Jul 30, 2012

Fortune telling with 41 grain of beans

Traditionally, Bosniak women have used beans for foretelling one's future by "throwing beans" (bacanje graha).

One fortune telling practice is said to be an exclusively Bosniaks one in that it is not practised by Bosnian Serbs, Bosnian Croats or others. Further, it is said to have an Islamic religious basis and thus to be the truest of all techniques. This practice is fortune telling with beans which is said to have been done by the Prophet's daughter, Fatima, and thus to come "from God".  (Some Bosniaks denounce this as a mistaken belief but it is a widely held one. )

Fortune telling with beans is carried out in secrecy and talked of in whispers. The fortune teller or faladžija holds forty-one dried, white navy beans in her hands and murmurs a Quranic verse into them. They are then thrown onto a cloth and arranged into three columns of small bean clusters. As in the coffee cup, one side is the male, the other the female. The beans are thrown and arranged three times and the fortune told from them.

After the third arrangement the subject of the fortune leaves the room with a bean in each hand and one in her mouth. The first word she then hears is interpreted by the teller as having a certain significance for the future. In contrast to the coffee reading technique which I witnessed numerous times and was able to learn the details of, I witnessed the bean reading only twice and found it difficult to learn the details of the process from the teller who treated it with some secrecy. As in other traditional techniques, the teller Is not deemed to possess any particular power although she may have greater or lesser ability or "knowledge".

Jul 27, 2012

Fortune telling with 41 grain of beans


In Bosnian way of bean grains fortune telling particular attention is committed to the interpretation of each grain positioning. Direction in which the grain is directed, its horizontal or vertical position, whether one grain is attached to another, or tree or more, is very important data in the process. An example concerning one love couple follows:

1.      Woman is burdened with love relationship and displays serious insecurity. She easily gets angry with the man and then she terminates communication with him.
2.      Man and woman are together.
3.      Man has got similar temper as woman he gets angry easily and than he does not communicate to her.
4.      Woman loves man
5.      Regardless certain problems in character and communication themselves, as a couple, go along fine.
6.      Man is quite introverted; he does not display enough emotions or affection.
7.      Woman is indecisive; she often does not know what to do to improve their relationship.
8.      Communication seems to be a great problem. They both communicate more with others than with each-other.
9.      Man is more oriented towards carrier, income, money.

If this combination of grains appeared in the first cast of beans than analyse is interpreted in the past tense. This, in fact, interprets the relationship of partners in the past. However, if it appears in the second cast than it represents their present, while in the third cast has negative connotation and may indicate problematic love relation.

Jul 19, 2012

Genocide in Gaza

Tears of Gaza is a Norwegian anti-war movie from 2010 concerning the Gaza War as seen through the eyes of a group of Palestinian children. The Norwegian director Vibeke Løkkeberg, in cooperation with the population in Gaza documented the desperation and powerlessness of the Palestinian population during the Israeli bombing of Gaza winter 2008/2009.

The film is based on the imagery taken by people themselves in Gaza while the war continued, with some additional material from the few foreign journalists who were present while the conflict unfolded. Løkkeberg was not present in Gaza during the war, most likely not being allowed to enter.
The film was met with strong reactions from Israel and friends with Israel For Peace (MIFF) because the film is seen as a propaganda film for Palestine. It has been argued that the film was only created to defame Israel, and that it has been produced so that Israel stands as the world's most brutal military power. However, given the disputed intention of the documentary, there is no denial that the IDF did, in fact, use white phosphorus on densely populated areas, including on a UN school that was being used to house civilians from the shelling. Regardless of the motives of the directors, the documentary uses authentic graphic footage from Gaza showing the true realities on the ground, this includes corpses of children aged under 3 with gunshot wounds to the chest[1] (can be seen at 1:03:57).Hamas is hardly mentioned throughout the film. The directors explain that it is not Hamas that is being hit hardest in such a war, it is the civilians, and this is what the producers have tried to focus on through this film.


Jul 16, 2012

Zazor or Evil Eye

The evil eye is a belief that Bosniaks share with  Turks and other people of the Balkans, and the Mediterranean, and the Middle East.

Modern man, though having a higher level of consciousness and living in a society much more developed than his ancestors, is still afraid of “evil eyes” (or urok, zazor, urokljivo oko) more than all other diseases combined. The best evidenced for this is a belief in the nation that more people have died as a result of “evil eyes” than all diseases combined. 

