| Diwan Special issue|
Born in 1950 in Goražde (B&H), lives in Sarajevo (B&H).
(an argument in favour of the history of criticism of social and political thought in Bosnia and Herzegovina)
It is an enigma: why even some Bosnian-Serbs – intellectuals were fanatic ideologists of the project called Greater Serbia? Their fanaticism at times outdid the pipe dreams conceived in Serbia itself. Some of them are: Nikola Stojanović, Petar Gaković, Stevan Moljević, Vladimir Ćorović and Jovan Dučić. In retrospect, the critical review of the previous, more or less idolatrous, conceptions within historiography, literary history, sociology and ideologies in this region would show that, during the rule of Austria-Hungary, Serbian intellectual circles, from Petar Kočić to Vladimir Gaćinović1, and from Risto Radulović to Jefto Dedijer, had shaped the ideology and politics of negation of historical individuality of Bosnia and Bosniaks. The decades-long denial – actual and even militantly aggressive negation of Bosnia and Bosniaks cannot be fully understood without researching this dimension (the usual one in Bosnia) of Greater-Serbian nationalism.
The negation of the historic individuality of Bosnia as well as the radical dehumanisation of Bosniaks, which has always been a manner and a method of psycho-social preparation for mass acceptation of war-expansionist policy, cannot be completely understood without an insight into the ties and relations between Bosnian-Serb nationalists and the Greater-Croatian policy concerning Bosnia and Herzegovina. Serbian territorial nationalism, the word territorial being its substantial feature both in the ideological, self-explanatory and in the factual, specifically historical sense, is actually an essentially relational phenomenon. It
1 About their national-political conceptions, see: E. Zgodić, A Different Petar Kočić, Glasnik
Rijaseta Islamske zajednice, BiH, Sarajevo, issue 7-8, 2000; A Different Young Bosnia, Vladimir
Gaćinović, Glasnik Rijaseta Islamske zajednice, BiH, Sarajevo, issue 3-4, 2000;
appears in a correlation, sometimes in the form of interrelationship of rivalries and antagonisms, and at other times, depending on historical circumstances, in the form of agreements, convergences, alliances and axis pacts with Croatian nationalism. Once again, the roots of the negation created by the Croatian nationalistic elite are found in the period of the Austro-Hungarian rule over Bosnia. Examples can be found in both ethnic and governmental conceptions that are formulated in two manners: within the clerical-Catholic political idea of Josip Štadler2 and in the secular anti-Bosnian and anti-Bosniak political visions of Ivo Pilar, taken from pseudo-historiographic insights into both South-Slav and, especially, Bosnian-Herzegovinian history3. There are many examples showing the conscious, conceptual antagonisms between the above mentioned nationalisms. For example, it is shown by the manuscripts from 1908, by Ferdo Šišić4 and Stjepan Radić5, their main thesis being: ’Bosnia is Croatian land’; and in similar texts, on the other hand, by Vlado Glušac6 and Jovan Cvijić7 in their essential attitude: ’Bosnia is Serbian land.’ It is not hard to find the examples of axis pacts; such as the Cvetković-Maček and Milošević-Tuđman Agreements, which are the most crucial for Bosnia and Bosniaks in both the historical and the existential sense.
