Stop the privatization of Boško Buha Memorial Complex

Boško Buha Memorial; Photo: Pinki / Wikipedia

Boško Buha Memorial Complex at Jabuka near Prijepolje has been announced to be sold off in late January. However, a part of the public opposes the allienation of this important symbol of freedom fight and former social progress, stating that together with it we sell away the “noble ideas of pacifism, antifascism, and struggle for justice and equality”.

The Boško Buha Boško Buha Memorial Center, a wooden building of the Museum of Pioneers and Youth, a cultural centre with adjacent pavilions, a former hotel and the land these buildings are situated on all belong to the bancrupt Company for Hospitality and Tourism “Putnik” from Prijepolje, and were put on sale alongside the rest of its property.

The Bankruptcy supervision agency has defined the sale of the company together with the memorial complex to take place February 28 in Belgrade.

Nevertheless, drama pedagogue Ivana Bogićević Leko addressed an open letter to the bankruptcy management of “Putnik” and theresponsible authorities at Prijepolje municipality, in which she reminds them that the memorial complex was built thanks to the pioneers’ donations:

Construction was literally financed by children from the former Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia through donations, sent with an aim to build a complex field trips, summer schools, summer and winter vacations could take place in.

A petition has also been launched, open for anyone who objects the idea of this complex being sold away.

“A pioneer, fighter and people’s hero Boško Buha met his death in this place”

Boško Buha was the youngest person to receive the Medal of People’s Hero in Yugoslavia. He died at Jabuka in 1943 as a seventeen year old boy and a participant in the People’s Liberation War.

In 1964 a unique example of a memorial complex at the territory of Yugoslavia began to be built at the place of his death. This complex near Prijepolje “signifies the importance children as a social group have in the process of forming a wholesome community”.

The most traumatic experience of war is the death of the youngest, and the memorial complex was designed to pay respect to the children and youth who sacrificed their lives for the fight for freedom and the struggle for a more just society.

Apart from the Boško Buha monument, there are eight memorial busts of the partisan pioneers at Jabuka, including the posthumously decorated people’s heroes: Lepa Radić, Vera Miščević, mate Blažina, Sava Jovanović Sirogojno.

On top of being financed by pioneers’ donations, the monument itself is made according to a design proposal by Jadranka Berić, a young girl at the time, who participated in a design competition together with more than six thousand pioneers from all over Yugoslavia.

Dormitory, Boško Buha Memorial Complex, Photo: Pinki / Wikipedia

The collapse of the system and the complex

The Cultural Centre, Centre of Pioneers and Youth of Yugoslavia and the Boško Buha Memorial Centre were designed as an educational centre for children and youth, a place for field trips and creative programs constructed by the Yugoslavian children themselves. This opens a question – are we entitled to selling such objects, or should we renovate them, instead, and leave them to future generations to use.

The complex has never been renovated, only to witness slow decay and a suffocation of its activities. Nevertheless, the buildings still haven’t deteriorated to a state beyond repair, and could be renovated if the Prijepolje municipality chose to invest in them.

M.M.

Translation from Serbian: Iskra Krstić

This article was originally published in Serbian on Feb 7, 2019.

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