by Nermin Hamzagić (2009)

The boomerang generation

Whenever I have doubts about the meaning and purpose of art, I recall the siege of Sarajevo, because in those days, it was that gave us the meaning and the purpose. When by going to theatre performance, concert or film screening, one felt as a civilised human being nobody and nothing could ever destroy. If, in those days, someone told me that, fifteen years after the war, people would be beaten because they express their feelings and views through art, I wouldn’t have believed it.

Samir and Amir, members of the hip-hop group ‘As Dreamers’, belong to the generation that hardly remembers a ‘normal’ world. Born in Hajvazi near Kalesija, they were six when the war broke out, they experienced displacement, while, after the war, they have been faced with an incredible injustice and aberration of social values. They have, therefore, been victims of the violation of human rights from the moment they were born. Through hip-hop, they have been trying to express their rebellion, their dissatisfaction, and their emotions, and then, someone in the position of power comes and beats them up.

That coincided with the moment when, in Sarajevo, the theatre director Haris Pašović decided to stage the production of ‘Class Enemy’, a play that warns us of the boomerang of ubiquitous immorality and the lack of awareness that comes back to us who belong to this generation of abandoned and uncared-for youngsters – and it hits us right into our heads. Pašović has invited Amir Muminović and Samir Karić to join his company. Since then, the production has toured around the world.

In the documentary directed by Nermin Hamzagić, who also belongs to the ‘boomerang’ generation, art is reality and reality is art. Life is transposed into theatre while theatre is turned into life. In this powerful, generational expression, we have an opportunity to hear the voices of young people who are the victims of the past mistakes, but who are strong and lucid enough to embark with dignity upon their path to a better future.

‘Dreamers’ has reminded me of the role played by art in our lives during the siege of our City, and instilled in me a new hope in the meaning of our world and the purpose of art.

Aida Begić-Zubčević