Also, the negation and denial of the individuality of Bosnia and Bosniaks arranged by the Serbian and Croatian nationalistic establishment cannot be fully understood without an insight into a phenomenon called the phenomenon of Bosnian-Muslims’ self-Serbianization and self-Croatization. Regardless of the fact that these phenomena have been the products of the narrow, pseudo-aristocratic and excommunicated elite, they are important because of their assistance in the formation, motivation and ideological rationalization – their concealment of Serbian and Croatian nationalism. Finally, not even Serbian ethno-centrism, national
2 About his political and national conceptions, see: E. Zgodić, The Political Thought of Josip
Štadler, Glasnik Rijaseta Islamske zajednice, BiH, Sarajevo, issue 5-6, 2001; 3 See: L.V. Sudland (Ivo Pilar), South-Slav Issue, Croatian Democratic Union, Varaždin branch-office, 1990; 4 Herzeg-Bosnia During the Annexation, Zagreb, 1908; 5 The Active Croatian Claim to Bosnia, Zagreb, 1908; 6 Bosnia and Herzegovina are Serbian Countries…, Mostar, 1908; 7 For anthological insights into his and other Serbian authors’ national political conceptions, see:
Fuad Saltaga, Bosnia and Bosniaks Within the Serbian National Ideology, Sarajevo, 1997;
ism and Nazi-fascism can be objectively understood without an insight into their Serbian negation, into the historical tradition of emancipatory thinking-and-acting, not in Serbian politics but in Serbian cultural circles, from Svetozar Marković8 and Vaso Pelagić9 to Dimitrije Tucović, Bogdan Bogdanović, and so on. This intra-Serbian political faction demonstrates that every nation, as Tagora said, and here it is the Serbian nation, has its history of villainy, lies and loss of faith10… It has a history of poisonous egoism, total unawareness of its moral corruption, its toxicological idolatries and the like. This intra-Serbian, emancipatory way of thinking is a precious factor in the process of demystification of such history. No matter how weak, compared to the powerful Serbian state nationalism, this faction needs to be taken into consideration for future research. It would also be worthwhile to research the projects that deal with both personal, authorial Serbian critique of Serbian nationalism and the Croatian critique of Croatian nationalism. Such authors are: Miroslav Krleža, Stipe Šuvar, Predrag Matvejević, Ivan Lovrenović, Dubravko Lovrenović, Ivo Komšić, Luka Markešić and others.
The outlined methodological discourse about the research and interpretation of Serbian and Croatian nationalism shows, above all, how the historical essence of Serbian nationalism is found in the fact that it is actually, as already mentioned, territorial nationalism – territorial claims and gains, conquering and obsession with land-grabbing towards the south, the north and the west. Geopolitics in general, especially land
8 Rejecting the project of the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the fictitious Greater Serbia, he, for example, writes: ’But, let us imagine that Greater-Serbian policy pertaining to Bosnia and Herzegovina succeeded and Serbia conquered Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Old Serbia. Only a few Serbs would not consider it the greatest happiness of our nation…The struggle for Greater Serbia would leave people poorer and more devastated than they are now…’Greater Serbia’ would have to buy friendships from enemies by humiliation and by sacrificing the interests of its people; it would have to spend much on the military…Such a policy would have to end by either external or internal disaster…’Greater Serbia’ is a poor and not so spacious construction, thus unable to provide for Serbian national interests…’ (1868);
9 In the context of the denial of the political aims of the Bosnian-Herzegovinian rebellion in 1875, he, in fact, rejects the project of the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the fictitious ’Greater Serbia’. He does not sign the rebellious manifesto on the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina to Serbia, during the rule of the Obrenović dynasty (published on June 20, /July 2/ 1876) and later, he publicly condemns the same project as well as the theses on Bosnia as Serbian land, calling it all stupidity directed at people. Also see: Risto Besarović, Vaso Pelagić, ’Svjetlost’, Sarajevo, 1951, page 98-119;
10 Rebindrant Tagor, Nationalism, ’Alfa’, Beograd, 1990, page 52; grabbing geopolitics – is the essence, the historical constant in the Greater-Serbian policy in general and, especially, in its policy concerning Bosnia and Herzegovina. It has been applied by many methods throughout history: from the policy of so-called assimilation, which is usually celebrated and mythologized as the power of Serbian national feeling, to the practice of committing genocide. It is then, as it was in the 19th and th century, called genocidal nationalism.
However, in its substantial form, this nationalism never historically appears as the exposed one, as the pure conquering power; it always has to be ideologically legitimate. Its rationalization through concealment is at work here, as well as introspective and external justification. Greater-Serbian territorial nationalism has been rationalised, for example, in many ways, such as: through the pseudo-scientific foundation of ethnical pan-Serbianism, the quasi-scientific introduction of linguistic unitarianism, seductive and hallucinatory displays of Serbian messiahnism, the imaginary theory of historical claims, close governmental and political relations with the Serbian Orthodox church and so on. The nature of one of the above ways of making nationalism legitimate, through Serbian ethno-centric misuse of science and, here, literary historiography, is found in Vladimir Ćorović’s writings published during the period of Austro-Hungarian rule. These writings are not delusions; on the contrary, they are still actively echoing and, therefore, form some of the most important, current constants of Serbian nationalism. Within these writings is the motivating source for the criticism of that nationalism.
