Bosnia-Herzegovina Journal #4: Bratunac, Višegrad, Elections By Peter Lippman
October 26, 2012
2012 Journal index
Sarajevo. September 25 Journal 2:
Tuzla. October 11 Journal 3: Srebrenica. October 13 Journal 4:
Bratunac, Višegrad, Elections. October 26 Journal 5:
Banja Luka. November 6 Journal 6:
Krajina - Kozarac, Prijedor. November 12 Journal 7:
Guilt, Responsibility, and
Politics. November 20 Journal 8:Travnik,
Mostar, Animal Farm. December 13 Journal 9:
Activism in Sarajevo, Return to
Srebrenica, Prijedor Revisited,
December 19 Journal 10:
Nade; The Missing; Tycoon Arrested; March 1st Coalition,
December 26 Journal 11:
Macedonia and Kosovo, January 2, 2013 Journal 12:
The Roma of Kosovo, January 11, 2013 Journal 13: A
Visit to Germany, January 29, 2013
To contact Peter
in response to these reports or any of his articles,
Here are some notes about
conversations I’ve had with people over the last couple of weeks,
and an update on the results of the October 7 elections.
I had a comment from one reader that
it would be helpful to explain some basic things about the political
arrangement of Bosnia-Herzegovina. So here are a few basic points that I
have borrowed (and paraphrased), from a news article:
The 1995 Dayton Agreement that eventually secured peace after the war
drew up two separate political systems, called “entities,” under one
state administration (Bosnia-Herzegovina): The Republika Srpska (RS -
the Serb-controlled entity), and the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina
(controlled by Bosniaks and Croats). Each entity has its own president,
government, parliament, police and other bodies.
The Federation is also then broken down into ten separate “Cantons.”
The country has three separate flags, three separate anthems. The
state anthem is only a melody. Lyrics that everyone could agree on are
not achievable at this time.
The overall state government is weak, with few powers and less funding.
The centers of power reside at the entity and Canton levels. The
political arrangements in the two entities are quite different in that
the RS has no intermediate level between the municipalities and the
With all these municipal, Canton, entity, and state governments (not to
mention another separate administrative unit, Brčko District),
Bosnia-Herzegovina has more ministers than Japan, and the percentage of
governmental income in the budget for support of this overgrown
governmental infrastructure far outstrips comparable budgets in all
There’s much more to be said about the dysfunctionality of this
On my way back from Srebrenica I stopped in Bratunac and talked with my
friend Mirko. He used to work with the organization Odisej, which I have
written about before (click
here). In its earlier
years Odisej was active and edgy, somewhat of a youth movement for
inter-ethnic coexistence, and against nationalism and corruption. Later
the group received some grants, furnished an office, acquired a computer
that was not a museum-piece, and began to implement projects that were
supported by various international organizations.
Since I last saw him, Mirko started a family. Recently, support for
Odisej has decreased, leaving Mirko without a job. He found work at a
Mirko says, “I was working with Odisej on the Mladi za Mir (Youth
for Peace) program, sponsored by CARE International, for three years.
That’s over. I applied for a job in the Robna Kuća (department
store) but all the jobs were given to the relatives of the people who
run the place. So now I work here at this restaurant about ten days a
month. I earn ten Euros a day.
“I’d like to get just about any kind of job, to make reasonable money -
and let me make money for the employer, too, that’s fine! I can start at
the bottom and improve. I just need some water to swim in, right now I’m
stuck in this (points to a drinking glass).
“I might be getting a job with an anti-corruption project. That could be
dangerous, but it would be something I could put my heart into.
“Before, I had a vision that things would get better, even if it took
twenty years. Now, it’s more of a question of whether it will be better
for my daughter.”
The elections had taken place two days earlier, and the results were
known in most municipalities, other than Srebrenica. Mirko commented,
“We have gone back to 1991 now with the results of the elections: SDA,
SDS, and HDZ [the traditional Muslim, Serb, and Croat nationalist
parties that had been around since before the war]. The same mayor we
had before won in Bratunac. Is there anywhere else in the world where
the same person is mayor for 16 years?
