Page:The voice of an oppressed people.pdf/31

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Dr. Fisher, speaking of the rude and valiant Serbian peasant, very aptly alludes to the ballads which sing of the battle of Kosovo, and to their great educational influence on the Southern Slavs. During the last war against the Turks I happened to be in Serbia, and a Serbian officer told me his experience on the battlefield. When at the head of his regiment of peasant soldiers he reached the plain of Kosovo, the famous "Field of the Blackbirds," a death-like silence seized the whole detachment; men and officers, without any command, uncovered their heads, crossed themselves, and each of them tried to tread softly, so as not to disturb the eternal sleep of their heroic ancestors. (Here my friend, quite lost in the remembrance of that great experience, unconsciously imitated their gait, and his voice fell to a whisper as he recalled the silence of his soldiers.) Many of the weather-beaten faces were bedewed with unconscious tears, as was my friend's face while he spoke. I, too, was deeply affected by the recital of his experience. How many of the German professors, who today are raving against Serbia, do you think are worth one tear of these illiterate peasants?

If time permitted, I might analyze the drawbacks of great nations. Germany herself, who claims to be the greatest of all, is tormented by a perpetual unrest. Greatness imposes a duty—to protect the smaller brothers and at least to help them to join and organize their federations. The Balkan peoples tried it, but no help came to them from Europe. In all nations the need of social reform is recognised; the weak are to be protected by the strong and by the state. An analogous principles holds good in the relation of big to small states and nations. As there is no Super-man, so there is no Super-right of great nations. The great nation has no right to use its smaller neighbours as the tools of imperialistic fancy and of an inordinate craving for power. On the other hand, the small nations must