ponedjeljak, 23. travnja 2012.


... Stigli su Fatmir iz Uroševca i Arsim iz Orahovca. Ozebli su i prašnjavi od puta. Skidaju cipele i kapute. Pitaju šta se desilo.
Iz sobe u kojoj leži tata svi izlaze suznih očiju. Neko seda na minderluk, neko na dušek, ali niko za trpezu.
- Da li je Baškim dobio telegram, da li će doći?
- Beograd nije Uroševac, Dije, daleko je, ali sigurno će doći – odgovara Špresa...

... Stari autobus ulazi u stanicu. Kroz prozore pokušavamo da ugledamo našeg brata. Ljudi silaze... Pozdravljaju se sa svojima koji su ih čekali...

... Na prednjim vratima se pojavljuje moj Baško. Prihvatajući njegove stvari, Fatmir ga zagrli i krenuše prema meni. Skočih mu u zagrljaj.
- Moramo da sačekamo, gore su mi skije – kaže, pokazajući prema prtljagu na krovu autobusa...

... Čije su te skije? – čuje se glas. Okrenuo sam se i ugledao milicionera.
- Moje su, druže – odgovara Baškim.
Odakle dolazite?
- Iz Beograda, preko Prištine.
- Legitimaciju.
- Druže, mnogo žurim, otac mi je bolestan – kaže Baškim. Ali milicioner još strože naređuje: - Legitimaciju!
Baškim mu brzo predade. Milicioner, polako, listić po listić, pregleda legitimaciju i pogledom „skrozira“ Baškima.
- Druže, molim vas, požurite, otac mi je...
- Šta radiš ti u Beogradu – otegnuto pita milicioner.
- Studiram.
- Šta to studiraš? – ne menjajući ritam nastavlja milicioner.
- Arhitekturu.
- A od kada studiraš?
- Šta vas briga od kada studiram. Jeste li proverili da sam ja ja! Ostalo vas se ne tiče. Molim vas vratite mi legitimaciju.
- Vidi, vidi... student, a viče! Hoćeš da te privedem u stanicu? – preti milicioner.
- Druže, ne vičem. Putujem iz Beograda ceo dan i noć.
Otac mi je na samrti. Molim vas, dajte mi legitimaciju – završi Baškim molećivo, a meni se skupio stomak od besa i straha da mi milicomer ne zatvori brata.
Sporo, laganim kretnjama, i dalje nas posmatrajući, milicioner vraća legitimaciju...

... Nismo ni ušli na kapiju, kad neko sa čardaka povika:
- Stigli su – i odjednom...
- Kukuuu, kukuuu... jesi li stigao, sine – neočekivano odjeknu Dijina kuknjava, koja nadjača vetrom uskovitlanu  noć...

... Na ulasku u hajat, Dija, raširenih ruku, dočekuje Baškima, grli ga i kaže:
- Ti uđe na vrata, a tata ode.
Baškim se redom grli sa svima. Uplakane žene, koje su ispunile hajat, prave špalir da prođe do očeve sobe. Dija ga propušta ispred sebe.
Otvara vrata. Stoji na vratima. Preko puta, na metalnom krevetu, leži tata otvorenih očiju. Ne uspevajući da zadrži suze, Baškim polako priđe krevetu, kleknu na kolena, uze tatinu ruku i poljubi je. Odmakao se, i tako na kolenima, sa tatinom rukom u svojim rukama, gleda ga...
Sve žene u dupke punoj sobi, u tišini, gledaju mog brata.
- Do sada te je čekao. Stalno je gledao na vrata. Tu mu je i ostao pogled. Kako si ti stupio nogom na prag, on ode – reče Dija stojeći kod tatinih nogu.
- Nisi me video kad sam se rodio, nisam te video kad si otišao – šapuće Baškim. Poljubio je tatu u oba obraza, čelo, još jedanput u ruku, i lagano, položivši očevu ruku na grudi, ustao...   

srijeda, 18. travnja 2012.

