA, A DEVOTED NATIONAL SERVICE

Where It’s Hardest

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They have been existing for seven years, always on full alert. Throughout the year, every single moment. They had hundreds of flights, sometimes even ten hours a day. In floods, snow storms, fires. They reached places no one else could. They delivered food and medications to remote places, pulled out seriously ill patients, evacuated endangered people. They rescued many people and property. They confirmed the trust that no one in Srpska will be left alone in distress By: Sandra Miletić

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E X A M P L E S  Members of the Helicopter Service in their base Boban Kusturić, Service Director

 Drill on the training grounds of the Helicopter Service In the action of transferring a severely ill patient

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elivering medications, fuel, food and other necessities to the endangered, but most of all saving human lives, is daily life of brave pilots from the Helicopter Service of Republic of Srpska: Boban Kusturić, Zoran Brestovac, Aleksandar Đerić, Čedomir Šušnjar and Goran Gvozdenac. Certainly, also contributing to their successful missions are aeromechanics Slobodan Suša, Saša Grahovac and Siniša Nikolić, who take care that the “gazelles” are always in working order. Even in the most difficult circumstances, not a single flight was cancelled for technical reasons. The Helicopter Service of Srpska was founded in 2008, upon the initiative of several former military pilots and with the support of the government of Srpska, with the objective to be at the service and disposal to all citizens of the Republic. At the very beginning, it had eight employees and its first activities were for the needs of the highest officials and government of Srpska. At the time of its founding, the Helicopter Service had one helicopter in working order. – Thanks to the enthusiasm, experience and knowledge of pilots and technical staff of the Helicopter Service, all flight tasks, even the most requesting ones, were successfully realized. At the same time, the fleet expanded as well – says Boban Kusturić, director of the Helicopter Service. Now they have four helicopters available. One is completely equipped with the most up-to-date equipment for medical evacuations.

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Medals The Helicopter Service of Republic of Srpska was awarded for its work with the Medal of Honor with Golden Rays and Order of Miloš Obilić, granted by the president of the Republic of Srpska. The Service is also winner of numerous awards, plaques and gratification letters from many institutions, companies, cities and municipalities of Republic of Srpska.

They responded professionally and responsibly to all assignments. They have 500 hours of flight per year, so they are constantly prepared, ready for the most difficult challenges. Improvements and further advancement, they say, go without saying. – Since its establishment, the Helicopter Service justified its existence with its participation in numerous rescue missions, protecting people’s lives in extreme weather conditions and medical evacuations – emphasizes Kusturić. REAL NATIONAL SERVICE

There are many confirmations of this fact. This small, yet well trained team saved hundreds of people from snow storms and flooded settlements, and helped rescuing dozens of severely ill patients. They state that nothing is difficult when it comes to human life. They fly wherever they need to. And they did have lots of work in the previous years. In the year 2010, Srpska was struck by floods. Twice. Čelinac, Kozarska Dubica, Srbac, Derventa, Modriča, Prnjavor, Janj


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Transfer of patients in specially equipped helicopters

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and Doboj on June 22 and 23, and then Bijeljina from December 4 to 6. – It was the first big challenge – remembers Kusturić. – The Helicopter Service was at the disposal of the people of Srpska throughout the time of floods. We went to places that needed our help most. We evacuated people, delivered food, goods, medications… We had almost 50 emergency flights. An even bigger challenge came in the winter of 2012, when many parts of Srpska were struck by unprecedented snow storms. The Helicopter Service pilots were constantly in the field, flying up to ten hours a day. From Sokolac, Rudo, Čajniče, to Han Pijesak, Višegrad, Milići… In twenty-odd days, from the end of January to midFebruary, they had 250 flights, visited 130 cities and villages, mostly remote, inaccessible areas, where they performed dozens of evacuations. In only one day, they had 30 flights to Sokolac and Han Pijesak, at a temperature of minus 31 degrees Celsius, to deliver necessary groceries. At the time, and they emphasize it as the most important thing, they saved more than a hundred lives. – Having the information received from the locals and Civil Defense of Sokolac, our crews managed to reach people in snow drifts, completely cut off in such extreme weather conditions, including evacuating thirteen people stuck in a snow storm for 72 hours in a bus in Dobro Polje near Kalinovik – remembers Kusturić. They especially remember, he says, the rescue of a seven year-old with burns from the village of Bratač in the Municipality of Nevesinje and evacuation of a patient from the village of Nevačka in Han Pijesak. – The fact that villagers in Nevačka dug away more than two meters high snow to enable the helicopter to land, best describes the weather conditions in this case – tells Kusturić. ACCESSIBLE ONLY FROM THE SKY

In the spring of 2014, Republika Srpska was struck by terrible floods, which was another trial for the Helicopter Service crew. In the morning of May 15, the crews were immediately actively involved in res-

Throughout the Year, 24/7 In order to expand its operations to the Air Medical Transport, the Helicopter Service of Srpska expanded its original fleet with a helicopter specially equipped for medical transport, with certified medical equipment and devices providing endangered patients safe transportation to a medical institution. After receiving a call, the rescue flight is organized in about fifteen minutes, while the crew is on duty throughout the year, 24 hours a day.

cuing and evacuation of people from the flooded areas of Doboj, Banjaluka, Čelinac, Modriča, Šamac and Bijeljina. – We had about two hundred flights in those six days. We rescued patients whose lives were endangered, pregnant women and babies. Each of our flights to the endangered areas also included delivering necessary aid: medications, food, tools – states Kusturić. The first day was the hardest, they say. Water everywhere, hundreds of calls for help. Impossible to say where it was hardest. They immediately started rescuing people and already the first day performed 50 evacuations from the most endangered areas. And continued so every following day. There were, state the pilots, many upsetting situations, but the entire helicopter crew particularly remembers transferring a 12 hour-old baby in an incubator from Bijeljina to Banjaluka. They also remember rescuing pregnant Jovanka Kvrgić from flooded Šamac, who was expecting triplets. Both the baby and Jovanka safely arrived to the Clinical Center of Banjaluka. Even without extreme weather conditions, the Helicopter Service of Srpska does not rest. Besides their regular activities, they also perform flights for special operations of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Srpska and often fly for Air Medical Transport. Since the promotion of Air Medical Transport in October 2014, about twenty people were rescued. – Plans? First, we will continue to improve our resources and knowledge, remaining always at the disposal of the people of Srpska. We plan to further advance the system of Air Medical Transport, as well as to modernize our fleet, which would expand our activities both in extraordinary and regular activities – concludes Boban Kusturić. s SRPSK A  No 10-11  2015

 Teams of the Helicopter Service in action

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EUROPEAN RAFTING CHAMPIONSHIP “BANJALUKA – VRBAS 2015”

The Strength of Water and People Fifty-three teams from seventeen countries competed. The Czechs were the best in male category and the British in female. Russians, Slovenians and Fins also had excellent performances. The team from Banjaluka won silver. Competitors and numerous guests speak highly about the organization, atmosphere, city and, most of all, people. The Championship is very important for promoting local tourism, as well as for affirming Srpska in international sports

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nly a year after the great floods, with big efforts and the help of institutions and good people, we managed to repair everything and welcome competitors – said Aleksandar Pastir, director of the European Rafting Championship “Banjaluka – Vrbas 2015” at the opening of the competition of best

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European rafters held from May 21 to 24. He thanked the rafters for showing each year, as he said, that Vrbas is one of the best rivers in the world for this sport. At the same time last year, due to the catastrophic floods that struck large parts of the Balkans, the European Rafting Championship was canceled in Ban-


jaluka. However, the city and “Kanjon” Rafting Club, with big support, were able to be hosts this year. For the second time, Banjaluka gathered the European rafting elite, who had the opportunity to compete in the Tijesno canyon, one of the most beautiful rafting tracks in the world. They justified the trust and received numerous praises for their efforts. – The organizers really struggled to justify our expectations and succeeded. It was really pleasant to stay in Banjaluka those days. The locals are very hospitable, warmhearted and open people, which, to be honest, I haven’t seen in many places in the world. The races were excellent. We saw that more and more nations are seriously engaged in rafting and that this sport is well positioned in this part of Europe – emphasized Oleg Grigoriev, vice president of the World Rafting Federation. – Banjaluka is a fantastic city, as great as this river. This is our first time in Banjaluka, although British teams have already had success in competitions in your city, on the Vrbas. I hope we will continue the success series. Everything is very well organized. The food is excellent and we’re saving beer for Sunday night, for the big party with our hosts – told us Charlie Lodge, member of the

Great Britain national team, at the beginning of the Championship. VERY STRONG COMPETITION 53 teams from 17 European countries (40 teams in male and 13 in female categories) competed at the European Rafting Championship. The senior category included 21 male and 10 female crews. In the category up to 19 years, seven male and two female teams compared their skills and force in the Vrbas cascades, and there were seven male crews in the category up to 23 years of age. Competing at the Champioship, besides the host country, were teams from Bulgaria, Serbia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Georgia, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia and Turkey. People of Banjaluka are especially proud of their “Dajak Klub”, which won silver medal in the descend discipline. The Banjaluka crew rowed the route from Krupa to “Kanjon” Rafting Center in Karanovac in 53 minutes and 59,46 seconds, which is 17,88 seconds slower than the first ranked Czech crew, that later became European champion. – This is something fantastic, something unforgettable – says Dragan Babić, SRPSK A  No 10-11  2015

 Local male team, decorated with medals  A very successful performance: Russian national team

Photo: European Rafting Championship, Rafting Club “Canyon”, TORS

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S T R E A M  The winning male crew from Czech Republic

member of “Dajak Klub” crew. – We brought silver to Banjaluka, on our Vrbas. I’ll remember it till the end of my life. We did it ourselves, with our own hard work. We are still sorry for the X2X race, but in general more than satisfied with what we’ve achieved. The Czechs deservedly climbed the highest stair of the victory stand. They were very satisfied with their performance in Banjaluka. – To be honest, this is what we’ve hoped for. All our work during the past few months was worth it – says Antonin Halesh, captain of the first Czech crew, new European champion. – The competition was very strong. We were surprised by the Russian teams, Finland in slalom, as well as the Banjaluka crew in sprint and descend. Still, we deserved first place at the end. Now we have a couple of days to rest and then begin preparations for the World Championship. Slovenians were third in descend and third in general. As for the ladies, the first was the crew from Great Britain, Russians were second and Italians third. The Russians won the descend race. Excellent races were seen in younger categories. After winning descend, the Turkish national team became champion of Europe in the category up to 19 years. Slovenians were brilliant in junior category, they won gold in descend and in general ranking. Two Czech crews were at the top in the veteran category. TO REMEMBER AND RETURN The last day of the Championship was marked by the female crew of the “Kanjon” Rafting Club, who reunited after more than a year. To show gratitude to their eternal club captain Branka Štulić, they had a non-competition descend from Krupa to Karanovac.

Amazement – The river is really fantastic – says Brian Devoy, member of the Great Britain national team. – We were already here in 2009. The river is as I remember it: forceful. The landscapes are beautiful, people very openhearted. Banjaluka is wonderful. We were all amazed by it. We’re having a great time. Yes, I’m most impressed by people. We stayed with a family in Krupa and they’re really wonderful, hospitable. People here are such wherever we go. I’m really happy to be here again.

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Humaneness At the medal ceremony, the Championship international judges granted money collected from the protests of teams during the competition to charity. Olivera Ratković, president of “Tvoja Riječ” Society from Banjaluka (for helping children with autism) thanked them on behalf of the Society.

In addition to many competitors, the European Rafting Championship also attracted many visitors. Besides the host country, the majority of visitors were from Slovenia, leader of making a good atmosphere both during the races and at the closing of the Championship. During the competition, the center of sports was not only Banjaluka. It was the entire Republic of Srpska. The event was very important for promoting local tourism, as well as for promoting Srpska in international sports. Once again Banjaluka and Vrbas showed their beauty and charm, and the Banjaluka people traditionally presented  Local male crew during descent themselves as the best hosts. s

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ON BEAUTIFUL AND HEALING MOUNTAIN OZREN

The Power of Revelation Is Within Us

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It’s the simplicity contemporary man has lost. Purity. Hiking towards the top over meadows and ravines, through a scented cloud of forest plants. Paragliding over a wavy landscape. Bathing in warm springs. Drinking osier tea in a lodge near a mountain river or good domestic herb rakia, strong and burning. Breathing joyfully and being calm. Being part of nature and waking it up within oneself. There are many things one can reach on this mountain. One only has to start off By: Sandra Kljajić

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 Paragliders near the peak of Ozren and their starting point

 Mountaineering and alpine cycling

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nspoiled nature, spacious glades, abundance of clear mountain streams and rivers winding through the thick pine, beech and oak woods, numerous springs claimed to be therapeutic, are only some reasons to visit Ozren. It is located in the area of lower mountains between the rivers Bosna towards the west and Spreča towards the north. It spreads towards the southeast, following the river Krivaja to the south and joining mountain Konjuh, while towards the east the slopes of Ozren go down to the Modrac lake. Its highest peak is Velika Ostravica and the most important valleys are along the rivers Jadrina, Jablanica and Bukovica. This mountain is especially interesting for its excellent conditions for recreational alpinism and cycling. The paths are marked and the northern part of the mountain is well connected by forest paths, macadam and asphalt roads, with access to the most important control points. Even the highest peak, Ostravica, is accessible to everyone.

Herbs and Abundance Collecting herbs and aromatic plants, mainly osier, milfoil, calamint and St. John’s wort, has a centuries-long tradition in Ozren. Besides herbs, the area is also rich in edible mushrooms. The most famous ones are boletus and saffron milk cap, as well as chanterelle, charcoal burner, shingled hedgehog, sweet tooth...

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Hunting Ozren is rich in various big and small game and birds and has a long hunting tradition. They mainly hunt deer, wild pigs, rabbits and pheasants.

Those interested may attend some of the numerous events organized here. – Every year in early September, “Days of Tea in Ozren” is organized on Gostilj, one of the most beautiful peaks. The event includes picking osier, believed to be the most remedial herb – tells Nenad Stanišić, president of the “Preslica” Mountaineering and Ecology Society from Doboj. – There is also a cultural and artistic program within the event. According to the customs of this area, visitors have the opportunity to drink the famous osier tea. The locals here say: “Osier brings the dead to life.” The “Preslica” Society uses this event as the beginning of the conquering of Gostilj, attended by alpinist teams from all Southern Slavic lands. – The most popular event here is the “Ozren Mountaineering Marathon”, organized by the “Ozren – Kraljica 883” Mountaineering Club together with the Municipality of Petrovo. It was held for the eleventh time in June this year. We also have alpinists from abroad. The event traditionally begins on Friday, with a competition in preparing “Ozren stew”, and continues with the


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competition on alpinism paths during the weekend – describes Stanišić. A BASE FOR ALL UPGRADES Ozren has favorable conditions for paragliding, especially in spring and summer. Sailing can often last several hours, flying over several dozen kilometers, which is truly a unique experience. For more experienced paragliders, the starting point is the platform on Gostilj, while there are three more arranged takeoff points on Ruj. Flying from Gostilj is best in spring and summer, while taking off from Ruj is best in autumn and winter. – This year in June, we organized a competition in paramotor flights, the only

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of its kind in B&H. July is traditionally reserved for “Ozrenaline XC”, open state competition in paragliding. It requests great effort and means, but also attracts many competitors from abroad, since we applied to the World Air Sports Organization and were enlisted in the competitions calendar – says Petar Tubić, president of “ParaGhost” Paragliding Club. “ParaGhost” organizes flights for paraglider pilots who come during the year. All who wish to fly, but have no experience, can do it with an experienced licensed tandem-pilot. – People are attracted by all these activities. Many pilots from our and neighboring countries, from Hungary, Austria, Norway, Poland... attend competitions. We


Food, Rakia, Honey In Ozren one can find bread and vegetables with meat baked “pod pekom”, meaning in a ceramic dish with an iron lid, all covered with hot ashes. Another specialty of this area is cow cheese with finely chopped garlic. It is served as an appetizer and goes excellently with rakia. It is made of cow milk with garlic added in it. People in the area traditionally make plum, pear, quince and apple rakia. They add herbs and get excellent herb brandies. They also make liqueurs, such as walnut or honey liqueur and acacia, meadow or forest honey.

thing interesting – says Tubić. – The gentle mountain and hospitable people offer visitors an unforgettable day, weekend, week, month, year... TOUCHED BY ANCIENT VALUES Ozren also has two small artificial lakes: Goransko near Doboj and Orlovo near Petrovo. One can always find refreshment in numerous streams on Ozren. Visiting the mountain rivers, such as Jadrina, is a wonderful experience. The river Bosna is perhaps best for fishermen. Spring water in the entire mountain is excellent for drinking. We counted the springs and found more than twenty-five only in the village of Osojnica. And that’s not all. There is also the thermo-mineral water from the “Terme Ozren” complex, proved to relieve rheumatism, psoriasis, sinuses problems and many other diseases, which everyone who come regularly here for bathing know well. Mitra Đuričić, acting director of the have interested individuals for tourism Tourism Organization of Doboj, emphaflights throughout the year. People come sizes that Ozren can help curing diseases from many Euro-Asian countries, from in other ways as well. Some areas have the Iceland to Russia – emphasizes Tubić. most favorable relation between altitude The club is setting up its base in Ozren, and minimum of allergenic factors, and on the Okolišta plateau. It is the center of were therefore proclaimed air spas. the club and center of adrenaline sports Numerous rural households are alin Ozren. Several lodges were built up to ways ready to welcome guests. now, for accommodation of people and – Rural tourism has a gastronomic ofequipment. fer based on organic food, prepared be– The base has a climbing rock, para- fore your eyes, in a nice old-fashioned gliding takeoff, paragliding school court... manner. Something you will surely reNearby are Megara and Jadova Jama member – emphasizes Đuričić. caves, for those interested in how the She states that there is a growing inearth looks like from the inside. Thus, we terest in visiting Ozren. Very popular will unite all those who love this moun- are numerous religious events, as well as tain and love nature, we’ll improve our gatherings of people from the diaspora, offer and enable everyone to find some- originating from these lands. s SRPSK A  No 10-11  2015

 Paragliding school on Ozren

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Preparation for winter flight on Ozren

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M I L L S T O N E

MILLS ON UKRINA, BITS FROM LONG-LOST TIMES

Only Memory

Remains

There used to be about forty only in this area and life was unimaginable without them. Grain was ground in them and life hustled around them. There was always a bathing place nearby, fishermen came, parties made. People used to spend nights next to the millstone telling stories. Technology later did its part and most mills disappeared. We return to them in difficult times, such as the last war, and they help us survive even without electricity By: Damir Kljajić

 New mill on the Radnja River  Stevića Mill

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long the river Ukrina, from Kulaši to the confluence into the Sava, there were many mills: Spasojevića mill, Marića mill, Gunjevića mill and Kainovića mill, Živkovića mill, Starac, Dragonjac, Popovac, Mandića mill, Raukovića, Savkovića, Kovačevića, Tošića, Bijelića, Čolića, Mitrića, Vidića, Ružičića… All the windmills were made of wood (the locals call them “krovinjare”) and all

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had a large waterwheel on the side, almost as big as the mill itself. Not far from them was a wooden dam. The millstone was most often burrstone. All the mills worked with full capacity and people had to wait several days to grind their grain. Mills did not serve only for grinding grain. People gathered around mills, there were baths nearby, fishermen came, stories were told about fairies and werewolves who


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visit the mills at night. Sometimes homes and mills were under the same roof, so millers spent their entire lives on the river. FROM THE CENTURY BEFORE LAST Time and moody Ukrina did their part, so most of the mills disappeared a long time ago. Wooden dams were replaced with concrete ones and mills are now covered with roof tiles. The old, wooden part is usually above water and the walled part of the mill leans onto the river bank. People today still often come to grind grain in mills which are still in operation, more often with children to show them how grain used to be ground and how mills used to work. One of the mills that survived is Stevića mill in the Derventa village of Drijen. It was built in late XIX century and named after Steva Milovanović. The present owner is Steva’s great-grandson Milovan Milovanović. He has been working in the mill since the 1980s and still “has no intention to retire”, although, as he says “he is already in a certain age”. I feel best by the Ukrina, he says. Already as a boy, he enjoyed coming to the mill with his father and listening to stories about beautiful fairies, which came to the mill at night to feed with flour. – The mill was built by my grandfather Mika, but it was named after my greatgrandfather Steva, because everyone used to say they were going to the mill of “Steva’s Mika”. Ever since it has been built, the milled never stopped working, except during the floods. My father Milan, who renovated the mill in the 1970s, was here day and night. He even worked in his old age, so I have to preserve what I had inherited. I have children, so I hope they will inherit it from me as well – tells Milovan. The mill, he explains, used to be “primitively built” of wood. Same goes for the dam. – Now it’s partially modernized, although a large part of the old mill, the wooden part, is still there. The dam is made of concrete too. New times have come, this is how it goes. What’s important is that the mill works and survives, because mills are now a rarity on the Ukrina – says Milovan. He adds that people are generally interested in milled corn or wheat flour.