“If this country had ten good factories it would make a difference. If
this town had just one good factory it would be a great thing. But the
Bosnian political environment is too unstable for investment. People
will invest in Cambodia, just for example, before they invest here. Now,
as it is, the Croatians and the Slovenians come here and open stores,
and take out all the money.
I spoke last week with Hikmet Karčić, activist for justice in Višegrad.
You can see some of my previous writing about Višegrad
Višegrad, which provided the setting
for Ivo Andric’s book Bridge on the Drina, lies on the eastern
edge of the Republika Srpska, straddling the Drina River. Before the war
its population was around two-thirds Muslim. War crimes associated with
the Serb extremists’ drive to “ethnically cleanse” as much territory as
possible started early in the war in that municipality, resulting in the
complete removal (including the murder of thousands) of the Muslim
population. Since the end of the war very few returned to the city.
Hikmet told me that “five or six people returned to Višegrad. Maybe
around three hundred returned to the surrounding villages.”
Bridge over the Drina at Višegrad
The movement for return to Višegrad, as with the rest of
Bosnia-Herzegovina, is over. The “Višegrad scenario” is one of permanent
rule by Serb nationalists, with ongoing denial and amnesia regarding the
wartime history. Young people living in that city now are growing up
with no real knowledge of the atrocities that took place, causing
Višegrad to be a purely Serb-populated city.
Given all this, the work on the part of activists for justice takes
expression in an ongoing struggle for memory. In this it is a similar
situation throughout the country, and an uphill battle everywhere. There
has been relative success in Srebrenica, where the memorial complex at
Potocari was established over ten years ago. There has been much less
success in the Prijedor area, another place of massive war crimes, where
there is currently another ongoing struggle for memory.
About a year ago, Hikmet and his colleagues founded an organization
called Ćuprija (Bridge) to establish memorial monuments in and
around Višegrad, and to support similar movements elsewhere in the
Hikmet says, “Ćuprija works nationwide. Its goal is to preserve the
memory of the crimes and of those who were killed. There were 3,500
people killed in the Prijedor municipality. Prijedor is somewhat known
in the world; what happened in Višegrad is not. Srebrenica has gotten a
disproportionate amount of attention. The book by Jasmina
Dervišević-Češić (The River Runs Salt, Runs Sweet) is practically
the only book about Višegrad.”
Last year activists, including members of the organization Women Victims
of War, placed a memorial monument in the Muslim cemetery, on land
called the Stražište, in Višegrad. This is an old cemetery, but
with many new graves dating from 1992-1995. The remains of over sixty
people recovered from Lake Peručac (mentioned in my previous report)
were buried there earlier this year. Hikmet told me that the remains of
over two hundred people were recovered from that lake, and 163 were
identified, including 25 from Srebrenica. He said, “But we are supposing
that there were remains of more than 200 recovered. Only two bodies were
Stražište cemetery, Višegrad
The Stražište is Vakuf land, that is, land owned and controlled
by the Islamic community. The monument read, in part, “To the killed and
missing Bosniaks, victims of the Višegrad genocide." Hikmet said, “We
installed the monument at the Stražiste in May,
2011. We had no permit, but it is on vakuf land. The problem for the RS
authorities is that we used the word ‘genocide.’ There was a court case
that found against us, and they threatened to remove the monument. Now
that decision is under appeal, and nothing else has happened.” (For more
on this, click
Hikmet told me, “Ćuprija is cleaning the Stražište. We are planning to
create a memorial center at the Stražište, and a local one in each
village. This is about a thirty-year project, because there are between
ten and fifteen places in question. These are not minor monuments. Any
project like this must be either on vakuf land or on private land, in
order to avoid obstruction from the local government.”
