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Croatian journalist, novelist, and essayist Slavenka Drakuli has written a terrifyingly fierce and painful novel of a country s lost identity, told through the suffering of a nameless group of female inmates in a camp and their difficult attempts to rebuild their lives after liberation All the characters are simply known by a single initial, with the main focal point being a woman called S She has just given birth in a Stockholm hospital to a child she wants nothing to do with after being repeatedly raped whilst being held captive by Serb forces the previous year 1992 S regards the child as a tumour finally removed from her body In flashback we encounter the horrors in which she and other women had to endure.Drakuli opens the depraved doors to the killing rooms of the Balkans war, and shows us the raped, tortured, and murdered bodies of civilians The immediacy and powerful punch to the guts of the novel rises not from the unbelievable things it tells us, but from the opposite What s unbelievable is that we are witnessing again horribly familiar events Fixated by the overriding example of the Holocaust, we don t notice when it happens again, and again never quite in the same way of course, and not on the 6 million scale we can t stop focusing on That s when the narrative of one ordinary life becomes essential again, as a reminder that decency is frail and wars will continually make monsters The middle third of the book was extremely uncomfortable to read, it was like being stuck down the dark alley of an ugly nightmare, you want nothing than to just wake up.Most of the women once settled into the stone warehouse that is now their new home try all so hard to just shut down and dislocate themselves from their own bodies Nobody wants to talk of what goes on elsewhere in the camp, things have been heard they would rather forget, as Drakulic dissects the terrible resilience of the human mind One can bear anything if one is not quite present and hovers in the shallows of the moment Drakulic writes in the present tense the hospital from S s point of view That approach presents her with the problem of how to combine the story of a woman who can t afford memory or self consciousness with a reflection on the savage experience she undergoes she solves this by fusing her logical consciousness with S s numbed condition Cleverly using an indirect third person narrative whilst in the camp allows the writer to achieve the psychic distance necessary to meditate on the meanings of incomprehensible brutality.The novel may come to a close with some sort of hope, as S in tears, moves her babyboy onto her breast for a feed, but it was tremendously sad to see a mother turn away in disgust from her newborn child, this living, breathing, small and fragile neonate who had just entered the world had done nothing wrong, and has no say, only asking to be loved Will the boy need the truth later in life about his conception or just a fictional story about the kind of decent regular father so many other war orphans lost.I have to admit, had I not read many other powerful and haunting books on the horrors of civilians trapped in war, I might have struggled to get through the worst bits It chilled my blood in it s portrayal of humanity s darkest side However, I will likely remember this novel for the small humane acts of kindness and courage shown They may only have been little things, but seemed huge in the context of the story.
(((FREE))) ↽ Kao da me nema ↰ Stockholm, Karolinska Krankenhaus, M Rz S Eine Junge Lehrerin Aus Bosnien, Moslemin Und Asylantin In Schweden, Hat Gerade Ein Kind Zur Welt Gebracht Aber Im Gegensatz Zu Den Anderen Babys Auf Der Station Hat Dieses Neugeborene Weder Sicherheit Noch Heimat Es Hat Keinen Namen Und Statt Eines Vaters Sehr Viele Die Gesichtslose Masse Der Soldaten, Die S In Einem Serbischen Frauenkonzentrationslager Immer Und Immer Wieder Vergewaltigt Haben Auf Dem Wochenbett Suchen S Die Schrecklichen Ereignisse Des Vergangenen Jahres Heim Die Vertreibung Aus Sarajevo In Ein Kleines Dorf Am Rande Bosniens, Die Menschenunw Rdigen Bedingungen Im Lager, Die Ohnm Chtige Unterwerfung Der Frauen Und M Dchen Unter Die Grenzenlose Brutalit T Der Peiniger, Die Befreiung Und Berf Hrung In Ein Fl Chtlingslager Nach Kroatien Das Grauen, Die Angst, Die Stinkende Allmacht Des Todes All Das Hat S U Erlich Betrachtet, Hinter Sich Gelassen Und Berwunden Doch Es Bleibt Die Bedr Ckende Frage Was Soll Aus Dem Geha Ten, Aber An Allem Unschuldigen Kind Werden Das Buch, Das Vom Inferno Erz Hlt, L T Sich Als Ein Pl Doyer F R Hoffnung Und Vers Hnung Lesen FAZ This was the first Drakulic I read, and at the time, I felt incapable of writing a review, although I consider it both very well written as a novel and immensely important as a historical reflection on the routine of rape during wars There was a double reason why I could not put into words what I thought First of all, I struggled with the closeness of the atrocious events both in a geographical and historical sense This book took me to a war in Europe during my own lifetime, my teenage years, and it contained the whole spectrum of innocent civilians suffering that I can hardly bear to witness from a distance when reading about World War Two, for example The graphic description of rape, and the information that there had been a routine of holding women hostage to use them as sexual slaves, not that far away from where I spent my safe adolescence, made a strong impact on me, stronger than I had expected Now, when the book is not haunting me as vividly any, I find myself in the position to reflect on it calmly and to appreciate the important message about the incredible vulnerability of women in unstable societies.The other reason why I had trouble with reviewing was that I felt I could not place the author properly The