Danilo Ilic

Danilo Ilic

Danilo Ilic was born in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1891. He attended the State Teachers' College in Sarajevo and for a while taught at a school in Bosnia. In 1913 Ilic moved to Belgrade where he became a journalist and a member of the Black Hand secret society.

Ilic returned to Sarajevo in 1914 where he worked as editor of a local Serb newspaper. He began recruiting young men into the Black Hand group and that summer agreed to help Gavrilo Princip, Nedjelko Cabrinovic, and Trifko Grabez to assassinate Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

On Sunday, 28th June, 1914, Franz Ferdinand and Sophie von Chotkovato were assassinated by Gavrilo Princip. Princip and Nedjelko Cabrinovic were captured and interrogated by the police. They eventually gave the names of their fellow conspirators. Muhamed Mehmedbasic managed to escape to Serbia but Ilic, Veljko Cubrilovic, Vaso Cubrilovic, Cvijetko Popovic and Misko Jovanovic were arrested and charged with treason and murder.

Eight of the men charged with treason and the murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand were found guilty. Under Austro-Hungarian law, capital punishment could not be imposed on someone who was under the age of twenty when they had committed the crime. Nedjelko Cabrinovic, Gavrilo Princip and Trifko Grabez therefore received the maximum penalty of twenty years, whereas Vaso Cubrilovic got 16 years and Cvijetko Popovic 13 years. Danilo Ilic, Veljko Cubrilovic and Misko Jovanovic, who helped the assassins kill the royal couple, were executed on 3rd February, 1915.


The Death of Danilo Ilić

N INE MORE DAYS. Nine more days of breath and sensation. I woke today, in my cell, on my cot, in my skin, my left hand held by another in an abstract grasp. But there was nobody sitting beside me, stooped on a stool like a priest. What fatigue upon waking. What pain in my joints. Yet what calm, too. Reflected against the bottom of the sidewall was the familiar rectangle of sunlight, cut into four squares by the intersecting shadows of the bars. Once more the smell of dampness and stone. My bare feet touched the cold floor, there. I put on my slippers and began to walk back and forth in the cell. So much time still, in so little space. I clenched my fists, unclenched them. They felt raw, leathery. Footsteps, a clearing of the throat, a dull key turning inside a rusty lock. Radovan asked… I told him I was well, except for the pain in my left elbow and both knees. He smiled at me, then frowned, his gray beard burning in the shaft of sunlight.

You will have a visitor today, he said, an important one, so we better tidy up here. If you could only shave. Will you stop pacing, for God’s sake! Don’t argue with him, and don’t try any of yesterday’s stunts. No thrashing about, and absolutely no swearing. You see that there? That’s not dust but a clump of hair you ripped off the head of the other Radovan. And this here—look at my wrist, Danilo—these are your bite-marks. No need to apologize. Just be more careful today. You have been warned. Hide the notebook and, especially, the pencil, or else I will get in big trouble. Don’t try chipping the candle wax with your nails. It won’t do. Also, he may want to examine your nails. I will bring you a file. Don’t ask him anything. Don’t talk unless spoken to. Understand? Yes, come on, but quickly. Better not shake my hand in front of him, though… I’m going to town tomorrow. Is there anything you want me to pass along to your mother?

I let go of his hand and his arm fell to his flank, swinging itself still. The heavy door opened and shut, sweeping his shadow aside. As you wish, Radovan said through the wire of the hole in the door. It was not yet noon. I knew because the rectangle of light had not slumped yet from the wall down to the floor. For the rest of the day I watched its quivering movement, but never once caught it in actual motion. When it reached the floor, I watched it slowly dissolve, but lost concentration again and never saw it in the instance of dissolution, the way a damp spot, shaped like a horse or a cripple, evaporates on a hot pavement before your very eyes. Nobody came. Nobody will come. Something egg-shaped and bone-white hangs from the spider web spread between my table and the corner of the wall. The flame of the candle sways in the arms of a draft. Dusk in January. January in the land of dusk. Cracks everywhere in this fortress.

No, this won’t do. None of this will do—and yet I dare not erase what I have written.

The door opened as I was eating breakfast, and Radovan came in, a rifle slung over his shoulder, a peaked hat covering his bald head, the large silver buttons of his uniform buttoned to the throat, his jackboots glazed black. Here, he said, hide the notebook and pencil under your bed. He is coming. He stood at attention by the door, and I stood, too, extending one leg to hook with my big toe the back of the slipper I had left in haste by the table. We waited like this. I heard the clatter of plates above my head, the wind howling outside. Radovan’s chest was puffed out, his eyes red with concentration, his stomach struggling against his belt. Stop fidgeting, he said. I hear him coming.

Through the open door the empty corridor glowed blue and black in the yellow lump of hanging light. From down the hall came three wooden knocks and their wispy echoes Radovan rushed out. I could hear the sharp rise of a question and the low mutter of Radovan’s answer. He ushered into the room a tall, slender man in an overcoat, then stood as before on one side of the door. He signaled me to do the same, his brows raised. Silver arcing into white, severe, ruffled, they reminded me…of what? The director looked around the cell approvingly, taking off his leather gloves finger by finger, then looked at me with a mixture of surprise and satisfaction in his short-lashed, bulging, very round eyes.

We finally meet, Danilo Ilić, he said. The name is—oh, good handshake, very good. I see you have not lost your strength here. Well, you must excuse my absence all these days, but I was back in Vienna on some administrative business. It couldn’t be helped. I had meant to visit my most famous inmate much, much sooner but… Quite a wind out there. Bet you’re glad to be in here instead. No, no, the trip could not be helped, and I didn’t even get good caviar as I’d hoped. Have you ever had really good caviar, Danilo, from the Caucasus? Of course not! I’m so very glad to meet you—please, do sit down—to see the mastermind behind such a bold assassination. Despicable, morally speaking, an act of pure terrorism, yet quite impressive, the execution of it. Pardon the pun. Don’t frown like that, boy. I mean, you were after all at the center of this web, the main target of interrogation, you and Gavrilo Princip. What was that? That’s fine, Rado, let the boy speak. Say it again, please. Ah, I see, visitors… What a question. Lord, look at the time! I merely wanted to introduce myself. But don’t worry, dear Danilo, you and I shall speak again—oh, we will get to know each other very well, I promise you that. I will look in on you tomorrow, and we will discuss it all then.

