The good thing is that I am a living example from Andrić’s literature. So there is no better subject, and perhaps and object, which confirms the old rule that we, whatever we do, are always at a loss, and that, in fact, the construction of Andrićgrad is nothing but the repetition of a single topic from a history called the construction of a bridge. When you look at the scope of the work, you will understand what kind of, as Matija Bećković the Golden Mouth would say, between-time, and not time, we live. When you look at how fast and the way this is all built up, then you can imagine the number of associations that arose during that process that have lasted four and a half years, almost five years.
My deepest conviction is that is the truth how Andrić describes the beginning of the construction of the bridge and how former Orthodox, recently, the Muslims, looked at each other, thinking of how this project would fail. This is only a confirmation that the constant, in East Bosnia, even from the King Tvrtko and from the Kotromanić’s, is always this, beetween-time, as Matija said. They could hardly wait for it to collapse. Most of this was confirmed by the fact that at night a bridge collapsed.
What happened in the meantime? What happened in a territory where only one nation lives or on nation is a majority? What happened to this ethnic misunderstanding or religious conflict? What happened under the Ottoman Empire if it was necessary for Muslims and Serbs to fight among themselves so that they would jointly welcome the failure of the building the bridge?
In Republic of Srpska, in Višegrad, at the beginning of construction of Andrićgrad, there were incidents that could be directly related to what I just said. There is no need for two nations. A nation with two political parties is sufficient, and then the whole story is transferred from the sphere of ethnic and religious affiliation to clan-tribal affiliation. What politics means in our country in the full sense of the word you could see in the actions of our municipality, which finally got into their building that they had paid, that defiance, and it’s a miracle of the habit of living in the darkness and the misery. Perhaps this word corresponds to the conditions in which the Bosnian province was during the Turks, as Andrić says. Andrić’s monument was set up, and for 22 years they did not try to return what Murat Šabanović had to bring down. We did it.
That’s how that happened here, there is a celebration of the prom night. A municipality that has become an enormous hostile, that intensely resembles what was happening during the Turks, a school principal and has blackmailed him by the fact that they pay the prom night at the spa. These unfortunate, unfortunate to say tentatively, graduates, and especially girls with high heels, had a problem, according to him, not to get dirty along the way to the monument. They received a warning before the sanction if they took a photo in front of the monument of Ivo Andrić. Then a very brave girl, whose father was a member of the SNSD, broke the hoop. She did not remove the high heels, she came in and took a photo with two other young men, who remained unidentified. The prom night, was held in the spa, because there were no major disorders. So, if you return the film back 350-400 years, and if you turn to characters like that of guy from Pljevlja, who because of fear went crazy, when You peek in Ćorkan’s psychology or when you look at how Lotika here opened European perspectives through personal ruin and through personal bankruptcy You can easily find out how we live in between-time, or dramatic time in the same way as they did.
Recently Mehmed-pasha Sokolović’s monument has been set. Is there anybody from our nobility that is so close to us in our work and the fact that without him, that is his brother, would not be Mileševa monastery? There would be no Patriarchate of Peć. Is it possible that at the same people, who is celebrating slava and has such a writer as Ivo Andrić, could be found someone who could be against a monument to a man who, as Ekmečić says, was one of those representatives of our nobility who had vanish. Before the First Serbian Uprising, the Church was the only citizenry and the only nobility that we had after the Ekmečić assessed there then were 2% urban citizens. This brings me to the final misconception. Therefore, we said that Sarajevo, as it says in Andrić’s dissertation, was created as a city during the Turkish upsurge into Europe. Can we, when we know that along the Drina River towards Goražde there are companies that, to say tentatively, produce parts for Volkswagens, and in fact they produce ammunition for the Saudi Arabian amphibians, afford luxury to resent to each other for rising Mehmed Pasha Sokolovic monument? Do we have any right to ask a question regarding Andrićgrad, if we know that from the beginning of the construction to the present day there has not been a legal eye that has not checked Andrićgrad? Could it be that within the same people there is such duplication that it questioning everything? And in the cell itself, or I do not know how to call Višegrad, in that town on the Drina that has this monument, everyone are silent about issue that Andrić is questioned. Dostoevsky says that beauty will be the only one to survive and that everything else is ephemeral.
We are witnesses of this between-time, as Matija says. At the beginning of this war, the SDS and the SDA were embroiled in that idea that there was no other way than to wage war. Now they are reunited, the two ethnic groups that started that war. Is not that what Andrić says: “We are starting wars not knowing why, and when we are finishing them we only ask new questions that will lead us to a new war”? When you look at the situation in which a good man, Mile Dodik, is doing everything to make a country, where there are so many weights that reach to those Andrić’s thought when one glances at the river Drina, and starts to wonder, “God, what else is there?”. And so it comes to that deep bottom where tectonic compartments are huge rocks, which no one can move. For everything below the surface of the water or everything that stands on this range, whether it is deep or shallow, can be applied our old saying that we are the only people where the stone is placed on a sieve, the bigger one collapses to the bottom, and it tiny one remains on the surface. This is actually incentive in his literature and also in this literature there is also certainly equivalent irreconcilable evidence for those who deny it, and we know from where that comes from. It is certainly related to the fact that on the other side of the Drina weapon is manufactured, not parts for Volkswagen. We exhaust each other, as Andrić says, in that Slovenian eccentricity where we use our speech skills for the worst things. Very often, as he says again, we rig the fire, and we do not throw away the arguments to each other in order to make peace and how to build their conditions in which social life takes place.
Ivo Andrić is a signpost. Ivo Andrić is probably the most important person born on this ground. He derived his experience from folk poetry and from Njegoš, whom he described in the best way in his essay. I think that comparison and introduction of new characters make him our most contemporary writer. If I now dare to make my idea about the novel on the Bridge on the Drina by writing a novel about Višegrad for the five years I have been living here, it will certainly not be what we have seen that is happening in Belgrade. There is a play the Bridge on the Drina by Kokan Mladenović, which is performed at Sterijino pozorje. We have a performance where is extremely superficially and irresponsibly talked about Andrić, and everything we say at this conference is valuable theoretically and is also beneficial to us. But, unfortunately, it does not have its echo what it should have because we are not able to defend the most valuable. That is why I hope that conferences like this, the echo of what you say here, especially knowing Professor Delić, a longtime associate, and a man who gave a strong stamp in Serbian literature, will be much stronger and will last much longer. I wish that you have a good work during which we will think together what can be used as a synthesis of the experience from Andrić’s work and applied on the life we live in. I think there are parallels that are unmanageable and I have listed two or three. I also think that You have a lot more of that, because the construction of the Bridge on the Drina always reminds me that it is our Old Testament, and perhaps the New, because there is everything from what the Croats say, the “Way of the Cross” to the historical insight in how the last four centuries have went by in this dramatic place.
Welcome and thank you!