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Monday, August 11, 2008

The Snake Day

There is one route, especially dear to me, through a canyon, the road is leading by a beautiful river. The river’s name is Una. I am driving there often, mostly without any purpose except to clear my mind. Sometimes I am accompanied by friends, but mostly alone. Me and my 17 years old Renault, in a very good condition though. That route is my Prague. Let me try to explain. I remember one Spanish movie where a guy, playing the main role in the film, said that he is going to Prague. Just like that. He went there just because he wanted to. He had hit the road just for the very sake of it. He said that he liked Prague during the weekends, and mystery that every great city contains.

Being a Bosnian citizen and having only the passport of the mentioned country I am faced with the great deal of limitations. Because of atrocities in the nineties that plagued all the area of the Southeastern Europe, and much other stuff that come along, my options when it comes to driving to another country are very restricted. Without visa I could go only to some exotic countries, like St. Vincent or St. Lucia, in Caribbean, actually I need a ship and a plane for that, not the car.

As a guy who is addicted to driving, I can only dream about hitting the road to Prague and saying Hello to the Kafka’s statue. I am imprisoned between the borders of my own, small country.

I got reminded about all this today when I met a group of very young, wonderful French people, two guys and a girl. They were hitchhiking by the road, and I took them for a drive for about next 10 miles. They were heading to Sarajevo; very nice, young people; we talked in English during our brief encounter. I was talking English trying to produce a weird French accent, and they were laughing at that. In a short time span required to get ahead of about 10 miles by car, moving approximately at the speed of 70 km per hour – during that brief time, we touched so many topics in our conversation, mainly just joking and having fun. The ice was broken the very moment I mentioned Gaston (French comics icon).

I always wanted to do the things that they were doing, either to zigzag Europe by car, or by hitchhiking. It seems that I will not have the pleasure to do that yet, at least not in my younger days.

I told them that for some reason I liked their new president Sarkozy. They were laughing. They said that nobody in France likes that guy, or almost nobody. I mentioned their president by chance, while making jokes about pot smoking business because one of them previously asked me - do the people in Bosnia smoke a lot of pot. I answered: “O yeah, mucho my friend, similar chimneys”. (Although I did not smoke pot for years.)

Before I met them, I was slowly but surely going down with my mood, for some reasons. They really made my day with their pot jokes and talkativeness. I drop them after about 10 miles of drive, they were waving and saying goodbye to me. We crossed paths today and it will not happen any more. After we parted, my mood started decreasing again rapidly. I have remembered another moment from this strange day – the moment I saw a snake, by the path, real, long and scary. I remembered her sound while she was climbing up the rock. I haven't seen a snake for years; it is very rare to stumble upon them around here, although everybody knows that they exist. Just as a nightmare can sometimes tell us that something is really wrong with the reality, this scary snake reminded me that something is very wrong with me, that the mood that I am getting into today, is not really the right course for my boat. I remembered that after saying goodbye to tree wonderful people, cheerful and pleasant, all full of life’s joy and adventure. And then I remembered how somebody, maybe me, mentioned Sarkozy, while we were making jokes with each other. And than another French president come on my mind, the one whose very mention is impossible to be related with laughing, at least in my case, the one who was not simpatico at all – the notorious Mitterrand, one of the main people responsible for genocides in Rwanda and Bosnia. One of the main supporters of the genocidal and fascist politics that had plagued the dawn of the 21th century. I remembered his visit to Sarajevo and Pale during the war, his meetings with Karadzic. I started to feel sick. And then I got reminded of some weird French postmodernist thinkers, the ones living and scribbling just after the world war II, whose schizophrenic thoughts just tried to justify the shameful collaboration with the Nazis, using word-play and obscure and hermetic theories.

And then I turned the radio on, just trying to stop this kind of thoughts, because I was really heading into the abyss.




Fantastic post J.C., one of my favourites from you. It's amazing how every little thing in life helps weave meaning and understanding. I sense your thoughts are really alive and deep:)

J. C.said...

Hi Bobbz, thanks a lot. Being in a bad mood can sometimes be used for writing something like this. I am glad you liked it.

Zee Harrisonsaid...

I love the way you write. English not being your first language actually adds something to your writing - you seem real and honest and open. I particularly liked the way you gave some political background, from an insider's point of view, one hat the media don't care to share.
The mood that was with you before and after was brilliantly conveyed. I really enjoy reading writers who make it seem as if they just opened their minds and the words just spilled out onto the screen. You did that.
Excellent - and very sad.

J. C.said...

Hi Zee, thanks for reading. There is one thing I'd learned as an insider - the political indifference and passivity is really bad. Most of the bad things that we have today can be associated with politics - with the wrong politics. Partly also, because people are not interested in it, and they think that things are going to sort out by itself, without their active participation.

Sarah Francosaid...

Hi, I came to this blog through your comment on Invisible Sights.

I am sorry to know about your son's heart condition, I hope medicine will find a solution to that, everything is evolving in such a pace...