The War is Dead, Long Live the War - Bosnia: The Reckoning

"This book is nothing if not an attempt to record what happened to some of the people who survived and were bereaved by the concentration camps in particular - and how they built new lives to resurrect or replace those that had been taken from them. And thereby to register their erasure - though that seems self-contradictory - so that they have at least this modest record of their tribulation and achievement in not just existing, but living, laughing and bearing and raising children in the existential loneliness and historical irony of survival, entwined with pride in who they are..." Ed Vulliamy

srijeda, 28. ožujka 2012.

In the Land of Blood and Honey: Goran Kostic as ‘Younger Ralph Fiennes’, Zana Marjanovic and young female acting talent in the Balkans, Boris Dezulovic’s take on the Bosniac victimhood, the insistence on sticking to historical facts and resistance to giving a human face to the enemy in Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds and Abu-Assad’s Paradise Now and a few concluding thoughts

There are a few things about Angelina Jolie's directorial debut In the Land of Blood and Honey that caught my attention. One is acting. In December last year I read Howard Feinstein's review of the movie in the Daily Screen. That was probably the first time I read impressions of someone who has actually seen the movie. Until then I kept hearing comments of people who had not even seen the movie, but more of that later.  In his review Feinstein writes among other things that “... [o]ne selling point could be the foregrounding of an outstanding portrayal of a Bosnian Serb camp commander and civilian cop, Danijel, by the Bosnian Serb actor Goran Kostic, despite the sometimes ludicrous plot situations into which he is thrust. His physical agility, soft but masculine face, piercing blue eyes, and remarkable capacity to shift moods in a split second recall a younger Ralph Fiennes...” Back then I was not in a position to either agree or disagree with the man for whom I have huge respect as a result of his long term stint as one of the program selectors at the Sarajevo Film Festival, but now having seen the movie I have to say that I couldn’t disagree more on this particular point. Even assuming that some of the plot situations are ludicrous, I think that Kostic makes them even more ludicrous by his remarkably unconvincing performance. Whatever he did on the screen never for one second seemed believable to me. It didn’t really matter whether he was hanging out with his comrades, developing his supposedly amorous relationship with Ajla, which in reality is nothing more than sexual slavery, or just being an obedient son to his bigoted father who happens to be the army general, it was flat and extremely lame throughout. Even if Jolie the scriptwriter intended to emasculate the camp commander and empower the victim, which I think she did, he sabotaged it all the way. I failed to detect shifts in his moods from the moments when he was recreating the bygone times pretending to love and protect her to those when he hated her guts simply for not being of his own kind or for suspecting her loyalty, which, in his view, she owed him in return for her privileged status of his private painter and protection resulting from it. For me, Kostic’s portrayal of Danijel’s split-second transformation from a seemingly protective and affectionate to selfish and outright aggresive self in his dealings with Ajla, his alternatively authoritative and submissive personality in the rapport with his men and his father respectively is just pathetic. Yet, nowhere is his hugely unimpressive performance more exposed than in the movie’s final scene, which, to be fair to Howard, is lost on the foreign viewer watching the English version of the film or the one in the Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian language with English subtitles. Finally, if any of the lead actors in this movie deserves praise for outstanding portrayal of her character, it is Zana Marjanovic, who, similarly to Natasa Petrovic in another recent movie on the subject of sexual violence during the war, Juanita Wilson’s As If I Am Not There, delivers a solid performance. If these two movies, and Tanovic’s Circus Columbia with Jelena Stupljanin in it, are anything to go by, young female acting talent in the Balkans is much superior and seems to be ahead of the game compared to their male colleagues.  

