The Land, the People, and the Language of Petar Kočić

I will not talk about all the aspects of Petar Kočić, but only about three elements from the life and work of Petar Kočić —the land, the people and the language, and how these three elements show up in his life and work and influence them. »The Bosnia vilayet is crisscrossed in all directions by wild mountains«. With these words  []

Through the Snowstorm

It was already getting dark, and yet they could not sell their cow. Hardly had anyone even looked at them, let alone asked for the price. Not even to joke about it! The old man was deeply saddened by this, and felt a great deal of pain, and had he  any tears left, he would have cried bitterly and despairingly.  []

The Battle of Simeun the Deacon

Stillness. Only the cauldron sizzles, and sometimes a spark bursts, then it scatters and goes numb as if in a rage. A heavy, suffocating smell of oil and incense wafts through the broken church windows and mingles with the tepid brandy odor that rises above the boiling cauldron. Tell me, Mićan – master Glišo shook himself as if in deep  []

Mission Statement

Spirit of Bosnia has been publishing quarterly since 2006. Spirit of Bosnia disseminates scholarly research and writing on the history, politics, and literature of Bosnia-Herzegovina to honor and preserve the long-standing traditions of social and civil order that created Bosnia’s heritage. Notable scholars such as Ivo Banac, Tone Bringa, Robert Donia, John Fine, Ivan Lovrenović, Rusmir Mahmutćehajić, Noel Malcolm and others provide  []

Magic Dead of Winter

For Petr Hruška Short days of a long winter, the sun blinds you worse than in midsummer. On the white snow, dotted with raccoon pawprints, falls the dark shadow of a pine trodden down by my ski tracks from yesterday. Nearby, footprints of a deer—lively traffic—if you can see it. This is no desert, as disparaging city folks claim, it’s  []

The French Cotton

On clear nights, a man can look to his heart’s content at that infinitely long starry way across the sky, so bright and mysterious, that is called Kum’s Hay. There is an ancient story that a kum had stolen some hay from his kum, and as he was carrying it, it started dispersing and leaving its trace after the kum.  []

Being Roma: Impressions of the Book “Cenotaph for the Murdered Roma from Tešanj” by Amir Brka

In April 2022, which today slips away from the being, but not the memory of the human individual, there were several dates of all three monotheistic faiths that rarely occur in exactly one month. Although in Bosnia and Herzegovina, it could be like that every month due to its religious interwinement that is forcibly unraveled by the butchers of Balkan  []

How a German Diplomat Jeopardizes Bosnian Democracy: A Controversial Intervention in the Balkan State’s Recent Elections Risks Empowering Nationalist Extremists

First Published in New Lines Magazine. Before Russia’s latest invasion of Ukraine in February and the ensuing carnage against the country’s civilian population unleashed by Russian occupation forces, it was Bosnia and Herzegovina that held the dubious distinction of witnessing the deadliest war in Europe since 1945. For the nearly 30 years since the conclusion of the Bosnian War, the  []

Letter to Secretary of State Blinken

The Honorable Antony J. Blinken Secretary of State US Department of State 2201 C Street NW  Washington, DC 20520 Dear Secretary of State Blinken, We are writing to express our concern about High Representative Schmidt’s October 2 decision concerning the election law in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as its unsettling political consequences.  By High Representative Schmidt’s own account, his ill-timed  []

A Foucauldian Critique of the Dayton Accords: The Iron Cage of Surreality

The manifest function of the Dayton Accords was to stop the sociocidal war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, a war that was killing the country’s society. The war was unconscionable and immoral bringing deaths and horrific consequences to the lives of many and their communities. The genocide in Srebrenica stood as the ignoble pinnacle of this war, but some argue, and this author  []

Human Rights Plaintiff: US-EU Election Plan for Bosnia Rewards Nationalist Agendas

This essay was originally published in Just Security. The Biden administration and European Union officials are barreling ahead in Bosnia with a politically expedient “fix” for the country’s electoral and political dysfunction. But the result would not only irrevocably damage my country and further undermine stability in the Western Balkans, it also would produce the opposite of one of the  []

I Find it Harder and Harder

to give a final shape to something. Not a single cup I scoop up water in, not a single jug I carry it in attains the balance between full and empty. Today I dare not do anything more than to weed the garden, rake up the words, throw them on the compost, and wait for spring to turn them over.  []

Open Letter to Secretary of State Blinken

August 19, 2022 The Honorable Antony J. Blinken Secretary of State US Department of State 2201 C Street NW Washington, DC 20520 Dear Secretary of State Blinken, First and foremost, we are grateful for the pivotal role of the United States in ending the war and bloodshed in our country and brokering the Dayton Peace Agreement, which has kept peace  []


They‘ve killed our interpreter: who will interpret for us? Who will take us out of this fucking movie when we have no interpreter? When we are deaf to what we hear and blind to what we see even without an interpreter. Translated by Omer Hadžiselimović

Ćamil Sijarić, The Man of Exile

In the year into which we have just been slid, it will pass one hundred years since the birth of the author Ćamil Sijarić. The man of Bijelo Polje, born in a village of Šipovice, from Sandžak, who spent a significant part of his life in Sarajevo. It had been a time before this time when coming from Sandžak or  []


There lies far behind me, more than fifteen years far, my silenced Bosnian childhood. Do I remember? There was a box – a room, and through it was walking a weary thin face, legs in slippers, faded harem trousers, and a gentle devoted look. Mother! From wall to wall, from door to stove, from lunch to dinner, from autumn to  []


The estates in our neighbourhood were renowned for their fields, forests and cattle. Widely known were the arable land, groves, horses and oxen. Everybody could list the possessions of a high standing estate and what counted as its property in the village. Less was known about the other, invisible part of someone’s fortune. It was the possession in ducats, money  []


Working Group for Bosnia and Herzegovina 18 April, 2022 The Honorable Antony J. Blinken Secretary of State US Department of State 2201 C Street NW Washington, DC 20520 Dear Secretary of State Blinken, We are writing to express our concern about recent statements by Gabriel Escobar, US Special Envoy to the Western Balkans, related to electoral and constitutional reform in  []


I got involved with Bosnia on a political level—and emotionally, too. Like many foreigners who went there during the war, I was bewitched by the country, horrified by what was happening, and fast became obsessed by playing my little part in righting such a huge and glaring wrong. It may sound rather twee to put it like this, but looking  []


For Mak Dizdar Just as Tibetan nomads choose their headman by a throw of dice in which the one who loses the gamble wins, it’s fallen to me to continue to wait for the Bogumils after you. So that there is always someone who will go out to meet them in the language they understand. Every day I open the  []