Wednesday, June 30, 2010

False Reports - Always a precursor to war

____________________________


From: Dr. M. Yovanovitch , Chargé daffier at Berlin

To: M. N. Pashitch, Serbia's Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs.



Berlin, June 30, 1914.

(Less than one month before WWI began)


(Telegraphic.)


"The hostility of public opinion in Germany towards us is growing. And is being fostered by false reports coming from Vienna and Budapest. Such reports are being diligently spread in spite of the contradictions issued by some newspapers and news agencies."


____________________________


If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at heroesofserbia@yahoo.com


*****

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The True Meaning of the Battle of Kosovo on St. Vitus Day - the Christian legacy of Vidovdan



Prince Lazar and Princess Milica



Speech Given on Vidovdan

By Melana Pejakovich

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Serbian Orthodox Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary

Fair Oaks, California U.S.A.


Today is Vidovdan, commemorating the day, 619 years ago, when Serbian Prince Lazar and a Serb Christian army defended themselves and Christian Europe from the onslaught of an army of Turkish Islamic invaders at the battlefield of Kosovo Polje.


Sadly, on the battlefield, this day that we honor was not a battle won by Czar Lazar and these brave men, but rather a physical battle lost, as Prince Lazar and all his Christian soldiers died. And, as a result, the Serbs were to spend the next five hundred years in Ottoman chains, forced to understand the literal meaning of the invader’s religion — “Islam” – which means “Submission”.


Yet, at the same time, by their sacrifice, Czar Lazar and his brave knights forged in the Serb heart and soul a spiritual victory that could not have been won any other way. And this noble deed would sustain generation after generation of Serbs for 500 years, remaining the inspiration to never give up hope, to never give up who they were, to never give up on that which Czar Lazar and his knights sacrificed themselves for.


For the Holy Cross and Golden Freedom!


The courage that was shown by Czar Lazar, the spirit of resistance and sacrifice that was born that day at Kosovo Polje, also stood as a Christian witness to the world. Historians and scholars, in both the East and West, saw this great deed and praised the impressive sacrifice the Serbs made to defend European Christianity and their own Christian identity. The Battle of Kosovo on the Field of Blackbirds, was admired for centuries as an ideal of bravery and Christian sacrifice.


Yet today, uninformed non-Serbs (and not a few who call themselves “Serbs”), who don’t understand, can say, 'Why should you commemorate such a day? Why would you choose to remember every year the day you were defeated?'


The intellectual answer to that question is long and complex and does not really answer the always thirsty mind. But the spiritual answer is simple and true, and fills the soul:


'For whosoever would save his life shall lose it: and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall find it.'    Matthew 16:25.


For these Christian soldiers didn’t just die to preserve their wealth or their real estate. They could have done that by giving up their Christian Faith and without a fight – a fight which in this case they knew that they would lose against the superior numbers of the heavily armed Ottoman Turks.


How different the Western world would be if they had given up – if the Gates of Vienna had been “the first line of defense” against the spread of Allah by the sword, instead of the last line of defense for the rest of Europe!


Nor did Lazar and these brave soldiers, as some have suggested, “Commit suicide”.  Because suicide means giving up on life – and these soldiers did just the opposite – they embraced life – the life that transcends this earthly kingdom for the Heavenly Kingdom. They looked death in the face and saw through their physical death to the Life Beyond – and this freed them. The freedom of the spirit far exceeds the freedom of the body, as it can see beyond itself and its own death without fear! Therefore these knights could loudly proclaim, 'Bolje Grob Nego Rob!' ('Better the Grave than a Slave!')


These Serb Christian soldiers died to save their souls and the souls of their people, as our Lord Jesus Christ had done, and it gave our people courage to sustain them through the 500 years of slavery that was to come. Czar Lazar and his soldiers walked in the path that Our Lord, Jesus Christ, had made for them—to the Cross and the Life beyond–as Our Lord had walked more than a thousand years before them.


Future generations of Serbs and other Christians found their life and their real Christian identity that day at Kosovo Polje, as Czar Lazar and his troops lost their earthly lives there on the battlefield to win this great prize for them – to win it for us!



