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Voicing displeasure #5 The Crying Honk

The sound of collective praying made me tremble. I heard the voice coming from the top of Ibn Tulun mosque communicating with the other voices, the choir of Al-Qāhirah. The collective vibration transmitted through the architecture gave birth to a sobbing city I had a chance to encounter.

Why are you crying? ارجوك لا تبكي.

All the best from the West

Scared for my white skin, I walk through the dusty bubble and pray for my white skin not to get dirty. For my white skin not to get raped. For my white skin not to experience poverty. My privileged, white body prays for the kids from this street, for the mango traders of Bazar, and the mothers feeding their newborns on the pedestrian zones, beyond the legs of passengers. The white privilege that I have not chosen but was given to me. With the whiteness and ability to wash my face after a long day on the streets, I dare to ask: how can we be part of the same planet? Me and this little girl in front of me, being alone on the street? We, small humans spreading inequality. We, mute humans, do not hear the cry.

On day 4, I slowly accepted these scenes as a part of the landscape and got used to poverty.

Honk for the existence

Being loud or visible has many purposes: from the simple joy of having attention to the emergency blankets, danger alert, and simple, everyday fear. I find the ambivalence of the honking orchestra here being disturbing and meditative simultaneously. The sound of confirming the presence on the road. Another form of crying, right? Traffic tears, polluted breath, screaming brakes.

Somehow, this typical Egyptian honking practice sounds very much like my own cry – hysteria, anger, the language of the unique emotions. Imagine honking as the only voice you can use. The honking makes you want to explode in your own anxiety and drown in your own tears. Or in mine, if you wish.

Cairo, Egypt

Who takes the pictures of the otherness and who is the otherness?

“The relationship between Occident and Orient is a relationship of power, of domination, of varying degrees of a complex hegemony.”

Said, Edward W. 2003. Orientalism

The postcolonial studies introduced us to the Westerns depicting the Orient as an irrational, strange, weak, feminized “Other”, contrasted with the rational, familiar, strong, masculine West. I would gladly comment on something that opposes the otherness, the one belonging to Orient (from the previous view), and reflect on my own, Occident otherness experience in Egypt. It is very important to underline my position here: I am not a scientific researcher on the topic, nor competent to discuss postcolonialism on any deeper level. The fact that these were my first steps out of Europe and the ways I used to experience each of them urged this reflection and made it very personal.

As I have already voiced in one of my displeasures, it feels that my everyday purpose is to be visible wherever I am and no matter what I do, say, or behave, my visibility was never so present (I dare to say even successful visibility in my case) like here. It is not me, Nadja, being exotic otherness in Egyptians eyes, but us, Nadjas that came to enjoy the heritage of their country and leave a few pounds more, possibly. And here I was even more white and prestigious, being considered a German within the group of German students I came with. What fascinates me among many things here is the way of communication that consists (besides the honking) of a couple of questions as where are you from; what is your name; and multiple versions of welcome to Egypt. These questions are never meant to actually be responded to, but to deepen the conversation, lead to the possible trade, and give them ”the promise”. Each word answering their conversation starter is a permission to enter the platonic friendship where you are the one promising to buy, to sit there and, necessary, come again. Such intensity in everything happenings. Welcome, to Cairo, they said.

What is your name?

My name is Nađa, that, according to Russians comes from Nadezhda (Надя) meaning hope. According to Arabs comes from Arabic Nadia (Nadiya) meaning moist; tender; delicate. One of the sellers from Bazar told me that the meaning is a short, but very fast river. I wanted to run aweay, that's true. 

So, you are Egyptian? I was asked.

The first time in this symbolic 25 years I exist in this world, somebody took the picture of me because I was different than everybody else there. I was the exotic, fascinating alien among the ordinary, everyday man on this continent. Instead of giving the superiority that attention usually does, I felt the opposite. I felt small and different in front of the whole world that I had no idea about. I felt the heaviness of the cloak of otherness that was worn by the people of color in Europe, Muslims praying on the street of the Orthodox country I came from, the women with hijabs, etc. Their unusual, extraordinary behavior or look was taking the attention of ”normal” white people and now, it is was me: an alluring, foreign subject.

I would revive the Serbian saying ”Šta je, jel igra bela mečka?‘ (eng. Is the white bear dancing or what?), the term we use for an event that evokes the curiosity of random passers-by. Apropo this saying, I wonder, who is the white bear and who is the spectator, actually? It might be that the white bear is the observer and he does not need to be tamed.