Ever since the Ottoman Empire, within the Bosnian-Herzegovinian cultural, scientific, and publicist tradition - ethical, social and political ideas have appeared not only in explicitly political manuscripts but also in other genre-defined forms. Spontaneously, that tradition continues in publicist writing during the period of Austro-Hungarian rule. It is also found in the works of Serbian intellectual circles. It is a matter of formulating and expressing a political idea within a historiographic discourse, especially in the form of literary history. Such manner is employed by Vladimir Ćorović11. However, this is not a monograph that elaborates his 11 During both the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and the days of the former socialist regime, Vladimir
Ćorović was celebrated as one of the greatest Serbian and Yugoslavian historians. But, socialistic his
toriography went even further in falsifying, ignoring and hiding his involvement in formulating and
social, national and political ideas. Quite the contrary, as already mentioned, the interpretation is based on several of Ćorović’s texts that are, from our point of view and for our methodic discourse regarding this problem area, paradigmatic. The basic conceptions formulated at the time remained a constant in his political ideas, and later on, the project called Greater Serbia was being ultimately completed, elaborated and explicitly promoted as the guiding idea of his personal historiographic and public involvement.
Ćorović is an advocate of ethnic pan-Serbianism. Since it was the general standpoint of Serbian intellectual circles at the time, Ćorović’s views are neither atypical nor exclusive ones. However, through indirect and explicit formulations, his ethnic pan-Serbianism would emerge as the idea and the policy of the denationalisation of Bosnian-Muslims and their assimilation into the Serbian ethnic group. Although he knows about the ethnic authenticity of Bosnian-Muslims, he ignores it and
popularising the ideology of the Ravna Gora Chetnik Movement, led by Dražo Mihailović, as can be seen in the lexicon Who is Who in Yugoslavia. He was born in Mostar, on October 15, 1885. He majored in history and Slavic studies at the Vienna University, 1904-08, and earned his PhD in 1908. After having completed his studies in Munich in 1909, he was appointed Head of the Slovenian Department in the National Museum, Sarajevo. He was a secretary of the main board of cultural club ’Prosvjeta’. Imprisoned in 1914 for high treason, and sentenced first to five, and later to eight years in prison. After the amnesty from November 4, 1917, he moved to Zagreb where he participated in editing Književni jug. He was chief secretary of Peoples’ Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina and a member of interim representative office. He was a history teacher at Beograd University and a member of Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences. This is all about his biography in lexicon Who is Who in Yugoslavia. As rector of Beograd University during the dictatorship he was much hated by students and liberal intellectuals because ha was, as ’the first puppet of the regime’ (the cited work, page 281), involved in reactionary political activities (Mihailo Stanišić, Expansionism of Croats and Derangement of Serbs Javno preduzeće Službeni list SR Jugoslavije, page 281). He was ’a well-known Greater-Serbian ideologist’, ’king’s professor’, and ’a doyen of the Greater-Serbian policy’ (the cited work, page 126). As one of ’…the most influential leaders of the Greater-Serbian ideology…’ (the cited work, page 278) he acted as a key-leader of Serbian Cultural Club. Within the Club he was ’…a role model for the top Chetnik ideologists (from Ravna Gora)…’ (the cited work, page 281). However, despite all of such engagement ’…Simović’s government did not evacuate this Greater-Serbian ideologist at the beginning of the war…The author of this work possesses a testimony that Ćorović got killed in Greece while making an escape attempt by an aircraft, in April 1941.’ (the cited work, page 281). Here are some of his most important works: Greater Serbia, Beograd, 1925 or 1926; History of Yugoslavia, Beograd, 1933; The Cult of St Sava, Beograd, 1934; Our Uniting During the World War, Beograd, 1921; Struggle for Independence of the Balkans, Beograd, 1937; History of Bosnia, vol. I, Beograd, Srpska kraljevska akademija, 1940; About the Cult of St Vitus’ Day, Kalendar Kola srpskih sestara ’Vardar’ for 1940, 1939; insists on what they, allegedly, are: ’either Serbs or Croats.’12 Bosnian-Muslims are ’…a part of our (Serbian, author’s remark) tribe…’13 he thinks it incorrect ’…that Muslims consider themselves a distinctive ethnic group14.’ They ’…were completely uncertain of their ethnic affiliation. The older ones called themselves Muslims, Turks and, some of them even called themselves Bosniaks, considering with confidence the latter term as purely ethnic-defining.’15 Hence, from the standpoints of ethnic pan-Serbianism and the negation of the ethnic individuality of Bosniaks, he writes, in a pejorative sense, how Mehmed beg Kapetanović Ljubušak, from his newspaper called ’Bošnjak’ (Bosniak), actually ’…takes away all the ethnic-coloured attributes, priding himself on being a Bosniak and deliberately avoiding everything that could mark him as being either a Serb or a Croat.’16 He followed Vuk Karadžić’s pan-ethnic idea and argued in favour of the concept of ’…the reality of spiritual unity of all Serbs’17, which should be supported by all Serbs no matter where they live, including Serbs-Muslims.
