Čiste namjere / Pure Intent

One day the misery will be defeated....and we will be the parents of many children of many races


a dose of pure intent from BB

My reasoning for the link to this article is simple. It's courageous. It's rational. It's honest. BUT....more to the point....it has pure intent.

There are many things I appreciate about Bojan Bajic. He is a true democrat. I may not always agree with him...but I will always get a fair, rational, objective and non-aggressive argument from him. And he will listen. He is willing to listen and learn. To me the sign of a great leader.

 Whether or not you share his view...I truly wish more people shared his values. His intent is to communicate. His intent is to create a Bosnia and Hercegovina that really works for everyone in it. Not an easy task if you think about....in fact, many would call it mission impossible. He believes in it though. And his sometimes painful insight into others perspectives could be a valuable tool we all could learn from.

For things to work here you have to understand all sides of the coin. Heads or tails just won't do.




wind beneath my wings

Crossroads can be scary sometimes. I know many people simply don't like to deal with uncertainty. Understandably so. I sort of get off on them.

Crossroads to me is a sign that change is on the horizon. And change is a good thing. At the very least it implies the possibility to grow. So that's where I'm at. A crossroads. I've put things in neutral at the moment to wait for the signs on which road is mine. It's interesting to see and feel oneself at different stages of ones life.  10 years ago the road less traveled would have been my chosen path. 10 years from now it may be the one with the biggest comfort zone or a big fuzzy security blanket. At the moment, it feels like the middle road may be the one for me.

So what in the hell am I talking about, huh? I'm  never actually sure of that to be quite honest. But my rambling definitely has something to do with the fact that I feel, at least for the moment, that an exit from my beloved Bosnia and Herzegovina is in the cards. That perspective, frankly, excites me to no end.
I was reading an interview with Demir Mahmutcehajic on sarajevo-x last night. It reminded me of a conversation I had with Jasmila Zbanic last autumn. She was angry. Mainly at herself. It came with the epiphany that, at least from what she could gather, only a small handful of people here were truly into creating something new, fresh, different....AKA - change.

She argued that if only a small percentage of people were 'fighting' for that change...what gave us the right over the 95% of the people who really aren't interested in change of any shape or form. Her conclusion was that we didn't. We were the fools. We were the ones who needed to leave here....not the primitive, provincial idiots running the country or their herds - but us.

Now Jasmila will always put things in a slightly harsher form than I would. But I've been chewing on her words since then. I don't have much faith in the hopes of change here. But on a personal level, the thought of a drastic change after almost two decades is a most pleasant one. In a way it makes me sad that I have finally succeeded in emotionally detaching myself from BiH (who am I kidding, I will never be able to cut the chord all the way thru). On the other hand....its a fresh wind under my wings.

It could be time to fly. 



Graso druze....thank you for your smile!

I keep googling Gradimir Krajisnik’s name. I’m not exactly sure why. Either way, our friend is gone. I have this compulsive obsession to find out more about the death of the fun-loving kid that went to high school with my wife. They studied together at II Gimnazija. She was always impressed by his intelligence but even more so by his jovial nature. We hung out together when he studied to be veterinarian. And it was always a happy occasion whenever we met in the years afterward.

My google searches keep leading me to exactly the same text, regardless of what portal I open. It seems like such an impersonal way to announce the passing of such a personal person. All my searches resulted in was being able to find out his name, date of birth, address and that he’s dead – that’s all the media had to say about this fabulous young man. So although I didn’t know him as well as some others…he still touched my life in a special and unique way. So please allow me to tell you a little bit of what I know about Grasak.

I guess in Bosnian terms many would call him otkacen – but in a positive way. He had a zest for life that few people I met here have. He had a tremendous sense of humour and a contagious smile. His humour was sharp. He was a sharp kid. He liked to laugh and made others do the same whether they wanted to or not. He always seemed ready to do something out of the ordinary. He loved life. And he wasn’t afraid to walk on the edge.

He too struggled with his hometown. We had a similar feeling about Sarajevo. A strange love/hate relationship with the place we both love to call home. He was simply a young man who wanted to love and be loved. He didn’t care what anybody’s name was or what holidays they celebrated. It bothered him tremendously when so many other people from his hometown did seem to care. After graduating he decided to try to live on the ‘other side.’ He moved to Novi Grad, or Bosanski Novi, in the RS to see what life would be like there and whether or not his name and surname would be treated any different.

He didn’t find it much different. He made some friends. Had a good time. But missed home.  So he came back…and from what I gather it felt he looked at Sarajevo with a set of different eyes this time. He was unsettled – not because of anything but the sometimes restless soul that he was. He never – ever – lost his sense of humor though. And he never lost the ability to make people around him smile. And then he found Vanja. She made him smile. From the look in his eyes…she was ‘the one.’