Belief in the power of “evil eyes”  was found even in ancient Persia (Iran), the culture for which it is assumed, based on the discovered historical sites, that is older than 7.ooo years, where she was embodied in the form of the female demon named Agas. 

Now days, there is no nation in the world where there is more or less expressed belief in the power of the human negative view, whether we talk about Hindu, Muslim, Christian or other religion. With the arrival of Turks and Islam in Bosnia, belief in the “evil eye” suddenly escalated, therefore in line with this whole series of rituals and beliefs about the protection and eliminating the negative effects of the “evil eyes” were developed. 

“Evil eyes”, is a reflection of the negative energies of one's soul (psyche) triggered by uncontrolled emotions such as jealousy or a great admiration. It is believed that every man has this power even those blind, because the spell is created with the help of views and words. It is believed that the green eyes are evil eyes, especially if that person is born under the sign of Scorpio. This category includes persons who cut their nails with scissors, etc. 

While the evil eyes are considered primarily children's disease, since they are most affected, also adults are not immune to them especially the young, beautiful and successful ones. Spells are subject to pregnant women, patients, animals and etc. At least resistant to the spell are children especially in the first 40 days of their lives, therefore caring mother stick to the various prophylactic rituals of placing amulets, garlic, or leaf of rue (Rute graveoles) under the pillow or a piece of wood tisovina (Taxus baccata),or around his hands she ties the red thread on which is tied 40 knots and etc. 

For the purpose of prevention in Bosnia we usually can hear the word universal “Mashallah” which is believed to be the strongest protection from all forms of evil eyes. 

When a child cries for no apparent reason and is restless, mother immediately suspects on the effect of the evil eye, especially if this happens after departure of guests from the house. In order to neutralize the effect of the evil eye mother pours some water into hers mouth but does not swallow the water and stands behind the door and looks into the angle between the door and the wall. While standing in that position she recites the prayer “Ikhlas” and then water from her mouth spills into her right hand and throw it over her left shoulder and with her wet right hand wipes the child's face.
Once the power of evil eye has been neutralized, she ties around his hand red or silky thread for his "health”. 

Your courteous Bosniak or Iranian will not take a compliment without "Mashallah;" the Italians will not receive one without "Grazio a Dio!“ while the Irishman almost always says „Glory be to God“, and the English peasant „Lord be wi' us“, the idea in every instance being to avert the danger of fascination by these acknowledgments of a higher power.

Jul 15, 2012

Bosnian love songs

I wonder neither at the dark nor clouds,
Nor at the North Wind that stirs up the sea,
But at my lover who is angry with my.
Yet were I once to grow angry with him,
Not all Bosnia could reconcile us.
Neither Bosnia nor Herzegowina."

Ne čudim se mraku ni oblaku,
 Ni sjeveru, koji morem muti,
No mom dragom što se na me ljuti;
Ako li se na njega razljutim,
Sva nas Bosna pomiriti neće,
Niti Bosna ni Hercegovina.

The lovely Hayriya was taken ill
Beneath a lilac and a walnut tree.

All the young lords visited in turn,
But especially three young gallants came.

The first one said:  What, Hayra, are you ill?
The second said: „I'd be ill in your place!“
The third said: I'd even die for you!“

To this the lovely maiden did reply:
Neither suffer sickness nor die for my,
Rather take off your shirt and lie beside me!“

Bol boluje lijepa Hajrija
Pod orahom i pod jorgovanom.

Nju oblaze sva gospoda redom,
Al' najviše tri dilbera mlada.

Prvi veli: „Boluješ li, Hajro?“
Drugi veli: „Bolov'o bi' za te!“
Treći veli: „I umro bi' za te!“

Progovara lijepa djevojka:
„Niti boluj, nit' umiri za me;
Skini fermen, pa lezi uza me!“.

My dearest waited for me,
Out by the garden gate.
She waited and she waited,
And waiting fell asleep.
She waited and she waited
And waiting fell asleep.

And I, fool, had forgotten
I'd promised my beloved,
Promised her I would come,
Come before midnight,-
Promised her I would come,
Come before midnight.

Čekala me moja draga,
Na kapidžik išetala.
Čekala me, čekala,
Čekajući zaspala,
Čekala me, čekala,
Čekajući zaspala!

A ja, bolan, nisam znao,
Da sam dragoj obećao,
Obećao da ću doći,
Da ću doći do ponoći,-
Obećao da ću doći,
Da ću doći do ponoći.

