Reub's journey

26 October 2010


John came home from Sarajevo yesterday, after a two week stint of travel and teaching.

He is home in Oregon now, this tame place of mist and clouds.

For this trip we traded cameras. However fabulous his Nikon may be, it is heavy and complicated: much more convenient to take along my little pocket-sized Canon. The pictures he took were wonderful and because he has no blog of his own, he is quite willing to let me share them.

Sarajevo is drenched in history, much of it tragic.

A lovely city,

with beautiful buildings

and lots of color.

It is a complicated mixture

with a difficult past.

Traditions are not soon forgotten.

Winston Churchill said, "The Balkans have the tendency to produce more history than they can consume."

Time has not erased the marks of machine guns everywhere.

The glory of the 1984 Winter Olympics is buried beneath structures like this.

How bitter this must be.

In the autumn sunshine of 2010 it is a pleasant place.

However there is no getting away from the blend of beauty and tragedy, the burden of history, the sadness of war, and the hope mixed with despair for the future. There is a word for it, this strange emotional blend: sevdah. It is a term that musicians use in Bosnia to describe their particular kind of music.

Sevdah. We have no word like this back here in the US. None at all.


  1. What a wonderful post. I don't often think about this area of the world and I am glad your husband does whatever he does there, because he helps remind us of the tenacity and pain.

  2. It is a wonderful post. Thanks for sharing this part of the world for us. I know so little of it.

  3. Kerry and John, these pictures make me wish I could go back to Sarajevo.When we were there in, hmmm, was it 1983?, I was not impressed. It was dingy, drab, dirty, not a place you wanted to spend much time in.But John's pictures show a different place - one that has dressed itself up in colorful clothing in spite of the ravages of war.Thanks for sharing!Glad you got home safely, bro!

  4. Kerry thanks for sharing Johns pictures with us. We were together in Bosnia but this pictures show different Sarajevo that I have known - John's pictures are really nice, full of happines and colorfull. But they also remaind me on pain that we all felt in Balkan during this war.

  5. Dear Kerry, the enthusiasm you invested to design this post explains also the energy and inspiration of your husband. Yes, he likes Sarajevo but even more he wants to share his exciting with you. Whatever, we had some great days here and I am sure he would agree with the words of Bosnian writer Derviš Sušić who said: "The land called Bosnia is a poor land which is not worth conquering, and even less worth holding, but it can be endured as friendly".

  6. Spela and Mersudin, Thank you for the open welcome that you showed John when he visited the Balkans this year; this helped form a deep and warm impression of your part of the world, a place that has been hard to understand. I loved his photographs!

    Thank you, too, for visiting Ed & Reub and leaving me such nice comments.


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