Thursday, March 25, 2010

"Zabranjeni" for a Reason

Thursday night was the eve of our final Internal Assessment deadlines, and I spent it in Sarajevo on the set of a Bosnian talk show called Zabranjeni (Forbidden) Forum. I can't say it's similar to Oprah or Jerry Springer or any of the others I'm familiar with. The premise is noble enough: to provide experts and the public a forum through which to discuss pressing but taboo subjects in modern society, but I'd have to say it falls short of its aim. Our question was: Are women the only victims of domestic violence, or to men perpetuate it against women as well? An interesting question, but the memories I'm left with are mostly of an egotistic talk show host, an aching back on the bleachers, Simone in the row ahead leaning against my knees and making it that much harder to sit up straight, the guest who insisted all women have a genetic and identical desire to get married as soon as possible and torture their husbands, and a caller who lamented that his life has been hell since his wife hit him in the forehead with a hammer eight years ago and who now claims he is afraid to take a shower or walk in the dark because she will turn out the lights so soap runs into his eyes or will come up behind him and try to kill him...seriously?!

Talking is always a good first step, but as any UWC student can tell you, it's just a pain in the brain unless someone with real knowledge and capability steps up and suggests a reasonable plan of action. When BiH society is ready to really address these taboo topics to raise awareness and find a solution, I'll rejoice. This time, I had to agree with our university counselor in saying that the only thoughts my mind when we left this forum were, "Oi vei, what a waste of an evening," and "I don't even care...just get me OUT!"

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