On the Radnja River Inhabitants of the village of Radnja in Stanari, youngest municipality in Srpska, are proud of their two mills on the Radnja river. One is Marića mill, old wooden watermill, and the other a new one built a few years ago. – The old mill is still working perfectly. We grind in it all the time. It was built by joint forces of all of us, so everyone has the right to use it – says Boško Savić, townsman.

– People, including politicians, generals, doctors… come all the time, both for the flour and to see the mill. Fishermen are frequent on the Ukrina, in the immediate vicinity of the dam. On the other side of the river is a beach, very popular during the summer. – There are not as many people as in the past, when all events took place near the mill. This is where people socialized, sang, had parties with fife music. There used to be hundreds of people. Such times are gone, but what can you do – says Milovan.

 Milovan Milovanović in Stevića Mill Tošića Mill

GUARDIAN OF THE UKRINA On the ninth kilometer of the Prnjavor– Kulaši road, on the left bank of the Ukrina, stands Gajića mill. Nedeljko Gajić Neđo, miller, who built his home next to the mill, was working and living here for decades. He came to the mill for the first time with his father Lazo as a seven year-old. After that, as he used to say, he made an unbreakable bond with the river. Because of his love for nature and the river, people started calling Neđo “guardian of the Ukrina”. Last year’s flood, the worst in history, damaged the mill and destroyed Neđo’s home. Several months later, after a serious disease, Neđa’s heart stopped working. People say he spent the last moments of his life in the mill. – The mill stopped working then, but I’m planning to restart it. I am already preparing everything and Gajića mill will be in operation again – tells us Zdravko Gajić, Neđo’s brother. He doesn’t know when the mill was built. – Our father bought it after World War II. Its previous owner was Andrija Vezijak. My brother and I spent time here helping our father since our early childhood. We slowly upgraded it and Neđo took it over in the 1970s. The mill was his life. He wouldn’t SRPSK A  No 10-11  2015

Photo: Sandra Kljajić, Žika Vidić

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M I L L S T O N E  In Gajića Mill

have given it away for anything. He was always busy in it. Although many people have electric mills or buy flour, the best bread is still the one made from milled flour – says Zdravko. ONCE THERE WAS MILLER DIMITRIJE A few kilometers further, also in the Municipality of Prnjavor, in the village of Donji Palačkovci, there used to be Mitrićev mill, for half a century home to Dimitrije Vidić, famous miller from the Ukrina. The watermill was on the left bank of the Ukrina, immediately after the confluence of the Vijaka, on the meander. – My grandfather Dimitrije was here longest. People called him Mitrić, thus the name of the mill. Since 1933, when he was only 31, until his death in early January 1988, he worked in the watermill. Up to World War II, he used to come occasionally, because the mill was built by a few “regular soldiers”, who were responsible for it according to a determined schedule – tells Mitrić’s grandson Žika Vidić. During the war, Dimitrije spent his time in the watermill and transporting people with his boat from one bank to the other, day and night. – At the time of war, he took over the entire maintenance and managing of the watermill. After the tragic death of his son, he started spending nights there as well. Next to the mill, on its right side, there was a room in which he lived. The entrance and the mill itself were sometimes completely crowded with flour and grain bags, so one could hardly squeeze through them to reach the place where grain was poured in to be ground. He didn’t mind the crowdedness. He also never replaced someone’s bag of flour with another, so people remember him as a very honest man – emphasizes Žika. On Sunday afternoons and other, especially religious holidays, many people used

Share The owners of mills on the Ukrina were paid for grinding with the miller’s toll, amounting to six to eight percent of the milled flour. In jointly built mills, the share in using the mills depended on the share in building them. The schedule was made by days and the grinding capacity was five to thirty kilograms per hour.

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Watermill in Rastuša – This watermill was in operation until eleven-twelve years ago. We don’t know if it had an owner. It was used by all villagers of Rastuša – tells villager Petar Ivanović. – It was very useful in the last war. Everyone ground their grain here, it fed us all with bread. Although it was significantly damaged in last year’s floods, we will do our best to preserve it.

to gather in the watermill to socialize and stayed there until the evening. Dimitrije, tells Žika, loved children clamor most. – The Ukrina is known to change its bed and rains and snow trigger its flooding. Such a flood in mid-seventies destroyed the dam, so the mill was in operation only in winters and at the time of higher water level. It was so until the early eighties, when it stopped working – remembers Žika. It was very hard for miller Dimitrije to reconcile with this. – Although there was a beach there with hundreds of bathers, especially during weekends, neither the people nor the local community had the desire to preserve watermills. Industrialization did its part and no one was interested in mills anymore. Dimitrije then started basket weaving and continued with this work till the end of his life – tells Žika. The watermill was torn down by haughty young men from a neighboring village in the summer of 1992, amidst the armed conflicts. Last year, a restaurant owner from this village, Vasilije Tošić, built a new watermill not far from the place where Mitrić’s mill used to be, and named it Tošića mill. – I don’t know anyone building watermills today, but I did. I acquired stone and everything else necessary. I am only sorry there aren’t more of them and that old watermills were not preserved – emphasizes Vasilije. There were also many mills on the Ukrina in the Municipality of Teslić and one preserved in Mala Ukrina in the village of Rastuša. Nobody knows when exactly it was built and who built it, but the locals in the village know it’s very old. It seems to them, they say, that it has been there since the beginning of time. s


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S A N C T I T I E S RENEWED MONASTERY OF ZAGRAĐE, ABOVE ŠĆEPAN POLJE, LIKE A NEST IN A CANYON

Sound of Bells Returns to the Trijunction

In the place where the Piva and the Tara make the Drina, powerful Stefan Vukčić Kosača (1404-1466), herzeg of St. Sava, had his famous city. Behind the city, in Zagrađe, a church, later monastery, existed already in the XII century. In the Ottoman times, it all disappeared and became desolated, and continued to be so until 1994. Then the beautiful stone edifice rose again, the people started returning to it and the ancient chanting lit up the faces of people in turbulent times Text and photo: Radmila Đević

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S A N C T I T I E S  “On the roads of Herceg Stefan and Duke Sandalј”: Many joined the restoration, from all over, mostly the brotherhood of Ostrog Monastery

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bove Šćepan Polje, the place that connects and separates Srpska and Montenegro, where the Piva and the Tara make the turquoise Drina, stands Zagrađe, Serbian monastery dedicated to St. John the Baptist. This Old Herzegovina endowment of Herzeg Stefan Vukčić Kosača amazes with its spiritual force, architectural uniqueness and position. People had been gathering around the holy object for more than five centuries. Then the sanctity became a ruin and the people scattered around the world. A long time has passed until the sanctity was erected again, and the people started gathering in it again, regaining their strength. Several centuries ago, Šćepan Polje used to be called Međuriječje. In the XIV and XV century, during the rule of powerful Herzeg Stefan (Šćepan), after whom entire Herzegovina was named, there was a city in Međuriječje. Herzeg had a fortress named Soko above the city, the biggest and best fortified of all the forty residences he had in cities throughout his state. The city was very important both politically and economically-wise. During the thirty-one year of his rule, Herzeg made it famous. The village of Zagrađe (Zagrade) was under Soko, with a temple dedicated to Dormition of Virgin Mary, built already in the XII century. Several centuries later, a monastery was built on its foundation, dedicated to St. John the Predecessor. Built at the time of Kosača’s rule, it was his main temple. The church was very distinguished for its architecture. It had a shallow octagonal dome and clean and smooth walls. It reminded of the old Constantinople churches of St. Sergei and St. Sofia, built by Emperor Justinian in the VI century. During their invasion, the Turks plundered Soko-Grad and destroyed the monastery (only the dome was miraculously preserved). Then followed difficult centuries of slavery, as well as other unfavorable circumstances. The place and the sanctity were grown into weeds. Academician Vo-

Eucharist and Grave A legend states that Duke Vlatko Vuković and his army received holy communion in Zagrađe before leaving to Kosovo in 1389. Another legend says that the earthly remains of Herzeg Stefan were transferred to Zagrađe and buried under the large tombstone in the church.

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jislav Đurić managed several smaller preservation and conservation attempts, but big architects did not stop by. It was so until 1994, when Metropolitan Amfilohije came by the “path of Duke Sandalj”. Seeing the semi-dilapidated edifice grown into weeds, the bishop was astonished. Looking towards heavens and praying, led by providence, he blessed the renewal of the Zagrađe monastery. The fraternity of Ostrog, managed by the passed away Lazar, prior of the great Ser-


bian sanctity, and blessed by St. Basil of Ostrog, the miracle-worker, had the biggest contribution in the erection of the monastery. FAITHFULNESS FROM ALL SIDES When Lazar Stojković came here in 2001 to continue his monastic asceticism, Zagrađe had only small monastic quarters. Then followed numerous activities in collecting means for renewing the church.

The faithful ones from all Serbian lands and diaspora, as well as institutions and organizations, participated in the restoration of Zagrađe. The Metropolis of Montenegro and the Coastal Areas, monastery of Ostrog, governments of Montenegro and Srpska, “Elektroda” Factory, “Piva” Hydroelectric Power Plant, were leaders in the renewal with their donations. The rough works on the church were completed in three years, “eternity restarted radiating from the silvery stone edifice”. SRPSK A  No 10-11  2015

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It was perhaps even more solid and more beautiful than the old, Herzeg’s one. – Late prior of Ostrog Lazar helped wholeheartedly and supervised the renewal of the monastery. He was the first to hold services here and we, the monks, continued the reestablished liturgies. This revived the will and intention of the great founder Herzeg Šćepan – says Hieromonk Lazar Stojković, prior of Zagrađe monastery, an extraordinary personality and spiritual leader, one of the best contemporary

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icon painters. – Since the renovation of the temple, people started coming again. First the local ones, many from Foča, friends of the monastery, benefactors and builders. We’ve had help and respect from all sides. The prior emphasizes that Radio Television of Republika Srpska, the municipality of Plužine and its president Mijuško Bajagić had a very important role in collecting donations. – Big contributions came from our faithful people, from all sides. During the


life, the bells invited people from the trijunction to spiritual unity and they started rushing back to the sanctity. The church, all carved in beautiful stone, is also called “the silver one”. – The big quarters, the two-story edifice with cells, rooms, dining room and a rich library, are almost completed – informs us prior Lazar. A scaffold is still standing in the middle of the church, because we are painting the frescoes. The attic of the big quarters will be used as a studio for the icon painting workshop, founded in Zagrađe after the arrival of prior Lazar. They are now diligently painting the monastery church and often collect means for the renewal of Zagrađe by painting frescoes throughout Srpska, Serbia and Montenegro.

 “Eternity started emanating again from the silver stone building”: Zagrađe today

UNINTERRUPTED TRADITION

previous two years, the municipality of Plužine has been donating the biggest part. If it weren’t for the strong feeling of faith and love for God, despite all difficulties we live in, we would hardly do anything here. This wonderful miracle of renewal and survival would not been brought to life. The monastery church, as well as the entire complex, began changing its appearance. The construction of the big quarters is near completion, the vineyards came to

There is a growing number of fruit trees and honey bees here, a growing number of helping hands. Since the road to the monastery was asphalted, there are a growing number of pilgrims as well. There are both local and foreign tourists. For some of them, it is enough only to have a view of this unusual landscape, full of old legends. The recently built belvedere nearby, with a modern telescope, enables an extraordinary experience. It was provided by the external project of Serbia and Montenegro, implemented by the Eparchy of Budimlje and Nikšić and tourism organizations of Plužine and Zlatibor. – Thanks to this church and space, tradition will never be interrupted – says prior Lazar. – This miracle of faith has been lasting for more than five centuries, “heavens and earth will pass, but never the words of Christ”. Our ancestors started it, and we, who continue their work, will be someone’s ancestors as well.

Miracles Folk tradition relates several legends to the stone under which Herzeg Stefan is believed to be buried. It happened once that the Turks came, took out the stone from the church and tossed it into the Tara. They came the following morning and were astonished: the stone was in its original position. They tossed it again and left guards next to the place where the stone used to be. In the morning, the stone was in its place again and the guards dumb and blind. Since then, no one has touched the stone sarcophagus, about two meters long and about a meter high. SRPSK A  No 10-11  2015

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Revival of the Entire Area – The most enchanting thing in Zagrađe is that it is visited by both adults and children, both the young and the old, from all parts of the world – says Goran Kujundžić, member of the “Herzeg Šćepan of St. Sava” Society. – It wasn’t so in the past. Now, seeing people continuously coming and going, we know that the entire area is alive.

 Monk Lazar Stojković, Abbot of Zagrađe

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Since the renewal, there were more than a hundred baptisms, numerous weddings. The monastery is most visited on Easter, although more and more faithful people and pilgrims come on working days and Sundays. President of the Municipality of Plužine, Mijuško Bajagić, benefactor and president of the Board of Zagrađe Monastery Quarters Construction Works, baptized his fourth son, Bojan, here at the end of May. – As the local government, we recognized the importance of this place from the first day, the importance of our holy places – says Bajagić. – We know that investing in them is our only future, historical and civilizational flow. We are proud of managing to renew every ruined church in this area. The Piva monastery, Zagrađe… We have things to be proud of, things to show. Our sanctities are an important segment of our entire tourism offer. There are more and more pious people in them, from all lands. We will try, as much as we can, to continue helping the renewal of all our churches and monasteries. Such giving is the expression of what we are. There are also a growing number of pilgrims from Foča going to Zagrađe. Five years ago, the “Herzeg Šćepan of St. Sava”

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Society was founded, with the main objective to help Zagrađe. – Some of us have been frequent visitors of the monastery for ten years – says Dejan Popadić, president of the Society and one of the most often pilgrims here. – We realized that the monastery is ours, belonging to Foča and Old Herzegovina. The Piva monastery is also nearby, but we from Foča are particularly connected to Zagrađe. I remember we couldn’t believe that the renewal had begun. The church sprouted from ruins. We will come here and help as long as we are alive and strong. Pilgrims in Zagrađe include writers, travel writers, art historians, foreign tourists (Polish, Czech, Russian…). Most of them, however, are from the Piva and Old Herzegovina area. – The first thing that enchants you here is the beauty of the monastery church. The harmony of Byzantine, Western European, Oriental. The tripartite mixture determined the fate of people in these lands, their uniqueness – tells us Igor Janković. – Its location is also amazing: at the beginning of the Drina, above the confluence of the Piva and the Tara, under ancient Soko-Grad. In order to entirely protect the monastery with a wall, it is necessary to build one more gate, the western one. – We thereby invite all people with good will and looking for blessing to participate in the renewal, according to their abilities – concludes prior Lazar. We want to complete everything next year, to mark the 550th year since the death of Herzeg Stefan. With the strength our Lord is giving us, we believe it will be so. s


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P I L G R I M A G E S FAR AWAY, CORFU STILL REMEMBERS EVENTS FROM A CENTURY AGO

The Epic of

Heroism and Suffering

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Every generation in Serbia must read this, experience in itself and go there to pay respect. And keep the memory as Christo Yanulis from Agios Matheos does it, whose grandfather shared bread and wine with Serbian martyrs and gave a part of his estate for the cemetery of the Drina Division. Corfu is filled with Serbian traces and monuments. All those heartbreaking stories and songs are still alive. There, in Corfu, we may also measure to what extent we, of this day, are still alive

Text and photo: Mišo Vujović

Old Town, fortress and a part of the harbor in Corfu Town

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hile swaying gently in the breeze, cutting the crystal transparence of the Ionian Sea, where the image of a thousand-year old fortress from the era of mighty Byzantine Empire is reflected, an old boat filled with pilgrims was approaching the little island. Beats of the anthem of suffering “There, Far Away” sadness and pride evoked the drama of a people decided not to capitulate and not lose its state at any cost. The only salvation, in the opinion of Duke Radomir Putnik, was withdrawal to the Adriatic Coast, to enable the Serbian army to reorganize itself, get supplies of weapons, food and ammunition and again become a serious player that the allies must count on. After the initial Serbian successes on the Cer and Kolubara, a brilliant counteroffensive in Bosnia in 1914, a brief war break until autumn 1915, the Central Powers started the general offensive against the Kingdom of Serbia, already exhausted in the Balkan Wars and the said battles from the previous year. Although a hundred times more powerful in terms of the number of troops, technical equipment and weapons, German Emperor Wilhelm, the proven enemy of the Serbs (“Serbia is a gang of thieves who should be punished for their crimes”, July 23, 1914), well-known for his opinion that “The Slavs were not born to govern but to serve”, when addressing his units before the attack against Serbia, not hiding caution, as if he could sense the defeat, expressed his respect toward the enemy that was far weaker by all military standards: “Heroes! I lead you into another war, against a small but brave nation. These are Serbs who, in the past three wars, against Turkey, Bulgaria and Austro-Hungary, have given to the world the evidence of high military virtues and the highest military abilities, and who have written the biggest and the most famous victories in these past

Royal Example We must also not forget the attitude of old King Petar and his message to the people in retreat: “I know that all Serbs are ready to die for their homeland. Your elected king no longer has strength to lead his army into the battle of life and death. I am only a weak old man who can do nothing, except to bless you, all of you, Serbian soldiers, citizens, women and children of Serbia. But I swear to you: if new battles are preparing shame for us, to be defeated, I will not survive that downfall, but will die together with my homeland.”

