Feb 28, 2012

Bosnian War and Genocide

During the Bosnian War (1992-1995), the fighting was fierce among the region's three main ethnic groups: Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs (in pact with Serbia-Montenegro army). At the start of the war, the Bosnian Serb army and Serbia-Montengero army (JNA) set about ransacking and burning the homes of Bosniaks. Then army rounded up Bosniaks civilians, who were beaten, killed, or detained in camps. By the war's end, as many as twenty-six thousand Bosniak civilians had been systematically murdered.

.„Ethnic cleansing“ became a common term used to describe the mass killing occurring in Bosnia and other areas on the Balkan Peninsula. The phrase remined people of the Holocaust, which was perpetrated by Adolf Hitler's Nazis during World War II. During that genocide, the Nazis used intimidation and force in their attempt to „cleanse“ Germany.

„Killing centers“ were places where the victims were brought for immediate or nearly immediate execution. Thus the famous Drina River bridge in the eastern Bosnian town of Višegrad was used for nightly executions and „sport atrocities“ against Bosniaks by Serb militiamen; the victim would be tortured and then throw off the bridge and shot as they fell down into the Drina River. Similar centers were found in Zvornik, Foča and most other centers of Bosniaks population occupied by the Serb army.

Massacres, one-time acts of mass killing at discreet locales, occurred in every area occupied by the Serb army. There were various basic forms of massacre; those that took place as Serb militias entered a village or town; those that took place against unarmed civilians behind Serb lines during the time an area was already occupied and fully under the control of Serb forces; those committed against Bosnian villagers in deportation transit; and those committed against Bosnian prisoners in war. Even when captives thought they were being released, they were often disabused of their hope. In the Vlašić mountain massacre, busloads of Bosnians who had been released from the Trnopolje camp were stopped by Serb soldiers and killed.

In late 1992, after the Serb army had consolidated the 70 percent of Bosnian territory it controlled, the mass killings changed into steady, individualized killings and rapes. In the fall of 1994, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) made an extraordinary apeal to world leaders to stop the atrocities. The appeal was ignored.

The following testimony was offered by a survivor of the Sušica camp in eastern Bosnia, whose commandant, Dragan Nikolić, has been charged by the Internationl Criminal Tribunal with crimes against humanity. The witness was testifying about several young women who had been „selected“ from other refuges: „They started  selecting young women. The first was only 14, the second could have been 16 or 17.... I knew them all, they were from Vlasenica.....Then they started yelling: „We want the Bosniaks to see what our seed is“ Then women were never seen again...We know that Dragan Nikolić knows about it very well. That's what he did...He told us himself: „I'm the commander of the camp. I'm your God and you have no other God but me“. 

In one sense, the rapes in Bosnia are a manifestation of the toleration for and condoning of rape throughout history. Rape is also a feature of warfare, and some have argued that it is a rationale for war – that a purpose of war is the free rein it gives to rape. But the use of rape against Bosniak women in Bosnia has been overwhelming even by the bleak standards of war. In one town, Foča, a rape center was set up in the former Partizan Sports Hall in May 1992. Bosniak girls and women were held there, underwent continual rape and other physical violence, and also were sent out to apartments where they were held to several days and then returned to the Partizan Hall. The organized rape of Bosniak women took place throughout the portions of Bosnia occupied by the Serb military, as well as in areas controlled by Croat nationalist forces. Militiamen boasted about their gang rapes of Bosniak women.

Feb 21, 2012

Bosnian-English Dictionary

magic in bosnian:

* sihir
sihir učiniti = to cast a spell; to bewitch; to charm; to fascinate 
sihirbaz, sihrobaz, sirbaz, n. (male) magician; sorcerer,
sihirbazica, sihrobazica, sirbazica, n. (female) magician, sorceress

* učin
* manđija
* čarka
* magija

In the Land of Blood and Honey

Plot Summary: Set against the backdrop of the Bosnian War that tore the Balkan region apart in the 1990s, "In the Land of Blood and Honey" tells the story of Danijel (Goran Kostić) and Ajla (Zana Marjanović), two people from different sides of a brutal ethnic conflict. Danijel, a soldier fighting for the Serbs, and Ajla, a Bosniak's girl, held captive in the camp he oversees, knew each other before the war, and could have found love with each other. But as the armed conflict takes hold of their lives, their relationship grows darker, their motives and connection to one another ambiguous, their allegiances uncertain. "In the Land of Blood and Honey" portrays the incredible emotional, moral and physical toll that the war exerts both on individuals and people as a whole, and the terrible consequences that stem from the lack of political will to intervene in a society stricken with conflict.

