In Krusevac, the organisers of our visit held a literary contest among the schools in the city. The young people of the city did Serbia proud. Thoughtful and emotional the winners were awarded a certificate as a prize and both students received a standing ovation. Rightly so, as we were all very moved.
The Nobility and Humanity of Scottish Friends Remain in the Eternal Memory of the Serbian People
Sometimes there is a bright spot in the darkness, good fortune in times of hardships, it comes unexpectedly. As your gaze is lost in the void of the street along which a friend must come to you, the streetlights of hope are lit in another place, brightening your face suddenly. Do not forget that selfless help, genuine friendship. There is no profit there, no pretending , that friend is God’s gift.
War is a state unnatural to the human spirit, the time when irrational thinking is imposed on man. Then you realize what life is like, a couple of significant smiles, some tears and a moment when one loses all of it. A random jerk of a rifle and nothing more. Did we ever exist? There are those, however, whose reason is not blurred by the evil and the immorality brought by war. They are scarce, but they are worthy.
If I am to speak honestly, I did not know much about the friendship between Scotland and Serbia in the First World War. This is because we are preoccupied with the terrible events and great losses of that time, the killing of the innocent people, which is incomprehensible to us today, and it will always be. When I found out about the heroism of Scottish doctors and nurses I was surprised, but also confused. What was the trigger for Dr. Elsie to leave her people and take a steady step on the path of a humanitarian mission to help the Serbian people? We cannot say that religion and tradition are what binds us to Scotland, or customs either, our homelands are far from one another. Now I realize that these differences will never set us apart. Love is what connects us, the love that emerged from immense respect and gratitude for Scotland. Doctor Elsie crossed Albania along with the Serbs. She watched the last sparks of human lives die away beneath snowflakes. Despite the fear of disease that decimated Serbian people, she persevered in her mission. Kragujevac, Valjevo, Lazarevac , Vranje, Mladenovac and Kruševac are all towns which remember Scottish women’s hospitals and will remember them forever. It remains our duty to continue building bridges of friendship. Our army even had a female officer from Great Britain. Those who survived the Albanian Golgotha, 27 Serbian boys, received help and refuge in the country of noble people, they got a chance to live. Far away from death and enemies, they found friends in Edinburgh, Dundee, and Glasgow. New friends who taught them how to play rugby, how to live a normal life. They did not speak the same language, but that was just a small thing which did not prevent them from loving the people of Scotland the way they loved their own, and when they walked on Scottish land, it didn’t make them feel alienation, but love and belonging . That is a great deed, those are saved lives. We do not know the number of lives that the women from Scotland saved. They knew that their lives were hanging above the abyss of destiny, which can send a wave of severe disease at them at any moment. They must have felt deep love for the Serbian people. The course of events in the history of our people would certainly not be the same without them.
As the years go by, so history fades away. Our duty is not to let that happen, but to talk to the generations to come about the brave women who gave their hearts to Serbia. We must remember the friendly hand that led us from hopelessness to life, when it was most needed. We must constantly
renew the friendship between our two countries, because some of us, Serbs, would not be here now if it hadn’t been for them and their humanity. As long as the Serbian people live, the women of the Scottish hospitals will live forever in our hearts!