Discussing his activism, Hikmet said, “People don’t know much about the
war - the history books all end in 1991. Those of us who are active
regarding Višegrad, to a large extent, were not born there. We are the
children of people from there. We consider the eastern RS to be ‘lost
territory,’ just like Užice* is. We want to
establish the monuments so that in fifty years, people will still know
about what happened. But it is hard to convince people to get involved -
they don’t see the importance of it.”
*(Užice is a town in Serbia where there was a
large population of Muslims until they were expelled in the mid-19th
View of Višegrad from Stražište cemetery
DENIAL and KARADŽIĆ
After the crimes have been committed, denial is the perpetuation of the
crime. That dynamic is the same everywhere. There’s a whole industry of
denial regarding the destruction of Yugoslavia and the partition of
Bosnia-Herzegovina. Domestic exponents of amnesia occupy privileged
positions in academia and in the government, especially (but not
exclusively) in Serb nationalist centers.
To mention just the two most outstanding examples, RS President Dodik
and the recently-elected president of Serbia, Tomislav Nikolić, both
publicly deny that genocide took place in Srebrenica. On the outside, to
the shame of the progressive Left, a number of not very well-known
commentators work overtime to support Serb nationalist atrocity denial.
The only one of these people who is relatively well-known is Noam
Chomsky, and it usually comes as a surprise to progressives to learn
that he has consistently supported, in a crafty way, the denialist line.
If you wish to learn more about the atrocity denial industry, check out
the Balkan Witness website maintained my brother Roger, and particularly
Deniers of Serbia's War Crimes.
At this moment some of the most blatant denial is taking place during
the trial of Radovan Karadžić in the International Criminal Tribunal for
the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) at The Hague. Karadžić was the pre-war and
wartime leader of the Serbian Democratic Party (SDS), and president of
the Republika Srpska during the war and afterwards, until he was forced
off the public scene by the international community. It was under his
watch that the ethnic cleansing and genocide took place in many parts of
Bosnia, resulting in a relatively ethnically-homogenous RS.
Karadžić was in hiding until his arrest in 2008. His trial for genocide
and other war crimes began in 2009. Among other things, he is charged
with crimes against humanity, responsibility for the Srebrenica genocide
wherein over 8,000 were killed; two bombings of the Markale, a Sarajevo
market where over one hundred people were killed, and for the 44-month
siege of Sarajevo. Just this month the defense phase began.
Karadžić was always known for his attempts to turn the truth on its
head, prompting observers to wonder how much he believed what he said;
is he a pathological liar, a narcissist, delusional? Adding to the
outrage is the fact that he was, and to some extent still is, worshipped
by Serb extremists.
In an outstanding example of Karadžić’s expression, just last week in
the opening statement of his defense, Karadžić said, “Instead of being
accused, I should have been rewarded for all the good things that I've
done because I did everything within human power to avoid the war and to
reduce the human suffering...neither I nor anyone else that I know
thought that there would be a genocide against those who were not
Serbs.” (Note: this is a quote straight out of many news articles.
Karadžić here seems to be more than implicitly acknowledging that there
was genocide, but I would be extremely surprised if that were really the
case.) He continued, “Everybody who knows me knows I am not an autocrat,
I am not aggressive, I am not intolerant. I am a mild man, a tolerant
man, with a great capacity for understanding others.”
As he has done many times before, Karadžić asserted that the Markale
massacres were “staged” by the Muslim forces in Sarajevo “in order to
win sympathy.” And referring to the genocide, he said, “There is no
indication that anyone was killed by us at Srebrenica.”
One witness for the defense, a former commander in the Republika Srpska
army, said that “the Bosnian Serb army only defended its positions and
prevented the Bosnian Army from breaking through from the city
[Sarajevo], and that it opened fire only when the lives of soldiers and
civilians were threatened.”
