August 28, 2013

Project O

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Name: Olga Brajnović


Twitter: @obtdr

Question 1: Please provide a window into who you are, some background information in a not too overwhelming profile here.

I am an old school journalist daughter of a Croatian writer and journalist who inspires me every day despite he’s not around any more. I was born in Madrid, Spain in a Croatian family and I spent most of my life in Pamplona, Spain. Yes, the running of the bulls’ city. But also an interesting historic Spanish city, proud capital of the Kingdom of Navarre. I worked most of my career in the local newspaper “Diario de Navarra”, covering a wide arc of topics from culture and education to terrorism, political corruption and trials. When the former Yugoslavia was struggling to reach democracy I began to travel to report about the first open elections and after that, unfortunately about the war. I wasn’t a war reporter as you’ll probably imagine it. I traveled in several occasions to report about the situation but I didn’t stay the whole time there. After that I decided to change scenes and I took an opportunity I had and went to the US to work as a foreign correspondent based in San Francisco, CA. When I knew that my father was dying I decided to go home and back to my old newsroom, this time to work in the world news section. And here I am in Pamplona, Spain.

Question 2: If you haven’t already done so please provide your country of origin, whether you are male or female, an age would be nice, and where you currently live if that differs from the country of origin.

I was born in Spain in 1959, but I don’t feel too Spanish. My Croatian background is too strong. Maybe because my first language is Croatian. I learned Spanish in school and I can remember the misunderstandings and difficulties being a little child. It was not easy. Who knows?. This is something difficult to talk about here. My friends don’t understand why I don’t feel Spanish. Many get offended. I don’t like being offensive. So I stopped talking with them about my feelings. Still I feel more Croatian than Spanish.

Question 3: Recount the first time you remember having a differing opinion from someone significantly older than you. Do you remember what the topic was about? Did you voice your opinion or hold it to yourself?

Being a little child in school I argued with a nun. She tried to convince me that my dad wasn’t right about something, I don’t remember what. I insisted my father was right and she was wrong.

Question 4: What levels of respect were practiced around you when you were a child? Was there bowing involved, handshakes, “yes Sirs and yes Ma’ams,” or some other equivalent respectfulness in your culture’s tongue? Is an honorific given to someone older than you and do you often respect and practice that? How might the culture you were brought up in have affected the growth of your own opinions?

No other than use a formal language when addressing a person older than you. This is not common in Spain nowadays but I still use to do it. They consider me an old-fashioned in good manners. But I don’t mind. I grow up convinced that we are all equal but we have to be polite and respect each other, above all our elders.

Question 5: How traveled are you and to what degree do you keep up with international news? You might also provide an educational background if you wish and if that education was gained from somewhere other than your current location. How available is the news and what goes on in the outside world to you in your country?

I visited France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Netherlands, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the US (New York,NY, St. Louis, MO and San Francisco, CA). I follow international news every day. I have a blog about World News. As a journalist I was for years responsible of the World News section in my newspaper. So, yes I keep up with international news. Spain is an open country and we have access to a lot of information if we want.

Question 6: If you could share an opinion on a single international incident or topic that you either feel strongly about or that might not be known to the rest of the world what would it be? You have our attention.

I can’t think in a single thing that might not be known to the rest of the world. I’m concerned about wars, terrorism and corruption in this world. All very well-known. I’m concerned about the suffering of millions because of many corrupt rulers.

I would like to know how will be the outcome of the world crisis and what would represent for us in the western countries. Because I think our political structures are getting old and full of sickening corruption. The old division liberal-conservative, left-right, is getting obsolete. For instance, I don’t fit in that division because of my convictions. I’m left and right at the same time depending the issues according to the standards. According to me I’m a lover of life with dignity for all from the beginning to the end, concerned about human rights, who hates wars and violence and doesn’t understand what can cross the mind of a person who kills another person, or orders a massacre, or oppress his or her people to the point to provoke a revolt.

What I feel strongly is about the wars, the suffering that are causing to a millions of people around the world and the UN’s inability to stop them. With the Security Council, inherited from the WWII, there is no hope. The world depends on five countries with veto: US, France, UK, Russia and China. And they usually disagree because of their interests and alliances in regions like the Middle East, for instance. They are unable to decide and then some of the countries act outside the UN’s umbrella and an international conflict is served. The Security Council is another obsolete structure that has to change. So many things allegedly ruling this world have to change. And the clock is ticking fast. But there is no courage or will to do it.

Question 7: What does the right to an opinion mean to you? Is it essential to freedom to have this right? How far would you go to protect that ability? The world is on fire with people of passion, how passionate are you about things you value?

I think the right to express my opinion freely is essential. I have to say although that I’m a quiet person, solid in my convictions but open to talk about them.

Question 8: Is it ever right for you to be allowed an opinion while someone else is denied that same right on the same topic?


Question 9: The last question. upon completing this template and hopefully contemplating the issue what does this project mean to you? How can Project O potentially enlighten or help the world?

You seem interested to know about how opinions take form depending on the education, country of origin, culture of each person. Me too. This is why I decided to participate and I’m looking forward for the results of this project.

About Olga Brajnović

Journalist. In my fifties. I've worked for 26 years in a newspaper in Spain. I worked for two years as a stringer and correspondent in the US, and went as a special envoy to other places like the Balkans. Sea lover. Avid reader. Classic Music enthusiast.


Ethics, Ideals, Journalism, World and Politics