The door closed. I listened to their footsteps recede. The wind howled like a sick beast. The plates clattered. For the first time here, I picked up the chair on which the director had sat, the warmth already gone from the seat, and placed it under the window, then climbed on top. There was a misty pane of glass beyond the bars, beyond that a misty green field, beyond that a ridge of fir trees melting into silhouettes, and somewhere beyond that our old house and my mother in her wicker chair. A smear of white rose and whirled and sank into the distance. The overcast sky was like cotton dipped into ink. Death—is it another form of insanity, or another form of distance? Hopeless either way. What immovable hopelessness. What a boulder. I understand heaven only as a vastness foreshortened by mist. Will it be loud as the wind in one’s ears, or silent as the fog before one’s eyes? A sunburst or an erasure mark?

The walls creak. Dampness, stone, and the reek of the chamber pot. My fingers are numb and swollen—I must stop writing. Over my head plates clatter, plates continuously clatter, like they did in our house during strong storms, when I would read by the wood stove and my mother would hum to herself a song without words in the shudder and chime of the kitchen. Eyes ache from reading in this light. Seven more days and only a square of moth-eaten wool for a blanket. Perhaps it is better if she does not visit. I should stop writing—the candle is melting, is melting, is melting. How my eyes ache. How at the last word in a book the reader realizes rain is falling, and how that rain reveals the world of the book as a dream. When did it begin falling? How long has it been…? I remember how a window open to rain could make a familiar room grow strange.

This morning I heard the crackle of thumb-skimmed pages, then, using all five fingers, a brisk, lisping sound, with sometimes a hair-raising tear, then a squat banging shut of the book. The director was sitting cross-legged, the chair turned sideways to the table, some of the books he was going through balanced on his knee, the rest piled on the floor, reaching the trouser leg of his swinging foot. His socks were candy-striped. He had a frock coat on. His hair was bristly and gray. The thinly curled edges of his mustache twitched like in real life. From my cot I could catch, if I angled my head just right, a glossy, glancing sliver of rain through the window.

Good morning, Danilo, he said. Are you ready to begin? Some very good books here, very good… Stevenson, Verne, Conrad, Dostoevsky… Though except for a few children’s classics, nothing beats an atlas and the Bible, in my opinion. The here and hereafter… It’s really coming down out there… Good weather for reading, I suppose. Back to our task, my dear Danilo I had quite a time flipping through your past, quite a good time. Certainly I could have just picked up any of last year’s newspapers, where your acts are well documented, but what I’m after is not mere information but a deep knowledge—not the prison bars of personality but the real human animal cowering behind them. I began by reading some of your journalism. I admit to the simpleton pursuit of looking for the writer in the writing. Alas, you were nowhere to be found in the text. Bravo! As a kid you were deathly afraid of what might be lurking under your bed, and each night before sleep you would probe the dark with a clattering twig. Moving on—I will not recount all the remote shadows of your remote summers—and please do correct me if I get anything wrong—next we have your first and only kiss, at the age of thirteen, at the back of her house, with a goat and cow chewing and watching, and the aroused buzz of crickets, and afterward silence, or rather sounds without a recognizable form to them anymore. You made a mess out of that one, my boy. What was the girl’s name again? Fine, never mind. Let us move on. An only child, you helped your mother pull the clothes off the line—hear them flapping in the wind—and you helped your mother to dry the dishes she had finished washing—see them bobbing in the foam. You and your mother became especially close after your father left—now, don’t get agitated. We are almost done for today. Regular churchgoing, at the local Orthodox church with your mother, until the age of sixteen abstinence from masturbation until the same age at your secondary school: average grades, radical ideas, attempts at poetry, the hint of a stammer at eighteen you joined your fledgling voice to the banal intonations of the Young Bosnia movement a failed tryst with a prostitute while working in Belgrade: rain, lamppost, dim room, silver night, pale, skeletal, dark armpits, sweat, nerves, despair, despair. What else? Let’s see here… Perhaps we should turn to your father now—goddamn it! Look at that. Got me right across the nightcap of the thumb. You know, I’m always pleasantly surprised by the taste of blood… Back to your—no, this is not letting up. Perhaps we should stop? Yes? Continue tomorrow? Perhaps I will talk to your mother again, have a few more words with our good priest, revisit, perhaps, that beautiful young lady… What was her name again? Never mind! Any message you want me to? Anything… Anything at all?

Last night I could not fall asleep. I lay there on the hard cot, in my cold skin, shivering under the ridiculous blanket. The wind had stopped, the howling, wailing, panting wind. Rain drummed lightly and obliquely on the high roof. I heard a brief splashing and flapping from the direction of the chamber pot in the corner diagonal to my head, the round, deep plop of a leaky faucet measuring time somewhere behind the near wall, and beyond my pillow, on my right, the thin, metallic, angular gurgle made by water rushing down the spinelike gutter of the building.

I got off the cot and walked back and forth in the cluttered dark of the cell, my bare feet not at all cold. After a while I decided to try the knob, and the door opened with a fairy-tale creak. In the dense darkness of the turning corridor—the wooden squeak, the madness of tower stairs, the dusty clang of a loose floorboard, the whimpering snore of a slumbering guard, another, a third—across the moonlit yard, across the slanted shadow of the watchtower, through an arched gate and over the foggy moat, and up the road winding from prison to town, past the dark claws of fir trees and a silhouetted tractor on an even plane of ploughed darkness—the dew dazzling under a low moon, and the earth and gravel beneath your naked feet, and the wet grass between your wet toes, and the blue sheen of black mud in the moonlight—toward the echo of the church bell and bright upper windows of the library, and down the steeply sloping little street almost at a run, with the night glitter on the sidewalk, and the baker’s sign illuminated by the streaming light of a glistening lamppost, a maiden holding out a basket of different breads to you—past harmless shadows on the street corner and through the familiar garden, over the path with its dusk-blue flagstones toward a red-painted door, and over the threshold into your room, and over the ditch of time like over a dropped toy into your bed, beneath which no loose-jointed bogeyman lurked, not now, not ever, never, never, never, never, never…

I turned on my side and eventually fell asleep. I dreamed of a train platform near water, for I could hear the waves break along a remote, near, remote again seashore. I dreamed of my father waving to us from the train. Out on the platform a breeze crept up my spine and I awoke shivering in my damp uniform. Propped on an elbow I could distinguish the shadowy outlines of things, the sharp, shiny angles of the chair and the long surface gleam on the table. The sound I thought was the…must have been merely…merely rainwater purling in the eaves, and the breeze became obviously…only…the breeze of a free man became again only a prisoner’s draft.

