Like this writer, I too was born in Sarajevo. As a youth I had loved books and poetry and longed to be man of letters. However, my fate was to be a clown for the Sultans court. Yet my pain made me all the more amusing to them…
I learned of the unspeakable tragedy that befell my beloved city and it’s people when I awake and I could scarcely believe it: it was as if the calamity from the fall of The Ottoman Empire had reverberated through time to kill so many innocents in that disgraceful genocide.
This man survived, and he is a man of letters. He tells a disturbing story that Bosniak mothers would tell their children: would that mothers would tell their children tales such as these still!
Once upon a time, there was an emperor in Mesopotamia who built a huge labyrinth and called upon a Bedouin emperor from Arabia to visit him. When the Bedouin emperor arrived, he showed him the labyrinth and locked him there to wander. The Bedouin wandered and wandered and finally came out. Asked by the Mesopotamian emperor if he has been delighted by this edifice of his, and whether there was anything in his own empire grander than the labyrinth, the Bedouin replied that there was, promising to show it to him when he came for a visit. after a short while the emperor of Mesopotamia visited Arabia. As is becoming to emperors, he was received by the emperor of Arabia and then taken to the desert. ‘Here is my labyrinth,’ the Bedouin said, leaving him in the middle of the sea of sand. ‘Find the way out and then come and tell me whether there is, besides the miracle of God, any miracle greater than this?’
The miracle of the eternity of the desert has become a metaphor in the Arabic language. No path can be made there, because the wind would soon erase it as if it had not been there. The powerful feeling that overwhelms man there is one of a circle. Wherever he goes, he remains in that circle. The sky is everywhere, powerfully bent on Earth. It is only then that man realises that eternity is the grandest edifice an edifice not made by human hands.
– Enis Karic, ‘Essays On Behalf Of Bosnia’.