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news 28 Oct 13

Prijedor’s Mystery ‘Standing Woman’ Bemuses Bosnians

Jelena Topic, who has spent several weeks standing on a box without speaking in Prijedor’s main town square, has sparked public speculation about her as-yet-unexplained motives.

Elvira M. Jukic
BIRN
Sarajevo
Jelena Topic in Prijedor. Photo: Printscreen

Topic has spent almost a month standing in the square in the centre of Prijedor for several hours each day, without explaining whether her motives are political or artistic.

The only oblique clues that the 29-year-old has given have been written messages on the box on which she has been standing.

The first message she wrote at the beginning of the month was that she was “loudly being quiet”, which raised speculation that she might be protesting about something.

Some of the other messages she has written have said “Either speak or shut up, no one hears” and “Isolation”. She has also held up a mirror to passers-by on one occasion.

However Topic did not appear in the square on Sunday, leaving only a sign urging people to call a certain telephone number, which turned out to be a helpline for donations to aid a sick boy.

Her absence came a day after a woman tried to pull her down from the box, but was then assaulted by a third woman.

Local media have provided little concrete information about the woman, only saying that she is an economics graduate who is currently an art student in Banja Luka.

They have also speculated that she could be looking for a job or a husband.

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