On the occasion of EHO's jubilee: Ankica Dragin, former coordinator of EHO for public relations (from June 2001 to August 2005)

Ankica Dragin

02. Mar 2023.


It was one of the most difficult decisions in my life: that I would no longer be employed by the organization that changed and marked my life forever. In the most positive possible way, of course, which I realize more and more every day, here it is, almost two decades already. About how big a mark she left on my little world - maybe some other time. Memoirs would be more like it, considering the intensity of engagement that always characterizes this organization.

This virtual form is too short for all those meetings, actions, journeys, uncertainties, fatigue, crazy situations, being speechless and lumps in the throat, those of sadness, but much more than excitement and joy, being speechless in front of what the Poet Here says:

'God is a real jerk sometimes,
Add weight on the slope,
Il' reached out of reach to reach.
God is good...
Depends to whom.
I better not talk about it,
I will cry or curse.'

Our director at the time, Karči, wanted the collective to give me a proper send-off on the occasion of, as he said, my departure.

'If it hadn't occurred to you. I'm not going to - God forgive me! - to the afterlife!' I answered somewhat harshly and in that youthful way, but actually truly touched - moreover: shocked - knowing my tearful nature and the horror of the pathos of 'partings'. I replied to his surprised, questioning look:

"I want everyone to 'leave' from here as I will 'leave',' I said, emphasizing the key word that was the occasion of this conversation, knowing that I was transferring to the then completely new institution of the Provincial Ombudsman, in which there were already three of them from ' of the same pelzer', of the same organization. 'I can get out of here a hundred times, but never really 'leave'.'

'I'm not sure I understand what you're trying to say,' Karchi said a bit confused and looked at Anna, his deputy and my boss and closest colleague at the time. (If at that time, like many of my colleagues at the time, I perceived him as a professional-spiritual father at the beginning of our careers, we certainly considered Ana to be a mother in that sense.)

'This organization is like the Hotel California,' I replied, blinking back tears. "You can check out, but never really leave." I mean, in a good way, the opposite of what the song is about. This organization is coming with me, whether we both want it or not.'

I still remember his facial expression, and in my ears, when I remember all that, his thunderous laugh and Anna's deep, long sigh in the background still ring...


Later, there were a total of six of us, Ehovacs, in the newly formed provincial body. Almost a third of the employees. Some chance happened, some reception in Banovina, when my previous and then new superiors finally met in person.(Note: the still newly minted provincial institution was then still a 'guest' in the building of the then Executive Council, today's Government of the AP Vojvodina, while EHO in its thirteenth year - as it were, just about ready for confirmation - had just moved into its own building.)

'Listen, I have something to tell you, very seriously,' said Karči to the first provincial ombudsman with a sly smile. 'If any of the Echo residents come to your institution, we will have to move your sign with the name of the company to our building on Telep. And vice versa: let's attach ours to this one of yours here. It just doesn't happen like this anymore...'

To all the luck and joy of (us) many - ECHO happens! Here, for 30 years...