Another interesting issue to arise from the film is Boris Dezulovic’s discussion on the concept of victimhood. Dezulovic is another man for whom I have huge respect on the account of his journalistic genius. In February this year he wrote an article about the film’s premiere in Sarajevo: “... The ritual in the Zetra Olympic Hall was not meant to be a film premiere, but a ceremony of international recognition, award of the official victim certificate... Bosniac political, cultural and religious elites are perfectly comfortable with the status of victim in peacetime because its victimhood, as they see it, forms the very essence of the Bosniac nation. In their perception, Bosniacs are historically defined as the nation of surviving victims. Once Bosniacs stop being nothing but the victims, there is no longer any need to defend them, make them into saints and bury them alive. Raison d’etre for the existence of patriotic elites is thus rendered meaningless since they exist only as long as there are enough executioners to finish off the remaining survivors. If there are none, they will nevertheless be mobilized by the Bosniac Main Staff because the aggressor is, by default, greater in numbers and the victim never entirely free as freedom from the shadow of one’s own tombstone is a vast, unchartered territory where one loses the national identity of Bosniac victim...” A little bit of background is needed here. During the making of the movie there was a rumour that the victim falls in love with her captor, which led to the withdrawal of Jolie’s permission to film in Bosnia by the country’s culture minister (he later reinstated the permit after reading the script) and even requests from a rape victims association to strip Jolie of her title of the UNHCR goodwill ambassador. A year or so passed by and voila: a gala premiere of Jolie’s film is organized in Sarajevo in front of the crowd of several thousand. Among them the Grand Mufti who in the post-screening interview emphatically exclaimed: “Angelina Jolie’s film is the best thing that happened to Bosnia-Herzegovina since the Dayton Accords.”

My objection to Dezulovic’s passage has nothing to do with his ridicule of Angelina Jolie’s treatment by the local ‘elites’, but rather with the fact that similar controversies are nowadays a regular accompaniment of most films dealing with sensitive issues. It just seems to me that the attribution of victimhood to a nation based on the sequence of events starting with a rumor that resulted in the intitial withdrawal of the filming permit and subsequent requests to strip Jolie of her title of goodwill ambassador and ending with the film’s grand premiere and equally ‘grand’ statement by the Grand Mufti is too big of a leap, especially in light of the fact that issues such as insistence on sticking to the historical facts and strong resistance to giving a human face to the enemy on film, as well as monopolizing the suffering of wartime victims, to name just a few, are certainly not unique to Bosnia. Take for instance Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds. Responding to the critics who slammed the movie as trivialization of Holocaust, shallow propaganda, caricature of a gruesome war, the movie that promotes terrorism and torture, a fantasy that, if it were to be indulged at the expense of the truth of history, would be the most inglorius bastardization of all, Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of Simon Wisenthal Center said:  “Jews have to recognize that Hollywood is in the entertainment business, and they have a right to entertain their audience. It’s presumptuous for us to become the czars that tell the entertainment community what kinds of films they can make.” Tarantino for his part said: “I’m telling you it’s fairy tale right at the top... Whoever gets it, gets it: whoever doesn’t, I don’t give a damn.” Yet, in spite of it being a fantasy, a fairy tale that starts off with once upon a time, it is more than just that, at least judging by the experience of actors who participated in the making of this movie. Eli Roth, who plays the character of Bear Jew bashing the Nazis’ heads with a baseball bat, said that it helped him to reconnect with his Judaism and then went on to add: “It was time to redefine Jewish masculinity on film. That’s one of the reasons I hit the weights so hard; I wanted people to go, wow, Jews are tough!” Melanie Laurent, French actress who plays the character of Shosanna described her experience in the following words: “I’m Jewish. I read the script together with my grandfather and he told me: ‘You have to make that movie, please.’ So, it was not just for me, it was for my family. And when he (Tarantino) picked me, I’m the face of the Jewish vengeance. I’m sure my grandfather will love the movie.” As for the film premiere turned into a ritual, this is how the Israeli audience reacted when Basterds premiered in Izrael in 2009: “The chapters of the movie showing Nazi-scalping, baseball bat-wielding Jews instilling fear into the hearts of the German army (and Hitler), as well as the bloodbath finale, elicited cheers and hearty rounds of applause, and the man himself [Tarantino] won a standing ovation as the end credits rolled.” Finally, a few rabbis rose to the occasion and commented in the press on Basterds, yet again showing that religious dignitaries, regardless of their faith, can always be counted on to provide historical parallels both from the recent and distant history, depending on the moment’s inspiration, and to issue official honorary certificates. This time it was Rabbi Judith HaLevy and Rabbi Irwin Kula who respectively exclaimed: “... Shosana is our beautiful queen Esther and the Bear Jew clubbing his Nazi victims to death echoes the fantasy killing of 75,000 Persians so long ago. Neither story is true, but fantasy satisfies a deep desire for the tables to be turned, the righteous to triumph, and the weak to become strong. ‘Inglorious Basterds’ continues the tradition in fine form. Fantasy rocks!” and “... personally, I would give Tarantino an honorary membership in the Jewish people (no circumcision required...) for bringing consciousness of feelings and desires that many Jews could never bring up in mixed company to the screen.”

