lunedì 13 luglio 2015

A letter from Srebrenica

Srebrenica, 11 july 2015

My name is Salih and I'm writing this letter to you, because I was asked to by a lady with green eyes, who I met today. I can't resist green eyes because they are green, as my beloved land is.
My birth certificate says I'm almost 37 (I was born on 11th November, 1978). I have two brothers, Fikret and Rifet: the first one is 40, the second one is 38.
None of us is married, none of us has kids, none of us has a job. We are sad souls who are wandering around the world for twenty years now, looking for justice, looking for peace, looking for hope, looking for life.
Once we went to America, and stayed there for a while, curled up in a little corner of a big glass palace. There we saw well-dressed people spending hours discussing issues that didn't concern them, people who never reached a conclusion, because there was always somebody, ready to say "No!".
"We'll get no justice here", said Fikret, my oldest brother. "I'm going to look for peace. You, Rifet, go and look for hope. And you, little brother, go and find life for all of us."
So Fikret went to Europe, to a place named Peace, where some komšija (neighbors) were talking about our land. But there was no peace, in the palace named Peace: there was only war in the executioner's eyes.
Rifet went to Africa where there were many people with a lot of hope. But, on the North Coast, he had to give up: hope was drowned in thousands of faceless shadows in the profound darkness of the Mediterranean Sea.
As for me, I went to Asia, down to the Barada river. "I've found the source of life", I said to Fikret and Rifet. "Come over and see with your own eyes!" But they came too late: the river had already turned into bloody red.
"There is no justice, there is no peace, there is no hope, there is no life in this world", whispered Rifet. "What can we do now?"
"We can't do anything," answered Fikret. "Just go and help those who need us."
So, today we arrived in Trieste, where some friends were waiting for us.
They were all dressed in white. Some of them spoke my language and some didn't. But this is not important. It's important what we said all together: "Don't forget Fikret, Rifet, Salih; don't forget all those souls, who are still wandering around the world, without justice, without peace, without hope, without life; don't forget those 8 3 7 2 men and children, who were brutally killed twenty years ago in the Silver Town."

I would like to say much more, but it's late and I have to go. Mom's calling me: she waited so long and now she wants to talk with me.


Commemorazione Srebrenica Trieste 2015
Commemorazione Srebrenica Trieste 2015
Commemorazione Srebrenica Trieste 2015
Commemorazione Srebrenica Trieste 2015
Commemorazione Srebrenica Trieste 2015
Commemorazione Srebrenica Trieste 2015

venerdì 10 luglio 2015

Bijeljina, a town where time passes naturally

Bijeljina is the main town in "Semberija", an agricultural region located between the Drina and Sava rivers, in north-eastern Bosnia-Hercegovina. I went there two times and both times I felt disoriented, without any particular reason. Just during my second visit, and after having walked and biked in the surroundings too, I realized that my feeling was related to my perception of time: it was passing in a different way. Why?
The answer is as simple to state, as it is hard to put into words: in agricultural areas it's Nature that dictates all the rhythms. Provided you're not a loyal customer of Monsanto or other "sustainable agriculture companies" (don't laugh: this is the way Monsanto defines itself), you cannot plant tomatoes in winter, you cannot water them at noon and finally, when they're ripe, you cannot wait to pick them up.
In a few words, your life is ruled by "Nature's natural time" and not by the artificial time, generated by a computerized assembly line or a management board or the BCE. If you are a passerby, addicted to city-postmodern-life, this Nature's time seems something strange and it's hard to get used to. But if you relax and let your hair down, something beautiful happens: you realize that you're part of Nature and Nature is part of you. Then, when you go back to your frantic city-life you have just to remember this. And it takes a great effort.
That's all

p.s. pics where taken in Bijeljina and surroundings. I wish to thank family Vasić for making me feeling home.

Bijeljina Bosnia
Novo Selo Bijeljina Bosnia
Velino Selo Bijeljina Bosnia
Cicogna Semberija Bosnia
Galline Bijeljina Bosnia
Bijeljina carro trainato da cavallo Bosnia
Novo selo bicicletta appesa Bosnia
Cimitero musulmano Bijeljina Bosnia
bar Tito Bosnia
stazione autobus Bijeljina Bosnia
Bijeljina statua Bosnia
Rom Bijeljina Bosnia
Bijeljina Bosnia
cimitero ortodosso bijeljina Bosnia
cimitero cattolico Bijeljina Bosnia
cimitero musulmano Bijeljina Bosnia
Moschea Bijeljina Bosnia
Drina Bijeljina Bosnia

martedì 7 luglio 2015

Drina river Anthology

As you maybe already know, one of my favorite books of all times is "Spoon River Anthology" by Edgar Lee Masters. I really love it (if you didn't before, read it!) because its author pays great attention to all men and women who were "sleeping on the hill". It's the same thing that I try to do with all people who I meet, no matter who they are, who they were, who they'll be.
I read Spoon River Anthology almost three times and I never get bored of it. On the contrary, it was and remains to me a source of inspiration (I collected some pics and wrote a post about it), as Bosnia and Hercegovina is. So, I decided to put the two together, in order to express my love for both of them.
Even if pics where taken here and there I decided to refer to the Drina river as it's the one I like the most.