Srebrenica survivors and activists have been present as observers at the
trial. In response to Karadžić’s statements Kada Hotić, activist with a
Sarajevo-based organization of Srebrenica survivors, said, “He committed
such evil in this country that it is hard to tell if it will have a
future, if we will ever return to a normal life,”
I don’t think that Karadžić’s distortions will end up swaying the judges
of the ICTY - even though, during the interim phase between the
prosecution and the defense, they already dropped all the genocide
charges except that pertaining to Srebrenica. The prosecutors are
appealing this decision.
Note - for those of you who have had enough of Bosnian politics, skip
this section and go down several pages to the section titled “Dogs.”
The results from the election in Srebrenica, which I covered in my last
report, are in. Bosniak candidate Ćamil Duraković won by some 900 votes.
Some 9,500 valid votes were cast. Duraković ran as an independent
candidate, supported by all the “pro-Bosnian” parties, that is, all the
parties that are primarily composed of Bosniak voters. The Serb parties
essentially promote a nationalist, even separatist agenda. The parties
that supported Duraković presented themselves as the ones that do not
deny genocide, as opposed to those that do, particularly Dodik’s SNSD.
While the SNSD candidate Vesna Kočević has often been described as a
moderate and conciliatory politician, still, she is a member of the SNSD.
As an illustration of Dodik’s sentiments, recently he stated, “Bosnia is
a rotten country. It does not deserve to exist. That's clear.” He also
said, “The question is no longer whether BiH can exist [as a unified
state], but how we can ensure its peaceful break-up.” This is part of
the heightened rhetoric that is customary in pre-election periods, but
it is consistent with Dodik’s speech going back at least five years.
While there was only the one Bosniak candidate, two Serbs ran: Kočević,
and the independent Radojica Ratkovic. If Kočević had received all the
votes that Ratkovic took, her count would have surpassed that of
Duraković and she would have won.
I expect that Serb commentators will now raise a great objection to the
results, talking about “electoral engineering” and such. Electoral
engineering is not an inaccurate word for what happened, but it was
practiced on both sides - with greater success on the Muslim side. And I
think there are strong moral arguments to support the Muslim candidate.
Taking into account that those Muslims voting from the Federation were
people who had been expelled from Srebrenica in 1995, a poll that only
included present residents of Srebrenica could hardly be called
It was the campaign to register absentee Srebrenican voters that
ultimately put Duraković over the top. Campaign leader Emir Suljagić
said, “This was a struggle for values, for one set of values against
another set. We did not defeat two Serb candidates in Srebrenica, we
defeated Dodik’s set of values. Bosnia-Herzegovina triumphed here. This
reinforces the capacity of Bosnia to be a state.”
The campaign noted that the RS police department gave Bosnian
identification cards to 287 citizens of Serbia to enable them to vote.
In a statement, the campaign also stated, “Abolishing the right to vote
of citizens of Srebrenica who were driven from their homes in order to
make them disappear as a people is nothing less than a continuation of
genocide through other means.”
Here’s a quick reminder about the names of the principal parties:
--SNSD: Alliance of Independent Social Democrats - Incumbent Serb
nationalist party headed by RS President Milorad Dodik. --SDS: Serbian Democratic Party: Headed by Radovan Karadžić in the
1990s, extreme nationalist party responsible for wartime atrocities;
since 2006 in opposition to SNSD, but espousing an essentially similar
separatist and nationalist program. --SDA: Party of Democratic Action - Muslim nationalist party with
competing right-wing and centrist tendencies; of late, the latter have
been in ascendance. --SDP: Anti-nationalist and superficially multi-ethnic party but
predominantly Muslim in membership and leadership. Autocratically led by
Zlatko Lagumdžija. Sold out its principles quite
some years ago, and recently proved that beyond all doubt. (See my first
A quick recap of the voting results throughout the country shows that
the reigning SNSD suffered a serious defeat and the SDA and SDS made
definitive gains. The SDA won 34 municipal mayoralties in the
Federation, and the SDS won 27 seats in the RS, more than doubling their
number of mayoralties. Where the SNSD had held 41 mayoral seats before
the elections, now it won only 18. The SDP slightly increased the number
of mayoralties under its control by adding a couple of small
municipalities - ending up with 11 positions - but it lost in two of its
largest strongholds. The SDP won, again, in Tuzla but, for the first
time, it failed to capture a simple majority of voters in this, its
traditionally most solid municipality.
