Jasmina Tesanovic

Jasmina Tesanovic is an author, filmmaker, and wandering thinker who shares her thoughts with BoingBoing from time to time. Email: politicalidiot at yahoo dot com. Blog: jasminatesanovic.wordpress.com.

World War One: on the peculiar geopolitics of passionate, armed teenagers


On 28 June 1914, Gavrilo Princip assassinated in Sarajevo the Austrian Archiduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria (heir to the throne) and his wife Sofia. This act allegedly triggered the World War One.

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We visited Ukraine's Palace of Corruption

Jasmina Tesanovic ventures into the “Palace of Corruption” where deposed Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych partied and gloried in graft while the #Euromaidan raged on his doorstep. Tesanovic was in Serbia when Milosevic was deposed, and she reflects on the careers of post-Soviet dictators.

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Sorrow in the Balkans

Jasmina Tesanovic on the recent floods drowning the Balkan region, in which, it seems the sorrow never stops.

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Hacker Hymn [Jasmina Tesanovic]

Recently I saw a movie on the life and death of Aaron Swartz, who is nowadays often called a martyr for the freedom of the Internet.

People, nations and governments like martyrs. They love them, they need them. Martyrs are part of our bipolar, black and white society constructed from good and bad guys, who always do good and bad deeds. Martyrs are those who have escaped our human condition, of being judged by people as people. Martyrs are beyond judgement, they become the scapegoats for our biggest failures, for the banality of evil, as Hannah Arendt phrased it.

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Berlusconi's "decadenza"


Silvio Berlusconi, 77, speaking to supporters in Rome on Wednesday. Tony Gentile/Reuters.

[Editor's Note: Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has been expelled from Italy's senate after two decades in government.]

My American friend wrote me this morning: How does it feel to live, free of Berlusconi? Are the people of Italy rejoicing in the streets?

Here in Turin, the news was hardly noticed, because although it is good news, it is also old news. It was expected, a fully foreseen turn of events, part of the long goodbye of an Italian ruler who came in power in distant 1994 and is still clinging to authority with all his histrionic might.

Italian politics have never lacked for stage histrionics, but Berlusconi is very likely the most ridiculous Italian state leader ever. Beppe Grillo, the leader of the opposition Five Star Movement, is a television comedian, but Grillo is the picture of sobriety and decency compared to Berlusconi.

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Syria/Serbia

Writer, filmmaker, and “humanitarian bombing” survivor Jasmina Tesanovic reflects on the similarities between the war she experienced, and the strikes proposed by the United States against Syria.

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Cyberpunk Academy

Authors Jasmina Tesanovic and Bruce Sterling attended Republika, a three-day seaside meeting of futurists and forward-thinkers, organized in part by Share Cyberpunk Academy. About a hundred activists, artists, and tech experts gathered in Croatia to meet and speak to attendees from around the world. Jasmina shares her account of the gathering here, a portion of which took place on a historic boat.

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Airport as a Homeland: Snowden

Writer Jasmina Tesanovic lost her homeland in The Yugoslav Wars, and says she can relate to the statelessness of Edward Snowden, who is seeking asylum while waiting in a no-mans-land at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport.

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Kafka and d'Annunzio, and the mysteries to be revealed in their former homes

There is something perverse and voyeuristic about visiting the private homes of famous people. Yet, as time goes by, I find the grand fame of public figures less interesting than their personal doings.

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Ants and Stars: Bruce Sterling and Jasmina Tesanovic visit the Sardinia Radio Telescope in Italy

Writers Jasmina Tesanovic and Bruce Sterling visit the Sardinia Radio Telescope, a large, fully steerable radio telescope currently which was recently completed near San Basilio, in province of Cagliari in Sardinia, Italy.