I lay on my back and fell asleep again. A scraping on the floor woke me somebody placed the chair by the foot of the bed, a tall figure in a flowing robe of looming black. He went back to the table, then returned once more and sat down on the chair. He was nibbling a piece of bread, one hand delicately placed under his chin to catch the crumbs. It was the priest. I slit my eyes so he would think I was still asleep, watching him through the colored bends of light that swam between my narrowed lids. They disappeared, but he remained. A shadow ran across his eyes his gold crucifix glinted coldly from the chain round his neck. He had an oblong face, bluish fuzz on his shaved head, and blunt, wounded, eerie eyes. He leaned back in the chair, having finished the bread, and the shadow moved to his lower cheek and mouth. I closed my eyes and tried to breathe like a sleeper, hoping he would go away. He sniffled with increasing force, then finally sneezed. Soon I could hear him puffing his cheeks. I opened my eyes again and saw him scratching his crotch from inside the pocket of his robe. I feigned the slow and elastic motions of waking. Good morning, he said through his dark mouth, smiling, sniffling, holding out his hand for me to shake. The crucifix swung like the legs…and glinted coldly.

Now don’t be alarmed, Danilo. I’m not here as a harbinger of doom. This is not your final morning on earth. Over there is not your last breakfast—I just wanted to check in on you and have a little talk. The director and I had a long chat yesterday, and we agreed that you need the consolation only a reaffirmation of faith can provide. So tell me, my son, has anything been on your mind lately, any burden you want to get off your back, anything at all? No, nothing, there’s nothing you want to co…co…confess? Thank you…a bit of a cold…a nuisance. Nothing you want to…? I’m not talking about the murder. We already discussed that. Between you and me, even though I’m a staunch Catholic—a staunch Catholic, I said—still it seems to me that the assassination was not altogether unjustified… Let’s just leave it at that. Any other questions? No, frankly I don’t believe heaven is a train station. Oh, I see. You were only joking. Of course, the first loss of the sinner is the certainty in his heart of an afterlife. This we must overcome. Look here, it makes perfect sense… The living think of the dying—that’s true, you cannot dispute that—and the dying think of the dead—wait, don’t interrupt me—the dying, they think of the dead, as you well know—and so it follows that, as both of our religions teach us, the dead think of the living. Perfectly logical, and of great comfort, if only you would allow yourself to believe it. We can look at this in a different way—that’s fine, we don’t have to talk anymore. God is in the silence, too. Have you heard this one: why does a devout woman go to church…?

After he left, I paced the room for an hour or so. An increasingly sleepy, meditative, streamlike roam. The twin engines of my life rang in my ears: footstep, heartbeat, footstep… There was a bump in the floor near the table, another swelling by the door. A piece of bread was missing from my breakfast. Shadow words were all he said. Within doubt, I should have said, consciousness is formed, the human soul is found, the tonality of being is fixed. What I should have said was that a myth belongs to the masses, while the dream only belongs to the dreamer. But what good is it, my dream, when in the act of expression it turns into myth or dust? The light in the cell waned. An abstract wanderer, I trampled the shadows. The light in the cell brightened. Small, wet, glistening footprints led from the chamber pot to the bed, disappeared underneath it. It was and is impossible for me to imagine that I should at some very near point in time part from myself, lose the anchor of my interiority, my awareness, my vision… From the corner of my eye, flitting, fleet-footed, dust, a mouse, or a trick of light? There is only dawn and dusk in this cell, and one merges into the other like illness into ill sleep. I’m already beginning to forget the past, my past, and the future I had imagined there. This is not where my life…not here in his damp stone cell, with nobody to reflect my words against. Real life in a place like this can only amount to a figure of speech. I moved the chair to the window. Raindrops snaked down the pane beyond the rusted bars: green field, dark trees, twilight above the trees painted in deep blue and pink oils, the whole landscape smudged by fog like by a thumb. How drowsy and distant and dreamlike. My drowsiness, my distance, my dream! I’m standing on a train platform I’m one child among many. My mother is near she squeezes my elbow, and I raise my arm to wave. I do not quite understand. I do not quite believe. The enigma of his departure. Eyes peered through the hole in the door and I descended into my body with a thud. I had felt the warmth of the gaze against the back of my knees, but when I looked out into the cold corridor, there was nobody.

I sat down at the table and lit the candle. I began to write. Is it a lack of talent, or a certain self-consciousness, that prevents me from expressing what I feel and think with the necessary force and depth? There is much more I meant to write today, but already I’m tired. On the other side of silence is the scrape of a pencil, a mirror effect in both sound and sense. The wind gasps through the cracks in the wall. Or is it his wandering presence that makes the flame flutter? This lazy, enchanted flame, that dust-blue wing in the spider web, shivering, shivering.