Gold-coated, crying city

Not goldening it more than it is, it is the fact that Egypt has been visited for its archeological heritage as a golden civilization that left magnificent traces dating back from the world we have no idea about. This golden coat kicked me after I left Cairo and woke up the following morning on the night train in Luxor. There I understood the massive tourism of the Serbs used to go to Hurgada every year, as well as other people visiting Egypt and seeing just Lux(or). Nobody enjoys truly the 67 layers of dust on their faces while being trapped in the traffic sandwich between the cars, buses, auto-rickshaws, and running pedestrians in Cairo. Rarely who want to live in these conditions. I do not. Yes, we are contributing through tourism and we should keep doing it. No, Egypt is not just a sandy kingdom and Giza. That is all I wanted to comment on.

Again, how to be sure that this is not one more reflection fabricated by a western explorer?

Now, poetry for the poor. (ref. Architecture for Poor, Hasan Fathy)

Granite poverty,
she, however, bravely smiles.
Sculptured, structured valleys
and these little brown eyes.

I dare to feel,
feel quickly and escape.
Never in your skin.
Never in this shape.

My apologizes for just being,
and existing as I am.
I must create a blanket
so I can protect them!
All of them.

Scared and aware,
of the white nightmare
my foot in dirth,
completely bare.
My skin somehow shines.
And they stare.

Nevertheless, I am the other
My eyes are bigger
then my own hunger.

They are the one,
one of the same.
Non-existing trone,
just a pile of chairs.

The voices are raised,
the voices that dare.
They exist so much,
one can feel it in the air.

I have never seen the crying city before.

West Bank Poetry, chalk on the wall
New Gourna Village, Luxor, Egypt

A special hug goes to all my children.

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Voicing displeasure #4 Strange Fruits

Welcome to the Strange Fruits episode of the Voiced Displeasure. Maybe the least favorite one, but tasty, for sure. Poetic, inevitably. The main protagonist relates to the 3 sections: Juice, danger, and joy; Systems, sugar, skin, and stain; The land of rightness, emptiness, and gray color. Next time instead of the external keyboard, you might bring the fork. Have you ever heard a fruit talking? Did you find it uncomfortable? Understandable. No judgments. This is a safe space. Let´s bite.


”I am a little parasite stuck on your ceiling, watching and waiting for the right moment to grab your face. I am an angry skeleton under the thousand layers of this skin blanket. I want to get out of my colonized past.

I am the one you want to squeeze. My lemonish, bitter body is hanging on the walls of your borders. Experience the haptic touch of this nectarous object – me. Me, the stranger. You – domestic. Me – the dirt on Your floor. You – the boundary. My amorph shape stands out from the crowd, breaks the concrete, entering the void. I produce joy. Try me. I am a violent inhabitant trying to break your comfort. I am the stain spot of this system.

These little hands were holding the poles in the foreign trains and buses, being observed. My hands are being watched – the way they move, how the fingers fold and dance around the strange objects. I am the sensation. My legs are making the gaps between the foreign feet, stepping into the unknown. Kissing the strange ground, while dropping the strange juice into the dry field. My earlobes are made of sugar, melting in the strange air. My lungs are suffocating from the bizarreness of this place. Its mystifying inner shakes my foreign outer. Its breeze freezes me. I must get out.”



Residents Aliens, drawing
©Nadja Kracunovic


My charming existence.
My strange fruits.
Its juicy resistance,
that shoots the roots.

The alluring, strange chain,
keeps my existance remain.

My omnipresent stain
melts the acid rain.

The land of rightness, emptiness, and gray color

Welcome to Saxony, the land that tears the skin of the beast. Welcome to the act of peeling one’s outer. Chemnitz means stones, coming from the language that I can understand, for some reason. Welcome to Chemnitz, friends. Welcome these words that are coming and be free to dive into the experience.

”The strangeness climbs through my spine, from the bottom. Slowly and precisely it covers the whole backside. I feel the structure and heaviness of my skull. My earlobes are collapsing. My head leans towards the shoulders as if it is going to fall. I feel alienated from the outside.

Some parts of my body feel numb. There is a space around my inner skin that I have no contact with. I turn my head to the right I look at one point. My attention stays in the corner of my eye creating the tension of the eye muscle. I can see the small humans inside a human, I sense how they move around me. I see the shadows of these bodies, I feel the coldness piercing my outer strongly through the borders. I AM THE OTHER. The other on many that are the same.

I slowly pull my own inside towards the outside shell. I humbly tore the skin of a creature. I peel the layers of its skin and try to get out. It lasts and feels like forever. I am the stain spot on this map. Pulling. Vibrating. Pushing. I am so alive.