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Milan Wired Next


Photo: Jasmina Tesanovic

The Golden Quadrilateral in today's Milan is composed of haute couture shops, jewelry emporia, and nouveau riche tourists. It's the geographic square that once sheltered the novelist Alessandro Manzoni, the composer Giuseppe Verdi, the physicist Albert Einstein, the socialite Clara Maffei. Severe battles raged for days in these streets as the riotous Milanese struggled to expel their Austrian imperial occupiers. Nowadays the blood-soaked alleys of the nineteenth century are luxurious windowfronts where bored, dolled-up sales girls loll inside, among the vidcams and the cybernetic security systems.

In this same Milanese downtown, a failed bank has been retrofitted into a hallucinatory five-star hotel: chandeliers like horror movie infestations, crooked plastic arm chairs in a nauseous green, tortuous, polka-dotted corridors that lead nowhere, and a psychedelic swimming-pool installation that might drown Olafur Eliasson.

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E-Stonia: where the free internet now flows like water


Photo: Bruce Sterling

First things first: oh, you world travelers, for pleasure or for work, never, ever fly Baltic Airlines. First they will stiff you by making you pay sixty euros to carry regular-sized hand luggage. You will note their particular eagerness to pounce on innocent non-Baltic travellers, especially haplessYankees with credit cards.

During the flight you can expect to be charged for the air you breathe, since they don't even give free water.

Finally, god forbid if something goes wrong with your flight and ticket, for Baltic Airlines will gladly maneuver you into buying a heavily-priced new one. Fleeing home via Baltic Airlines beats prison and deportation, but not by much.

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Occupy SXSW 2013

Image: Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic image from Tim Regan's photostream

I must start with a tweet from my wise friend Xeni Jardin:

"Some of you have asked why I'm not at SXSW: as a person with cancer, have I not suffered enough already?"

Well, some of us still are there at South By South West every year, among hordes of nerds, geeks and unnoticed celebrities in a magnificent carnival of tech in Austin, Texas.

This year, I had Stendhal’s syndrome after day two: I risked a stampede while fleeing the endless queue for Al Gore’ s keynote. At a festival of this size, people queue like in war zones where any queue means available goods. It's only after you get a firm place in line that you ask: what are we waiting for?

Individualism in armies is not tolerated, and by day three the entire army itself seemed as crushed by the challenge as I was. The geeks walked aimlessly, tired, with dark bags around their eyes, dirty clothes, undone laces. Austin is a besieged town in these ten days: with thirty thousand paying attendees and an un-numbered horde of locals and curiosity-seekers, roaming the streets of this proudly weird city.

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A report from Webstock 2013: Jasmina Tesanovic

Photo: Bruce Sterling

I've been to tech conferences all over the world, but this one may be the most radical: Webstock in Wellington, New Zealand. It's about web designers as both stars of "new media" and as futurist philosophers. These web people, who normally talk in their geeky way about algorithms, can't resist preaching some morality and politics, all from a handsome wooden stage on which the Beatles once performed in 1964.

Their IQs are as high as boiling water, while their jargon is a multinational meta-language above all national cultures. They are traitors to the sacred values of corporate mainstream business, even when they are part of it.

Here are some Webstock philosophical homilies.

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Amazons with a Cause

Why are women first to pay for every crisis? In every society, capitalist, socialist, or transition? It's because the bodies of women are expendable.

I always noticed how women over eighty in Turin looked incredibly well, beautiful and loved and taken care of: desirable, because old and valuable. I connected this to Italy's long-established and sophisticated health care system. Italian hospitals were famous for methods which preserved the dignity of the patients, in tumor cures, especially breast cancer: the "invisible mastectomy" was invented in Milan. Rather than simply intervening in crisis, they were good at illness prevention and attentive follow-ups.

The economic crisis and financial harassment of Italy has reached this safe haven of health and dignity. In Turin, one of the best clinics for cure and prevention of breast cancer is about to be closed. The patients are on the streets, their appointments cannot be scheduled, they are paying for their urgent operations because their doctors cannot help them. The doctors are on the streets too.

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