My heart aches to think of the bouncy, happy-go-lucky kid that was crushed by tonnes of fast flowing snow. He loved that mountain. He loved the freedom it gave him. And it was that mountain that set him free. My heart goes out to his mother and family, whom I never met. If it is of any comfort to his mom – she must know that he was a dearly, dearly loved young man. His smile…his walk….his goofiness….his intelligence….have carved a place in all of our hearts.

God speed to you sweet brother. You will not be forgotten. Peace  


Welcome to the Monkey House

GLASAJ ZA BOSS!  We need a monkey to run the monkey house....


sad mi je lakse



Kante za BiH

I visited Han restaurant on Mt. Bjelasnica the other day for the first time. I followed its construction and, from day 1, thought the idea was more of an eye sore than a meaningful contribution to the blasphemy called Babin Do. The white metal covering of the ENTIRE building is supposed to represent a white hijab. Clever, perhaps. But a white metal facade on a structure in the middle of an alpine valley...sorry...doesn't work for me.

I later found out it was the design of Zec. That surprised me. I love the man's work. I guess you can't love everything an artist does. This would be the one for me.

Just before the opening, maybe a year ago,  I was passing Babin Do on my way to Umoljani. I saw all my favorite poli-criminals from Stranke za BiH. I whispered to myself that i would never visit that place. Well, I broke that promise yesterday.

So we've got the white metal facade. The place doesn't serve alcohol either. Which, to be totally honest, doesn't bother me in the slightest. The hypocrisy does. So the hijab covered building that serves no alcohol is filled with chain smoking punters. Red Bull and Coca Cola are of no offense either. I'm no theologist but I'm sure I read the part about intoxicants in the Q'uran. Cigarettes, red bull, and coca cola, would all qualify as having addictive and harmful qualities.

I can now hear the convenient arguments of 'but the Q'uran prohibits the use of intoxicants that are harmful to oneself AND to others.' Perhaps. So maybe we can throw my red bull and cola complaint out. But the ciggies. Uh-uh! Sorry...i'm a yank, can't beat me on the second hand smoke argument...or a dozen others related to the evil cancer sticks. So instead of this clean, pure, atmosphere to enjoy nature one walks into a smoke pit where even the waiters openly smoke at the bar. pravi dzenet!

But that's not even the biggest thorn in my side....it's the fact that the 'muslimani na baterija' Stranke za BiH are behind this project. That party...as any of you who have read me know...should be renamed to Kante za BiH.

I love election years.


Seljak from Gainesville

Yesterday I was forced by every media house in the world to listen to some schmuck from hickville, florida rant about how Islam was the satan of the earth and that he was going to symbolically burn Q'uran's. The idiot has 50 members in his church. 50. And his face is being splashed on every news headline from Nome to Timbuktu.

That very same day I sat and had Bajram dinner with my family. I sat sort of in the middle. To my left were the men, talking about Zeljo, politics, and electrical fuses. The women to my right talked (aka gossip) about family and their dealings. I wandered to the back room where all the kids were playing. They were running around, screaming, having fun. The young mothers soon congregated in the same room, telling breastfeeding stories and sharing remedies for baby teeth pain.

This was exactly the way it was when we had our Thanksgiving or Easter family gatherings in the states. The men generally gravitating towards each other to play basketball or talk politics. The women comparing schools and teachers. It could almost have been a cut-paste scenario. I felt a bit nostalgic. But i also felt privileged to be a part of Sabina's family. They are wonderful folks.

Then my mind wandered further. Dino is deputy executive director at ASA Prevent. My father-in-law is heads up the metal sector at the Chamber of Commerce. Sabina's uncle a general practitioner. Her aunt a pharmacist. Some fasted for ramazan. Some didn't. Some drink alcohol, some don't.

Then the moron from Gainesville popped back to mind. This guy is certifiable. And worse than that, satanic himself. He has his head so far up his ass that he can't depict light from day. Yet he's plastered on CNN international for the past 48 hours. HE represents the type of radical Islam that he supposedly despises.

At least from my experience, the Muslims in my world are no different than my fire chief Uncle Walter or tax collector father. We all have the same dreams and aspirations. And yet people keep trying to tell us otherwise. And i wonder....what purpose does that serve one side or the other? What purpose?

Bajram Serif Mubarek Olsun. 


see any fairies lately?

I assume not many of you will be around these days. It's been quite a while. Haven't decided if I'm back...but i guess it can't hurt to dabble a bit in this therapy called blogging.

I guess it would be understatement to say that a few things have been going on in my life. I won't be dramatic about the birth of our son Noah...and tell you how it instantly changed me and my perspective on life. It didn't.