Bringing feelings of suicide bombers on the screen did not win Hany Abu-Assad, the director of 2005 film Paradise Now, any honorary memberships. On the contrary, he was faced with a barrage of attacks from day one of the filming. As a result of his decision to shoot the movie in the West Bank’s city of Nablus, the film’s crew literally came under fire from missiles and shooting on the ground. At other times the attacks took a different form. During the filming one of the Palestinian factions acted on a rumor that the movie was anti-suicide bombers and they kidnapped the movie’s local location manager Hassan Titi and demanded that the fim’s crew leave Nablus. Abu-Assad had to contact Yasser Arafat to have him released. As soon as this crisis was resolved, another faction was handing pamphlets in which they accused the film’s crew of being an “American/Spanish conspiracy”. To even remotely understand hardships faced by the crew, it is useful to quote an anonymous citizen of Nablus who wrote: “... His [Abu-Assad’s] film was not welcome by the people and he had to bribe Palestinian gunmen to provide him with safety. That is how he managed to record his film; with the protection of militants and not by the citizens themselves... This film is nothing more than an exploitation of people’s suffering. I would like to know why the Israeli occupation authorities agreed to help produce this by recruiting its soldiers and allowing access to the occupied territories. Israel only permits films that suit its policies and ideological viewpoint...” As the director Hany Abu-Assad briefly put it: “Shooting a film in occupied territories is not an easy thing.” The controversies surrounding Paradise Now would have probably ended there had it not been for the movie’s huge success, Golden Globe award and Oscar nomination in the best foreign film category. At this point we started hearing critiques from the other side of the border. In early February 2006, in her comment on the supposedly anti-Semitic character of the film Irit Linor wrote: “... And so we can rightly call ‘Paradise Now’ a Nazi film: it spins a thin thread of understanding for those who resorted to desperate measures to solve the problem of the constant, unremitting evil of the Jews...” Around the same time, Yossi Zur who lost his teenage son in a suicide-bombing attack initiated a petition to the Academy in an effort to revoke the film’s nomination: “... it is extremely dangerous – not only to the Middle East, but to the whole world... Would the people who awarded this movie the Golden Globe do the same if the movie was about young people from Saudi Arabia who learn how to fly airplanes in the USA, and then use Islamic rituals to prepare themselves for their holy mission, crashing their airplanes into the Twin Towers in New York City?” Judging by these hostile reactions to Paradise Now, the movie did not seem to “suit [Israeli] policies and ideological viewpoint” after all, as suspected by the anonymous citizen of Nablus. Finally, fed up with these and similar attacks coming from both camps, in response to the question about the message he wanted to communicate through this film Hany Abu-Assad said: “I don’t have messages in movies, messages I leave for the postman.”

Finally, when I started off by disagreeing with Feinstein and Dezulovic, something I thought I would never do, I had no idea that while doing so some of the most tragic landmark events in recent history such as the Holocaust, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Yugoslav wars of the 90s and even 9/11 would creep into the discussion. On the one hand, at the risk of sounding clichéd I am amazed by the sheer power of cinema and on the other I just wish people stopped reading into the movies too much. I also wish competing narratives were more of a narrative and less of a competition. For starters, it would be good if we could at least try and see these movies, regardless of whether they are brilliant or flawed, more from the artistic point of view, more as a human thing, as Abu-Assad puts it. The alternative is to wonder why Lubna Azabal’s character Suha in Paradise Now did not speak with a Palestinian accent, why Cristoph Waltz’s Jew Hunter in Inglorious Basterds is a multidimensional character who speaks several languages, or why those sniping and shelling the city of Sarajevo in In the Land of Blood and Honey had to have such evil grins on their faces.   

srijeda, 18. siječnja 2012.

