Ahmed Burić: Almost a European Journal

Well, the time and reason to fly to Brussels has come. The capital of the new empire to which you do not formally belong, but, well, your culture is European, so it was worth seeing where it is ‘managed’ from. As sceptical as I am, it is difficult to convince me that the clerk on the twenty-second floor of the building is really interested in the yield of potatoes in Dolenjska, the quality of Bulgarian wines, or the development of olive growing on Brač, but as they say, paper is paper. And when it comes to paper, it is such a peripeteia that it can be talked about for a long time. I will try to shorten: therefore, for a trip to Belgium, individuals with a non-Union passport need a PLF. Passenger Location Form. A paper on which it is neatly written how long you stay in the city, who is your host, do you have a vaccination certificate, and a PCR test. One thing at a time. A little sea of time has gone to waste, but come on – rules are rules. We are not all Djokovic. And realistically, in this time, fools of all ideological signs have been born, and anti-waxers are at the very top. So… Fill up, and shut up. Another PCR test at Europharm: always a pleasant, casual meeting with Dr. Mustafa Hirosh, one of the private heroes in the medical profession. Europe, here I go again, as David Coverdale would say. For whom he announced these days that, at his insistence, he will play a concert in Sarajevo on Whitesnake’s farewell tour.

As for what he is writing, he is very grateful, but he did not have to spend it now. If I am healthy and happy, I will definitely go to the concert: mostly because of the memories, with the sadness that my recently deceased friend Nedžad Sladić Slade will not be in sight. No, he wasn’t a big fan of that music or the whole circus either, but at the mention of Coverdale, we would just look and laugh. Memories that made us happy. When someone would play ‘Fool for your lovin no more’ through an open window in Džidžikovac Street. Goodbye dear Slaj, sleep peacefully.

The early morning plane from Sarajevo is not very crowded, but there is no sleep. Colleague D. is trying, and I am ‘playing’ some kind of phone game. There is also Charlero, whom we probably wouldn’t have heard of if not for football and low-cost companies. To which we will return someday. May the great Allah grant them all solutions.

At a time when we can no longer call Christmas by its real name.

Upon arrival, no one asked anything about either the PLF or the PCR. What a waste of time. The police officer underlined the absolute stability of the police state: ‘How much money do you have?’

– Too little for your conditions, but it will be enough, I think.

I’m showing the cards.

He strikes a stamp.

Survivor in Front of Winchester

The first thing to do is testing. The friend I am staying with generously offers one of her bikes, and I, eager for European freedom, gladly embark on an adventure, taught by the experiences of Berlin or Ljubljana, where the cyclist is a protected variety, just like polar bears. Error. The hunt is open, as it was then in Bugojno, where Tito targeted bears, which he regularly sent to eternal hunting grounds with his Winchester. Not to drop out of training. The search for the centre on Jupiter Avenue reminded me of some of the adventurous rides through Sarajevo. From one direction, a delivery boy on a motorcycle, some version of their korpa.ba, and from the other a jeep from which loud music is playing. One tram and it looks just like Ilidža. I am only missing a tracksuit. After a few inquiries, here I am neatly at the test centre. Two security guards and ‘inspection Time.’ That is, the nostrils.

The girl at the reception counter has difficulty sending text messages due to her long nails. A handsome face originally from the Maghreb: but tries to look Italian, because the cell phone case is decorated with a boot and tricolour, with all the gold details, and the image is like that of the Grand Stars. The whole thing, what the brothers and sisters say. Inflated lips, long nails and hairstyles from the singer’s assortment. And my mild joy that I recognize details from home in someone else’s world. She takes my passport. Looks at me and says: – Is this your real name?

I wince. She is not, like Mata Hari, so precisely informed that the fastest mini-humiliation in our paradise is when someone asks: ‘What is your exact name?’ I nod, but I slowly realize that in her imaginary world an individual with my name does not look like that. And maybe I’m just burdened with prejudice. I don’t need to be blamed, I’m from the end of the world. In which ethnic identity is assumed by everything else. But the English of this ‘pop star’ is not the best, so she is transferring me to her colleague. Muhammad is also of African descent, has a thin, expensive spectacles, and sovereignly enters my data. Ahmed, Muhammad. Tester in the nose, and au revoir.