topic was so extreme, the suffering described so harsh I could not imagine what her writing would look like if she chose a different subject Then a while ago, I read A Guided Tour Through the Museum of Communism, and was completely surprised by the wit and almost silly sense of humour displayed in the excellent short story collection I would never have expected to pick up a book by Drakulic and actually have a good, lighthearted laugh, not after my first encounter with her In a way, that humorous approach to Communist rule made the pain of As if I Am Not There even tangible Both books however are similar in the way they describe how people suffer from an oppressive system that they can t escape, either during a war or within a totalitarian political system They also show a variety of different characters reacting to the system, using their individual survival skills So I thought that might be the recipe to Drakulic writing But then I started to read Marble Skin, and I was again taken by surprise being catapulted into a brilliant opening, describing a sculptress creation of a female marble body as an introduction to a dark inner journey to get to terms with her mother and her sexuality It feels like it is again an entirely new author I am trying out What a versatile storyteller I will continue to think about As If I Am Not There for a while, but the contrast to the other novels gave it even depth, pain and acute relevance than it had when I first stumbled upon it.And I am curious to try the rest of Slavenka Drakulic oeuvre as well, now definitely expecting to be surprised if I may say so, well knowing that it is an oxymoron, kind of. When your country is at war with another, or perhaps many others, you are aware of the risk to human life You know soldiers will die, you know that some of these may be people you know or even your loved ones But, though the civilians at home worry about those who are away fighting for their country, they rarely see themselves as part of the war The threat to them seems far away, almost unreal So when the occupying forces marched into the Bosnian village where S lived, her immediate reaction is not of panic She is mildly annoyed for having been woken up, but she still has faith in the human capacity for reason and she believes that if she surrenders her jewellry and valuables without making a fuss, then no one will do her any harm In other words, she is naive.The civilians are captured and taken away to work camps, one for men and one for women But deep within the female camp is the room that every prisoner dreads the women s room A room where women become objects to be used by the soldiers, a room of pain and despair where all hope dies and a person is forced to become empty Being empty in your mind, abandoning your body at will, this is the only way to survive Drakulic shows the extent of human depravity in one of the most disturbing accounts of captivity during wartime Her use of the first letter in place of the women s names is important in understanding the ability to dehumanize the enemy, they become things and not people It is repulsive, scary and sad But the author, in my opinion, never slips over into the gratuitous because her focus is on S s inner turmoil It is not just about the sexual abuse, the beatings and cruelty, it s about the effect this has on the victims, how they retreat inside themselves and the lengths they go to in order to keep their sanity in a world gone mad Not only that, but she even looks at what it s like to be a soldier blindly following orders, dehumanizing yourself to find the ability to commit atrocities during war It s easy to have enemies and it s easy to hate, but what does it take to make you someone who can torture another human being What must they become in your mind What must you become When showing the crimes men commit towards women, when showing a group of male soldiers laughing at a woman s pain, it becomes so easy to delve into misandry You hate the Serbian soldiers, you hate the things they do to the women But this is only partly a gender issue Drakulic wants to tell the many untold stories of women during the Bosnian war there are an estimated 60,000 rape victims , she wants us to know about the suffering they faced because of their gender But, for the author, humanity has one common enemy regardless of your race, religion or gender and that is war War makes us all something other than human, it allows those with the power to become monstrous and it allows those without it to be seen as vermin.Though the author chose to focus on the Bosnian war and particularly the way women were treated during this war, the backbone of this story is universally applicable She expertly tells a story about some of the vilest, most horrific things that can happen to a human being, she captures humanity at it s best and worst, showing exactly what we are capable of both the good and the bad. Slavenka Drakulic born 1949 is a Croatian novelist, sociologist and a journalist who writes mainly on women issues This is my opening sentence because when I picked up this book, I asked myself Drakulic, whoand thought that this was a horror book Hmmm Drakulic Dracula Bosnia Yugoslavia Transylvania Enough, K.D Stop Must be the Halloween spirit This is a serious book.Very much, indeed S A Novel About Balkans a.k.a As If I Am Not There is about rape, torture, and sexual slavery of Muslim women during the Bosnian War 1992 1995 During that war, the Serbian minority laid siege to Saravejo and began rounding up and massacring Bosnia s Muslim population Then the Serbian rebels transported the Muslim people into concentration camps and did the atrocities similar to those committed by Hitler in Europe during the holocaust Taking the scope or extent in terms of number of people aside, the only difference between the two was that the Serbian rebels sexually molested