Feb 11, 2012

Mythological world of Bosnia and Herzegovina

According to scientific definition, mythology is a science that studies stories of fantastic content whose heroes are various gods and goddesses, warriors, demons, etc. Seen through the eyes of modern psychology, mythology is a bond that binds the man of today with the past, shapes his identity and even his childhood. No matter the geographic location, culture or period every mythological story whether from a large civilization or a small one is based on a classic Pantheon or more commonly on a dualistic division of fantastical beings and spirits, where humans are in the centre. Today, mythology is present in large numbers of various publications, TV documentaries, art and history itself. Not even movie directors could resist its call and mythology is a constant theme of many films.
Analyzing the legends and stories of a country one can discern a lot about the thinking and behaviour patterns of a given people. Mainly in most of the mythological stories we find a classic fear in humans of disease, death and evil, constant need of upholding the cult of the hero and warrior, love towards his country, family, individual, etc. Besides this, mythological characters represent intractable human imagination, ability to weather the hard times as best as one can, or creation of an authentic identity for a people or a country.
Mythology of Bosnia and Herzegovina abounds with various external influences because of its geographical position but also its turbulent history which shaped the Bosnian spirit and imagination. In Bosnia both the East and West always manifested which is clearly evident through mythology where we come across interesting elements of both eastern and western beliefs.
With the above mentioned in mind, the mythology of Bosnia and Herzegovina can be best understood if it is divided into three groups of influence which were the keys to its creation:
      The old Slavic beliefs (Europe)
      Bosnian beliefs (lllyrians, Bogumils)
     Oriental beliefs (Iran, Turkey)

Slavic pagan beliefs were preserved in legends about demons of diseases and generally in negative creatures like vampires (Lampir), Mora (Nightmare), Witch (Sihirbaza), Plague, Cholera, etc.
Remnants of the old Bosnian beliefs of the Bogumil also remained especially in the beliefs about Did Adža, Black bull, mysterious bird Plačo, etc.
The vast number of Oriental beliefs that were brought to Bosnia by the Ottomans originate directly from Iran. By that we mean first and foremost on the belief about angels (Melek), Faeries (Periler), visiting burial grounds (Dobri), etc.

Feb 2, 2012

Mythological world of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Dobri: In Bosnia there is a legend about Šehidi (martyrs) and especially evlije, holy men, that they can help people even after they die and that's why they are called Dobri. It is believed that dobri rise from their graves at night and they pray to Allah. Because of that belief people leave jugs (made out of copper) of water and clean towels inside turbe (mausoleums) in order for the Dobri to take ablution (religious cleansing). A large number of people who were in charge of taking care of the mausoleums  (turbe) swore that a lot of the times they saw wet floor from the water and misplaced towels. That was usually interpreted as a Dobri rising during the night to take ablution and to pray to God.

Feb 1, 2012

Mythological world of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Prepasti: After WWII in Bosnia rumours started spreading about scary apparitions which were called Prepasti. Usually they appeared on roads, meadows or next to rivers and creeks as obscure, black clouds, silhouette and whirlwinds that would go high into the clouds and sometimes they would turn into scary dark figures. Those supernatural apparitions were described by the people as distempered ghosts of dead soldiers because the places where they usually appeared were battlefields where large number of soldiers died during the war. Prepasti usually appeared in places where the soldiers lost one of their body parts, and according to belief they appeared to search for their lost limbs. Prepasti would disappear forever when the rain completely washes their blood from the soil and when plough furrows their bones into the ground.