Vraćevšnica Monastery 06.09.2019.
Matija Bećković (Senta, November 29, 1939) is a Serbian poet, writer, philologist, regular member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, member of the Crown Council of the Crown Prince Aleksandar Karađorđević, honorary member of the Association for Art, Culture and International Cooperation “Adligat” and social worker.
He comes from Montenegro, from the Rovac tribe, from the Bećković-Drašković brotherhood. Paternal great-grandfather Vujo Drašković, the first of the Draškovićs, named himself after his grandfather Bećko Drašković – Vujo Bećković.
Matija’s grandfather Nišo Vujin Bećković was the president of the Rovačka municipality and a member of parliament in the Podgorica Assembly in 1918.
Matija was born on November 29, 1939 (St. Matthias the Apostle day) in Senta, where his father Vuk served as a royal officer. Zorka Taušan his mother was the daughter of Miladin, a volunteer from Thessaloniki front, who lived in Kanjiža. The family moved several times, and when the Second World War began, they took refuge from Novi Sad, with their relatives in Velje Duboko. He completed elementary school in the village of Velje Duboko, lower grades of high school in Kolašin and Slavonski Brod (at his aunt’s place), and high school with graduation in Valjevo. Matijin’s father, Vuk Bećković, was an officer in the army of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, so he remained faithful to the officer’s oath and joined the Chetniks in Rovci. During the civil war in Montenegro, he was the commander of the Rovački Chetnik detachment. At the end of the war in 1944, he joined the main body of the Yugoslav army in the homeland and moved with it to the West, where the allied army was. But during the retreat, he was killed in a skirmish, along the road somewhere in Slovenia.
In the school year 1958/59, he enrolled at the Faculty of Philology in the Belgrade group for Yugoslav and general literature.
In the sixth grade of the Valjevo grammar school, he won first place at the Literary Competition. For the first literary fee, he received a monetary award of 12,000 dinars, from which he bought a checkered jacket; he is still recognizable today by that jacket. He published his first poem “Preludium” as a high school student in 1957 in “Mlada Kultura”. He published the first book, dedicated to the love of his life, bearing the title with her name, in 1962. The poem was an exceptional success, and the following year, in 1963, he was accepted as a well-known creator in the Association of Writers of Serbia in Belgrade. Later he will be elected as its president.
Bećković’s prose and poetic texts were prepared for the theater and performed on domestic and foreign stages. In 1978, “Međa Vuka Manitoga” was performed at the National Theater in Belgrade, followed by the monodramas “Reče mi jedan čoek” and “Ne znaš ti nih”.
In the Zagreb Theater “ITD”, “Youth Theatre”, “Jazavec”, “MM Theatre”, Serbian National Theatre, “M Club”, theatrical plays based on Bećković’s texts were performed.
It was performed in the Contemporary Theater in Belgrade in 1970/71. the comedy “Belgrade once and now”, with the comedies of the same name by Sterija and Nušić.
He wrote two television dramas and two one-act plays for children, which were broadcast by Belgrade Television in 1966 and 1967.
He adapted (with Borislav Mihajlović Mihiza) “Mountain Wreath”, the play was performed on the stage of the National Theater in Belgrade.
The dramatic poem “Che – the ongoing tragedy” (with Dušan Radović) was translated into German (Che: Tragödie, die andauert, Frankfurt am Main 1969) and English (Che: Permanent tragedy, New York 1970).
The records from the book “On the Meantime” were translated into English under the title “Random Targets” in 1970.
For his poetry, Bećković received awards: Milan Rakić, Oktobarska, Sedmojulska, Zmajeva, Disovo spring, Belovodska rosette, Golden cross of Prince Lazar, Ravnogorska, Stefan Mitrov Ljubiša, Great Bazjaška Charter, Responses to Filip Višnjić, Biblios, Award Vuk’s Endowments, Njegoš’s Award, Žička Hrisovulja, etc.
Jovan Dučić and Laza Kostić received the Tipar, Golden Bestseller awards for the poem “We’ll talk again.”
He was elected a corresponding member of SANU in 1983, and a full member in 1991. He is a member of the Serbian PEN Center, as well as the Association for Culture, Art and International Cooperation “Adligat”, in which he has been active since its foundation in 2012.
In 1989, Matija Bećković received the Seven of July Award for literary creativity. Veterans’ organizations publicly opposed his election. As a laureate at the awarding of that high social recognition, he replied: I agree that I did not deserve the award, but I do not agree that it is my fault that I received it. As he was told that he was the son of a Chetnik (from a Chetnik family) in an interview with the magazine “Dugi”, he “put an end” to such ideological failed questions: A Chetnik is whoever was a Chetnik. A partisan is one who was a partisan. The divisions between Chetniks and Partisans were war divisions, and should be ended with the war. And such a division is imposed by people who would not exist without that division.
His wife, a Russian woman from Valjevo, was called Vera Pavladoljska (he dedicated one of his most famous songs to her, which was later performed by Arsen Dedić), and with her he has daughters Ljudmila and Olja. Vera was the daughter of a Russian refugee from the Caucasus. Matija and Vera met in Valjevo in 1956, and got married in 1964. Vera worked in the University Library in Belgrade. After a serious illness, Matija’s wife died in 1998 and was buried at the New Cemetery in Belgrade.
Academician Bećković is one of the few academicians who criticized Slobodan Milošević as early as 1991 (e.g. “Serbian army captured! Skadar! and! Jedreni, but this one cannot! Borovo Selo and Tenje (Vreme, 2 December 1991). During his regime participated in numerous protest rallies.
Bećković is a close friend of Vojislav Koštunica and was the first to sign a petition against the connection between Vojislav Koštunica and the murder of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Đinđić.
Bećković actively supports the Democratic Party of Serbia, at whose rallies he has spoken several times. Since 2009, he has been the President of the Slobodan Jovanović Foundation in Belgrade. He became an honorary citizen of Subotica in 2016.
Bećković actively advocated for the preservation of the state unity of Serbia and Montenegro within the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (1992-2003), and then within the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro (2003-2006). Starting in 2001, he supported the work of the “Committee for the Defense of Equal Rights of Citizens of Montenegro”, chaired by Bećković’s longtime friend, academician Ljubomir Tadić. The committee advocated the position that citizens of Montenegro residing in Serbia must be allowed to participate in the upcoming referendum on the state status of Montenegro.
At the beginning of 2005 Bećković participated in the creation of the Movement for a European State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, and he also held the position of vice-president in the branch of that movement for the territory of Serbia. Bećković actively supported the positions of Serbian political parties in Montenegro and other unionist organizations, which advocated the principle of an absolute majority in relation to the total number of voters on the key issue of the necessary referendum majority.
However, when representatives of the European Union in mid-February 2006 formulated a compromise proposal on a qualified majority of 55% in relation to the number of valid votes (total number of votes cast, reduced by the number of valid ballots), in the leadership of the unionist parties in Montenegro, there was a change in the previous position in the direction of accepting the compromise proposal. At that time, Bećković also declared himself in favor of accepting that proposal, believing that the electoral threshold of 55% would be unattainable for supporters of Montenegrin independence.
On that occasion, on February 20, 2006, he stated: “The word of the European Union has fallen and we accept it, regardless of who demanded what and what they would prefer.”
Regarding the referendum on the state status of Montenegro, which was held on 21 in May 2006, a series of irregularities occurred, as a result of which the legitimacy of the referendum process was called into question, which Bećković pointed out on several occasions, demanding that the full truth about the actual results of the referendum be established. He continued to point out the same issues and during the following years.
Bećković is currently actively supporting the Movement for the Restoration of the Kingdom of Serbia.