(Note: This essay was the first in the series I wrote for Al Jazeera Balkans in the Bosnian language on the 2020 US elections. I felt that the English reading audience might benefit from these essays. I did not have the time to translate them, so I employed Google Translate, which has grown remarkably accurate over time. I did have to fix the text in a number of places. Overall, I think it captures what I originally wrote in Bosnian. As it's a Google (and not human) translation, it retains the sentence structure as it is in the original, which does not always sound great in English. Obviously, had I written this in English or translated it myself, I would've changed the structure. As it were, and due to time constraints, I'm leaving the translation as is. I think it is still readable and understandable. If you, however, notice inaccuracies, hard-to-understand constructions, or errors, please feel free to email me, and I'll fix them. Happy reading! ES)
There is a famous anecdote from the early period of American history. The year is 1787, eleven years after the United States declared independence. One woman asked the famous Benjamin Franklin, as he left the hall where the constitutional congress was held to discuss the future American constitution, "What have you given us, a republic or a monarchy?" Franklin answered, "A republic, if you can keep it."
Alija Izetbegović (1925–2003)
(Translator’s note: This is a short excerpt from Izetbegović’s “Thoughts from prison, 1983-1988.” He was sentenced to 3 years in prison in 1946 when the new post-World War II communist rule was established in Yugoslavia. The excerpt is from his second stint in jail. In the now-infamous 1983 Sarajevo Process, aimed at some of the leading Muslim intellectuals of the time, he was sentenced to 12 years for “hostile activity and propaganda.” He served five years after which he was released in 1988. After the first post-communist democratic elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1990, he became the Chairman of the Bosnian Presidency.
In this excerpt, he writes about a very sensitive topic: corporal punishment. In his unmistakable style – brief, direct, and rational – he breaks down the topic and shares his insights. While not everyone will agree with his conclusions, it is hoped that his thought process will be of benefit. ES)