Category: Journal

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Adichie’s Defense of Feminism

The word feminist has been ladened with a load of negative baggage: you hate men, you burn bras, you hate your own tradition, you think women are better than men, you don’t wear make-up, you don’t shave, you’re always angry, you don’t have a sense of humour, you don’t use deodorant, etc. In her 2012 TEDx talk and later on, in her essay titled We Should All Be Feminists, award-winning writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie seeks to rectify the injustice done to the definition of feminism and show how necessary and significant it is today.

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Love Thy Mother: Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman’s mild horror novella Coraline (2002) is a book I keep returning to whenever I find myself missing my own mother, and that is definitely the case today, during the Mother’s Day weekend. The story of Coraline is one where numerous contemporary parents and children could recognize themselves: the desperately bored little girl looking for adventure and companionship,  loads of time on her hands, the constantly busy, mildly disinterested parents, the geriatric part-senile neighbours, the appeal of the unknown. The straightforward third-person-narrative limited to Coraline’s perspective and matter-of-fact retelling of the events and conclusions drawn by the child-protagonist provides for a riveting story with a powerful message. As a masterful stylist that he is, Gaiman effortlessly pulls his readers into the story transporting them among the reality, the dream, and the dreamlike reality of Coraline’s world while leaving enough of murky space in-between to allow them to either embrace the button-eyed fantasy or hold tightly onto the clear-cut reality.

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Sarajevo: What to Read on Your Way Home

Every day, one way or another, I end up being asked about my identity, which I need to express in the way that will be the clearest to my interlocutor. I end up bringing up my national, professional, private, or whatever identity I am required to present at the time. However, the more I think about it (and I think a lot, about everything) I realise that there is one underlying identity that has given shape to all my other assumed ones. I do not identify myself with my homeland, or my family, or the schools and universities I’ve attended, or the countries I’ve visited, or anything or anybody else for that matter. I identify myself only and primarily with the city that I was born in, that I grew up in, and that I eventually had to leave – with Sarajevo. I grew up in the Old Town, in the valley, surrounded by hills, mountains, rivers, and all the relics of past conquests, wars, and regimes, which I have embraced and carried around with me wherever I have gone.

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Fireworks

‘Come on, get up! Wake up, come on, it’s started again! Move! Let’s go!’

The blast shook the house. Mother pulled me out of the bed and down the stairs, clutching my sister in her arms.

Another blast.

We stopped in the stairwell. There was a short stretch of terrace we needed to run through in order to reach the cellar door. We waited, then started running between two blasts. She held me tightly behind her and shoved me inside the cellar, where another stairwell led us deep under ground, into the dark. We were already safe when we heard the third blast. My aunt appeared at the bottom of the stairs. The candle in her hand cast a shivering light entrenched in shadows. We went down. I was still dazed from sleep. Wasn’t this supposed to be over? How will I go to school tomorrow? Why did they start again? I could not ask anything out loud. Instead, I looked at the bleak expressions of the adults around me standing in a half circle around a couple of burning candles. My great-uncle met my gaze and read the fear.