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5. Bosnia Hercegovina



Accoording to the official statements, Bosnia Hercegovina is a country in transition. Well, up my ass. For 8 years, since the end of the war, it was a country in transition, they said. But in fact the only transition Bosnia went through was the war itself. Still there are foreigners you can read about in magazines made by international funds, who speak about this slow 'transition'. This time I found one article about tourism, in two languages so tourists can read it too. One guy, accoording to the name a Dutch guy, speaks heavily about setting up tourism in Bosnia but teaches the audience it is not smart for Bosnia to focus on all segments because, although all segments are at present, not all are competative with other countries. Ay, the guy is so smart, any Bosnian would like to piss on him and first ask him how much he earns, Speaking about tourism eight years after the war and still earn money with that, how do you do that? before giving him the advise to get lost, or to go home. In fact it was mentioned seven years ago that if all Germans would take their holiday in Bosnia in 1993, the war would have been over inmeadiately, within two weeks.
Indeed Bosnia is doing extremely difficult time. Eight years after the war the new reality has established itself and this new reality is disaster pro forma. Nationalism is on the rise again, purely out of frustration. The number of unemployed is still as high as eight years ago, about 20 to 25 procent, but what is this number in a country were nothing functions normal, so why would statistics do. And those who have a job need another one in order to pay the bills. Some contruction companies that went to Bosnia are leaving since the international funds dried up, the work is done, bridges repaired, and Bosnians shouldn't complain.
My friend who's a docter conformed himself with the idea there will not be any progress and since he recently has two children, he doesn't need to worry about his financing his hobby's anymore. Oher friends are having jobs for several month only, swallowing the promise it was going to take a year at least. Another friend who managed to get some credit is worrying every second of the day, how to pay back that money. Even if she has a great guesthouse by now, and even earning some money with it, still all bills should be paid while there is the constant fear of not having all permissions needed to recieve guests.
Here we touch another problem: burocracy. Actually the transition as took place in Bosnia was a transition that changed the shapes of the houses but it did not change the way the government functions. According to a well informed friend, Bosnia is second on the list if it is about burocracy, after Nigeria. That is actualy surprising, a country like Nigeria having more paperwork while in Bosnia all fighting parties were given the possibility to maintain the rules of their own 'kingdoms'. There are about 56 ministers in this tiny country, two entities of which one is a federation made out of two entities. And all got what they wanted. When the international community burocracy came in, in 1996, there was no-one who said; "get ris of this rubbish", as scared as they probably were of these people here ('real fighters'). So all fighting factions got what they wanted, leaving Bosnia with a huge public system which has nothing to say and hardly functions. There is still OHR in BiH. OHR stand for the Office of the High Representative (of the international community). I think Paddy Ashdown is the chairman at the moment. But these foreigners grew up with the idea things must be changed to make it better so they change the set up of the complete public braodcasteing network again. Third time by now.
During wartime things got solved with power. Now Bosnia transformes more and more into a police state. It was told to me that new recruits were out on the streets. During 8 days of visit we got stopped about 45 times. Normally we use the language and the charme to skipp the penalty we have to pay, but not this time. Maybe because it was summer season, hunting season, full of diaspora kids. Hundreds of teenagers and young adults who left the country with their perants in the beginning of the war some ten years ago, now are visiting BiH. They drive Mercedes or BMW, the only car that can bring some status, and they pay themselves sick to penalties from the police. And so did we.
Our advise: visit Bosnia as much as possible, there is no country that deserves to do better then this country, but do not visit it in summer time. The country is beautifull and it needs your attention. After all, we were speaking about European integration here.

Some highlights of our visit:
Please take a note we have visited Bosnia also some month later when we were on our way to the borders of Iraq.

Update 2011

Meanwhile we have been many times in Sarajevo and Bosnia Hercegovina. The situation is still complicated, the prospects limited and the future bleak. We advise you to go to that beautifull place and do not read the great stories of determenation but experience them.

Name : Zelenkovac
Objectives : Eco village
contact : Borislav Jankovic
related websites: Zelenkovac
kilometer : 4831

In relation with 80 questions : music and Jazz festival and painters colony.


Name : Let's Quit
Objectives : Concerts and beer
related websites : Let's Quit, FIS
kilometer : 4633

In relation with 80 questions : Eindhoven connection and music and more, much more.


Name : Ex Yu Rocks Festival
Objectives : cultural reintegration and social help
contact : Arno van der Pas (Zagreb)
related websites: Cross Radio, UNS Geto
kilometer : 4742

In relation with 80 questions : friends in many things
see also: Euro 2007 report

Name : City Tour Sarajevo
Objectives : Get to know this town better
contact : Amir Telebicerovic
related websites : city tour, virtual tourist
kilometer : 5741

relation with 80 Questions : our guide into deeper understanding.

Name : Radio
Objectives : World music program
contact : Zoran Catic or Maja Teronic at EFM radio
or Dubravko Jeremic of radio 1

related websites : EFM radio, BiH radio 1
kilometer : 5756

Relation with 80 Questions : Enjoy with an old friend

Name : Guest House
Objectives : support of conscioussness in BiH, income generation project.
related websites : Mali Raj
kilometer : 5696

Relation with 80 Questions : accommodation

Name : Rob van der Ploeg
Objectives : to cycle to the border of Iraq
contact : Peace Office Eindhoven
internal websites : bikeride
kilometer :

Relation with 80 Questions : guiding Eindhoven initiatives

Rob being interviewed for RTRS

Name : Srebrenica
Objectives : get the picture
contact : Peace Office Eindhoven
related websites : Srebrenica
kilometer :

Relation with 80 Questions : get more things clear

Name : Sarajevo
Objectives : get back
contact : FIS Kultura
related websites : FIS Kultura
kilometer :
check this out

Relation with 80 Questions : Being a few years in this city means loosing a part of your soul. You have to come back, to search for it, to visit it and to nurse it. That's what we like to do. This was a presentation in 2011 at FIS Kultura.