What follows is a stereotypical, trivial and dehumanised description of Bosnian-Muslims. It says that they were ’…a part of our tribe’ that ’… with a lot of conservatism and prejudices calmly watched, from their secluded homes, how everything around them was moving and developing, how everything began to live a different, intense life, and they would only react when they were backed up against a wall and after time had passed them by.’18 Muslims are ’a slow and inactive element’19, and furthermore: ’The profound concept of ethnic consciousness is unfamiliar
12 Vladimir Ćorović, Mehmed beg Kapetanović, Institut za proučavanje Balkana, Sarajevo, 1911, page 1. Mehmed beg Kapetanović ’…is, after all, one of the common types of Bosnian-Muslims who are only Bosniaks and Muslims and who feel that they are Bosnians and consider it a sin to be what they really are: either Serbs or Croats.’ (the cited work, page 1);
13 the cited work, page 26; 14 the cited work, page 12; 15 V. Ćorović, Muslims in Modern Serbian Literature, Pregled no. 9,10,11 and 12, April 1, 1913,
page 443; 16 Mehmed beg Kapetanović, the cited work, page 24; 17 V.Ćorović, For Popular Education, Thoughts and comments in view of ’Prosvjeta’s’ poll on this
issue; Pregled, Sarajevo, no. 6, 7 and 8, June, July and August, 1912, page 350;
18 Mehmed beg Kapetanović, the cited work, page 26. Such a dehumanised image is shown once again in the description of Mehmed beg Kapetanović’s social environment which was ’… conservative, inactive, slow, full of prejudices, in which he stayed all his life.’ (the cited work, page 37);
19 V.Ćorović, Muslims in Modern Serbian Literature, Pregled no. 9,10,11 and 12, April 1, 1913, page 447;
not only to the uneducated masses, but also to knowledgeable people.’20 A considerable number of Muslim intellectuals ’…would frequently change their ethnic affiliations, partly due to their unawareness, lack of ethnic maturity and confidence, and partly due to personal specula-tions.’21
A dogmatic way of thinking that includes: pan-Serbianism, ethnic narcissism, ethnic prejudices, and ethnic characterisations and generalisations – is also at work here. However, it serves a political purpose as well. Since ’…Muslims are, as a distinctive ethnic group, still mostly indifferent…’22, their way of thinking serves to support the growth of their ethnic, here meaning pro-Serbian, consciousness. Its purpose is to legalise the policy of assimilation by ethnic pan-Serbianism: only once they are returned to ’our tribe’ can Bosnian-Muslims ensure their historically productive existence.
Ćorović’s ethnic pan-Serbianism, his negation of ethnic Bosniak identity as well as his pro-Serbian assimilatory nationalism are the integral parts and the key-components of his radical rejection of the term Bosniakhood, and of any Bosnianhood. His irrational critique revolves around the denial of everything that ethno-centrist, pan-Serbian oriented intellectuals called – pseudo-Bosniakhood23.
