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Lidija Pisker

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
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About Lidija
Freelance journalist covering human rights and everything in between. I have worked with The Guardian, BBC, Euronews, Open Democracy, France 24, Center for Investigative Reporting (CIN) Sarajevo and Radio Free Europe. I currently contribute to NewsMavens, OZY and Equal Times.
Bosnian English Croatian
Video Package (Web / Broadcast) Vox Pop Feature Stories
Politics Technology Science & Environment

Afan, between asphalt and grass

05 Jul 2024  |  OBC Transeuropa
Afan Abazović, a tour guide from Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, has successfully transformed his city into an attractive tourist destination by highlighting its socialist architectural heritage and natural beauty. Despite initial skepticism, Afan's tours, such as 'Socialist Zenica,' have gained popularity among international tourists. His passion for tourism, rooted in his childhood explorations, has led to the creation of Afantour, Zenica's first mountain guide business. Afan's efforts are supported by the Thomson Foundation and the European Union, aiming to further promote Zenica's cultural and industrial heritage.

Soundbar Best Soundbars Under $200 – Each One Is Worth Every Penny!

04 Apr 2024  |  newsmavens.com
The article discusses the importance of soundbars in enhancing the audio experience in households. It emphasizes the role of soundbars in improving voice clarity and overall sound quality. The article appears to be a guide or a review, focusing on the best soundbars under $200, the best soundbars without subwoofers for the year 2024, and the best soundbars for music in 2023. It suggests that while aesthetics are often considered in sound system design, the primary focus should be on sound quality to ensure an immersive listening or watching experience.

Bosnia and Herzegovina's mysterious 'stećci' stones

04 Apr 2024  |  bbc.com
The article by Lidija Pisker explores the cultural and historical significance of 'stećci', medieval tombstones found across Bosnia and Herzegovina. These stones, numbering over 60,000, are adorned with various motifs and inscriptions that offer insights into medieval life in the region. The stećci, which have been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, reflect a blend of Eastern and Western influences and are associated with various religious groups that coexisted during medieval times. The article discusses the theories regarding the creators of stećci, the efforts to claim them by different ethnic groups, and their representation in Bosnian culture and identity. It also highlights contemporary artists and initiatives that draw inspiration from stećci, as well as the challenges in preserving these historical monuments. The article underscores the importance of stećci in understanding Bosnia and Herzegovina's past and fostering a sense of national pride.

Even a weekend in Split makes it easy to see why Roman emperor Diocletian wanted to retire there

04 Apr 2024  |  theculturetrip.com
The article describes the various attractions and activities in Split, Croatia, highlighting its historical and cultural significance. It mentions Diocletian's Palace, a retirement residence for the Roman emperor Diocletian, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the city's most visited attraction. The article also talks about experiencing traditional Dalmatian music, hiking up Marjan Hill, exploring the Varoš neighborhood, rubbing the toe of the Gregory of Nin statue for luck, people-watching on the Riva promenade, relaxing at Bačvice Beach, playing the local game picigin, and visiting the Green Market. Additionally, it suggests visiting the Jaman Art Gallery to see works by local artist Danijel Jaman. The article serves as a guide for tourists to enjoy a weekend in Split, emphasizing the city's beauty and the variety of experiences it offers.

Young men and women across the region are joining clubs to learn how to rewrite long-held rules in favor of respect and nonviolence.

31 Aug 2023  |  tol.org
The article discusses the 'Be a Man' program initiated by Care International Balkans in the Balkans to promote gender equality and nonviolence among youth. The program, which began in 2006, operates through 'Be a Man' clubs where young people engage in discussions and activities to challenge traditional gender norms and prevent violence. The clubs, run by a network of civil society organizations, collaborate with local schools and use social networks to recruit members and raise awareness. The program's curriculum, based on the 'Y Program' developed by Care International Balkans and modeled after Brazil's Program H, covers various topics including gender equality, bullying, and sexual health. The article highlights the positive impact of the program on young people's attitudes and behaviors, as well as the challenges of integrating the program into formal education systems and addressing cultural differences among club members. The journalist, Lidija Pisker, provides insights into the program's development, its achievements, and the personal stories of individuals who have been positively affected by their participation.