* “Strange Fruit“, Abel Meeropol, Billie Holiday, 939,

The displeasure of Strange Fruits was inspired also by the book „Strange Fruit“ by Lilian Smith, 946,

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Voicing displeasure #3 The Code of Visibility

I believe that invisibility for Him made me urge the visibility everywhere else. I must be loud. I must be seen. Spreading the presence wherever I can, proving my existence while being unrepeatable, unique, ubiquitous. You made me visible by hiding me. But watch out, I do have this voice.

The night felt long and exhausting. After I woke up this morning, there was a spit of trauma on my pillow. It is like many others very blurry, but while writing it I sharpen and sculpt it.

I am a parasite, poster poem
©Nadja Kracunovic


The bar was divided by many walls and halls as if it is an apartment adapted to a so-called place for celebrations. It felt as if the whole family and family from a family were standing in that celebration room. The blurry-faced shapes of human bodies, that presented my close friends were behind the celebration wall, with me, drinking vodka in a very hesitated, thirsty manner. In reality, I never drink vodka, but there I am – as drunk as Cooter Brown, celebrating. I can very well recognize the sound of Him through the walls – drunk as well, heavy smoker’s tone, intense and boisterous voice.

The agony entered the celebration room immediately after I did. Greeting the family (probably mine) and kissing the cheeks of the men that I have never seen before. The sweaty, muscular bodies are welcoming and celebrating my arrival – me being there after so long. At that very moment, I recognized just the figure of my little half-brother that I see for the second time. And then, He appeared. To be more precise in the description of this sibling relationship, the only thing we share is exactly Him. Approaching me confidently, bringing by each step this before-the-storm feeling. I trembled the celebration out of my skin. The scream was there coming from His mouth, manifesting years of anger – outrage irritated by my existence. Why is He furious? Shouting and breaking the glasses in front of my fragile, never-used-to-be-screamed-at body. I was the most visible and invisible person in the room. After more than 15 years of absence, He appears and yells all his masculinity at the female offspring. I could not hear the words, it was too loud to understand them. Fifteen years transformed into a simple spillage of anger. That might be the scream of becoming a father for the first time. At least to me.

All the girls in the world, unite. My code is being loud, being visible. My code is being patient and listening. My code is never ever in my life abandoning you, whoever you will be. My code is being strong like She is. The code of mine is taking care of the children, all the children of the world. My code has a voice must use it.

Nadja’s father (Serbian: Nadjin tata), the handmade doll
©Nadja Kracunovic

But, who wants to pass through me, must pass through my room. I yelled back. I screamed my face off, turning purple and spitting the sentences in His face while saying the words I can not understand. I am not a small girl to be shouted at – I am this deep voice that grew up from a child you never wanted.

After one drink
I turn pink
I scream for Him
My body blinks.

To get it all out,
I need some weeks
Increasing my voice
To fight the beast.

After just one drink
I scream to protect
I turn pink
And there comes my act.

I am a parasite,
I am the stain
I exist so much
that He can not obtain.

Voice up the visibility. Pierce the authority.
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Voicing displeasure #2 The Professional Cry

Salty liquid. The sea of the eye lobe. Isn’t it absolutely the same as going to pee? Goes in – goes out. I drop the tears and let them unite into the army. Teary tear, just be.

There was me and four girls from Iran, by coincidence. We were trying to empower our feminity and learn to say NO. We said NO many times in these three hours. I almost broke into the tiniest thousand pieces of human flesh. I tried not to. Never show the instability, delicacy and fragile persona. Drop the humor, start the joke. It is not professional to cry.

NO, digital poster ©Nadja Kracunovic

The third girl said that she feels this socially constructed burden and pressure of being the ideal worker, the best one in the world. The best one in the class. The best one in the bed. The best from the best. Best beast in the wildness.

Me? I bumped into the presence of the physical objects being inside my body because my clock tik-tak-ed and it was time to drop it. What is this pile of thorns which pierce my stomach?

You are not allowed to be a pussy. You are not allowed to be a pussy.
If you are going to be a pussy, be the best one you can possibly be.

Cry holders, digital drawing ©Nadja Kracunovic

Crying my best

There is a cave inside my chest,
little yellow stone, in my own trap.
Hold it up, bravely
Let it shape and progress.

There is desert inside my belly,
blown away from the West.
I tried to protect it,
by sheltering it with my legs.

I must hold it up,
until I increase.

Melting the cave
into the cheese,
licking the floor
with my fragile knees.

I wanted to scream,
from the bottom of my feet.

My tears.
My precious tears.

The end of it is almost there, near.
Hold the breath, up – the chin!

Don’t you agree
with the crying discipline?
Controled by the queen,
I hold the steer.

I am crying my best!
Can’t you see?