Bosnianhood has roots neither in medieval Bosnia24 nor in the Ottoman Empire. Ćorović considers Ottoman historiography, which presents arguments in favour of Bosnian individuality, to be – lacking in competence, so its authors ’…can never be an authority to us, as far as the determination of national problems is concerned’25. In addition, he believed that the term Bosniak denoted, for the Ottomans, nothing more than a regional identification with Bosnia. 20 the cited work, page 443; 21 the cited work, page 443; 22 V.Ćorović, ’Prosvjeta’s Education Poll, Pregled, Sarajevo, no. 9,10,11 and 12, April 1, 1913, page 35; 23 He started and formed this aversion in a paradigmatic sense, and other intellectuals, especially
Petar Kočić, later completed it and took it to its extreme dimensions. Ćorović’s critique of
Bosniakhood is, as seen above, mediated by the allegedly expert critique of the literary work and
political conceptions of Mehmed Kapetanović Ljubušak; 24 He refers to, for example, sources from Dubrovnik that ’…identified Serbs from the Bosnian and
the Serbian state…’, and also refers to V.Glušac who ’…presented very credible material, as evi
dence of the nationality (Serbian, author’s remark) of the governor’s subjects.’ (Charters of Matija
Ninoslav, Governor of Bosnia and Nationality of His Subjects, With Facsimile of Two Charters.
Written by prof.dr.Vaso Glušac, Banja Luka, 1912, Pregled, Sarajevo, no. 4-5, May 1912, page 249); 25 Mehmed beg Kapetanović, the cited work, page 35;
Even in his view, Bosnianhood is, above all, ’the official Bosnianhood’, thus a creation of the Regime26. Such Bosnianhood, according to Ćorović from the standpoint of pan-Serbian integralism ’…is created with the sole purpose of developing a narrow, separatist, Bosnian patriotism’27. For him, ’Bosnian nationalism’28 is anti-Serbian because it is not nationally defined, and ’patriotic education’ can only be Serbian, i.e. a national type of education29. Hence, he discusses the existence of Bosniaks as an individual30 ethnic group with suspicion, he relativises it, questions it, and, finally - radically negates it from the standpoint of ethnic pan-Serbianism.
In the context of the pan-Serbian denationalisation of Bosnian-Muslims, Ćorović considers it normal to refer to them as ’Turkish converts’, and he insists that their original ethnic origin31 be identified in that regard. And Muslims, those ’Turkish converts’, are nothing else than, as mentioned above, either ethnic Serbs or ethnic Croats. In favour of that pan-Serbian and pan-Croatian idea, ideology and policy, he also holds the view that ethnic and religious identification are separate. However, this difference is not motivated by the insight into a secular essence of modern nations or by some other emancipatory theories. On the contrary, it only advances arguments in favour of the implementation of ethnic pan-Serbianism.
First of all, he believes that ’…this whole religious and national problem in Bosnia…is so different from the same problems in other
26 And Mehmed beg Kapetanović, who ’in his Bosnianhood…went to great lengths…’ (the cited work, page 26), with his Bosniakhood, actually, supported the ’official Bosnianhood’ (the cited work, page 24). Once more he underlines how ’Bosnianhood’ is the product of Austro-Hungarian authorities: ’At some point, the authorities, with ulterior motives, emphasised ’the Bosnianhood’ of our nation and they even used authority to convince us of it’. (Muslims in Modern Serbian Literature, the cited work, page 443);
27 Mehmed beg Kapetanović, the cited work, page 24; 28 Prosvjeta’s Education Poll, Pregled, Sarajevo, the cited work, page 35; 29 Therefore, he insists on establishing Serbian, and not public schools ’…which are non-national
or with the elements of some sort of Bosnian nationalism…’ (the cited work, page 35);
30 For example, with a conceptual aversion, seemingly taking no sides, he actually devalues its existence: ’Mehmed beg Kapetanović was, as we all know, a Bosniak and knew only of the Bosniak ethnicity. He was consistent, never accepting anything different. (Mehmed beg Kapetanović, the cited work, page 35);
31 ’What is the problem if, when talking about Turkish converts, we mention their origin, regardless of the religion associated with it?’ (the cited work, page 35);
regions…’32 He accepts neither the theory about Serbian and Orthodox identification nor, based on that identification, the theory about Serbian unwillingness to assimilate ’foreign elements’. In his view, Serbs, unlike Russians, did not accept the identification of Orthodoxy with ethnicity. He reduces his arguments on the non-identification as the basis of the pan-Serbian assimilatory force, to the following illustrations: ’If the terms Serbian and Orthodox were identical, then how come so many Catholic Serbs were living in Dubrovnik in the 18th century, when the Orthodox church was prohibited there, and in the 19th century when Dubrovnik fought against Orthodox Russians and Montenegrins? How is it possible that a Catholic canon considered himself a Serb and that Orthodox Serbs themselves have had the most pleasant remembrance of him?…Is it, perhaps, because of our religious exclusiveness? Is it, perhaps, our religious exclusiveness that converted so many Muslims in Bosnia and Herzegovina and included them into Serbian literature?’33 Therefore, based on the above differentiation, he prefers the Serbian national assimilatory force, in which he does not see anything void of humanity or anything imperialistic34. He even considers that the Croatian assimilatory force is not greater that the Serbian one35. On the contrary, he prefers movements and organisations where ’as brothers…Serbs of Orthodox, Catholic and Islamic denomination unite…’ because ’…they have proved that religious difference could not come between brothers and that the idea of ethnicity is more sublime and stronger than any-thing.’36
