Well, those consequences continue. Now I can feel on myself how hatred and intolerance actually come to existence. That fear I was talking about in previous post slowly gets worse of me. I still get nervous when I go and walk about in the town, or simply go shopping. And now there is new development happening. I’m getting more and more aware of all persons who look like they come from middle east, regardless how they are dressed, and slowly resentment starts to develop. I’m afraid if I do not stop this, hatred will appear as well. Intellectually I know that those persons I meet have nothing to do with the horrors I been trough. However, because of the associations I’m getting all those emotions slowly creep on me.
The Muslims I see and meet now, associate me to the terrors and attacks I went trough during the war; so all the fear, resentment and all bunch of negative feelings start to appear in me. All those ‘war memories and emotions’.
Now I wish to go somewhere where I do not have to experience such emotions. Somewhere where I will not be reminded constantly to the horrors of the war I survived. Somewhere where I will be able to live normal, boring life, the kind in which biggest worry will be what to watch on TV on the raining day. To me the obvious solution is to move from Birmingham.
What a turn around!
Anyway, I had to go to Sarajevo as well during this short visit to my country, and yeah, there is a less extremely religious Muslims there than in Birmingham. I still find that unbelievable. But it is true.
During this my stay in Bosnia I realised how all three sides that were involved in the war, Croats, Muslims and Serbs, are so similar that one can say they are same. People I mean; their personalities, habits and overall life values. And all of them would react equally badly on this statement. Most of them still see the “other ones” as cause of all their current troubles.
This weekend I was with Bree and her good friend at coffee. And I found myself again facing need to explain my view about terminology marking the population of Bosnia.
Basically I feel as someone stole the country from me just because during the war someone did not translate properly the term that Muslim in Bosnia use to mark themselves.
Muslims in Bosnia started to declared themselves during the war as Boshnjaci, a form of the word which in native language is different than the word which marks Bosnian nationality, Bosanci, but people failed to mark that difference during the translation to the English and translated the both word with one which marks people who have Bosnian citizenship, Bosnian. (Yeah, I know its only two letters of the difference, but those letters really, really change the meaning of the word in local language. In fact word Boshnjaci is also a fairly common family name within Croats and Serbs. One can see that name on the gravestones in the Christian cemetery at one of the entrances in Sarajevo. Really. Do look next time when you drive pass by.)
In all regional languages this difference exist. And since this confusion, average foreign person actually means that only Muslims, i.e. Boshnjaci are truly local to the area. That is usually very offensive for all those Croats and Serbs whose families and ancestors live in the Bosnian territory for more than thousand years. It is as their became invisible!
My family is one of those.
Muslims, who are now called Boshnjaci, actually came in that region around 700 years ago. And now suddenly, people who lived there before are declared as intruders in the region. That simply is not fair. Somehow it would me fairer if we’re all called Boshnjaci or Bosnian and not only Muslims. I mean, if that word marks residents of Bosnia, then every one who had Bosnian citizenship even before the war has right to be consider a resident of Bosnia, not only that part of the residents which happened to be members of Islam religion!
What confusion isn’t?
Real cause of the war was economic decline, but people who lived there, suddenly remembered that they can be divided by religion. Two of major religions had additional non-religious names; you see, Croats are Catholic Christians; Serbs are Orthodox Christians, but Muslims did not have a “second name”. They were, genetically, offspring from Croats and Serbs who lived in the area and changed religion and the Turks who conquered the area around 700 years ago.
There is another fascinating fact for that area. If someone decided to change religion they would simply drop out from the nationalistic classification as well, regardless to the genetic connection. That is actually the very, very old rule introduced by Turks in the region. In Ottoman Empire classification of the residents was done by religion not by biological/genetic origin. So it was not mater who parents of the person were, if the person changed the religion, his/her place in society changed. That person started to belong to the other group. Sadly that kind of attitude still exists in Bosnia, especially at the countryside.
In reality all population had genetic connections among them. It was (and is) not rare for someone to have close relatives who belonged to another religion (i.e. nationality).
In general customs were similar, personalities were similar, family relationships and everyday life were also very, very similar. Only from 1988 small differences started to be emphasized.
All that makes the whole situation sadder. Differences were misused as the excuse for the war. But, the true is people from that area more similar than different. Maybe that’s why there are less extremely religious Muslims in Sarajevo than in Birmingham. Almost all Muslims from Sarajevo grow up in socialistic society, the one that was really liberal comparing to the religious societies. During and after war we all were brainwashed with the idea that religion is the right answer and that religion is something what will save us and make possible for us to live normally.
Of course that did not happened. The trouble is that what religion considered normal life was not what average person from that area considered normal.
Nah, average person from that area wished to have a roof above it’s head, family, car, nice comfy job with enough income for comfortable life and once per year holidays on Adriatic coast. And that’s not what religion things the normal life is.
During the war priests of all major religions were promising better life only if one builds temples and pray and regularly visits temples. And people did that. They were bewildered with the war. The war was something terrible and uncontrollable, and no one knows how to end it.
The trouble was, before the war only information average person had about war was the one gathered from the films. The war films. The films full of heroes, strong honest and just men who always did the right thing.
No one mentioned death, illness, hunger, dirt, and cold, despair. No one. You cannot sell that as entertainment.
That’s why people believed priests. One did not know what to do, communist ideals failed. People thought, what if, what if those priests really know what they talk about? Maybe if we listen to them this hell will stop.
There were local elections in Bosnia during my stay. Can you imagine, it is still more important for the running candidates and parties to “find who is guilty” for the trouble Bosnia is in, but to offer the solution for the economical troubles. My brother could not get any information about what which party plans to do when they get power. So he did not vote. Me neither. Either of us is not interested who is guilty for the situation Bosnia is in, but into the some solution that will solve problems and give the people a chance for better life.
Just a chance, just a way out of the troubles. But no, politicians still are more interested to find ”guilty” ones. I sometimes wonder does Bosnia have juristic system at all, because finding and punishing the “guilty” ones seem to be the major ambition of the politicians. I do wonder what is then job of the police and courts? And who actually leads the country if politicians are took over the role of juristic system?