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four years on their blood splattered flags.” A big campaign against a small but proud country was entrusted to the German Field-Marshal August von Mackensen, who commanded the joint AustroHungarian and German forces. The attack on Belgrade began with artillery fire from the other bank of the Danube, on October 5, 1915, in the evening. The force of the artillery fire is best illustrated by the fact that more than a half Serbian artillery batteries ere neutralized by midnight, and shortly after midnight, because of the intensity of the attacks and precision of enemy cannons, all spotlights were destroyed and the capital city fell into darkness. The struggle for Belgrade that lasted days and nights, with enormous sacrifices from both sides, lasted eight days. After withdrawal of defense units, on October 14, the units of Central Powers took control over Belgrade, and on that same day, from the back, without announcing a war, the First and Second Bulgarian army attacked from the south, which led to the unconditional retreat toward Montenegro and Albania. The proposal of Duke Živojin Mišić to launch a new counter-attack just like on the Kolubara was accepted and then rejected twice. At the end, on November 25, the Supreme Command makes the decisive decision about withdrawal to the Adriatic Sea. PEOPLE IN THE ROW OF THE FORGOTTEN The arrival in the “Green Island”, “Salvation Island”, “Island of Hope” was preceded by suffering unprecedented in the history of warfare, which is also confirmed by French Marshall Joseph Joffre: “Withdrawal of our allies the Serbs, in circumstances in which it was carried out, by the sheer horror of it has exceeded everything the history has known until now as the most tragic.” It was a drama in which the ill-intentions of nature and man competed. The harsh winter killed as much as hunger, diseases competed with ambushes of Albanian gangs who looted those who remained, exhausted and dying. The drama was intensified by hypocrisy of the allies. Frustrations of the Englishmen because of the debacle near Gallipoli reflected also on the broken echelons of exhausted Serbian soldiers, scattered around from Durrës to Vlorë. The nightmare and hopelessness


were intensified with expectation of the uncertain arrival of allied ships. In that moment, Serbs became only a part of the statistical balance of the war. The right side column, written-off. The cry of Serbian supreme commander, Regent Aleksandar, to Russian Emperor Nikolai Romanov, bore fruit. The holy martyr-emperor, himself shaken because of the tragedy of the Slavic brothers, gives an ultimatum to the allies: “If the Serbian army is not rescued from Albania immediately, Russia will terminate the alignment with the Entente and make a separate peace treaty with Germany.” The policy that was, after the liberation and the end of World War One, led by Aleksandar Karađorđević, the King-Unifier, was crowned on Serbian bones, by creating an unnatural and unsustainable unity of the opposites, may be defined as completely erroneous, but his knightly demeanor in the most decisive moments when, himself sick and after having a surgery in Skadar, he refuses to abandon his army and people, abolishing it from “Yugoslav blindness” and the imperial dream of restoration of the medieval kingdom. Among the bright examples in Albania, one must certainly not forget EsadPasha Toplani. As an ardent supporter of the idea that the Balkans belonged to the Balkan

peoples, in October 1914 he took power in central Albania and Albanian proclaimed the Albanian Islamic Emirate, and next year, on the St. Vitus’s Day, after the intervention of the Serbian army that prevented the attempt at overthrowing him, signed a secret agreement on the union between the Kingdom of Serbia and the Albanian Islamic Emirate. During the withdrawal, Esad-Pasha Toplani provided logistics for the Serbian army and retreat in the territories that were more or less controlled by his gendarmerie, although he had many enemies in the broken land divided into tribes,

 View from Corfu on the Albanian coast

with the majority of population supporting the Ottoman Empire and the Central Powers. DRAMA OF LIFE AND DRAMA OF DEATH

The first ship with Serbian army arrived in the Corfu harbor Gouvia, which is six kilometers away from the city of Corfu, on January 18, 1916. In one month, more precisely until February 21, with 43 allied ships, 150,000 Serbs were evacuated to Corfu. There, on the “Salvation Island”, death took a new form. Typhoid fever and exhaustion were taking their toll mercilessly. “At the beginning, as many as 150 people were dying daily on the Vidos Island. They would discard their bodies from the shore into the sea. I visited Vidos and then I SRPSK A  No 10-11  2015

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saw those martyrs who had been sentenced to death of exhaustion. I couldn’t imagine that a human being could turn into such a skeleton, in the literal sense of the word, a skeleton covered by skin”, wrote Russian Prince Grigorije Nikolajevič Trubecki. Sound of the waves, while we were approaching Vidos, the island of death and horror, carried images of dying soldiers – skeletons, dying on straw mats in a foreign country. Around 10,000 Serbs were buried on Vidos and in the blue grave, into which the dead soldiers were laid in the sea depths from the French sanitary ship “Saint Francis of Assisi”, as well as on 27 other cemeteries in Corfu Island. In the mausoleum on Vidos Island, designed by Nikolai Krasnov, and built in 1938 under the auspices of King Aleksandar Karađorđević, bones of 2,732 soldiers were buried, of which 1,232 were identified, while the remaining 1,500 still lie there as unknown heroes of a big epos of Serbian people. The drama of life on the island of snakes, as they used to call Vidos, and the drama of a nation, is best described by Vladimir Stanojević: “There, in that Hade, collected as in the focus, the entire tragedy of our country took place in a miniature. There, in the ranting and moaning of dying people, all most gentle fibers of human soul were trembling and fluttering. There, ranting and moaning about the village and home, one after the other, all those who had been thrown into this hell by ill-fate, were disappearing...” JERUSALEM ON THE ISLAND OF SNAKES The Minister of Education of the Kingdom of Serbia, Ljuba Davidović, wrote in his journal, on January 21, 1916, and published in daily paper Pravda in the eve of World War Two: “In the first days, only the first days, the ill people were lying on the ground over fresh straws. We visited them every day. Fear of hunger was greater than fear of death. Hunger raged throughout Albania: it was feared in Corfu as well. Requisition for bread, for military rations, was the highest valuable. They would take them from the requisition, although they could not and should not eat it. Their digestive organs deteriorated. They were treated with wa-

ter in which rice had been boiled. We were poisoned by doctors with sea water, they used to say. We assured them that the doctors and orderlies were our great friends. Both the doctors and orderlies gave most effort to save our half-dead children. Their nerves were also deteriorated. If you say a word in Serbian to them, they would start crying. We cry together. Oh, how many tears were shed! With untouched ration under his head, he let go of his tortured soul. The child-soldier died thinking of his mother and the shabby shack in Šumadija. Faces of those dead children were true images of saints. They deserved to be proclaimed saints after everything they suffered. Only one case. He had his requisition for the ration. He took another requisition from the pocket of his dead comrade. With two requisitions he had for two more rations. He crawled to his place, to his bed, laid down and died hungry between two breads. We could describe hundreds of thousands of other examples. Enough! Some ask: have we paid our freedom and expansion of our homeland?” According to the official report of the minister of defense, General Božidar Terzić, over 243.000 people died prior to the arrival in Corfu. After embarking the allied ships from the harbor of Durrës, around 150,000 soldiers arrived in Corfu, while 12,000 were evacuated in Bizerte. While the old boat is approaching Vidos Island, for which the metropolitan, later Patriarch Dimitrije said it was Serbian Jerusalem, the blue-eyed boy, pointing with his finger to the beautiful sandy beach, asks his father in sweet voice whether they would go for a swim here. “For us, the Serbs, this is a holy place! It is a blue grave where brother next to brother is lying. Neither Greeks nor Serbs swim here, and Greek fishermen, out of respect for Serbian soldiers, did not fish here for 50 SRPSK A  No 10-11  2015

 Memories do not fade: Marija from Gouvia

 The Island of Vido and Serbian memorial charnel house on it

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 Ljubomir Saramandić, curator of the Serbian House in Corfu

years”, the young men replied gently, stroking the hair of the weakly heir. TIMES OF PAIN AND PRIDE Even today, the local people still remember the stay of Serbian army and the refugees. There is almost not a place on the island that does not cherish the memory of that time. Exhausted, hungry and helpless, they were dislocated all over the island. The local population, with fear and disapprovingly welcomed the poor men ousted from their homeland, carrying in their dried eyes and withered lips memory of their homes. Skepticism and distrust in the uninvited guests disappeared like the sea foam. Vibration of the soul of brothers in religion soon bridged all the barriers of fear of unknown, and some Serbian names are still widely used among the local population. “Within a period of two and a half years, which is how long they stayed in

Opportunity “The upcoming jubilee, a centennial of evacuation of Serbian army in Corfu, is an opportunity for more school trips to come for a pilgrimage”, says Ljubomir Saramandić. He hopes that the state, on this occasion, would renovate the Serbian House, restore the museum exhibits that is almost a quarter of a century old, organize and publish all available lists of soldiers and civilians who escaped over Albania and stayed in Corfu.

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Corfu, no incident has been recorded. Not a single branch was broken, not a single theft, fight, no problem was reported to the allied administration”, says Ljubomir Saramandić, curator of the Serbian House in Corfu, adding that nowhere else had the camps been so neat like in Corfu. “In open spaces in between the olive groves they erected tents decorated with flowers and greenery. With fine gravel and rocks of different shades they wrote names of units and insignia of the Serbian army and state. Camps of the Serbian army looked like fantastic castles built on a sandy sea shore”, says to the visitors this guardian of memory of Serbian Golgotha, whose grandfathers Stojan Saramandić and Dragić Milošević crossed Albania and stayed in Corfu. After arriving in Corfu, all Serbian state institutions continued to work. “Serbian state, as formulated in the order of the Supreme Command, did not lose its being, although on a foreign land, for as long as the Ruler, Government and the army are here, no matter what its strength might be.” The building of the Corfu theatre became the seat of the Parliament, government and most state institutions. Warm welcome grew into lasting fri­ endships, certain attractions gave birth to love, crowned by marriage. Janis Gazis, owner of “Bella Venetia” Hotel, where the


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 Monuments to Yanisu Yanulis and warriors of the Drina Division in Agios Mateos Christo Yanulis

government of the Republic of Serbia was located and where the Corfu Declaration was signed, married all of his three daughters to Serbs, the eldest Giovanna to cavalry officer Milivoje Čolak Antić, the middle one Sapro to Vladimir Kazimirović, and the youngest Augusta became the wife of Milan Stojadinović, later Prime Minister of Yugoslavia. SERBS SING EVEN IN THE MOST DIFFICULT TIMES In his book Pilgrimage in Corfu, Ljubomir Saramandić, through abundance of documents and testimonies, archives the memories of those difficult and knightly times. In numerous examples of relations between the local population and the Serbs, he published a letter of a Corfu girl, addressed to a Serbian officer: “Corfu is just as it was before 1916. It even seems to me that it is worse than before. It is silent, desolated, nobody sings any more. Your people always sing, I was so used to that murmur. You may count me as a great enemy of your people, because I always wanted you to come back to your country as late as possible. You came, you showed us what life means and you left, leaving us miserable...” Seventy-year old Marija, owner of the apartment in Gouvia, located only about a hundred meters from the beach where the Serbian army disembarked on January 18, 1916, inherited the memory from her

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grandmother who, like many, used to supply Serbian soldiers with food and clothes: My grandmother used to knit socks for them, patched clothes, brought food to the camp which was located on the beach. As long as she lived she knew the verses of the song “There, Far Away”. She said that they had been singing and crying, the elderly lady recalls, offering wine for Serbian friends. English doctor Isabella Hutton, our curator says, noted that song was an integral part of life of every Serb: “As soon as the Serb recovers, he sings and dances... Their favorite song is “There, Far Away”, it talks about how they left their homes and country, about the longing for home. Some of us women used to sing together with the soldiers and through this song with many verses, we fell in love with this beautiful language.”

They also sang and cried, those “Prometheuses of hope, apostles of sorrow”, in the yard of Yanis Yanulis in Agios Matheos, where members of the Drina Division were stationed. Last year, for the Day of Truce, his grandson, Christo Yanulis, better known as Elvis Presley, organized lunch for about one hundred pilgrims from Serbia. “My heart was full when I saw those people. They came to visit the monument to my grandfather Yanis. When they sat down and started singing the song that my grandfather used to sing, I told to my staff to take out everything we have in the restaurant. I remembered his words as they sat at the long wooden table, brought their


rations, and he was serving wine and olives. I was happy to be able to welcome the descendants of my grandfather’s friends, and I know that he also rejoices up there in heaven”, Elvis Presley of Corfu speaks excitedly, adding that only when the Serbs erected a monument in the center of the village he became aware of the magnitude of grandfather’s actions and words that the Serbs would never forget him. REINTRODUCE FIELD TRIPS FOR STUDENTS Simple Greek peasant, Yanis Yanulis, true to the spirit of the Gospel and his faith shared bread and wine with Serbian brothers. And more than that! Seeing that his friends have a problem with burying their killed fellow soldiers, he gave up a part of his estate where the cemetery of the Drina Division was established. The remains of killed soldiers were transferred into the memorial charnel house on Vidos, and on the estate of Yanis Yanulis, in the shade of olive trees, those who survived built a monument to their killed fellow soldiers. In the center of Agios Matheos, the Association for Nurturing Traditions of Liberation Wars, erected a monument to the great Serbian benefactor and friend Yanis Yanulis. Želјko Popović, the founder of the Association of Greek-Serbian Friendship in Corfu and Serbian bookstore in Corfu, says that a large number of renowned citizens of Corfu, headed the former mayor Sotirios Mikalef who, during his mandate, donated the Serbian House and initiated fraternization between Belgrade and Corfu, has been taking actions to preserve from oblivion the memory of the stay of Serbian army. Želјko, together with the youngest Serb in Corfu, his six-year old son Nikola, has been introducing to us the Serbian toponyms on the island of nymph Kerkira. “The Vardar Division was positioned in Gouvia, Morava Division in the nearby Ipsos, Timok Division in Strongyli, Šumadija in Mesonga, Drina Division in Agios Matheos, Danube Division in Vraganiotika, Shelter for Serbian civilians in Analipsi, airplane squadron in Potamos, and the Officer hospital was located in Achillion Palace. All these are places that, together with Vidos Island, should be visited by every Serb, tourist and pilgrim.”

According to Ljubomir Saramandića, many preserved buildings from this time have remained in Corfu, but there are also those, the significance of which need to be explored, primarily in organization of the Serbian state. “If someone was making today a film about the stay of Serbs in Corfu, it would not be necessary to build special set – the entire city is an impressive witness to Serbian history, most of Serbian monuments are in good condition, but there is a concern about too few visits from students’ field trips to Corfu. The most frequently recorded impression of the visitors is: “Everybody who feels himself a Serb or citizen of Serbia must come to a place like this once, otherwise they will carry a great hollow inside their soul.” It is especially important that young people visit Corfu, exactly at the age when they create their personal and national identity”, Ljubomir Saramandić says. Here, in Corfu, recuperated with attention and love of the host, then erected with the Thessaloniki Front and Kaimakchalan, storming ruthlessly toward the homeland, this small nation wrote down the ancient epics of heroism and suffering with their blood, sweat and tears. s

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 Želјko Popović, the founder of the Society of Greek-Serbian Friendship in Corfu and Serbian bookstore in the capital of the island

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APPROACHING THE 150th ANNIVERSARY OF THE FOUNDING OF “SO­PRO­NO­VA PE­ČAT­NJA”

A Book Illuminated

the Dark

Vicious Circle

After the famous printing office of Bo­ži­da­r Go­ra­žda­ni­n from 1523, more than three Turkish centuries had to pass until the opening of a new one. A printer, journalist and publisher from Zemun, Ig­njat K. So­pron, opened his pe­čat­nja in Sa­ra­je­vo in 1866. It started releasing books, newspapers, dictionaries, calendars. And nothing in this dark place has been the same since. Important breakthroughs were made also by Mi­loš Man­dić, the first journalist in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We used these stairs to climb into a new century By: Je­le­na Ja­njić

 Vasa Pelagić (1833-1899) Petar Kočić (1877-1916) Vuk Karadžić (1787-1864)

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he faith of book and schools on the turbulent grounds of Bosnia and Herzegovina was historically conditioned to a large extent. The first printing office in Bosnia, founded with the charter of Božidar Goraždanin in 1519, operated shortly in Goražde, and in 1523 it was moved to Vlaška (Romania). It was opened 79 years after the first printing office in the world, the one of Johan Guttenberg, and 25 years after the printing office of Đurađ Crnojević in Cetinje (Obod Printing Office, 1494). After this, more than three centuries under Turkish administration had to pass until the launching of a new printing office, “Sopron’s Printing Office”, in 1866, in Sarajevo. This printing office of Ignjat K. Sopron (1820-1894), a pressman and journalist from Zemun, was later also called the District Printing Office. SRPSK A  БРОЈ 10-11  2015

In his first edition of The Serbian Dictionary, next to the entry of school, Vuk Karadžić records that “in Serbia, in Bosnia and in Herzegovina, even in one hundred villages there is no one school everywhere, but (...) they learn in monasteries from monks or in villages from priests...” The first textbooks for school were psalm book and the Book of Hours, because the first students were being trained to become priests. There are preserved records on existence of schools in Sarajevo in the first half of the 18th century but, Mitar Papić says, “up until the first half of the 19th century we cannot talk about Serbian schools in Bosnia and Herzegovina as schools in the modern sense of the word”. Serbian historian Vladimir Ćorović (1885– 1941) writes the following about the help to schools founded around Bosnia: “Develop-


ment of Serbian schools from 1860 to 1876 was helped largely from Serbia. Books and money were coming often from there, especially for schools of smaller municipalities. Some contributions were also coming from Russia, through Russian consuls.” In 1831, led by the church municipality, and according to the decree from Istanbul, Banjaluka obtained a permit to open an elementary school for Christian Orthodox children. Because of the inability to find a qualified teacher, writes Đorđe Mikić, this school began to work only in 1835. Stanislav Majstorović has left an interesting record about education in the mid-19th century: “In that time, children were not divided into grades like they are now, but were named after books: bukvarci (those studying from grammar book), časlovci (those studying from the Book of Hours), psaltirci (studying from psalm book) and meslovci (studying from Menologies).” The difficult life of Serbs in Bosnia at this time, as wwll as their desire for education and knowledge, and the significance of previously launched magazines in Serbian territories, are reflected in a Skerlić’s note: “Serbian National Paper soon became so popular that people from Bosnia and Herzegovina were smuggling it into their country in hollowed-out bread loafs and were learning it by heart.” BOOKS PAPERS, THE CHEST OF EDUCATION The reforms of the Ottoman Empire from 1865 envisaged the founding of a printing office in every village. They would be used to print official papers, but also school and

other books for education of people. Thus, in the spring of 1866, upon the invitation of Topal Osman-Pasha, the famous pressman Ignjat K. Sopron cones from Zemun to Sarajevo and opens a printing office called “Sopron’s Printing Office”. For Turkish government, it was an opportunity to reduce the contact between the Serbian population in Bosnia with Serbia, since textbooks for schools were coming from Serbia. That is why textbooks for Serbian schools were among the first products of this printing office, besides newspapers. In the year of establishment of “Sopron’s Printing Office”, the book The Moral about the Man and His Duties was published, with a dedication to Osman Pasha. Although it does not have the character of a textbook, judging by its title, it is intended for students. In His reface, the translator (from Greek) Georgije Jovanović praises the founding of the printing office with the following words: “Until now, our town has felt a heavy shortage in useful books and educational writings. (...)

