Last summer I was doing a workshop with some Bosnian kids in
Chicago and they got free lunches from the city in these little white boxes. Not
good lunches, but edible. Many of the kids would take the part of the lunch they
wanted, like the chips or the apple, and toss the sandwich. When Z., the
director of the center, saw this she had them retrieve all still-wrapped food
from the trash and gathered it together to send home. Then she delivered an
impassioned lecture to them which I understood only the tone of and a few
disconnected words. One word that did jump out was, haram, an Arabic word
originally that means "forbidden" as in sinful, immoral ... Throwing away food
is haram. After the kids had gone home Z. told us that worst thing about being
in Sarajevo during the war was the hunger of the children. Her daughter once
waited most of the day in line for a spoonful of jelly. Her son would wake up in
the middle of the night and say he was hungry and she would say there is
nothing. Then he would get up in the morning and say that he was hungry and she
would answer that there was nothing. It was the worse thing you could do to
children and the worse thing you could do to parents. It was the worst kind of
haram. When her daughter got sick they were allowed to leave Sarajevo and went
to Vienna where they lived in a detention camp. Her daughter decided she would
eat nothing but chocolate, to cure herself from starvation. When she and
Z. were seen by an Austrian doctor, he said that she must not be a very good
mother to let her daughter eat nothing but chocolate. This, Z. said, was
evidence that the world can be divided into those people who understand what is
haram and those who do not.
A Bosnian woman told me a story about
> -----Original Message-----
> From: ef
Thursday, January 11, 2001 11:54 AM
> To: email@example.com
Subject: back in budapest
> i am now back in budapest...
the fleas are gone and we are still
> working on the fucking lice... i
sport various ablutions
> have a lot of conflicting emotions...
especially about the way
> the parents blackmail me with the happiness of
> worked too... though i was very aware of why i let
> manipulated that way. the little cracks or handholds that i
> to the children... things to keep, those... they are
> enough... that i must swallow hard and allow what i
> normally never allow.
> still thinking hard. things
happened, before i left.
> well, this computer, here at
lajos-the-hungarians, truly sucks.
> especially since zoli was here and
ahem, fixed it. did i tell you
> i took zoli out to a restaurant and he
> embarrassed to eat. see, he had never been to a restaurant.
> home they can never afford such things... not even this cheap
hungarian eatery. often they starve cause they give whatever food
is to their kid. zoli said:
> i have to tell you this cause i have
to... if it comes to my kid,
> i will do whatever, lie cheat steal, from
> whomever, he said. if it comes to my kid eating or not, i
> all that. i want you to know, to understand. do you
> yes, i said. i do.
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