Serbian Poetry expresses the true spiritual meaning of the Battle of Kosovo:

"From Jerusalem, the holy city,
Flying came a swift grey bird, a falcon,
And he carried in his beak a swallow.
But behold and see! 'Tis not a falcon,
'Tis the holy man of God, Elias,
And he does not bear with him a swallow,
But a letter from God's Holy Mother.
Lo, he bears the letter to Kosovo,
Drops it on the Tsar's knees from the heavens,
And thus speaks the letter to the monarch:


"Tsar Lazar, thou Prince of noble lineage,
What wilt thou now choose to be thy kingdom?
Say, dost thou desire a heav'nly kingdom,
Or dost thou prefer an earthly kingdom?
If thou should'st now choose an earthly kingdom,
Knights may girdle swords and saddle horses,
Tighten saddle-girths and ride to battle--
You will charge the Turks and crush their army!
But if thou prefer a heav'nly kingdom,
Build thyself a church upon Kosovo,
Let not the foundations be of marble,
Let them be of samite and of scarlet....
And to all thy warriors and their leaders
Thou shalt give the sacraments and orders,
For thine army shall most surely perish,
And thou too, shalt perish with thine army."


When the Tsar had read the holy letter,

Ponder'd he, and ponder'd in this manner:
"Mighty God, what now shall this my choice be!
Shall I choose to have a heav'nly kingdom?
Shall I choose to have an earthly kingdom?
If I now should choose an earthly kingdom,
Lo, an earthly kingdom is but fleeting,
But God's kingdom shall endure for ever."

And Lazar chose Heaven...


Unfortunately, there are those today – who out of ignorance or as a conscious way of trying to demoralize Serbs— call Czar Lazar's sacrifice and this poetry, “a myth”. There are those who only see the Battle of Kosovo as some kind of Balkan Camelot that never existed, as Camelot in the West never existed – or as some kind of historical event that has no relevance to today.


But these people are blind, because Czar Lazar’s sacrifice was very real, and the poetry is not “myth” but Christian allegory expressing in prose what those who sacrificed their own lives could not tell us in their own words:


Uncover every line of that poetry and of those events at Kosovo Polje, and there is the shining light of Our Lord, Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for us, there is the Bible, there is the courage it takes to be a real Christian.


But why has this fate fallen to the Serbs? With all the Christians in Europe, why should it have been the Serbs who had to face this again?


'For many are called, but few are chosen.'   Matthew 22:14.


It’s God Choice, God’s timing, God’s Plan, not ours. We wouldn’t be asking, 'Why us?' if it was His choice that we all win the lottery. So a better question would be, 'Why not us?'. Timing, geography, politics. Take your pick. We might be the first to pay such a terrible price again, but it’s doubtful that we will be the last to face such a terrible choice and fate.


But I will tell you this – in the last 600 years – we have never stood closer to Czar Lazar and his courageous sacrifice than we Serbs are standing right now. Because the Kosovo cycle has begun once again – and we are presented with the same question, both as Serbs and as Americans: 'Do we wish an earthly kingdom or do we wish a Heavenly one?' Because it is becoming more and more clear that we cannot have both – either on this side of the Atlantic or beyond it.

/.../

Some would say that we have been vilified and demonized so much that it is too hard to endure the emotional abuse of staying the course as Serbian Orthodox Christians.


Our Lord Jesus Christ was lied about repeatedly. Early Christians were accused of killing children to use their blood for the Holy Communion. And our Serbian people suffered the abuse for 500 years of having their Christian children stolen from them and returned to them as Moslem rulers over them; of having their family names stolen from them and of having to answer to, 'Donkey and potato', and other names designed to humiliate them, break their will and force them to give up their Christian Faith. Many gave in, but we are descended from those who did not.


'Blessed are you, when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you for my sake. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way, they also persecuted the prophets who came before you.'     Matthew 5:11-12


The physical and spiritual trials of those Serbs still living in Kosovo today are equally as great as the trials of those who came before them.


But for those of us living outside of Kosovo – and outside of Serbia –these slights and insults may annoy us and hurt our feelings, but we are not enslaved by anything other than our own pride.


As we have opened the 21st century, we Serbs are still warriors. Warriors for the Golden Cross and Holy Freedom. But this cycle of Kosovo, it is for us here away from Kosovo, a spiritual fight, not a military one. As Bill Dorich described the 21st century Christian warrior hero – 'these heroes will fight the lonely battles of conscience, resistance to tyranny and a sacrifice of ego.'  They will lose their life in another way, to find it again through Christ. Because this is the only way to find true freedom.


