Saturday, March 13, 2010

Bosnia -again-

I wrote about Bosnia before and this post is one of the most read on this blog (thanks to webstats). And of course, there is much more to find on berets and Bosnia; most of it doesn't make very pleasant reading though. 

The Basque beret was indeed a symbol for the intellectual elite in multi-cultural Bosnia, but dominant among the Muslim (Bosniak) population. 
For the intellectuals it signified culture, 'belonging to Europe', affiliations with writers and artists; for the Muslims there was a more practical reason: when the communists came into power after 1945, the traditional Muslim fez was not outright banned, but it's use was very much discouraged (to say the least). 

Bosnian Muslims, not known for religious fundamentalism, adopted the Basque beret as a practical hat to cover their heads, suitable while performing prayers and the added bonus of keeping the Partisans happy (the beret was, of course, a partisan-symbol as well) and the percentage of Partisans among Muslims was the highest in Bosnia during WWII.  

These days, after the Yugoslav wars of the 1990's, the fez made a return in Bosnia, but still, many Bosnians (Muslim, Croats and Serbs) stay faithful to the beret. 

No comments:

Post a Comment