The flame will soon flicker out—I must… I crack my fingers to begin but cannot find the words… The shadows in the room bend and flutter, the flame will… Short violin strokes of wind in the trees, footsteps in the corridor, my cringing spine, my trembling ribcage. This morning the rectangle of barred light reappeared, grease-colored, a weaker solution of its former glory. The light blinks sleepily and will soon disappear. I paced the cell, from bed to chamber pot, then table to door. The director came in, cloaked in black, flourishing a top hat. How are you, Danilo, he said. You don’t look well, I must say. A little dazed—no, go over there, lie down, stop pacing. Oh, the breath on you! Eat your breakfast or else…lightheadedness. Excuse my dress. I came straight from a function. You wouldn’t believe the fresh caviar. What a beautiful pink dawn has formed beneath the black scab of night. Makes you glad to be alive. Certainly does, I agree. Let us continue with your father, whom you last saw boarding a train. Remember, the white steam, the blue smoke, the human warmth of the platform…and your father in the bluish gray of our uniform, with the big buttons, off to fight the Prussians, or the Russians…the Turks, perhaps. It’s not quite clear here. Wherever he went he gave his life on sacred ground, and you—please lie back, don’t stare vacuously like that—and you understood even as a child that this was the mark of a man, to go toward death knowingly and give one’s life honorably—but in that room, under those lights… It was about the time your father left that you began to be afraid of the dark, isn’t that correct? You would lie in bed, under the heavy wool blanket with its milky animal smell, your whole body rigid with listening, transparent, all heart and ear and Adam’s apple. The groan of door hinges, the creak of floorboards—isn’t it odd, Danilo, how a random combination of inanimate sounds can give one the illusion of companionship? A gust of wind in the black night, or the drunken, disembodied laughter on the street corner, or a horse’s muffled clap-clop on the unpaved street—not to mention the constant scraping and tapping beneath the bed, a mouse or a monster, and the neighborhood dog’s emphatic bark, and the chainlike rattle of the plates, always, and the ghostly wail of the rooted trees. Noises in the dark, mysterious, unprovoked. You would scream through clenched teeth, moan loudly within the dark well of your delirium, throw your voice up from the rigid depth of your being, and your mother would hurry to your bedside on her poor legs—which she swathed in cloths soaked in vinegar, it says here—her legs with their blue and broken veins, and she would swaddle you in her embrace and life would become once again the warm, gentle, yielding dream it is in our happiest and most hopeful moments when the inescapable here and now of terror ceases to matter, is transcendent, overcome with a boyish leap into a bright future, or a brighter past, a displacement in time and so a displacement of space…but in that cold room, under those cold lights—don’t stomp your feet like that Stop it! Radovan, Radovan, come in here—take him outside—he is not quite well, seems to be showing those signs again—here, let me hold the door open… I did not mean to stress my awareness of your twitch, good boy. My eyes just happened to focus there, you understand?

Hold onto my arm, that’s a good boy. Steady does it. What trouble you keep giving us. Oh, that moan, that loud, prolonged, indecipherable moan. I should have rushed in as soon as I heard it it was the exact sound you made last time, note by note. Hold on, I said. Though this time it didn’t go as far, thank God! The thrashing, the snarling, the hair-ripping and mumbled curses. An animal, you were—you should be glad you remember nothing. Watch your step. The light bulb here has burned out. I had to hold you down on the bed with all my strength—watch the threshold—until you finally calmed down. Oh, how you shook! Then you wouldn’t let go of my hand until the morning, like a child—here we are: some fresh air and sun will do you good. Let’s just circle the yard. Keep holding onto me. Look at those juniper berries. So bright, so blue, still so slick with life listen to those crows in the apple grove over there, their scratchy, insistent cries—those branches are strong enough that one could if one wanted to… Look at their pale little hairs. The director is right, you know. Our land is fertile, but our republic was barren. Now listen to the metronome of our footsteps as we pass through light and shade. Look at the soles of your shoes, how chalk-white they are from the gravel? Don’t deny this, Danilo. There they go, those learned birds from their bare trees. Look, like one wave and now a perfect gyre in the sky, and its perfect shadow on the ground. You say there is no reality, Danilo, but I tell you there is only reality! Speak up—I can’t hear you—stop your stammering. Your mother? She sends her love. Don’t you worry about her, my boy. She is praying for you, praying for all of us. Fix your posture—straighten up!—and let’s take another lap. You hear that ringing? They have repaired the church bell—I think it broke down the day…yes, indeed, the very day you arrived.

This is unhealthy, Danilo, this kind of writing, considering the intense emotional state you are in. Now I know you are mad that we—not stole all your property is ours, after all—in fact we did nothing wrong, but I can understand your grievance as a leftover instinct from another time. But you must also understand that we looked through your notebook primarily for your own good. This may come as a surprise, but we’ve been monitoring you since you arrived—who do you think I mean by “we”? Do not ask silly questions—and the agitation we witnessed as you wrote this, and the fact you went to bed afterwards, which is quite unlike your usual pattern, and the fact you slept an agitated sleep, grasping at the pillow, the blanket billowing and plunging like a wave—all this alarmed us and we did not hesitate—for your own good, let us not forget. Of course you are not supposed to be writing in the first place, but we let this go, as we have so many things, hoping you would repay our kindness by being more open about your thoughts and feelings, this interiority that you hold onto so dearly. Reading this, though…perhaps it is better not to know. Alas, it’s my job, and I must persevere. Radovan, come in here. I’m going to call Radovan in because…because it’s procedure. I trust you, Danilo here, let me pull the chair closer to you. You stay where you are, Rado. I’m sure everything will be just fine. We are coming to the end, Danilo, to the hour without memory. After the assassination, after Princip’s fateful bullet, you went home, an insanely calm man in a dirty brown coat walking through a frantic crowd. What grief in the street—I remember it well. I know exactly where I stood when I heard the news, under a lamppost… Did you feel any grief, Danilo, any regret, any pity? My source is ambivalent. You told your mother you had a headache and went to bed you slept fitfully, I admit. You checked under the bed upon waking, to make sure that all the weapons had gone, even though you knew they had. You had checked in the morning, too. It had all come off, somehow, in your crude but functional hands. They had picked wisely, the dark forces that sent you on your way. And the dark has such a force. But whatever pride you felt had already begun to ebb, and a fear-induced vertigo betrayed the direction of your footsteps as you paced across the small room. You sat down on the bed. You still had your coat on—you had slept in it—and could feel the wetness under your armpits. And already by then the authorities were closing in—oh, they had a file on you. Look at me, dear Danilo. Don’t stray. They were going from house to house, and you knew without knowing, sitting on your bed, melting into your awareness, sinking into your panic, that they would be coming for you. You were right. You found it hard to walk, didn’t you, Danilo? Found it impossible to sum up in a passing remark all the reassurance you wanted your mother to feel as they hauled you off. How agonizingly you tried to find the words that would at once, magically, diminish, dispel, dissolve forever the image before her eyes, her son—let me finish—her only son being taken away by the police. The room to which they took you was very much like this one, and there, in that cold room, under those cold lights, after a few hours, with the threat of violence still only implicit, as the far shadow of a tremendous fist was brought down on the table with a near thud, you told them everything. Don’t shake your head, Danilo—you did, you told them everything. It was you, Danilo, it could only be you, it was always going to be you, and they knew it, your friends and your enemies, and we knew it, and your father had known it, too, from the moment each of us had set eyes on you.

