Today I read over at Radio Sarajevo that the Faculty of Philosophy in Sarajevo has found all three 'dialects' of Bosnia - Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian - derive from one single dialect. I tweeted this after I read it out of amazement and irony, more than anything else . Everyone (who has any interest in linguistics and in Bosnia) knows that this is nothing new. There is a language; it is called Serbo-Croatian and everyone in the ex-Yugoslavia, including Bosnia speaks it.
At the end of the day I was reviewing my Twitter feed and randomly ended up at East Journal, an Italian online forum for Politics and Culture. Which is when I found yet again a reference in video form to this line of discussion. This kind of talk makes me angry.
The docu/video I saw is good. It's called 'Babel' and is about 25 minutes long. It talks about this new/old phenomena of exclusion based on linguistics which has been used since the war to exclude and belittle some part of the population. Today, it seems like it is working. The film elucidates the absurdity of indulging such politics in a already ruined country that can not afford, in any case, to take any more division, on any level. (my words)
I guess the subject was a sort of mini trend today and naturally, I find it disturbing and heartbreaking.
In an indulgent moment I wondered if I lived there (which I do not and will not in the future) where would I need to send my daughter to school? She would be segregated no doubt, but on what basis. Or rather, on what basis that would make sense?
She is half Catholic, half Muslim.
She is half Bosnian Croat, half Bosniak
She is American Bosnian
She is Bosnian American
What (!) is she?
If we lived in 'Croatian Bosnia' (and where is that exactly?) and she learned a Croatian Bosnian dialect would she be allowed to go to 'Croatian' school even though one of her parents is categorized by census as Muslim?
How would we seriously work it out? Is she to be cut in half?
I would like to see politicians and grassroots activism move on getting people enough food to eat, some sort of pensions, health care especially for the young & the elders. How about mental health care for those 20 years later still shivering from the trauma? What about figuring how to give work to all those able bodied humans who want to work? Oh and justice...
No. There is no room for that. What is important is dialects and division.
I hear Tea Turalija, who to my knowledge is a very bright and ambitious woman from predominantly Catholic Kupres, says to the camera '..here everything matters..' as she bemoans generations of maltreatment through linguicide. Of course everything matters especially if there is no forgetting every single thing ever done in the history of history. Ever.
Which naturally leads to no forgiving. A tit for a tat. Ancient tribal creed. Which logically leads to hate, division..insomma...no movement towards peace.
There is no one that has escaped some form of brutality, past or present, in Bosnia. At any given time it is certainly easy for the politics of hate to foster division. Someone will gain power. Sadly, the people seem to go blindly and talk in a puffed up manner, thinking they will be safe.
Doesn't anyone want to stop that old hate train?
Of the high moral values professed by the blessed and the faithful of Bosnia's churches, wouldn't it be natural to extend the love instead of spread the disease?