How I went to cover Bosnia protests in my PJs

Few emptied coffee cups and smoked cigarettes since protests against government in Tuzla broke out, resulting in a cantonal presidency building on fire, in which archives and registers of people were burned and destroyed. So I was considering going to this Bosnian city. It was already Friday when an all night debate with a friend Ksaver took place, of how to put our face at the place quickly as possible. It’s about 500 km of driving distance from Kranj (Slovenia). But as Hunter S. Thompson said wisely “‘A man who procrastinates in his choosing will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance.” So the circumstance was our overwhelming laziness and we postponed our plans for the night.

It was already 3 AM and just seconds before I was about to get under my sheets on a cozy bed, my phone went loud. “What the heck man, I’m not the only one with insomnia-thats inspiring” I thought to myself. It was Žiga-Srdjan Živulović, a man of old school, who should already write a book about his experience as a photographer, covered war in the Balkans, but most of all-he’s a wise and good person. “I have to take this call” I thought. “Hey Matic, I’m going. How much time do you need-lets say we meet in 30 minutes.” “You’re going? Where? Tuzla?” “Yes,see you in half an hour”. Oh sweet Jesus how I missed that adrenaline rushes, where you have no more than few seconds to grab your gear and run. I’ll not mention my suicidal driving to the place of meeting, in case some of you are coppers haha. Well we didn’t meet any on our way from Medvode to Tuzla, so the first stop was at some resting area at the Croatian highway, as I needed to have some important handshakes with my dic(k)tator (to go to piss that is), and that was the moment I realized I’m still wearing my pajamas trousers underneath jeans. Perfect setting for covering potential protests.

At our morning arrival in Tuzla, all things calmed down, we did our vulture-like circles around the building to feel the atmosphere and evaluate the situation. I ordered a long coffee. It was nothing going on at the burned down place. Yet an interesting story was ahead.

1 copy“A man passes the burned building of Tuzla cantonal presidency, in which archives were destroyed by the fire.”

2 copy“Advertisment panel in city of Tuzla with a taped obituary and a sticker advertising a house on sale.”

3 copy“A car destroyed in midst of a protests.”

04 copy“Freshly married couple kisses in the square at the center of Tuzla city.”

Due to approximately 44% of unemployment, people in a nearby village took their fate in their own hands. In order to survive, those among unemployed, go to browse illegaly through a gravel which is being trasfferred on a conveyor about a kilometer of lenght. The material indended for separatation process, travels on a conveyor at the speed of 80 km/h.  Those hardened men, with a hawkseye vison and reflexes of Robert Kristan (amazing slovenian ice hockey goalkeeper), are on a lookout for small pieces of coal mixed with a dumped gravel. Coal is used to warm up the most of rural houses, that their way of earnin some profit as they later sell their “catch”.

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We soon returned back to Tuzla to say hellogoodbye to another friend, Luka Cjuha, who came from Sarajevo to cover the protests and paid for a beer.

Thanks man!

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