And we Serbian Orthodox Christians are called to lead, not by pride or arrogance, but by Christian example, aiding those in need – because we know the sacrifices that are to come in this world when many of those Christians in our midst do not.

/.../

Many empires, governments and leaders have risen and fallen over the last 2,000 years, and yet Our Lord Jesus Christ has remained, written on the face of history in the hearts of those brave souls who have given up their lives to follow Him. And we are privileged to have some of the Serbian heroes of Kosovo to call our own — both from 1389 and those heroes today who now suffer in Kosovo, living in ghettos for fear of their mortal lives while holding fast to their Faith in the Life to come. As Czar Lazar might have once said, 'You can take my head, you take my body, for you are a far stronger physical force than we are, but you cannot take our hearts or our souls for they belong to God, alone.'


In February of this year, the current Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, said that 'Serbs must lose the Balkan sentimentality and accept that Kosovo is no longer theirs.' And I quote, 'After all, we are talking about something from 1389 – 1389! It’s time to move on!'


Ms. Rice, Our Lord Jesus Christ walked this earth 2000 years ago and Czar Lazar defended Our Lord’s Church 13 centuries later from those who would destroy it and have us all in the rest of Europe and beyond, pointing toward Mecca to pray today. Both were a very long time ago, but that should make neither less relevant — especially for anyone calling themselves “a Christian”, as you do.


And Christianity is not “sentimentality, Ms. Rice. It is recognition that there is a force greater than ourselves that our true selves and best selves are in communication with – in Communion with – because we were made by Him and for Communion with Him...

As for you telling Serbs to accept that 'Kosovo is no longer theirs'. Ms. Rice, I was born in the U.S.A., as was my mother. I have never set foot in Kosovo or Serbia. I don’t even speak Serbian. And I am full blooded Montenegrin by heritage, yet I can, without hesitation, say, 'Kosovo is mine. Kosovo is ours. Kosovo is Serbia. Kosovo defined what it means to be a Serb and you cannot take that away from us, because you cannot rewrite history, no matter how hard you try!'  And if you cannot convince me as an American, Ms. Rice, and those like me, who do you think that you can convince? Certainly not those Serbs who call Kosovo their home, whose Christian ancestors’ blood has watered the land where they have lived for centuries!


While I have never set foot on Kosovo Polje, the lessons of that day, the love of freedom and the recognition of the sacrifices necessary to be a Christian, will never die in my heart, in the Serbian heart – and will never die in the Christian heart.

/.../

Kosovo was physically lost for 500 years the last time. Who knows how long it will take this time? But regardless of how it all works out in the end, the Battle of Kosovo Polje will always be ours, Kosovo will always belong to Serbs, and no one, however powerful, can take it away unless we give it up.


Vidovdan is the annual reminder for all of us of the choice we must make in this life – the Heavenly Kingdom or the earthly one – and the sacrifice that was made six hundred and nineteen years ago so that we could have this choice to make.


So let us use this day, to rededicate our lives – to Christ – to the Golden Cross and Holy Freedom – and to helping those Serb heroes who are fighting – just by their own survival in Kosovo – for all of us, once again!




Melana Pejakovich
June 28, 2008



Kosovo Polje


*****

If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at heroesofserbia@yahoo.com


*****

Monday, June 28, 2010

June 28 St. Vitus Day (Vidovdan) - The Epic Battle between Christianity and Islam / The Legacy of Kosovo

Aleksandra's Note:  June 28th is one of those days that history never forgets. Although most of the world will know that date as being the anniversary of the act in Sarajevo, Bosnia that lit the fuse of World War I in 1914,  for the Christian Serbians this date will always mark the anniversary of a monumental battle between Christianity and Islam on a field in Kosovo in 1389. Today is a day to honor the incredible sacrifice the Serbs made that one single day, so long ago, in the name of Christianity. They were truly the true believers.

What a race they were.

Sincerely,

Aleksandra Rebic


*****

The Battle between the Christian Serbs
and the Muslim Ottoman Turks
June 28, 1389



VIDOVDAN
(St. Vitus Day)

Sung by Gordana Lazarevic


I'm looking at heavens, centuries going by,
For old memories that's the healing.

