by Muhamed Cico and 13 others
We Welcome the Restoration of the Monastery at Žitomislići
Work has begun on the reconstruction of the Žitomislić monastery, which was originally begun in 1566. The monastery complex was added to the register of protected monuments in 1952, but destroyed in 1992. The works now being carried out are in preparation for the re-establishment of this ancient monument. They are wholly founded on law, and on scientific and professional achievements, and are one more example of integrated renovation of architectural heritage, as part of the rebuilding of Bosnia-Herzegovina's war-ravaged communities.
The Žitomislić monastery is one of the sacral symbols of Bosnia-Herzegovina's pluriform society and state, and of the distinctive Serbian Orthodox element within it. Public recognition, renovation and protection of the monument is a prerequisite for the normalization of Bosnia-Herzegovina's society and state as a whole. Restoration of the Žitomislić monastery contributes to a clear definition of the stance of all the organizations and individuals involved in this process, with a view to the establishment of durable peace, law enforcement, the identification of crimes and the punishment of their perpetrators.
In the act of renovating the Žitomislić monastery, which symbolizes the restoration of the shattered identity of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the dignity of its citizens, we, members of International Forum Bosnia, individually and collectively, recognize an explicit civilizational message of the highest moral value. In this act we recognize the clearest form of establishing a durable peace, based on law and justice, not on force and the gains of war.
Every form of vacillation, opposition or passivity in the face of so civilized an act as renovation of the ravaged substance of Bosnia-Herzegovina's culture can be regarded as encouragement for destructive individuals, elites and ideologies, and a deterrent to those who wish to build peace and restore confidence.
We are in no doubt about the significance of restoring the systematically demolished monuments and complexes of Bosnia-Herzegovina for the integrity of its post-war renovation, and as a framework for sustainable development; we welcome the start of renovation of the Žitomislić monastery as presaging the systematic restoration of the destroyed architectural wealth in Bosnia-Herzegovina as a whole.
Rebuilding the ravaged architectural heritage of Bosnia-Herzegovina should be one of the fundamental aims of post-war reconstruction. It is an inseparable part of the process of return of refugees and displaced persons to their own homes. Ensuring that conditions exist for reconstruction of the destroyed architectural heritage is thus an imperative task for all government authorities and international organizations engaged in establishing and maintaining the peace in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the region as a whole.
Although it can be said of every cultural element of Bosnia-Herzegovina as a whole that it belongs to one of the particular identities of this society and state – the Jewish, Catholic, Orthodox or Muslim; the Croat, Serb or Bosniak – individually and together they are the heritage and wealth of all of us together. We the undersigned, therefore, consider it the right and duty of everyone in Bosnia-Herzegovina, their associations, organizations and every other element of the organization of the state, to take part, individually and together, in the restoration and protection of that heritage, and to thwart any attitude towards it that serves to deepen divisions and distrust.
We the undersigned accordingly:
Urge that all operations aimed at restoration of the architectural heritage be enhanced,
Condemn all obstacles put in the way of those carrying out such restoration, Extend our heartfelt support to the owners of demolished monuments and complexes in their endeavours to restore what has been destroyed, and
Call upon government in Bosnia-Herzegovina, in all its forms and at all levels, and upon the Office of the High Representative of the international community in Bosnia-Herzegovina, to provide all the legal, administrative, security and financial conditions needed for reconstruction of the destroyed heritage, consistent with the provisions of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia-Herzegovina. In issuing this statement to the general public in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the world at large, we wish to emphasize that the restoration of all destroyed sacral buildings, as key symbols of public recognition of the collective identities forming part of the totality of Bosnia-Herzegovina, is an essential prerequisite for the establishment of human rights, the rule of law and democratically legitimized governance. Without the restoration of these symbols and the public acknowledgement of collective identity, neither returns nor political consolidation of the society and state of Bosnia-Herzegovina, nor indeed economic development, will be possible. Restoration of this kind is at the very heart of confidence as the most significant capital resource of the society and state of Bosnia -Herzegovina.
Muhamed Cico (Sarajevo)
Š aćir Filandra (Sarajevo)
Amra Hadžimuhamedović (Sarajevo)
Kadrija Hodžić (Tuzla)
Lazo Roljić (Banja Luka)
Obrad Savić (Beograd)
Ivan Straus (Sarajevo)
Arif Tanović (Sarajevo)
Ante Toni Pehar (Mostar)
Vojislav Vujanović (Sarajevo)