This is not a joke; this is reality!
“Why is there no sex in state firms and government offices?… Well because it’s all relatives…family … in the Council, in the Government, in the Cantons ” says a protester on the streets of Bosnia in this translation of this fresh video clip.
In other words nepotism is rampant and chances for achieving real changes without some serious moves are nil!
Failed, fraudulent and corrupt privatisations, obscenely rampant unemployment (almost 60% among youth and about 42% generally), obscenely wide gaps between the rich and the poor, and the utterly inefficient and unaccountable political system are said to lie at the basis of the predominantly Bosniak (Muslim) protests that had gripped Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) for over a week now.
Parts of towns and cities across BiH have seen eruptions of aggressive protests; government buildings burning (even the National archives building where a great deal of a thousand years of history has been reported as destroyed), rocks and all sorts of steel, sharp missiles thrown at government buildings, at hordes of bewildered police that sheltered themselves behind shields, crawling and shuffling at times against walls like black caterpillar formations in fear of injury, yelling and screaming “Down with corrupt government” “thieves – out!”, holding banners with inscriptions such as “Moja jedina nada, je da padne vlada” (My only hope if for the government to fall). In Tuzla, Mostar, Zenica and Sarajevo, government buildings have been set on fire and there have been demonstrations across much of the rest of the country. Hundreds have been injured, including policemen, but the determination in the protesters’ eyes is fierce – they want to overthrow the government that has brought them nothing but misery, unemployment, hunger, more corruption…no hope for their children’s future…
Several leading elected officials in BiH have been under investigation for corruption. Ethnic or nationalist squabbling has paralysed government institutions and it’s not getting any better.
It is in that circumstance and reality that one must protect the nationality or ethnicity that’s being downtrodden and repressed, just as we would do for ethnic minorities anywhere.
Serbs and Bosniaks outnumber the Croats in BiH and, as a result Croats have demonstrated the suffering from threats to their very existence, identity, power to self-determination and struggle for equality amidst an ever increasing and ever louder self-imposed ethnic and administrative superiority of Serbs and Bosniaks.
Croatia’s Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic had decided to pay an emergency visit to Mostar and its burned buildings last Sunday. On that occasion he said, “all this would not have happened had the EU had clear BiH politics …I will make efforts towards achieving talks between EU and BiH …”. He emphasised several times that he had come there to give support to the EU path for BiH although some saw his visit to Mostar as support for the Croats living there for whom he said were already citizens of EU (apparently referring to those who hold double citizenships/that of BiH and that of Croatia).
Back in Zagreb, Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic stated:
“It’s not realistic to ask a state such as Bosnia and Herzegovina to change its constitutional frame, which is 20 years old, and there is no consensus for this. Let’s accept Bosnia and Herzegovina as it is now. It’s not perfect, its Constitution is not the best but in the EU there is at least one country in which it is known that the president must be of one religion, vice-president of another religion or nation. That is not good, but at this moment this is the only possibility.”
At the same time Serbian Republic’s Milorad Dodik keeps pushing for a territorial division of BiH into three parts; One for Serbs (well they already have it in Serbian Republic, which they seized through genocide and ethnic cleansing of Bosniaks and Croats in the 1990’s) one for Bosniaks and one for Croats (source: Croatian TV evening news 13 Feb 2014 ). Having previously stated that the protests are also to destabilise Repubika Srpska and further involve the international community in the country’s politics.
The political/government order in BiH Croatia’s Prime Minister seems to support in reality is this: Three constitutional ethnic groups (Bosniak, Croat, Serb), five levels of government, two political entities (Serbian Republic and Federation of Bosniaks and Croats), one special district (Brcko), ten cantons (in the Federation) that compete with local governments (Councils) making it fourteen governments in BiH and one internationally appointed High Representative. The reality has been that in this situation no one answers to no one, and everyone makes their own decisions as they please, and to make things worse nepotism has spread like a plague in all public firms (and in private ones to a lesser degree).
In the constellation of loud Serbs and loud Bosniaks the Croatian voice is hardly heard; their presence in BiH seems to be even more repressed than before. So, Zoran Milanovic’s visit to Mostar can be seen as a reminder to all that the third ethnic entity in BiH exists and has rights also, although his motives for the visit can be seen as attempts to help quash nationalistic outbursts there. Given the absolute fact that Bosnian Serb and Bosniak (Muslim) nationalistic passions are and have been running high for decades it’s a pity that he did not speak louder on behalf of Bosnian Croats who are struggling with their rights and identity within Bosniak predominance in the Federation. Bosnian Croats have an absolute right to having in BiH what Serbs and Bosniak have – a piece of BiH where their voice will predominate; their rights be duly fought for and realised. It was Croatia’s late president Franjo Tudjman who supported the evident and strong will of Bosnian Croats to self-determination and self-governance and for that he was branded as criminal! Perhaps Zoran Milanovic fears speking out too loudly in support of Bosnian Croats in fear of being labelled by the international political wheelers and dealers a criminal, too?
The current protests in the Bosnian Federation can only serve as a testament to what it was like for Croats in BiH during early 1990’s! A bloody fight for survival amidst competing Bosniak and Serb majorities! The international community has all but accepted that Serbs in BiH have a right to their entity; the Bosniaks seem to be waging protests not for the motive visible – get rid of corrupt government – but possibly to get rid of the cantons and thus achieve ethnic majority across the Federation, cutting any chance of expression where it counts for the Croats. Croats deserve their own entity in BiH and that does not mean that such an outcome would result in tearing apart the BiH created by Dayton agreement.
It is true that the protesters have claimed to be anti-nationalist. The violence has stopped during the past couple of days and protests have taken the form of so-called “plenums” in the streets. Meetings of “fed-up” citizens at which they’re attempting to formulate political demands are being held and more planned as we speak. If these plenums don’t result in clear directions, in clear leaderships, in clear demands, nothing will change. All this unrest will be remembered as loud venting by frustrated people, some of which have been labelled by politicians in power as hoodlums. These Bosniak led protests have been dubbed by the participants and supporter as “Bosnian Spring” – this reminds one of the recent “Arab Spring” and not the “Croatian Spring” of 1971 when Croatia unsuccessfully and with terrible backlashes sought greater independence from Tito’s Yugoslavia. How anyone can call this the “Bosnian Spring” when the only people participating in these protests are Boaniaks (Muslims) begs explanation! Serbs are not taking part, Croats are not taking part (except for a reported few in Mostar) – it cannot be a Bosnian Spring because Bosnia has three ethnic groups. Let’s not forget the Croats in Bosnia for they truly have been and are – endangered! Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)