Wherever I go I will be back, you know.
Who can rip away Kosovo from my soul

Vidovdan

Eternal flame burning in our hearts
For truth of battle shall live forever.

Wherever I go I will be back, you know.
Who can rip away Kosovo from my soul

Vidovdan

Lord, forgive us all of our sins.
Give the courage to sons and daughters.

Wherever I go I will be back, you know.
Who can rip away Kosovo from my soul




______________________



VIDOVDAN

U nebo gledam prolaze vekovi,
Sećanja davnih jedini lekovi.

Kud god da krenem Tebi se vraćam ponovo.
Ko da mi otme iz moje duše Kosovo

Vidovdan

K'o večni plamen u našim srcima
Kosovskog boja Ostaje istina.

Kud god da krenem Tebi se vraćam ponovo.
Ko da mi otme iz moje duše Kosovo

Vidovdan

Oprosti Bože sve naše grehove
Junaštvom daruj kćeri i sinove.

Kud god da krenem Tebi se vraćam ponovo.
Ko da mi otme iz moje duše Kosovo


*****
 
The following is from www.kosovo.net
 
 
Saint Prince Lazar
19th century Serbian painting


 
 
Saint Lazar the Great Martyr of Kosovo



Prince Lazar was born in 1329 in Prilepac to the aristocrat family Hrebeljanovic. His father Pribac was a Logotet-secretary doing very confidential work for King Dusan the Powerful in the royal palace. Young Lazar was raised in the palace, and was respected by the King who entrusted him with the rule of two parts of his kingdom: Srem and Macva. Lazar married Milica the daughter of an important aristocrat named Vratko also known as Yug Bogdan - a very wise and honorable man from the Nemanjic family. Lazar had three sons: Stevan, Vuk and Lazar and five daughters: Jelena, Mara, Despa, Vukosava and Mileva.


King Dusan the Powerful died unexpectantly in 1355 at the age of 48. This led to a weakening of Serbia's central government. Many dukes used this opportunity to secede from the Kingdom with the land that had been entrusted to them. The young son of Dusan Uros took over the throne and soon was killed. Vukasin Mrnjacevic proclaimed himself the King of Serbia. At this time, Turks were advancing toward the Kingdom of Serbia. In a battle on the river Marica in 1371, Vukasin was killed leaving behind him a weakened, poor and torn Serbia. Serbia was in desperate need of a gifted statesman, rich in virtue and deserving of God's Grace: a man similar to St.Sava and his father St. Stefan Nemanja who had founded the Serbian state. The Church recognized just such a man in Prince Lazar. His talent for leadership, wisdom and experience lifted him above those who would seize the throne by force and sought their own glory and importance.


Prince Lazar, first sought to consolidate and strengthen the Kingdom. As was the custom of that day and age, he married his daughters to the rebellious Serbian aristocrats. This enlarged and stabilized Serbia. Having thus secured the loyalty of dissident aristocrats, Prince Lazar turned to those countries which bordered his own, seeking to deepen Serbia's relationship with them.


At this time, the Serbian Orthodox Church was in a dispute with the Patriarch of Constantinople. King Dusan the Powerful wanted Serbia to have an independent Church. He single-handedly sought to elevate the Serbian archbishop to the level of a patriarch. The Patriarch of Constantinople utterly rejected this act and broke relations with the Church in Serbia. This was a very serious problem and one which King Lazar managed to solve by reconciling the Serbian Church and that of Constantinople. It was a result of this reconciliation that gave the Serbian Church its first canonical Patriarch.


The expansion of that Ottoman state, and increasingly frequent Turkish raids into his land, warned Prince Lazar that the time for a decisive battle was drawing near. Lengthy preparation on both sides preceded this confrontation. The fact that the armies were led by the Turkish ruler Murad 1 and by King Lazar of Serbia illustrates the importance of this battle. It was decided that the site of the battle would be a field in Kosovo (Kosovo Polje).


Prince Lazar knew that his chances against the Turkish aggressor were small and on the eve of the Battle of Kosovo he gathered his upper aristocracy and asked if they should fight for the Holy cross and Golden Freedom or surrender to their adversaries and live as slaves of the Muslims. They had to chose between the Heavenly Kingdom and earthly one. In the true spirit of Christianity they preferred to place their hope in Christ and Eternal Life. The Prince and all of this warriors took Holy communion and went into battle on Saint Vitus Day, Tuesday June 15th (June 28) 1389.