 Petar II Petrović Nјegoš (1813-1851) Ljubomir Nenadović (1826-1895) Milica Stojadinović Srpkinja (1828-1878)

Ignjat Sopron Pressman and publicist (1820—1894) of German origin. He studied printing in Novi Sad, Pest and Vienna. In Vienna, he was writing for the paper “Fremdenblatt” and at the local university attended lectures from philosophy and literature. He founded a printing office in Zemun in 1851. He printed different publications in several languages. From 1852 to 1853, the paper “Srbski Narodni Vestnik” was printed in his printing office. He also printed works by Nјegoš, Ljubomir Nenadović, Milovan Vidaković, Milica Stojadinović Srpkinja, Dositej Obradović, as well as a number of textbooks. He edited “Zemun Herald” (1868-1869) and wrote articles about the history of Zemun. (Source: www. istorijskabiblioteka.com)

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 From “Sopron’s Printing Office” in Sarajevo: Serbian “Grammar Book” from 1867 “Short Sacral History”, textbook for elementary schools, 1868 “Bosanski Vjestnik” from May 7, 1866, cover page, with text on education

In this profession, Bosnia was in shortage and poor, but now, our happily reigning master has provided it with tools (...), printing office of Mr. I. K. Sopron, which could be righteously called “the chest of Bosnian renaissance”, into which everybody, by duty and possibility, should contribute something of their possession for this above mentioned goal.” In the year when “Sopron’s Printing Office” was opened, the daily Bosanski Vjestnik was launched, then the official town paper Bosnia, and two years later Sarajevski Cvjetnik. The first two journalists in Bosnia were Miloš Mandić (1843-1900), the editor of Bosanski Vjestnik, and Mehmed Šakir Kurtćehajić (1844-1872), the editor of Sarajevski Cvjetnik, for whom Mitar Papić says that he “covered every cultural activity in Bosnia and Herzegovina of that time, whether it was about Muslim, orthodox or Catholic population, with great sympathies, especially being thrilled with every attempt to open schools”. Bosanski Vjestnik, which was published weekly, can be considered the first newspa-

The First Pedagogical Text In addition to textbooks and school books published in “Sopron’s Printing Office”, it is also important to mention the work “Guide for Serbian-Bosnian, Herzegovinian Old Serbian and Macedonian Teachers, Schools and Municipalities” written by Vasilije S. Pelagić, printed in Belgrade in 1867. This book is the first pedagogical text of a Serbian teacher from Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 1866, Vaso Pelagić (1838-1899) founded the Seminary in Banjaluka, and encourage to establish within it, in 1868, the Serbian Reading Room, from the foundations of which the modern National and University Library of Republika Srpska was created.

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per in Bosnia. (Bosanski Prijatelј, the first two editions of which were edited, and third left in manuscript, by Ivan Franjo Jukić, used to be published in long intervals and was printed outside Bosnia.) The editor of Vjestnik is not signed, and we find the following data in the masthead: “Published and edited by “Sopron’s Printing Office”. We assume that the paper was edited by Sopron himself. Mitar Papić in his work The Launching of the First Paper in Bosnia says that the paper was also edited by journalist Miloš Mandić (1843-1900), who worked as the proof editor for Serbian language in this printing office. GREAT CONTRIBUTIONS OF MILOŠ MANDIĆ In the eulogy to Miloš Mandić published in Bosnian Villa in September 1900, we find numerous data about his life and work. He was born in Bihać District in 1843. In the village of Mirkovci, in Slavonia, he finished elementary school, then attends gymnasium in Vinkovci and Karlovci, and graduates in Belgrade, where he enrolls in the Great School - “he regularly attended law school there for two years, and he might have graduated in law if it hadn’t been for the lack of money”. He worked in Nova Varoš and Prijepolje as a teacher. “In Nova Varoš, Miloš met and befriended teacher Simo Čajkanović, our unforgettable priest Simo Čajkan, - and when Miloš left to Prijepolјe, Simo was a teacher in the Serbian School in Sarajevo. There, in Sarajevo, Simo met certain man named Sopron, who was then the owner of the first


Bosnian printing office and editor of the paper Sarajevski Vjesnik, which was published in Sarajevo in Serbian and Turkish languages. He asked Simo to find him a good Serb who would know some foreign languages. Simo recommended Miloš. Based on that recommendation, Sopron called Miloš and took him as the permanent dragoman and associate of his paper”, it is said in the eulogy. It is interesting that Mandić did not sign a single article: “He did not make himself prominent in his works with his name, and did not sign them, and it is a big rarity in this era of vanity and competing for the first place.” He spoke French, German, Italian and Turkish. In addition to papers and magazines, as we have said, some of the first publications of “Sopron’s Printing Office” were textbooks intended for Serbian schools in Bosnia and Herzegovina, modeled after the existing textbooks in Serbia, with the decision that they were to be donated to schools free of charge. “This is exactly the time when textbooks that come to Bosnia and Herzegovina from Serbia are being confiscated, for fear of political propaganda from Serbia”, writes Papić. In Bosanski Vjestnik, the first paper of this printing office, in the first year, an article was published containing praises to textbooks in Serbia of that time: “... The best school books in Serbian language are those that are taught in public schools of the Principality of Serbia.” The first textbook printed in the district printing office is Grammar Book for elementary school in the district of Bosnia, in 1867. After Vuk’s First Serbian Grammar Book printed in Vienna in 1827, this is the second grammar book published by applying Vuk’s reformed graphics. Next year, 1868, the following was published: Short sacred history for primary schools in the District of Bosnia and The First Chrestomathy for Elementary Schools in the District of Bosnia. “The first local textbooks in Bosnia and Herzegovina for Serbian schools

Cyrillic After the occupation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, AustroHungarian administration subjected the education to its political agenda. Serbs protested against the enemy position and treatment of the Cyrillic, asking that both alphabets have equal status. They especially protested because the political authorities were interfering into the work of Serbian confessional schools, and exactly with respect to the persecution of the Cyrillic, writes Vojislav Bogićević in his book “Literacy in Bosnia and Herzegovina”.

(Grammar Book, History, Chrestomathy) were written by Mandić, by paying special attention to the purity of the language”, writes Papić. The books were printed in Vuk’s alphabet and grammar. This is how Vuk’s grammar reform was implemented in Bosnia before other Serbian territories. Vuk’s grammar was accepted also in the first printed papers Bosanski Vjestnik, Sarajevski Cvjetnik and Neretva. It has been recorded that Mandić edited booklet The First Knowledge in 1868, which was also published in the District printing office. Under his supervision, Jovan R. Džinić issued the first Bosnian-Serbian Calendar in Sarajevo in 1869. He wrote the dictionary Turkish Words in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was published by the Provincial Government in 1881. He supplemented it and published it again in 1895, under the title Interpreter, and it was published by printing office of Špindler and Lešner. Miloš Mandić died in Sarajevo in August 1900. Valerijan Žujo in The Lexicon of Sarajevo writes that “one street in Sarajevo carries the name of Miloš Mandić”. s

 Ivo Andrić (1892-1975) Vladimir Ćorović (1885-1941)

Military Pattern In his doctoral thesis “Development of Spiritual Life in Bosnia under the Influence of Turkish Rule”, Ivo Andrić says: “Already in 1869. Pelagić was exiled to Asia, among others because he taught students gymnastics, and the Turkish government thought that it was ‘like a military pattern’.” SRPSK A  No 10-11  2015

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History Written in Blue Thread ZMIJANJE EMBROIDERY ON THE WORLDS’ CULTURAL HERITAGE LIST

Manjača Mountain, the heart of Zmijanje

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Beauty and spirit of Krajina, as well as the character of these straight standing people with simple goodness has been interwoven into the strong threads of the blue Zmijanje embroidery since the ancient times. On linen cloth, they have been saying everything for centuries with that single color. These people are strong and grounded, peaceful and loyal to nature, homeland. Loyal to freedom, honor and fairness. This long cultural history written with thread cannot be retailored or forged Prepared by: Goran Budimir

Photo: TORS and Museum of Srpska

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 Customs are guarding us: Zmijanje gathering

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mijanje is a picturesque area between the rivers of Vrbas and Sana, and mountains Kozara, Dimitor and Lisina, in the eastern part of Bosanska Krajina. Traces of prehistoric and Roman settlements have been found there, medieval cities and cities from Turkish era. From the late 13th until 16th century, Zmijanje was the district of Zemlјanik, and later a county. Today, it is a region of predominantly mountain villages of scattered type. Houses made of wood or tuff are surrounded by centuries old spruce, fir, pine and beech forests, intersected by large mountain valleys and rivers. Long memory and tradition are here expressed through folk dances, festivals and gatherings near churches and monasteries. Old crafts are an important element here. Local handmade wood carvings, wrought iron products, woven and embroidered textile with ethno motifs are well known. The famous Zmijanje embroidery, they say the oldest hand embroidery in the Balkans, has a special value here. This cultural heritage of Republika Srpska was included in UNESCO’s representative world cultural heritage list in 2014. “Beauty and spirit of this area, as well as the character of these people of simple goodness, has been interwoven into the strong threads of the blue Zmijanje embroidery since the ancient times”, says an inspired chronicler. “This embroidery is still being protected from oblivion by skillful hands of Krajina embroiderers.” – From the mid-19th century, the embroidery has retained the dark blue color and ornaments on the textile embroidered by applying the cross stitch technique – says Grozda Rogodić, a member of “Zmijanje” Society. – Ornaments represent the Krajina kolo dance. The central motif of embroidered ornaments, in the form of flowers and rhombuses, symbolizes family, home and faith in togetherness. In 1936, a female shirt decorated with Zmijanje embroidery was declared SRPSK A  БРОЈ 10-11  2015

Legend about the Name The highest peak of Zmijanje, Kočića Glavica, is dominated by Grčka Gradina. From there one can see the surrounding area and mountains Osjećenica, Klekovača and Grmeč. A legend says that Grčka Gradina was the border between the Byzantine and Roman Empires. Greek princess Jelena was entrusted with a task to “resist the width of Roman Empire” with her military commanders. Jelena walked out on Grčka Gradina and saw huge Roman army coming from the direction of Sitnica. When she realized that she would not be able to combat the Romans with her army, she said: “Eh, Jelena, Jelena, you were bitten by a snake this morning.” And thus the name Zmijanje (zmija = snake).

the most beautiful at the Fair of traditional clothes in Paris. That same embroidery, which adorns female and male shirts, dresses, wedding gowns, scarves, household tablecloths and linen, was included in UNESCO’s world heritage list in 2014. Traditional clothes and dances from Zmijanje are preserved and publicly presented by Cultural and Artistic Society “Ribnik” from Donja Previja, as well as other similar societies in Banjaluka region. Among the embroiderers who are actively decorating clothes and numerous handmade products with Zmijanje embroidery, members of Women’s Association “Duga” stand out, and National Review has already written about them. Radenka Jungić is an embroiderer, master and keeper of old crafts. Her “Domaća Radinost R” has been producing embroidery in cross stitch technique, frames made of woven wild cherry wood, intarsia of embroidery into wood, adding gold and silver embroidery into the blue embroidery from Zmijanje. Souvenirs and products from this workshop can be found worldwide, including in monasteries Hilandar, Studenica, Gračanica... TRUTH IN THE COLOR OF NIGHT SKY “The roads winding over Zmijanje Plateau have been paved by local population for centuries with their sturdy Dinara steps. These patriarchal and emotional highlanders have been ruling over their “imperial estates” and building their homes, simple log cabins, in harmony with nature. They have


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never been subordinates, never Islamized, never in the history have they lost the right to their own priesthood. They have lived here since ancient times, there they preserve and build their culture, visibly expressing their instinct for life. On their fair faces and in their rectangular symbols, the lines send the message: there is no difficulty that a man from Zmijanje cannot overcome”, Ana Brataševec, communication specialist in the Museum of Republika Srpska writes knowledgeably and with inspiration. And adds: “When she starts her road on the white textile with patience of an artisan, the woman of Zmijanje writes her intimate relationship with the nature of her area. In the world in which nature is increasingly disturbed, people increasingly turn to it with awareness that it is high time to return the attention and take care for it like for a mother. Abstract symbols of Zmijanje embroidery are conveying simple messages. On linen cloth, with only one color, blue, they express everything. History and spirit, fortune and blessing. Increasing number of women is being taught the language of these messages, women who see old crafts as a medium. By tying it onto their scarves, wedding gowns and towels for their children who will be baptized tomorrow, by using Zmijanje embroidery these women today give back the power of speech to their ancestors and Mother Nature. In symbols of leaves, apples, crosses, Zmijanje embroidery is conveying the message that people of

Other possibilities The area of Zmijanje, old people say, used to stretch from the Sana River to Vrbas. This area also enables rich offer of sports and adventure activities on water, land and in air. The Vrbas River is cutting two canyons, Tijesno and Podmilačje, with great possibilities for sports such as rafting, kayaking, canoeing, canyoning. There are many terrains Especially interesting for climbing is Canyon Tijesno, with long directions and beautiful view over the Vrbas valley.

Zmijanje country is not disturbed but sturdy and grounded, calm and loyal to nature, family, homeland. In the right angle of embroidered cross, one can see the connection with the embroiderer who writes the destiny with blue threads... For thousands of hours with needle in their hands, women write new pages of our cultural history. Written in thread, that history may never be retailored. Authenticity of Zmijanje embroidery and its specific color, symbolism and manner of manufacture, have made it stand out among all others, but what lifted it up among the stars is certainly its truth, simple and fair. Truth in the color of the night sky.” s

 A church on Klisina, in the village of Stričići Gomionica Monastery

Eco-Museum of Zmijanje – The natural surroundings, monument-building spirit, heritage and our ancestry, are special attributes of Zmijanje – says Lorana Malović, senior associate for tourist valuation of natural and cultural-historical heritage at the Tourist Organization of Republika Srpska. – All eco museums, including this one, are trying to “capture the spirit of a place”. Along with flora and fauna, modest but fascinating architecture, perfection of landscape, there is the indispensable tradition, spirituality, skill of traditional crafts... We want Zmijanje to present this to others through a specific tourist offer.

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Serbian Mythology “ROD”, AN UNUSUAL APPLIED ARTS PROJECT AND ITS GIFTS

Before us Rod, Svarog, Perun, Dajbog, Svetovid, Domovoj, and others resurface from the depths. The female element is embodied in Lada, Roda, Mokoš, Devana... Cannons are in the shape of temple pillars, with inscribed ancient symbols and Vinča alphabet. If these names confuse you, leaf through (for example) a book by Čajkanović. Why do Serbs, Slavs in general, know much less about their ancient mythology than about Greek, Roman or Nordic one? And is it possible to restore the bridge toward this world of ancestors? By: Bane Velimirović

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here are those who, mistakenly, count gods and thus divide the Heavens. Rod will renounce them, as infidels. Can the Supreme God, Svarog, and other gods represent a multi-

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tude? God is one and numerous. And no one should dare divide that multitude while claiming that we have many gods.” Old or not, mythology or literature, the famous Veles’ Book phrased this well. Un-


fortunately, Serbs, Slavs in general, today know their ancient mythology much less than they know Greek, Roman or Nordic. A group of creative people from Belgrade, gathered in the project “Rod“, created a very interesting bridge toward that world of ancestors. They create series of artworks (jewelry, clothes, souvenirs) in the spirit of Serbian and Slavic mythology. The axis of this endeavor is comprised of sculptor Jovan Petronijević, graphic designer and conceptual artist Saša Ristić and director of project “Rod” Jelena Petrović. – Since very young I have been fascinated by colorful Serbian legends, preserved in folk literature and oral tradition – says sculptor Jovan Petronijević. – That is why, later, I started researching our old Serbian and Slavic roots, that foundation that had remained below the surface of the visible and conscious, but on which we still equally stand today, without which we would sing spiritually. I have searched for proper literature, talked to experts. And my art work on the cycle of figures dedicated to Vinča and Lepenski Vir, the first Europe and the oldest known civilization in the world, has brought me closer to the internal circle of this thing.

Photo: And then, he describes, it started resurŽelјko Sinobad facing before him and through him. Peoand Archive of ple, clothes, symbols, images. Project “Rod” – I was sculpting day and night, like in a fever, up to the very limits of endurance. The thread, once brought to life, must not be broken. Those figures wove stories around themselves and by themselves, getting together in scenes and messages. By looking at them, one realizes that this  Double spinning world has always been here, only we were wheel (Jav and sinking and went blind for a long time, too Nav), a medallion long. It is not a world beyond us, but one of from Project “Rod” the deepest layers inside us. CALLS TO ONESELF – It is frightening how little we know about the ancient past and origin of our people and our race, about everything pre-Christian – continues Petronijević. – Despite a series of scientific evidence, artifacts, even DNA analyses, they have been persistently, systematically suppressing the truth that Serbs ate indigenous people SRPSK A  No 10-11  2015

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 Perunika or Perun’s Kolo

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on Helm (original name of the peninsula where we live and which was much later named Balkan by the Turks). And that they had their Vedas (Scientia sacra), astrology, arrhythmology, metaphysics, mysticism, myth, calendar, language, alphabet, material processing technology. And that the tribes were relocated from here to different places worldwide, about which there is still a large body of myths, legends, fairytales, poems, chronicles, even artifacts in many Slavic peoples, especially among Russians. He does not understand, he says, who is t that has been pushing aside, through so many centuries, hiding, suffocating, declaring apocryphal, ridiculing, placing into the hands of the charlatans. SRPSK A  БРОЈ 10-11  2015

Legend “In the endless darkness there was only the Golden Egg in which Rod, the parent of everything existing, slept. Rod first created Love, Goddess Lada, and by the power of love, breaking through the walls of his dungeon he created the universe – countless stellar worlds, as well as our earthly world. He set the basic principles of the universe and created everything around us... And he divided everything into Jav (the visible, phenomenal world) and Nav (the invisible, spiritual world). Legends about Rod are ancient. In Slavic languages, Rod means tribe, family. As a root word, Rod can be found in many important Slavic words: people, nature, source (rodnik), mouth (rot), progeny, relative... Rod, in the form of the Spirit of God, created Svarog, the Heavenly Father.”

– Why is our official science so arrogantly refusing to even take this into serious consideration? Why do we agree to


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Grandmaster Because of the circumstances in which we live in the 21st century, and also because of some deeper sets of circumstances, there was probably no more appropriate place in Belgrade for the promotion of the first set of Serbian mythological chess but the Russian Centre of Science and Culture. People in “Rod” are very proud because the symbolical first move was made by the famed Serbian grandmaster Svetozar Gligorić (1923–2012).

this, instead of being proud of this heritage and developing it? India, Greece, Mexico, Egypt, Nordic peoples (...) live off their ancient history and memory of great civilizations that preceded them. And Serbian Orthodoxy, the religion of Saint Sava, embedded in itself and preserved important elements of that heritage of ours. Essentially, there is no discontinuity or contradictions there. In essence the same thing, under different names. Why is it being

hidden from so many generations? Is that something imposed to us from the inside or from the outside? What we are doing in the project “Rod” is one of the ways to overcome that absurd situation so that we can return to ourselves. MEMORIES FROM A FAIRYTALE COUNTRY

 Spinning wheel, Svarog’s Kolo, symbol of Sun and Life

“Links (Ancient Serbian and Slavic Mythology)”, a Facebook group gathered around the project, currently has over 12,000 members, and many times more people have gone through their past activities. These include artists and musicians, writers, scientists, various experts, publishers. The core and the driving force are, of course, people from the project “Rod”. SRPSK A  No 10-11  2015

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Support Project “Rod” and its chess have found great support from the Ethnographic Museum in Belgrade, Chess Association of Serbia, the Union of Emigrants and Serbs in the Region, from several art and scientific associations. The project was also generally supported by tourist organizations of Belgrade, Niš, Gornji Milanovac, as well as several municipalities in Serbia. And the list of addresses where no support (yet) could be found is very recognizable.

