WELCOME TO ABSURDISTAN

No hypnosis is required this time. I still have a pulsating feeling of a heartbeat in my head at the very thought of the good old 90s in Serbia. It all started a little earlier though, late President Tito being undoubtedly responsible for many successes and failures of socialist Yugoslavia. Some bad choices he made led to the prolongation of the crisis that appeared in the 80s, along with the appearance of radical ideologies, ultimately resulting in war.

The 90s tested our survival skills day in day out. People must have wondered at some point how much more a human could take, how much more of humiliation, mental and/or physical starvation, deprivation, destruction, impoverishment, helplessness and the damaging lack of happiness. Demanding time. Children were robbed of their childhood, adults and elderly of their dignity. We were all robbed of our lives. It was as if someone had turned off the light, and left us groping in the dark. The world didn’t give half a fuck. Nor did God for that matter. After all we went through, I am sure he either doesn’t exist or is an indifferent asshole. Actually, he’s a phony, just another superstar who demands all of our attention, otherwise he wouldn’t exist. Still, in times of crisis, people often resort to the supreme being and we were no exception. Everybody suddenly turned so religious like you wouldn’t believe and started going to church on a regular basis. However, there came a time when quite a few realized God had failed to appear on time nor would he meet them at the after-party to at least apologize and that they were left to their own devices.

An extreme environment contains conditions that are hard to survive for most known life forms. We’re prone to thinking that most people would die if for example left in the desert. However, the will to go on, despite the odds, is an important concept when attempting to comprehend why we do what we do to keep our head above water for as long as we can. Still, I can’t help but wonder how the heck we pulled through, how on earth our parents coped with difficulties and stress, and how in the world we found a meaning in overwhelming meaninglessness. We are often told, loud and clear, what to do in an emergency. Recommended survival essentials for a short-length wilderness situation includes a lighter, matches, a flashlight with extra batteries, a multi-tool, a fixed-blade knife, a hatchet, a whistle, a blanket, extra warm clothing and a map of location. But, nobody has to date come up with a good First Aid Kit in times of war. Nobody could have prepared us for the brutal bloodshed fueled by ethnic and religious antagonisms and disappearance of the country we were about to witness, along with everything we had believed in. Nobody could have advised us how to avoid the hell you were about to live in as a consequence of war. The thing is, we made do and since we couldn’t make the crisis with all its absurdities disappear, what we mostly did was try to make our lives more bearable.

Not sure what to include on your war survival gear list?

For starters, remarkable resourcefulness and flexibility to handle change. Secondly, creativity and good humor. Next, steadiness, sobriety and courage. Then, you want to be sure you have enough perseverance and determination (there’s no giving up no matter what). Finally, having redundancy is also a wise approach. So, the more inventiveness, adaptability, endurance, nerve, and sarcasm, the better. You might lose self-esteem and dignity along the way, but as long as you can laugh at it all (sooner or later), you’re good. You know what they say, you can find bargains if you have the patience to sift through the rubbish.

As the world was crashing down around us, my pals and I were trying to lead a relatively normal teen life. Our parents didn’t like us watching TV which broadcast the war live, preferring we listened to a sweet sound of ignorance. But, we knew. We used to sing anti-war songs all the time and one of the best ways to vent out the frustrations, sadness, and anger was picking a dark enough street where we would yell at the top of our lungs till the lights started turning on. (Being an adult makes it too damn hard to blow off steam every time you feel like it. Where’s a good Lola when we need one?)

We had a need, a need for speed. We were growing up and wanted it all: smoking, loud music, house parties, no adult supervision, guitar nights, dark school yards, sleeping under the stars, upstairs rooms, day trips, sleepovers. Bukowski, Fear of Flying and Joyce’s Letters to Nora (‘Tired of lying under a man one night you tore off your chemise violently and began to ride me up and down. Perhaps the horn I had was not big enough for you for I remember that you bent down to my face and murmured tenderly: Fuck up, love! Fuck up love’). Friends with benefits, gatecrashing, dance floors, hitchhiking, music TVs, panhandling for money (just for laughs…and coffee), alcohol consumption, gigs, excessive drinking, drunken driving (not me, Scout’s honor), clearing up the next day, avoiding responsibility, skipping school with peers/ boy-girl-friends, craving more freedom and independence, craving love. A bittersweet symphony. The worst and best time ever.

