Sumeja Tulic https://www.opendemocracy.net/taxonomy/term/15037/all cached version 04/07/2018 17:37:38 en Bosnia and the universal theme of police brutality https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/sumeja-tulic/bosnia-and-universal-theme-of-police-brutality <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>In the Bosnian protests of the last months, the global scenario of police brutality has been re-enacted, with local specifics.&nbsp; And the violence of the police is itself a symptom of the failure of the current Bosnian political order.&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all instinctively grasp an idea of globalisation – the <em>individual global we,</em> who wear the same clothes, likes the same websites, and love and hate the same public figures. Yet, every now and then, we are surprised by our lack of individuality – at least I am disappointed by my own. One thinks she is living a particular life, with a particular scenery and a unique form of Weltschmerz – then, surprise, surprise! From Caracas to Kiev and further, comes the fist of global conventions, the waves of universal themes, dictating the everyday, causing problems and shaping solutions.</p> <p>Still, in small places, of which Sarajevo is an examplary case, people believe that in the heaven of the small they are secured from the most cruel aspects of the global – the absense of personal connections that are fading with each new block of buildings that are built, with each advancment of the smart technology that facilitates constant human interaction. For God's sake, Sarajevo is hardly expanding! And even if it does expand, the social distance between two people is one item of gossip away from social security numbers and family secrets revolving around the ancestor who was born with a pig's&nbsp;tail. &nbsp;</p> <p>This is why I’m never ready – even years into reading <a href="https://www.civilrightsdefenders.org/news/police-violence-against-demonstrators-in-bosnia-herzegovina-must-be-investigated/">reports</a> and professional concerns – to interview a minor who has been beaten and humiliated by a policeman in Sarajevo. It happens everywhere – in New York you might get frisked and shot at if you are wearing a hoodie and the wrong skin tone, but that is New York and we in Sarajevo are one big family, apparently.</p> <p>After the burning of the <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26086857">public building in Sarajevo,</a> around 38 boys and men were detained. Their account of the events following the hours of February 7 are set in detention units and are about fists, slaps, heavy boots and police bats shoved at defenseless bodies, handcuffed hands and heads leaning down.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/536137/Bosnia police CRD.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/536137/Bosnia police CRD.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="244" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span>Image courtesy of <em>Civil Rights Defenders</em></p> <p>A demonstrator, a wrestler, enters the room to tell his story.&nbsp; He walks with difficulty and even a week after the events he looks angry. He starts his story like any of Ivo <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/specials/kosovo/article24.html">Andric’s</a> characters – by softly hinting at the metaphysical in the very physical. “It all started when they threw us in the river,” he said. On February 7th, the police had employed a local lyrical metaphor of one women’s’ suicidal attempts, by throwing people we are supposed to guard into the river.</p> <p>The river in question is a dull and smelly one, which you notice only when needing to find the nearest bridge to cross it. Demonstrators, some pensioners and women, were standing next to a wall dividing the pedestrian part of the street from a steep hill that ended in that smelly dull river. After the wrestler regained consciousness at the riverbank, he took a bat wrapped in the senseless hands of an unconscious man lying next to him. He took the bat and climbed up to find the policeman that pushed him down.</p> <p>The South Slavs that left agriculture and went to live in cities and work in factories have an illustrative metaphor used to describe the instance when one is being taken advantage of. They say <em>You are being fooled like an old and simple aunt from the countryside whose urban relatives take money from a bundle she uses as a wallet. </em>Every citizen of Bosnia is a prototype of this aunt from the countryside, but some of us are more so. The ‘more so’ among us – desperate, neglected, hungry and even homeless – were most of the 38 who were detained. </p><p>Beating them, warning them to lie to the doctor and say that they fell down &nbsp;the stairs, ordering their parents to sit on their knees and keep their hands above their heads while waiting in the police stations<em> –</em> all of this is part of the global scenario of police brutality that the many ‘police trainings’ and ‘reformatory processes’ facilitated by the international community in its many incarnations have not prevented.&nbsp; It plays out with the same repeated acts in spite of local differences.</p> <p>The silver lining of all this is that the marks left by our own – our men, our people – are finally visible. So far, in modern Bosnian history, it has been the other – the aggressor, the enemy, the supposed one and the real one – that has scared us. Finally, we see the master political scam that runs through the veins of the <a href="http://balkanist.net/an-open-letter-to-the-international-community-in-the-bosnia-and-herzegovina/">ethno-nationalist set up</a>. Boundless, unaccountable, criminal power is just that. The genealogy of who’s holding the bat and smashing your teeth doesn’t matter.