–You will get the results in 48 hours at the latest.

To cut a long story short: I didn’t get them. Not then, not the whole week I spent in Brussels. Four times they called me on the phone, twice I tried to reach them, but – in vain. Something in the perfect pyramid of the CoVid system has failed. It was only on my departure that the kind officer Ryan Air, after shyly showing me the certificate on which the double-headed eagle of Vojislav Koštunica was neatly standing, told me that this happened quite often. And he wrote on the plane ticket, in block letters: VACC + PCT. I passed, then. Find out only in Bruges, from my dear Sarajevo, actress N., that I wasted time, once again. You can be tested in every pharmacy, and of all the people in this country, diamonds, chocolate pralines and beer, only I didn’t know that. Just my luck.

Ah, that sweet administration of developed capitalism. I did not stay in European institutions for a long time, although no one even called me there. Only arrogant politicians are welcome there, those who spend ten thousand dollars in half an hour on the airport lounge. And what else could I say there? That about half of the capital left the country last year in numbers? That everything stands thanks to whole cultures, natural chains created as a result of corruption. As on the map of Europe, where all countries that issue a valid code on vaccination are on, all countries are marked with a green – only BiH – white field. Hard.

It seems that for the blues about that same former city and country that stands stuck between patriotic hypocrisy and more vampiric fascism, no one would give five bucks. Ten euro cents. In this building that looks like one big cash register. Which, no matter what, will not fail. At the south station, I watch the homeless people make their beds, bring their pets, radios and music players, and compare the contrasts. It’s same. The further south, the sadder.

Sleeping Godzilla

One should not make a basic logical mistake, and on the basis of poor insight and one-time experience of something complex, such as the EU, build the whole picture, but it is so human, isn’t it? Somewhere in the mud of the cortex stands that legendary thought of Henry Kissinger from the early 1990s, which think tanks rushed to prove that the Merry Demon of American foreign policy, in fact, never said: ‘United Europe? Give me the phone, who should I call?’

Today could be different, because there is someone to call.

But they don’t answer.

In the meantime, the news arrived that the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, has passed away. Former colleague, television star of RAI’s hit shows, and deputy editor-in-chief of RAI’s TG1. A staunch European, he advocated for the rights of migrants and belonged to the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats. May he rest in peace.

Therefore, I did not look at the administration buildings because, somewhere, I feel deeply that behind these walls, someone who is thinking about two possible options for unravelling the permanent crisis in BiH, does not sit. They maintain the status quo for legitimacy and maintain the current government and, ultimately, sacrifice peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Or, in this country on the edge of the Empire, it will have to sacrifice its bizarre internal structure – see the coincidences, based on the Belgian constitution – which allows the same ruling oligarchies to keep tensions hot with the nationalisms of neighbouring countries. So, dismantling the current system or war. There is no third solution. And, apparently, not the first.

Closer Middle East. Finally, another, typically Balkan story: so, when a certain group of European parliamentarians or a country does not want an act or resolution to pass, and for that they need the consensus of all members, which would be said, in sports jargon, interruption of the match.’First, the translation services are given a lot of material that is impossible to translate in a short time. That is enough to not put the topic on the agenda. The Godzilla administration is mostly asleep, but needs to be fed from time to time. It’s so Yugoslav. Can Milosevic appear in the European Union, someone whose destructive energy destroyed the framework of life in the community one by one? Theoretically – no. But how many times has the theory failed?

I do not secretly wish anything bad for the European Union. Long live and healthy may it be. But somewhere, there is a deep feeling that Bosnia and Herzegovina ‘needs’ such a Europe exactly as it is today. Horrible, weak, corruptible, with the budget of a medium-sized firm in Wallonia, emptied like a pool of cheap labour, and a landfill.

No country for old man.

Brussels, of course, has nothing to do with it.

The city cannot be blamed. And nothing can be asked of it.

Reading from it is already somewhat possible.

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