Years of wars in neighboring Croatia and Bosnia, with Serbia actively participating in them, affected our everyday lives enormously. A CIA assessment on the sanctions filed in 1993 noted that ‘Serbs have become accustomed to periodical shortages, long lines in stores, cold homes in the winter and restrictions on electricity.’ Like we had a choice. That’s true, we got so used to deficiencies in everything that we no longer found anything strange. We were practically best friends, the crisis and us. It became our shadow, following us everywhere we went.

The fun part began when the UN Security Council, declaring the Yugoslav conflict ‘a threat to international peace and security,’ imposed tough economic sanctions on Serbia and Montenegro in June ‘92 ‘in hopes of halting the carnage in Bosnia-Herzegovina’ (13-0 vote, with Zimbabwe and China abstaining. Thanks guys, much appreciated). In 1994, The New York Times reported that suicide rates had increased by 22% since sanctions were first implemented. The embargo lasted for two and a half years and had a huge impact on the economy, poverty reaching its peak in ‘93, with, according to Wikipedia, ‘39% of the population living on less than $2 per day.’ This is a sure proof why we can’t always trust Wiki. Guys, I think you got mixed up here. At one point, my dad, once earning 2000 DM (Deutschmark), was making 2 DM PER MONTH (per day would be considered living in abundance). My mom was even more successful, some 1-1.5 DM. BTW, both were medical doctors. In addition to our wallets getting thinner, diplomatic missions were reduced, and foreign assets frozen ($214 million in the U.S. alone), but, frankly, an average citizen didn’t give a rat’s ass about the latter two. We were more frustrated by the fact that our teams weren’t allowed to participate in sporting events. Sport and politics, best friends, huh?

Then, there was the suspension of air traffic (even though most people had no money for bare necessities, let alone travel) and ‘a ban on trade of all but humanitarian supplies.’ How very thoughtful! Even medicinal supplies in hospitals experienced shortages in antibiotics, vaccines, and anti-cancer drugs. ‘In Nov 1994, 87 patients died in Belgrade’s Institute of Mental Health, which had no heating, food, and medicine.’ We could neither import nor export goods. The bottom line is, the crisis took its toll on our everyday diet. You know how it looked like in reality? You go to buy a chocolate but alas! There’s nada. Zilch. Supermarket racks became empty over night, no chocolate, no bananas, no nothing. Wishful thinking. We dreamed of chocolate sundaes (with a cherry on top) and banana splits we had been devouring a couple of yeas before. Meat had also become a rare commodity on the table and I can tell you one thing, being a carnivore in Serbia back then was pretty painful. In addition, we had to deal with massive food shortages on a daily basis. ‘Many basic, locally produced foods became unavailable as food retailers severely limited their stock to save it from depreciation caused by hyperinflation.’ The fridges and tummies were empty. I remember waiting in long lines, senior citizens fighting, desperate parents and bewildered children. Waiting was bad enough, but ending up empty-handed was a killer. Coffee became a rare commodity (sob sob). There was a limited stock even of basic foods, such as sugar, flour, bread, cooking oil, and milk, which were rather hard to obtain. The allowed daily quantity was one loaf of bread or bottle of milk per person. Now, I want you to picture an extended family with lots of mouths to feed. Just so you know, Serbs LOVE bread. This really came as a slap in the face. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. But, when it gives you peanuts, you can’t even make peanut butter, can you? Desperate time calls for desperate measures so our moms resorted to unconventionality and originality in times of crisis, that is making something out of nothing or hardly anything. Flour, baking soda, sugar, water, oil, and marmalade (or grated apples). Stir and bake. This was the infamous embargo cake and positive thinking for that matter.

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There’s more. In October 1993, in an attempt to conserve energy, the government began cutting off the heat and electricity. You would eat cooked meal not when you wanted to or when hungry, but when the stove was fully operational. Lucky were those who had good old wood burners which were real life savers at the time. Cold apartments, cold hospitals, cold schools, cold fingers and cold toes. Coldness made our bones ache and it sometimes took ages to warm up from being frozen (how long do you think it takes for the chicken to thaw out?) One of the best ways to raise temperature was partying in unfinished houses, half-completed attics or unheated basements and spooning with your significant other or whoever appeared to be nearby. At school, we’d bundle up in tons of layers when the bad weather set in. We rarely took off our hats, scarves, gloves and jackets inside, which was an excellent excuse for skipping classes and avoiding assignments more regularly. Studying by candle light was unproductive, and a complete and utter waste of time, since we we would always end up playing with candle wax or smooching under a blanket, that is the lucky ones who had a cuddling buddy during cold, snowy winters.