Back, you filthy animal, off of me—Radovan! Now you did it, you coward. I’m fine, Rado it was a glancing blow, knocked my mask askew, that’s all. Hold him down, down. He’s beginning to shake. Stop snarling, you animal. What? My mouth? You are right… You really did it now, you filthy Serb. You will pay for this—I know he can’t hear me, damn you. Damn you all. Make him stop. It’s awful. I can’t stand it. My handkerchief, where, where is it, where? Eggshells everywhere and nowhere the yolk… I’m leaving. Blood is dripping from his mouth. There’s blood in the crook of your arm. He must have bitten his tongue again. Do something—look at those eyes. Oh, my mouth, so much blood…

Shush, Danilo, shush. That’s a good boy. Everything will be okay now. Here, let me put this pillow under your head. That’s better now. Hold onto my hand. Go ahead, hold onto it, but don’t squeeze too tight. Unclench your jaw—that’s good. Drift off…in the undertow of sleep, drift off… Good night, my sweet son.

Three more days—no, two days, two days and then a brief convulsion of inarticulate pain, and then a homecoming of sorts, or a headlong plunge into perfect absence. I imagine lying down in snow, the gradual loss of all sensation. A slow dimming and distributing of every part. A patient and complete yielding to abstraction. Detach the limbs. Crack open the ribcage and separate the spine. Remove at last the heart atop the mound of snow. There is a spider on the ceiling with a red hourglass drawn on its dark back. Everything…down to the last detail…I cannot…the wind outside, the clatter above…the steel-gray eyespot on the moth’s pale blue wing… I do not believe it.

The clattering roll of a pencil, dream-magnified, and fumbling hands vaguely reaching to slap it down on the reeling table, and a distinct click under a floating chair, beneath shuffling feet. After groping hunched over in the dark, I found the pencil and continued reading what I had written yesterday, unable to remember that I had written it. Every rib hurts and is thus accounted for my throat is rough my coughs charge the evasive flame. There is a heavy wind, but I can hear the liquid sounds that traverse the interior of the prison. Echoes all of a brighter reality. Pale indentations of moonlight in the square darkness give the room an illusion of watery depth.

It had snowed this morning. The first snow of the year. They have given me an extra blanket I awoke under it. The priest was sitting at my bedside, half asleep. He asked me if I would accept Christ into my heart, the salvation of heaven and so on. I would not. I could not. Sighing, he got off the chair, leaned over me and kissed me three times on the cheek in the Orthodox style. You and I, he said, his thin lips forming a smile of shared recognition, we’re not so different after all, certainly not in the eyes of God. You twist my arm and I cry out in pain you embarrass me and I blush you compliment me and I believe you. I did not say anything to him, did not want to argue, and there was, it seemed, if not exactly understanding, at least a glimmer of compassion in his blunt, slow, wounded, eerily familiar eyes. The door gaped open behind him. A gentle light swept across the far side of the room. The priest left. The door closed. A tender darkness settled back into place.

I take a grim comfort in the knowledge that if I lived longer, I would not cherish as deeply all I’m leaving behind, and that if I lived forever, there would be nobody to remember me and all the responsibility of memory would fall on me, and the weight of never forgetting would crush and kill me worse than any death. Yet even now when I know time to be short, I can think only in the future tense and am fatigued by impossible thoughts: the transcendent duality of the human mind even now as the last dusk burns in my blood and bones, as candle, pencil, world, all is melting, my human heart laments more time, more, and my imagination throws a desperate anchor toward a distant future: a book open on my lap, her warm humming from the kitchen, and seeping in through the falling snow, a sleeping potion of afternoon light…wind in the cupboards.

What is heaven but the immortal fulfillment of a mortal longing? What is it but the most sublime synthesis of memory and dream? I remember my father feeding baby pigeons in our garden, sitting under the great oak. I remember their long, reptilian necks, the blurred exuberance of their beating wings as they rose like one iridescent, withering wave at my awkward approach. My mother had just put the wash on the line, leaving behind the bucket in which the clothes had soaked. My father sat me on his knee and pointed out a few silvery greenish-gray birds, a kind of sparrow, on the wooden fence dividing our neighbor’s garden from our own. They hopped on their spindly legs and twitched their uncertain heads, blinking their small, black, lusterless eyes suddenly they leapt across the yard and settled on the lip of the bucket, then dipped quickly inside, making a spurting propeller sound as they flapped their wings and tails in the shallow water. The clothesline was hung parallel to the fence, the bucket lying beneath the wash. A bedsheet slowly billowed and lazily snapped. Back and forth the sparrows went, a leaping, blurry, silver throb of movement. A few days later—or perhaps it was the very next day—mother and I accompanied you to the train station. You were in uniform. You waved at us from the window.

It takes a great and tragic imagination not to be destroyed by the certainty of irretrievable loss. What a great and tragic imagination it must have taken to invent any kind of heaven.

I do not need to look outside to see a field covered with snow, or the moon’s bony gaze wrapped in weblike clouds—my stammering intuition tells me that white holds the emptiness best. I can hear crickets at dusk, which is the sound of a clock being wound. I can hear voices in the garden at dawn. How I want to join my voice to theirs. How I long to look in on them from afar. Tomorrow my consciousness will wake in an as yet unfathomable space of which dream is merely a medium or a limbo in this world tomorrow when they come to take Danilo Ilić away, they will not find him in bed or under it, will not find him in any of the four corners of this room, will not find Danilo Ilić anywhere they might think to turn their terrible eyes.