Imam jedno desetak sebičnih želja za ovu sezonu...

- da nostrificiram diplomu iz '98,
- da odem na Dokufest u Prizrenu,
- da napravim Reform tortu,
- da pod pseudonimom Florentina Carlitos počnem pisati knjigu koja nikad neće ugledati svjetlo dana, a možda i hoće,
- da uradim 50 sklekova u komadu,
- da na poslu više radim a manje vazim,
- da budem manje tvrdoglav,
- da malo ozbiljnije treniram za triatlon na kojem nikad neću nastupiti, a možda i hoću,
- da pokrenem privatni biznis preoriginalnog naziva Kvik fiks,
- da odem na operaciju koljena, možda i oba ako dotekne.  

četvrtak, 22. prosinca 2011.

Homeless World Cup - Mexico City 2012

27.08.2010 - U zapisu sa prošlogodišnjeg Sarajevo Film Festivala zabilježio sam i ovo: “... Taj isti dan ostalo nam je da uveče pogledamo dokumentarni film Kick Off. Ovaj film sam odabrao jer sam u sinopsisu vidio da se radi o svjetskom prvenstvu u malom fudbalu (street soccer) za beskućnike. I s obzirom da sam ja nepokolebljivi vjernik u iscjeliteljsku moć fudbala, i da se ipak ne radi o ovom drugom fudbalu (FIFA, UEFA, Champions League, EPL... soccer) u kojem je potreba za jednim temeljitim egzorcizmom svakim danom sve očiglednija, to mi se ova tema učinila vrlo intrigantnom, kako bi to rekla uvažena selektorica Rada Šešić. U filmu ljudi od krvi i mesa koji su spletom, ne nesretnih, nego životnih okolnosti završili na ulici zbog droge, sitnog kriminala, alkoholizma ili nečega trećeg, predvođeni trenerom Gilbertom Prilasnigom, koga znamo kao dugogodišnjeg igrača Šturma u vrijeme kada je ovaj klub vodio Ivica Osim, uz prisustvo studenta režije Huseyna Tabaka, koji i sam zaljubljenik u film pravi film o njima i bodri ih sve vrijeme, i radnika Caritasa, pripremaju se za svjetsko prvenstvo u Melburnu stičući tako prijeko potrebno samopouzdanje za pobjede na terenu, i mnogo bitnije, van njega. Pa tako gledamo Serkana, glavnog igrača, kako slavi što je napokon dobio vizu dva dana prije polaska, i to nakon što je izgubio svaku nadu, njegovog saigrača koji radi noću kao čistač i ujutro odlazi na trening i koji sâm u jednom trenutku kaže: „... ponekad osjećam da će mi se tijelo slomiti“, dok za golmana kasnije, u razgovoru sa režiserom, saznajemo da je i na prvenstvu imao problema sa alkoholom, ali da je u međuvremenu našao posao, djevojku, i da će ići da po prvi put vidi svog sina. Možda je zvučalo pretjerano kada sam na q/a poslije filma rekao da mi je gledanje ovog filma bilo uzbudljivije od nedavno završenog svjetskog prvenstva u fudbalu, ali stvarno sam to mislio.”

