2017 (EN)

A few days after Gerardo Marotta's death, Predrag also left us: two great personalities who created the "Fondazione Mediterraneo" with me.
Predrag died without the recognition he deserved, that Nobel Prize winner who only a year ago with a committee of journalists and writers, including Claudio Magris, we urgently demanded: the homage to a great writer, victim of injustice and what he called "democratura", the dictatorship of democracy.
He died yesterday in Zagreb at the age of 84 years. For some time he had distanced himself from public debate because of the disease.
He would have deserved the Nobel Prize only for "Breviario Mediterraneo", his most famous work, a splendid essay' geopoetic',' diary on board',' novel about places', translated into 20 languages and considered by Magris as "a brilliant, lightning-fast, unexpected book".
Predrag: brother, friend, confidant, intellectual. He who influenced the second part of my life by making me become, like him, a warrior of the battles in defence of human rights, always alongside the dissidents persecuted by power: from Sakharov to Havel, from Kundera to Sinjavsky.
He himself was then persecuted and invisible to the Croatian authorities, sentenced to five months in prison in November 2005 by a court in Zagreb. He had dared to break the hypocrisy of that regime by writing, in 2001, a essay in which he accused some writers of having been "warmongers" during the Yugoslav wars. He called them "Our Taliban" or "Christian Taliban" and the establishment turned against them. Processed for slander and defamation, he accepted the sentence as a medal, renouncing the appeal:"I do not want to recognize the authority of those who have made this sentence".
He was born in Mostar, then Yugoslavia, today Bosnia and Herzegovina, from Odessa's Russian father and Croatian mother. A mixture of races and cultures. Multicultural roots, an opening towards the world that distinguished it from other intellectuals approved to the system.
Predrag teaches Slavic at Sapienza in Rome, from 1994 to 2007. First he teaches in Zagreb and the Sorbonne. France grants him the "Legion of Honour", Italy the citizenship that he proudly exhibits, just as he feels flattered when the Prodi European Commission places him in the Group of Wise Men for the Mediterranean that was at the base of our "Anna Lindh Foundation".
In 1987, the "Breviario Mediterraneo" gave him international fame but he, courted by publishers and newspapers, always remains the same, ironic until the desecration, very attached to his students, lover of good food, life, always on the run, always hovering,"between asylum and exile": Naples, my home and the seat of the Fondazione Mediterraneo, were his home, his refuge!
A convinced and lucidly pessimistic pro-European:"There are too many fractures in the Mediterranean. Both in the North and South, the whole basin is tied with difficulty to the continent and this generates frustrations and ghosts".
Frustrations, ghosts, wars, blood and democrats. Democrature is a neologism that, as I said before, bears his signature. Democrats are "those regimes, formally democratic, in reality oligarchic". Matvejevic' conjures up the expression in reference to countries of real socialism. But, in more recent years, the writer, with bitterness, also identifies traces of democrats in liberal and social democratic Europe.
In past years we have written together, as on many occasions, considerations about the "Bread" he contemplated in the book "Pane Nostro" (2010). "The men and women - Predrag observed - have always travelled, and still do so, to those lands where bread is baked in great quantity. And where, for surplus, it is thrown away every day at night's fall.
Even today, as Pjotr Kropotkin once said,' the question of bread is more important than any other'".
It is here impossible to remember 25 years of close brotherhood, friendship, collaboration: with time we will understand the greatness of this Man, before Intellectual and Writer.
In this moment of sadness, I entrust to a few images and videos his memory.

Goodbye Pedrarg, my Brother!

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