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28-Jun-1914 - Assassination in Sarajevo

This was Bismarck's prophecy as to what would set off the seemingly unavoidable European war. He had hit the nail directly on the head. The Balkans of 1914 were a hotbed of nationalistic intrigue. The Bosnian Serbs inhabiting the southern Austro-Hungarian provinces of Bosnia-Herzogovina wanted to be united with their brothers living across the Drina (Dunav) in Serbia proper. Austria-Hungary, having officially annexed Turkish Bosnia-Herzogovina in 1908, was not about to let go of it. Maybe an act of supreme defiance would convince Vienna otherwise maybe the dream of a greater Serbia could be realized by such an act.

An assassination of Emperor Franz Josef was out of the question. He was well respected throughout the empire and his heir's politics were even worse for Serbian cause than his own. The heir to the Hapsburg throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, was in favor of giving an equal voice to the Slavs of the empire - a belief counter to the very core of the Serb cause. 1 The Archduke was also Inspector General of the Austrian army. The summer maneuvers would bring him into the area and diplomacy would ordain a visit to Sarajevo on June 28th, St. Vitus Day, a Serbian holiday. It seems fate had decided the act.

1 While this may sound contradictory, it should be noted the common belief was that if the Slavs within the Austro-Hungarian empire were appeased, the chance of an insurrection would be greatly reduced, and consequently, the goal of a greater Serbia would never be realized. Prologue 28-Jun-1914 in Sarajevo was a typical summer day in the Balkans - blistering. For the Serbs it was St. Vitus day. It memorialized the Battle of Kosovo in 1389 where the Serbs were defeated by Turkey. The Serbs would mark the day with a feast.

It was also a special day for Archduke Franz Ferdinand - it was his 14th wedding anniversary. He would make it a special day for his wife Sophie. In Vienna she, not being of royal enough blood, was not allowed to ride in the same car with her husband during high affairs of state. But this was Sarajevo. Here, on their anniversary, she would be afforded all the royal treatment of which she was deprived at home. The Duchess of Hohenburg would most certainly ride in the car with her husband today.

To seven tubercular Bosnian Serb youths, 28-Jun-1914 would be the day they made their mark for the Serbian cause - a mark that would ultimately be left on the entire world. The Assassins
"The Narodna Odbrana proclaims to the people that Austria is our first and greatest enemy."

  • Nedjelko Cabrinovic
  • Vasco Cubrilovic
  • Trifko Grabez
  • Danilo Ilic
  • Mohammed Mehmedbasic
  • Cvijetko Popovic
  • Gavrilo Princip

See also: ø Information on "Ujedinjenje ili Smrt" This is the Serbian "Black Hand" . Link provides full background info including their constitution listing Colonel Dimitrievitch (Apis) as a member. ø Information on "Narodna Odbrana" This is the Serbian secret patriotic society of which "Mlada Bosna" was a splinter group.. Security Arrangements The diplomatic teletype had been busy clicking out warnings from consulates all over the world. The messages were clear: the Archduke would be wise to cancel his planned visit to Sarajevo. In Vienna, Serbian ambassador Jovan Jovanovic (acting on orders from Prime Minister Pasic) visited Austrian finance Minister Bilinski to warn that if the Archduke should visit then:

"some young Serb might put a live round instead of a blank cartridge in his gun, and fire it."

"Let us hope nothing happens,"

Jovanovic's warning was never passed on.

For some reason, despite all of these pleas and warnings, the Archduke not only insisted on going to Sarajevo, but he also put the city off-limits to the nearby Austrian army for the day. This same army could have been used to provide a much needed security presence on the crowded streets. Perhaps he didn't want any trace of Vienna to ruin his anniversary. The Act The motorcade consisted of four cars the Archduke and his wife rode in the second car. On their way to city hall they were to cross the Miljacka river at Cumuria Bridge. Mehmedbasic and Cabrinovic were waiting. Mehmedbasic did not throw his bomb, later stating that a policeman was blocking his way. Cabrinovic's path was not blocked and he threw his bomb at the second car. It was a good shot but the Archduke, protecting Sophie, deflected it onto the street. A fragment from the explosion hit Sophie in the face and others wounded passengers in the third car - Count Boos-Waldeck, Colonel von Merizzi and Sophie's attendant, Countess Lanjus. About a dozen onlookers were also injured.

Cabrinovic swallowed his cyanide and jumped into the Miljacka but he vomited up the poison and found that the river was only a few inches deep. He was taken into custody.

The first two cars continued on their way to city hall. Franz Ferdinand joked that the would-be assassin would probably be given the Medal of Merit in Vienna. The mayor of Sarajevo, Fehim Effendi Curcic, rode in the first car and was unaware of what had transpired at the bridge. The noise of the motorcade had drowned out the bomb. The motorcade now passed Cubrilovic, Popovic, and Ilic who did nothing. There were only two chances left and they were Grabez and Princip.

When they arrived at City Hall the furious Archduke interrupted Curcic's welcome speech, seizing him by the arm:

"One comes here to visit and is received with bombs. Mr. Mayor, what do you say? It's outrageous! All right, now you may speak."

The Archduke calmed down during the mayor's speech and gave the diplomatic closing words:

"I assure you of my unchanged regard and favor."

Franz Ferdinand announced he would like to go to the hospital to check on the other bomb victims. He begged Sophie to stay behind but she insisted on accompanying him. Oskar Potiorek, Military Governor of the province, assured the angry Archduke:

"Your Imperial Highness, you can travel quite happily. I take the responsibility."

And with that they were off. The Archduke's chauffeur was following the mayor's car. They passed the sixth assassin, Grabez, at Imperial Bridge. He merely watched as the car sped by. The mayor's driver made a wrong turn. Where he should have taken the Appel Quay, he turned onto Francis Joseph street, a street named for the Archduke's uncle. Potiorek, riding with the Archduke and Sophie, cried out:

"What's this? We've taken the wrong way!"

The driver applied the brakes and the car came to a stop not five feet from Gavrilo Princip. Unlike his cohorts, Princip acted quickly and precisely, drawing his pistol and firing twice before the car could complete its turn. The shots made little noise and the car sped off. Potiorek looked at the couple and, at first, thought that they were unhurt. In actuality, the Archduke had been hit in the neck and Sophie in the stomach. The Archduke opened his mouth and a stream of blood poured out. Sophie cried:

"For heaven's sake, what's happened to you?"

