Page 704 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
P. 704

Dimitrije Djordjević
The realities were somber, but a young and dynamic society, based on free peasant land ownership, and the emergence of a middle-class and a domestic intelligentsia, all moved Serbia toward the future. again, history was to justify existence and to offer prospects. in 1844 the Serbi- an statesman ilija Garašanin combined the past, present, and the future of his country in the Načertanije (“Draft”), which was to become the Serbian national program until World War i. in this program the old “pre” and “post” Kosovo approach was amended by the existence of the newly restored statehood. as Garašanin observed:
The Serbian state must strive to expand and become stronger... Its roots and foundation are firmly imbedded in the Serbian empire of the thirteenth and fourteenth cen- turies and the glorious pageant of Serbian history... The arrival of the Turks in the Balkans interrupted this devel- opment [the taking over of the Byzantine empire]... But now, since the Turkish power is broken and destroyed, so to speak this interrupted process must commence once more and in the same spirit... We Serbs appear before the world as the heirs of our illustrious fathers, doing nothing that is new, other than completing their work... Serbia must de- stroy, stone by stone, the edifice of the Turkish State... and upon the solid foundation of the old Serbian state, erect the new one 43
The tradition of Kosovo again reappeared as the cor- nerstone in shaping the history of the Serbian state.
in 1848 revolutions stormed europe and echoed in the Balkans. in Central europe the explosion of nationalism, liberalism and anti-feudalism marked the finale of the movement which started in France in 1789. The ideas of european liberalism penetrated modestly in Serbia. They echoed among the youth and were embodied in the al- ready awakened nationalism. in 1845 liberal high school students organized the “Dušan regiment” (Dušanov polk) and held military exercises in Belgrade. Two years later the group was enlarged and renamed “The Society of Ser- bian Youth” (Družina mladeži srpske) with the program to include “all Serbs from the ancient empire.” They chose St. Vitus Day as the commencement day of the society; for that was the day “when our heroic forefathers sacri- ficed themselves for freedom and showed to their poster- ity the path to follow.” The society’s member, Stevan Ći- rić, made the inflammatory appeal: “Do we will, are we able, do we dare to go to Kosovo?”44 Roused by the 1848
43 Dragoslav Stranjaković, “Kako je postalo Garašaninovo ’Načer- tanije,’” Spomenik SKA, XVi, ii (Belgrade, 1939), p. 70: The transla- tion in english by Paul Hehn in: “The Origins of Modern Pan-Ser- bism,” East European Quarterly, iX, (2) (Boulder, 1975), pp. 158–169.
44 The emblem of the society depicted St. Sava blessing two Ser- bian boys shaking hands over the Serbian coat of arms. among mem- bers of the society were later founders of the Liberal Party: jovan Ristić, Radivoje Milojković, jovan ilić, and others, see, Skerlić, Om- ladina i njena književnost (1848–1871), 2nd ed. (Belgrade, 1925), pp. 18, 23, 25, 27.
Serbian movement across the Danube, students in Bel- grade declared on St. Vitus day that the moment had come to prove “who is for the cause and who is the traitor”45— an allusion to Prince Lazar’s speech on the eve of the Bat- tle of Kosovo.
The revolution which started in Hungary triggered Ser- bian demands for an autonomous Vojvodina. Revived na- tionalism erupted throughout the Habsburg empire. Re- jected by the Hungarian leadership, the Serbs turned for support to the emperor in Vienna and caused a tragic civil war with the Hungarians. On 1 May 1848, the popular as- sembly in Karlovci proclaimed the autonomy of the Voj- vodina, elected a Serbian Vojvoda, and promoted the met- ropolitan to patriarch. as usual, the Kosovo message was present on that occasion. josip Rajačić, the newly elected patriarch, said to the crowd: “You are watched upon to- day by the holy stem of the Nemanjić, by Simeon, Sava and Uroš, Dušan and Lazar. Remember Miloš Obilić... but also the treason of Vuk Branković.”46 To the Serbian frontiersmen, who were called to follow the example of the Kosovo warriors, the message was clear: “Don’t be sons of Vuk Branković!”47 Paradoxically enough, the ap- peal requested the same loyalty to “our merciful emperor Ferdinand.”
The dynamic period of the 1860s was marked by the abolition of the Vojvodina in the Habsburg Monarchy; the nationalistic policy of Prince Mihailo in Serbia; the wars of Montenegro with the Ottomans; the upheavals in Po- land, Herzegovina, and the island of Crete; and the wars for the unification of italy and Germany. at the same time the Kosovo tradition in Serbia got a significant boost from the flowering of romanticism. To overthrow the “foreign yoke,” to admire the “glorious past,” to deplore the “trag- edy of Kosovo” and to cry for revenge—these became the slogans of the day. The generation of the 1860s was con- vinced that the final settlement of the national question was around the comer and that the time had come for decisive action. as the historian Slobodan jovanović wrote, never were the Serbs so proud and never had they be- lieved so strongly in their historical mission as they did at that time.48
To young romanticists God was Serbian, and the Serb was the epitome of emperor Dušan. Kralj Marko and Mi- loš Obilić were looked on as close relatives, almost con- temporaries.49 Historiography echoed the popular epics;
45 Gradja za istoriju srpskog pokreta u Vojvodini 1848–1849 Bel- grade; SaNU, 1952), Serija i, vol. 1 (March-june 1848), Grujić to M. Petrović (Belgrade 5, V, 1848), Doc. 320. p. 414.
46 Gradja za istoriju srpskog pokreta u Vojvodini, The speech of Patriarch Rajačić presented at the May assembly, Doc. 181, p. 256.
47 Gradja za istoriju srpskog pokreta u Vojvodini, Proclamation of the Main People’s Committee to Serbian officers and non-commis- sioned officers, Doc. 277, pp. 370–71; Doc. 276, pp. 371–72.
48 Slobodan jovanović, Druga vlada Miloša i Mihaila (Beograd 1923), p. 263.

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