Souvenirs, clothing items, jewelry in the spirit of Serbian and Slavic mythology arouse great interest. The climax of their work so far in the project “Rod” is chess inspired by Serbian mythology, made in several different sets. Petronijević, well-known for his sculptures inspired

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by Vinča culture, has sculpted each chess figure as an individual work of art. From the depths, Rod, Svarog, Perun, Dajbog, Svetovid, Domovoj, and others emerge before us. The female element is personified by Lada, Roda, Mokoš, Devana... The rooks are in the shape of temple pillars, with carved ancient symbols and the Vinča alphabet. If these names confuse you, leaf through (for example) a book by Čajkanović. If you would like to stand over this depth, take some wolf salt by Vasko Popa, or ancient legendary medicinal herbs of Miodrag Pavlović, or... – We have imagined that it would be a unique national souvenir, something that guests from Serbia or Srpska may being home as a memory of a fairy-tale like country with rich culture and ancient memory, but also to reintroduce our people into the exciting world of Serbian mythology – says Jelena Petrović, Director of the project “Rod”. – The entire chess set, from the board to each individual figure, is a work of art. As far as we know, this is the only chess inspired by Serbian and Slavic mythology. Very striking, the figures are made of resin, hand-painted, up to twelve centimeters high. Except as a set, it was planned that every figure could be purchased also as a separate piece of art, a separate souvenir. Our intention is to make them in different materials, from different types of wood to precious metals. We have had offers from people who wanted to buy out the entire project, but we want it to stay ours and that we develop it. Creative workshop of project “Rod” has been gaining momentum and will certainly not stop at this. When so many gifted people get together in one creative team, so much knowledge and ideas, so much good energy and playfulness, beautiful surprises are bound to follow s


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“SRBADIJA” CHORUS FROM BIJELJINA, AND CONDUCTOR DESANKA TRAKILOVIĆ DELIVER THE SUBLIMITY OF SERBIAN CULTURE TO THE WORLD

Everlasting Consonance of

Spiritual Unity

Founded in 1898, renewed in 1992, this is the internationally best ranked chorus from Southern Slavic lands. Awarded in more than twenty countries, they consider two Serbian medals as the crown of their work: orders of Njegoš and St. Sava. When you listen to and see them more closely, you realize they are not an art group, but a big family and fortress of values that have held this nation through millennia By: Jelena Bodul

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rofessor Dr. Desanka Trakilović, conductor of “Srbadija” in Bijeljina, comes from a harmonious family of four children, from the village of Tinja, in the industrial zone of Tuzla. As the eldest child, she says, she was practically born to be a teacher, since she grew up taking care of her three brothers. – My parents were not engaged in music. In my house, in our village and the entire municipality, I had no one to talk to, nobody educated in music who’d understand my love for it – remembers Ms. Trakilović. She enrolled in the School of Music in Tuzla in 1968, as a lonely traveler, always in patent leather shoes and pleated skirts. The sounds of piano and flute she brought to her village

were uncommon among the inhabitants of this mining area. Desanka believes that the crucial person in a child’s life is the teacher. Even today, after thirty-seven years in music pedagogy, she is very happy to work in the Bijeljina faculty which educates teachers and tutors. – Teachers show the way to the children. The teachers’ subtleness, how well they know the child and how much they give themselves to the child, can give in return more than a  Before the child can get in the family. The family and performance, school are like two sleeves. If you lack one, it’s in 2000 obvious you miss it. She proudly emphasizes that she gained A concert in her magisterium in conducting at the Faculty Budapest SRPSK A  No 10-11  2015

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V O I C E S  In Vernigerod, at the fourth International Johannes Brahms Festival, July 2005

Photo: Archive of “Srbadija”

of Music Art in Belgrade, in the class of famous Darinka Matić Marović, and her doctoral degree at the Methodic of Music Education department, with a thesis on teaching of music literacy in Srpska. – When you mention sheet music to our people, they feel as if they were before a firing squad. We haven’t used the quality of music we have at all. Rare are those who have resources, smart and talented children, cultural heritage as we do. Thanks to our church music and folklore, I won many awards throughout the world with “Srbadija”, which is a real confirmation of its value.   SPIRIT CONQUERING PREJUDICE   “Serbija” – describes Trakilović one of her favorite and most beautiful musical images “Srbadija” is creating around the world – is when the best living composer Svetislav Božić creates music on the most beautiful verses of great Miloš Crnjanski. When this is performed by a pious ensemble, who has been singing liturgies in the Cathedral Church in Bijeljina every Sunday for the past twenty-three years, it is natural that it will be as God wishes. It is also natural that “Srbadija”, with its “Serbija”, is the best chorus in the world. During the conversation, her hands cut the air swiftly, her short and energetic moves paint the music she experiences, forcing the person she is speaking to believe her, to follow her and hear the music, as if the performance is in progress. As if being hypnotized. Then you feel tears in your eyes, victorious tears, although you are merely an observer or listener. Like watching Novak Đoković raise a cup or recently the young Serbian football team that won the World Championship. She says this is also how members of the jury at international choral competitions react.

Crown Desanka Trakilović won awards in more than twenty countries around the world with her “Srbadija” chorus. In the world ranking list of the thousand best choruses, made by Interkultur Foundation – Musica Mundi, “Srbadija” chorus holds 17th place in the traditional music category and 66th place in total. It is the best ranked chorus from Southern Slavic lands. The chorus was awarded with the Order of Njegoš of the first degree and Order of St. Sava of the second and third degree. Desanka Trakilović considers this award, given to them personally by the late Patriarch of Serbia Pavle, as the crown of her work.

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Mixers – We have perfect music and we sho­ uld cherish it – warns Desanka Trakilović. – We mustn’t desecrate it by introducing something that is not ours, by greed for something additional, foreign instruments for example, just to make it more attractive. This kind of mixture can only be dumped.

– For example, seven of them, one from The Hague, one from South Africa, one from who knows where, don’t speak Serbian and know about the Serbian people only from the slanderous media: that it is evil, ugly, horrible and that it should be destroyed. Then “Serbija” or another Serbian spiritual song nails them to their chairs. They are shocked, almost defeated, I see when it lights up in their heads: “God, what is this?!” And they give us the highest grades. Because, through sound, they feel the beauty sprouted from the battle we have been living with here. She is not happy with the fact that culture is marginal in Serbian media, that music, books, paintings or a talented child are not closer to the eyes of the observers, because otherwise they would be closer to the heart. – Our lands lack culturological inspiration. It doesn’t go with competition; we haven’t even allowed our children to love genuine values. The education of people must be much better, in every aspect, especially in the cognitive and educational sense – states Ms. Trakilović.   CHORUS AS A HOME “Srbadija” constantly has 80 adult singers and about a hundred children, who start singing at the age of seven. They never go far from the chorus and their conductor. Many of these children, says Ms. Trakilović, are famous singers today, such as Stevica Krajinović. – Besides their vocals, it is very important for me that children in the chorus learn to be honest. To be A students, disciplined and responsible, not lazy. As such, they will be able to overcome all obstacles in life more easily. When they are down, when they have a problem, I’m there to help them and show, with my own example, how to proceed.


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The Balkans is full of painful temptations, so we have to learn solidarity and goodness. “Srbadija” sang at the first humanitarian concerts in the nineties in Pavlovića Ćuprija. We sang for war orphans, for children that needed kidney transplantation, for the talented and for the poor. We sang and cried while hundreds of thousands of refugees from Srpska Krajina passed by us. The children should also feel the pain, especially the pain of another child and their own nation, to see the ugly side of the world, to learn to fight – says Desanka Trakilović. – These children are part of me and my home, my story and my milieu. I don’t have time for my peers. When I speak with them, those who are over fifty now, they are already speaking about “vitaphones” and similar things, which, for me, with my children, is endlessly far away. She says that she has always given the children everything she could and received even more in return. They are with her more than with their own mothers and know each other very well. Every summer they go for a vacation in Kotor, where they also hold performances. – Children today have many troubles and their parents are too busy and have less time for them. The family concept has changed too. It’s not that we’re poorer, we are just greedier – claims Ms. Trakilović. – Children spend much low quality time with Facebook and other activities I cannot even mention. I literally forbid my children to watch some TV shows, to listen to vulgarities and texts of some, alleged songs. I try to show with my behavior, as much as I can, as a friend and teacher, to teach children to be safe in life, to be themselves, not to be cheap and unworthy people. I am terribly afraid of vulgarization and show-business. I’m afraid that we are sharpening our picture, but losing the sound.   LIVING IN A LITURGICAL MANNER “Srbadija” chorus rehearses in the hall of the city School of Music. Next to the

Thus I Preserved Myself – My daughter and son both grew up with the children from “Srbadija” and both are involved in music. We are dedicated to the music of our nation. I preserved myself through these children and my dedication. Being with young people and living with them, honest and sincere, is a real benefit – tells Desanka Trakilović.

God and People Before the war, Desanka Trakilović led the “Njegoš” church chorus in Tuzla, the first church chorus outside of Serbia. When, many years later, “Srbadija” sang in Tuzla at the liturgy held by Patriarch Pavle, Desanka started crying remembering the city she no longer lived in. – When I explained him why I was crying, Patriarch Pavle told me: “What people have given you, they can take away from you. What God has given you has nothing to do with people!”

oldest school in the city is the dilapidated space where they spend their time. Ms. Trakilović always enters first, to clean up, to turn on the light, fearing that the children might get an electricity shock because of the moisture. They cruise Europe in a bus resembling those from the Yugoslav Black Wave movies, so their anecdotes are such as well. – If I fall asleep for a minute, someone yells in the microphone: “Don’t anyone dare wake up the lady!” And so we travel thousands of kilometers without sleeping. However, she was never attracted by the big world. She believes that artists are better paid in rich countries, but less sincere, because they lack pain. Honestly, she says, she would be afraid for these children if they had more. What would a space shuttle mean to them, if they didn’t have the love and will they have now? They are happiest when they sing liturgies in the Cathedral Church, every Sunday, for almost a quarter of a century. An hour and a half of continuous singing in a space that returns the beauty of each tone and each thought. – Inside the temple, everything is chronology, permanence and truth. In outstanding light, with the scent of candles and incense, this is where spiritual unity is experienced. This is where people are most concentrated, she says. We all need to find stillness in this space that obliges us. It matters not whether you don’t know much about faith or you experience it. In the spiritual unity with others in the church, you will feel exactly what you need to feel. – Children should be brought to church to be calmer, to decrease aggressiveness among young people and to have more confidence in themselves and the one next to them, all the way through the universe and through eternity, in spiritual unity – concludes Desanka Trakilović, conductor of “Srbadija”. s SRPSK A  No 10-11  2015

 Appearance in the City, Italy, 2014 At the first Choir Olympics, Linz 2001

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VISUAL SPECTACLE BY ARTISTS FROM BANJALUKA OPENED QUESTIONS AND POSSIBILITIES

Laboratory of and Ideas

Lights

Eternal battle of light and darkness, as the synthesis of work of thirteen artists, left a deep impression. Despite the heavy rain, everybody stayed until the end. It was a new important breakthrough in artistic, esthetical and technological sense. Young creative forces of Srpska proved to be able to overcome local obstacles, but also to resist the global trend imposing shallowness, instant culture and primitivism By: Aleksandra Glišić

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he art scene of Srpska, between two editions of National Review, was certainly marked by video mapping Laboratory of Light. Although realized already in May, within the “Night of Museums”, this artistic event opened a series of considerations, and it is still being talked about in a way. Designed on the façade of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Republika Srpska, the former old building of Railway Station, this video mapping conveyed the eternal subject of struggle between light and darkness and with its attractiveness fascinated the art lovers. Dynamic alternation of images in explosion of colors, in combination with synchronized choreography of a ballet dancer, brought to life and transformed the façade of the old building. The creative team that prepared and realized this visual spectacle is comprised of young local artists, designers and animators, led by Mladen Đukić, assistant professor of animation at the Academy of Arts in Banjaluka. The authors’ project is the result of public open call announced in March to visual artists, character designers, animators, comic book drawers and illustrators to submit their solutions for video mapping. The goal of this open call was to support the development of design and animation in Srpska. Solu-

tions by thirteen artists were selected and brought together into a big animated unit, and then – through the link with selected works from the collection of the Museum – placed into a common context. – We have selected video mapping that is the result of cooperation of thirteen artists from Banjaluka with Mladen Đukić, an artist, animator, director, man who has been involved in creative work with this type of technology for years – explains Sarita Vujković, Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Srpska. – His work is based on the new media, which are introducing painting and drawing, through animation, into a new era of visual arts. I believe that these are pioneer efforts of our art scene, which talk about the readiness of

Links – The contemporary art scene of Banjaluka is characterized by numerous young artists – says Sarita Vujković. – They live in this city, and during the time they spend studying at the Academy of Arts they are connected with colleagues who studied music, directing, acting, animation and design. These are all art disciplines indispensable in the process of creating contemporary trends. Contemporary art is multidisciplinary, every art discipline is a link in creating new artistic spaces. That is why the scene of Banjaluka has a lot of potential, and this is, I believe, yet to bring the true results.

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S C E N E artists to keep pace with the times in which they live and the media that are an integral part of our lives. As the first institution in the B&H that joined the event “Night of Museums” some time ago, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Srpska wanted to make a step ahead also for its jubilee event, the tenth. – We wanted an art work that represents a breakthrough within our local art scene, a breakthrough in artistic, esthetical and technological sense – Vujković continues. – It was also a good opportunity for the art scene of Banjaluka to show to what extent it is connected in visual and musical sense. Banjaluka audiences had a unique opportunity to enjoy the effects of the most advanced digital video mapping, technically extremely demanding. They were enabled to have insight into the creative work of young artists and dynamism of contemporary art scene. ROLLING OF BLUNTED BRAINS The main roles in the mapping, Mladen Đukić says, where characters from comic books, animated films and video-games who were talking about the struggle between light and darkness. A step ahead, into the focus, was made by young creative forces of Srpska, generally (he thinks) neglected. – Institutions like the Museum of Contemporary Art of Srpska, which dare to cooperate with people from Srpska on serious projects, are rare – Đukić says. – Other potential clients know about us, but there is always an obstacle. Either they are not educated enough and don’t know how to promote themselves, or for provincial reasons cooperate with foreigners who take a lot of money, and provide little quality. Lack of money is not the main obstacle, Đukić believes, but the attitude toward the profession of artists: on global level also there is a strong trend of imposing instant culture and primitivism. – Blunted brains can be easily rolled. In this, alas, we do not lag behind the rest of the world. For us who are older is too late, but now we have to roll up our sleeves and educate new generations to build culture. All educational and cultural institutions most now focus on those who are coming in twenty years – Đukić says. Film is also something on which people in Srpska work only occasionally and in

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disorganized manner, although it is one of the most profitable instruments in cultural and economic policy of a country. And an artist should “never have his stomach completely full, because he would get lazy”. – I remind you that the Academy of Arts in Banjaluka opened the Department of Animated Film – says Đukić. – We have enrolled an excellent generation, which has been advancing quickly. I am also making my animated film, and we are planning the premiere of animated horror film shot in 2014. AWAKENING OF SUBDUED EXISTENCES That evening in May will be remembered, because it was measured. Despite the outpour, art lovers of Banjaluka stayed and intently watched the spectacle of creative people gathered around the production “Aeon”: struggle between animated characters of light and darkness, with impeccable dance choreography of young Tamara Đaković. The number of visitors was unprecedented. In the same code, the audience could see the exhibition Subdued Existence: overview of the most current and most significant art phenomena in Serbia. This truly is the key thing in live culture and on a creative art scene: the possibility to make comparisons, establish relations among artistic practices, as well as to make connections that ennoble. On top of it all, the cultural chronicles say, there was “Sopot”. This band from Banjaluka offered two unforgettable hours of fantastic music. Well-known for its authentic sound, Sopot” imbued its musical performance with elements of mapping. This audio-visual spectacle was recorded by six cameras, so the obtained material could be used as the basis for a new music video of the band. – “Sopot” is an already established band in Banjaluka, well-known also beyond this city – says Sarita Vujković. – From their beginnings, they have been connected with art and visual scene of Banjaluka. This connection was demonstrated in the best way this time as well. It is a new form of music performance and a new step in making connections with visual art scene. And? Well, nothing: that’s it, we only need much more of it, much more frequently. And why only for one night? s


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FOČA GROWING INTO AN IMPORTANT UNIVERSITY ND MEDICAL CENTER

The Fourth Pillar of the East of Srpska Growing together with their republic, the Faculty of Medicine and University Hospital in this town on the Drina constitute great potential, about a hundred defended doctoral and masters theses, more than 12,000 patients per year... With support from the Military-Medical Academy in Belgrade, new methods have been introduced and contemporary surgical procedures have been mastered The New Center for Biomedical Studies will soon become the foundation for further creation of their own high quality personnel By: Gordana Stojanović

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he decision to build a hospital in Foča after World War II had also its monumental dimension, as a memory of treatment of participants of the horrifying Igman March in January and February 1942. The construction began in 1953, and the hospital was opened in the spring of 1958. It was designed to have five wards, with a total capacity of 120 beds with numerous auxiliary

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rooms. Dr. Adolf Goldberger was appointed the first chief executive officer of the hospital. 1980’s were marked by great organizational changes and agglomeration. By 1993, under management of Dr. Sekula Stanić, a lot was done on adaptation of old and opining of new spaces. Dr. Puba also gave great contribution to development of the hospital while he was its chief – in


terms of organization, personnel, professionalism and education. 1993 was the decisive year for future development and significance of Foča Hospital. At this time, while the Serbian Liberation-Homeland War was at its peak, the Faculty of Medicine was opened in Foča, upon the initiative of professors who were refugees from Sarajevo, led by academician and dean of the faculty, Boriša Starović. From October 15, 1993, this institution was growing, maturing and becoming recognizable together with Republika Srpska. Difficult and modest conditions marked the beginning of works, and this will remain forever embedded in the life of the faculty, and its ongoing motivation. The goal was clear: to create an institute of higher education modeled after the best faculties in the region. And it worked. The hospital with its capacities, just like the local high school center with its amphitheater, enabled the deans, professors Dr.

Numbers and Accreditation Until today, a total of 4,605 students have enrolled this faculty, and 782 of them earned their diplomas. 57 candidates earned their masters diplomas, while 38 candidates completed their PhD studies. Study program Medicine, at the Faculty of Medicine in Foča, is the first faculty in Bosnia and Herzegovina to obtain external accreditation.