In the beginning of the battle Serbian warriors were able to advance. Milos Obilic, the most famous hero of this Kosovo Battle, killed the Turkish King Murad. Despite this unexpected development, the Turkish army re-grouped and over ran the Serbs. They captured Prince Lazar alive, but beheaded him shortly thereafter.


Today his earthly remains are amazingly preserved intact and kept in the monastery Ravanica which was founded by him, along with many others churches and monasteries. The faithful gather from all Serbia just as they have through centuries to venerate his Holy relics and to get comfort and healing and to inspire them in the hope and belief that better days will come.



Gazimestan Tower, the memorial monument at the
site of the Kosovo Battle of 1389


*****


If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at heroesofserbia@yahoo.com



*****


Friday, June 25, 2010

Dr. Michael I. Pupin pledged all his worldly possessions and stood to lose all that he had...

Dr. Mihajlo (Michael) Pupin
1858-1935

Aleksandra's Note: Helen Losanitch Frothingham was a young woman in her twenties, living in Belgrade, Serbia when World War I began and her beloved city was assaulted by the Austrians. Her family, like the Serbian government, left for Nish, south of Belgrade. She was living in Nish when, in November of 1914, she was appointed the Serbian Red Cross delegate to America to enlist help for her homeland. The war was only four months old, and the worst was still to come for her people, though no one knew that at the time. She left for America in January of 1915 to begin her six year service on behalf of war relief for Serbia and the Serbs. Over a six year period, between 1915 and 1920, she wrote letters to her sister and her family, keeping them updated on her experiences. These letters, an amazing personal record of an extraordinary life which, fortunately, were saved by her family, were published in the book "Mission for Serbia: Letters from America and Canada" in 1970, 50 years later.

Here I would like to highlight not Helen herself, but another Serb who left a great impression on her. Though many have heard of him and know his name, and he is a renowned historical figure in the world of "Inventions", Physics, and Chemistry, I don't know how many know of a pledge that he made during WWI on behalf of his countrymen, thousands of miles away, which reflects so perfectly what kind of man Dr. Mihajlo (Michael) Pupin was and just how big a heart he had.

I'm grateful to Helen Losanitch Frothingham for documenting this revelation about the nature of the Serbian character as is exemplified by one of Serbia's finest sons.

Sincerely,

Aleksandra Rebic

*****

January 1, 1919
New York

"These past weeks were such stormy ones for me that I just could not write you. But now, after an endless period of indecision, our committee has finally voted to use all the funds on deposit here to care for our war orphans...

"Now we are in the process of reorganizing the committee and have a friend of Mr. Plimpton's, the Dr. Dutton whom I had met at Walpole, acting as temporary chairman until a permanent one can be found. Our immediate task is to purchase everything needed to establish our orphanage and to look for Americans to staff it. I shall, of course, go with the mission.

"Now that I've brought you up to date on our committee's plans for the future, I want to tell you something of my life in New York since returning from Washington...

"Of course I saw Professor Pupin frequently at all those turbulent committee meetings, and I had lunch with him a few days ago. He told me that he had recently attended a banquet given at Sherry's in honor of Dr. Masaryk (the founder and first president of Czechoslovakia 1919-1935), at which he had been seated next to an American admiral. In the course of conversation with him, the admiral had suddenly turned to Pupin and said, 'I think you Serbs are the finest people in the world.' This remark touched Pupin greatly and it reminds me of something I have been meaning for a long time to tell you about him.

"When our Serbian troops were assembled on the Salonika front preparing for the push north to liberate Serbia, a Serbian puchasing mission was in the United States to buy much-needed munitions and other war materials for this action. But the American businessmen whom they approached in this matter were naturally reluctant to fill orders without some guarantee of payment. How could they trade with representatives of a country under enemy occupation or with a government in exile on a small Greek island in the Mediterranean? When Pupin heard of the mission's difficulties, he came forward and personally pledged all his worldly possessions as security for the payment of supplies to be ordered. I shall never forget the expression on his face as he told me this. I think few of our people knew about this magnificent act, which, to me, is a measure of this man's greatness and his devotion to his native land. If our troops had not been successful in those last battles, Pupin stood to lose all that he had. You can see now why the admiral's remark about what fine people the Serbs are reminded me of this act of Pupin's."