32 Epistle of Mr.Matija Murko in view of my evaluation of his ’History of Older Yugoslavian
Literatures’, Pregled, Sarajevo, no. 7 and 8, January 15, 1911, page 506; 33 the cited work, page 508; 34 The superiority of the Serbian assimilatory force is especially manifest in the national centre:
’And that is an important and decisive element. In the centre of a pure Serbian or Croatian race,
individuals are lost like drops of water in the ocean, they are lost because (except for some
colonies) they do not have their own schools, their own educational institutions, they do not have
their own social environment. They retain only their religion, according to which they choose
their ethnic orientation, not having a clear ethnic affiliation.’ (the cited work, page 508); 35 He underlines that Serbian assimilatory force, giving examples of the assimilation of Rumanians,
Tzintzars and others into the Serbian ethnic group (the cited work, page 508); 36 This preference for the perception of pan-Serbian superiority over other religious groups is
underlined by the Serbian Youth Society ’Zora’, also conveying its principle standpoint (History
of the Serbian Academic Society ’Zora’ in Vienna /an addition to the history of the youth move
ment/, Omladinska knjižica, Beograd, page 50);
The Serbian ability to assimilate other ethnic groups, including ethnic minorities, is, in his opinion, nothing aggressive, expansionist or totalitarian. On the contrary, he considers it part of a prestigious cultic national asset. The divergence of the terms Serbian and Orthodox reveals, in his opinion, an alleged Serbian ethnic assimilatory force. Pro-Serbian nationalisation and self-nationalisation of Bosnian-Muslims in this context is, in Ćorović’s opinion, nothing more than a demonstration of Serbian assimilatory superiority. Even those Muslims without a ’clear ethnic affiliation’ who gathered only around their religion were predetermined to be subjected to this alleged Serbian assimilatory superiority. The idea, ideology and policy of ethnic pan-Serbianism thus became ’legitimate’ through his interpretation of dissimilarity between the terms ethnic and religious.
Furthermore, Ćorović’s ethnic pan-Serbianism manifests itself in literature through presenting Muslim intellectuals as Serbian writers. It is the continuation of the manner established by Milenko M. Vukićević, i.e. the pan-Serbian interpretation of ethnic identity and the works of Muslim intellectuals and representatives of the Muslim elite during the rule of the Ottoman Empire37. Vladimir Ćorović, in fact, completes Vukićević’s encyclopaedia of Serbs-Muslims in the field of literature. To tell the truth, Ćorović’s anthology includes persons who identified themselves as Serbs. But he also considered some other writers, like Mehmed beg Kapetanović, ’…to be from a large part our element, which used to be totally passive in our literature.’38
Assuming that Bosnian literature is, in fact, not ethnically defined39 and not taking into consideration the Bosnian-Muslims’ critique of both external and Muslims’ self-Serbianization40, Vladimir Ćorović manifests his policy of ethnic pan-Serbianism precisely through the hypostasis of the protagonists of the Muslims’ self-Serbianization policy41. It is a more recent process that occurred after the Austro
37 Milenko V. Vukićević, Prominent Serbs-Muslims, Srpska književna zadruga, Beograd, 1906. 38 Mehmed beg Kapetanović, the cited work, page 13; 39 the cited work, page 1; 40 About the critique, see the critiques in the texts by Oman Hadži Nuri, published in Behar. 41 Within this group he includes: Mustafa Hilmi Muhibić, the early works of Bešlagić, and Salih Kazazović. However, ’…they all later abandoned their work within the Serbian public, and either
Hungarian occupation, because ’…with stronger influence of the newer culture and with a better understanding of ethnic consciousness, the above divergence (based on religious affiliation, author’s remark) began to fade away slowly, very slowly, but still noticeably.’42 Together with Muslim authors who are part of the process of self-Serbianization thus ’…including themselves into Serbian literature, there came an element of our people, but this time consciously, assimilating themselves into our literary trends and wholeheartedly accepting our standard language and our alphabet. In this way, Serbian national aspirations made a great success, the success of achieving the integrity of literature, regardless of religious affiliation.’43 Again, we can see at work, here, the myth of the Serbian assimilatory power and the difference between the terms of religion and nation.
