A good end cannot sanctify evil means; nor must we ever do evil, that good may come of it... We are too ready to retaliate, rather than forgive... And yet we could hurt no man that we believe loves us. Let us try then what love will do: for if men did once see we love them, we should soon find they would not harm us. Force may subdue, but Love gains: and he that forgives first, wins the laurel.
William Penn

Be patterns, be examples in all countries, places, islands, nations wherever you come; that your carriage and life may preach among all sorts of people, and to them; then you will come to walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in everyone...
George Fox

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


We met the host Vesna had arranged for us in the city center of Kraljevo after a nice woman had treated us to a coffee. Vojkan smiled as he approached, but also seemed concerned about something. I read his mind.
"Did you know about the bike?" I asked.
"No, I didn't."
"Did you know about the dog?"
"No, I didn't."
"Then you surely didn't know about the four newborn puppies we found this morning."
"This could be a problem," he said, but then, after an uneasy silence among the three of us, he added, "No problem. Let's go."
As we walked to the house he had arranged for us, Vojkan told us about the meeting he'd just attended, regarding local government's support for projects proposed by Pozitivna Omladina, the youth organization Vojkan works for.
"I asked this politician questions, and he talked and talked without answering them, so I asked again, and then again to get a straight answer, but he didn't give me one. By the time I was finished with him, he wasn't very happy about me being there. We won't get any support from this politician, but we never have anyway."
Pozitivna Omladina, or Collective Positive Youth, organizes activities for young people in Kraljevo. It defends people from any type of discrimination, and encourages non-violence and diversity. As we were soon to discover, Pozitivna Omladina also helps people who are temporarily homeless. Much of the support the group gets comes from Italy.
The house Vojkan led us to is owned by a man named Vlada, who has a small windshield replacementbusiness and is also involved in a few NGO's. The apartment we were led to is occupied by a German volunteer for Pozitivna Omladina, Elisabeth. Vlada found a safe place for Inge's bicycle, and neither Vlada nor Elisabeth objected to the dog and puppies. We had found just the place we needed to try to keep them alive.
In the evening I visited the organisation's office, and met Nikola, a close friend of Vojkan, who was frantically doing the cooking for a dinner at the office. I also met a woman named Bojana, who is involved in feminist organisations in Kraljevo. She told me about the NATO bombing that took place in the city during the Balkan Wars, and about a friend of hers who worked at the local TV station.  He was killed in the bombing.
Several days later, after two visits to a vet who tried to keep the puppies alive without charging us, three of the four puppies had died. Bojana joined us for dinner at Elisabeth's apartment. I mentioned how easy it was for someone to throw the puppies out by the side of the road, and how difficult it had been for us (and especially for Inge, who devoted 24 hours a day to them) to try to save them.
"It is like this with everything in life," Bojana said. "It is so easy to destroy, and to disregard the alternatives to destroying, and so difficult to prevent destruction and to repair the damage that is done by such people."
Last night, after one last desperate trip to the vet, the last puppy died. Sometimes the damage is too much to repair, but we cannot let that stop us from trying.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Are you still in Kragujevac? I have friend and he can houst you.Name is Nikola Živanović, he is poet and a writer e mail cemupesnici@gmail.com
    so long my friends