Everything started when I was invited to attend traditional Romanian music concert in November last year 2018 during celebration of 100 years of Romania.
There, my absolutely genuine souls and humble heart Romanian friends gave me the opportunity to feel the atmosphere and to participate in the dance. I was thrilled to see how similar Serbian and Romanian traditional dance are and to widen my knowledge about dear Romanian friends and their soul. Just felt amazingly beautiful and was deeply touched.
After some dance we went to our table to try to rest, and then, just as we set, a Romanian friend stood up and started going back to the podium promptly not to lose opportunity to dance his favorite song which just started.
I look at him with admiration as his emotions were high and he said to me rushing back to the podium :
" Darko my friend, you know, it is hard to be Romanian!"
This expression had a strong impact on me as I wrote about in my article "Night of emotions. Is it is hard to be Romanian?", and I was thinking how to organize an event where participants would ask them selves " Is it hard to be a Serb?"
And get the same answer! Yes it is!
And opportunity aroused when I asked a friend, young, extremely devoted and inteligent, hard working history student of Belgrade University Mr. Jovan Milenkovic if he knows and can recommend talented historian whom I would invite to Cyprus to present the lecture "Serbia 1915".
After some thoughts he sent me the contact information of Mr. Boris Markovic, his friend and generation as they both were born in 1992.
Boris Markovic graduated History at University of Belgrade and it is a master candidate. He works at History museum of Serbia in Belgrade and writes for National Geographic Serbian edition.
All above is a good reference, but I needed to be sure also about a character of Boris. Here I would like to let you, readers know that after just a few hours I decided to invite him and put forward organizational procedures for event to happen. It was no need to have second thought becouse first and foremost, I had a trust in Mr. Jovan Milenkovic judgment, even though that I met him just briefly in Belgrade two years ago.
And it was a winner!
Mr. Boris Markovic proved all!
He is extremely well organized and knowledgeable, has strong integrity and calmness, talks to the point and he is genuine and honest person who loves his roots, his country and traditions. At the same time he is also a good listener and good diplomat.
We agreed from the very beginning to present a great suffering of Serbia and its people in the years of Great War, especially in year 1915 and at the same time to try to connect all humans from all sides showing that wars do not settle anything and that human life and our tiny planet are very precious to live this terrible experience again and again! We do genuinely hope that we have managed to do so.
Philosophy of good news and myself will print the lecture and offer it first to the participants which were fifty one in total and then to you the readers.
So, what Boris Markovic said and what has happened in Serbia during the Great War, World War I?
Here you will find a brief insight of what was mentioned in lecture and then you will have opportunity to read the quotes of people who were attending the lecture.
The first important, tragic number we learnt is that Serbia lost more than one million people (1000000)in the First World War.
This was one fourth (1/4) of the whole population.
Second observation we got from the lecture is, as R. W. Seton-Watson said in his book"The Spirit of the Serb" the feeling of "stubborn self-reliance" and we would add at the same time bravery and humanity.
Bravery defined as protecting yourself from others and Humanity protecting others from yourself, as hero from Kuci tribe, Marko Miljanov famously said.
Third tremendously important observation was genuine heroism and sacrifice of Serbian soldiers and all other participants in the war including nurses, doctors, civilians foreign and Serbian.
Foreign coming from UK, SWITZERLAND, RUSSIA, GREECE, USA, FRANCE, AUSTRALIA, IRELAND AND EVEN CYPRUS.
We had an honor to meet Mr. Aris Finiefs whose father was in -1915 in Serbia helping soldiers and civilians affected by Typhus epidemic. We thank Mr. Levent Cetin for informing and bringing Mr. Aris to the lecture.
We could also learn about the respect between enemies, Serbians on one and Austrians and Germans on the other. Famous German Field Marshal August von Mackensen instructed, after conquering Belgrade, for monument in honour of Serbian soldiers to be made. You can still find it in Belgrade! Yes. He also wrote in his diary following lines :"We fought against an army that we have heard about only in fairy tales, who defended themselves with virtually unprecedented courage. The moment we conquered Serbia hurt us more than her alies"!!!!!!