Fahrudin Radončić’s SBB won two municipalities, but both winning
candidates were people who had already been mayors in those locations,
as members of other parties, before this race.
Overall, the SDP and the SNSD have been slapped hard; the SBB’s results
are not politically significant; and the SDA and SDS are overwhelming
The explanation for the defeat of the ruling parties could primarily be
summed up in the word “disgust.” In the case of the SDP, there is little
surprise, as that party is greatly responsible for the failure to form a
new government at the state level for almost a year and a half after the
2010 elections, and it topped off this fiasco by destroying a relatively
functional coalition in the Federation in June, for reasons that
transparently involved a simple power grab. This was the last straw for
The defeat of Dodik’s party is somewhat more of a surprise, but voter
disappointment is behind it. It turns out that Dodik’s saber-rattling
and anti-Bosnian speech (see above) was not sufficient to distract
voters in the RS from their personal dissatisfactions. Average per
capita income has been going down in that entity. Recent reports show
that the index of monthly consumer expenses comes out over 1,400 KM,
while the average income in the RS is around 800 KM.
In other words, the living standard of RS citizens is poor and Dodik has
not helped. Svetlana Cenić, analyst in the RS, said, "Widespread
corruption, false promises and lack of concrete results are the main
reasons why the SNSD has been spectacularly defeated at these
elections." She continued, “Our political leaders thought ordinary
people wouldn't mind starving as long as they have Republika Srpska,
while they [leaders] simultaneously enjoy expensive cars, huge villas,
and real estate abroad," she said. "That was a mistaken assumption.”
Reporters working the streets in the RS during the election campaign
quoted one interviewee thus: “He [Dodik] and his party are trying to
distract people's attention from poverty and unemployment. They don't
want people to see the enormous wealth they have accumulated, while we
are left struggling to make ends meet.”
In the RS, the poll was a vote of no confidence in the SNSD, more than a
show of enthusiasm for the SDS. There is no particular evidence that it
is, or will be, less corrupt or more innovative than Dodik’s party.
In the Federation, the election results can certainly be interpreted as
a punishment for the SDP. In addition to voter consternation at this
party’s behavior over the last two years, its constituency is quite
aware of the character of Radončić, the head of the SBB party that the
SDP has recently joined with in coalition. Voters did not want a
gangster as Minister of Security.
Meanwhile, there is some amount of positive sentiment in favor of the
SDA. This is the traditional party of what I would call the “moderately
conservative” majority of the Muslim voting body. While I would not risk
saying that the SDA has left behind all vestiges of its nationalist and
corrupt legacy, in recent years it has shown itself to be more moderate
and, in some cases, even seems to take statecraft seriously.
The two demonstrably false social democrat parties have been rejected.
It will be a long time, if ever, before the SDP can recover any
credibility. The SNSD, led by one of Bosnia’s most clever and powerful
politicians - and in control of most of the media in the RS - has much
more potential for recovery.
On the whole, the last two years have been more politically unstable
than before, and the next two years before the national elections
promise to be just as unstable. It would not be a surprise if the SDP,
and perhaps the SNSD - both parties still in power at the entity and
state levels - are removed in 2014.
Every year or so commentators state, “This is the worst political crisis
in Bosnia-Herzegovina since Dayton.” That is a mistake, because the
Dayton constitution is the crisis, because it forces people to vote on
an ethnic basis and thus as an essentially randomly divided electorate.