Jul 13, 2012

Buyrum! Welcome to Bosnia!

Bosnian traditional cuisine has certain distinguishing characteristics. Dishes are not made with a roux; strong and hot spices are seldom used; spices are used in small amounts to enhance, not hide the taste of the meats and vegetables; food are lighter because most are cooked in their own juices rather than in fat; and a wide variety od sweets are consumed. Cookery styles do change, and contemporary cooking styles may modify these generalizations.
The primary home cook is the female head of the household, whose tasks are to plan and prepare the meals. This is especially the case in traditional regions of Bosnia and Herzegovina; however, in contemporary urban settings, more and more men can be found in the kitchen.
Hearth cooking was still viable into the 1970s in isolated mountain villages of western Bosnia. In one example, the stone hearth was approximately 10 feet long and 4 feet wide and stood about a foot high off the ground. It was backed by a stone wall; the smoke from the hearth escaped through the roof of the passageway thad divided the lived-in rooms and the storerooms. Wood was stacked at the end of the hearth; a fire burned in the center of it. When they had burned down, the glowing embers were swept aside, the hearth was carefully cleaned, and the ready bread dough was placed on the hot hearth and covered with a sač (a convex metal cover similar in function to a Dutch oven), which was then covered with the glowing embers from the fire. Pita and other foods were also baked under the sač. Foods such as eggs (čimbur) and soup (čorba) were cooked in pans over low fires. For long slow-cooking  foods, a pot was hung from a heavy chain over the hearth.
Eventually, villagers acquired wood-burning sheet metal stoves with ovens. The sač is still available in Bosnia, and sometimes in Bosnian markets in the United States, though it is now seldom if ever used in daily cooking. (see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSIzuAq2l8M)
In contemporary Bosnia and Herzegovina, both rural and urban stoves are electric, burn wood or coal, or use bottled gas. Grills and barbecues are popular, and Bosniaks can follow their passion for grilled meats. Spit-roasted sheep is everyone's favorite, and meat, sausage, and cheese are smoked in backyard smokehouses to provide popular accompaniments to beer.
A popular, cheap fast food you'll see everywhere is burek (BOO-rekh) – phyllo dough filled with meat or cheese, and bosnian pies (Pita) with spinach, or apples. The more familiar baklava is phyllo dough layered with honey and nuts.

Grilled meats are a staple of Bosnian cuisine. You'll most often see Ćevapčići (cheh-VAPH-chee-chee), or simply ćevap (cheh-VAHP) – minced meat formed into a sausage-link shape, then grilled.

Ražnjići (RAZH-nyee-chee) is small pieces of steak on a skewer, like a shish kebab.
Pljeskavica (plehs-kah-VEET-suh) is similar to ćevapčići, except the meat is in the form of a hamburger-like patty.

While Bosnia cuisine favors meat, a nice veggie complement is đuveč or đuveđ (JOO-vedge) – a spicy mix of stewed vegetables, flavored with tomatoes and peppers.

And you just can't eat any of this stuff without the ever-present condiment ajvar (EYE-var). Made from red bell pepper and eggplant, ajvar is like ketchup with a kick. Many Americans pack a jar of this distinctive sauce to remember the flavors of the Bosnia when they get back home. (You may even be able to find it at specialty grocery stores in the US-look for „eggplant/red pepper spread“) Particularly in Bosnia, another side-dish you'll see is the soft, spreadable and tasty cheese called kajmak.

Lepinje is a pita – like grilled bread, which is often wrapped around ćevapčići or pljeskavica to make a sandwich.

Ajvar, kajmak, lepinje, and diced raw onions are perfect complement to a „mixed grill“ of various meats on a big platter – the quintessence of Bosnia cuisine on one plate.

Sarajevsko Pivo, brewed in the capital, is the favored brand of beer.

Recipe for Bosanski Lonac:

Bosnian Meat Pot

Yield: serves 6 1 cup shredded cabbage 3 potatoes, peeled and cubed salt and pepper to taste
2 ½ pounds beef, or lamb, or any combination, cubed
8 cloves garlic, peeled 1 cup water 
2 cups canned stewed tomatoes, divided
1 cup pearl onions, peeled, fresh, frozen, or canned (drained)
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
3 sprigs fresh parsley, finely chopped or 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes.