&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/sumeja-tulic/breaking-up-with-lame-protests-in-bosnia">Breaking up with lame: protests in Bosnia</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/stef-jansen/bosnia-and-herzegovina-putting-social-justice-on-agenda">Bosnia and Herzegovina: putting social justice on the agenda</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/heather-mcrobie/bosnias-error-of-othering">Bosnia&#039;s error of othering</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/heather-mcrobie-sadzida-tulic/ratko-mladi%C4%87s-arrest-start-but-let-it-not-obscure-how-much-more-is-nee">Ratko Mladić&#039;s arrest: a start, but let it not obscure how much more is needed for justice</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/valerie-hopkins/we-are-hungry-in-three-languages-citizens-protest-in-bosnia">&quot;We are hungry in three languages&quot;: citizens protest in Bosnia</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/5050/heather-mcrobie-slavenka-drakulic/slavenka-drakuli%C4%87-violence-memory-and-nation">Slavenka Drakulić: violence, memory, and the nation</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/madeleine-rees/syria-women-peacework-and-lesson-from-bosnia">Syria: women, peacework, and the lesson from Bosnia</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/5050/cynthia-cockburn/sexual-violence-in-bosnia-how-war-lives-on-in-everyday-life">Sexual violence in Bosnia: how war lives on in everyday life</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/cynthia-cockburn/longing-for-%E2%80%98normality%E2%80%99-women%E2%80%99s-experience-of-post-war-bosnia-herzegovina-0">Longing for ‘normality’: women’s experience of post-war Bosnia-Herzegovina</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> 50.50 50.50 Can Europe make it? human rights europe Bosnian Citizens Protest 50.50 Women, Peace & Security Continuum of Violence From War to Peace 50.50 Editor's Pick 50.50 newsletter Sumeja Tulic Spotlight on Bosnia Mon, 03 Mar 2014 09:27:33 +0000 Sumeja Tulic 79833 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Sumeja Tulic https://www.opendemocracy.net/content/sumeja-tulic <div class="field field-au-term"> <div class="field-label">Author:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Sumeja Tulic </div> </div> </div> <p>Sumeja Tulic is a writer and photographer based in Sarajevo.&nbsp; She was involved in founding <a href="http://kriterion.ba/">Kriterion Sarajevo</a>, Bosnia’s first collectively-run art house cinema. &nbsp;You can read more of her writing <a href="http://thisrecording.com/today/tag/sumeja-tulic">here</a>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sumeja Tulic Wed, 12 Feb 2014 10:04:31 +0000 Sumeja Tulic 79277 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Breaking up with lame: protests in Bosnia https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/sumeja-tulic/breaking-up-with-lame-protests-in-bosnia <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p class="MsoNormal">On the fifth day of ongoing demonstrations in Sarajevo, a routine is establishing itself and there is a feeling of something new in the landscape of Dayton-constitution Bosnian purgatory – citizens are breaking up with their fears.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p>On the fifth day into the ongoing <a href="http://kosovotwopointzero.com/en/article/1005/nothing-in-bosnia-is-ever-announced">demonstrations</a> in Sarajevo a routine has established itself – at noon, citizens meet around the tram station across from the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the shouting starts (<em>Resignations! Thieves!</em>). Someone steps on the street, everybody follows. The street is blocked. Some time passes, more people gather, then everybody starts walking towards the Government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. After spending some time there, everybody is back on to the main crossroad overlooking the burned down buildings of the municipality, Canton and the Presidency.</p> <p>The hours there are filled with conversations between people who have just met, often from different walks of life and different socio-economic <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/feb/10/anger-bosnia-ethnic-lies-protesters-bosnian-serb-croat">backgrounds</a>.&nbsp; A glare of surprise, and silent shock over how similar their outlooks on the situation are and, how much, actually, the other is lovable and “ok” takes place. Past dawn everybody is still warning each other’s of the infiltrators paid by this or that political party.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/536137/sarajevo protest cigarette_0.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/536137/sarajevo protest cigarette_0.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="244" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span><em>Photograph courtesy of the author.</em></p> <p>Most often, suspicion falls on the political party of the rich Minister of Security who did nothing to prevent the <a href="http://www.euronews.com/2014/02/07/bosnia-rocked-by-third-day-of-anti-government-unrest/">burning of the state institutions</a> last Friday. Other conversations are more practical – <em>Should we have a band playing here?</em> <em>Why not have sit up demonstrations? This eight hour standing business is tiring! </em>That sight is deserted after seven or eight o’clock in the evening, when everybody is leaving with by-then cold coffee in a plastic cup and an empty and greasy wrapper from the bakery.</p> <p>While all this is happening on the crossroad, others are carrying on with their regular activities – taking long walks along Tito’s street, drinking coffee in one of city’s shopping malls. It is not clear why they are not demonstrating, but on the fifth day into the demonstrations, this sight which renders the ‘every day Sarajevo’ is almost comforting. As if it promises that down the road from the crossroad life will be good, almost perfect.