Bosnia Update

I received the email below from a journalist in Bosnia. I am writing this from Bosnia, amidst the ongoing protestations and burning of government buildings. It is a very weird time: the police are blocking the streets, protestors are burning buildings, yet life goes on. Have just been into the old town for a great meal.

Personally I love Bosnia, but I have yet to find one person who lives here that is proud to be a Bosnian. The corruption, abuse of animals, unemployment (50% of the population, 75% of youngsters) all leaves the impression that they have decided they have nothing to lose, and that could make these demonstrations dangerous, and successful

Many of you have asked me what exactly was happening in Bosnia. I am not sure that I can call this a specific event, as we have been living in a form of post war trauma, and a trauma that we call peace for the past two decades.

To give you a picture of what I am saying, an elder citizen yesterday gave a statement to the media, stating that the Chairman of The Council of Ministers receives a salary in the amount equal to 28 of his pensions.

Numerous media have given reports listing the politician’s personal belongings. Just imagine how a mother who receives 20 Euros of social care a month feels when she reads that a party leader owns millions worth of properties and 4 000 Euros salary every month.

I am glad that Bosnia seems to be awakening, but the parties in power are spreading lies among the masses and controlling the media. On the other side there are many accusations against the members of the NGOs. We have about 12 000 NGOs at state level and it is to be expected that among these reports people will start asking questions about who is receiving funding from whom and for what purposes.

And while the political power centers and the media are spreading lies, Bosnia has 540 000 unemployed. A friend of mine told me yesterday that she spent more of her life on demonstrations then she did working.

The day after the city was on fire I was out there. People were looking deep into each others, hoping someone would explain what has happened, what will happen, and will there be work and pensions. I talked to people in front of the burnt buildings. Some were homeless, others were little business owners, some young, others elderly. A boy was wavering newspaper and yelling that we mustn’t let them lie to us.

No one trusts the politicians.

Main roads in Sarajevo were blocked again today. In Tuzla they are having the second meeting to decide what to do next. There are tens of Facebook groups asking for change, gatherings, many requests are being sent, and the demonstrations have no leader.

Common people are afraid that the demonstrations could be politicized, as the opposition parties are attempting to use the situation in their favor.

Demonstrations continue tomorrow. People are saying they will not relent until they see change.

According to local media a bomb was thrown somewhere in downtown Sarajevo tonight. Police is doing crime scene investigation.

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