Helen Losanitch Frothingham
1919


*****

If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at heroesofserbia@yahoo.com

*****

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Without Complaint / Bez Uzvika / Serbia's WWI poet Milutin Bojic captures the Serbian soul

Serbian Poet Milutin Bojic
1892-1917


Storm approaching Corfu
Photo by Alex Matos


The remaining survivors of the Serbian Army arrive on Corfu
1915/1916



Aleksandra's Note: The epic nature of the history of the Serbian people has often best been captured in the words of poets and writers. Milutin Bojic, a Serbian patriot born in Belgrade in 1892, was born just in time to enter young manhood at the beginning of World War I. In 1915 he was one of the many thousands of Serbs who made the legendary retreat across the brutal Albanian mountains after the Germans and Bulgarians attacked his homeland with a vengeance. He survived the retreat and reached the promised land of Corfu Island, the Greek sanctuary where the Serbian Army would miraculously resurrect itself, living long enough to put to words the story of the Serbs at this critical time in their history. He would not, however, survive the war. Struck by tuberculosis after reaching Salonika, he would not live to see the final magnificent victory on that front in September of 1918. At the age of 25, in 1917, he died.  Fortunately, Milutin Bojic lived long enough to capture the essence of the soul of his people through his gift for expression. Even those of us who cannot imagine the hardships endured but can still be awed by the glorious capacity for survival and perseverance that is such a mysterious and noble quality inherent in the Serbian national consciousness can read the words of a Milutin Bojic and be moved.

He was just a young man when he died, but his words will live forever.

Though Milutin Bojic is probably best known for his haunting WWI poem "Blue Graveyard" ("Plava Grobnica"), I wanted to highlight "Without Complaint", written in the last year of his life almost a century ago, that can serve to remind anyone who reads it today of our capacity to overcome the greatest obstacles and setbacks and to persevere, retaining both our soul and our humanity.


Sincerely,

Aleksandra Rebic


*****


WITHOUT COMPLAINT


Nothing more for us is new or strange,
All lands to us are dear and kindred:
In the bright sun, beneath the wild storms’ rage,
We were as calm as in our native land.


Within us through our wanderings we bear
Our homeland and its sufferings’ renown;
And now, I beg you, Fate, lay her to rest,
Stained with the blood of our eternal wounds!


And so for us the oceans are not strange,
Nor yet the graves of centuries long dead;
Calmly we sit at table in the world’s great hall
While still the foe drinks in our flowers’ scent.


With trumpets like a solemn church parade,
Alone, or with our children, wives, and herds,
We wander on from place to place, from town to town,
Bearing the banners of our greatness and our fall.


The scale we learned of old we now play out once more,
The scale of fate with others less than kind;
And so for us today nothing is strange,
It seems we passed through everywhere before.


And when we stir anew the ashes of our hearth,
And tell again the tales of olden days:
We’ll listen to the fire, hear its mirth,
Just as the master, homewards from the hunt
Carries upon his lips the self-same song


With which he left that morning for the mountain.






Milutin Bojic
1917


Translated by Bernard Johnson

*****


Без узвика


Ни чудног ни новог за нас нема више,
Све су земље нама и драге и сродне:
Сред сјаја, и врх нас кад се буре свише,
Бесмо мирни, као усред земље родне.


Отаџбина наша са патње је знана,
Лутајући ми је носимо у себи;
Она је у крви наших вечних рана,
И, кушам те, судбо, такву је погреби!


Зато нама нису океани страни,
Ни гробови старих умрлих столећа;
Мирни смо на гозби у светској дворани
И кад небрат пије мирис нашег цвећа.


Ми, као литија, лутамо с трубама
Од кута до кута, од града до града,
Час сами, час с децом, стадом и љубама,
Носећи стегове и власти и пада.


Понављамо скалу што познасмо рано,
Скалом судбе којом други једва мили;
Зато нама данас ништа није страно,
Чини нам се, свуда већ смо једном били.


И кад разгрнемо пепелишта снова,
Стари ће се дани уз реч да помену:
Слушаћемо ватру и веселост њену,
Ко домаћин што се вратио из лова


С песмом с којом јутрос у планину крену.