</p> <p>However, this passive phenomenon is not a novelty. Those who remember the days before the <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2012/04/20-years-since-the-bosnian-war/100278/">outbreak</a> of 1992-95 war, could go on and on about how they sat and had lunches in sunny Sarajevo while Eastern Bosnia was being taken by the military and paramilitary forces of Serb nationalists. Even with the tanks pointed at them from the hills above the city, life felt too warm and unclouded to actually worry and take precautionary measures.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/536137/ostavke bando.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/536137/ostavke bando.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="244" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span><em>Photograph courtesy of the author.</em></p> <p>Going home from the demonstrations is the hardest. Firstly, there one realises how tiring is “this protesting business”, and secondly, there is the TV where what just happened on the street looks different.&nbsp; It is too painful to name all the adjectives and prospects that the media coverage attributes to the demonstrations. The imagery is subtracted from, among other interviews, interviews with the political establishment. These interviews are collages of statements offending common sense. </p><p>A winning statement among many of this sort was that the demonstrators were ‘energised’ by 12 grams of narcotics. One wonders how someone – if not for reason’s sake, then out of superstition – can use the same arguments once used by Qaddafi, a crazy dictator who died suffocating in his own blood. But, the multitude of some humans’ ability and desire to underestimate, insult and subjugate simply never fails to impress.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/536137/sarajevo protest.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/536137/sarajevo protest.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="244" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span><em>Photograph courtesy of the author</em></p> <p>Before sleep comes the masochism of reading the statuses of Facebook friends who are still, days after, fixated on what things have burned out and how savage was it. To be honest, that is a fading trend. The new opposition to the demonstrations, how ever I try to elevate its essence here, boils down to a well known fear of people from Sarajevo – to be part of something that is <em>ofirno</em> (lame). The social perception of <em>ofirno </em>or ‘lame’ is that it is worse than death. Whilst you are lame or part of something lame, people are judging you, most probably laughing at you, days and nights, and you are a live witness to it all. Here, I should say that writing like this is an exemplary of what is <em>ofirno</em>.</p> <p>In general, immunity towards fears generated in smaller places is something banal, looks funny in sitcoms, at times is embarrassing or annoying, but like quitting inhaling and exhaling less than 1 gram of tobacco wrapped in paper, it is really hard. What people do in Sarajevo each day looks easy but it is really hard. Every day they are breaking up with fears of the other; fear of being incapable, weak and insignificant; fears of all that being pointless; fear of being lame.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/536137/1920029_251057701731773_628932091_n.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/536137/1920029_251057701731773_628932091_n.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="460" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span><em>Photograph courtesy of the author.</em></p> <p>Due to its entertaining qualities, the wisdom of&nbsp;<em>Back to the Future</em> films – even the wisdom contained in its well-picked title – is often overlooked. Simply, sometimes one needs to go back and forth in time to establish a just equilibrium in the present, and secure a bearable one in the future. Today in the afternoon citizens of Sarajevo will time-travel to the practices of ancient Greece – after <a href="http://bhprotestfiles.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/larisa-kurtovicthe-spectre-of-a-lost-future/">twenty years </a>of no meaningful ‘citizenship’ under the Dayton constitution, a citizens' plenum will convene in the heart of the student campus. Unlike in ancient Greece, however – to this plenum, women are invited.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/madeleine-rees/syria-women-peacework-and-lesson-from-bosnia">Syria: women, peacework, and the lesson from Bosnia</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/peter-lippman/bosnia-blood-honey-and-wars-legacy">Bosnia: blood, honey, and war&#039;s legacy </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heather-mcrobie-sadzida-tulic/ratko-mladi%C4%87s-arrest-start-but-let-it-not-obscure-how-much-more-is-nee">Ratko Mladić&#039;s arrest: a start, but let it not obscure how much more is needed for justice</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/5050/heather-mcrobie/bosnias-error-of-othering">Bosnia&#039;s error of othering</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/cynthia-cockburn/longing-for-%E2%80%98normality%E2%80%99-women%E2%80%99s-experience-of-post-war-bosnia-herzegovina-0">Longing for ‘normality’: women’s experience of post-war Bosnia-Herzegovina</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/bosnia_civil_society_paths_from_srebrenica">Bosnia&#039;s civil society: paths from Srebrenica</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/wanda-troszczynska-van-genderen/bosnia-citizenship-and-detention">Bosnia: citizenship and detention </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/bedrudin-brljavac/bosnia-between-ethnic-nationalism-and-europeanization">Bosnia between ethnic-nationalism and Europeanization</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> 50.50 50.50 Can Europe make it? reimagining yugoslavia politics of protest Bosnian Citizens Protest 50.50 Women, Peace & Security From War to Peace 50.50 Editor's Pick women's human rights women and power gender justice 50.50 newsletter Sumeja Tulic Spotlight on Bosnia Wed, 12 Feb 2014 09:54:33 +0000 Sumeja Tulic 79276 at https://www.opendemocracy.net