The Hill

Where are Josip, Nikola, Mehmed, Daniel and Carl,
The partizan, the brilliant mind, the writer, the artist, the lover boy?
All, all are sleeping on the hill.
One passed away at 88,
One was hit by a stroke,
One died in a fortress,
One was chocked to death,
One jumped into the river to save his broken heart -
All, all are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping on the hill.

Where are Marija, Jovanka, Fatima, Suvada and Selma,
the happy one, the king's wife, the religious one, the tender heart, the wandering mind

The tender heart, the simple soul, the loud, the proud, the happy one?
One was buried in the rubbles,
One died forgotten by everyone,
One was shot by another God,
One at the hands of a brute,
One after life in a far-away exile,
Was brought back to her land by Zdenka and Aha and Brankica -
All, all are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping on the hill.

Where are Uncle Zlatko and Aunt Ester,
And old Boris and Asja,
And comrade Haris who had talked
With venerable men of the revolution? -
All, all are sleeping on the hill.

They brought them dead sons from the war,
And daughters whom life had crushed,
And their children fatherless, crying -
All, all are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping on the hill.

Where is Old Svjetlan
Who played with life all his ninety years,
Drinking rakija during the snowstorms,
Joking, arguing, thinking neither of wife nor kin,
Nor gold, nor love, nor heaven?
Lo! he babbles of the good old days,
Of the olympic games on mountain Trebević,
Of what Stoja said
One time in a land called Bosnia and Hercegovina.

cimitero ebraico Sarajevo
cimitero Kovaći Sarajevo
cimitero musulmano Bijeljina
cimitero cattolico Bijeljina
cimitero cattolico Bijeljina
cimitero ebraico Sarajevo
antico cimitero Erzegovina
cimitero musulmano Sarajevo
cimitero ortodosso Bijeljina
cimitero musulmano Bijeljina
cimitero Sarajevo
cimitero Sarajevo
cimitero ortodosso Bijeljina
cimitero Bijeljina
cimitero ortodosso Bijeljina
cimitero musulmano Bijeljina

mercoledì 1 luglio 2015

The Drina Valley: one year after the floods

Maybe you remember that last year most of northern Bosnia was flooded, with the Bosna and Drina rivers valleys hit hardest. About 1,5 million of people were affected by this disaster, 27 people died and 950.000 had to leave their homes, hardly damaged by water and mud. The total damage was more than 1 billion euro and a lot of farmlands were under water, which was a real tragedy, as people in the Bosna and Drina valleys live mostly of land. (Click here for more detailed info)
As for the Bosna valley and the towns and villages where I went short after the 2014 floods, I read that in Željezno polje (a village hardly affected by landslides) "the situation is the same" (Click here for further info).
I was told that in Doboj many shops, restaurants and pubs are still closed. Finally, they say that in Topčić Polje the situation is better (Click here for further info).
I was not there so I cannot confirm these news. I just went back to the Bijeljina area two weeks ago and I can say that I couldn't believe my eyes: thanks to the international and national aid, but thanks mostly to the hard work done by the population, everything seems quite ok, even in Velino Selo (a small village 20 km far from Bijeljina) which, in may of 2014, was declared "red zone".
What to say more? Just that I really hope the situation improves soon in Željezno polje: part of my heart's there too.

To compare the situation in the Bijeljina region look at the following pics.

Two weeks after the floods

Bijeljina alluvione Bosnia
Bijeljina alluvione Bosnia
Velino Selo alluvione Bosnia
Velino Selo alluvione Bosnia
Velino Selo alluvione Bosnia
Bijeljina alluvione Bosnia
Velino Selo alluvione Bosnia
Velino Selo alluvione Bosnia
Velino Selo alluvione Bosnia

One year after the floods

Velino Selo
Novo Selo Bosnia
Velino Selo Bosnia
Velino Selo Bosnia
Velino Selo Bosnia
Drina Bosnia Bijeljina