I particularly liked that photograph of my daughter. I still keep it today although it is not even in colour. Simply, in the grey-white angle formed by a carved stone foundation with an evenly plastered court-yard wall — apparently on some kind of table — a grey-black, finely chequered blanket is spread. Laid diagonally across it is a small, white, crocheted blanket, white as snow, a little flower beside a rosette, clover next to a circle, and all around a thick, luxurious fringe. On the blanket, the baby lies on her stomach, quite naked. There are no shadows anywhere, except for a little under her head and tiny arm. Obviously both summer and the sun are at their zenith. The baby leans on her arms, pushing upwards with her little knees, straining to straighten her neck, to raise her little head just a few centimetres above the shadow.

At this precise moment, the shutter snapped and the effort was recorded, as it has been for twenty years now.

That summer of 1973, I wrote on the back of a similar photograph: "To dear Granddad and Granny from Natica, who, as you can see, is trying to start off in life, and to continue, with her head up."

If anyone had asked me then what that meant exactly, my answer would have been very simple: from among the honourable vocations, to choose the one she preferred and learn it in good faith, and freely earn a reasonable living from it — that is the aim of upbringing. And this common aim of humankind should not be beyond reach.

So, I was proud of my daughter, a healthy and beautiful child. I was ready to help her with all my might. Immersed in true happiness, I felt strong enough to do so, as if I carried within myself all the joy, all the truth and all the strength of the world, there, under the stone wall of a house in which we were still lodgers.

However, things turned out to be not so simple. There were other forces abroad in the world, which in any case did not begin with either me or my daughter, nor the joys and sorrows it brings for that matter. And that is as it should be. But why should I care for Hobbs, for instance, who had troubles of his own and developed a theory contained in his Leviathan of 1651: that no law is a law if it is not publicly proclaimed in such a way that each shall know from whence it comes and that each may see and examine its original text. Do I really have to think about this? The Middle Ages, all the same... many call it the age of obscurantism. So let us take another example: the twentieth century, not London and not Hobbs, but Belgrade, June 2, 1988. Do I really have to enter the building of No. 6, Marx & Engels Square? * And why?


       As of March 1992 — Nikola Pašić Square.

(Tragment, translated by Mary Popović)

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