The import of cigarettes came to a halt too. Needless to say, everybody was smoking, young and old, though some didn’t find it so agreeable. It’s called going with the flow. In the absence of the real thing, we started smoking grass. By that I don’t mean weed, but dry grass, hay. True story (cross my heart and hope to die). Desperate time calls for…Remember?! In addition, international sanctions included oil and gas restrictions (would you kindly go fuck yourselves) and at one point people looked like they wanted to give up on everything when gasoline stations stopped providing fuel. Episodes of compulsive hair pulling were noticed as a way of soothing or to focus on a different type of pain, since no driving is not an option in Serbia. The citizens then turned to regular exercise – walking, running, cycling – thinking to themselves: ‘Well, as long as we profit by the crap we didn’t cause, then it’s not that bad, right?’ hoping that daily workouts might slash their risk of developing serious illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer and strokes. A 55-year-old man was reported to have been seen on his (that is my) bike (dad, you’re stealing again), on his regular commute cycling tours (37miles/ 60km a day). Way to go dad, that’s the way to stay fit. Happy 81st birthday!

Wait up, we’re not done yet. A total of 10 million people were injured after a roller-coaster had derailed and crashed on our currency at the Serbian and Montenegrin theme park, causing a massive monetary tsunami. One eyewitness said: ‘I saw lots of people trapped upside down on the ride, stuck. It’s like a horror movie.’ However, the amusement park was not closed. Life went on. The hyperinflation of the Yugoslav dinar felt like being thrown backwards by the blast, with the dinar recording a monthly inflation rate of 313 million% in January ’94 and reaching a crescendo when it came to a staggering 5,578,000,000,000,000,000% (let me help you with the pronunciation: 5 quintrillion, 578 quadrillion). This makes our baby ‘the second-highest and second-longest hyperinflation in world history, 4 orders of magnitude higher than the Weimar hyperinflation, but well below Hungary’s record’ (source: CATO Institute). Basically, the state budget needed money and turned to the National Bank that supplied it with cash, used to finance the salaries in the state administration and the army, as well as to cover all military expenses. The money was, however, worthless since there was no production behind it. The inflation was so out of control that the price of supermarket products (when available) would increase twice every 34 hours. The salary was received in billions of dinars, and for one say 5 billion dinar salary, you could buy bread, cigarettes, and oil, that is only bread the next day. In ‘93, a loaf of bread cost 4 billion dinars, and a bottle of milk 9.5 billion. Head-scratching, right?

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Let me give you a visual. My mom has her mind set on making the embargo cake. She gives me her whole salary to buy her baking powder, but there are so many banknotes that I need a plastic bag. Unless I hurry up, our cake will be eaten up by the high inflation, instead of us. I dash into the store, feeling the quick pant of my bosom. The cashier shrugs her shoulders. I’m afraid you’re too late. The prices have already gone up. I’m staring at the transparent bag filled with millions of dinars. The irony of fate: I’m a fucking multimillionaire stranded on a desert island in the middle of nowhere who can’t buy herself some happiness. Is all hope lost? No, I can still afford a box of matches. The Little Match Girl leaves the store, laughing off the thought life’s a bitch. Today’s special: nothing brûlée.

Author: Blogging_with_Bojana

I'm diggin' Need to grow, have to push Flicking through vinyl and feeding the rush I dig for that one and I open the haunt It's takin' all day from the back to the front I'm diggin' and diggin' You know Sorry baby I'm gone diggin' www.bloggingwithbojana.com

174 thoughts on “WELCOME TO ABSURDISTAN”

  1. I am almost at a loss for words. Almost. First of all, you paint an amazing picture with your words. I can almost feel the hunger and frustration reach off of the page. Few Americans, with the exception of immigrants from war-torn countries have ever seen, never mind experienced such conditions. We have never been invaded nor have we been involved in an ethnic war. I think that even the great depression, which my Grandparents spoke of often, could compare.
    If Americans had read this post as we sat in our warm living rooms with our full bellies we may have been more compelled to help instead of falling back on “it’s a civil war let them work it out”. People glamorize war but up close it’s not so sexy.
    Amazing post, Bojana.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, super. It means the world to me.

      I can’t agree more.

