What’s happening in Bosnia?

So much happening there in Bosnia, I’m trying to put together my thoughts and analyses on the waves of protests that are rattling the country the past week, I hope Dayton mask gets blown right out of the water!

Eyes of the Mind

For those of us who don’t speak Bosnian, the news reports coming out of Bosnia are confusing.  If they are anything like the news reports I read and watched while on the ground during the 1990s conflict, they’ll also be highly inaccurate.  (It’s incredibly bizarre to watch a news report that you know is a load of bollocks because you’re right there and the reporter is not.)  Thanks to the internet, we now have far greater access to trustworthy information, but the volume is often overwhelming.  I don’t claim to have been following this as intently as I’d like – following anything intently other than my thirteen-month-old intrepid explorer is pretty much impossible! – but I would like to offer a few links and thoughts.

Firstly, some blog posts by people on the ground that make for interesting reading:

The Bosnia Guy

Balkan Insight

Professional Repression

And some news reports…

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Comments

  1. Bosnia Surveys Debris After Nationwide Unrest
    http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/bosnia-nervously-prepares-for-new-day

    Bosnian security minister Fahrudin Radoncic – also president of the Alliance for a Better Future party – said the protests were a result of failure to stop criminal privatisations and corruption.

    “If prosecutions do not stop this crime, we will have a citizens’ tsunami,” Radoncic warned.

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    • Tsunami of this kind may just be the answer to make a much needed correction to the society and move forward; the correction being: prosecute thieves, fraudsters and corrupt officials, confiscate their ill-gotten property … while the protesters seem determined to get rid of corrupt government let’s trust that they will succeed unharmed, however new leaders that come from a corruption-infested surrounding need to have tight guidelines and accountability measures to act by otherwise one never knows what has slipped through the gates, I think Zeljko.

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      • Michael Silovic says:

        People can not make needed corrections with out violence.It is not that the people want violence it is that just like communist governments used violence to control people these government will use the same force against people to stop protest against change to save themselves and their power. The current governments in all of the balkans are of communist mentality. If the goverment uses force against the people it will not be pretty. They will fight back.There is an old warning that the government should think about : Do not pull the dogs tails to many times because the dog will get angry and turn and bite. Plain and simple it is time for governments who have failed the people to go, to leave office on their own or by force. If they have stole from the people they should be sentenced to life in prison and striped of everything they and their families own. There should be no more stories of we will change everything but be peaceful while we make changes.The people have given goverment enough time to change and they were ignored, took no advice from the common people who collectively are much smarter then the goverment. This is a wake up call to Croatia’s goverment as well that they better start listening to the people and work with the peoples interest rather then putting the EU ahead of us.

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      • Much to agree with in your comment, Michael! One of the graffiti written on public building in Bosnia a couple of says ago reads “Onaj koji sije glad, žanje bijes” – “He who sows hunger, reaps anger!”

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      • Sanya Fijacko says:

        I agree with all but let’s not forget their immediate family members. They need to be investigated and their properties confiscated as well. Enough is enough! Basta!!!!

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      • I agree Sanya Fijacko. Enough is enough.

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  2. Michael Silovic says:

