Page 386 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
P. 386

Thomas a. emmert
 The Original Model of Meštrović Saint Vitus Temple, 1912, National Museum, Kruševac
“What i had in mind was an attempt to create a synthesis of popular national ideals and their development, to express in stone and building how deeply buried in each one of us are the memories of the great and decisive moments in our history... i wanted at the same time to create a focus of hope for the future, one which stands out in the countryside and under the free sky. it was thinking about these ideas that brought me back to biblical themes. a feeling for the general suffering of man took the place that until then had been filled by a feeling for the suffering of my own nation...”
The axis invasion began 10 days later. Yugoslavia was dis-membered and puppet states were established in Cro- atia and Serbia. Within weeks of the occupation the resis- tance struggle began. On the anniversary of Kosovo in 1942, in an article in Belgrade’s Naša Borba (Our Struggle), an organ of the puppet government, it was argued that every- thing the resistance movement represented was in direct opposition to the spirit, ideals, and the legacy of the heroes of Kosovo:
“it is not dangerous to lose a battle. it is not even that dangerous to lose a state... Such losses can be made up. it is dangerous, however, when one begins to distort the truth, warp principles, corrupt ideals, and poison traditions. Then the spirit suffers, craziness overcomes it, and self-destruc- tion crushes it... Can the discord be greater? Can the blun- der be worse? it can if the eel is exchanged for the snake, the heavenly sower for the sower of corn cockles... if truth is replaced with lies, wisdom with foolishness, beauty with ugliness, patriotism with hatred of country... blessing with damnation... The defeat of a nation is either a tragedy or a comedy, depending on whether the blow comes from out-
side or from inside, from Providence or from a crazy mind. Our Kosovo is a tragedy. The ’Kosovo without Kosovo’ is a comedy—a comedy as a symbol of Njegoš’ curse: Lords, damn their souls... They threw away the government and the state! Lords, ugly cowards, They become traitors of the land.”61
With the establishment of a socialist society in Yugosla- via after World War ii, there was a marked decline in public comment on the meaning of Kosovo—most noticeably on the occasion of the anniversary of the battle. The govern- ment’s ideologues and many of the war’s survivors helped to create new legends about the great battles of the Partis- san movement. For many years after the war the Battle on the Sutjeska was revered as a kind of Yugoslav Kosovo. Commemorations of the Battle of Kosovo were essentially confined to services of the Serbian Church; and it has been the Church that continues to remind the faithful of the ba- sic religious and humanistic qualities of the Kosovo ethic:
“One of the main characteristics of Kosovo is the idea of a conscious, willing sacrifice for noble ideals, a sacrifice of one individual for the benefit of the rest, a sacrifice now for the sake of a better future. according to popular under- standing which developed in our folk literature, the Battle of Kosovo was not an event in which it was possible to win or lose. it was rather a conscious, heroic sacrifice. a slave is only half a man; a freeman is similar to God.”62
a perhaps more secular interpretation of the basic idea of the Kosovo spirit is provided by Miloslav Stojadinović in the preface of his Kosovska Trilogija (Kosovo Trilogy). He maintains that ...“the Kosovo spirit is the ’revolutionary spirit of justice, humanity, equity, equality of rights, with a noticeably democratic and progressive quality of respect for the rights of all other people.”63
in these few words Stojadinović expresses the timeless character of the Kosovo ethic. as we have noted, this ethic was nourished in the patriarchal society of the Serbian peas- ant during the centuries of Ottoman domination. it ex- pressed a basic attitude toward life itself: democratic, anti- feudal, with a love for justice and social equality. For centu- ries it has been an essential ingredient in the historical con- sciousness of the Serbian people.
Kosovo, ed. B.W.R. jenkins, Serbian Western american Diocese 1992, pp. 47–59.
61 D.Najdanović,“OKosovuondaisad”,NašaBorba,pp.2,43(28 june 1941), p. 4.
62 “Vidovdan”, p. 8.
63 Miloslav Stojadinović, Kosovska trilogija (Belgrade 1970), p. 5

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