Current events, translated

Here are links to all posts in my blog‘s “Aktuelnost” category, which I am using to designate blog posts devoted to current events and current writing out of Bosnia, Croatia, Montenegro, and Serbia, specifically news articles, personal essays, Facebook status posts, blog entries, and even tweets.

Once in a while I read something that I think must be translated and shared more widely. Sometimes I can interest a publication in a particular text, but sometimes I feel that time is of the essence, and so I post my translation here and hope readers will share.

All translations appear here with the permission of the authors and, if appropriate, the original publication venue (I don’t ask Facebook if I can share a post, but I do check with and credit the original publication).

The featured photo, above, is detail of a view from the top of Srpska Mahala, an old street leading down to the business district and central market in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina. From here you can see the typical clay tile roofs, the minaret of Kočevska Mosque, telephone poles, a microwave tower, a private satellite dish, a soccer stadium lighting tower, and a brick smokestack of the steel factory on the outskirts of the other side of town.


War is something that sneaks into your home one morning . . . (Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina)

War from a tween’s perspective

One day after the Facebook post that was read ’round the region, I saw another post about what war was like—this time from the perspective of a 12-year-old girl. In this piece we experience the days and weeks immediately preceding the siege, the down-to-the-wire relocation, and then the years of day-to-day survival in a city without electricity, central heating, communication, freedom of movement, access to food. . . . [I]t takes an extraordinarily strong person to go back ‘there’ and relive the experiences and select those events and details that can be put into words—and then to do just that.

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The Facebook post read ’round the region (Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina)

War for beginners

. . . Here was a series of images, fragments, memories, from someone who had lived through and fought in the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia as a young man, and who has no desire to be led into such an experience again. As a sign that he is not alone in his thinking, his status post received thousands of shares and reactions on Facebook and was picked up by major news outlets in the region in less than 24 hours. . . .

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Account of attack on lesbian activist, Dragoslava Barzut (Belgrade, Serbia)

“Art is an excellent training ground for practicing courage”

Dragoslava Barzut is an author and human rights activist. She and three friends were attacked in September 2015 in a Belgrade bar by men screaming, “Lesbians, lesbians!” And instead of receding into silence, she gave a press conference about it, and called on the police to apprehend the perpetrators and on the courts to prosecute them under Serbia’s hate crimes statute.

Read article here | Read the full interview in Words without Borders.

Anti-government protests in Zenica, February 2014 (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

The well-fed do not understand the starving

Citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina have been taking to the streets this past week to voice their frustration and disatisfaction with government corruption and incompetence. Small protests on Wednesday and Thursday in Tuzla gave way to demonstrations in the major towns on Friday—Tuzla, Sarajevo, Zenica, and Mostar. Many of these were marked with violence against government buildings as well as injuries to protesters and police.

The following article appeared on Zenicablog the next day, as workers and citizens came out to survey the damage and help clean up. After reading about the events on other news portals, which reported from a safe distance and repeated official statements under sensational headlines, I was struck by this first-hand account and honest self-reflection.

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Anti-government protests in Sarajevo and other towns in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina

How to learn social media

I just joined a a team of bloggers who are scanning local news reports as well as Twitter and web feeds of people involved in these protests and translating primary documents (lists of demands, notes of meetings) to post online in English.This was the first time I was asked to “contact us through Twitter and join our private Facebook group.” Huh? But it is easy to see the value of these platforms when you are disseminating breaking news and not (as the stereotype goes) what you had for breakfast.

So for anyone who wants to learn more about social media but is not sure where to start, my recommendation is: Join a revolution! Get involved in a worthy cause or project. You can learn the ropes and make friends while you try to influence people.

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