She was in shock and unaware that she too had been shot. She then lost consciousness. Franz Ferdinand turned to his wife with the words:

"Sophie dear, Sophie dear, don't die. Stay alive for our children."

He then keeled over whispering:

"Es ist nichts, Es ist nichts. " (It is nothing, It is nothing. )

They were both dead by 11:30 that morning.

Meanwhile back at Francis Joseph Street, Princip had tried to kill himself first with his gun and then with cyanide. The gun was knocked from his hand, and the cyanide, as was the case with Cabrinovic, only made him retch. The throng closed in on him and roughed him up. He was, astonishingly, taken into custody alive. Epilogue Princip and Cabrinovic both held their tongues under police interrogation. It was Ilic, caught by chance in a suspect roundup, who broke and exposed the identities of his co-conspirators. By July 5th all were apprehended with the exception of Mehmedbasic, the only member to escape. The inquest lasted through July but was left to Sarajevo by Vienna and, to say the least, was grossly mishandled. The only fact that was established was that the weapons had come from Serbia. The complicity of the Serbian government was never proven. Friedrich von Wiesner, an Austrian official sent to investigate the proceedings in Sarajevo, wired his findings back to Vienna:

"There is nothing to indicate that the Serbian government knew about the plot."


Danilo Ilic - History

Ilic (pronounced: Ilitch), a former Sarajevo school teacher, worked for a newspaper. He was an active member in the pro-Serb nationalist group Mlada Bosna (Young Bosnia) and a member of the Serbian secret society know as The Black Hand. Like many of his contemporary young group members, Ilic was sickly and probably consumptive.

Ilic was not one of the three men trained for the assassination by the Black Hand in Serbia, but had been on the fringes of terrorist societies for several years. When the Black Hand decided to assassinate the Heir-Apparent to the Austrian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Ilic was eager to join the plot. It was Ilic who recruited three additional local Sarajevans Mehmedbasic, Cubrilovic, and Popovic, to give the assassin group a more grass-roots (and less Serbian inspired) appearance. Ilic gave the two high school students (Cubrilovic and Popovic) a one-day training course in their roles. Mehmedbasic had been involved in Black Hand plots before, though without particular success.

On the morning of June 28th, 1914, the six other assassins had assigned positions along the Appel Quay in Sarajevo. Ilic (who may have been unarmed) paced back and forth between the others, seeing that they were in position and giving words of encouragement. The first attempt -- a bomb thrown by Cabrinovic -- failed. Later that morning, another of the seven assassins -- Princip -- succeeded in killing Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

Ilic was picked up a few days later by Sarajevo police in a routine round-up of suspects. (Princip had stayed at his house.) Ilic lost his cool and told the police nearly everything about the plot in an attempt to mitigate a likely death penalty for his role. Up until Ilic's confession, the other assassins had maintained a successful code of silence. The tangled web had begun to unravel.

Danilo Ilic and the others were tried in October 1914. For his role in the assassination, Ilic was found guilty. While the other six were under 20 years old, and therefore not eligible for the death penalty, Ilic (23), was sentenced to death. He was executed by hanging on February 3rd, 1915, in a Sarajevo prison. He was the only one of the group of seven to be executed for their crime.


Obsah

V roce 1914 se Ilić vrátil do Sarajeva, kde působil jako redaktor místních Novin Srbů. Téhož roku spoluorganizoval nábor mladých mužů do skupiny Černá ruka, a během léta vybrali Gavrilo Principa, Nedeljko Čabrinoviće a Trifko Grabeže k provedení atentátu na arcivévodu Františka Ferdinanda, který byl posléze spáchán dne 28. června 1914.

Princip a Nedeljko Čabrinović byli po atentátu zatčeni a vyslýcháni policií. Výše zmínění u výslechu odmítali vypovídat a vyzradit jména kompliců. Policie však veškerá jména a informace o spiklencích získala od jiného, méně významného člena organizace, který byl zadržen během namátkové silniční kontroly. Muhamedovi Mehmedbašićovi se podařilo uniknout do Srbska, avšak Ilić, Veljko Čubrilović, Vaso Čubrilović, Cvijetko Popović a Miško Jovanović byli zatčeni a obviněni.

Z účasti na atentátu bylo obviněno celkem osm osob, k dalším obviněním patřila také velezrada a vražda arcivévody Františka Ferdinanda. Podle tehdejšího rakousko-uherského práva nesměla být k trestu smrti odsouzena osoba mladší dvaceti let. Nedjelko Čabrinović, Gavrilo Princip a Trifko Grabež proto dostali nejvyšší dvacetiletý trest odnětí svobody, Vaso Čubrilović dostal 16 let a Cvijetko Popovic 13 let. Danilo Ilić, Veljko Čubrilovic a Miško Jovanović, kteří se na atentátu přímo podíleli, byli odsouzeni k trestu smrti oběšením dne 3. února 1915.

V tomto článku byl použit překlad textu z článku Danilo Ilić na anglické Wikipedii.


The Assassination

Although the group had carefully planned the assassination, things went wrong, their plans were foiled and the assassination almost didn’t take place. The members of the group were posted all along the route on which the Archduke and his wife would tour Sarajevo in an open car (with almost no security). Nedjelko Cabrinovic threw a hand grenade at the car, but it rolled off and instead wounded some bystanders and an officer in one of the other cars in the procession.

The procession was stopped and Cabrinovic was arrested after a failed attempt at suicide (he swallowed an expired cyanide pill and jumped in the river). Later on the day, the Archduke decided to go visit the wounded officer at the hospital and the driver took the wrong route and tried to reverse as he realized his mistake. Princip was still loitering in the area and spotted the car, walked up to it and shot Franz Ferdinand twice, point blank from a 1.5m distance. The pregnant Sophie had instinctively thrown her body over that of her husband and was also killed.


