Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Mr Writer responds

“Mr Writer, why don't you tell it like it is? Why don't you tell it like it really is? Before you go on home...” Yesterday afternoon, as the Stereophonics sung these words in my ear, I had one of those moments of conscience. Am I guilty of not telling it like it is? Come to think of it do I really know what it is like?

The ‘it’ is probably life in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the land of contradictions that is broadly the subject of this blog; our life and work in Mostar being the particular focus. I am aware, often painfully so, that our life here is nothing like that of a great many of the population. For one, I have a Passport that allows me to live and work around Europe. Bosnian Passport holders need an expensive visa just to visit the UK. Such restrictions affect how you see life’s possibilities.

My brother commented on the video I made of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s World Cup playoff defeat to Portugal that at times I could have been Alan Green. Sometimes I do feel more like a commentator than a player. I’m blogging more about what I’m seeing than what I’m experiencing. Would I want to share the hardships I witness others going through? No I wouldn’t. Does this make me feel selfish and, at times, pampered? Yes it does. And sometimes that bothers me.

Perhaps that’s why the Stereophonics struck a nerve. To tell it like it really is you have to have lived through something with people. The lyric prods at my detachment and places a huge, awkward question mark over it. In a country of many contradictions it seems I have plenty of my own I must resolve or learn to live with.

3 comments:

Postgate said...

Mmmm. Thoughtful.

Sam McGeown said...

It's an interesting dilemma - but I think perhaps it's a little unfair to yourself.

I know for a fact that you aren't in BiH to spectate or for your own gain, you're helping build something worthwhile and contributing to the story,which I think uniquely does qualify you to write about your experience as you see it.

I really wouldn't describe it as a commentary either; you're there affecting change! I'm pretty sure the young people you work with don't think that it's a spectators view. And had you lived through some of the things they have, perhaps you wouldn't be in a position to contribute as much?

Perhaps comparing your life to what people in BiH have been through is unfair - how about comparing yourself to the large majority of the UK population, I'm pretty sure you'll come off better?

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

Know how you feel, but I would echo what Sam McGeown says - you are here, and not just here but living here, as a part of it contributing to the story now. You are a quirk perhaps, but you are definitely part of it.