Bosnia’s stand-ups jest about genocide

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A SREBRENICA widow is asked to identify her husband’s body. It is not the most promising start to a joke, but Navid Bulbulija, sipping Coca-Cola outside a café in Sarajevo, less than two minutes’ walk from the city’s Srebrenica Massacre Memorial Museum, continues anyway.

“The problem is that the mass grave that’s been excavated only contained the men’s lower halves,” the stand-up, a devout Muslim, says. “The woman is led from body bag to body bag and presented with the remains in each. ‘That’s not him. That’s not him. That’s not him,’ she says. ‘And this guy’s not even from Srebrenica!’” It elicits a groan from your correspondent. Mr Bulbulija shrugs. “There is a reason I don’t tell it on stage,” he says.

Mr Bulbulija does not consider himself to be a particularly political comedian. He claims that the governance of Bosnia and Herzegovina is so absurd in and of itself—he cites the country’s three-person, three-ethnicity presidency, where the chair rotates every…Continue reading

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