Thursday, July 24, 2008

Funeral for a famous man

We walked out of work and into a funeral today 7/24. Sarajevans gave a grand sendoff to Dr. Adil Zulfikarpasic an intellectual and politician who stood up for Bosnian independence from Serbia and the old Yugoslavian union. He was an ally of Bosnia's first president, Alija Izetbegovic, until in stereotypical Balkan manner they split and he formed another party.
He was also famous for being caught and tortured by Nazi Ustase (Croatian) forced in 1942 and for, in his later years, buying the old Turkish baths near old town and turning them into a cultural center.

And that's where he was laid to rest but not before his casket draped in a cloth marked with Islamic calligraphy and topped with a red fez was moved through the length of the Ferhadija -- the pedestrian walkway through the market in front of the cultural center. Muslims don't have pall bearers. Instead a double row of men lined up along the whole route and passed the casket balanced atop wooden poles from shoulder to shoulder. It is a strain and a labor of love and respect. It was very moving.

In a square on the Ferhadija near the cathedral a giant screen broadcast the burial inside the cultural center to the crowd.

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