Posted on March 6, 2009

Background: On 1 March, Bosnians celebrated something of an Independence Day. I say something because it still does not feel like there is an independent Bosnia, rather a creature with a couple of heads knocking each other unconscious from time to time. I am speaking of course of the head called the Federation in which all constitutive peoples are legitimate citizens. The other head is so-called Serbian republic stretching from the North and deep down almost to Sarajevo. It is very much ethnically cleansed. I should know because I come from its largest city, Banja Luka. The other day, the American representatives came visiting Bosnia,but instead of respecting the international view that Bosnia is sovereign within its historical borders, the delegation found it necessary to meet over coffee and baklava with the leadership of the Bosnian Federation, and then separately with the illegitimate leadership of Republika Srpska, over I don’t know what, maybe brandy. Such a move gives further political power to those who have done everything to used every ounce of their creativity to kill and steal.

I say creativity because I’m thinking of the art of war, art of deception, art of politics, which Melika Salihbeg Bosnawi so brilliantly, and subtly dramatizes in her book This is a perennial book, prose-poetry of high aesthetic and intellectual quality.

Particularly striking is the poem about Lady Hate and her Happening. Lady hate, to Melika is an artist, a trend-setter, someone who does not look back in shame or to learn something from history, but always looks forward using her creative powers to invent new ways to humiliate with brilliance, maim with a sting, shed blood with passion, introduce some extra twisted twists into the story of everyday lives of city/village people.

Art, imagination, creativity – which are normally considered positive human faculties, that is what makes us human in the first place – are in Bosnawi’s dirge weapons of mass destruction, much like in Kubric’s 2001 Space Odyssey, where creativity is first employed in the production of a weapon. There are loads of creativity in these works of art, complex aesthetics used to criticize and draw our attention to the art of war, which in the end amounts to one and the same, quite uncreative thing, murder. I’m thinking of the Twin Towers and the way we were stunned because it was innovative, we’d never seen that before, very modern, very trendy, and yet essentially the same as murder of Srebrenica population, Ruwanda, Gaza, you name it. I wonder how much creativity went into the production of smart bombs. I’m thinking of kids painting drawings on bombs, sending artistic messages to those who will never see them, never get a chance of using their creative imagination to interpret that art.

Bosnawi does not stop there. She explores creative imagination and the aesthetics of everyday living, of mundane choices in contrast to the creativity or rather clichés of war. take a look at these lines:


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