With such hypostasis, his ethnic pan-Serbianism had to result in a for that time conventional dehumanisation of the ’Muslim masses’. Their ’…national consciousness was either underdeveloped or silenced…’ so, on the other hand, Serb-Muslim authors came out who, ’…having been imbued with Serbian nationalism…’44, actually, ’…had done away with the prejudices of their social environment and joined the Serbian ranks, willing to, as brothers, endure anything that might happen. They were the first ones who recognised the depth of the Serbian national idea, and accepted it fully…’45 Ćorović explains the substantial Bosnian-Muslims resistance to the process of ’nationalisation’ in the pro-Serbian and pro-Croatian sense, as an alleged sign of their cultural inferiority, ethnic unawareness and historical wandering. And, in contrast – he considers the protagonists of Muslim self-Serbianization as the protagonists of civilisational progress and the emancipatory intention of the Muslim elite.
Ćorović’s ethnic pan-Serbianism manifests itself in another dimension, the linguistic one. He adopts the conception, inherited from the tra
joined the Croats or completely stopped working.’ (Muslims in Modern Serbian Literature, the
cited work, page 444); New Serbs-Mohammedans-writers came forward: Derviš-beg Ljubović,
Omer-beg Sulejmanpašić, Avdo Karabegović Zvornički, Ali Riza Dutović, Avdo Karabegović
Hasanbegov, Osman Đikić, HatidžaĐikić (the cited work, page 444-449); 42 Muslims in Modern Serbian Literature, Pregled no. 9,10,11 and 12, April 1, 1913, page 442; 43 the cited work, page 445; 44 the cited work, page 448; 45 the cited work, page 450;
dition of Vuk Karadžić, according to which there is only one language in Bosnia and Herzegovina - the Serbian language46. History, allegedly, confirms that: Hevaija wrote the Serbian-Turkish Dictionary ’Potur Šehidija’ in 163147. It is also confirmed by a view that Abdija, ’…a very popular poem written by Jusuf beg Čengić from Foča, in 1866’48, is, in fact, written ’…in a half- Serbian, half-Turkish language.’49 Contemporary linguistic policies should be based not on the works of Croatian and Serbian writers, for they corrupted the language by excessive usage of Germanisms50, ’…but on the language of Vuk and Dančić, and on the style of Ljubomir Nedić, Bogdan Popović, Slobodan Jovanović, and Jovan Skjerlić.’51 Vladimir Ćorović also, as some other competent Bosnian-Serb intellectuals at the time, openly shows a kind of linguistic-national narcissism52.
Ćorović also participates in the formulation and promotion of the ideas, mentality, culture and policy that deny ethnic individuality to Bosniaks, and that deny Bosnia and Herzegovina any type of historical, cultural, governmental and political individuality, because they are, respectively, two Serbian countries. At the roots of such denial lies his previous basic conceptual standpoint, defined as ethnic pan-Serbianism. It has always been a key ideological source and the legitimate instrument of Greater-Serbian aspirations in their empirically active, aggressive, war-mongering, governmental and political form. Other components of his social and political thoughts are then fully deducted from his ethnic pan-Serbianism.