Boriša Starović and Dr. Olga Blagojević, to transfer here and bring to life the Faculties of Medicine and Dentistry, now already as Serbian. Thanks to this, the hospital in Foča grew into the Clinical center of the Faculty  Professor of Medicine, which enabled complete highDr. Milan Kulić, ly professional medical care for the populathe Dean of the tion of the eastern part of Srpska. In twenty two years of its existence, Faculty of Medicine the Faculty of Medicine in Foča, with four Professor study programs (Medicine, Dentistry, SpeDr. Velјko Marić, cial Education and Rehabilitation, and Healthcare), has grown into a very imporDirector of the tant educational and healthcare center. For University Hospital

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S T R A T E G Y Milan Kulić, the current dean, it is the road it must follow in the future, the guarantee that the local professional staff would be competitive anywhere in the world. – Today we are sure that the accomplished results place our Faculty of Medicine into the same category with respectable educational institutions – says Kulić. – The accomplished results are guarantee of longevity based exclusively on quality. TRADITION OF GOOD QUALITY WORK Founding of the University in Ea­ stern Sarajevo, as well as the Faculty of Medicine in Foča, is of strategic importance for the entire academic community of Srpska, especially in its eastern part. Today, there are about 15,000 students studying at the University in Eastern Sarajevo, and more than 1,500 students are gaining education through four study programs of the Faculty of Medicine in Foča. It is the great potential of this part of Srpska. – We owe gratitude to the first rector of the University in Eastern Sarajevo, academician Vojislav Maksimović, as well as the first dean of the Faculty of Medicine in Foča, academician Boriša Starović – says Kulić. – The Faculty of Medicine in Foča has never deviated from the defined plans and visions of

Support Already in 2008, aware of the need to improve students’ standard in Foča, the government of Srpska provided three million Convertible Marks for the first phase of construction of the dormitory and purchase of the building of “Maglić” for the needs of the Faculty of Theology. The first phase of construction of the students’ dormitory in Foča was completed two years ago: the building was placed under a roof. And thanks to a credit facility between the governments of Srpska and Austria, the second phase of construction has begun recently. In architectural and functional sense, it will be one of the most advanced buildings of this type in Srpska.

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its founders, the first deans and respected professors. We are dedicated to highest standards in research and education. Current management of the Faculty, he says, has been investing great effort to ensure that the tradition of good quality work is maintained and improved. These are also the priorities for the upcoming period. – The first is to innovate the curricula, to align them with plans and programs of medical faculties in the region and beyond, which would enable exchange of students and teachers. The second is to improve enrollment policy, raise the criteria for student enrollment. The third is licensing and enrollment (in 2015/16 academic year) of the first generation of students in doctoral studies from biomedical sciences, which is the planned basis for education of own expert staff. We are currently in the final stage of furnishing the Center of Biomedical Sciences, which will be the most advanced in Srpska and will serve for scientific and research work of students, teachers and associates of the Faculty of Medicine – says dean Kulić. Great contribution to development of the Faculty also came from professor Dr. Velјko Marić, for many years the dean of this institute of higher education, today the director of University Hospital in Foča, the teaching base of the faculty. The Hospital and the Faculty form a single unit. Together they comprise the University Campus, located in North Foča, downstream from the Bridge on the Drina, occupying 5,000 square meters of pre-clinical and 20,000 square meters of clinical ward 5. This unique place enrolls students from the entire Srpska, B&H, Montenegro, Serbia, Croatia and Macedonia. It has more than 12,000 patients per year, from Trebinje to Prijedor and Banjaluka. ARMED WITH KNOWLEDGE, PERSONNEL AND EQUIPMENT With over one hundred employed doctors of different specialties and SRPSK A  No 10-11  2015

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S T R A T E G Y  Building of the Faculty of Medicine and park in the complex of the University Hospital

 New students’ dormitory, under construction

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three hundred other healthcare workers – is of exceptional importance for all municipalities of Upper Podrinje and the eastern part of Srpska. It has gained a reputation of one of the most successful and best organized hospitals in this part of Europe. – It is the sign of how hard we have been working – says professor Dr. Velјko Marić. – We are armed with knowledge, young staff, advanced equipment, and that is the future of this healthcare institution. We are accredited and we have a good perspective to conduct clinical and research work. With support from our colleagues from the Military-Medical Academy in Belgrade, our hospital has introduced numerous new methods and contemporary surgical procedures have been mastered. For many years we have been the host to the Symposium of Surgeons of Srpska and Serbia: According to the survey conducted by the Health Insurance Fund of Srpska, for many years we have been number one in terms of patient satisfaction with provided services.

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For many years, the University Hospital and Faculty of Medicine in Foča ha­ve been supported by the government and president of Srpska. In total, the support so far amounts to over ten million Convertible Marks. The government is planning to complete the construction of students’ dormitory in Foča and to modernize the medical equipment in the hospital. – It will provide good conditions for studying to our students. Since the dormitory will have around 350 beds, it will also be able to accommodate foreign students through international exchange – says Radula Runic, rector of the University in Eastern Sarajevo. According to expectations at the Ministry of Education and Culture of Srpska, which regularly monitors the works, these facilities will be occupied by the following academic year. It will be another important piece in the mosaic of Foča as a true university city, educational center of Eastern Srpska. s


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Baroque of Srem: a church in Mitrovica

SLOBODAN DESPOT, WRITER, FROM ALPINE BELVEDERES, EXCLUSIVELY FOR “NATIONAL REVIEW”

Out of Harm’s Way Home

Raised and classically educated in the West, gazing towards all sides, far and deep. He writes in French, translates from five European languages. Among the poplar trees on the Mitrovica bank of the Sava in Srem, he has his own Stražilovo. He says that the technological human is an invalid in a rapid evolution towards the state of an obese worm. On the fronts of the media war, he realized how the Empire lost control over “the narration of world crises”. In difficult times, besides Christ’s prayer, he repeats several Baudelaire’s and Akhmatova’s verses. This is how he defends his sanctuary from ugliness and transience. This is how he brightens up the day

By: Branislav Matić

“G

allimard” published his first novel in 2014 in its famous “white edition”, which is a literary award itself. Serbian Krajina passed with dignity all the doors shut by then. He himself is a “man of Krajina from both sides”, born in Srem in 1967, due to the will

of (post)war storms. His father’s origins are from Knin Krajina and the Catholicized branch of the Despot family, which returned to its Serbian roots, as he says, thanks to his dragon-grandma Slavka, from the grim Bačković family. His mother comes from the “honorable Santrač and SRPSK A  No 10-11  2015

 In the hills of Vale Canton, March 2015

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 In mother’s arms, Sremska Mitrovica, end of 1967 Daughters Ksenija (left) and Irina (right)

Photo: Slobodan Despot and from the family album

Marjanović families, openhearted and wild as if they were invented by Branko Ćopić.” He has been living in the West since the age of seven. As an eighteen year-old, he was introduced into Orthodox Christianity by Bishop Atanasije Jevtić in the Monastery of Mesić in Banat. He writes in French, translates from Serbian, English, German, Russian and Italian. He translated Ćosić, Crnjanski, Kapor, into French. Between 1991 and 2004, while he was editor-in-chief in “L’Age d’Homme” Publishing House and Serbian Institute in Lausanne, Slobodan Despot did more for the Serbian truth in the ruins of Yugoslavia than the Serbian government. He is doing the same now, in charge of his own publishing house “Xenia Editions” in Sion since 2006. He is paying all the visible and invisible prices which must be paid for it, both there and here. He learned a lot from Vladimir Dimitrijević. He was a close friend of Alexander Zinoviev and Dobrica Ćosić. He whispers to the generations of ancestors, in many languages. During a strange journey, in Calcutta, he realized: Tam tvam asi. What is not the other is you. The shortest and most refined metaphysics. The presence of God, without mediators and interpreters. Without doors and doormen. We ripped these pages from circumstances and non-existence, by the Rhone and the Sava, down roads and winds, from Sion to Belgrade, for months. It was said, so be it. Homeland. Don’t ask an emigrant about homeland. Homeland is where my heart has been pulling me to ever since I was born. In my Srem, simply, in the city of Roman emperors and St. Demetrius, on the Sava bank with the fine silvery sand and scented poplar trees, which are my first image of this world, the first thrill and pre-art. My own personal Stražilovo. That space and that time are tied in a knot, and the knot is in my soul. It is an oasis, a river island away from the main-

Spirituality, Heroism, Taste If I wish to quickly show a foreigner the essence of this country, where do I take him? If possible, to Chilandar, Studenica or Mala Remeta. Otherwise to Kalemegdan and then to a good kafana on the banks of the Danube or the Sava. Serbia is spirituality, heroism and taste altogether.

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stream of life. А home out of harm’s swift way, as in Robert Plant’s wonderful poem. I don’t know about others. I know that homeland defines me greatly. Do I define it as well? Does a wave define the sea? My Europe. Strangely, I consider the entire European heritage as my own, as if I spent at least a lifetime everywhere. I like the comfortableness and warmth of English local civilization. As much as they can be beasts towards others, the more they are nice and intimate in their own world, or at least used to be. I also love the style of French villages, hard, noble, built for eternity without a single excessive detail, proving that the best architects are anonymous. I like the tastes and scents of Italy, the tragic simplicity of Greek islands, the genuine politeness and cheerfulness of the Austrian people, the crazy cheekiness of Spain (people, landscapes and buildings), numerous Finish lakes with colorful log cabins on funny islands under the infinite sky… I admire Russians, although their sentimentality gets terribly on my nerves. Let alone the Swiss wonder: 26 independent little states in a weak confederation lasting already for seven centuries. My biggest joy is living in the heart of the Alps, near the spring of the Rhone, surrounded by eternal snows, walking for hours every week in that cool, clear, intoxicating air. I dedicated a book of mystical walks to my canton, for which many Swiss people said that it is the most wonderful description of their natural and spiritual treasures ever written. All that is… Mine! And I belong to all of it. Russia. When I first landed in Moscow, the first word I read in Russian soil was “Tesla” – the brand of airport radars in Sheremetyevo. From that moment on, I lived in a waking dream. It seemed that I arrived home, that it was all Serbia, but Serbia in different dimensions. Everything was huge, as if I was, like Alice, suddenly reduced to the size of a child or squirrel. Not only the geographical and human vastness, but also everyday details such as the size of the cobblestone, the caliber of the kennel, the width of streets, the height of the church doors. Huge, infinite, yet familiar. We are same people in different lands, with different dialects and ethnic mixtures. We also have a similar idea: the megalomaniac


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idea about our own distinctiveness, our historical mission. And a similar historical fate of Theodoulos, the people of God’s servant and prophet beyond his own consciousness and will. No one has seriously raised the question about how these fools for Christ, this impossible, generous-fainthearted nation succeeded in conquering one sixth of earth’s land! What is the skill and understanding of other nations and mentalities with which the empire has been surviving for centuries despite all invasions and plagues? At Yeltsin’s time, there were stories about dividing Asian Russia between China and AngloSaxon companies. It was the plan and then it seemed inevitable. And now? All of a sudden – economic recuperation, diplomatic self-confidence, improving healthcare and demography, even the most unbelievable: the beginning of establishing the middle class. Attributing all that to Putin and the last fifteen-odd years, both the good and the bad, is simple and childish. This nation has a matureness within, vitality, even discipline all other nations could only wish for. Serbia. Desanka resolved it for me a long time ago: Serbia is a great secret! In every sense of the word. I’m not a conspiracy theoretician claiming that “Serbs are the oldest nation”. I don’t speculate about the distant past. I see the visible, what is there and what is known, and say: a secret! The essence of Serbia on a spiritual level, political as well, is its unique position of a hinge between two worlds, Rome and Byzantium, and the ontological non-alignedness resulting from it. It is simply impossible for us to align with anyone, except ourselves (also rarely). It is an exceptionally difficult and narrow path, with many sideways. Those who have remained on it until the present time are hardened and dug into a rock like an old ocean lighthouse, without even being aware of it. We carry within much of the primaeval, from language and folklore to the ancient warriors’ ethics, epics is both our holy book and our guide. We are pristine in faith as well, pious without excessive religiousness, meaning without puritanism, pharisaism and formalism. We are on first name basis with the Savior, flat-out, as if we have been sitting with him last night. These are all things I love. However, this “load of distinctiveness” (the lucky aphorism of unlucky Balašević),

has its inevitable ugly side and implies flaws that make me jump out of my skin. Vassalage and sycophancy are the first. As Andrić wrote somewhere in his Signs, the price of surviving in these lands is sometimes higher than the price of life itself, since we provide our own preservation at the expense of those who will inherit us. When I hear the word “diplomacy” from Serbian lips, I immediately shudder, because, with honorable exceptions, in our case it only means capitulation and submission to the orders of others. Awakenings. It is difficult to think about oneself in one’s own element. Reading Times of Death irrevocably sobered me up from Yugoslavism, Zmaj, Dučić, Crnjanski and Desanka imbued me with the music of this language, while crucial was probably Rebecca West. Her travelogue Black Lamb and Gray Hawk, regardless of how much Vinaver “complemented” it, confirmed me in the external, western admiration of Serbian distinctiveness, at the same time opening my eyes about some of our mechanical prejudices for ourselves. Her criticism of prince Lazar as the forerunner of European “leftists” is an absolute masterpiece of political psychology and the climax of well-intentioned arrogance! Man and Technology. Let’s not beat about the bush. All the worst things prophesied about technology came true, even beyond. Already Rousseau – yes, Jean-Jacque, the clairvoyant and sentimental grumpy – clearly warned that the development of science happens at the expense of human virtues and spiritual life. With whatever tool we afford for ourselves, we take away one of our capacities, knowledge or virtue, without which life was not possible up to then. Who can calculate by heart today, as we used to before calculators? Who can handle a sharp knife like those poor kids in Asia while they prepare you a coconut? The technological man is an invalid in the rapid evolution towards the state of an obese worm. As for modeling, things are pretty clear. My Alexander Zinoviev explained it at a symposium in the simplest way: a hundred years ago, he said, man used to take 90 percent of all necessary information from his immediate surroundings and the reports of his own five senses. Contemporary man takes the 90 percent from the “media”: newsSRPSK A  No 10-11  2015

 “Blue Lake” above Arola in Valais: the magical little heaven in the Alps

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N O V E L S paper, internet, school and all conceptual channels the government controls like the waterworks: with faucets, dams and various disinfections. The saddest thing in my life is that I witnessed the withering of the last genuine people and their replacement with products of the information industry. It’s like when, after eating a tomato from a village garden, you bite into the monster growing on glass wool in the Netherlands. I described the pain for that irreplaceable, civilizational loss after the death of my grandmother in 2007, in my book Despotica. Role models and influences. If I were writing in Serbia, it would be Crnjanski, without any doubt – however I mostly write in French, and my style is very distant from his. I hate repetitions, too strong and Baroque expressions, adjectives and adverbs, mystifying sentences. I write elliptically, trying to build as much as I can “between the lines”. Is there a Serbian word for “understatement”? In that aspect, my writers are George Simenon, Henry James, Paul Morand, Thomas Hardy because of his magical ambiance, then Bunin, Kipling, Maugham, Montagne because of his wits and irony, Tanizaki… On the other hand, I also like those who open the hidden windows towards the unfathomable. Proust. Dickens. Bernanos. Borges, Hawthorne. Hugo. Lawrence Durrell. In Serbia no one even notices the almost abstract, metaphysically-literary work of Zoran Živković, the most read Serbian writer in the world, yet at the same time – as it usually happens – ignored at home.

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My poets. Strangely, Serbian literature lives within me mainly through poets: Zmaj, Dučić, Raičković, Desanka, Danojlić... I admire Njegoš, but he is somehow egsoteric, does not create an internal empire like the others. Poetry is a shortcut to knowledge, and at the same time a sanctuary from ugliness and transience, another “home beyond harm’s swift way”, just like childhood memories. When I feel bad, besides Christ’s prayer, I often repeat several verses of Baudelaire or Akhmatova: “Тихо льется тихий Дон / Желтый месяц входит в дом”... I don’t know many, but the ones I know mean a lot to me. If the Musicians Stop. With music it’s similar as with literature: always against SRPSK A  БРОЈ 10-11  2015

time and trends, with several constant values. Beethoven, Prokofiev, Respighi, and our entire folk music passed on to us by Carevac. However, the first and biggest shock: the occupation of my ears, imagination and entire life by the album Led Zeppelin III in the summer of 1980. I love the South, Macedonia, I like everything related to folklore, but I’m mostly touched by the songs from my plain, Slavonija and Vojvodina. When I’m coming by car and hear tambouritzas on every second radio station, I know I’m there. I also suffer from old urban folk songs, like Marcel Proust used to suffer from madeleine cookies. They are connected to something dear and important from my childhood, probably to my grandfather, a bohemian. Whenever I can, I ask musicians to play me “Fijaker stari” or “Što se bore misli moje”. Genius loci. I am very sensitive to places, like the dowsers’ rods. I could write books about it. Well, I did write one, the mentioned Valais mystique. Twenty-four excursions to the secret places of Canton of Valais, where I live. One of them is the ruins of a prehistoric fortification or temple at an altitude of 2.700 meters. I had to spend the night there with my daughters: one of the most impressive experiences in my life. Everyone should sense their own places of energy and balance. They are important for spiritual life. Even industrial ruins suit me sometimes. There was a concept in the middle ages: locus amoenus, a convenient place, for love, dreaming, quiet conversation... Once, in a delirium as a consequence of a very serious flu, I clearly dreamed the place in my birth town, Sremska Mitrovica. It turned out that a temple used to be there. There are, however, also evil places. When I look for an apartment (luckily not often), I immediately reject many houses because of their unhealthy atmosphere. Travels. I travel, all the time, most often on the route Paris-Switzerland-Belgrade. Of course, the objective is to change myself, not the outside world. In time, however, I learned to travel far within a very small space; for example, from here to the neighboring village in the hills. I liked to hitchhike or go by train, without an itinerary. Even now I sometimes put the tent and sleeping bag in my car and go wherever the road takes me. I brought about fifty kilos of gifts, silk, statues, carpets,


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L I F E ,  Giant symbolic fork stuck in Leman Lake, in front of the “Alimentarium” (“Nestle’s” Food Museum), in Vevey

N O V E L S a full room… from India. I threw away my own clothes and shoes into the garbage to be able to carry more. But that’s an exception. Most often I’m imbued with scents, tastes and sounds. And of course, I take pictures. Workshop. I still don’t take my literary work seriously enough to organize my life around it. It’s a sin I’m fighting against. If I had the guts, I’d write until 4 in the morning, sleep until 9, finish some practical tasks until noon, then read in the afternoon, walk or perhaps take a nap. But I still didn’t succeed in achieving this. I write when I have the inspiration, often in cafés and trains. Strangely, that is where I can concentrate best. I put the earphones and play Arvo Pärt, some baroque music or qawwali – monotonous Sufi music from Pakistan. I wish. To see Scotland, Virgin and Easter islands, to build a house with my own two hands (because “a man of forty builds his tower”, as Carl Gustav Jung said), to write three big novels about legends, wisdom and physical enlightenment, a biography, my memoirs and “photo-biography”, as well as a votive letter about the Hand of Dobrica Ćosić. I wish, before all, to persuade myself that I can now withdraw from a hyperactive life and watch everything, like Montagne, with benevolent irony and very slow and careless reasoning. Hope. In my arrogant and conquering mood, I proclaim hope as a consolation for the weak and lazy. Then I see the face of Christ and cry: who can I rely on, if not you, Lord? I’m a great pessimist in my head and optimist when acting: I guess this is the practical personification of hope. The entire energy is in love. The love of the woman who puts up with and supports me, of course, but not only that kind of love – however much they would like to be the source and axis of

The Abolition of Man C. S. Lewis’ The Abolition of Man is one of the books that define me and follow me permanently. A very short essay about the tyranny of rationalism and relativism, the man’s attempt to take his fate in his own hands through science and politics, believing that he can conquer both nature and God. Lewis prophesied, already in 1943, that all this will hit us back and that, attempting to become gods, we will achieve only regression, infinite totalitarianism and fall. We are rushing towards it in full swing, destroying nature, air, history and ourselves.

