One of these things is not like the others

Hint: It’s the ‘Big Brother needs you’ one.

buggy

little patience

hold on

report

Recommended reading: They do this in Canada, too.

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The Guardian and The Only Democracy™

najia

Because the important thing here is to protect the military power Israel, not the child Najia.

The Only Democracy in the Middle East murders over 450 children in the concentration camp Gaza, and The Guardian is like ‘But think about Israel!!!!11! These children will grow up to hate it!!!’ D:

I’ll say it again: Gaza is a concentration camp, and in more ways than one. Not just because when Israel decides to go about eradicating it, people have no other exit than death. It’s also because of how it’s being run in between these massacres. Did you know that everyone in it is being starved? The army has literally calculated how many calories per person to allow into the concentration camp in order to keep people on the brink of malnutrition. I’ve known hunger as a war child, and I’m telling you, that alone is enough to mark you for life. The hunger alone, even without the massacres, the fire raining from above, the lack of medicine, the lack of any form of certainty that you’ll see the sun rise again.

What exactly do you expect from a child born into captivity and psychotic violence at the hands of a massive military power? How utterly clueless and heartless are you really to demand that anyone preserve a shred of sanity in those circumstances? They’re surrounded by ultra-violence before they’ve even left the womb, and you have a member of the Knesset who has told you that’s what should be the aim.

Any teacher in Bosnia-Herzegovina will tell you that even the children born during or after the war are weighed down by collective trauma even without having experienced the war themselves. The terror of it is not something that magically vanishes with the stroke of a pen signing a bloody agreement even if the shooting stops.

And is Israel going to stop the shooting any time soon? Or the calculated starvation? No. Why should they when the entire world is supporting them, either with actual weapons or complicit silence. The voices pointing out the mass psychosis aren’t nearly loud enough. Poor those people in Israel working against the madness. The poor, poor people. When it’s gone so far than there are open calls for genocide in The Times of Israel.

The world continues to support the ongoing destruction of Palestine out of some seriously misguided sense of guilt for the genocide committed against the Jews in the Second World War. ‘We brutalised your ancestors; here, feel free to brutalise these other people on a different continent’? How in the hell does that make any sense? Now, generations of Palestinians have systematically been treated as inhumanely as possible with the explicit aim to destroy them, destroy the fabric of their society so that they will never recover, and that is somehow alright.

You already know that violence begets violence; your panicked headline betrays that much. So why is it that you’re not focusing on stopping the violence here and now instead of running pro-aggression ads using accusations of blood libel, for chrissakes?

Fuck you, Guardian. And fuck anyone who dares say ‘never again’ where I can hear them.

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Dating within the pen

The wrong kind of website chose to follow me on twitter the other day. I was on my phone and just saw it was something with ‘Balkan’ in the name and thought ‘alright, cool’. A couple of days later I actually took a look at the twitter account. And saw red.

Although the bio says something about ‘strengthening the Balkan community in the USA and globally’, it’s actually just a dating website. They most likely followed me at random, as advertising—hoping I’d follow back—or maybe they even saw the ‘bosnae’ in my twitter name and thought ‘here’s a proper patriot’ or whatever.

Anyway, it’s a dating website for people hailing from the Balkans. Because the first thing you want to check out when looking for a date is people’s parents’ passports.

When I called them on it, they were like—

So I said—

After which they unfollowed me since I clearly wasn’t in the target group for, well, racist dating. The kind of dating where your criterion no. 1 is that the other person or at least their parents be from a specific country (and belong to a specific religion as well, I’m sure). ‘Cause what you really want to do is date the parents… or something. I don’t even know how it works, even though I’ve been dealing with this nonsense for at least half my life (I am in my 30s now). This website tries to present the concept in the nicest way possible, but basically, what it boils down to is racism. And the way they talk about it is as if it’s a given that of course you want to only date inside your group. And living among all these other people is just so inconvenient when you want to find a date, they’re just so in the way, you know what I mean? Ugh, FFS.

Not that I don’t think there’s a huge audience for their services. I’ve heard and seen some awfully disappointing displays of bigotry among Bosnians in Denmark, including those of my own generation or even slightly younger, which—back in the day—broke my heart more times than I can count. When I first went off to uni, I thought for sure the people I would meet there would be open-minded, worldly and intelligent. Or at the very least non-racist!

It didn’t quite work that way. On the one hand, the atmosphere at my uni actually became unbearably hostile toward Muslims for a while following the attacks of 11. September 2001, and on the other hand, I experienced social exclusion from a Bosnian student organisation in part for dating a Dane and in part, bizarrely, for being politically active. (Their issue was not what kind of political opinions I had, but the fact that I had them at all. I know, weird.)

Over the years, I’ve had the displeasure of seeing this bigotry in nearly every shape and form and it’s equally disgusting every time. The only difference is that nowadays I’ve got no patience for the bigots anymore.

You would turn your back on a friend for dating outside the tribe? You’re an idiot.

You pass laws sending your young into exile for marrying outside the tribe? You’ll be needing them far more than they’ll be needing you. (I’m looking at you, Denmark.)

You would terrorise or disown your child for dating outside the tribe? You don’t even deserve children. What you should get is, like, orchids or something that you can cross and breed however you like since that seems to be your obsession. Fool.

You actually like someone outside your tribe but choose not to be with them because you don’t want be cast out? I pity you most of all. You know for a fact that what your peers or parents are pressing for is wrong and against your own wishes, yet you choose them over yourself. Because, let me tell you, honey, that is exactly what you’re doing. It’s never a choice between your family and your partner. It’s a choice between whoever is trying to dictate your life and you. Always and only you. And if you start whining about pressure and ‘not everyone is that strong’ and whatnot, just stop. It’s not about strength, it’s about integrity. That persistant voice that will always tell you what’s right and true for you, no matter how hard or scary things are. That doesn’t take strength, it just takes paying attention to yourself. No one says following through is easy, but you have a choice.

