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Safeta ObhodjasSafeta Obhodjas

Dzamilla’s Ideal

Veröffentlicht am 01.01.2021

Dear Reader, it is the first story, which I wrote in German. I  translated the story into Bosnian. After that, a group Students in Chicago translated it into English.

Today I put 1. part on my blog in English.


This morning I was to deliver a lecture for the upper level students of the Siblings Scholl Gymnasium. As I was about to enter the room, I instantly noticed a familiar face. Who could have overlooked the dark glistening eyes of my neighbor Dzammila? This unexpected encounter was not exactly pleasant for either one of us. We knew one another well, even though until this very moment, we had barely exchanged few words with each other. Only a small fence separated our backyards in the Wiesenstrasse. Nonetheless, the modest shrubs and flowers that grew there could not prevent us from observing and getting to know one another. Thus, every day I watched Dzammila play in the backyard or at the terrace with her younger siblings. I watched the little ones eagerly make noises and run around ferally. Yet, when her father returned home from work, they would instantly change back into quiet and well-behaved children without him raising his voice. I saw a friendship develop between Dzammila and a neighborhood boy as they exchanged their CD’s and videotapes. If it so happened that Dzamilla’s brother caught them, a grand finale with a slap in Dzamilla’s face would generally conclude this exchange. Also, Dzammila’s mother would intervene loudly and screamingly. Although I was not able to understand her language, nevertheless I could easily guess what she was saying. This little woman seemed to be a good guardian of her tradition and tried to teach Dzammila the virtues of an obedient daughter. I was certain that these were the same orders that I used to hear back then from my Nana and later on even from my mother: “ Girl, shame on you, your skirt is too short! Go and change fast before your father comes back!  Dzammila, where are your siblings? Haven’t I told you that you should be watching them? If they did something again, you’d have to pay dearly for that! Haven’t I told you to come home right away after school?” 

The atmosphere in the neighbor’s family reminded me of my own childhood in a desolate place far away from here in a Bosnian provincial nest. And still it appeared to me that in comparison to my current situation, my childhood was a single sunny oasis. To rid myself of my war experiences and of the recently acquired condition of being a refugee in a foreign country, I started to use my childhood memories as a foundation for new stories.


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