Presentation of the first book written by journalist and columnist for Al Jazeera Balkans and web-portal BUKA Dragan Bursac took place at the Sarajevo War Theatre ‘SARTR’.
The book of short stories named ‘PTSD Scrapbook’ (‘PTSP spomenar’) was published by the independent publisher ‘Samouprava’.
The idea and contents of the book were discussed by Bursac and his colleagues, Croatian writer and columnist Boris Dezulovic, writer and columnist from Bosnia and Herzegovina Martina Mlinarevic, and poet and script writer Ramiz Huremagic. The discussion was moderated by the journalist and director of the ‘Infohouse’ Foundation Dzenana Aladjuz.
Huremagic, who is also the Director of ‘Samouprava’, explained that the publishing house was not focused on profit, but on helping writers become accomplished artists. “There is no room for fascists, populists and other scum here”, said Huremagic.
He underlined that it was not normal for the people after the war in the early 1990s to continue living as if nothing had happened. Huremagic said that they continued like they had only suffered a three-year-long cold, adding that this would cost us all in the future. Discussing the work of Bursac, who is an avid critic of the authorities in Banja Luka, Huremagic said that Bursac was the voice of conscience - which resulted in his life being in danger on a daily basis. He stressed that everyone needed to follow the example of Bursac and to participate in social and political engagement for the public good. Huremagic described Bursac’s book as a serious book of war writing.
Mlinarevic, who lives in Herzegovina and loudly criticizes Croat representatives in the country, also talked about the experiences of being labelled as a ‘national traitor’ in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She stressed that Bursac and her understood each other the best when it comes to this sort of work. Mlinarevic noted that they are moving targets and face a lot of negative backlash in their daily lives. She described Bursac’s work as the megaphone of everything that the citizens discuss privately, but are afraid of saying out loud. Mlinarevic stressed that the things they wrote about needed to be applied in the everyday life.
Dezulovic, who writes for many regional and Bosnia’s media outlets and is considered a controversial critic of the authorities in all countries of the former Yugoslavia, said that Bursac was the rare type of an honest man who would act in accordance with the same moral code even if he was born and lived in some other time. Dezulovic said that this was not the type of a man one can meet very often, which is why he cherishes their 15-year-long friendship.
Bursac described his motivation for the book, saying that he had many manuscripts and decided to write a book based on them. He stressed that these were not editorials, but intimate confessions of his own PTSD. Bursac said that the entire society in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region suffered from PTSD. He explained that writing the book about his own illness was a healing process.
Bursac concluded that he had dedicated the book to his parents. His father was killed in the war in 1992, while his mother was the one who sent him to treatment for PTSD and she was the one who nurtured this book. “Imagine how sad it is to live your whole life as a Serb, Croat or Bosniak and not to remember that you are human in the first place”, concluded Bursac.