      There are around 200 countries in the world. Of course, everybody knows the States, Russia and China. That’s what happens when you’re a superpower. Everybody also knows say Beyoncé, but nobody expects Beyoncé to know, if not everybody, then, others out there, right? The needy ones. The disadvantaged.
      But, maybe, just maybe, we can choose to turn the TV off every now and then and do some research on our own. Because it’s so easy to be blissfully unaware on a full stomach.

      Speaking of the poor, the bias and xenophobia, please take a few minutes to read this post. You, and everyone else commenting here. BTW, an excellent blogger.

      https://drmolaplume.com/2018/03/07/aporophobia/comment-page-1/#comment-898

      Liked by 2 people

  2. jesus
    so much
    and as such
    those borders
    were
    political
    and so serb and croat
    christian and muslim
    kill each other
    in the name of God
    meet Elizabeth
    she from that area has
    a mom
    and alittle brother
    she told
    me that tito
    was a great leader
    she s eleven

    and already brainwashed by her mom
    and the damn mormon s shame too!
    was a

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You are extraordinary Bojana, your writing is extraordinary. The biggest compliment I can give you is, the fact that I hate politics and all the charade. That’s another story though. But, I wanted to read more, much more, the picture you paint is outstanding. I WAS THERE.. You are a seriously fantastic writer. Now! Go write a book..

    Liked by 2 people

      1. You are.. I know you were writing about the fall out of politics and it was factual. The way you described it was unbelievable.. Honestly so good.. If I was in uni I would want you as my English and History lecturer.. Your writing is so engrossing and real.. Your writing could bring me anywhere.. Write a book! Factual or fictional.. I don’t care, just do it.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. I want to change the world. Retroactively, if I have to.

    This is just unconscionable. Somehow we never developed the sense to care about the masses over the few. We never evolved that part of the brain that allows us to tune out the Ninja Turtles or the Super Bowl and pay more attention to the world “out there.”

    It feeds the ambitions of the politicians. It lines the pockets of the super-corps. Distraction is the key to subjugation. And while we’re over here being subjugated, millions die. Starvation. Malnutrition. Suicide. Genocide. How do we make it stop?

    Our “functional” societies allow the deaths of children where they learn. Allow disproportionate rewards to the wealth, mass profits in unaffordable health care. If the “function” ever fails, then it’s war and strife and so many bodies that bodies become the norm.

    I want to change the world. We have to wake up. 😭

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Unconscionable, right? I love that word.

      The thing is, wars are very profitable. Were and will always be. For both politicians and private entities.

      Enormous war profiteering is being made off of the United States involvement in Iraq and the Middle East. What an ideal world for weapons manufacturers, huh?
      The States has been in the war business big time for so long with no evidence of getting out any time soon. Millions are spent on defense that is never used.

      What again is the minimum wage and what does that have to do with anything? Well it does, if we put two and two together. So, as sb. said it nicely, we should keep this in mind next time we see folks making minimum at Walmart.

      Did you talk to Jess, Tom? I think she should be your running mate. You can be like spouses running together for presidency.
      We’ll change this fuck-up world one way or another.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I had a long conversation with a couple of Trump supporters (and friends of mine) a year and a half ago, or so, about the military-industrial complex. I tried to explain to them how much our military might is about money, and how if we didn’t have enemies we would manufacture them to keep that money train rolling. They didn’t believe me.

        I was trying to explain to the them simple possibility of it, but they could not see. The deeper truth, though, is this is already the case. If I couldn’t get them to see the possibility of it, though, I knew had no chance to explain to them the colder reality…

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Oh my little sister of heart, mind, soul & bitchin’ fedora!

    I am again in awe of your words. I do believe I fall deeper in love with your tenacious spirit more each day.

    There are no adequate words for me to use to comment on this testimony – given they’ve all been used to assuage that guilty tingle one chokes on as a member of the viewing audience – you know, we who watched from Barker Loungers, in living color no less, the wholesale slaughter & widespread devastation of those not in our car pools.

    Except to say that THIS should be printed, bound and delivered to every house in the world where the dwellers in splendor & plenty still foolishly believe “it could never happen to us!”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There’s no middle way, I’m afraid. You either become tenacious as you call it, tending to keep a firm hold of your life and beliefs or you lose it. I chose to live and persevere.

      As for the sort of international ignorance we’ve been witnessing for so long, it’s a killer, I agree. The world has decided to remain deaf to the plight of so many out there. So, it’s hard to be an optimist. Harder than ever, I’d say.

      But sometimes, a single incident or a piece of writing may serve as a wake up call. I do hope someone starts to listen. It’s about time.