Essays and Criticism

  • Criticism as a Delusion 1988
  • The Poetics of Postmodernism 1989
  • New Essays 2001
  • For Literature till the last breath 2016
  • For New Trends 1984
  • Yes and No 1981
  • The paths of literary criticism 2010
  • Postmodern Currents 1996
  • The Revolt of the Intellectuals 2007
  • Still Moves 1985
  • Antichomes of criticism 1989
  • Modern and postmodern 1993

Novels

  • Justiniana, the city that does not exist 1999
  • Odyssey 1991
  • Picolomini at the gates of Skopje 2005
  • Novel for Noah 2003
  • Will we go to Joe 1992
  • of Montenegro Danilo Ikodinovic born 1976 Serbian water polo player Danilo Ilic 1891 1815 Serbian revolutionary Danilo Kocevski born 1947 Macedonian
  • 1964 - writer Jordan Cekov 1921 - 2019 partisan, journalist, writer Danilo Kocevski 1947 - writer Slavko Dimevski 1920 - 1994 writer Velika Begovica
  • Milac 2002, p. 95 At the beginning of October 1943, the so - called Kocevski process took place. The captured leaders of Grcarice and . Milac 2002
  • and lent to some friends. The booklet was a survivor s account of the Kocevski Rog massacres of the Slovene Home Guard war prisoners perpetrated by Josip
  • both claimed that the very few individuals who managed to survive the Kocevski Rog massacre included Jansa s father, although the story of the actual
  • us of our debt to the victims of totalitarianism Mass graves in Celje Kocevski Rog massacre Tezno massacre Foibe massacres Mass killings under communist
  • liberated territory was formed in Kocevje, where the OF organized the Kocevski Choir, in which it elected the highest organ of the Slovenian state, adopted
  • години модерна архитектура. Pridonesot na Makedonija i Jugoslavija. Danilo Kocevski 2008 Чај од јужните мориња. Маgor. ISBN 9789989183447. D. Gjorgiev
  • the opening of the memorial park in June 2012, the President of Slovenia, Danilo Turk, said: The end of the Second World War also witnessed extra - judicial
  • from Viktring, Austria to various postwar execution sites including the Kocevski Rog massacre and the Teharje camp. 12 June Trieste stops being under the

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The first fighter ace of World War II was a Chinese-American flying for China

Posted On February 11, 2021 13:37:00

Arthur Tien Chin was born in Portland, Oregon in 1913. He would die there in 1997, but not before being recognized for the incredible life he led.

The man would spend much of his life as an everyday postal worker started his adult life as a skilled fighter pilot and the first American ace of what would become known as World War II – he would even be recognized for his contributions.

Chin was born to Cantonese parents who immigrated to Oregon from Taishan, in China’s Guangdong Province. When the Japanese Empire invaded Manchuria in 1931, Chinese-Americans were shocked and outraged. From the safety of their new country, they decided something had to be done.

Chin began flight school with a class of around a dozen other Americans of Chinese descent, paid for by the Chinese expatriate community in Oregon. The only stipulation was that the students return to their homeland to fly against Japanese aggression.

He returned to Guangdong and joined the provincial air forces, as much of China was ruled by warlords at the time and many provinces had their own armies. He soon defected to the Kuomintang central government’s air force and was selected for advanced fighter training, from the Nazi German Luftwaffe.

Before the Axis Pact split the world into Axis and Allies with Germany and China on opposite sides, China was a major buyer of German weapons, especially aircraft. Upon his return to China, he was training other pilots in the use of the planes China actually had, outdated as they may be.

Chinese pilots were still fighting with fabric-covered Curtiss biplanes with open cockpits and rifle-sized machine guns in 1937. That’s the year Japan began a full-scale war with China. Chin and his fellow Americans went to work, despite the technological disadvantage of fighting against modern bombers and fighters.

A Curtiss biplane similar to the one used by Chin.

His first kill came that year when he took down a Japanese Mitsubishi G3M2 twin-engine bomber, on his first day at an airfield near Nanjing. But the plane he was flying took heavy damage and he was forced to the ground. His second kill against the same bomber came the very next month, September 1937.

By February 1938, Chin and company were flying British Gloster Gladiator fighters, which were still biplanes but not cloth covered. Chinese fighter pilots were able to down significant Japanese Imperial planes at first, but when the Zero, the Mitsubishi A6M, was introduced to the skies over China, the Gladiator’s days were numbered. Despite the Gladiator’s shortcomings, Chin would score 6.5 kills in its cockpit.

Chin himself would be shot down by intercepting Zeros while flying an escort mission in Guangxi. Outnumbered and outgunned, he rammed his biplane into one of the Japanese fighters, taking it down. He flew his failing plane back to friendly territory and landed in a rice paddy. His face now badly burned from the incident, he waited until friendly troops came by to return to base.

He and his family were bombed shortly after, as Chin recovered from injuries sustained during his shootdown incident. When his Liuzhou home was bombed by the Japanese, his wife was killed as she covered his body to protect him from shrapnel and debris. He was moved to Hong Kong to recuperate.

But no rest came. It wasn’t long before Japan came for Hong Kong too. He was evacuated and moved to New York City for skin grafts. He left the Chinese military after he recovered in 1945. After a stint promoting the purchase of war bonds, he was sent back to China, this time as a civilian aviator. His mission to fly supplies over “the hump” – an air route over the Himalayas from India into China.

At the time, it was one of the most dangerous air routes in the whole war. But when the war ended in 1945, he returned to the US. Since he couldn’t find work as a pilot back in his home state of Oregon, so he became a postal officer.

In 1995, the United States recognized Chin as a veteran of World War II, awarding him the Distinguished Service Cross and the Air Medal for his service. A month after his 1997, he was inducted into the American Combat Airman Hall of Fame of the Commemorative Air Force Airpower Museum for his 8.5 kills, making him America’s first fighter ace of World War II.


You've only scratched the surface of Ilic family history.

Between 1965 and 2004, in the United States, Ilic life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1982, and highest in 2002. The average life expectancy for Ilic in 1965 was 77, and 66 in 2004.

An unusually short lifespan might indicate that your Ilic ancestors lived in harsh conditions. A short lifespan might also indicate health problems that were once prevalent in your family. The SSDI is a searchable database of more than 70 million names. You can find birthdates, death dates, addresses and more.


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