22.12.2011 - U članku “Bh. nogometna selekcija beskućnika ide na SP” objavljenom na portalu Radio Sarajeva prije dva dana (http://www.radiosarajevo.ba/novost/70119/bh-nogometna-selekcija-beskucnika-ide-na-sp-), između ostalog stoji i ovo: “[b]oje naše zemlje na Homeless World Cup-u koje će se u oktobru naredne godine održati u Mexico City-u, braniće reprezentativci iz Sarajeva, Banja Luke, Tuzle, Doboja i opštine Doboj Istok pod selektorskom palicom Elmedina Škrebe... BiH će po prvi put nastupiti na ovom prvenstvu s obzirom na to da je tek od 22. avgusta ove godine postala članica Homeless World Cup-a... U našoj zemlji ne postoji zakonska regulativa o tome ko je beskućnik, tako da ranije i ne bismo mogli nastupiti na ovom takmičenju. Sada postoji 11 kategorija, među kojima su i povratnici, raseljeni, osobe koje borave u kolektivnom smještaju, bivši ovisnici o drogama... tako i našu zemlju predstavljaju momci koji pripadaju jednoj od ovih kategorija.”

Poželio bih našim igračima da im ovo iskustvo, kao što je to bio slučaj sa junacima filma Kick Off, donese pozitivnu promjenu u njihovim životima. Sretno Zmajevi!   

utorak, 13. prosinca 2011.

Ništa. Za. Prijaviti.

Granični prelaz Bosanski Brod. Uveče pred kraj smjene. Član 10. stav 2. tačka a) Uputstva o carinskom postupku u putničkom prometu kaže: „Oslobađanje od plaćanja uvoznih dažbina... primjenjuje se po putniku i po danu na nekomercijalnu robu, uključujući poklone i suvenire koji se nalaze u ličnom prtljagu putnika, a čija carinska vrijednost nije veća od 200 KM“. U kućici smo. Carinik provodi carinski postupak u putničkom prometu. Revnosno. Ja se bunim. Logično. Nema logike da mi naplaćujete carinu na stvari koje smo kupili poput zimske jakne, vjetrovke, patika za plažu ili Barceloninog kompleta (dres, šorc i štucne) za djecu do šest godina, ali cariniku se živo jebe za moju logiku. Pokazuje mi list papira na stolu sa relevantnim zakonskim odredbama označenim masnim slovima. Koje u članu 10. stav 4. uputstva kažu: „Kada se u ličnom prtljagu putnika nalazi roba iz stava (2) tačka a) ovog člana pojedinačne carinske vrijednosti veće od 200 KM, na istu se prilikom unosa u BiH moraju naplatiti uvozne dažbine i drugi indirektni porezi na njenu ukupnu carinsku vrijednost ...“

Nisam imao pojma o ovom limitu Uprave za indirektno oporezivanje koji u suštini i nije nikakav limit. Iskreno. Pročitaću sve podzakonske akte: pravilnike, uputstva, odluke, instrukcije, objašnjenja, obavijesti i naredbe pa ću se ubuduće ravnati, kako to organi vole reći, po istima. Lažem. Cariniku se i dalje jebe za moju trenutnu neinformisanost i obećano ravnanje. Dok uredno popunjava rubriku po rubriku: šifra carinskog službenika koji provodi carinski postupak, vrsta i iznos naplaćenih indirektnih poreza, potpis putnika i ovjera carinskog organa, priča mi kako je baš maloprije ocarinio televizor. Polovan. I to u ukupnoj carinskoj vrijednosti. Jer uputstvo kaže: „ako putnik nosi televizor u boji vrijednosti 500 KM, televizor se ne može ocariniti tako da se za dio vrijednosti od 200 KM oslobodi od plaćanja uvoznih dažbina, a da se na dio vrijednosti od 300 KM obračunaju i naplate dažbine, nego će carinski organi predmetni televizor ocariniti na vrijednost 500 KM i na taj iznos obračunati i naplatiti uvozne dažbine i druge indirektne poreze.“ Isto tako se veli: „... ne može se zbrajati povlastica više putnika pri uvozu jednog predmeta jer se povlastica odnosi na svakog putnika pojedinačno (npr. kada četvero putnika u motornom vozilu uvezu jedan predmet vrijednosti 800 KM, te zahtijevaju primjenu povlastice, ne može se odobriti povlastica, nego se uvozne dažbine i drugi indirektni porezi obračunavaju na cijelu carinsku vrijednost tog predmeta).“ Nema djeljenja. Nema zbrajanja. Ima samo množenja putnika. S nulom.    