      (thank you, love)

      Liked by 2 people

      1. No, there certainly is not. Seems to me standing in the middle is sure fired way of being run over.

        Your words are fabulous. Your spirit a gift to the world. May we be moved to action by your brilliance ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve seriously struggled with commenting on this one, Bojana. So much so that I almost didn’t. Not commenting, however, would be a selfish act on my part, and that is wrong. So wrong.

    I thought I was moved by your writing before, and I was. This time, however, I was transported. You basically picked me up and carried me with you. I felt so much of what you described. I felt it in such a way as I almost started to shake. This is fucking real, it hit me. This is us, as humans, toying with other humans. Manipulating them for our own selfish ends. And while we are doing that, we are convincing the rest of humanity that it is right by duping them into believing they see things that aren’t there, and by altering facts to suit our needs. This was leaders playing fucking war games like it was some giant fucking game of Risk. Talk about going through life with blinders on.

    And I hate them for it. Hate is such a powerful tool though isn’t it. Hate fuels. It feeds. It grows. I don’t want it to. I won’t let it.

    Here’s what I want to say. You wrote:

    “For starters, remarkable resourcefulness and flexibility to handle change. Secondly, creativity and good humor. Next, steadiness, sobriety and courage. Then, you want to be sure you have enough perseverance and determination (there’s no giving up no matter what). ”

    I think I’ve learned enough about you to say that you embody those traits. All of them. The two that speak so clearly to me, however, are creativity and good humor. You never cease to amaze me with your writing prowess. It is your style, your voice, imbued by the very things you write about. And I never fail to see the humor that you’ve clearly hung on to.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The most terrible thing that can happen in such critical times is losing yourself, your reason, your dignity and finally sense of humor, that is everything that defines you and makes you human, and unique, if you will. It hurts much more than an empty tummy. The value of human life was so often reduced to trash and this Brave Little Toaster said: Nope, I think I’ll pass.

      I’ve read once that even the most aggressive jokes are better than the least aggressive wars.
      So, what do you say we make some good strong coffee, not war?

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Your writing is so powerful and just amazing. I hate how governments are behaving in today’s society. I have some deep hatred for politics because it seems like all of them lie and it is worldwide. I have nothing nice to say about the US President. It is in my opinion he is doing nothing but building hate throughout the entire world. I can not remember a time when the US had so many enemies. I didn’t mean to get off on a rant about our political leader.
    I do appreciate what you have shared. Like I said your writing is incredible and so powerful!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, honey.
      I totally agree with you. Money and greed, that’s all there is to it.
      This should be a reminder of open wounds worldwide. Maybe, just maybe, the world will see how many people are still bleeding out there and actually do sth about it.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. There is a massive amount of greed and ignorance in the US now and getting worse with the president. I hate to talk so ill of him, but I think everyone can see what an idiot he is!
        I really do hope people will open their eyes to those that are still suffering and do something about it. I guess we can only hope!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Bojana, you are like no other. The fiercely determined and unyielding way you live your life clearly comes from a heart and spirit that are boundless., To be able to live through what you have lived through, to see what you have seen, and still have the ability to bring humor into your heart and into your writing, that is astounding. You are astounding. You are a teacher and a fighter; you comfort and love and command presence. Your eyes are open. You have not had the privilege to merely look. You truly see. You are not cloaked, but brave and brutally honest. I admire you more with every word I read. You are raging fire and incredible strength. I am humbled.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. This is you my friend, fiery, determined, selfless. This is you offering up your strength, sharing it. This is you, free and not taking a single moment for granted. I am grateful to know you.

        Liked by 2 people

      1. I am starting to think about all of the different ways in which people can be awakened, can help to awaken each other with different ways of thinking and by sharing, sometimes unimaginable, experiences, like you are doing now. My Step Mom escaped from Poland with her family in WWII; she wrote a book you may be interested in. It is called “Where are we Going” http://miriamfindertasini.com (this is her website)

        I read an early draft of the book, but I remember being terrified to read it. It wasn’t because I didn’t know her story; I have known her most of my life and knew the story, but there was something different in reading it. I imagine that is a million times over more painfully true for you as you write about what happened to you. But, I remember what you said about it needing to be told, for you and for others. It is vital.

        I have often thought about the perspective of sorrow. But, that is something to write about for another time.

        I am grateful for you.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hey Suzie Q, I was thinking a lot of you today. Telepathy.