Unless of course, you decided to stifle that voice—the better to bleat with the rest of the sheep. In which case you need to own up to it. You can’t lay that down at anyone else’s feet. It’s not an out-clause. But hey, I know just the dating site for you.

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Bosnia floods: ‘This is going to stay with us for the next 20-30 years’

Originally posted on Bosnia-Herzegovina Protest Files:

‘The material damage caused by the floods is far worse than after the war,’ Vedad Pašić from the Tuzla Plenum tells us on Skype, and I’m so shaken by this I hardly hear the rest of what he says.

We’re at a Bosnia Solidarity Meeting at Brighton University; a meeting that was planned long ago, before the disastrous floods had hit large parts of the Balkans. It was supposed to focus on the uprising that erupted with the protests of early February, but is inevitably coloured by the large-scale disaster in the form of the worst floods the region has seen in 120 years.

In the face of tragedy, people rallied together and helped each other without regard for the divisions that had been wedged between them for over two decades. It isn’t just neighbours helping neighbours either. People travel to the affected areas from other parts of the country—among…

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VIDEO: ‘Bosnia today is a plenum’

Originally posted on Bosnia-Herzegovina Protest Files:

Below is a subtitled programme about the plenums in Bosnia-Herzegovina with activists Damir Arsenijević and Šejla Šehabović, moderated by Senad Hadžihafizbegović on Face TV. Originally broadcast on 14.2.2014. Subtitles by Kole Kili and Amila Bosnae.

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Liaising with a water cannon

I’ve just come home from the demo against the proposal to buy water cannon for Metropolitan Police so they can better deal with pesky citizens like myself who just won’t shut up and conform, consume, obey. Two things happened: we heard from Dietrich Wagner who lost his eyesight after being blasted with a water jet in the face, and I saw two ‘liaison officers’ lose their shit.

Dietrich Wagner was blinded in 2010 by a water cannon jet at an environmentalist protest in Stuttgart, Germany. Through an interpreter, he described some of the harrowing experience. He told us how, before he was injured himself, he had seen women knocked over and thrown back 2-3 meters. He told us how he had tried to get away, but couldn’t, as they had been cornered. He told us about the hit in the face, about being thrown back and about the two men who carried him away. He told us how he had tried to walk as they carried him, to help them, but couldn’t feel his legs. He said that before this tragedy, he had been very naïve and had thought that a water cannon probably couldn’t be so dangerous, certainly not enough to mutilate someone. He said that he had come to tell us about the true nature of water cannon so we wouldn’t be as naïve, and that we should try to stop the purchase, seeing as there still might be a chance to influence the decision. Of course, those of us who were there already knew that a water cannon is not just a slightly larger squirt gun, but I was happy to see lots of TV cameras there which will, hopefully, get the message to a wider audience.

Dietrich Wagner, London, 17.2.2014. Photo: Amila Bosnae

Dietrich Wagner, London, 17.2.2014. Photo: Amila Bosnae

After Dietrich, Jenny Jones from the Greens briefly said about the public meeting that it was not a consultation—the city had already decided that the police should have those water cannon. Where we should focus, she said, is to influence Home Secretary Teresa May who will make the final decision, and Tory politicians as some of them had already voted against the proposal.

As the crowd moved to queue up to enter City Hall, I sat on one of the steps to jot down some things in my notebook, and that’s when the weird thing of the evening happened. Two ‘liaison officers’ had apparently been watching the protest and one of the protesters had told them off in no uncertain terms. And instead of retreating or whatever, since they weren’t going to get any intel from this guy—it was clear he knew his rights—they started arguing with him.

And this guy was very angry. The ‘liaison officers’, who after all are supposed to make everyone think that the police are these unarmed, happy, smiley, friendly people while they gather intel on whatever street movement they are there to surveil, kept saying things like’you need to grow up, mate’, ‘what gives you the right to come over to us and say something like that’, and ‘I would love to see the police disbanded for just one week so that everyone could see what would happen’ (because, of course, children, civilisation would perish within a week without state monopoly on violence).

And it got better. When the guy kept slamming them with statistics on deaths in custody and reports on institutional racism in the police, they replied, ‘You know what? When you get burgled, don’t bother calling us.’

Why? Why would you take the bait? Why would you ever get into an angry argument with a citizen while wearing a ‘liaison officer’ vest? Why would you even stay in the area after attention has been drawn to you? Why would you confirm to the citizen you would discriminate against him for his political beliefs? Why? I just. Don’t. Get. It.

And these are the people the city wants to arm with water cannon. People who can’t even control their temper when they’re explicitly supposed to ‘liaise’ with the citizens.

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Intro to the BiH uprising on SchNEWS

In the past few days I’ve mostly been pitching in at the Bosnia-Herzegovina Protest Files with a wonderful and inspiring group of colleagues from all over Europe and North America, but I have managed to write a quick intro to the uprising for SchNEWS:

(…) the ruling elites are freaking out because the masses are clearly focusing on socio-economic issues. Everything would be so much easier if people would just stay in their enemy tribes, but a flag won’t feed any mouths, and a flag seems to be the only answer any of the politicians in power have. So they have tried to misrepresent the protests, discredit the protesters as ‘druggies’ and ‘hooligans'; they have sent riot police to beat them up, and they are using the pliant mainstream media to repeat the mantra of ethnic animosity.

You can read the full article here (please also note my comment underneath it with a correction and an addition).

Follow us on @BHProtestFiles.

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