Albania's Bunkers: From Relics of a Communist Past to Modern-Day Cultural Icons

05 Apr 2023  |  euronews
The article discusses the transformation of bunkers in Albania, originally commissioned by communist leader Enver Hoxha, into various commercial and cultural spaces. Kujtim Roçi, an Albanian hotel owner, converted a bunker into a successful beach bar, restaurant, and hotel. The bunkers, once intended for military defense, never served their original purpose and have found new life post-communism. The capital's Bunk'Art museum, operated by the Albanian association Qendra Ura, has become a popular tourist attraction. Despite some political resistance to glorifying the country's communist past, initiatives like the Treffpunkt Bunker project and proposals by architect Arnen Sula suggest repurposing bunkers for economic and cultural benefits, including indoor farming, cinemas, and exhibition spaces.

Senior citizens in Bosnia and Herzegovina are turning to art and design to escape poverty

05 Apr 2023  |  euronews
The article discusses how senior citizens in Bosnia and Herzegovina, such as Meliha Bičo Družić and Mirsad Šišić, are turning to art and design to supplement their meager pensions and escape poverty. Meliha decorates and sells umbrellas, while Mirsad sells his paintings and teaches art classes. The article highlights the financial struggles faced by many pensioners in the country, with two-thirds living on minimum payments and the average pension being low. A protest in Sarajevo called for higher pensions and better social and health care. The article also features Zdena Šarić, who restores old furniture and sells it online, finding joy and a sense of purpose in her work. The local art gallery run by the

Bosnia’s intriguing dessert made by 12 hands

05 Apr 2023  |  bbc.com
The article by Lidija Pisker, a features correspondent, explores the cultural significance of ćetenija, a traditional Bosnian dessert. Azemina Ahmedbegović, a Bosnian woman, recalls her childhood memories of social gatherings called sijelo, where friends and family would come together to make ćetenija. The dessert requires teamwork to pull sugar dough through roasted flour, creating a wool-like paste. Ahmedbegović now lives in Gračanica and has introduced ćetenija to her friends and colleagues, who were unfamiliar with it. She also organizes public performances of ćetenija-making through the women's association 'Gračaničko keranje'. Cultural association '4T' and Bosniak Cultural Community Preporod Zenica are other organizations that preserve this tradition through public events and competitions. The article also touches on the romantic aspects of ćetenija-making in the past and the challenges faced due to a lack of governmental support in promoting Bosnia's cultural heritage.

An Illegal Museum in Rome: A Sanctuary for Art and Life

05 Apr 2023  |  Atlas Obscura
The Museo dell’ Altro e dell’ Altrove di Metropoliz (MAAM) is an art space in Rome created within a former salami factory that is now home to around 200 inhabitants, including migrants and local Roma families. The museum, which started after the occupation of the abandoned factory in 2009, exhibits over 500 artworks donated by more than 300 artists worldwide. Italian artist Giorgio De Finis played a significant role in developing the museum, which serves as a cultural hub and a home for its residents. Despite the threat of eviction by the building's owner, Salini Impregilo, and the ongoing lawsuit, the inhabitants and De Finis hope the recognition of MAAM's cultural value will protect them. The museum opens to visitors only on Saturdays, and its existence is seen as a defense against potential demolition and replacement by commercial developments.

Ajvar: The vegan 'caviar' of the Balkans

05 Apr 2023  |  bbc.com
The article discusses ajvar, a popular Balkan vegetable spread made from roasted red peppers, and its cultural significance in the region. Melisa Hasanspahić, a Bosnian entrepreneur, has built a business around producing ajvar, which has sparked debates over its national origin, with countries like Serbia, North Macedonia, and Kosovo all laying claim to it. The spread is a source of pride and comfort, symbolizing family, love, and nostalgia, especially among Balkan expatriates. Ajvar is also gaining popularity in northern Europe and is recognized for fitting into modern dietary trends, being vegan, gluten-free, and suitable for vegetarians. The article highlights how regional tourism companies and restaurants are incorporating ajvar into their offerings to cater to the growing demand for vegan and organic food.

The source of artisanal creativity is a click away

05 Apr 2023  |  culture360.asef.org
Lidija Pisker discusses the Homo Faber Guide, a digital platform created by the Michelangelo Foundation to promote and connect master craftsmanship. The Guide features artisans, ateliers, museums, and galleries, and offers interactive content such as profiles, curated lists, and guided tours. It began with a European focus but has expanded to Asia and South America. The platform has profiled over a thousand artisans and offers benefits such as increased visibility and client connections for featured craftsmen. The article highlights the importance of supporting artisans, especially post-Covid, and the Guide's role in changing perceptions of craftsmanship. The Homo Faber event, which inspired the Guide, continues to be held in Venice, promoting excellence in craftsmanship.

