< SWITCH ME >
In this Good Reads issue, E&M’s Diána Vonnák shares with you some articles that got her thinking about our continent. Follow her to discover the multiple ways descendants of victims and perpetrators deal with genocide as well as inside some bits of Bosnian literature about the human facets of the war. And make sure you read it till the end, because there you can find an interesting article analysing Maidan and its revolutionary potential, all framed in a personal way.
Diána Vonnák, managing editor
When Bosnia was at war: self-appointed humanitarians in Sarajevo
Recently I had a chance to visit Sarajevo, this incredible city still somewhat scarred by the horrors of an inhumane siege and yet full of the mundane signs of moving on: the smell of coffee, strolling tourists and lazy stray dogs. Those bloody years in the ´90s were my only childhood exposure to the fact that war could happen so close, and ever since it proved to be a returning theme, as I would assume it has for many of my generation. It came as a coincidence, then, that in the recent issue of Asymptote Magazine I came across a letter exchange between Miljenko Jergović and Semezdin Mehmedinović.
Both of them being in the forefront of Bosnian literature they try to get closer to one of the iconic interactions the Anglophone world knows about the war: Susan Sontag's visits and her solidarity with Bosnian people. Jergović recalls Sontag’s visit to his mother, in search for an ‘ordinary resident’ who could give an honest angle to her understanding of the war. Throwing away and thus wasting barely lit up cigarettes by the dozen in the middle of a war-torn city, Sontag acted as an emblem of failed self-appointed humanitarians: she was incapable of turning the war, the object of her amusement and horror, back to what it was - a challenge of empathy where stepping in requires real silence on your side and a readiness to let others’ lives creep into the place of yours.
|Photo: Matthias Ripp; Licence: CC BY 2.0
Love for all
Being in a love relationship can be at times complicated, right? Besides the ups and downs of a "regular" story, those who are in a long-distance relationship may find it way harder to overcome misunderstandings as well as to share nice moments. Broadening the topic,we wanted to go deep inside the feelings and thoughts of a young European couple currently split up into two different places, unveiling their fears, their struggles and their hopes for a future together. E&M's Veronica Pozzi tells the story of Marta and Johannes, an Italian-German couple who have grappled with national stereotypes and modern technology as part and parcel of their relationship.
"I was terribly late. It took me a while to get from my flat to the underground station and the way to get there had been quite weird, featuring a soldier from the German army who paid my bus ticket as I had run out of coins. After getting lost and adding more minutes to my already huge delay, I managed to arrive at the place. And he was there. With his blond hair, drinking a rather big beer. Looking very German indeed. Without taking my eyes off him, I started to talk to an Italian friend, who arranged the evening together, and as I was talking to her (read: very loud and with lots of gestures) I thought I must look truly Italian. And then the show began".
The memories Marta tells us are a strange but clear mixture of funny and sad bits. Her willingness to be abroad brought her to Germany, but she never thought that she was going to be so involved with that country as she is now. She was in that situation when you are not really on the look-out for a new story. But the guy she met there impressed her a lot and the dates that followed made her feel so comfortable, interested and happy that she felt she didn’t want to miss out on him. So, almost two years ago, their relationship started – more as an emotion-driven decision rather than a totally rational one. But here they are, and, in these two years, they have gone through quite a lot.
Photo: Tobias Melzer
An English classic, brimming with Eastern promise
Move over Harry and Sally, there's a far more interesting new pairing in town! E&M's Frances Jackson shares a recipe for a bold and romantic take on the classic Victoria sponge – delicately spiced with cardamom and rose water, sandwiched together with a pistachio and pomegranate cream, and just in time for Valentine's Day.
There is something about cardamom – its dominant, almost mint-like aroma; those citrusy notes, paired with an unexpected sweetness – that transports me, even in the depths of winter, to warmer climes and balmy nights. Rose water, on the other hand, is perfumed opulence, an alluring drop of summer, distilled to perfection in a technique said to have been discovered by Persian physician Avicenna in the 10th century.
Whether you're making this cake for that special someone in your life or as a treat to enjoy with friends, don't stint on the spices: the almond sponge is just a pencil outline, the cardamom and rosewater your colour pigments. The filling too should be positively studded with pistachios and pomegranate seeds, shining like gems in the ermine of the cream. Even if seduction is not on your mind, you'll find few able to withstand the temptation...
|Photo courtesy of Alice Baruffato
Lichtgrenze over Berlin - Alice Baruffato, December 2014
As a part of E&M's commitment to multimedia content, our magazine is glad to announce that the Italian illustrator Alice Baruffato will be sharing with us cartoons drawn exclusively for E&M. She works as an archaeological illustrator but she will be also be contributing specifically to E&M, so stay tuned and enjoy some of the most significant European issues being turned into thought-provoking drawings on a monthly basis. To find out more, E&M's Veronica Pozzi has interviewed her about her work as an archaeological illustrator and her life-experiences in Europe.
Alice Baruffato. If you feel you are already familiar with the name that's because she is not new to E&M. Last November, together with two friends, she wrote this article on her experience as a volunteer at the Berlin Wall. But the months she spent in Germany's capital are not the only European project in which she has participated. In this interview she shares those experiences as well as her personal views on Archaeology in Europe and the related job market.
E&M: Where does your passion for drawing come from? And how have you nourished it throughout the years?
Alice: My parents had a stationery shop. I remember I started drawing when I was a kid: I've always had this passion and, thanks to my parents' shop, I had access to good quality pencils and everything I needed. I took only one drawing course in my life, it was about cartoons but very short. For the rest, I just kept on drawing following my passion and as a self-learner.
IN 31 DAYS