Čekaj, drug moj, da se barem upoznam sa terminologijom iz prije nego izjavim kako nemam da platim. „Roba nekomercijalnog karaktera“ znači povremene uvoze robe isključivo za ličnu upotrebu putnika, njegove porodice ili za poklone, čiji karakter i količina upućuju da se ne radi o uvozu u komercijalne svrhe.“ „Uvozne dažbine“ znače carine i druge dažbine s podjednakim efektom kao carinske dažbine naplative pri uvozu robe, ali ne uključujući naknade i troškove za izvršene usluge.“ „Vrijednost robe za carinske svrhe je transakcijska vrijednost, tj. stvarno plaćena ili plativa cijena za robu prilikom prodaje za izvoz u carinsko područje BiH...“ Pod pojmom „indirektni porezi“ podrazumijevaju se uvozne i izvozne dažbine, akcize, porez na dodatnu vrijednost i svi drugi porezi obračunati na robu i usluge.“

Iako priglup za ovu problematiku, već u prvom čitanju sam zaključio da se zakonodavac zajeb'o. I da zakonske odredbe treba promijeniti jer je protivno zdravom razumu da za pobrojane stvari, koje su strogo za ličnu upotrebu i na koje sam u Hrvatskoj već platio pripadajući porez, plaćam tristo ili čet'risto maraka dodatnog poreza. Osim toga je i maltretiranje. A carinik ispunjava 'li ispunjava: „Prvi primjerak odštampan je crvenom bojom i ostaje u bloku. Drugi primjerak odštampan je plavom bojom i namijenjen je za potrebe evidencije Odsjeka za poslovne usluge u nadležnom Regionalnom centru. Treći primjerak odštampan je crnom bojom i namijenjen je putniku.“ Pa ja, ocrni ti putnika. Razmišljam da vratim stvari kod tete Janje u Zagreb. I da mu se istu noć vratim i uživam u tih par sekundi koliko mi treba da otegnuto izgovorim. Ništa. Za. Prijaviti.

Iznurivanje traje. Logika obezvrijeđena. Čeka se kraj smjene. 

četvrtak, 8. prosinca 2011.

On TransConflict

Both Gordon N. Bardos and Matthew T. Parish contribute articles for TransConflict though the latter does it more frequently than the former. What is in fact TransConflict? It is said on their website that “TransConflict was established in response to the challenges facing intra- and interethnic relations in the Western Balkans following Kosovo's declaration of independence. It is TransConflict's assertion that the successful transformation of conflict requires a multi-dimensional approach that engages with and aims at transforming the very interests, relationships, discourses and structures that underpin and fuel outbreaks of low- and high-intensity violence.“ Among others sitting on TransConflict's Advisory Board is a native of Gorazde, Savo Heleta.

Few words about the man. In his own words: „My name is Savo Heleta. I am the author of “Not My Turn to Die: Memoirs of a Broken Childhood in Bosnia”. I hold a Masters Degree in Conflict Transformation and Management at Nelson Mandella Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. I am currently enrolled in a PhD program in Post-Conflict Development and Reconstruction at Nelson Mandella Metropolitan University.” In the words of Marko Attila Hoare who reviewed Heleta's book in his article entitled “The Persecution of Serb Civilians in wartime Gorazde”: “[speaking of Savo Hoare writes] ... he confesses that his anger at his family's wartime treatment drove him, among other things, to throw rocks at Bosniak cars that drove between Gorazde and Sarajevo after the war, sometimes smashing windscreens and windows: [quoting Savo] 'It hardly crossed my mind at the time that perhaps those people in the buses and trucks had not done anything bad to my family. Some of them could even have been those who had helped us. Maybe even the man who gave us his last loaf of bread. I was completely blinded by fury.'” And finally, in the words of Chunyan Song from California State University who assigned Heleta's memoir to her sociology students: “My students are inspired by Heleta's personal transformation from an angry teenager seeking revenge to a bright scholar actively seeking resolution to global conflicts.” As a side note, on the occasion when Savo addressed professor Song's students from his home in South Africa, students were so inspired by the author's personal transformation and devotion to world peace that they collected funds to purchase him a new laptop with a built-in camera after learning he borrowed one for their lecture. Good for Savo!