Slovenia's Experience with Independence: Parallels and Lessons for Catalonia

05 Apr 2023  |  euronews.com
The article discusses the emotional and political parallels drawn between Slovenia's independence from Yugoslavia and the recent independence efforts in Catalonia. Slovenian President Borut Pahor and citizens like Ana Marinič express emotional support for Catalonia, recalling Slovenia's own path to independence. However, experts like Ivana Boštjančič Pulko and Aleš Lampe caution against direct comparisons, noting differences in democratic contexts and legal frameworks for self-determination. The article also references the high turnout in Slovenia's independence referendum compared to Catalonia's and touches on the ideological shifts in Slovenia's political landscape, as observed by philosopher Slavoj Žižek and PhD researcher Anže Dolinar. The piece suggests that the experience of independence in Yugoslavia may offer lessons for the current situation in Catalonia.

Rome’s Accidental Lake Becomes a Symbol of Community and Resistance

16 Jul 2021  |  atlasobscura.com
The article recounts the accidental creation of Lago Ex SNIA, a lake in Rome, which formed when a construction crew hit an aquifer while excavating for an underground parking lot. The site was intended to be a modern shopping center and business complex, but the project was abandoned due to the flooding. The lake, located in the Pigneto neighborhood, has become a symbol of environmentalism and community activism, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic when it served as a refuge for locals. Despite being declared a natural monument, most of the area remains privately owned and at risk from development. The lake has inspired artists and activists, and efforts continue to protect the entire site. Environmentalist Miriam Tola has highlighted the lake as a 'cosmopolitical commons,' emphasizing the community's connection to the environment.

Face à l’impasse des négociations d’adhésion à l’UE, les jeunes de Bosnie cherchent leur propre chemin vers l’Europe

16 Nov 2020  |  equaltimes.org
The article discusses the challenges faced by the 'Dayton generation' in Bosnia and Herzegovina, who are considering leaving the country due to its complex political system, economic stagnation, and lack of opportunities. The Dayton Peace Accords, which ended the Bosnian War in 1995, established a complicated political structure that has contributed to the country's difficulties. High youth unemployment, bureaucratic hurdles for business, and lower wages compared to other European countries are driving the youth to emigrate. The article also touches on the divisive education system and the potential for political and economic reforms. The brain drain is a significant concern, with the country losing both skilled labor and economic potential. The possibility of EU integration is seen as a potential solution, but the current political system is a major obstacle to this path.

The Dayton Generation: Bosnia and Herzegovina's Youth Facing a Future Abroad

16 Nov 2020  |  equaltimes.org
The article discusses the challenges faced by the 'Dayton generation' in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), particularly focusing on the steep population decline and the emigration of young, educated individuals. It highlights the complex political system imposed by the Dayton Peace Agreement, which has led to a decentralized government and difficulties in areas such as healthcare and education. The article features personal stories of young Bosnians like Amila Omanović and Nermin Mameledžija, who express their frustrations with the system and their intentions to seek better opportunities abroad. It also touches on the economic factors driving emigration, such as high youth unemployment and low wages, and the potential impact of BiH's EU membership aspirations. The article suggests that without significant changes, BiH will continue to face a brain drain and political stagnation.

A ćetenija e a tradição de conectar pessoas na Bósnia e Herzegovina

17 Apr 2019  |  terra.com.br
O artigo descreve a tradição bósnia de fazer 'ćetenija', uma sobremesa tradicional, durante o inverno. Azemina Ahmedbegović relembra como a preparação da ćetenija era um evento social em sua infância, envolvendo amigos e familiares. A receita requer trabalho em equipe e é um símbolo de conexão social. Embora a tradição tenha sido substituída pela televisão e internet em muitas casas, ainda há quem a mantenha viva. Ahmedbegović ensina a receita em Gračanica e organiza festivais públicos. Outras organizações, como a associação cultural 4T e a Preporod Zenica, também promovem a ćetenija. O artigo menciona a falta de reconhecimento internacional da sobremesa e a necessidade de esforço para preservar a identidade cultural bósnia.

If you are a young girl who has just won a beauty pageant, marrying a rich man is your next step. At least this is what the Nova TV network implied during an interview with the winner of the Miss Bulgaria 2018 beauty contest.

People using social media to criticize government propaganda is usually a positive thing. But justified criticism of a disinformation campaign in Serbia was too often mixed with sexist and misogynist attacks.

Cuando la política entra en territorio de la lingüística

01 Oct 2018  |  equaltimes.org
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, cigarette boxes carry the anti-smoking warning 'Smoking kills' in the country's three official languages. Despite the translation being identical across the languages, the Serbian version is distinct as it is written in Cyrillic script. This reflects the linguistic diversity of the country, where multiple languages coexist, and the need for public health messages to be accessible to all citizens.