I have visited your country twice and I will return many times. I hope to see your paintings on site, I liked their photos, especially the one called 'red', but I usually avoid to see paintings on photos or books because it takes away the surprise effect of seeing them as they really are.

I also regret the situation with visas, that is preventing my friends from the region to visit me in Portugal where I live...there are special procedures for artists to travel to the schengen zone, as long as you have an invitation from a cultural institution. It is then essential to build informal networks that can make some doors open, and the internet is the best available tool for that (not easy, though, I am aware of it).

best regards,
sarah franco, Lisbon, Portugal

ps: I will take some time to read the other posts, I liked this one very much.

Sarah Francosaid...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
J. C.said...

Hi Sarah, thanks for visiting and for the nice words about my paintings. On my blog I am focusing mainly bad things that I am experiencing, but on the other hand Bosnia is still a beautiful country and blessed with many other nice things. Thanks and hope to see you around again.

Srebrenica Genocide Blogsaid...

Hi J.C. I agree with you. Despite all bad stuff that happened to Bosnia and despite all suffering people went through - it's still a place that we keep in our hearts and in our minds.

J. C.said...

Hello to the author of Srebrenica Genocide Blog - it is a great blog. For anybody wanting to research more about the biggest atrocity done on European soil after the word war II - your blog is a tremendous resource. I see that you are providing a lot of insight and information on your blog. Speaking of the other side of Bosnia, the beautiful one I must mention that I had a chance to visit Srebrenica in 2002 and I had visited also Crni Guber and Ochni Guber, and I was amazed.


J.C., you are very lucky to have seen a snake in the wild, going about its business without troubling anyone. I've only once had that privilege. Living in Bosnia it must be hard to escape sad memories but don't forget what a beautiful and interesting country you have to travel through. Thanks for reminding me of happy times hitchhiking in the past. Best wishes for your son.


prima o poi arriva Fiamma Veneta... intanto vi saluto , ciao

Sarah Francosaid...

yes, I agree with you.

i tell everybody that to visit Bosnia as tourists, we need to overcome the image of tragedy.

that is a burden too heavy to carry, the stigmatization, people asking if it's dangerous...

I hate the 'tourism of dirgrace' there is morbid voyeurism in it. I will always fight that.

and in fact I felt very confortable in Sarajevo, I remember speaking to a person from there and saying that despite all the signs of the war that are still present, we don't think it's a city-victim anymore. it is a nice city worth visiting simply because it is beautiful and full of live, as I wrote in this post

about your blog tackling sad issues, there is a music that says:

"it is better to be joyful than to be sad, joy is the best thing in life, but to make a beautiful 'samba' we need a bit of sadness, without which you can't have a good samba'

this was written by the great brazilian poet vinicius de moraes.

this a free translation... but that's the idea. we cannot aspire to happyness if we refute to confront sadness. we just cannot pretend that sad things exist.

so, keep up disturbing us with your sad things, we need to be disturbed as much as we like to be reassured.

best regards

J. C.said...

Sarah, thanks for the nice comment. Bosnia is still unexplored and unused when it comes to tourism, and that's something not ultimately bad. I had a chance to see many great touristic destinations because I was working for 4 years for a big cruise line company. Bosnia has so much to offer, I have realized. But it is going to take time.

J. C.said...

Owen, you are very welcome, and thanks for having and maintaining such a great blog out there. I particular like those few sentences in your header when you say that Bosnia's struggle is America's struggle as well. Your blog is such a great on-line place, and thanks for that.

Michelle Gartnersaid...

I hope you are doing well and your son... I see you haven't posted much lately.

Ahh French potheads who would of thought, I think in my mind that they (the French) are all strung out on really good wine. I love wine- it's my weakness, but I don't drink hardly often enough. Like maybe 3 or 4 times a year- too much to do I suppose.

I don't even want to think about snakes...

J. C.said...

Hi Michelle, thanks for your comment, I love French but what I didn't like was their politics ran by Mitterrand in nineties.

Michelle Gartnersaid...

It's interesting that you have your fingers on the pulse of the politics in the countries around you. I think that is a European trait. Most Americans don't care about World Politics and most American leaders just want to kick ass and assimilate everyone to our standard. I realize this is a very very broad generalization, but with Bush in office, it makes us look crazy and domineering. I don't do politics or religion on the internet- so don't expect me to defend my statement if some one comments that I am a crack pot. I prefer to talk politics in person. :o)

J. C.said...

Hi Michelle, that's very interesting comment. I would love to meet you in person and discuss about it. In my country I think one of the biggest issues is that people are not generally interested in politics, they are disappointed very much about it, and very passive when it comes to voting and participating, and they think there is noting they could change. I believe that's worse than anything else.


Hello J.C., thanks for the greeting. However I think I need to clear up a misunderstanding - it's Kirk's blog, he's the person who deserves the plaudits, I just arrived here via your comment there.

J. C.said...

Hi Owen, sorry for misunderstanding, Kirk has a wonderful blog there, that's for sure.

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