Page 322 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
P. 322

Milica Bakić-Hayden
 Milošević’s speech delivered at the main celebration marking the 600th anniversary of the battle of Kosovo pro- vides an interesting contrast with the event from a hun- dred years earlier. There was, of course, no emphasis on religious and commemorative aspect of the event with Prince Lazar’s sacrifice in the center, but rather the ideal of the legendary hero, Miloš Obilić, was stressed. as was pointed out earlier, in different historical circumstances the ideal of heroic martyrdom or heroic deed would be invoked, and the theme of battle would be contextual- ized as required by the situation. Thus,
“By the force of social circumstances this great 600th anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo is taking place in a year in which Serbia, after many years, after many decades, has regained its state, national and spiritual integrity. There- fore, it is not difficult for us to answer today the old ques- tion: how are we going to face Miloš...” and
“Six centuries later, now, we are being again engaged in battles and are facing battles. They are not armed bat- tles, although such things cannot be excluded yet. How- ever, regardless of what kinds of battles they are, they can- not be won without resolve, bravery, and sacrifice, with- out the noble qualities that were present here in the field of Kosovo in the days past.”31
31 1989.htm (21/03/04).
The Battle of Kosovo, drawing, mixed media, Vladimir Pajević, 1991
Milošević pointed out himself that “it is difficult to say what is the historical truth about the Battle of Kosovo and what is legend,” and he found such questions “no longer important,” leaving them to “science and the people” to find answers to them.32 However, while seemingly putting himself above the scholarly debates (“science”) and pop- ular imagination (“people”), Milošević actually correlat- ed (or manipulated) the two by translating the contem- porary situation into concepts of the past, and thus put- ting the whole speech into an atemporal, mythical realm of seemingly unchanging meanings. The battle was fought six centuries ago, and we are in the battle again... Once again, “we” struggle against “them”... However, “we” of Prince Lazar are hardly the “we” of Slobodan Milošević. in his moral frame of reference there is no heavenly king- dom, no “forever,” or “until the end of time,” but only “small” and earthly—a qualitative difference, indeed. Like- wise, six hundred years later, the historical referent re- garding “they” is no longer Ottoman Turks but albanians. But, since the basic symbolism of the initial historical con- frontation, “cross versus crescent” has remained the same, it enables the present to be perceived as just another past despite the crucial difference in ethics that frames seem- ingly identical historical situations mentioned above. it is at the level of this deep symbolism with its rhetorical and

   320   321   322   323   324