"Hvosno" is the publication of the St. Sava Cultural Center in Istok. Following the displacement of most Serbs from Istok, it is now based in Kosovska Mitrovica.

Serb returns

Restoration of our heritage
Srpski jezik


Nemanjina 48,
Kos. Mitrovica,

Tel.+381 28 497 598

E-mail: hvosno@ptt.rs

Translated by
S. Lazovic



What is there, really? Really, what is there? Two questions and at least two conspiracies with reality; two real conspiracies. The Osojane Valley, that is, the light and the shady sides of life. Neverthless, so cloudy and difficult. What burns and flickers here casts light on nothing; it blinds. It is the light which hides the biggest darkness, the heaviest and most painful abyss.

This abyss, they say, has begun to take on human contours; those who belong there, those to whom it belongs have returned. It is their homeland. Nevertheless, it seems as if they have returned to a place other than the one they left. This homeland no longer belongs to them. Are they at home in their homeland as they were before? They have yet to make it their home and to grow accustomed to it. For a homeland cannot be simply settled or colonized; and if it could, then it certainly this could not be done just by increasing the number of human bodies in it. Geographic topography and quantitative demographics have yet to settle here, to develop life and a spiritual topography. The people here must create their ancient homeland onceagain, from the beginning. Not just the houses and buildings, the cemeteries, the churches and the schools but the streams and the oak trees, the twilights, the groves, the roads and the paths, the pastures and the meadows must be transferred from their rough-hewn presence in their souls.

A colony of artists joined this refugee colony this summer. Can artist colonists be of any help here? Artists are the paradigms of creation. They shape, educate and build always from the beginning. Every work is somewhat like a new homeland. Even though it is always new and original, art is the ancient homeland of the artist. The ancient Greeks already gave synonymous names to life and a portrait. Life is a portrait, shape and form, just as a portrait is really a portrait not when it merely imitates but when it carries a life of its own. The ancient and Christian zographos (icon-painter) does not concern himself with anything false or artificial. He is not an anatomist; he does not dissect, catalog nor describe parts. This would be base laboring over dead things. He is, as his Greek name was literally and correctly translated in our language, a scribe of life (zivopisac). His recording of life, however, is no artificial and illusory description of life. Life cannot be described. It can only be lived or created. This life-recording life is, like all others, always at the beginning.
Over there, in Osojane, people are returning to the beginning, and the beginning is always new - or else it would not be a beginning. These people need to put down roots once again, to branch out. This needs to become their home. They need to return to the very beginning in order to attain their home and their end. An end does not mean disappearaing and vanishing. It is the framework which designates the domain of the vitality of life. These people need to stop being exiles but they will truly return only when they have stopped been returnees, too - when their returning has come to an end.

No one needs to ensure their return. No one needs to work on their return. If the powerful world really wants to make an effort of some sort, what it needs to do is to stop obstructing their return. The powerful "dogooders", profiteers of conflict, must first protect these people who have taken root in permanent uprooting from themselves, from their own reluctance. People will truly return; they will have their home and their homeland only when they can leave it behind. This is the only way life will return there. A homeland cannot be abandoned.

Drago Djuric (prevod o. Sava Janjic)

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