The victorious SDS, SDA, and Croat nationalist HDZ are the same parties
that were in power going into the war in 1992, and then for the rest of
the 1990s after the war. But one commentator said, “You can’t talk about
a return to the 1990s, because we never got out of them, because we
can’t get out of them with the Dayton constitution.”
There are many intelligent people in Bosnia who would support a civic
initiative, but they have never had a strong alternative along these
lines. The SDP posed itself as the alternative, and that has proven to
Shortly after the elections, I talked with analyst Kurt Bassuener. He
said, “There has been no political movement the last two years and that
constitutes a complete betrayal of the hopes of the voters. It’s as if
you’re on the dark side of the moon, when political developments are
such that the SDA looks ok - then you know you’re in the twilight zone.
…In Bosnian politics at this point there is a sense that rules don’t
exist, that politicians are simply pursuing their agendas without
restraint. …The politicians’ biggest toys that they have to play with
are fear and patronage. Now, regarding patronage, they don’t have much
money to work with, especially in the RS.
Odds & ends: --Of an estimated 1.5 million Bosnians living outside the country, only
around 37,000 voted. --The new mayor of Neum won 100% of the votes, because he was the only
candidate. --Commentators, especially in the RS, raised a fuss about Amra Babić who
won as mayor of Visoko, because she wears a scarf on her head.
Criminals in charge:
Among all the other problems with the elections, several convicted war
criminals, and a prominent one under indictment, ran for mayoral office.
Bosnian electoral law says that the prohibition of candidates to run
only applies to those who are currently serving a prison sentence or if
they failed to appear before the court for violations of humanitarian
The war crimes indictee is Gojko Kličković, who has just become mayor of
the town Bosanska Krupa. He is on trial for war crimes including ethnic
cleansing. A trial earlier this year resulted in acquittal of these
charges, but that decision is now on appeal.
Kličković was prime minister of the RS for several years immediately
after the war, and went into hiding in Serbia in 1998 after being
accused of embezzlement. During the war he had been commander of RS
troops in Krupa. His war crimes charges include attacks on non-Serb
civilians as part of a joint criminal enterprise to create territory
with an absolute majority Serb population. He is also charged with
persecution and murder of non-Serbs in Krupa.
For more on the war crimes charges against Kličković,
… thanks to Andras Riedlmayer for this.
Branko Grujić is a convicted war criminal who has won as mayor of
Zvornik. He was sentenced to six years in jail for crimes committed in
that town. In a report, the International Crisis Group noted that Grujić
was the wartime President of the SDS in Zvornik, head of the Crisis
Staff and President of the "Serb Municipality of Zvornik" from 1992 to
1995. According to some reports, Grujić was also the leader of the
Territorial Defence during the Serb take-over of Zvornik, later to
become President of the Serb Municipality of Zvornik. Radio Belgrade has
confirmed that Grujić served as head of the municipality from April
1992, when the worst atrocities were committed.
reportedly organised the establishment of a parallel Serb authority in
the municipality prior to the war, as well as the arming of the local
Serb population. At the start of the war Grujić is reported to have
invited Arkan and other paramilitary leaders to come to Zvornik and
“protect” the rights of "threatened" Serbs. He is alleged to have
visited the camps in Zvornik regularly during the war. In press
interviews, Grujić characterised the ethnic cleansing operations in
eastern Bosnia as a "normal population exchange." In 1994 Grujić still
served as the mayor of Zvornik and showed a visiting New York Times
journalist sites where mosques had been destroyed and new building was
in progress. Today Branko Grujić exercises considerable political
influence in Zvornik as a prominent local businessman.
In 2010, Grujić was convicted in the deaths of civilians near the
eastern Bosnian town of Zvornik in 1992. The Serbian court handling his
case noted that he was indicted for "premeditated and synchronized" acts
that also resulted in the rounding up of 1,642 Muslim civilians who were
either killed or forced to leave their homes. Grujić was released within
a year after the conviction, already having been in jail for several
There are far more stray dogs in Bosnia than when I was last here. It
seems quite out of control. Every day when I get to the bottom of my
hill there’s a pile of red-brown mutts all curled up comfortably by the
intersection, looking at you and trying to discern whether you are going
to hurt them or feed them. Someone feeds them.