        I read an interesting text about remembering and forgetting today, which got me thinking….
        We remember life events, factual knowledge, and memories obtained through extensive practice or habits.
        Sometimes, however, information either never makes it to the long term memory or it does but it is lost before it can attach itself there permanently, so we forget. Forgetting also occurs when information is not used for an extended period of time and it literally fades away.  Sometimes it is there but for various reasons we can’t access it. That’s normal.

        However, repression is ‘dangerous’, when we, consciously or unconsciously start forgetting things, deleting people and events from our memory so as not to deal with a problem/trauma rationally and emotionally. We choose an easy way out.

        I’ve done that. We all sometimes do . But, not when it comes to war years. I chose to remember. It matters A LOT to me, so much that I began to remember some things I thought I had forgotten or repressed.

        Thanks for the recommendation. It’s definitely worth reading.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I continue to admire you more and more Bojana. It isn’t just what you have been through, but who you are and the fact that you choose to remember. It makes sense to me that as you write about it, things will come up you may have forgotten. It has to be a painfully intense process. You have been strong in my thoughts all week. xoxo

        Liked by 1 person

  9. A lot of similarities with Venezuela right now. So many people are bone thin right now and people can’t get medication. Schools are closed because transportation to work is more than the teachers’ pay… It’s a terrible thing to experience.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Ich habe zu danken, Bojana. Auch wenn die Geschichten haarsträubend sind, und man – wie man wieder einmal bemerkt – in den Medien nicht informiert wird. Wasser auf die Mühlen der Unguten. Wünsche Dir ein schönes, erholsames Wochenende. Michael

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Den Fernseher ausschalten, um besser informiert zu sein.
        Informationen oder Erfahrungen aus erster Hand sind immer die besten. Ich verspreche mehr Geschichten.

        Ich wünsche Dir auch ein schönes Wochenende. Bis bald. LG.

        Like

    1. Thank you, Tanya.
      Hands down, I’ve been struggling for a long time. To post or not to post. This turned out to be a good decision. I needed it, and I’m not the only one. The world needs to know the truth behind wars.
      I advise to go back and start from scratch if you want to know the whole truth (3 posts so far, Marriage…., The Good, ….and Welcome…)

      Liked by 1 person

  10. After I read this post, I listened to the song “Jugo 45 – Zabranjeno Pusenje” and got tears in my eyes.
    My dad turned on this song when I asked him about the war. I was too young to understand everything, but now I certainly find it powerful.

    Your post leaves me speechless.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I went to bed later than planned yesterday after I posted it. People were commenting, asking, showing sympathy, expressing disbelief and shock…..Then, I couldn’t sleep all night. Too many memories, rolling thoughts…
      I feel your speechlessness, and, given your history, I can tell it’s a different kind, it resonates with me.

      Yes….
      Bilo je to dobro vrijeme,
      ….
      Momo, Franjo, dajdža Mirso… (all under the same roof)

      Like

      1. Amazing post and so true.
        I remember the first we went back to Bosnia. It was 10 years after we moved.
        I remember how shocking it was for my parents when they realized what happened to the country that was once home 😦

        Liked by 1 person

  11. But but but…we had to smash those commie bastard Serbs, didn’t we? You say it like it was, sista. Our next door neighbours and we did nothing to stand up to the big boys muscling in and calling all the shots. We should all be ashamed. My sister (in the north of England) worked with Bosnian refugees who had been sent Oop North to be with their co-religionists ie Pakistani hard line Muslims. She said they were horrified at being expected to get on with the fundamentalists. They had no affinity with them at all. Why do our liberal open-minded, tolerant (me arse) societies insist on segregating people and encouraging nutty differences?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Segregation today. Segregation tomorrow. Segregation forever.
      It permeates our society in ways we don’t even realize. I mean, let’s face it. Even though we live and work around “diversity”, our best friends and the people we invite into our lives and homes, often look like we do, so we are reinforcing a de facto segregation.

      Why? Because we’re damn humans, that’s why. Damn. We know so little about one another. We don’t care. We don’t want to learn.

