Sunday, June 14, 2009

If only...

Sevdah is the traditional music of Bosnia, sometimes called "Bosnian blues". Damir Imamović, who plays often at Abrašević, sings classic sevdah with some modern touches. This is a music video of Damir and his band performing "Da sam ptica" (If only I were a bird), and was partly filmed in Abrašević.

"Damir Imamović's new video is part of a documentary film under the working title of 'Sevdah Pictionary', which was filmed by the Bosnian-Croatian production house DIM. Audio on which the video is based is an authentic recording from a concert by the Damir Imamović Trio in Mostar's Abrašević, which was held in Nov. 2007."

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Firefighters of the world, unite!

Mostar firefighters are on strike (štrajk in Bosnian) because due to the current political crisis they haven't been paid in 3 months. Yesterday they staged a demonstration in front of city hall, with signs saying "we're hungry!" and "Ljubo (local politician), we have children too!"

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Petition in the Yugosphere

Last weekend, the Mostar cell of the DOSTA! movement organized a petition to the Office of the High Representative to finally intervene in Mostar. OHR has the authority to put pressure on the city council to finally choose a mayor and adopt a city budget (now 8 months after the election). The firefighters of the city are on strike and the hot weather of summer is already here... The next city council meeting is on Monday. Will Mostar have a mayor?

Activists from DOSTA! collected 600 signatures over a period of 4 hours in three locations in the city.

Interestingly, this video about the Bosnian-Herzegovinian political situation is edited to a song called "Zašto te imam" (Why do I have you?) by Croatian band Elemental, yet another illustration of what journalist Tim Judah calls the "Yugosphere", the inter-connectedness of the former Yugoslav states (culturally, economically) though they are now all independent nations.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


This weekend in Abrašević, young local actors will perform a play based on an ancient Persian myth, written and directed here by an Iranian-Canadian, with sound effects produced by Bosnian sound artists. I had the chance to shoot during their rehearsals and here is the video that I made-- for those who can't make it to Mostar for the weekend! The play, whose unlikely herdsman-turned-archer communicates a power message of pacifism, draws on eastern-influenced acting methods (Japanese Noh theater, etc).

Šuti! Trpi!

In March, the United Trade Unions of Mostar held a warning strike and a protest in front of the cantonal education office in protest of the cantonal government's decision to reduce the pay of all teachers by 15%-- but not to reduce the pay of government workers.

The protest was really significant because the Bosniak and Croats teacher's unions supported the strike together. Bosnia-Herzegovina has a divided school system-- the students are taught either "Bosnian" or "Croatian" language (about as different as British and American English), different versions of history (especially recent history), etc. The vacations are different, because the Croat children have holidays during Christmas and the Bosniak children during bajram. Sometimes, to increase the irony, these school systems are actually in the same building, but at different times of the day- the so-called "two schools under one roof". But, in this one act of protest, these two teacher's unions banded together and staged a joint protest. About 500 people showed up, which is absolutely huge for a city like Mostar. (Video edited to the song "Šuti, Trpi" by Dubioza Kolektiv, a song about the corruption of politicians in this country and how these politicians expect that no one will stand up and make them stop. Note: Last week, corrupt (ex)premier of the Federation, Nedžad Branković, handed in his resignation due to pressure from citizen groups.)