I’ve just finished reading one of the most intriguing and thought-provoking interviews I have read in a really long time. The subject in question is “An Interview with Nihad Hasanović” done by Jasmin Čaušević.
I rarely write about other people’s online writings, and probably never about interviews, but this interview simply brought so much joy and pleasure while reading, and a sort of optimism into the future and mankind itself, that I simply had to write at least a word or two about it.
So who’s Nihad Hasanović? According to the interviewer’s website, he’s a “Bosnian writer, one of the most interesting and intriguing young writers in the space of Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian language”.
As the interview progressed, which consists of five parts, I found Nihad Hasanović a very interesting person with strong opinions and vivid thoughts on life, literature, philosophy and society pretty much identical to my own ideas.
“[Danilo] Kiš was very important also because he encouraged me to think of literature not just as belonging to a particular nationality, nation, ethnicity, but as belonging to humankind.”
This is simply joy to my ears, a wonderful, albeit still somewhat utopian, idea, but nevertheless it’s great to see that the idea of cosmopolitanism is still alive even in these turbulent times of globalization and all those nationalistic, local reactions to it.
The writer is really full of “sugar puffs” (guldkorn) as they say it in Danish; Mr. Hasanović has very interesting, progressive and firm thoughts on literature, language, politics, science, moral and religion. He’s a great opponent to religion and its influence in society: “In a very cunning way religion have usurped the moral and empirical experience that humanity has accumulated over the course of history and pre-history.”
In religion, he sees an evil deed rather than a good one. He mentions the Catholic Church, its Inquisition and all the atrocities and genocide committed in Latin America in its name.
He sees “the suppression of freedom to interpret the Qur’an” and attacks on those who bring humor and satire that involve Islam as a very serious problem, along with Muslim slave-traders in history. Furthermore he mentions Serbian Orthodox Church which had a huge role in shaping Serbian nationalism and chauvinism that later started a dissolution of Yugoslavia and all those bloody wars in the 1990s: “Serbian Church has its hands soaked to an incomparably greater extent with the blood of the last war.”
Anyway, there are many additional interesting themes and areas covered in this lengthy interview such as influence of Latin writers, importance of learning a foreign language, criticism of post-modernism, Bosnian and South Slavic literature, religion, lack of scientific presence in literature, politics and much more.
As I mentioned before, I was overjoyed while reading the interview. I felt almost like reading a good book I didn’t want to end. I will most definitely look forward to reading more about and of this very interesting Bosnian writer and thinker, and I can only thank Jasmin Čaušević for this great interview which should be read by anyone interested in literature, Bosnian and the Balkans affairs, religion and the criticism, science, language, philosophy, moral and just plain humanity and common sense.
A free chapter (in Bosnian) of Hasanović’s new book “O roštilju i raznim smetnjama” (Concerning barbeques and various interludes) can be read at writer's website.