the women including young Muslim girls German soldiers, unfortunately or fortunately, saw all Jews to be of lower class thus not worth sleeping with and not worth to bear their children There is a scene in this novel when the Serbian soldiers yes, most rapes here were done by 2 3 men to one woman were raping a Muslim woman, one of them said that when the baby comes out, he she is considered a Serbian which is a higher desired race compared to that of Muslim s Since, this book is based on personal testimonies of several women who Drakulic interviewed as a journalist for a Croatian newspaper, you would feel that the events are exact and sincere Being a journalist, however, you would not feel that you are reading a transcript of interviews or a history book Her prose has no allegory or philosophical musings but her emotion as a writer of women issues was captured emphatically on the flight of these poor marginalized Muslim women.The protagonist name is simply S., 30 y o, single and an English teacher at Saravejo when she was cornered and brought to a Bosnian concentration camp She, together with around 20 other women and some girls as young as 13 years old, were kept in a woman s room as sex slaves This reminded me of the comfort women that the Japanese kept during WWII not only here in the Philippines but also in other Asian countries Those pigsS and other women, got pregnant Since they hated all those who raped them of course , they did not feel any love for the children they nurtured in their wombs They did not know what to to with the babies lying on their cribs at Stockholm s they were brought to Sweden when they were saved from Zagreb s concentration camp hospital I will not tell you what happened next as it is too much of a spoiler Suffice it to say that the novel did not just focus on the Serbian atrocities during the war but also in the dilemma of the women who got raped and had to bear the Serbian children This spin made this a different reading experience compared to the Holocaust novels that I ve read and liked so far such as those of Anne Frank s, Ellie Wiesel s or Imre Kertesz s.This truly deserves its slot in the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list No doubt whatsoever. Jako, jako, jako teska istinita prica Tesko je dati ocjenu, jer osjecas samo tugu, bijes, nepravdu, zlo, strah, bol Kako za takve osjecaje dati bilo kakvu ocjenu No, Slavenka je i ovaj put dosla do srzi cijele price, te ju prikazala bas kakva je i bila teska Svaka cast svim zenama i muskarcima koji su uspjeli prezivjeti bilo kakav logor Jos uvijek sam u soku od opisa sto covjek covjeku moze raditi My original review 2000 in the San Francisco ChronicleS A Novel of the Balkans By Slavenka Drakulic Viking 216 pages 22.95Croatian writer Slavenka Drakulic has given the world a gift, digging into the twisted reality of the war that splintered the former Yugoslavia and emerging with S., a searing story about a woman held in a Bosnian concentration camp It is a haunting, difficult novel that is also somehow redemptive.In the past, Drakulic has demonstrated in essays such as Cafe Europa Life After Communism an inspired knack for unlikely but telling details She also has a restlessness and a moral imagination that give her work nuance and power and flavor this last quality being one she jokes about in the title of her I loved him so much I ate him novel, The Taste of a Man But never has she combined her approach and her subject matter into anything like the cataclysmic power of this new novel, which makes her earlier novels look like secondary school warmups Drakulic not only pulls us into the world of this anonymous young woman, a teacher taken away by Serb soldiers along with everyone else in the town she works in, but she does it without manipulation The smell, the smell of dust in the dry air, that is what she will remember, begins an early chapter The taste of coffee with too much sugar The image of women quietly climbing on to the bus, one by one, as if going on an excursion And the smell of her own sweat Some might call Drakulic s adroit use of sight and sound and fleeting impression manipulative, but when it works as well as this, the criticism seems misplaced.Drakulic takes us through the succession of horrors endured by S in such a relaxed manner, it almost seems like travel writing There is the uncertain young man who comes to take S away The black nail of his big toe is poking out of his torn cloth sneakers, she writes There is the subdued horror of packing just a few belongings when S has no idea how long she will be gone or where she s being taken And there is the power of a good list, such as this one describing the villagers These people are leaving behind uneaten food on the table, unwashed dishes, unfinished work, animals in the barn, radios playing, laundry for ironing, arguments Drakulic keeps her prose orderly and controlled Simple impression follows simple impression The cumulative effect makes the reader go from understanding the fracture of Yugoslavia by what was shown on TV to knowing it through benumbing verisimilitude.Because Drakulic always looks for the small, human moment that can offer respite from horror, the atrocities portrayed never seem gratuitous or polemical That s saying a lot, given such passages as S overhearing a young voice saying I saw three dead girls in a ditch I knew them from school They were naked Their breasts had been cut off I covered them with leaves The book never drags, and no page stands out as less gripping than the next But the story rises to another level of horror when S moves into the women s room in the concentration camp Drakulic juxtaposes the ordinary with the extraordinary to make these scenes so powerful S tries to unbutton her blouse Three pairs of men s eyes watch her movements as her trembling fingers fail to find the buttons It is not that she