    The issue in Bosnia reflects everything that is wrong in with the Balkans as a whole. Ever since the Dayton agreement it has always been understood the Balkans was a powder keg that could go off at any time. Due to the people’s courage and will they struggled through and accepted it in hope of a better future. The failure by governments to build on the Dayton Accord and develop sound policies that would transform the countries into a stable and ever lasting peace never materialized. As we see many still are pointing fingers and trying to manipulate each others government. The only difference is that those who were put into office lined their own pockets and those of friends and relatives. Corruption is still at work and people see this everyday and did not complain loudly because they were hopeful that something would eventually happen to make their lives better. The hope was the false promise of better days by joining in the EU. As we see now this was not the case and in many instances regulations by the EU destroyed family owned businesses that were used to keep many families fed. No government created any type of economic policy that would benefit their citizens and anger begins to flourish. How can we not expect people to get angry when their government officials are making $7000.00 per month and the average person in some cases if you have a job $500.00 per month or less? Some people are living with uncertainty in Bosnia after the war because of the way the government system is set up with no real self independence and assurances that they will have a say in the way they live their lives. One cannot possibly feel freedom and a sense of prosperity when you have hostile neighbors who create an environment where it is hard to prosper through economic development. The reality of it is this is not just in Bosnia but throughout all of the Balkans. Croatia and Serbia are not immune to this uprising either and if the government does not act in the best interest of the people this will go further then where it is now. One of the greatest failures of government was not listening to the people. It is said that once your pockets are lined with gold you will reap the riches. Yes that is true but sometimes when you reap the riches off of the people and do not share they will come to take it back and more and now is the time citizens are becoming collectors of their fair share. I do not agree with destruction of property because the property belongs to the people. But if their government is too cowardly to come out of the buildings to deal with the issues then we are forced to go in to seek answers from the cowards. I am opposed to violence as many people are. But sometimes violence is the answer to the problem when it is ignored. As I stated many times most of the violence is started by government agents because those who are corrupt and mismanaged people rights and prosperity use the force to disperse people as a way to ignore them and people are tired of being sheep led away with nothing but the same they came to protest to begin with. Is this a new day for all of us? I can only hope so. I hope that this is a wakeup call for all of the governments to realize that they are not immune from prosecution by the people. It is the government who can chose between peace and war by doing the right thing for its people. I will always stand by the will of the people before any government and I hope that in the end that from all of this change will come.

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    • Well put Michael, I pray that the protests bring about real change in BiH and that these efforts will not be remembered as some actions by hoodlums. It angers one immensely to watch politicians and some brown nosing media call the protesters hooligans. Last ditch efforts to protect their loot and privileged positions(?)

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  3. Interesting article,the whole region ,,Bosnia still struggling with it’s internal affairs,20 years later a little progress economically .and politically ..Regards.jalal

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    • Yes, that just about sums it up Jalal

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      • Hi Ina, I have been reading the comments and “.position papers” of some of your contributors. Can the land not be divided fairly and each group has their part and then peace will come and wars will stop? I have gotten two books to read on Croatia. What are the names of the books you have written? Hugs and much admiration, Barbara

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      • Thanks Barbara, good to read you’re formulating ideas – you are dedicated to peace and certainly that is what should be paramount. Books I have written are in English (Thorn Lace & Forged Insanity, the latter under Lilian Crest name) and in Croatian language “Mojmir- Ždrijeb migranta/ A Migrant’s Lot) but the bulk of my writing has been as newspaper correspondent for Australian Croatian press and also as contributor to so Croatian newspapers from time to time…am in the midst of a new book on developing a democracy from totalitarian systems etc Hugs

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      • Oh cool. I will see if I can find at least one. Hugs, Barbara

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      • Have been sold out but hey who knows…:D

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  4. therealamericro says:

    This is the Bosniak nationalists’ revisit of the Yogurt Revolution.

    After their crack at Milosevic’s model of unconstitutional disenfranchisement of other nations and centralization, they are trying his second method, staged nationalist violence in social justice / “anti-bureaucratic” drag and stilleto heels.

    This is all due to the EU’s recent denunciation of centralization efforts by Sarajevo, seen here:

    P7_TA-PROV(2014)0102
    2013 progress report on Bosnia and Herzegovina
    European Parliament resolution of 6 February 2014 on the 2013 progress report on Bosnia and Herzegovina (2013/2884(RSP))

    The European Parliament,

    1. Is deeply concerned at the continuing lack of common vision displayed by the political leaders of the country’s three ethnic communities; urges the political groups at all levels of power in the country to step up cooperation and dialogue in order to overcome existing disputes with the aim of achieving progress on the reform path and improving the lives of BiH citizens; calls for civil society to be more involved in efforts to reform the country;

