Skip to content

Sarajevo Smog

Farasha Euker

Civilization is uprising, insurrection, revolution; culture is the war of state against state, or of machines against people… Civilization is tolerance, detachment and humor, or passion, anger, revenge; culture is the entrance examination, the gas chamber, the doctoral dissertation and the electric chair; … Civilization is Jesus turning water into wine; culture is Christ walking on the waves; Civilization is a youth with a Molotov cocktail in his hand; culture is the Soviet tank or the L.A. cop that guns him down; Civilization is the wild river; culture, 592,000 tons of cement; Civilization flows; culture thickens and coagulates, like tired, sick, stifled blood.

Edward Abbey, “Desert Solitaire”
The smog covering Sarajevo
is literal and figurative:
Not only does the smog
poison the lungs,
but it poisons the hearts
of the masses.
From the coal miners in Zenica,
who have been suffocated
by capitalism,
to the people of the town
suffocated by coal smoke,
a dark, and foreboding
feeling, hangs over Sarajevo.
Once, perhaps, people were
but now they stare,
hoping to see another
experiencing greater
so they may feel
they are not
the most wretched of the Earth.
we are all,
all over the world,
experiencing great suffering.
The smog hanging over Sarajevo,
both figurative and literal
will soon envelop this
entire planet
due to the careless destruction
of the environment,
and the mechanization
of the modern human.
War is only a faster
version of Fordism,
so the sad faces
adorning Bosnian
soon may
this entire world
a dreary shade of gray.