By Milos Mitrovic – Belgrade
Famous Serbian filmmaker Emir Kusturica has revealed the monument to Gavrilo Princip, the revolutionary that assassinated Austro-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie in 1914, during the monarch’s visit to Sarajevo.
“Princip exists not just as the great emotion”, Kusturica said on Monday at the ceremony in Tovarisevo, 109 kilometers north-west from Belgrade.
On the occasion of World War One centenary, Kusturica also revealed monument dedicated to 50 Serbian war volunteers from Tovarisevo.
Kusturica recalled that the bridge in his home town Sarajevo, the present capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina, was named after Gavrilo Princip. “And now, this bridge that leaded to Emperor Dusan Park, has different name… “, Kusturica stressed, adding ironically that a number of towns in Serbia and Montenegro have streets dedicated to “comrade Tito”, former authoritarian ruler of communist Yugoslavia.
According to Kusturica, Serbia as a modern state would not be established, if Princip had not existed. “Gavrilo Princip exists not just as a great emotion”. After revealing the monument (photo by novosti.rs), he announced that mosaic dedicated to Princip would be opened in Visegrad, Bosnia-Herzegovina. In 2011 Kusturica started constructing artistic town “Andricgrad” (Andric-town) in Visegrad, dedicated to Yugoslav and Serbian Nobel Prize winner for literature Ivo Andric. The project is scheduled to be completed by June, coinciding with Great War centenary.
Serbian poet and academic Matija Beckovic, who also attended the ceremony in Tovarisevo, recaled that 402,435 Serbian soldiers have been killed and 845,000 civilians hanged or exterminated in concentration camps during WWI. “The victims should not be forgotten and neglecting of Serbian victims started immediately after Great War was ended”, Beckovic said. “The shot by Gavrilo Princip has not changed only his life, but the life of every single Serb in Austria-Hungary”.
Earlier this month, the government of the Republic of Srpska, Bosnian entity, announced that monuments devoted to Gavrilo Princip would be built in Belgrade and East Sarajevo on the occasion of World War One outbreak centenary.
Austria-Hungary used the assassination of Franz Ferdinand to start the war against Serbia that triggered WWI claiming that Princip was trained in Belgrade. While some historians believe that Serbia was partly responsible for the world disaster, most Serbian academics and government strive to rebuff such claims as revisionism.