    2. Welcomes the six-point agreement reached in Brussels on 1 October 2013, but deplores the obstruction of its implementation by centralist forces; stresses the importance of following the principles of federalism and legitimate representation in order to ensure BiH’s path;

    3. Calls for a shift away from the nationalist and ethnocentric rhetoric coming from the leadership of the three constitutive peoples in BiH; condemns all kinds of segregation and discrimination on religious or ethnic grounds in a country;

    4. Urges political leaders to focus on implementing the Road Map of the High Level Dialogue, thus making it possible to meet the requirements that would enable the SAA to come into force;

    5. Urges the governments and competent authorities to strengthen the efficiency and functionality of their institutions and to establish an effective EU coordination mechanism to ensure the harmonised transposition and enforcement of the EU acquis throughout the country in the interests of the overall prosperity of its citizens; in this context, calls on them to ensure that they can speak with one voice at state level; underlines the fact that, without such a mechanism, the EU accession process will remain deadlocked; calls on all political parties to work towards improving political dialogue and enhancing political culture;

    6. Reminds the Commission that EU enlargement goes beyond a mere transfer of the EU acquis and must be based on a true and comprehensive commitment to European values; calls for continued EU engagement with the BiH leaders and a rethinking of the EU’s approach towards BiH, given the stalling of progress towards EU candidate status compared with the progress being made by other countries in the region; urges the international community, the European Council, and the Member States in particular, to step up efforts to foster consensus among BiH political leaders to move forward with constitutional reform and EU-related reforms; calls on the next Vice President / High Representative and the Enlargement Commissioner to make BiH a central priority following the appointment of the next Commission in 2014; points, in this regard, to the important role and engagement of the EU Delegation and the EU Special Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina;

    7. Invites the Commission to further strengthen efforts to facilitate an agreement on the implementation of the Sejdić-Finci ruling guaranteeing equal rights for all constituent peoples and citizens, and to be instrumental in implementing the objectives of the EU agenda, including a functional system of good governance, democratic development and economic prosperity and respect for human rights;

    8. Asks the EU’s Heads of State and Government and Foreign Ministers to strengthen their personal commitment to the country;

    9. Invites the authorities to meet the outstanding objectives and conditions for the closure of the Office of the High Representative, so as to allow greater local ownership and responsibility; underlines the fact that the dissolution of the Office of the High Representative can be considered only when all the conditions have been met;

    10. Is deeply concerned that a four-year long disagreement between political leaders led the Council of Europe to initially consider suspending the country’s right of representation in the organisation if no substantial progress was made on the implementation of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) judgment before the elections; stresses that the legitimacy of the 2014 elections for the Presidency and the House of Peoples of BiH will be questioned if the ECHR judgment is not implemented;

    11. Reiterates that constitutional reform remains key to transforming BiH into an effective and fully functional state; urges the Federation to consider concrete proposals in this regard, including the merger of some cantons and the redistribution of competences, in order to simplify its complex institutional structure, ensure a more balanced representation of all constituent people and citizens, eliminate ethnic discrimination and make the state more functional, less expensive and more accountable to its citizens; invites all political parties to take part in this process in a constructive and open manner and to make use of the advice and guidance that the Venice Commission can provide during this process; welcomes and supports the efforts of civil society organisations to influence the constitutional reform process;

    12. Welcomes the smooth running and completion of the enumeration phase of the first population and housing census since 1991; calls on the responsible authorities to ensure that the census remains a statistical exercise and that it complies with international standards; urges all the competent authorities not to politicise a census whose purpose is to provide objective socio-economic data;

    13. Is seriously concerned that disputes about the distribution of competences are impeding EU financial assistance; regrets, but fully supports, the Commission decision to cancel projects under the Instrument for Pre accession Assistance-I (IPA I); is concerned that inaction may have implications for the allocation of millions of euros of EU funds for political and socio-economic development under IPA-II;

    In short – end the Komsicization / gerrymandering / disenfranchisement of Croats and give more power to the localities over their own affairs.

