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Bogoljub Šijaković
 Prince Lazar, painting by Milorad Bata Mihailović, 1971, private collection, Paris
ence of a history of endured suffering, the historical expe- rience of border disputes, victories and defeats, glory and humility) have an epistemic meaning because they enable the understanding of history. From there proceeds the her- meneutic meaning of suffering people for understanding history, if we are capable of viewing historical events from the perspective of victim.
The truth from the perspective of Sacrifice as subject substantially differs from truth from the perspective of Violence which seeks sacrifice as an object. Through stig- matization violence constructs the victim as an object and thus rationalizes its actions, it demonizes the victim and in that way hides the holiness of the victim. it also hides its own nature: contemporary Violence, as a modernization of barbarianism and new absolutism, uses a myth-creating justification of violence by constructing guilt. The stigma- tization of the Serbian people as an effort to annul its iden- tity and to force it to accept blame as a means of domina- tion, the branding which we felt on our own skin even dur-
ing the last civil war and which was often employed by anti-Serbian propaganda during the First World War, is really a technique by which the marked object (Serbian people) is first pushed out of the field of morality so that it could later be pushed out of the field of justice: he who has been disqualified as a moral being is thus made worthy for unjust violence to be exacted against him. For this reason we have a special obligation to defend the honor of our victims. and due to the fact that the Serbian people, to- gether with the jews and armenians, has been numbered among the peoples with the highest percentage of military and civilian victims in newer history (19th and 20th centu- ries), our obligation and need to establish a memorial insti- tution dedicated to Serbian victims has implications on our identity and is an existential question, it is ontological (so to say) and not only ethical. We have forgotten our own multimillions of victims (the exact number is still unde- fined) which is some form of collaboration in crime.
it is essential to rehabilitate the Vidovdan ethic of sacri- fice and effort, not only because it is a part of the identity of the Serbian people but because it represents an important determination to overcome the unbearable confines of re- ality. apart from that: identity is integrity as the ability for general self-sustenance and self-recognition. an impor- tant condition of identity is memory, all the more impor- tant for one who was long and frequently subject to sys- tematic pressure to change his identity. Historical memory as a condition of historical knowledge and historical self- consciousness, as a concern for the reference points of na- tional identity in historical endurance, is also essential for a common awareness of past and orientation to the future. it is made urgent because the social agenda hands us a structural amnesia as an extinguisher of selected points in memory. it is relayed from the structures of power to his- torical science, literature, art, “theory,” in which systematic damage is done to memory: damnatio in memoria—de- formation, manipulation, and annulment of memory and recollection. Deformed, constructed and imagined mem- ory has the simultaneous function of forgetting. Study of the structures of social memory and recollection and dis- covery of the techniques of deforming memory and recol- lection is a condition of contemporary critical historical knowledge and historical self-consciousness. Because the effects of forgetting are dramatic.
Our responsibility in history is not only tied to a correct participation in historical events—historical responsibility is transgenerational and it produces moral unity of histori- cal time. Historical events therefore oblige us. even today Vidovdan obliges us to courage and responsibility toward historical existence, to the axiomatic decision that Kosovo and jasenovac are an important and irrefutable part of our identity which no one can take away from us—unless we give it away.
Politika, june 23, 2013. Translated into english by Nenad Djordjević.

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