And the proof for contemporary readers comes in the form of the speech and action of the Major Gavrilovic and his regiment defending Kalemegdan fortress.
"Soldiers, exactly at three o`clock, the enemy is to be crushed by your fierce charge, destroyed by your grenades and bayonets. The honour of Belgrade, our capital must be stained.
Soldiers! Heroes! The Supreme Command has erased our regiment from its records. Our regiment has been sacrificed for the honour of Belgrade and the motherland. Therefore, you no longer need to worry about your lives;they no longer exist. So forward to glory! For King and country! Long live the King! Long live Belgrade! "
I will leave you to read again above lines and to digest it knowing that Serbs do not want to conquer anybody and are trustworthy allies and fierce opponents when their country is under attack.
After conquering of Belgrade by Germans, as Serbs did not want to surrender, all Army, Government and Civilians gathered at Kosovo and there decided to go towards Adriatic Sea and place their destiny in God's hands.
Prince Regent Aleksandar Karadjordjevic decision has been made with the thought of saving the army, government and as many as possible civilians in the foreign lands and awaiting the opportunity to go back to Serbia with help of allies. This was unique, brave and future oriented decision showing again Serbian love towards freedom!
In all that journey more than 50000 people died.
It is crucial to know that Serbian King with his sons walked through Albanian mountains, rare showing of leadership and love for the country. Leadership for those wanting it means to be prepared any time for self sacrifice.
His famous speech below
"Heros, you have taken two oaths: One for me, your King and one for your Country. From the first I release you, for the situation is far too grave to justify me, an old man on the edge of the grave, in holding you to it. From the oath to your country no man can release you. But I promise you that if you decide to return to your homes, and if fortune favors our cause, you shall not be made to suffer. But whether you go or stay I and my sons remain here."
King Petar I Karadjordjevic
Finally after long journey over Albanian mountains and dismals near Adriatic Sea, Serbian government and army were transported by French and Italian ships to island of Corfu where they recouped and got ready for action. Greeks of Corfu Island were very hospitable to Serbian soldiers who on their side were respecting them greatly. There, a nostalgic song "Tamo daleko" - There far away was created. Serbian army was awaiting for the opportunity to go back to Serbia!
That happened in 1916 with the first offensive where Serbian army won Kaimakcalan battle and first time in a year reentered the soil of then Kingdom Serbia.
German-Swiss Rudolphe Archibald Reiss, criminology-pioneer, forensic scientist, professor and writer and genuine friend of Serbia, instructed in his last will for urn containing his heart be placed at Mount Kaimakcalan.
From there in 1918 Serbian Army launched offensive and successfully liberated Serbia.
We will be posting a video of the lecture soon and would like now to close this article with comments from the people attending the lecture. Comments are genuine, original and we are proud to have received them.
'Hi Darko. Thank you for such interesting lecture it was very insightful and I very much enjoyed it. Let me know if you organize another event...'
"And everything was good for establish new connection and meet new friends. And it is hard to be.. Serbian."
"Good morning! We both enjoyed. New things we learned about your people! Food was good. It was a real pleasure for us beeing there!"
"Hey Darko - you're very welcome! I enjoyed it :) Thank you foe organising it"
"Περίφημα. .- swimmingly'
" ΠΑΝΤΑ ΔΥΝΑΤΟΣ ΚΑΙ ΩΡΑΙΟΣ. ΑΠΊΘΑΝΗ Η ΕΚΔΉΛΩΣΗ ΣΑΣ. ΣΥΓΧΑΡΗΤΉΡΙΑ"
And many more!
The last but not the least huge thanks from my heart to Nikolic, Spasojevic and Janjic families for their help and support.
And my children Stefan, Aleksandra and Nikolas for their support and unconditional help!
Thank you all again.
Philosophy of good news
OUR ATTIC OUR LADDER