Now They Could Laugh About It


I don’t need to explain it to anyone here.There was nothing to eat.Every now and again,someone would go out in a search of food.They’d find nothing or find something,some coffee,some cigarettes.And one time someone came back with- a potato,a-wrinkled,wilted potato.

What are the ten of them are going to do with a single potato?

But,then since no one had seen a potato for God knows how long,and since there hadn’t been any TV for God knows how long,they placed tomato on the middle of the table and they sat there and watched the potato.

As they were telling me this..It was a horrible time.The husband of this woman Jozefina,who was like my grandmother…Her husband had died of a stroke during a war.Many stories that the people of Sarajevo told me and still tell one another about the war-terrible stories,they are always suppressing those many-stories are told as funny stories.

So,the story about the potato was sad during the siege,but once they survived,it was funny,and it was kind of triumphant reconfiguration of the narrative.They did not need pity anymore,now they could laugh about it.

Aleksandar Hemon,The New Yorker


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