Bosnia’s ‘three-in-one’ recipe: How politics shaped the linguistics of a nation

01 Oct 2018  |  Equal Times
The article discusses the unique linguistic situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), where the same language, formerly known as Serbo-Croatian, is now officially recognized as three separate languages: Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian. This has led to a complex system of public administration, broadcasting, and education, where documents and broadcasts are produced in all three languages. Vesna Smital, a proofreader at BHRT, navigates the subtle differences between these languages in her work. The article traces the origins of this linguistic division to the breakup of Yugoslavia and the subsequent nationalist movements. It also touches on the educational segregation in BiH and the political debates surrounding the languages. Despite the divisions, many linguists and civil society members argue that these are variants of a single language, as evidenced by the Declaration on the Common Language. The article concludes with a note of hope that new, more inclusive linguistic norms might help bridge the divisions.

Bosnia’s ‘three-in-one’ recipe

01 Oct 2018  |  equaltimes.org
The article discusses the unique linguistic situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), where the same language, once known as Serbo-Croatian, is now officially recognized as three separate languages: Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian. This has led to a complex system of public administration, broadcasting, and education, where documents and broadcasts are produced in all three languages. Vesna Smital, a proofreader at BHRT, navigates these linguistic nuances daily. The fragmentation of the language was a result of nationalist movements post-Yugoslavia's war in the 1990s, aiming to establish distinct national identities. The article also touches on the political and educational implications of this division, including the 'two schools under one roof' system that segregates students ethnically. Despite the political insistence on linguistic differences, many experts and linguists argue that these are variants of one language, as evidenced by the Declaration on the Common Language initiative. The article suggests that there is hope for overcoming these divisions, as seen in the more inclusive approach of the updated Bosnian language orthography norm by Professor Senahid Halilović.

Bosnians are increasingly turning to running to improve their health, lose weight and beat stress. In the process, they’re breaking barriers and trying to correct a growing health crisis in the country.

How women in the Balkans are using social media to fight sexism

04 Sep 2018  |  openDemocracy
The article discusses the issue of sexism and online harassment faced by women in the Balkans, particularly in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and Serbia. It highlights the case of Bosnian science journalist Jelena Kalinić, who received a sexist message from writer Goran Samardžić. The incident sparked a wider conversation about sexism in the region, with many women using social media to fight back. Bosnian journalist Masha Durkalić and others are actively engaging in online discussions and educational campaigns to address gender stereotypes and promote gender equality. The article also mentions initiatives like zeneBiH, an online campaign to educate about notable Bosnian women, and the work of feminist organizations like Autonomni ženski centar in Serbia, which launched an online campaign against violence in young people's relationships.

The Portuguese village of giant boulders

04 Sep 2018  |  www.bbc.com
The article explores the unique characteristics of Monsanto, a village in Portugal known for its homes built under, on, and between giant granite boulders. Monsanto has been preserved as a living museum due to building restrictions and is listed as one of the 12 official Historical Villages of Portugal. The village's history includes occupations by Romans, Visigoths, Arabs, and construction by the Templars. Local traditions such as the creation of marafona dolls and the annual Festa da Divina Santa Cruz de Monsanto are highlighted. The article also touches on the modernization of the village, with some residents moving to less rocky areas and others transforming their homes into businesses for tourism. The concern for the historical part of the town dying off is mentioned, but there is hope that tourism will help preserve it.

An Italian government initiative to get citizens to report suspicious content they find online to a web portal drew global attention. But that’s only one element of a broader battle playing out in the country.

Monument to the Revolution of the People of Moslavina at Podgarić

10 Jul 2018  |  Equal Times
The article discusses the growing interest in 'spomeniks', anti-fascist memorials from the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Donald Niebyl, a biologist by day and a researcher by night, has created the Spomenik Database, an online platform documenting these monuments. The article covers the history of spomeniks, their design by prominent Yugoslav architects, and their varying fates post-Yugoslavia's breakup. While some have been destroyed or neglected, others are preserved or finding new life through tourism and cultural events. The Museum of Modern Art in New York is set to exhibit Yugoslav architecture, including spomeniks. The article also touches on the political reluctance in Croatia to engage with the country's communist past, as seen in the lack of support for a documentary on spomeniks by Croatian filmmaker Irena Škorić.