Милутин Бојић
1917



*****



If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at heroesofserbia@yahoo.com



*****

Friday, June 18, 2010

"Hajduk Stanko" - The Joy of the Dance!




Aleksandra's Note: The culture of the Serbian people is rich and wonderful. It's nice to leave the politics of the day behind, and just enjoy life! Throughout the ages, no matter what obstacles they have faced or what tragedies have befallen them, the Serbian people have maintained a joy and a love for life that is contagious. No one exposed to Serbian culture can help but be captivated, always left wanting more. It is amazing what one can find in their travels on the internet. "Hajduk Stanko" will, I hope, bring a smile to your face and make you want to put on some of that wonderful, life-affirming Serbian music that makes everything seem just a little bit brighter! The "Dance" is one of those things that will always remind me of the best in Serbian culture, and the "Dance" is what "Hajduk Stanko" is all about. Thank goodness for organizations such as this whose purpose it is to celebrate joy and to keep tradition alive!

Sincerely,

Aleksandra Rebic

*****



HAJDUK STANKO


"Ansambl narodnih igara "HAJDUK STANKO" osnovan je u jesen 2001. godine kao neformalna grupa entuzijasta i zaljubljenika u folklornu umetnost, tradicionalnu pesmu, igru i običaje srpskog i ostalih naroda koji u Srbiji žive..."


"The folklore ensemble "HAJDUK STANKO" was founded in the autumn of 2001 as an informal group of enthusiasts and admirers of folk art, traditional song, dance, and the customs of the Serbian people, as well as others who live in Serbia..."













































*****


If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel
 free to contact me at heroesofserbia@yahoo.com


*****


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Serbia and her people: Always the Target of Bombs / Remembering June 10, 1999

Belgrade, Serbia



Aleksandra's Note: Today, June 10, 2010 marks the 11th anniversary of the end of a 78 day bombing campaign that was waged against Serbia and her people in 1999. Over and over again, Serbia has been the target of those who wish to either "punish" her or to beat her into submission, not on the ground in combat, but from the air. Serbia has known the wrath of both enemies and "allies", which raises the question of what happens when an "ally" becomes the "enemy".

The following testimony comes from Fortier Jones, a young American from Texas who, in 1915, left his studies at Columbia University in New York to join the WWI Relief Effort in Serbia. He arrived in the summer of 1915, in time to get to know the Serbian lands and the Serbian people before the Central Powers, with Germany leading the assault, began pounding Belgrade in October of 1915.  That was the beginning of the "modern" 20th century, and the use of the new kind of "courageous" warfare from the sky was being perfected. At the very end of that same century, Belgrade would again be the target of bombs. The only thing that had changed was that in 1999 it would not be enemy bombs, but allied bombs that would terrorize the Serbian nation and her people.


I know that Serbia will never forget.


Sincerely,

Aleksandra Rebic




Bombed building in Belgrade, 1999


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FROM "WITH SERBIA INTO EXILE"
By Fortier Jones
1916


"Of course, war is war, but let us get a picture. Suppose on a perfect day in Indian summer you sat in that tiny, flower-filled court with the hospitable mother, Mitar, the handsome, Dushan, the cautious, and Milka, the coquettish. As you romp with the children, you hear distantly a dull clap of thunder, just as if a summer shower were brewing. A second, a third clap, and you walk out to the entrance to scan the sky. It is deep blue and cloudless, but away over the northern part of the city, while you look, as if by magic, beautiful, shiny white cloudlets appear far up in the crystal sky, tiny, soft, fluffy things that look like a baby’s powder-puff, and every time one appears a dull bit of thunder comes to you. For twelve months off and on you have seen this sight. You think of it as a periodic reminder that your nation and the one across the way are at war. You know that heretofore those powder-puffs have been directed at your own guns on the hills behind the city and at the entrenchments down by the river. But there are many things you do not know. You do not know, for instance, that Mackensen is just across the river now with a great Teutonic army outnumbering your own forces five or six to one. You do not know that for weeks the Austrian railways have been piling up mountains of potential powder-puffs behind Semlin, and bringing thousands of ponderous machines designed to throw said puffs not only at the forts and trenches, but at your flower-filled court and its counterparts throughout the city. You do not know that aeroplanes are parked by fifties beyond Semlin, and loaded to capacity with puffs that drop a long, long way and blossom in fire and death wherever they strike. You do not know that from a busy group of men in Berlin an order has gone out to take your city and your nation at any cost, and if you knew these things, it would now be too late. For as you look, in a few brief moments, the thunderstorm rolls up and covers the city, such a thunderstorm as nature, with all her vaunted strength, has never dared to manufacture. Mitar and Dushan and Milka stop their play. Worried, the woman comes out and stands with you. You say the firing is uncommonly heavy today, but it will mean nothing, and as you say this, you notice the powder puffs on the slopes of the hills far short of the forts and over the town itself. High above you to of them suddenly appear, and the storm begins in your region, in the street in front of you, on the homes of your neighbors. With increasing rapidity the rain falls now, five to the minute, ten, fifteen, twenty, twenty-five every sixty seconds, and every drop is from fifty pounds to a quarter of a ton of whirling steel, and in the hollow heart of each are new and strange explosives that, when they strike, shake the windows out of your house.