    This of course, is not being reported. It is being spun as some sort of noble, multi-ethnic “Bosnian Spring” – despite being overwhelmingly Bosniak – by the usual suspects in the West who tend to ignore inconvenient truths that debunk their fantasy narrative built to continue with their fantasy foreign policies, but the truth is out there.

    Very few foreign media have reported that protesters are calling for the abolition of both RS and the Federation, a nation-wide centralization and one-man one-vote implementation, and, you guessed it, the athiest half-Bosniak Bosniak ultranationalist Titoist AVNOJ BiH unitarist Zeljko “Token” Komsic to lead the country.

    14 years were wasted by Bosniak politicians in their attempt at wholesale disenfranchizement and centralization in violation of the constitution – which doesn’t create jobs.

    The rhetoric of the protesters shows that they still have not learned their lesson, and fully support the paralyzation of the Federation unless their idiotic, unconstitutional, science fiction dreams of a Bosnjakistan are met.

    What worries me is the dry run that was the Siroki incident a few years back.

    It was written off as hooliganism, but it was a dry run – a test of a) How to move large amounts of people to a location, and it was a pretty large logistical pull off that went entirely unnoticed and b) How the Croats would react.

    They learned that a) If they can do it in Siroki, they can do it in Vitez, Neum, W Mostar, Stolac, Citluk, Livno, Ljubuski, and Capljina.

    Taking into consideration that both Chatham House (where the Presiden’ts Chief Analyst, the Milosevic apologist Mr. Dejan Jovic worked, which has been conveniently removed from his Presidential Office webpage and Linkedin resume because it is a known fact that is a UK intelligence front) and the US State Dept. wrote that there was going to be major social upheavals in B&H this year, I think that everyone needs to be very watchful on how events continue to unfold.

    Namely, what the rhetoric is, if it escalates, and whether the Milosevic protest model of bussing in masses of outsiders to Croatian towns to warn them about “Croatian separatism” is followed.

    There are no “coincidences,” especially in this area of the world.

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    • While going back to the drawing board in BiH, getting rid of the failed Dayton scheme, uniting BiH into one state is to my view the right thing to do, therealamericro, I think that the ethnic passions that have been allowed to grow and fester are the huge obstruction to achieving an orderly life and democracy in Bosnia. The times for Dayton type of divisions seem to be on their last legs and Serbs will fight tooth and nail to retain their superiority over the part of BiH they’ve hived off via genocide and ethnic cleansing, and Bosniaks will not fall behind. Croats remain endangered, their struggle for identity and self-determination continues to suffer in the political and constitutional milieu that should provide ease for it! Much to watch out for there – still!

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      • therealamericro says:

        I would disagree Ina. The Bosniaks have given up on RS. Not rhetorically, but in reality, they have written it off.

        They want to make the Federation a Bosnjakistan.

        A unitary B&H is the end of Croats in B&H and Croatia losing its strategic depth, and the Croatian coast being divided by colonial (Ottoman / AH) borders.

        Either copy the Swiss model and cantonize, or allow for a separate Croatian majority entity and a loose confederation of a Croatian majority, Bosniak majority and Serbian majority state.

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      • Your last paragraph is the only option therealamericro, I see that. When I speak of ethnic passions in BiH in this context I speak of Bosniaks and Serbs – it was like that before, it’s like that now – Croats without help cannot survive … a unified BiH is a dream of democratic perfection, which you cannot get. It does enrage seeing how RS has been allowed to flourish.

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  5. therealamericro says:

    A perfect example of the fantasy narrative: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/feb/10/anger-bosnia-ethnic-lies-protesters-bosnian-serb-croat

    Hat tips to Noble Donkey and Hlapic.

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  6. Like

  7. therealamericro says:

    @ Ina – understood.

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  8. .The hard aspect of truth is that everyone has a version and they see the world only through their truth. I admire you and your work so much. Hugs, Barbara

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  9. wow… I had to re-read the dates. This is definitely an eye opener to read how the EU is treating this, least we talk about the lack of airtime. I was about to call it a Bosnia spring … thank you for the great information

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