Notations From the Time of Evil

"Notations From the Time of Evil" are, as Lazar Manojlović, author of that book said in its book introduction: „(...) stories from the time of the great evil, 1992 - 1995. and the time of the great hopelessness that lasts too long 1995 - 2008.“

The book is collection of notations which sometimes have a literary, essayistic aspirations, primarily based on factography regarding to events which happened mostly in Bijeljina, where the author spent part of his life, the period about which he writes. However, the war in Bosnia is documented to the extent that any of facts about it can't surprise us. What is in this book most interesting and surprising is the very possibility of the Lazar Manojlović existence.

He writes, as he said, about „the Serbs side of evil“. At the time about he writes, especially in wartime, the entire Serbs nation was contaminated by evil, primarily thanks to their political and religious leaders. However, Lazar Manojlović not give up on himself as a Serb. He mentioned several times in the book that he is a Serb, which sets itself up, maybe not having that intention, as one of the representatives of Serbs side of good. Being such a Serb then meant to be in disfavor. Lazar Manojlović was not the person which had nothing to lose in such position. He was a respected citizen of Bijeljina, respected in the profession, on the quite pleasant position of the director of an elementary school. He could defer to the majority and not only retain his positions, but also profit. He will put everything on the line and prove himselsf that being Serb does not mean being a fascist. Position of the Serb is not the only one witch Lazar Manojlović takes.

Even more interesting is the position of pedagogue, or more precisely the position of director of elementary school „Radojka Lakić“ which will be renamed during the war in the primary school „Sveti Sava“. Here the author reveals to us what has caused its more than critical attitude towards the Serbs nationalist politic in those years. Especially interesting is one of his pedagogical role models: „As a boy, I read about the courage of the director of one high school in Belgrade during the Second World War, during the persecution of Jews and pogrom of one people. That director remembered, on time, to gives to Jewish students grade reports with new names.“ Serbs nationalists will seek a similar thing from Lazar Manojlović fifty years later: „They asked me to go to school only Serbs children. (...) I answered to them in front of cameras of foreign television that in the school exist only two nations: a nation of students and nation of teachers.“ The old adage says that educate means to live as a role model – everything else is dressage. Unfortunately, this phrase is more belied then consistently followed, but examples such as Lazar Manojlović and his role model are those who give it the truth and still make it meaningful.

I will cite one more example that proves it: „They ordered me to break, with students, the monument of Yugoslav Second World War hero  Radojka Lakić, whose name school has until they decided to rename everything in accordance with the new Serb cultural code. I refused again, telling them that neither I or anyone else at the school will not bring down the monument due to the fact that is the vandalism and crime to teach students to demolish the monuments.“ So, no matter how governement could be powerful, Lazar Manojlović will not listen its orders if they are not in line with the general human and pedagogical value criteria.

Lazar Manojlović also stood out from the position of the citizen, saving their fellow citizens from the concentration camp in Batković. Therefore, he is removed from the position of the school director: „They drove me with two pistols, two former concentration camp guards in Batković. Both were employees of the school: one was teacher, Milan Grujičić, and another was janitor, Savo Lazić. The teacher took my place. He is sitting on it more than ten years. The experience of concentration camp guard was his only professional and scientific recommendation to manage the school.“

Preview of this book and the story about Lazar Manojlović I'll finish with example of Janusz Korczak, a Polish teacher, administrator of one Warsaw orphanage. He was a Jew, but he had the opportunity to save his life. He refused it wanting to stay with his children. He was killed in Treblinka. In the Polish pedagogy, there is a discipline called Korczakology which dealing with Korczak thoughts. Today Korczak has a strong influence in the identification field of young Poles.

Lazar Manojlović is our Korczak, but, unfortunately, in BiH he has no treatment as Korczak has in Poland. Only thanks to the NGO sector, especially to NGO GARIWO, we can read his book and soon will emerge a movie about him due to the fact that he is a laureate of Duško Kondor Civli Courage Award which is given to him also by the NGO GARIWO.

Lazar Manojlović is the righteous and his notations can make the righteous of its readers too.

Amer Tikveša

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