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all our thoughts and longings. The love of my wonderful children, the beauty of animals, nature, seas I used to sail. The love of so many ordinary people, who touch me with their dedication and goodness. Thank you, Lord, for everything that happened to me! And this brightens up the day. Honey. The creation of Honey, a story about a miracle, is a work of a miracle, just like its literary fate is. Sometimes in 2008, during my medical treatment in Serbia, I heard a wonderful story about an epopee of a father and a son in Krajina, immediately after the “Storm”, a true parabola about good deeds and rewards. I thought then that I have to smuggle it somehow to the West, in order to describe them the terrible cataclysm, which even Serbs have covered up. But I didn’t know which form to use. Then, in the lack of everything, without


any illusions, I applied the synopsis of the story for the literary scholarship in Switzerland. And won it when I had already forgotten the application. I was informed by phone, on March 25, 2009, before my plane took off towards an unknown continent, towards infernal Calcutta, in which I landed at three a.m., with an address of a small room on a piece of paper, with the last money in my pocket and no clear plan for further living. Even before it was born, Honey provided me three months of survival and redirected my view of the world and life in general. I was writing this little book for four years and hardly changed a sentence or two afterwards. For four years I was trying to catch the real mood for a writer: absence of any rage, anxiety and need to prove something. I was able to write in such peace and the peace simply imbues the book.

The fact that two big publishers immediately accepted my book and that I had to make the choice, that I was nominated for I don’t know how many awards – three of them I received – and that I spent the year 2014 literally at fairs and literary debates throughout France, radically changed my presentation about myself and my further plans. It became clear to everyone but me that I am first a writer and then everything else: publisher, publicist, communications consultant. It is hard for me to even imagine that my story about Serbian Krajina entered obligatory reading lists in high schools after a quarter of a century of demonization and defamation of everything Serbian, after so many documents, interventions and petitions no one in France reacted to. This testifies about the miraculous power of literature and culture, tools which all authorities despise. s SRPSK A  No 10-11  2015

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Recreation of a Lost World TANJA STUPAR TRIFUNOVIĆ, A WRITER WITH “INTERNAL REFUGEE BUNDLE”

The greatest success is to find that spark that drives you to live and create. As much as the writer shapes the writing, the opposite is also true. Before encountering one’s weaknesses, people foolishly think they are strong and invulnerable. Tradition is not a dead thing in a museum depot, but it is created now as well. The horror of travel bags, and memories scattered around closets of deserted houses, is haunting the refugees. Is it possible to build a home on the foundations of invisible worlds? By: Sandra Josović

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till a little girl, just learned how to read, she decided to become a writer. She made this decision in the easement of her house in Dalmatia and immediately wrote a poem about spring. She has forgotten those distant verses, replaced the Dalmatian karst with tree alleys of Banjaluka, and she made her decision come true. Tanja Stupar Trifunović is a recognizable name in Serbian and Southern Slavic literary scene. Translated and awarded. Her first novel, Clocks in Mother’s Womb, was this winter shortlisted for NIN Award. She is the Editor-in-Chief of Putevi, a magazine for literature, art and culture from Banjaluka. She lives and works in Banjaluka, and is permanently employed by the National University Library of Republika Srpska. She enjoys the smell of books on a daily basis, the books that fascinated her already at her young age. You are a recognized and awarded writer. What do you see as your greatest success? Success brings joy and recognitions are always encouraging, but we should not fall into their trap. Their guiding function can be easily confused with the goal. The goal is lost in a distance, and you stand on the side of a road holding on to a sign showing where you were supposed to go. I think that greatest success for someone is that life spark that drives us to live and work, its presence, and presence of people with whom we can share it.

You fled from Zadar to Banjaluka when you were thirteen. To what extent does your origin defines you as a writer and where is your home today? In an interview, Grass said that “nothing drives you to write so obsessively as loss – in my case loss of home”. As a writer he tried, he says, to recall something that was lost by means of literature. And in this statement I have found a large part of my own truth. Loss is a driving force. Loss of home is probably not decisive, but is only one in the series of losses one experiences in life. However, this event has certainly enhanced that feeling of not belonging and the need to recreate the lost world. The question of another or spare home is very interesting. It seems to me that I have al-

Photographs: Archive of T. S. Trifunović and A. Čavić

Literature, Wonderful and Scary – Literature used to have that power to give or take away from reality, to seduce me and displace me, to have power over me, better than me having power over it. It was a slippery slope. It is a profession that is not a profession, and would not let you chose any other one. Writing makes the hole in the ground on which you are standing, the bottom of the vessel that is you. It turns you not into a vessel in which the worlds has been poured, but through which the world runs. In order to write, one must be pass-through, open, must be able not to observe but to see the world, without dressing it into one’s own images of the world. Tis thing with writing is wonderful and scary. That. That is a house the foundation of which is not made of solid concrete, but the entire visible and invisible world. SRPSK A  No 10-11  2015

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ways been more involved in the lost home, than on this newly founded one. JOY AND SORROW OF A NEW HOME And what did you encounter with Banjaluka looked like? I remember being fascinated by trees. My brother and I were sitting in the park, in the center of the city, looking at the sky, puzzled why the trees were so big here. Streets and trees. And joy because of discovering a new city. And sorrow, because there were obituaries posted on many trees and houses. That is how you know that it is war, although at first sight it looks like peace, with those alleys of trees and silence. Impressions were slapping and overwhelming me. I was young, scared, and intoxicated with the new environment. I was cold that first autumn in Banjaluka more than any time before or after that. Sometimes I would have four-five longsleeved shirts on me, one on top of the other. Water was turning into ice in the room in the winter. I had never seen so much snow.

Tradition of the Future – Tradition is preserved, but also built. If we don’t create anything today, what will be our tradition in one hundred years? Therefore, both guardians and creators are equally important. If we want to have a live literary scene, if we want to have writers in the future too, we must learn to face the present-day literature. It is changeable, uncertain, not all of it will remain remembered, but we must be open to what is happening right now, just like we are open to the past. Only in that way we will have a tradition that is alive, tradition of the future. Let us not forget that tradition is being created now as well.

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The new home was different from the old one. The house was old and beautiful, with wooden floor that creaks when you walk. My dad was unhappy and as constantly talking about our house that he and his father had built according to their own design, about indestructibility of that house that had been left “on the other side” in the war. In his story, that house grew into Noah’s Arc in which he could keep all of us together in one place and save us from everything. In the new house and new life in Banjaluka we have encountered the powerlessness of our own father. He didn’t find his way out here, although he tried to hide it. He was sitting at the same chair at the table. He was going to work. But he never stopped going back to Dalmatia in his head. We, the children, did not have time then to think much about it and to romanticize the rocky landscapes of Dalmatia. We were growing up unaware of that great division that caught up with us later. Now, when we are grown-ups (or at least trying to be), I clearly see that division and misplacement that we carry inside. How? I guess it is that permanent, internal refugee bundle. No one of us is quite certain as to where we want to live, or what we want from life. My father, who never got used to it and mother who was never sure whether she is supposed to get used to the new surroundings. At the end, my parents returned to Dalmatia after all. As for me, Banjaluka is finally the place where I live, “my temporary permanent home”. I gave birth to my daughter here, and


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thus something fragile and personal sprouted in this city. It has become closer to me, its trees and the river and everything it offers echoed inside me differently. Still, I think I will never have that feeling of home and belonging that I used to have. And, actually, I no longer want that. I feel a little sorry for people who are too attached to the place where they were born. The horror of being a refugee has been transformed into a pleasant feeling of being liberated of the local spirit that, whether you want it or not, always takes certain patina of staleness and a kind of unison opinion that certain people, having been born here, are therefore better, more civilized, more cultured than the others. Of course, it is a horrifying and unfair and stupid argument, but a very widespread one, in every city where you arrive as a guest or refugee. IN SURPLUSES OF LIFE Your poetry and fiction are direct, sometimes brutally honest. What leads you to those subjects and to what extent does writing liberate you? Themes and motifs in writing are like people. They either attract you or not. But if you are working on a relationship, it will necessarily become better. It is the same with writing. There is no bad subject, they get re-networked, supplemented, they pull one toward the other. As much as the writer shapes the writing, the opposite is also true. The process is mutual. And in order for it to lead toward the results, the necessary fuel is primarily the willingness to be open, honesty, in addition to working, reading, long periods of looking at the blank screen, feeling numb in the chair... What was the inspiration for your first novel (Clocks in Mother’s Womb)? The inspiration and starting point is visible already in the title, but not in the way we are used to talking about mothers in childlike and idealistic manner, without letting them really become alive in front of us as human beings filled with virtues and vices. I was interested in mothers as people who used to have their own lives, and at one moment, and that is typically the arrival of a child, they start hiding it, like some kind of a tail, an embarrassing surplus. The heroine’s mother is hiding those “surpluses of her own life” and her being from other people in the household, in order to “protect them from herself ”,

Roads You are the editor of “Putevi”, a magazine for literature, art and culture. To what extent have the audience and critics recognized a magazine like this? The most beautiful thing about “Putevi” is that people read it, they are interested in it. The magazine has a fantastic power to frown and anger those who think that they are the only ones who know what “Putevi” should look like. There are always people who think that they are the only criterion. After fifty-one hundred years, those judges completely disappear, and what they had been passionately persecuted, declared fashionable, bad novelties, becomes the tradition.

in her imagination and belief, so that she would only be the mother. After her mother’s death, the heroine goes to look for her real mother, her true personality. She wants to meet her and put the pieces of her back together, because she only knows the motherly part of her mother, and everything else is hiding in a shadow. She is interested in her feelings, details from her intimate life before she had become a mother. Through her journey and stay in her parents’ house, she also reevaluates other places where she lived in her life, from actual places to spiritual settlements, such as literature, fantasy and dreams. Although the mother is the starting point of the story, the novel is at the same time a story about daughters who are yet to accept or reject certain life roles on the road of a woman, without losing themselves on the way. Have you ever aspired to go far away from these borders of ours? I have thought about it many times, like most of the people who live here or have meanwhile moved away, but never strongly and deeply. It has never come to that firm and irreversible decision, because I am actually afraid of traveling and moving because of my memories as a refugee. The horror of travel bags, and memories scattered around closets of deserted houses, is haunting me. Do you consider yourself a strong woman? I consider myself to be a woman who, thanks to the ultimate limits of my weaknesses, had to find inside myself the strength and become strong And who, thanks to the weakness, learned that weakness and strength are two sides of the same coin, and that one should not insist on one or the other, but should be aware of the weaknesses in order to be able to find strength. Before encountering my own weakness, like all foolish people, I thought I was strong. s SRPSK A  No 10-11  2015

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NEMANJA BJELICA, THE MOST USEFUL BASKETBALL PLAYER OF EUROLEAGUE AND A NEW NBA STAR, EXCLUSIVELY FOR “NATIONAL REVIEW”

The Real Fruits of Complete Dedication Many unusual life stories sometimes comprise a sports one. Or vice versa. Nemanja Bjelica, until recently a player of “Fenerbahçe” from Istanbul, is currently the most striking basketball personality in Europe, which is confirmed by the recognition for the most useful player of the Euroleague. Starting from the next season, he will be the star of American “Minnesota”. It is a true satisfaction after everything he has experienced in his career

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any unusual life stories sometimes fit into one sports story. Or vice versa. Nemanja Bjelica, basketball player of “Fenerbahçe” Basketball Club from Istanbul, is currently the most striking

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basketball figure in Europe, which is reflected in the recognition as the most useful player of the Euroleague. It is a true satisfaction after everything he has experienced in his career.


– I am very flattered by this recognition, because it is the crown of the season in which I, just like the entire team, I invested a great desire and effort to achieve the best result. In this way, everything I have done is even more significant, but it is clear to me that recognition like this is not earned by an individual player, but that the support of the team and trainer are behind it. I am sorry, however, because there is no sense of complete triumph, because at the final tournament of the Euroleague we didn’t manage to get into the finals. It remains our goal for the next season, as well as my desire not to lose the position among the best players of Europe. Nemanja clearly sees the points on which he has achieved the biggest progress against the past seasons. – First of all, I feel unburdened, and for this I give credit to trainer Želјko Obradović, who has given me full freedom in the game, as if I am a point guard, and not the center. Besides this, Želјko gets the maximum out of every player in his own unique way: he only asks from us to give our best, he supports us and shows that

he trusts us. he is not only a great trainer, but also a great human being, and because of this I am even gladder to be able to reciprocate the trust he has given me. Besides this, this year I have also worked a lot physically, with fitness coach Predrag Zimonjić, whom I have known since 2009, when I was gaining my first experiences with the national team. Cooperation with him means a lot to me in the club as well. It seems that everything I have invested this year and in previous years is now coming to the fore, and this award shows that someone has recognized this and valued it in the right way.

Photo: NR and Archive of Nemanja Bjelica

Serbia – There are special feelings that connect a person to the country where he was born. I love Serbia very much, I am proud of it and I am extremely happy for having an opportunity to fight for it. I am that much happier when we achieve a good result, because I know how much that means to our people. Besides this, I am aware that athletes promote their country in the best way possible, and I will give my contribution to this. I am glad when, while traveling, I hear from other players that they know about Serbia, about Belgrade, and that they are full of impressions. SRPSK A  No 10-11  2015

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In step with professional rise, he is ma­tu­ ring as a person. – Basketball is what I have fully de­di­ cated myself to and it helps me discover the life itself. Maybe my maturing and searching for true paths took a little more time, but since I arrived in “Fenerbahçe” I have put the things in the right place and it brings the desired results. Simply, you cannot achieve a good result unless you are fully committed. I am finally aware that basketball requires from me to give it everything, with no reservations, and now I am doing it, without, of course, neglecting my family and some other priorities in life. I want to use my time and discover how far I can get, and I can only do this if I give all I have. PARENTS BEYOND WHAT IS POSSIBLE Many will say that every success story resembles a one before. Nemanja’s story, however, disproves this. – I started to get involved in sports just like any other kid, for healthy lifestyle. At the beginning it was swimming, and then, between football and basketball, I chose basketball. I lived in the blocks of

New Belgrade, first in Block 44, and then 70. In my elementary school “20. oktobar”, “Partizan” opened its basketball school, which was taught by my PE teacher Ljuba. he taught me the first steps in sport, but it was still more in the realm of fun and spending time with friends, and not competition. A somewhat more serious story began with now late Aca Janjić, to whom I owe many knowledge about basketball, which I am still using today. I gladly remember him, because he was a good man and excellent trainer. He recognized a talent in me and started developing it. I passed through all junior categories of “Partizan”, I was the captain

 Growing of a basketball player in Belgrade

 New Year’s Eve with parents Milovan and Slavica Boyhood days in his parents’ home

Family – Sometimes it seems to me that certain things happened as a destiny. As a boy I was not serious, a little irresponsible. I couldn’t even dream that among my friends I would be the first to build a family and enjoy it with all my heart. No matter how difficult my day was, I know that my two girls, Mirjana and Nika, are waiting for me at home and I feel the best next to them. They give me immense strength to survive on the level where I am now. And I thank god for giving me the chance to become a father at such young age. It is a remarkable feeling and I would recommend it to everybody. SRPSK A  No 10-11  2015

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Collection of experiences – Unfortunately, there is little time that I could spare for some other activities besides basketball. Certainly, it means a lot to me that I have met different nations, cultures, religions, ways of life. In Austria, I lived in Traiskirchen, a town with a population of 5,000, and I know what it feels like to live there, and how it is in Istanbul with a population of 20 million. I have brought great impressions from Spain (I am sorry I didn’t learn to speak better Spanish). Unfortunately, basketball does not leave much free time. One day I might make up for what I am missing now.

 Against the USA: With Nikola Kalinić in the jersey of Serbian national team

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of my generation, and then it happened that, between ages of 15 and 16, in the club they declared that we lacked perspective. They evaluated that our age group should be shut down and focused on a younger group. How wrong this evaluation was can be seen in the fact that not only me, but also some other players from that generation, such as Lešić, Sinovec, Malidžan, are still playing actively and successfully. It really shook me, because after ten years in “Partizan” someone characterized us as useless. I overcame that period only thanks to my family, because my father Milovan and mother Slavica were standing next to me all the time. Especially my father took this pressure upon himself, trying to spare me some great excitement. The support I was given from my parents was above their abilities. If it hadn’t been for their love and persistence, I might have abandoned all this. Saying goodbye to “Partizan” was ine­vi­ table. – My next stop was “Superfund”, whe­re I spent two years. In this club I un­ do­ ubtedly progressed, especially with Mirko Ocokolјić, but the impression that people did not believe in me enough was still dominant. I was not a part of junior national team selections, I couldn’t come to the fore to the extent in which I felt I deserved it. I felt this clearly and I could not stay indifferent. because of all this, it seemed quite uncertain what I was doing. I couldn’t even dream that I would achieve what I am now. Only with great will power I stayed persistent and did not stop practicing, which finally made me stronger. Great and successful career seemed far away. I remember, one day, coming back from a game, passing by the “Arena”, I longingly said to my father: “Imagine what it would be like if one day I also played for the national team in the ‘Arena’!” Still, it SRPSK A  БРОЈ 10-11  2015

turned out that I was up for the task. I was lucky to find people who recognized talent in me and forced me to work on it. SIGNS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD The road next brought him to Austria. – Leaving the country was inevitable. I was disappointed with the entire chain of events, I felt that no one believed in me, except for my family. Somewhat earlier, I was beaten up with my friends in the neighborhood where I live and it really seemed like there was no end to misfortunes: Somehow in this period, my brother Vladimir introduced me to a man who became very important to me. Bojan Tanjević understood me well, gave me great support and helped me overcome that bad period. I Austria, I finally started playing, I had a good season and it seemed like things were finally moving. However, soon I broke my leg. Then I thought that the entire world had collapsed. I was desperate. The whole thing was even worse because I was in Austria alone, conditions for recovery were not great, and I asked to go to Belgrade for rehabilitation. He couldn’t imagine that from that mo­ ment on the things would start moving in the right direction. – I wouldn’t even dare thinking about it, and it happened. I came to Belgrade for rehabilitation and the first thing that happened to me was encounter with the girl who has never left my life after that. I remember, it was the night after the New Year’s, I was feeling down, with my leg in my cast boot, and then... I meet Mirjana. Thanks to that cast boot we now have good marriage and little daughter Nika. After recovery, I worked hard for three months radio with my fitness coach Branko Karalejić, because I wanted to go back on the field as soon as possible. After everything that happened, it didn’t even occur to me to go back to Serbia. I wanted to settle down somewhere in Germany or Austria, to play and, finally, to find some peace. That is what I said to my family and friends, but... Unexpected turns were waiting ahead. – I think that I really deserved that, at this moment, someone who would finally recognize my talent appears. Fortunately, it was a man of great authority, then the coach of “Zvezda” Svetislav Pešić, who had


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no second thoughts. he brought me to “Zvezda” and I remember that everybody asked who I was and where I came from. They thought I was not from Serbia because nobody knew me in basketball circles. This was actually my true beginning. Finally, under guidance of a true expert, with people who knew how to work with me. The career started taking off: from “Zvezda” I left to Spain, and from there to Turkey, where I am still wearing the jersey of “Fenerbahçe”. A SERIES OF SPECIAL PEOPLE Along with the club career, the notable national team career also developed. – I owe everything to my work and a group of excellent coaches. Pešić opened the doors to basketball for me, he sent me toward the goal I had set for myself, and I can never forget that. I was brought into the national team by Duda Ivković, a great man, whose patience I may thank for getting into the senior team. Namely I was invited from the university selection to join preparations of the first team, which was getting ready for the European Championship in 2009. I remember working hard at the trainings, but at the control games I was terrible. I didn’t even know what was happening to me. Late Aca Petrović, then assistant selector, also a great man, encouraged and comforted me, but Duda had the decisive influence. Once he pulled me to a side, when he saw I was feeling down because of weak games. He

told me not to worry, to keep working and not to feel so burdened. That is how my national team story took off. National team, today. – We have a really great potential. First of all, we have a young coach, who was a role model to many of us. We grew alongside his generation and dreamed of getting the same role one day. Last year we achieved the result that nobody expected and the appetites are now bigger. The European Championship is ahead of us, but there is an unfavorable circumstance that we will not be able to count on Nenad Krstić, who used to be the axis of the team and who meant a lot to me personally, because from the start in the national team he was my great support. At the European Championship they see us as favorites, but I think that we should be realistic. Our desire is to be among the best, just like all other participants. However, I think that the priority is to enter the Olympic Games and that we should set our ambitions with respect to this. It is a good thing that we have a lot of young players, who have important roles in their clubs. We will be one year older, and that much more experienced, and willing to prove ourselves again. s

 The end of the period in Istanbul: Nailing in “Fenerbahçe”

 With his wife Mirjana

The Ultimate Challenge – I think that it is a dream of every basketball player to join the NBA one day. I had this option this summer, and I decided to make that step. I signed a contract with “Minnesota”. I think I have the quality for this league and I will do everything to prove it.

