Today, the President of the Republic of Srpska Željka Cvijanović laid a wreath to the monument to Aleksa Šantić in Šantic Park in Mostar, which marked the beginning of the manifestation 101st Šantić Poetry Evenings. The President Cvijanović said that the significance of that manifestation was great and that in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, she wanted to contribute to holding this great event despite the limitations.
“I wish to discuss the character and work of our great poet with others. I wish to speak about the poet who knew how to be a patriot and how to love his homeland, as well as how to love each of his neighbours. We must not allow any of our frictions or disagreements to cast a shadow on Šantić’s great work” it was pointed out by the President Cvijanovic.
The President of the Republic added that Šantić poetry evenings are manifestations worthy of attention.
The President of the Republic of Srpska said that Aleksa Šantić, for all who live in BiH, must be a signpost for better mutual relations, more understanding and harmony, because Šantić belongs to everyone equally, and at the same time does not belong to anyone.
“All of us who have the opportunity, but also the honor to speak about Aleksa Šantić, usually try to find words that will indicate his greatness or the beauty of his artistic expression in a sufficiently picturesque way and try to draw some new detail in everything already said or written about Aleksa Šantić. Certainly, that is not easy.
Not only because it is difficult to find words that would credibly show the greatness of his thoughts, words and beliefs, but also because of the fact that Šantić was almost never just a poet, a Serb, from Mostar. He was all of that and much more than that.”, it was pointed out by the President Cvijanović at the opening of the 101. Šantić’s Poetry Evenings in the Bishop’s Palace in Mostar.
The President of the Republic stressed that Aleksa Šantić, above all, is a symbol – a symbol of love, freedom, patriotism and, as she said, we all know that.
“From his artistic opus and his rich life, we can learn how to love our homeland with all our being, as well as every ordinary, ‘little’ man. In that sense, Šantić was much more than a song, name and surname, or the historical moment in which he lived”, said the President of Srpska.
The President of the Republic assessed that Šantić is a timeless reminder of the greatest and most subtle values that must be the guiding star in everyday activities, in mutual relations, because Šantić was equally loved by everyone regardless of their religion or nation, as well as he loved them.
“That is why it is important to prevent any mutual quarrels and disagreements from casting the slightest shadow on what Aleksa Šantić lived for and what he left behind, because that is part of the identity of all of us together. We must try to always find “Šantić” in ourselves, because only in that way we can be better people and better neighbours. It was Šantić who taught us that patriotism does not mean hatred towards others who are different, but just the opposite”, it was emphasized by the President Cvijanović.
The President of the Republic of Srpska stated that literary theorists and historians agree that Aleksa Šantić was a Serbian nationalist from Herzegovina in the most positive sense, but that at the same time his nationalism was by no means exclusive, but inclusive, that he opened his heart equally to all of his neighbours, which he considered his relatives.
The President of Srpska reminded that one of his greatest songs – “Stay here”, was dedicated to his Muslim neighbours, and his greatest and condemned love was that of Anka Tomlinović, the daughter of a Catholic merchant originally from Lika.
“If it weren’t for Anka, the question is whether our literature would be richer for some of the most beautiful love songs that Šantić left behind, and some of them eventually gained their melodic expression, being passed down from generation to generation, leaving their mark in infinity”, said the President Cvijanović and emphasized that it is impossible to talk about Aleksa Šantić, without mentioning his social work and political engagement, his contribution to the cultural emancipation of Mostar at that time, but also the fight against the foreign conqueror.
“The romantic soul and love for the homeland and all the Yugoslav peoples who lived in it, guided Šantić in this context as well. Here, too, all the greatness of Šantić as a human and poet, but also a patriot, came to the fore and it is very difficult to count all the activities that Aleksa Šantić, together with other prominent figures of the time, such as Svetozar Đorović or Jovan Dučić, accomplished in Mostar, Herzegovina and wider”, stated the President Cvijanović.
The President of the Republic pointed out that the values and ideals that Šantić advocated were universal and timeless.
“Just as it was necessary for them to fight frantically at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, so, unfortunately, it is the same today. Šantić knew very well that in the pursuit of a better and happier life, there is no place for hatred and fear of the others and the different ones, that “unity in diversity” represents content and spiritual wealth, and not loss or renunciation.
With his openness and love for everyone, regardless of their religious or national affiliation, Šantić, looking from today’s perspective, was a true ‘European’ in the true sense of the word, long before the very idea of an united Europe, whose motto is it was ‘unity in diversity’ that saw the light of the day”, said the President Cvijanović.
Expressing satisfaction for being in Mostar tonight, together with the admirers of the words and works of Aleksa Šantić, the President of the Republic of Srpska said that Šantić at this time deserves much more than what his native Mostar and all of us together offer in this area.
“In that name, I want to refocus all of us together on the inalienable values contained in his songs and his work, in order to become better people and compatriots and to create better conditions for a better life for generations to come, to really stay here, where they were born”, said the President of the Republic of Srpska.
The President Cvijanović stated that “Šantić’s Poetry Evenings” mean much more than a poetry evening and that it is one of the connecting links that has taught us so many good things about life.
“I am sure and I believe in a future that can be based only on what are good and true values in a person and in what one life should bring. We should certainly not lose sight of everything that was given by Aleksa Šantić for cultural and overall development of your and our Mostar and all these areas of ours.”, concluded the President of the Republic of Srpska.