Address by the President of the Republic of Srpska at the event held on the occasion of the “56th Kočić`s Gathering” in Stričići at Manjača:
We have gathered here today, in Stričići, in honor of our great Petar Kočić, who spread the glory of his beloved, native place far behind these glades, hills and mountains.
Although he passed away young, not even reaching his 40th birthday, Petar Kočić, with his rich and authentic literary work, became one of the greatest Serbian writers of the 20th century.
He left behind David Štrbac, Tubo Majstorović, Simeun Đak, Lujo, Jablan as well as many other colorful characters, thanks to whom we got to know about his Zmijanje, Manjača, Krajina, but also the character of the people who live in this region.
Nevertheless, for his people, Kočić was much more than a writer, which was partly due to the political and social circumstances in occupied BiH, and even more to the personal sense of patriotism and righteousness which were his strongest guiding ideas.
A man of his region and nation, as the great Ivo Andrić described Kočić, spoke from the soul of a Serbian peasant, but also of the entire nation, marginalised and pressured by the Austro-Hungarian occupation administration. That is why he was remembered, not as a politician or a member of the National Assembly, which sounds too formal to him, but as an authentic people’s tribune who truly felt the pulse of his family, whose wounds hurt him.
Fighting uncompromisingly for freedom and justice, since his high school days in Sarajevo, Kočić has made a huge personal sacrifice, sharing the fate of his people west of the Drina River. He was persecuted, arrested and imprisoned for his name, Krajina defiance and strident writing style with which he opposed foreign rule.
While talking about Kočić’s life, the period of Austro-Hungarian occupation and the struggle of the Serb people for freedom, it seems to me that in Bosnia and Herzegovina, time stood still in that period.
Like Benjamin Kállay in the past, until yesterday, an Austrian with dictatorial powers and undisguised anti-Serbian mood was sitting in Sarajevo. He proved that before the end of his mandate, imposing a law that tries to deprive Serbs of their freedom of thought and expression, the right to the past, present and future.
However, there is one important difference. Today, we have the Republic of Srpska, for which we fought and which is the only guarantor of the survival of the Serb people in this region. We have the freedom that Kočić dreamed of, and we do not have to conquer it, but to preserve it.
The Republic of Srpska is a reflection of our brightest freedom-loving aspirations, and I am convinced that today Kočić would be proud of our country and his homeland.
That is why it is the responsibility of all of us to protect the Republic of Srpska, to build it and pass it on to the future generations stronger and more developed than it is today.
And when I say responsibility, I think of our children, those who are yet to come, but also the glorious ancestors who, through their struggle, left us a clear signpost and illuminated the path to the freedom. Petar Kočić is certainly one of them.
Long live freedom, long live the Republic of Srpska!