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SLAĐANA GOLIĆ, UNFORGETTABLE BASKETBALL PLAYER OF “MLADI KRAJIŠNIK” AND THE NATIONAL TEAM

The World Measured Several Times She was the captain of a great generation. She played as many as 465 games for the national team of Yugoslavia. Except to her club in her native Banjaluka, she brought joy to “Santeclair” in France, “ Hemofarm” in Vršac, “Pamplona” in Spain. When she was saying goodbye in, both she and the audience in “Borik” cried. The applause she received then still echoes over Banjaluka. How come there is no place for her in the sports of Srpska, but she works in tourism? By: Aleksa Komet

Photo: Archive of Slađana Golić

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anjaluka was recognizable on sports scene for decades for good boxers, handball players, and football players, but it will also be remembered for the generation of excellent basketball players who, in the jersey of “Mladi Krajišnik”, in the 1980’s, played an important role in the territory of Yugoslavia. The flagship of this team was Slađana Golić, an unbeatable phenomenon on the basketball scene of Banjaluka and the leader of the trophy-winning national team SRPSK A  БРОЈ 10-11  2015

of Yugoslavia. Her career has spanned more than twenty years, riddled with numerous medals from the world’s biggest competitions. It would seem that this is reason enough for her to remain in sports even after her active career. However... – After my active career I spent some time in “Mladi Krajišnik”. Unfortunately, no long-term cooperation developed there, and I certainly cannot blame myself for that.


Today she is involved in something that sparks in her that same desire to move and prove herself, as basketball used to do. – I have been working at the Tourist Organization of Banjaluka for ten years. I like my job because it is interesting and diverse. Since I am not involved in sports, it is natural that I found myself in tourism, because I speak several foreign languages, I have traveled a lot, I am attracted by distances. Additionally, I have graduated from the faculty of tourism and hotel management. It means a lot to me that my work is to a certain extent connected with sports, because we organize various events that feature sports. Memories often bring her back to the period of active playing. – I lived for basketball. The best part of my youth and my life I spent with basketball. I was a fanatic. I never missed a single training, a single game. That used to be my life and I enjoyed it. I remember strenuous trainings, preparations, quarantine, great sacrifices. And all that would be forgotten after winning the medals. I loved that life, I loved all those girls with whom I would go for a beer after difficult games or preparations. It happened that we spend six months at the time living in hotels and sports halls. It created stronger bond between us and made us stronger. When I remember all this, I can tell you that it is difficult to a superb athlete after the end of his career. A completely different way of life is imposed, adjustment and organizing in accordance with completely different standards and principles. UNDER THE WATCHFUL EYE OF CIGA VASOJEVIĆ Just like with many other athletes, the beginning of Slađana’s career is connected with some very special emotions.

Advices – To children who are practicing sports I would say, first, that they must love the sport of their choice and must decide early whether they want to succeed in it. They must get organized well, must not neglect school, because there is enough time for both training and studying. Sport is making ell-rounded personalities and it will help them gain the spirit of victory. It is better to be a true athlete than slave to virtual games. Sport is also a way to health, which is more important than everything.

– The beginnings are typically the most important. If basketball gets into your blood, everything is going at great speed. My beginning was specific, because I started practicing sports quite late. At the age of 16, because of my height, they forced me to start practicing, although handball was more prominent in my school. I was lucky that in 1980 there was European Championship for Women in Banjaluka. They invited me to be sparring partner with the national team and in one of the games I scored 30 points. This had a decisive influence on my further career, because they immediately sent me for advance training for center lines. Besides this, I was under the watchful eye of Ciga Vasojević, who imposed a fierce rhythm of work and with strong trainings I improved quickly. For many years she was the backbone of “Mladi Krajišnik”.  At the – I played in “Mladi Krajišnik” for twelve years, from 1977 to 1989. It was my first club Olympics in Los Angeles, 1984 and my strongest emotion. We had a good team and everybody was fearful when arriving in “Borik” Hall to play against us. It At the winning pedestal with was a wonderful period. So many wonderful the national things happened to me, in my hometown, team of which was not really the privilege of a great Yugoslavia number of top athletes.

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For some time she worked abroad, playing for “Santeclair” in France, “Hemofarm” in Vršac, “Pamplona” in Spain”. – I went to France after the Olympic Games in Seoul. “Santeclair” was a stable first league team, in which I stayed until 1996. I have beautiful memories from this period, the club and the city of Bordeaux, as well as strong friendships. I still visit them often, and my girlfriends, former team mates, come to see me. Generally, I like French language, cuisine, culture. I returned to the country for family reasons and played one season for “Hemofarm”. After that I returned to “Mladi Krajišnik” and in one extraordinary team I made the best result in the history of the club. For “Pamplona”, I played one season. I am glad that I helped that team too to stay in the league. In June 2000, I played in the crowded “Borik”, in the jersey of “Mladi Krajišnik”, my farewell game against the Serbian national team. Before my loyal audience, I left basketball, with the farewell applause that lasted a very long time. Tears were streaming down my face. It was not easy. SOME DIFFERENT KIDS Still, the most valuable memories connect her with the national team of Yugoslavia. – Of course they do! Our generation was destined to make something extraordinary: Angelovska, Arbutina, Nakić, Mujanović and other girls. Everything came second to the result. We blindly followed and worked. Difficult trainings would be forgotten, we went on, like in a dream. You train, you travel, you win... I would especially single out the medal at the Olympic Games in Seoul. TI will never forget those final sand that happiness on the pedestal. Of course, spending time together was also great. We were like a family. Ciga Vasojević did a lot for women’s basketball, he had charisma of a leader and spirit of victory that he transferred to us. He was strict, but it turned out that he had to be that way. We are women, it is not easy with us. The number of Slađana’s appearances in the jersey of the national team is impressive: 465. – I would always accept the invitation of the selector, I was never absent. I was healthy, with no injuries, my natural fitness made the preparations easier. I loved basketball, I relished in victories, I had the

Pleasures and Worries – I find pleasure in little things. Little things mean a lot to me. I am humble, accomplished and simple woman. I am happy when people are positive, I can stand when they share negative energy. I like nature, it makes me fulfilled and calm. I am worried that there are so many sick people. People are under great stress and they are living too fast. I am worried that people do not spend time together like before.

spirit of a warrior, they say I was a good friend, so they elected me the captain. This difficult task meant that I had to be a good role model for everybody. The games came one after the other, competitions, tournaments, qualifications. I was surprised myself that I collected so many games. We didn’t have time to count. She was a part of an excellent generation. Still, she has some regrets. – I was very sad when we lost the medal at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles 1984. Then we decided to give our best and prepare as best we can for Seoul. And we managed to win silver there. I am also sorry that we didn’t go to the Olympic Games in Barcelona, although we were ready, in a different composition, with yellow jerseys with no markings. On the last day, the day before the trip, they told us that we were not going to participate and maybe in that way prevented us from stepping onto the winners’ pedestal again. Someone with her experience today can contribute a lot to women’s basketball in Srpska. – I could. But you should ask that question to some other people. Ask: why there are no top athletes in clubs after their active career? If they were more present in clubs, I am sure that the results would be better. And are there talented people in Republika Srpska today as before? – I am sure there are but they need more professional work. Our talents leave Srpska too early. The parents are doing everything they can to send their children abroad, and our leagues are weak. Another big problem is that children are not ready to accept great sacrifices. They start seeing themselves as big players too soon, think only about money and contracts. It is not the road to success. In my time, we first thought about the result, and only after about what it could bring. s SRPSK A  No 10-11  2015

 With her husband Mlađa in China

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Fiery Heartbeat of the South IN LESKOVAC, THROUGH WHICH SEVERAL CITIES LIVE, VISIBLE AND INVISIBLE

“Leskovac is not Serbian Manchester, but Manchester is English Leskovac.” In the eold times it was not just a joke, and maybe it isn’t so today. Only now this city in Southern Serbia has different attractions. It is famous for its carnival, barbeque, taverns, delicacies, bell peppers, Justinian’s imperial heritage, jašunjski monasteries, Vučjanka and its hydro power plant, the delicate intertwining of Europe and the Orient. When you say Leskovac, all these associations come by themselves. It means that this city, as they say now, has become a brand

Text and photo: Mirolјub Radivojević

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s far back as in 1159, Manojlo Komnin from Constantine’s city gave to Stefan Nemanja “from his land the area called Dubočica”. The depths of history is hiding data on the oldest preserved mentions of Leskovac from 1308 and 1348, when Emperor Dušan donated it to Hilandar. It was then the caravan stop from Nemanjić era with a big fortress on Hisar. Below it was a town with market and shops made of logs and planks. Numerous flattering epithets were being used together with the name of this city through the past centuries. It was recognizable for its fairs. In the mid-19th century it was a city of artisans (with as many as 62 different crafts) and “little Manchester” (because of its textile production). As much as 40 percent of wool products in the Kingdom was being produced here. A record says that at one moment it had as many as 105 taverns where “close company” was hanging out, bohemians and revelers, with wine and rakia, with “Buretovi ćevapčiki” and jolly dialect. Leskovac used to be known as a trade fair town, and from the 1960’s it has also been a city of cosmetics. A cidy of tradi-

tion and youth, in fertile Morava River valley, home of great Emperor Justinian (his nearby Empress City, Justiniana Prima, was the pride of Byzantine). The city where the Orient and Europe mixed, leaving traces in the spirit of the market and people’s lives. COMPATRIOTS OF JUSTINIAN I 29 kilometers to the west from Leskovac, the Empress City is one of the most significant archaeological sites of Serbia. It is assumed that it was founded by Byzantine Emperor Justinian I in the 6th century, as a sign of gratitude to the place where he was born. Encircled with strong walls, the city was on a 42,000 square meters wide plateau, an important administrative, military, and religious center. It is well-known for infrastructure thatw as perfect for that

 The house of Bora Dimitrijevića Piksla Monastery of St. John in Jašunje, 16th century

Jašunjski Monasteries 13 kilometers away from Leskovac, abive the village of Jašunja, there are the only two monasteries in this area: the Monastery of the Holy Mother of God, built in 1499, and Monastery of St. John the Baptist, built by Andronik Kantakuzin in 1517, with painted front facade. SRPSK A  No 10-11  2015

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 “Roštilјijada” Barbeque Festival in Leskovac, the biggest festival of this kind in Southeast Europe

 Vučjanke Waterfall, near Leskovac

time, paved streets crossing at right angles, circular square with a statue of Justinian, bishop’s palace with floor heating, several churches and basilicas, artisans’ and retail shops... The city lived turbulently, but shortly. Around 615, fleeing before the imminent danger, the people deserted it and life died. In the center of Lesokvac there is old­ Odžaklija Church, built in the era of Karađorđe’s Uprising. It is a single-nave building without a dome, buried into the ground so as not to irritate the local Turks with its size. The interior has excellent acoustics, because clay pots were embedded into the walls. It is unique for having a built chimney, since the building was supposedly built for a local priest. Next to the old church, the Congregational Holy Trinity Church was built in 1931. King Aleksandar I Karađorđević was present at its consecration ceremony. Next to the Congregational Church is the house of Bora Dimitrijević Piksla, built in the first half of the 19th century. It used to be the seat of Turkish pasha, today it is a reconstruction of a town house from the late 19th century. A part of the collection of the National Museum in Leskovac is located in it. A little has been left of the buildings from the formerly rich artisans’ and merchants’ Leskovac – with numerous buildings in Balkan style, recognizable for pic-

Vučjanka Near the village of Vučje, 8 kilometers from Leskovac, through cuts and cliffs of Kukavica mountain, runs a small mountain river of Vučjanka, creating beautiful channels and waterfalls. In the very center of the canyon there is one of the oldest hydro power plants in the Balkans. Built in 1903, it is still operating today.

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turesque chimneys. The disastrous “Allied bombing” in 1944, then the surge of modernity and different ideologies, have taken their toll. Only Šop-Đokić’s House in the city center, from the mid-19th century and a residence in the village of Rudar, near the Church of St. Paraskeva, probably the most beautiful example of profane city architecture of the Balkan style in Serbia, have been preserved. About fifteen kilometers south of Leskovac, the ravine turns into a picturesque Grdelička Gorge, cut by the South Morava River. Along the river, in the gorge, 25 kilometers away is Predejane, a beautiful mountain excursion grounds surrounded by forest and hills. In this place, right next to the major road that connects the Central and Western Europe with Greece and the Middle East, “Predejane” Motel is situated. IN STEP, BITE, SIP The period between two world wars is called the golden age of Leskovac. The crown of this turbulent social life was organizing of several carnivals, in the 1930’s. Following this tradition, the Carnival of Leskovac was organized again ten years ago. Meanwhile, it was officially included in the map of European carnivals. It has become an important destination in the carnival family of Europe. The tenth Carnival of Leskovac just ended recently (from July 6 to 11). This carnival confirmed this entire beautiful tradition in its full glory. Among forty two carnival groups from around the world, the best overall group this year was the group from Sardinia, and the local “Group with Dragonflly Orchestra” had the best appearance and choreography. “Roštilјijada” Barbeque Festival is another important tourist brand of Leskovac. In early September, the main vity ctreet turns into the biggest barbeque composition. It is officially the biggest barbeque festival in Southeast Europe. In one week, it is visited by more than half a million gourmands, fans of barbeque, good entertainment, relaxed atmosphere... Barbeque masters and students (the future barbeque chefs) compete, and the attempt to make the biggest burger in the world attracts most attention. In recent years, there has been increasing number of foreign guests. s


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S P A “MERKUR”, BEYOND A HEALTH INSTITUTION

A Medicinal

Philosophy It is enjoyable to be healthy, it is healthy to enjoy. Being calm and achieving inner balance are a blessing, but today, in this stressful and hectic time, they are not easy to preserve. Massage, this ancient art, should be understood as an investment in yourself, preparing the body for the challenges, re-establishing of the harmony. In “Merkur”, they know how and why

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n Serbia “Merkur” is the National Centre for Education and Prevention of Diabetes. This clearly indicates its high regional position in the treatment of diabetes. However, the main area of indications includes diseases of bone and joint system and the digestive system.

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But in an effort to offer their guests the opportunity to relax and enjoy, already in “Merkur” opened wellness center “Fons Romanus”. It was an important breakthrough: the first wellness center in spa resorts of Serbia. Today, this wellness center provides an opportunity to enjoy the


swimming pool complex with hydro massage and a sauna park: • Swimming in pools with thermalmineral water has many advantages compared to conventional swimming pool centers. Mineral water used in all “Merkur’s” swimming pools is a natural remedy for health and beauty. • Sauna Park consists of infrared and Finnish saunas, Roman and Turkish bath, salt room, a barrel for rapid cooling and area for meditation. There is also a solarium within the sauna park. Everyday activities leave traces in our muscles, face, joints and posture. Massage

is a good way to erase those trace, for the purpose of health and beauty. The Massage Center is the pride of “Merkur’s” spa complex. During the ten years of successful operation, the center has developed a wide range of relaxation programs, with about thirty different massages, from conventional relaxation and therapeutic ones, to attractive treatments with volcanic stones, honey and milk, chocolate, cranberries... Ayurveda. The oldest Indian massage technique aiming to deeply harmonize the body, mind and spirit, and to attain the state of perfect harmony and peace. The

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combination of pressure points and lymphatic drainage leads to deep relaxation, relief from fatigue and insomnia, as well

The Biggest in This Part of Europe In a desire to bring together their programs, in July of this year all “Merkur’s” centers will unite in a single Spa Center. It will be the largest complex of its kind in this part of Europe. Under one roof, there will be Center of Medical Aesthetic, Wellness Center, Massage Center, Peloid Center and Balneo Center. No matter where they are placed, all guests of Vrnjačka Banja will be able to enjoy the traditional spa services (baths, enemas, inhalations), and the world’s most advanced beauty techniques (“Zerona” laser, antiaging treatments, lymphatic drainage...).

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as improvement of internal organs. Literally translated, Ayurveda means knowledge about life, life lessons or answers to the question: What is life? Chocolate Massage. Studies have shown that pure dark chocolate has numerous positive effects on local tissue and the entire body. Improving circulation, preventing cough, slowing of aging of skin and brain are just some of the effects. Small cocoa-flour grains help in microdermabrasion and elimination of dead skin cells as well as removal of wrinkles. This treatment awakens the senses, be-


improve circulation, reduce tension, accelerate the lymph and relieve the swelling, for the purpose of all body care and preservation of beauty. Detoxification – patting creates a soft vacuum that draws out toxins from the skin. There is also an anti-aging effect on surface, necrotic skin cells; during the facial massage with honey skin becomes softer and more elastic. The massage also eliminates bacteria, viruses, toxins and the salts from the skin. It also affects cellulite, by breaking those pockets of fat, which tones the entire body.

cause chocolate, a well-known aphrodisiac, affects serotonin secretion (“the happiness hormone”) and endorphin (which reduces pain), and is also considered as a natural antidepressant. After the massage the skin is rejuvenated, and mind is rested, which is one of the natural stress eliminators for people with stressful job, and it is showed on their faces. Honey massage. It brings together the benefits of massage and honey. During the massage, honey will soak up toxins along the way and accelerate their excretion from the body. The simplest way to

Octopus massage. It provides a higher level of relaxation for those who need rest and recovery after stressful situations. This massage with four hands leads to a complete relaxation and reveals a completely new experience. Synchronized movements of two therapists provide an experience of complete harmony, balance and serenity, establishing energy stability of the body. This massage provides a total sense of glamor and sophistication, and it is refreshment for the mind and body. Numerous benefits of massage suggest that taking time for this type of treatment should be seen as an investment in oneself. And as part of a day that prepares our body for upcoming activities. s SRPSK A  No 10-11  2015

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SERBIA – NATIONAL REVIEW! Beautiful Face of the Homeland

Sister edition of “National Review” in the Republic of Serbia!

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