My blog has mentioned the name of Nemanja Babic from Serbia a couple of times. I have learned much from him about Forever Storm and heavy metal in Kragujevac.
Some interesting things about this communication: Nemanja was the first “stranger” that I am aware of to drop by my blog and comment, he has introduced me to one of my new favourite bands, and he has shared information about heavy metal and the significance it has in his life and that of his peers.
Nemanja spoke on my blog with a loyalty and love that the metal community holds for their allies and idols.
Heavy metal serves a significant purpose in the lives of youth where Nemanja lives. Though metal is important to me, I believe it to be much more essential in the lives of children.
The lone head bangers and outcasts all gather at Trg, where they sit on the stairs listening to heavy metal. There are about 30-40 of them that all unite under metal. To be an ally, one need only love metal. It is a common front, battle field, and army. (Megadeth calls their online fans the Megadeth army)
This is the same spot where Forever Storm played that live concert I posted on my blog. The location of the show, along with the band and the fans, stood out for me as special.
Nemanja is in this picture with his friends.
Kragujevac has a violent and sad history that brings us back to World War Two. The Nazis massacred thousands of people. Of their victims were children. There are poems written about this time in history.
One specific poem is Kragujevak by Radoje Radovanovic. It was written in Belgrade in 1947. The poem is well known for its final line ‘Pucajte. Ja i sada drzim cas’ which means “Go ahead. Shoot. I am giving my lesson. Now”.
Though no one knows exactly what the teacher said to his students as they were led out of the classroom to be shot, this line holds a special place for memorial and “gradually became an ineradicable part of national folklore”.
The line of this poem is also inscribed on a stone at the Sumarice site.
I recently had a lesson where we discussed Existentialism. Jean-Paul Sartre was mentioned in this class. Sartre shared his thoughts on Kragujevac:
“The deepest impression that a foreigner can walk away with from one country is the pain that he can feel in that country. That is what I experienced in Kragujevac. Nazi brutality vented its anger in full force on this docile city, turning it into an enormous grave with seven thousand murdered people. It is a difficult memory that I carry. But also a beautiful memory. When someone mentions Yugoslavia, I always remember Kragujevac and its students who were massacred by the enemy. It is then that I am reminded of the heroism of their people.”
Every October 21, there is a moment of silence in remembrance of the victims lost in this tragedy. Here is a picture of the memorial.
The over-arching themes found in heavy metal are alienation, war and oppression. That heavy metal speaks to youth in a place with such a history, reveals the importance and vital need for heavy metal.