Cry in a world that lost faith

The defense of Jerusalem
By Miro Gravran
Publisher Krivodol Press. 101 pages


The brand new Buenos Aires edition of the poem “La Defensa de Jersualem”, by the celebrated Miro Gavran (1961) -the Croatian author of short stories, fiction and theater works with the most translations in the world-, translated into Spanish and published by the enterprising intellectual Carmen Verlichak, a true cultural bridge between Argentina and Croatia, requires an introduction.
It is a book that will not be easy for Argentines to understand, who at first reading could find it foreign, of a strange, ancient spirituality, in which they no longer recognize themselves, at least those Argentines disconnected from central European reality.

However, I am convinced that it is worth making the effort to try to understand it, and that the local reader can achieve it, since the Argentine spirit is essentially universalist, curious and, always thirsty to understand the world, especially the great European issues, even more so if they come from a country with such a tradition of intense exchanges and with such familiarity of idiosyncrasies, as they unite Croatia and Argentina.

To decipher this Croatian book in an Argentine code, I think those of us who have a Croatian part of our spirits, whether by blood or, as in my case, by adoption, after being Argentine ambassador to that extraordinary country for more than three years, can collaborate. . But also because I understand my profession – a criterion that can be extended to other areas – as a back and forth, which consists of understanding and explaining not only Argentina in Croatia, but also Croatia in Argentina.
Here it is good to point out that, unlike Croatia, Argentina is a huge country that has vast uninhabited spaces and untapped resources, without imminent security sieges, nor surrounded by threatening countries and that has never suffered a single devastating invasion.

I believe that this book deserves to be taken seriously, listened to carefully and thoughtfully, because it is not maudlin poetry or aesthetic gloating, but rather an existential, desperate, anguished cry that repeats the word “Dosta mi je “, which the Verlichak translated as “I’m fed up”.

And this cry comes from an intellectual and spiritual man, who must be attended to and understood not only as the concern of a contemporary human being, but, above all, as a Croat, that is, a man of an ancient faith, of a nation small that feels besieged in the middle of one of the most complex enclaves in the world, such as the Balkans, and intertwining of strong cultures, religions and diverse powers, which has the size equivalent to that of the province of Jujuy, which has suffered since time immemorial devastating invasions, persecutions and genocides. It is about a writer seeking to be read, a prophet seeking to be heard, an intellectual seeking to be understood, a Croatian seeking to be understood by Europe, a believer seeking to be heard in a world without faith, a spiritual man seeking be heard in a material world.

In short, I believe that it is an absolutely revealing book of a precise, delicate and complex context, of the not only spiritual but also mental and civilizational state in which Europe finds itself and, especially, Central European countries such as Croatia, that is to say, a continent and a region besieged by mass migrations, by the overwhelming economic presence of China, the growing shortage of energy, the withdrawal of the United States in terms of security during the Trump era -issues that he even expressly mentions-, by the decline of his convictions, increasingly materialistic, irrationalistic and postmodern, and the blurring of its traditional personality. All of which has now been aggravated by the fact of the invasion of a power over a smaller country, such as Ukraine, unleashing atrocities a few kilometers from Croatia, and reviving ominous memories that are in the memory of all Croats.

In short, it is a highly current, spiritual and urgent book, which must be read intelligently and, of course, not as an excuse to encourage more wars or ancestral hatred.

Career diplomat. Former Argentine ambassador to Croatia.

Cry in a world that lost faith