But, his denial of Bosnian patriotism was conventional from a standpoint of the Serbian public of that time, but, at the same time, con
46 He quotes Vuk Karadžić: ’The purest and most regular Serbian is spoken in Herzegovina and
Bosnia. (Our Standard Language, Pregled, Sarajevo, no. 3, June 1, 1910, page 153); 47 Muslims in Modern Serbian Literature, the cited work, page 442; 48 Mehmed beg Kapetanović, the cited work, page 20; 49 The cited work, page 20, Duvanjski arzulah, a document – petition of an Agha from Duvno, in
1806, was as well written in ’…a half-Serbian, half-Turkish language…’ (the cited work, page
20); 50 So, ’…not on the works of Petar Preradović, Josip Tomić, Avgust Šenoa and others whose lan
guage does not mean a lot, but on the prevailing examples in our contemporary textbooks…’
(Our Standard Language, the cited work, page 159); 51 Our Standard Language, the cited work, page 159; 52 The Serbian language is ’…here so fresh and beautiful that, no doubt, it deserves to be emphasised as the most beautiful one’ (the cited work, page 159).
sidering the other side of such pan-Serbian hallucinations, it was historically anachronistic because it actually corresponded to the Greater-Serbian violent, hegemonic plans for the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The denial of the values of Bosnian patriotism as well as the negation of the values of Bosnian nationalism, emerged both from his conception of ethnic pan-Serbianism and the Greater-Serbia hegemony proceeding from it. Apart from that, his interpretation of Bosnian patriotic feelings, i.e. that they are a construction imposed by the occupying forces, is basically incorrect, because it simply ignores the rootedness of Bosnian nationalism in history and reduces its source to the pragmatic interest of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy.
From the discourse of pan-Serbian nationalism that prefers protagonists of Muslims self-Serbianization in the domain of literature, Vladimir Ćorović displays an inability to recognise the basic, dominant Bosnian-Muslims consciousness, the consciousness of resistance to ethnic pro-Serbian or pro-Croatian nationalisation. From that point of view as well, his national thought belongs to the historic developments of the time. All those political concepts belong to the recycle-bin of anachronistic ideas in the history of social and political thought in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
His ideas are part of the discourse of the ideologically retrograde, anti-civilisational, anti-cultural and scientifically unfounded ideas, terms and projections. This is confirmed even by his morally careless and scientifically irrational usage of the terms that we denoted as the terms of dehumanisation, ethnic characterisation, ethnic stereotyping and ethnic prejudices, in their toxic and most devastating forms. Negative, dehumanised, descriptions of ethno-psychological attributes of Bosnian-Muslims, within which they have been degraded to the lower, even inhuman values – which is the practice of every aggressive nationalism – are here, like in other cases, used to legitimately rationalise pan-Serbian imperialism and hegemony. Naturally, he does not use the above categorisation, but his perceptions can, unquestioningly, be described in such a way.
In addition, another anachronism of his social, political and national thought is the concept and mythology of the Serbian ethnic assimila-
tory force and, in that regard, his interpretation of the nation-religion relationship as well as the relationship between ethnic and religious identifications. He prefers, as seen above, the idea, culture, and policy of the assimilation of the Other. He does not view it as anything anti-democrat-ic, aggressive, and imperial. He does not see such a policy as the manifestation of endangering the rights to selfhood of other ethnic groups and ethnic minorities. On the contrary, he views such a policy as the act of ethnic superiority and, allegedly, as the act of the Serbian civilisational endeavour. Hypostases of the concepts of national power are demonstrated in his interpretation of the difference between religious and ethnic identity. That difference is, actually, comprehended as the ’theoretical’ legitimising of the unobstructed, immoral, unrestrained, pathological Serbian nationalistic practice of the above assimilatory force and its antihumanistic, antidemocratic, oppressive dimensions and implications.
In the history of political thought in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Vladimir Ćorović has been considered as an interesting author because, above all by his critique of pathological deformations of linguistic practice, he insisted on an authentic linguistic policy. The deformations appeared in various forms of Germanization and bureaucratisation of language. Hence we can conclude: the only thought of his that belongs to the emancipatory ideas of the time is the thought of the need for preserving the authenticity of language.
But, this is a rather formal position, because its content basically lacks emancipatory value. Ćorović’s position of Serbian linguistic unitarianism and hegemony, even by the standards of our time, belongs to the spirit of an anachronic linguistic and national policy and cultural conservatism. It expressed the dominant policy of ethnic pan-Serbianism at the time. And that pan-Serbianism was, both conceptually and in its axiology and empirical reality, antihumanistic, undemocratic, imperial and genocidal, especially when it was openly declared to be the general policy of the Serbian state, and to be the state policy pertaining to Bosnia and Bosniaks in particular.
Translated by Mirza Džanić
Diwan 2002. Sva prava zadržana.
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