Having learnt a thing or two about the man's background and most importantly about his personal transformation from an angry teenager to a bright scholar, active seeker of resolution to global conflicts and devotee to world peace, all in one, let us now have a look at how Mr Heleta “engages with and aims at transforming... discourses... that underpin low- and high-intensity violence”, particularly with respect to the chief challenge in response to which TransConflict was established, as they themselves admit, that of Kosovo's declaration of independence.

Shortly after Kosovo declared independence, more precisely on 13 March 2008, Savo wrote an article entitled “Future Consequences of Kosovo's Independence” in which he argues that “[i]n the near future, we may see escalation of conflict in the Basque region of Spain and parts of France, fighting for independent Kurdistan in Iraq and Turkey, problems in Romania, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, China, the whole African continent and elsewhere.” On a more micro scale, “[i]t is very possible that some ethnic groups in Bosnia could decide to follow Kosovo’s path and seek partition of the country.” Besides the fact that this is hardly a talk of a peacemonger and that none of this actually happened in any of the mentioned places (including “elsewhere”) in the last three and a half years since the writing of the article or is likely to happen in the foreseeable future, I thought that the discipline of conflict transformation and management was all about preventing and containing conflicts, and not encouraging them.

In another article published on 4 April 2008 entitled “Some People (Europeans) Matter More Than Others (Africans)”, Savo Heleta, a student at Nelson Mandella Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa ostensibly tries to follow the anti-apartheid trail of the great man after whom his university was named, but strays along the way. Savo writes: “In 1999, Western countries claimed that up to 10,000 Albanians were killed in Kosovo by the Serbian security forces and that the world had to intervene immediately. They quickly decided to launch air strikes, using over 1,000 airplanes in their bombing campaign. After the short war, 2,100 people were confirmed to be killed in Kosovo by the Serbian forces before the air strikes, while another 2,000 were still missing. Back in 1994, 1 million dead Rwandans in only three months were not enough to influence Western countries to intervene.” Now, the problem with this argument, apart from being too simplistic and with statistics not being a favorite tool of any peacemonger, is that the author seems to object to the fact that Western countries did intervene in Kosovo, not that they did not intervene in Rwanda. In other words, non-intervention in Rwanda seems to have been used here only in support of an argument that Western countries should not have intervened in Kosovo either. Talking about some people (Serbs) mattering more than others (Albanians)! Furthermore, Savo resents the fact that “[i]t was easy to find 1,000 fighter jets to punish Serbia for killing a few thousand [non-mattering] people in Kosovo, but it is impossible to find 24 helicopters to start protecting people in Darfur.” The same pattern again. This sentence, as it is written, means that the failure to protect people in Darfur is wrong only because 1,000 fighter jets were found and used in what Savo believes was the wrongful act of punishment of Serbia. Finally, he concludes that “[i]t is an ugly world we live in.” To use the words of the great man Nelson Mandella himself: “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.” And just to be clear, I do not think that Savo the transformed bright scholar has any real reason for resentment here. To sum up, Mr Heleta’s concern about the plight of Rwandans and people of Darfur seems to be quite opportunistic and used in support of making the case for Serbia, as shown above.

His subsequent writings are, among other things, about Hillary Clinton too, who in his view is “a phony pathological liar having no shame” and are generally too predictable to be even remotely interesting. Finally, going back to his Amazon profile, Savo writes: “Since letting go of the need for revenge, I have found common bonds with people from all over the world – India, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Ireland, Trinidad, South Africa and, of course, America. The education and my new friends opened my mind to different perspectives, helping me grow, and persuading me to write about my wartime experience.” Any Bosnians or Albanians impressed by the “transformed discourse” among these “new friends”, huh?