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Bosnian political analyst Dusan Babic disputes some parts of Matthew Parish's comment: Croat Crisis Pushes Bosnia Towards Endgame
I was reading with great interest comment written by my distinguished colleague, Matthew Parish, entitled: “Croat Crisis Pushes Bosnia Towards Endgame”. In many aspects I agree with him, but, however, there are some points I strongly disagree with. Here are some of them.
“Bosniaks therefore would do better to focus on wealth creation and consolidating their political authority in areas of outright Bosniak control. Business interests should trump intractable political battles. The Serbs and Croats should be left to go their own ways”!?
Political battles here are indeed intractable, but unfortunately, politics still matters in this war torn country and deeply divided society along ethnic lines.
Besides, the line claiming that Serbs and Croats “should be left to go their own ways”, clearly suggests that Bosnia and Herzegovina is not their country too, or even implying that they are intruders in their homeland.
In his further elaboration, aimed at to support the thesis about self-sufficiency of Bosniak Bantustan, which by the way represents only one quarter of the entire B-H territory, and speaking about its advantages over Serb and Croat parts of the country, Sarajevo was branded as a “cosmopolitan capital”.
It is indeed hardly to say that Sarajevo today is a cosmopolitan city. Thanks to dramatic demographic shifts caused by the war, there are currently about 100,000 illiterate persons in Sarajevo alone!
Namely, poor and primitive people from remote rural areas of eastern Bosnia, today mostly part of Republika Srpska, settled in Sarajevo and its suburbs. And probably for ever.
One picturesque and very indicative joke like saying is widely circulating here: “I don’t won’t to see any cow even on a milk plastic container”, adding: “I’ve even a drizzly water”, meaning shower bath (“Bilesi, imam i sitnu vodu”).
“Perhaps the most important outstanding question is whether Bosniaks will take up arms to prevent the disintegration of their (my emphasis) country…” Again, my colleague Parish is clearly saying that B-H is exclusively Bosniak country! No need to say that such thinking is simply wrong and detrimental for this country.
“For most Bosniaks, Republika Srpska is to them much as Kosovo to the Serbs: a land that invokes raw emotional responses of resentment, imagined as occupied by a hostile alien people”, adding, “… Ultimately, it is a place they never visit…”!? Wrong again.
I know a bunch of Bosniaks visiting Republika Srpska very frequently, and without any fear or the like. This Kosovo/ RS parallel is a real nonsense.
Regarding “cautious optimism”, Parish has named “two caveats, Mostar and Brcko…”, again without mentioning Sarajevo, as the litmus test of the country’s any bright future.
Namely, a few months ago I was commenting his open letter to the Roderick Moore, then the new Principal Deputy High Representative and Brcko District Supervisor at the OHR in Sarajevo, published in Sarajevo-based daily Oslobodjenje.
In brief, I said that the status of Sarajevo is the question of all questions. As long as Sarajevo is strictly under Bosniak control, any debate over how to make B-H self-sustained country, is simply useless or represents an empty shell.
Finally, question remains – why international community is so prone to preserve status quo in Sarajevo? But, this is another issue to be discussed.
Dusan Babic is media and political analyst from Sarajevo.
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