Actually, it's more like he's been with us since time began (that's dramatic huh?). Sure, lifestyle has changed....but hell, I'm 40. It's about time. But in all sincerity, its really like he's been with us all along. He fits in perfectly. He's a cool kid. He loves to stare at trees and plants whilst i tell him about all the grand things they do for us. I'm not kidding when I say a three month old can stare at Mr. Plant, as we call him, for an hour. That's my boy.

It seems like it was just my last blog that I was whining about yet another election season. It's here again. And i want to run like the wind to...well...anywhere. Something tells me there will be a small swing. But what we need here is a massive 180 degree turn. That most likely won't happen. But maybe the tides will turn just enough to start the tree shaking. And we need it to the roots. Badly.

I try extremely hard to be optimistic about this place. Something....or rather everything...tells me things are getting worse.

Where are the fairies with the magic wands when you need them?


Zbogom raja

We're home.  I sort of knew it when took off from Zagreb.  A young man, well dressed and decent looking sat down next to me.  He kindly offered me a mint.  He smelled like cevapi and onions. Home again.  :)

The thing is...our trip to England turned out to be a sick leave on the Canary Islands.  The Mrs. and I took a cheap flight for a long weekend from the UK to see our friends in Gran Canaria.  First night big storm.  We ended up in hospital.  Sabina broke her knee cap.  I spent the next three nights sleeping on a hospital room chair.  Sabina spent it recovering from surgery. 

To make a long story short....after wheelchairs, tuta's, and learning a hell of a lot about being a nurse (RESPECT!), we made it back to our humble abode. 

But that's not what I came here tonight to say.  I came to say goodbye for a while.  Whenever writing becomes a chore...or even worse I open my blog page and lose interest within seconds...I guess its time to close shop for a while.  Reading back a few blogs I see I haven't had really much of anything interesting to say anyway.  So I've pressed the pause button. 

I have thoroughly and utterly enjoyed chatting with many of you.  I appreciate your comments and criticism.  I learned a lot through this process.  I hope I'm a better listener.  I know I've learned even more about perspective.  For that I am eternally grateful.  I have found quite a few new blogs that you lot write.  I must say there are a lot of good writers out there (why the hell do you read my mess?).  Keep on. 

I'll be back.  (I can't say that without putting an Austrian terminator accent to it in my head)

Thank you.  Be good.  Viva Bosna i Hercegovina. 

your brother from another planet


sing it john denver, sing it!

I thought this year I would finally make it to Berlinale.  Not in the cards. 

I love this place.  I really do.  But it can get under your skin in the most itchy of ways.  Another snow storm is sweeping in. That's my sign.  I'm outta here.  I haven't been away for a long time.  I took a short long weekend trip to Poland with Kamerni Theatre.  That's pretty much it. So I'm leaving on a jet plane. Sunday morning destination London.  Tuesday Gran Canaria.  So whilst my poor wife has to stay in the UK and lecture and research genocide, I get to bask in the western african sun. 

Luckily I paid for our tickets last autumn. Otherwise I wouldn't be able to afford a trip to Konjic.  Gotta love going on holiday when you're broke. 

It'll be nice to go out for drinks with friends and not smell like a dirty ashtray when i get home.  At least in the UK.  The Spaniards are perhaps the only Europeans that smoke more than in the Balkans.  Luckily it'll be 25 degrees and sunny.  I'll have my drinks on the terrace. 

Enjoy the snow my friends. 

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Čiste namjere / Pure Intent
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What is cista namjera
Although i have become an honorary balkanite, one thing that truly bothers me is how distrustful we are of each other and how quick we are to criticize without necessarily knowing all the facts. I will certainly criticize...and rant & rave about the environment and other things that get ispod moj koze. But i promise to do it with the pure intent. No lies. No bull shit. And entirely open to criticism.

about me
I am a semi-nomadic global activist...bosnaphile, ecologist, hiker, writer, new yorker/sarajevan. Bosnia and Herzegovina has been my home after i hitchhiked from Germany to BiH on Christmas day 1992. People always ask me what was the hardest thing about coming to Bosnia during those times. My answer is always the same...'leaving!'

What about you?
This blog isn't about me. It's about us. I'd love to hear from you...your comments, complaints, suggestions, passions, fears, whatever. What I'd rather not have is a stupid nationalistic exchange on who did what, when. I'm not interested in finger pointing but constructive dialog. If you happen to be one of those negativci...leave your negative energy somewhere else please. Hvala.

I have already received comments from some of you asking me to write or comment on certain issues. That, in fact, is what this is all about. I welcome requests to write about certain topics...and if i can, i surely will. Feel free to ask me to address specific topics.



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