So the new bridge over the Ada is completed, and the parts of Belgrade Cukarica (on the old side) and Bezanijska kosa (on the new Belgrade side) are finally connected. The bridge is yet to be opened for traffic, but first things first – how do we name the bridge?
Other bridges have names, which is crucial if you want to get from one side to the other, you sometimes need to tell the cabbie the name of the specific bridge you want to cross. Otherwise he gets to choose and it can be costly. Also, if you are ever stuck on traffic on one of the bridges, and you want to tell someone you’re gonna be late, it’s good to know the name of the bridge to accurately point out where you’re stuck. If you are sailing by boat on Sava or Danube, it’s nice to know under which bridge you are passing and to refer to that fact by saying “Oh, look, we are passing beneath the Gazela”, or “Branko’s bridge” instead of saying something vague like “Oh, look, we are passing underneath a bridge.”
Photo by luca_ontheweb
So naming things is important. But have you noticed how naming stuff has changed? It used to be decided by an unknown group of people who came up with the idea for a new street, square, or a bridge, after what I like to imagine as a solid, lengthy brainstorming session studying the history of a place, finding symbolism between a place and a person and finally, just presenting their idea to the people after it was already decided. And no one seemed to complain.
It’s not like that anymore. Now we have the Internet, and the people were invited to add their own suggestions. And the suggestions ranged from imaginative, like “The Giraffe” (to accompany the Gazelle, of course) over boring ones, like the “Zoran Djindjic bridge” or “Patriarch Pavle bridge,” to the outright insane ones, like “Novak Djokovic bridge.” The guy is still alive, for Christ sake.
So the day came when the decision had to be made, and the new name is (drumroll) – wait for it – The Bridge over Ada! It was so obvious, yet catchy. And of course, the people were left feeling unhappy, because it was not how they imagined democracy to be in the age of the internet. But if you look at how many streets, squares and bridges actually changed name in Belgrade in past hundred years alone, it seems that this generic name is guaranteed not to upset any new government in the future so much that they would want to change it into something more “appropriate.”
But if you look closely, the whole fuss surrounding the bridge, the grand opening for the pedestrians, the naming, the debate and everything else is just artificially created so that we might never make an inquiry into following things: 1. why did the bridge cost so much to make, and 2. did we really need a bridge that expensive right now?