Sharpen your tears, it is going to be a long one.

©Nadja Kracunovic

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Voicing displeasure #1: Masculine Femininity

You are not a blowjob in the rain. You are not a piece of meat on the bar’s toilet tiles. You are the deepest voice of Southeast Europe.

”You are a boy, aren’t you?” I was asked by Frauenarzt (gynecologist) on the first call I made after moving to Germany. I wanted my female, dear friend down there to be healthy, but my ultra-deep, male voice transformed everything into an uncomfortable phone conversation – confusion about my gender. Far away from being insulted, I was actually glad that she showed her disorientation in our dialogue. I never thought that this masculine polished, deep tone coming from my stomach, being transmitted through my mouth could be my own defense mechanism against the enemies. My own complaining tool. A voice fighting the whole army – the voice winning the war. I must admit, I was bitter and partially heartbroken that I could not be a princess of my father’s kingdom, neither could I be the most wanted girly girl in my classroom. All my honeyed and nectarous power was visible much later after puberty tore down the confused teenager.

The voice became both an important and powerful tool of mine over the years. There is so much to tell. So much to complain about. Screaming in the holes of the system, spitting on their streets, and yelling whenever I feel like it. My voice is my medium. My voice is my capital. My masculine persona was born within it.

Let’s talk about boys. Voice of the boys. Boys for the voice. Voicing the boys. The ones that I love, the ones that abandon me, scared me, the ones that empowered me, satisfied me, treated me as an object, terrified me, loved me, protected me, and let me be the version of Nadja I am, while writing this.

I will tell you about the act of loudness after I tell you the ”Mustard bastard”.


My fingers in your hair, he said. 

My hair was tied up in a high ponytail so that it would not fall into miniature portions of so-called canapes. I would cut the bread into slightly larger croutons. I would cover a slice of bread very precisely with yellow, freshly produced mustard. The knife I used was the same one used for butter with a carved brand on the bottom of the handle.

He said: I would like to tie your hands up around the radiator and feed you. I will grab your hair and pull it until you start crying. I will spread it all over your body.

My favorite color has always been yellow. My grandmother bought me a yellowish backpack for the first day of school. She said that I look like the sun and that the whole world rotates around me. 

He would put my yellow backpack on the floor and take my clothes off – to explore the sun’s rays. My skin is cowered while my 15 old body is shivering. When he finished splashing mustard over my belly I would cry from the pain, but he would take me in his lap calling me his little sun. The pain would pass soon.

Bon Appetit! My mother prefers eating hot dogs without mustard while I eat them with.

I can’t tell why

but I love yellow

I can’t really know

Is this taste mellow

if you plant it,
it will surely grow
is this taste bitter

or is it just the snow?

he talks about my body

to inhabit it,

have a sip
capture it
matter it
body skip
imagine it.

He likes my mustard,
Bon Appetitt.


These so-called mustard bastard made my voice silent many, many times. This phenomenon is called the loss of voice and it is a real psychological disorder. Indeed.

A girl from Yeman was born from rape, believing that rape is the only thing she deserves. An older man from the park was touching his genitals 2 meters from my 17 years old presence. Females ages 16-19 are 4 times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault. Two middle-aged men were jerking off in front of me on the bus 706 in Belgrade, in the middle of the day. In Nicaragua, between 1998 and 2008, police recorded 14,377 cases of sexual assaults, with more than two-thirds of reports involving girls under the age of 17. A 50 years old man told me that he will tie my hands around the radiator in the supermarket, while I was selling the mustard. Every 73 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted.

The loss of voice is an experience when a person has something she or he feels is important to say but does not say it. Often this refusal to speak one’s mind is linked to feelings of inadequacy, fear of rejection, or fear of humiliation. Once adolescence is in full force, this inner, authentic voice is rarely shared with anyone, except for a few people whom girls trust. Outside of these close and trusting interactions, girls use an “acceptable” voice – one that expresses what they assume others expect them to think and feel.

Girls must use all the masculinity. Girls must scream stronger, dig deeper and spit harder.

The Act of Loudness, media performance, 2021

I dig, dig, dig

I plant,

I am a juicy fig.

Take me, try me, do not jig

I smell like a bloody rose,

Look at me!

I dig, dig, dig

and it grows.

Should I be loud?

I dig,

dig for the crowd.

I dig here, I dig now.
You are the one that is endowed.

I will scream for the supreme.

Am I allowed?

Is this bitterness in my mouth?

It pulses and shelters. What about?

I dig, dig,

and it sprouts.

Text, video/performance, illustration: Nadja Kracunovic (Nađa Kračunović)