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 Angry Men Screaming

By Jamie Isabel Rosado

    As I boarded the bus back from Split I sighed deeply and plopped myself down in an empty seat that looked marginally more comfortable than the last one I was in. All stops included, this ride should be about four hours. The last time it felt like a long four hours, if such a thing does exist. Looking up at the man seated directly across from me I realized that he looked vaguely familiar. It was Darko the man I had been talking to on the second half of my journey two days earlier from Dubrovnik. He smiled and said “Zdravo” I nodded in greeting and repeated the phrase. He slid to the aisle seat instead of his original window seat, since darkness had fallen early; I had no chance of seeing some scenic views, and a supreme desire for conversation so I scooted over as well.

    After we exchanged the standard pleasantries and questions about our enjoyment of Split, half in Croatian half in English with the occasional word of Spanish spoken while I searched my brain for any equivalent in either language, his gaze went to the i-pod still in my hand.  He told me that I had played some stuff that he had liked on the ride over and invited me to sit next to him and share my music. Looking at my friends I realized that they were all asleep so I slid over to sit near him. He couldn’t remember anything in specific that I had played and neither could I. He put one earphone bud in his right ear and I put one in my left, still holding the controls I began to look through my plethora of options. I finally saw one that my friends in Zagreb had liked. I queued up Mein Herz Brennt by Rammstein. I should preface this by saying that Rammstein play German techno-punk-metal and are, as my father has delicately put it, an acquired taste.  He did not object to it so I played another the next one I played was Feuer Frei by the same band. As we both listened I replayed my memories of being in Zagreb in the summer of 2002 and just listening to that song over and over again. Darko was not a fan; he shook his head and said “that was too much. they are just angry men screaming,  I want something happier.” I found him some stereotypically happy American R&B and got to thinking about my last trip to this country and whether the people around me found some sort of acceptable release for  their anger through music. I will admit that Rammstein and a lot of the local punk bands that we saw and listened to could be diagnosed by a competent professional as having serious anger issues.  I began to hypothesize that maybe the people that I spent so much time with may have had some deep rooted and probably well deserved anger issues. All of the six that I had lived with had survived the war and the almost nightly bombing and chaos that came with it.

     Darko broke me out of my hypothesizing and asked me if I had anything else. I quickly left him in the competent hands of Daddy Yankee’s Gasolina.  I tried to reenter my previous train of thought and found that that train had already left the station. Quicker than I thought possible we were crossing the Tudjman/Dubrovnik Bridge and were almost back on board ship.  After I had exited the bus I spied a payphone I looked at my watch, 11:30pm it said. I decided it wasn’t too late too call my friends in Zagreb. During my long and frequent conversations with one of my friends he said that music was music but some music seemed to lift him out of anything.

    The conclusion I can come to now, with time to reflect and the content of my conversation with my friend is that life is never that simple. As the authors of Fear, Death, and Resistance: An Ethnography of War: Croatia 1991-1992 tried to explain to us, few things in war are black and white and emotion can not be left at the door. The authors attempted to collect war stories of people in Zagreb towards the end of the war and found it hard to empirically take their stories and to remove any stories that did not seem to fit their plan.  Though I know Darko and my parents wouldn’t agree, I think there is something cathartic about angry men screaming.

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