Friday, October 30, 2009

Bosnia's War Babies

photo credit

OK, OK, I know I don't live in Bosnia, but hey, it's not that far. So I've been interested in the comings and goings of Serbian war criminals from the Hague.

If you are not clear about what went on down there, I highly recommend this painful but informative BBC Radio piece called "Bosnia's War Babies". They've only presented Part 1 (so far), but it gives you a good insight into some of the horrors that were perpetuated there not so very long ago* and how difficult it will be to pursue justice when there are thousands of perpetrators walking free.

*In fact, near enough ago, that I don't understand how anyone could get out on "good behaviour".

Friday, October 23, 2009

Culture Day of Shame

One of my pet slogans for this country is "Slovenia: Underachieving in our Underachievement", and today I was given just another reason why that is.

I went to a friend's house today for a little visit. Her teenage son came into the room and I asked him how school was going. He informed me that today was Cultural Day at school and they'd all gathered in a hall to watch...wait for it.....

Gran (muthaf%&#in') Torino.

If you have not seen this movie, here is a synopsis. Clint Eastwood plays Awful White Supremacist (which is, curiously enough, what he plays in real life too). A nice Asian family (Hmong, to be specific) moves next door. Awful White Racist has a negative interaction with the son of the Asian family. Awful White Racist then takes on the son as a helper and tells him and his family awful racist things. He continues to be awful and racist until someone (probably angry at the incredibly racist, infantile, and horrifically stereotypical way that people of color were depicted in this awful racist film) finally shoots him. The End.

Here is the 2 minute version of the movie

Slovenian School Systems - A Bunch of Dimwitted Underachievers Committed to Churning Out the Next Generation of Underachievement --- For You!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Nora Chipaumire in Ljubljana's City of Women

On Saturday, I took my friend Pat from Zimbabwe into Ljubljana to see a dancer from Zimbabwe. The performance was a shortened lower-fi version of Nora Chipaumire's Chimurenga.I thought it was a little too short, but The Captain thought that 30 minutes was all he could handle. Pat found it very moving, as did I.

Anyway, we met up with Nora (who was gorgeous) afterwards and then this other guy from Zimbabwe showed up and there was this impromptu Zimbabwean lovefest and Pat was teary-eyed since she hadn't seen any other Zimbabweans since she had to flee the country (and landed in Radovljica) a few years back.

Thanks to Mesto Žensk (City of Women) for organizing the event and facilitating the Zimbabwean expat lovefest.

Nora again, because...why not?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Family Ties

Go over to Pengovsky's place for a really great and informative post of the exciting new proposed changes to the Slovenian Family Code. Fingers crossed it goes through and gives me one more thing to make me feel proud of this place (despite its shortcomings).

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Danger of A Single Story

In response to this, but also something to keep in mind when reading this blog.

Thanks for posting this Whitney!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Starck in Slovenia

When I saw world-renowned industrial designer Philippe Starck on the local news the other day, I had to do a double and triple take. What was he doing in Slovenia carousing with Slovenian people? Save for a few bright outliers whom I hold very dear, Slovenia is, sadly, the home of much drab and uninspired design. BUT I guess that will soon change, since Starck, the high-king of all things design, recently announced a partnership with Riko, a company famed for...wait for it, wait for it....pre-fab houses.

Turns out Le Starck is working on environmental and stylish pre-fab houses with the company, and I, for one, would gladly get in line to cop one.

I'll let you know when we get it delivered, and you can swing by and see us here in stylish Slovenia!

Read more about the partnership here.

See his TEDtalk below.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Gaze Or "On Becoming Something The Natives Must 'Get Used To'"

I am trying to formulate some thoughts on something. Some intelligent way to put this.

Some days I don't want to go out at all because I don't want to be looked at. No, well, some days I don't want to go out because I don't want to be gawked at, glared at, so obviously and disrespectfully remarked upon.

When people say they are not racist, I wonder if they know what that means and how they can be so certain of what their gaze says. What it means for their face to turn towards mine, for their eyes to run over my face and my being, with a look of curiosity, annoyance, even disinterest. Those things mean something, those things can sometimes mean the difference between going to the supermarket today or putting it off until tomorrow.

I am amazed how people here will stare, intently like children. When I stare back they just carry on staring, utterly shamelessly, until their eye is finally distracted by some other concern. My eye contact has gotten immeasurably better, steadier, because of this.

The other day my friend, a gorgeous young African girl, told me she went to the doctor's office here, and the doctor walked into the examining room and exclaimed "My God!You are SO DARK!"

Those things, the big and little things, that little line, that mark in the sand, where on one side lies ease, and on the other side sits troubling discomfort.