The member of Crown Council academician Mr . Matija Beckovic, for the 50th anniversary jubilee issue of Vecernje novosti, 16 October 2003
NEITHER HERE NOR THERE
Matija Beckovic, one of the greatest poets of Serbian language, always closely followed by politics that cast the shadow of doubt on him, and he resisted it going towards it, through his poetry initiated dialog with the World around him and laughed in the face of its stupidity and arrogance. As much difficult as the questions were, so often asked, and as joyless his replies were, Matija’s words dispersed fear around us. They were clear and they reminded us about how everything existed before this. That is reason why Matija was so often asked about everything.
It has been a year since our last conversation. During that time nothing important has changed (or it has?) in our country, so my question is an old one – is this the right way for us?
- That’s what you journalists are like! What do you mean nothing has changed, when we don’t even live in the same country – but in the State Union! The only thing good about it is the name, the coat of arms, the anthem and the flag – of other two states. It is clear why it caused enthusiasm adequate for such promising newborn creation. Its officials are at the same time its most fierce enemies, and Serbia and Montenegro look like the holes in the cobweb. In addition, Montenegrin officials retained the right to decided whether to stay in this union or not in three years. It mite have been better if Serbia and Montenegro had separated for three years. Everything would have been clear in one year. But like this, it is highly unlikely that those who did not learn during centuries why Serbia and Montenegro are inseparable, will make up such ignorance in three years. Besides, they will be asked if they want to break up the union just as much as they were asked if they want to join the union.
Aren’t their more and more dates on the list of Serbian historical turning points – that was joined by 5 October – which makes as question our missing opportunities. So, what have we missed?
- The day is not disputable, but I’m not sure about the year. It seams inappropriate to me to celebrate three years of DOS uprising in the eve of First Serbian Uprising bicentennial. And jet – it is better than it use to be – at least for somebody; some things have been done – at least as much as I can see; there is no hunger – at least not mass hunger; there are no murders – at least not mass murders; some things are being built – at least at first impression; people do not live in fear – at least to an extent; there are no major injustices – at least as much as I know; and it can’t be said that nothing has been done – at least this time; and it is going to be better – whatever that might mean!
Are you worried about the sprit of the Nation, that seems to be taking the short courses – from reading it’s own history to interpreting the terms of patriotism, dignity, sovereignty, European ... and whose national institutions have been proclaimed as backwards?
- A respectable French newspaper (“Temps”) wrote in 1915 that Serbia was the only country in the whole wide world that had no enemies. That quote was written by King Peter I in his diary, having no idea that less than a century later, Serbia will not have a single friend in the whole wide world. It took great skill and countless victims to achieve such position! Today, it is permitted to everybody and even advisable to attack Serbian Church and Academy, but no one is brave enough to attack somebody else’s. Ever since the others know about Serbia, it was a Kingdom, and only for the last 60 years a republic. The one who established the republic reigned as long as all Karadjordjevics together. That republic was established in blood and by breaking the law, and I am convinced that in this case the injustice can’t become justice no matter how long it lasts. But, regardless of the way it was established, legitimate or not, Serbia has, most likely forgotten during the 60 years what the kingdom is and has no idea what form of the state it is – as if it had never been a kingdom. I don’t know if it will ever be reestablished, but I do know that the discontinuity with Josip Broz and communism will never be established, if the republic remains as their most important achievement. We are witnesses that the question is not even raised. And even when it is raised, in the way it is raised, it had better not be raised !
Sometimes it seems that our democrats would sooner agree to reenact the decree of 1941 which confiscated the property and prohibited the return of the Karadjordjevics, than they would agree on reestablishing the kingdom. They worry about the Royal Compound more then its owner, and in the elections for the King they would have better chances than the Crown Prince!
Such are the chances of a centuries long institution and principle – and it seem that our ancestors had no idea when they had chosen that form of the state for Serbia. Anyway – Serbia today is neither republic nor kingdom – neither here nor there –it is hardly a state at all – and the state that almost does not exist can hardly have any form of the state.
One of the obstacles for the new Constitution of Serbia is the question of whose country this is – of Serbian nation or citizens? Do you think this question is so difficult?
- It can’t be said that Serbia is the country of the nation that lives in it with out making angry those who live in it and do not consider themselves to be its nation. In addition, they say the constitution will be proclaimed on the Day of the Presentation of Our Lord in Orasac – on the bicentennial of Serbian revolution!
Perhaps the most outstanding issue today is how to preserve elementary sovereignty without being threatened on account of it. It seams that not many are worried about it?
- National communism did not spread only among the intelligencia. It was spiritually disarmed and it surrendered – to the extent possible only in Serbia – that it worried even those whose wishes were fulfilled, those who demanded such surrender and disarmament. No one requests as much as we offer and no one dares to take that much for free. And opens the black hole in the Balkans. As for us, Kosovo would be independent long time ago, Montenegro separated, Republika Srpska forgotten !
The world seems to have trouble in convincing us that we don’t need to bow so deep. And they are begging us to stand up. An empty man, just like an empty bag can not stand up. The international community can help us only if there is someone to help!
The aspirations of Montenegrin authorities for independence, dissolving of Serbian spirit in Montenegro by Duklianism, manipulating history, language, Njegos.... you took it all with quite some contempt. Is that the adequate answer?
- What converted to Islam under the Turks, converted to Montenegrings under communism! And it seems that the best converted to Islam and the worst converted to Montenegrins. But they exist only as long as somebody else thinks about them. As soon as you stop thinking about them – they are gone. And seems that happens more and more often – they will no longer exist.
Your mocking was replied from Montenegro in an alike manner. This bring the news came that you used to work for UDBA. It seems that your file is getting bigger?
- I admitted : a man told me ... a spy from Rovci. To work for the Police (and especially for UDBA) was always the greatest honor and privilege in Montenegro. That could not be done by anybody. During the WW 2 occupation an official wrote that he did not have that many informers anywhere else, and unlike in the other nations, nobody wanted to get paid for the information. They spied for honor and glory. That is why perhaps you did not understand this as praise – and final acceptance.
Once you said that of all the gifts you would prefer to posses the blind faith. Have you lost it?
- This is what Epistle to Corinthians says: “Frail is the love that does not strengthen everybody, that does not forgive everybody”.
Last year you supported the candidacy of Vojislav Kostunica for the president of Serbia. Will you give your vote to Dragoljub Micunovic now?
- When he speaks about why Serbia should have the president, Mr. Micunovic describes the King. And the King is not elected. He says someone should have to represent the country and maintain the balance between the parties, and that there should be someone who would be to the benefit of everybody and harm nobody. He even says that every pub has its landlord, only he does not say that even animals have their king, and we don’t have ours. Its seems that he has nothing against Monarchy on condition that he is the King.
OUR TROOPS IN AFGHANISTAN
It seem to me that our Army has been given an indirect recognition by being invited to take part in the peace corps in Afghanistan. Only yesterday that same Army was named Nazi, fascist, and God knows what, and today it is invited to pacify the Afghans and Moslems. That looks like as if, God forbid, in 1945 the German troops were deployed in Northern Ireland. Those who spat in our face and do not admit they did so, demand from us to wipe our face as soon as possible. And those among us who do not admit they were spat at have the most spit on their faces.
Copyright © 1998 NJ.K.V. Prestolonaslednik Aleksandar II
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