Equipment: Greased medium heat-proof carthenware casserole with cover or Dutch oven, heavy-duty aluminum foil, oven mitts, trivet. Preheat oven to 325° F.
1 . Spread shredded cabbage over bottom of greased medium heatproof earthenware casserole or Dutch oven. Layer potatoes over cabbage, and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Add meat, whole garlic cloves, water, and 1 cup stewed tomatoes. Add onions, carrots, celery, and remaining 1 cup stewed tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and parsley flakes. Cover and seal with heavy-duty foil so no steam can escape while cooking.
2. Cook in oven for 3 ½  hours. Using oven mitts, carefully remove from the oven. Allow to rest 15 minutes before serving. To serve, take the pot to the table and place on a trivet. Using oven mitts, remove foil and lid in front of the guests, releasing all the appetizing aromas.

Jul 11, 2012

Srebrenica genocide Jul 11.

Bosniaks as a people traversed the bloody path of distress, concentration camps, shelling, hunger, they died from bullets, grenades, torture, blows, rapes, they were thrown in fires, drowned in rivers, buried alive. Srebrenica represents only the pinnacle of that path paved with blood and suffering. Srebrenica is the horrifying truth for the entire world to see. Srebrenica continued the tragic story of Nazi concentration camps where the helpless gaze of the victims testifies about the brutality that is done by the monsters and psychopaths. Srebrenica represents all nightmares about people without a soul and heart, about the dratted people that kill and torture innocent people out of sheer pleasure. Whosoever forgets Srebrenica will become a victim of the same hangmen.

Every year on July 11th, Srebrenica receives new victims of the 1995 genocide. Every year more painful cries are heard by the mothers who lost their children, bloody memories are evoked...The graves keep piling up, they keep multiplying in unrevised rows. They killed them for the simple fact that they weren't Serbs. They killed boys, men, women, old people. Without mercy, just because they weren't Serbs. Just because they weren't members of the superior race, sounds familiar?
Did you know that Bosnia and Herzegovina is the only country in the world that has two names?! The reason for it is to stop its national unity in every possible way. While it was a part of Yugoslavia, which was a communist and therefore atheistic country, there were the Muslims as a nation in BIH?! Even though we all know that religious affiliation cannot be regarded as an affiliation towards nationality, that exact thing happened to the Bosniaks in the hegemonic Yugoslavia in which the Serbs did their best do degrade Bosnia and the Bosnian people. At one time they called the Bosniaks "Muslim Serbs"???? We will understand this attitude if we comprehend the fact that Serbia had territorial ambitions for the neighbouring countries, especially Bosnia and Herzegovina. The attempt of the Bosnians to assimilate failed despite the fact that they were forbidden to proclaim their nationality, this ended in the biggest war crime since WWII. Bosnia happened, Srebrenica happened!
With the attack on Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia started to openly implement its plan to annex the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, this was also evident when the Serbian politicians called it "The Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina" during the start of the aggression in 1992. Even though the plan failed despite the horrible suffering of the Bosnian people, mass raping of children and genocide, the dream of Great Serbia hasn't been completely destroyed, it has been reshaped into something that the Dayton agreement calls "Republika Srpska" or "Republic of Serbia". This genocidal creation which represents a brake for any advancement of the modern Bosnia and Herzegovina towards the EU or NATO is one of the biggest world political mistakes of the 20th century. A catastrophic mistake which the European leaders will have to correct if they want to have a stabile region.
During the 90's of the last decade, Europe showed is powerlessness in the face of the Serbian Nazism as it did in the face of the German Nazism during WWII. The result of such passive attitude was the creation of new concentration camps in which the Serbian Nazis undertook ethnic cleansing and genocide over the Bosnian people. Europe got a new Auschwitz-Birkenau in Srebrenica, Višegrad, Foča, Sarajevo...During the period of 1992 to 1995 the Bosnians survived an attempt of total obliteration that the war criminal Radovan Karadžić announced at the beginning of the aggression with the words: "one nation in Bosnia will completely disappear!".  
An attempt of the European political elite to calm their consciousness in front of the whole world is their attempt to call the aggression of Serbia and Montenegro on Bosnia a civil war in Bosnia?! However the real truth is that there was never a civil war in Bosnia, a well planned out aggression by Serbia and Montenegro through the army force JNA took place. That army changed its name during the beginning of the war and it became the army of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina to conceal itself and under the pretence of protecting the Serbian people from the unarmed Bosnian people it committed such horrific crimes that were last seen in the Nazi camps.

Genocide against Bosniaks in Visegrad 1992-95