does not want to obey their order On the contrary, she is in a hurry to do so At that moment she cannot even think about doing anything else but S no longer controls her fingers What the soldiers do to S., the hows and whys of it, cannot fail to shake loose troubling perspectives on war and what it means Drakulic could not have written a book this good, this free of cheap effect, if she had rushed herself She had to spend time mulling over the war, gaining something to serve as ballast, something enabling her to see the truth in a line such as, But the soldiers are no longer people either, except that they are less aware of it Despite the dehumanization suffered, Drakulic s main character remains alive on the page, even if she doesn t have an actual name, just a letter, like all the women in the story I m alive, she thinks, as if this were a secret to be kept for herself Later, s he jumps, suddenly, as if startled out of a dream And still later, during the unnerving section devoted to S s odd liaison with the camp s sad, proper and yet ultimately debauched commander Smells are a dangerous thing, they catapult you back into the past and she is afraid of forgetting where she is She must focus on the captain Eventually, S and the others are released from the camp The psychology of what they face afterward has been explored elsewhere, but even so, Drakulic s take on psychological dislocation comes across as fresh S can t look back She can t look forward She can t even claim the present But nothing is close enough to her yet, not the wet asphalt she is treading, not the cup of coffee she is holding, not the snowflakes falling on her face Only when S resettles in Stockholm, that gleaming Swedish bastion of prosperity and social services, can she try to come to terms with living Just what that entails can t be reduced to a few words, but her agonizing reflections, and where they lead, never feel less than honest.Steve Kettmann is an American writer living in Berlin.http sfgate.com cgi bin article.cgiThis article appeared on page RV 10 of the San Francisco Chronicle Li esta obra em dois dias e ainda a estou a digerir Como mulher, creio que ainda d i e fere mais ler relatos hediondos como este, mesmo que os mesmos sejam ficcionais, j que infelizmente a fic o n o difere em nada da realidade, do que se passou entre homens, mulheres e crian as que at h pouco tempo eram vizinhos, amigos a at da mesma fam lia N o consigo, mesmo depois de ter lido tantos e tantos livros sobre este e outros conflitos, conceber como que um ser humano capaz de cometer tais atrocidades a outro ser humano Sei que me estou a repetir, que j escrevi in meras vezes este ltimo pensamento, mas nunca irei entend lo Nunca.Opini o completa em uma opini o em conjunto, um 2 em 1, se quiserem Perhaps that happens to people in wartime, words suddenly become superfluous because they can no longer express reality Reality escapes the words we know, and we simply lack new words to encapsulate this new experience Only now does S understand that a woman s body never really belongs to the woman It belongs to others to the man, the children, the family And in wartime to soldiers Now, however, she sees that for her war began the moment others started dividing and labelling her, when nobody asked her anything any In the meantime, her life has become something different, unrecognizable Or perhaps unimaginable Lying in her hospital bed in Stockholm she still does not know what to call it, although she knows that the word is war But for her, war is merely a general term, a collective noun for so many individual stories War is every individual, it is what happened to that individual, how it happened to that individual, how it happened, how it changed that person s life For her, war is this child she had to give birth to It is their submissiveness that shocks S than anything else, their willingness to obey orders without question She thinks this is so, not only because the men have guns, but also because these people are still in a state of disbelief, in some temporary state of numbness, that they refuse to understand what is happening to them Or perhaps it is a kind of naivety, the belief that surely somebody must know what is being done and why, that there must be a reason for this action Is it good to remember or is it easier to survive if you forget you ever lived a normal life At that moment in that room she realises that the camp is not just a place where she happens to find herself, it has become the condition of her body and soul. , During those few days and nights, pain had moved into S as if into its own house She felt occupied A previously unknown illness had entered her and was now eating away at her S could not imagine that a man s body could do such damage to a woman, that it was so powerful, so unfairly overpowering that a woman had no defence against such force.She wonders what else she will have to give up and what is the minimum of things with which one can survive without losing the feeling that one is human She is awake Again she thinks about fear Until then, she had not been aware of fear, she had been convinced that she did not feel fear, not even when they had taken the group of men out from the gym, or when she had heard the burst of gunfire She listens She knows now that fear is the absence of all emotion, it is emptiness, it is as if your whole body is drained of blood all at once.A refugee is someone who has been expelled from somewhere but does not go anywhere because they have nowhere to go.Her body lies in the bed like an inanimate object, an emptied bellow or shopping bag Nothing has changed with her departure from the camp Her body is still in their power, even so now Only now does S understand that a woman s body never really belongs to the woman It belongs to others to the man, the children, the family And in wartime to soldiers.