Gaze and Acknowledgement


I will start with a personal story that I have told several times before. In 1993, I taught in Germany as a lecturer in Bulgarian language and literature at the university of Göttingen. One day, I was invited to a German student party together with a friend of mine, a Yugoslavian PhD student, who during the siege of Sarajevo realized that she is Bosnian and Moslem and became an anti-war activist. We decided to have a bite to eat before the party. Faced with the difficult choice between Italian, German, Chinese, and French restaurants, we chose – with a slight hint of shame – to go to a Greek tavern and enjoy the native culinary pleasures. Eating moussaka and souvlaki (not at all different from the Bulgarian-Serbian-Macedonian-Turkish shish kebab), we watched the weather forecast for Europe on the restaurant’s TV. The borders of the separate countries were delineated with white contours. For no apparent reason, Romania and Bulgaria appeared as one country with Bucharest as the capital. At the end of our dinner, we asked the Greek waiter for Turkish coffee – he said, however, that in this restaurant they only offered Greek coffee. We ordered it – it was the same “Ottoman” type: sweet and thick, unsuited to the German taste for filtered coffee, nevertheless known in Bulgaria, Romania, Albania, Bosnia, and Turkey as Turkish coffee.

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