Why this story matters:
In Bosnia and Herzegovina - a country which we sometimes call "Absurdistan" - literally everything that happens runs contrary to expectation. Even a recent attempt at "Me Too" took a wrong turn.
Jelena Kalinić exposed the sexism she was a victim of, but instead of condemning it, the Bosnian public supported the offender, Goran Samardžić - a respected writer and businessman, a husband and a father.
Some of the arguments used to defend him pointed to the message being sent to her privately, others referenced his high social standing. Many of those supporters were women.
Mainstream media, normally very keen for sensationalist clicks, didn't follow up on the incident. Most civil society organizations and journalist associations - well funded by foreign donors to promote equality and non-discrimination - ignored the entire ensuing debate on social media.
Bosnia and Herzegovina - a country which we sometimes call "Absurdistan" - is far from acknowledging the problem of abusive power dynamics between men and women.
Details from the story:
- Feminists and activists reacted on the social media earlier this week, when blogger Jelena Kalinić posted a screenshot of her online conversation with writer and co-owner of Bosnian book store and publishing company "Buybook" Goran Samardžić.
- In the conversation Samardžić made inappropriate comments to Kalinić based on her sex.
- Samardžić and "Buybook" apologized on Facebook later on, but a heated debate on women’s rights and sexual harassment continues on social media.
- At least two Bosnian authors announced they will cancel their book deals with Samardžić's publishing company after the incident.