And in Srebrenica there are so many strays hanging out at Trg Bratstvo i
Jedinstvo (Brotherhood and Unity Square - yes, it’s still called that!)
that, at the present rate, I fear next time I go there, there will be
more dogs than humans.
Two weeks ago a stray dog bit a girl in Prača, in
the eastern part of the country. A reporter wrote that
there’s a pack of strays on every corner in that town. The folks at the dog pound
there said they only take away a dog if it attacks someone. If it’s
aggressive, they will “euthanize” it; otherwise, they spay it.
A British organization called Dogs Trust reported that there are 11,168
stray dogs on the streets of Sarajevo. How they have such an exact
number, in a country where there hasn’t even been able to be a census of
humans since 1991, is beyond me. They should hire Dogs Trust to run the
upcoming census, which is currently implementing an experimental count
of the citizens of Bosnia.
Dogs Trust is running a five-year program to educate humans about how to
take care of dogs and reduce the number of strays.
I met British Ambassador to Bosnia-Herzegovina Nigel Casey in
Srebrenica, where he was humble enough to sit with me in the chaos at
the polling station. During the presentation of the Dogs Trust project
at the British Embassy, he said, “I’m very happy today that I can talk
about something that’s more important than politics: dogs. He received
an ovation for this comment.
I talked with my long-time friend Ibrahim. He asked me, “Do you see that
anything has changed here in the last two years?” I said, “I see some
big new buildings, including the hotel in Marindvor that has
mysteriously been standing unfinished. The new shopping center Alta in
the same neighborhood. The Importanne Center. But I haven’t heard that
anything has changed for ordinary people. I have the impression that
these big projects are something like toys for the rich people.”
Ibrahim told me, “Things are worse than they were before. Even if they
are just the same, it’s depressing and people feel worse, since nothing
has changed. At this point I seriously think that things won’t get
better while I’m alive.
“It’s not as bad for the younger people, since they don’t remember how
good things were before the war. …but they are all thinking about
“I didn’t vote this time. In fact, I haven’t voted in 15 years. Then, I
voted for Haris Silajdzic. But since then, I haven’t felt like there was
an option. I believed in the SDP, but they have disappointed me. And
now, the nationalists have all won again.
“I have a niece who finished a liberal arts degree, and now she can’t
get a job. Some people pay 10,000 KM to get a job. I’ve heard of people
paying 30,000 KM. But even then, there’s not a guarantee that you will
be allowed to keep the job. This is dishonest, having to pay to get a
job. I can’t get accustomed to this kind of system.”
Other than dogs, I have a file on everything here: cats, corruption
(that one’s 1,083 pages long and getting longer, crims in charge, RS
separatism, Pyramidiocy, Omarska, and even sports. And I have one I
titled “creative crime,” about things like the guy in Trebinje who stole
a coffin - with the deceased inside - and held it for a ransom.
Last week someone stole a bridge across a creek at the village of
a near Brčko. Manhole covers
weren’t lucrative enough for him. Villagers had built the bridge out of
scrap railroad tracks in the 1980s. A woman in that village got up one
morning, saw that the bridge was gone, and called the police.
They found the bridge-stealer right away, with the bridge cut in half,
sitting in his front yard. He had unscrewed the bridge from its
moorings, dragged it onto a truck, and then took it home. The bridge had
been forty feet long and weighed several tons.
And this week someone stole a bus in Sarajevo, right out from in front
of the Radon Plaza hotel, in front of the security cameras. This was a
tour bus from Croatia, in use by some Korean tourists. It was reported
that the Koreans found the incident to be hilarious. The bus was not
recovered, as of Monday.