Otok, island of death : a diary in letters / Venko Markovski ;
introduction by Matthew Mestrovic. - Boulder (Colorado) : Social
science monographs, 1984. - XXII-229 p. : ill. ;
23 cm. - (East European monographs, 163).
Originaire de Skopje, le poète
Venko Markovski (1915-1988) a été l'un des plus
actifs promoteurs du renouveau culturel en Macédoine.
Son engagement contre le régime
de Tito et, plus généralement, contre le nationalisme
serbe lui valut de passer cinq ans au pénitencier de Goli
Otok, l'île chauve 1.
|1.||Ou, selon certains, l'île nue :
l'île située au large des côtes croates, entre Krk
et Rab, devrait ce nom à l'implantation, entre les deux guerres,
d'un camp de nudistes … Pendant la 1ère guerre
mondiale l'île, alors sous souveraineté austro-hongroise,
avait reçu des prisonniers russes ; elle devient un camp
d'internement pour prisonniers politiques opposants du régime
titiste de 1949 à 1989. Depuis, un projet de reconversion en
pôle touristique n'a pas vu le jour.|
NOTE DE L'ÉDITEUR : Goli Otok : The Island of Death
is a remarkable and controversial work — remarkable because
much of it was « written » without paper or
pencil, in the author's mind, during his five-year incarceration ;
controversial because it presents a highly emotionally-charged and
partisan view of its historic period, that of the mid-century schism in
the ranks of international communism. It is published by the East
European Monographs because it is a poweful and moving account, by a
sensitive and gifted poet of courage in adversity, of the triumph of
the human spirit under the most brutalizing conditions. It is published
for its universality, not for its particularism.
You ask where I am. I am on Goli Otok. Until 1948
no one even knew that such a place existed. It is an island in the
Adriatic, an island that is subject to strange and changeable weather.
If there is a storm brewing, even in the heat of summer, it is as cold
as winter here. But if it is sunny, even in the midst of a severe
winter, it is like the hottest of summers. The island is nothing but
rocks, rocks that are enveloped in a spectral silence during our
blood-red sunsets. The sinister squawking of the seagulls tears the
silence like a knife. The mute sea suddenly falls calm, and for a
moment one feels lost in the most terrifying corner of the world's most
awful dungeon. One feels as if one has entered the anteroom of a
terrestrial hell …
it possible for such an inhuman jail to be hidden from human eyes in
the middle of the twentieth century ? Can this have occurred in a
country whose leaders fought for a brighter future, for the happiness
of their people, for equality among all those people ?
in fact is Goli Otok ? What is its history ? Did Satan
himself come to earth to create it ? Is man such a hellish
creature that he can create this diabolical inferno ?
— not real human beings — dwell on Goli
Otok ; shadows of our former freedom fighters. On Goli Otok human
beings are reduced to things, to numbers ; they are treated as
mere quantities ; they livre in rags and tatters. From dawn to
dusk a sorrowful train of people moves back and forth across the desert
that is Goli Otok. Their eyes are sunken ; their hands have been
broken in inhuman toiling. Their legs drag as if bound by heavy chains.
Their heads are bent low. They don't talk, they don't even look around.
Each of these shadows is a loose page torn from a shattered life.
☐ p. 30
- Dragoslav Mihailovic, « Goli Otok », Belgrade :
- Branko Hofman, « La
nuit jusqu'au matin », Paris : Phébus,
- Ligio Zanini, « Martin Muma », Rijeka :
|mise-à-jour : 31 octobre 2013