Literal contest "Between hope and fear"

Nejra Hajdar,
second-year student of Faculty of Law in Sarajevo
Third prize in the contest of "Bošnjaci" Fund, Sarajevo

When they destroy my dreams
And cast doubt in my truth
When from my soul
They squeeze the last whit of love and will
I’m afraid
But I have to say
Raise voice
Get hope
And…
I’m ashamed but…
I want to meet
The lowest impetus:
Spit,
Curse
And… leave

A mini-version of the passenger train on relation Sarajevo-Ploče-Sarajevo clattered as it was the whole composition from, only from stories known to me, dozen and more wagons of a prewar train. My aunt, who studied then, says that was a well known train at five past two to Ploče. She says, there was an unwritten rule and unspoken agreement, that if you want to meet someone, and especially if the desire is mutual, make some effort, get on the platform at least ten minutes earlier and your wish will become true. It was unforgettable to survive those crowds, crushed feet, shouting…

I was seating in a train watching other passengers. There were as many passengers as there were seats on the train. Naturally, the train doesn’t leave at five past two to Ploče. It makes me laughing every time and I think how it resembles me to the black and white Western movie which I watched once “At five past two to Yuma”. Or was it ten past two?

The known landscape moved in front of my eyes: broken down „Šipad“, pillars of someone’s failed investment or perhaps calculated money laundering, brand new shopping center with a modern colorful look to attract even purest to spend what they have so they do not have to care of it any longer… And further at the exit of a tunnel there are places by the road full of new houses.

Broken down, brand new, suspicious… All that is Bosnia and Herzegovina. My aunt would say that she always wanted to travel by bus to Bradina, and from Bradina by train. Numerous tunnels and invisible curves, few bridges one above the other so you were afraid even to look at, resembled me why she wanted it. In one of those tunnels I remembered why I’m going to Sarajevo. It is September and I have the last first-year exam and also the second year should be enrolled. Should be… If I had the money.

My mother lost her job, father’s salary is reduced, and there are four of us. My father says that they are busy, that they work and he has heard that they are paid for that, but this is some time that I'd rather oversleep, and in which those who stay well only exploit global crisis to avoid paying to workers and defraud the state. They threatened even with dismissals…  In the years after the war we fought and hoped that it will be easier and better and that hard time is behind us, but, they emerge once again. Somewhere on the horizon fear begins to emerge. I thought that is wrong. It would be all right that from fear or after it emerges hope, but now after years of hope only fear emerges.

What is between hope and fear? There I am in between in this train and my thoughts about what I can do. Will my education end after one year of study? I don’t want to even think about it. I don’t want that hope abandon me! I don’t want that fear seize me!

My aunt never liked to talk badly about people, either known or unknown. She would say that it is impossible that everybody is dishonest. As a lawyer she was kidding by saying: “Have you ever heard for presumption of innocence – everybody is innocent until the contrary is proven. So even that it was “proven” she didn’t believe in it completely. She says, she feels bad when people fall down.

Unfortunately even my aunt is not convinced in mass innocent and honesty, progress and survival. And fear overwhelmed me, because if she is disappointed, then… what’s happening?

As majority of young people I haven’t been too much interested in events around me. There were couple things which had nothing in common with guys and the faculty that I was interested in. And now, I have been listening to comments around me. Whenever I listen to news from B&H and watch television program, my head aches and it threatens to break because of the amount of information and disinformation. Nothing is right, nothing is done, nobody is satisfied, everybody suffers and everybody is bitter. Only establishment is happy.

After that excursion to the real world, hope retreats and fear approaches. I thought that even whole world flourishes we would (it means Bosnians and Herzegovinians) broke. With all these difficulties we collectively don’t have either desire or willingness to overcome it.

Run away, leave – I hear several times every day. Even I myself secretly thought about it, and then my aunt inadvertently destroyed my desire with words: ”Where!? Where we can go, and where better is, azan can’t be heard. So, will my kids grow up there? Where azan can’t be heard, and again there where we can go it is either the same as here or worse. So: stay where you are – there you are. And pray to God to spill wellness over our country.

Monotone clattering of the train remembered me where I’m going and why I’m going and I started to pronounce words from the honorable Qur’an that Majestic Allah eases me to pass the exam. I looked for the last two sugar cubes on which my mother prayed this morning after the first signs of dawn that I arrive in Sarajevo without problems, pass the exam and return back. I ate one when I started my trip, the second I’ll have when I enter in the building of the faculty and I’ll have the third one in front of the classroom. Almost at the same time I remembered words of mu aunt: “And pray to Beloved God to spill wellness over this world.” Faith! That is! It is something what always saves, and now in my thoughts that vacuum between leaving hope and approaching fear is filled. Faith!!! I hear from somewhere: “Give us hope back. Chase fear.”

Faith! Pray! Patience! O my people, we miss it… O my people, this is something that we need and towards it we need to go back. Not only between hope and fear, but even while we hope and while we are afraid. Always faith. Always with faith!

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