      Make sure you go back to my previous post about the war years. The world just was just watching, as you said, and couldn’t care less.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Too many political alliances/fears of economic reprisal, maybe a part of genuine bewilderment at the complexity of the different animosities, but I think mainly, there were two big powers who will remain nameless who had a lot to gain by keeping a conflict going. You need guns, don’t you, in a war?
        Yes, you’re right to an extent, that we do socialise with like-minded people, but their background culture doesn’t have to be an obstacle. It’s education and similar ideas that count. No, I couldn’t sit down to a stimulating evening of conversation with a man who refused to even look at me and only spoke to my husband, but things change, especially through the integration of children.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Of course, I was generalizing, meaning we humans. I have friends from all walks of life, from all continents, educational and cultural backgrounds. But, it is almost a role with most people, you have to agree.
        My best friend here is a Muslim from Bosnia. Go figure. Who knows what would have happened if we hadn’t been given guns to fight against one another in the first place. Maybe we’d just have gone home to share that baklava and think things through.

        Like

      3. Very likely. There are always people itching for a fight and there are always arms manufacturers willing to sell them the weapons. It doesn’t take many deaths to really stir things up.
        It’s true, we do gravitate to what we know— ‘we’ in the sense of ‘one’. I just find it very difficult to get on with people who define themselves as ‘a something or other’. Can be Muslim, Catholic, African, Français, whatever. When people stick tags on themselves everything is filtered through a narrow optic (if you see what I mean) as if they have no identity outside a group.

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      4. I do see what you mean. I hate it too. We put ourselves in boxes trying to define who we are. We do it to others, and we do it to ourselves. And it’s easier when we’re in a group, right? It’s our nation against theirs, our religion is better and our language more ancient. I know it….I was there, remember.
        As a group we are stronger. It sounds like an effing political slogan.

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      5. When people really are oppressed it makes sense, is necessary even, to stick together. I was there too, though not in wartime and the stakes weren’t as high. But when there is no war, no oppression, standing out from the crowd in an ostentatious way gets people’s backs up. It doesn’t take much then for some populist scumbag to light the blue touchpaper and you get violence. I’m thinking of the veiled women in a host society that is trying hard to create equality between the sexes and the different ethnic social groups. I refuse to accept that women should be allowed to drape themselves in a shroud in the name of feminism and tolerance and respect of human rights. Bollocks.

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  12. This is one of the best blogs, I stumbled upon on WP, I guess. Read 40% of the post! Wow! You have articulated history and the feelings of people who are a part of it with great eloquence. I will comment, after I read full. Thank you for sharing the piece. Bookmarked.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah! I see. I’ll definitely be reading your posts, as well, as soon I get a considerable chunk of time to devour them in one go! I’ve been enjoying your posts. They’re different, engaging, and sprinkled with wisdom, knowledge, and reflections on life! Glad! ☺️✌️

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, sure! It’s very evident as far as I can see. I’ve now decided to read more, and write less. This was secomd time in the last 24 hours someone called me a brother, rather than a friend! I guess it’s not uncommon then. Lol!

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  13. Other people who have already commented above have said how your writing carried them there, and I agree with them.
    And I admire your courage not only in those times but also now, because you are writing about it.
    I hope you are sleeping a little better.
    Love
    B.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Will read this no-doubt excellent blog post ASAP. In the meantime, letting you know I’ve nominated you for an award. I don’t think you necessarily count as “new” or even “new-ish,” but you’re one of my favorite writers of blogs. You owe me money. Chat soon! Oh, and you can see it when I publish it in a few minutes here… and I can even send a link or something. https://wordpress.com/post/badparentingweb.wordpress.com/3359

    Liked by 1 person

      1. To be fair, it was a generic message I left everyone I nominated. I’m sure I’ll simply power forward. I hope your nomination didn’t come off as flippant. I genuinely nominated you based on my (admittedly, very limited) experiences with your writing and how the people who I strongly admire seem to hold you in similar esteem. Thanks for being a good sport…

        Liked by 1 person

  15. I read these out of order but it didn’t matter. I was rivited. It makes me realize what a sheltered existence I had. I grew up at the same time on the other side of the world in Southern California. All of it touched me, but especially when you went to buy the ingredients for the cake with a huge bag full of money and couldn’t. I am so thankful that you have shared your story, Bojana.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I can’t even begin to imagine going through this. It is incredibly shocking and saddening. I would say in Cape Town where I’m from the challenging thing we experienced is having to deal with the water crisis. At one time I recall this man purchasing all the remaining waters at the store and the other customers were in rage. Maybe this man was thinking of his family or just himself by stocking up with water for when the drought would happen. People were acting not like themselves, but in survival mode. Showering becomimg 1 minute or less, washing hair once a week or sometimes not at all, using recycled water to flush the toilets when doing number 2. (Sorry, too much info) Bonjana, your writing has so much depth! The blogging community is definitely lucky to have someone like you.