"Looking toward Semlin, you see the aeroplanes rising in fleets. Some are already over the city, directing the fire of the guns across the river, and others are dropping explosive bombs, incendiary bombs, and darts. In a dozen places already the city is blazing terribly. A thin, shrill, distant sound comes to you and the waiting woman, almost inaudible at first, but quivering like a high violin note. It rises swiftly in a crescendo, and you hear it now tearing down the street on your left, a deafening roar that yet is sharp, snarling, wailing. Two hundred yards away a three story residence is lifted into the air, where it trembles like jelly, and drops, a heap of debris, into the street. Your friend lives there. His wife, his children, are there, or were, until that huge shell came. Milka, Dushan, and Mitar have come in time to see their playmates’ home blown to atoms. Without waiting for anything, you and the quiet, frightened woman seize the children and start out of the city. As you come to the road that winds tortuously to the hills behind the town, you see that it is black with thousands and thousands of men and women dragging along screaming Mitars and Dushans and Milkas. Hovering above this road, which winds interminably on the exposed hillside before it reaches the sheltering crest, flit enemy aeroplanes, and on the dark stream below they are dropping bombs.


"There is no other road. You know you must pass along beneath those aeroplanes. You look at the woman and the children, and wonder who will pay the price. Oh, for a conveyance now! If only the American were here with his automobile, how greatly would he increase the children’s chances! Carriages are passing, but you have no carriage. Railway-trains are still trying to leave the city, but there is literally no room to hang on the trains, and the line is exposed to heavy fire. Only slowly can you go with the children down the street already clogged with debris. Now in front you see a friend with his family, the mother and four children. They are in a coupe, drawn by good horses. How fortunate! The children recognize one another. Milka shouts a greeting. She is frightened, but of course does not realize the danger. Even as she is answered by her playmate in the carriage, all of you are stunned by a terrible blast, and there is no family or carriage or horses any more. There is scarcely any trace of them. The fierce hunger of a ten-inch shell sent to wreck great forts is scarcely appeased by one little family, and, to end its fury, blows a crater many feet across in the street beyond. Along with you, Mitar has realized what is going on, and not the least of the trouble that overwhelms you is to see the knowledge of years drop in a minute on his childish face when those comrades are murdered before his eyes. If he gets out of this inferno and lives a hundred years, he will never shake off that moment. The shell has blown a crater in his soul, and because he is a Serb, that crater will smoke and smolder and blaze until the Southern Slav is free from all which unloosed that shell or until he himself is blown beyond the sway even of Teutonic arms. He grasps his mother’s hand and drags her on.


"Now you are in the outskirts of the city. No word can be spoken because of the constant roar of your own and the enemy’s guns—a roar unfaltering and massive, such as in forty-eight hours sixty thousand huge projectiles alone could spread over the little city. On the road you pass frequently those irregular splotches of murder characteristic of bomb-dropping. Here only one man was blown to pieces by a precious bomb, yonder two women and a child, farther along eight people, men, women, and children lie heaped. Here again only a child was crippled, both feet or a hand gone. It is hard to be accurate when sailing high in the air, hard even for those ‘fearless’ men who with shrapnel bursting around their frail machines calmly drop death upon women and children…"


Fortier Jones
1916


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If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at heroesofserbia@yahoo.com


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