In the former Yugoslavia, tourism is reigniting an interest in the concrete legacies of the anti-fascism struggle

10 Jul 2018  |  equaltimes.org
The article discusses the growing interest in the spomeniks, anti-fascist memorials from the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Donald Niebyl, a biologist by day and a researcher by night, has created the Spomenik Database and authored a book on these monuments. The spomeniks, designed by prominent Yugoslav architects, were initially built to commemorate WWII victims and celebrate socialism. However, after Yugoslavia's dissolution, many were destroyed or neglected, seen as reminders of a communist past. Despite this, there's a resurgence of interest, with exhibitions like MoMA's 'Toward a Concrete Utopia' and tours organized by researchers like Richard Morten. The article also touches on the local initiatives to preserve these monuments, such as Irena Škorić's documentary 'Unwanted Heritage' and the OK Fest music festival held near the Tjentište monument in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Can Italy make room for its two-wheeled road users?

05 Apr 2018  |  Equal Times
The article discusses the issue of road safety for cyclists in Italy, highlighting the deaths of Valentina Proietti Nicolai and Michele Scarponi as examples of the dangers faced by cyclists due to inadequate infrastructure. It compares Rome's lack of bike paths to other European cities and cites statistics on cycling accidents in Italy. The article covers the efforts of Italian bike activists and organizations like FIAB to demand better road safety measures and infrastructure. It also touches on the cultural preference for cars in Italy, the country's high car ownership rates, and the initiatives in some Italian cities to improve cycling conditions. The article ends with a note on the Italian government's adoption of the Framework Law on Cycling Mobility and the potential impact of the draft EU Cycling Strategy on cycling infrastructure and safety in Italy.

Can Italy make room for its two-wheeled road users?

05 Apr 2018  |  equaltimes.org
The article discusses the issue of road safety for cyclists in Italy, highlighting the deaths of Valentina Proietti Nicolai and Michele Scarponi as examples of the dangers faced by cyclists due to inadequate infrastructure. It compares Rome's lack of bike lanes to other European cities and cites statistics on cycling accidents in Italy and Denmark. The article covers the efforts of Italian cycling activists and organizations like FIAB to demand better road safety measures and infrastructure. It also mentions the informal actions taken by cyclists to create their own bike lanes and planned protests for cycling rights. The article touches on the progress in some Italian cities like Ferrara and Pesaro, which have become more bike-friendly, and discusses the potential impact of the Italian Senate's Framework Law on Cycling Mobility and the draft EU Cycling Strategy on improving cycling infrastructure and safety in Italy.

More and more people are beginning to stand up for the rights of animals in the countries of the former Yugoslavia.

30 Nov 2017  |  euronews.com
The article by Lidija Pisker discusses the growing movement for animal rights and veganism in the Balkans, focusing on activities in Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosovo. It highlights the challenges faced by activists in a region where meat and dairy consumption is culturally ingrained and where animal rights are not a priority. The article features Croatian activist Robert Međugorac, who runs the website Oslobođenje životinja and organizes public debates on animal rights, and Bosnian lawyer and PETA campaigner Maida Šabeta, who is fighting against the fur farming industry. It also mentions Elza Ramadani, a vegan from Kosovo, who promotes a vegan lifestyle through personal example rather than public activism. The article suggests that while the vegan community is growing, progress is slow and the future of the movement in the Balkans is uncertain.

Musicans battle to conserve a century of tradition as the world that fostered it disappears around them.

17 Nov 2017  |  euronews
The article discusses the plight of the Zenica Brass Band in Bosnia, which is struggling to survive amidst the decline of the steel industry that once supported it. Established 91 years ago, the band has been a cultural staple through various historical periods, including World War II, the socialist era of Yugoslavia, and the Bosnian war. However, post-communist governments have not provided support, and the band now faces dire circumstances as the Zenica Steel Mill, under the ownership of Arcelor Mittal, is nearing bankruptcy. The band, which has 28 members aged between fourteen and seventy-six, lacks a rehearsal space and financial support. Despite these challenges, the band members are determined to continue their tradition, especially the May 1 reveille, which holds significant emotional value for the local community.

The Museum That's Also a Home for Hundreds of Squatters

11 Oct 2017  |  theguardian.com
The Museo dell’Altro e dell’Altrove di Metropoliz, also known as Maam, is an unconventional museum located in Rome that doubles as a home for 200 squatters, including 80 children. This museum, which originated from a former salami factory, was transformed into a living art space by curator Giorgio de Finis in 2011. It now features contemporary art by over 300 artists worldwide, with themes often reflecting the experiences and challenges of the residents, such as discrimination and xenophobia. The museum, which operates without a budget, is open to visitors only on Saturdays and has become a significant contemporary art venue in Rome.

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