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  17. Hi darling! Just wanted to let you know I only took the blog private so I could get some work done this week. I’ll get back to it tomorrow or Saturday ❤️

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  18. Good morning dear Bojana. Thank you for this very sincere and lively account of the hardships you had to endure during that horrible civil war. It must have been extremely sad to watch your good lifestyle evaporate in a few days and go through the humiliation of energy and food shortages that decimated entire families. So, you two parents are physicians? No wonder you like me so much ( or am I mistaken?) I didn’t like the swearing against God but I can understand your frustration in those dismal living conditions. This time I woke up and wrote specially for you dear; consider this small affectionate gesture as serving you breakfast in bed. Un peu plus de Veuve Cliquuot ma chere amie?
    Un baccione. A posto!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh how very thoughtful of you. Champagne, yes, always.

      God doesn’t exist, explained why. Trust me, if you had seen what I did, you’d have thought the same.
      BTW, make sure you read all three last posts, since they’re connected.

      Yes, both my parents were MDs, retired now. Actually, I loaded it back then, being surrounded by all those scary books and their boring colleagues. Maybe that’s why I never wanted to pursue a career as one. I was never cut out for it. Doctors are often too self-conceited for my liking. What do you think?

      Buona giornata, dottore.

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      1. Good morning cara amica. First of all I I would like to ask you to please be a little more careful not to ruffle feathers unnecessarily with your fellow bloggers. If I happen to be be a practicing believer in God, why disparage my beliefs so forthrightly? Secondly, even though I do commiserate with your plight during the Balkan wars it does not even compare with what I went through as a teenager in Montevideo, Uruguay. I was a leftist political militant and I got arrested, beaten and tortured for my beliefs. I never discuss the issue openly because my body still aches form the baton blows. You might have a glimpse of what I went through if you read my novel as Didier, one of my main characters, recreates some of the experiences I had to go through. Only the quick intervention of my father Mario who took me to Argentina to continue my medical studies saved me from certain death. If it weren’t for him, my bones would have been scattered in one of the common fossa for the Disappeared that dot the countryside. I survived because God was holding my hand and had other plans for me….May the grace of God almighty protect my father Mario who is in Heaven right now. Gracias Papa! I still love you dear. Un baccione. Arrivederci!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I must have missed your comment, sorry. Thanks for reminding me.

      You didn’t commiserate with my plight because I took part in the war indirectly, feeling its consequences and the toll it took on my life. However, rest assured I know the right thing. Do you know, Herr Doktor, what it feels like when a 2000 lb bomb falls near your house? No earthquake can compare.

      Besides, why are we comparing who suffered more here?
      I see you did (a lot) and I sympathize. How come you don’t?

      Secondly, I don’t judge you for being a practicing believer in God. How could I? That’s your right, as is mine not to believe in him. It’s my choice so deal with it. I’m merely expressing my opinion and showing how I see him (that is, why I don’t). You’re comparing again. We’re different, which does not imply we belong to opposing sides. The war is over.

      To sum up, I don’t expect you do agree with me while we’re having a discussion, as long as it is civilized and fruitful. I like your speaking your mind, but if you judge me, I have to react and I do it by using the same means, speaking my mind. Why can’t we fight the same cause from different sides?

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  19. I felt my heart hurt reading your story, then a few comments I read made me want to puke. I’ll never understand the human race. Ever. Those with the most toys DO Mother F**ing win! I am so very sorry for what war did to you and your family. I am so sorry you had to lose your childhood like that. Your parent? Doctors? What hell did they, too, go through… there is nothing just about any of this. Write the book. ~Kim

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, dear. Yes, hell it was, I was there. We’ve all seen it one way or the other, but let’s say wars bring a new kind of dimension in one’s life. Therefore, it’s inappropriate to compare whose pain was bigger. It’s still pain. I could never be that judgemental.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. When I read your thoughts I feel like I’m “running” through the whole piece. I love the dark sarcasm, (I developed that, as well, in the mental hospitals). I can totally understand why you don’t feel God exists, or cares. You could not have convinced me of a loving God during my 10 years without taking the right medication. (I look forward to reading more of your work).

    Liked by 1 person

  21. This was a difficult read. But this paragraph stood out for me ”For starters, remarkable resourcefulness and flexibility to handle change. Secondly, creativity and good humor. Next, steadiness, sobriety and courage. Then, you want to be sure you have enough perseverance and determination…”

    Liked by 1 person

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