Gastarbeider in Sarajevo

Na ruim twee jaar en veel verhalen in het Bosnisch uit Nederland, zoals beloofd op mijn afscheidsborrel, ook verhalen in het Nederlands uit Bosnië. Veel plezier. S.


Experts for hatred


BY NIHADA HASIC - 06.05.2011 17:31

The Mayor of Prijedor Municipality and the President of the Democratic People’s Alliance (DNS) has a very specific recipe by means of which he’s trying to defend the citizens of Prijedor from new conflicts and discharges of hatred.

Marko Pavic is conducting his protector’s mission by opposing the gathering of the members of the Association of Concentration Camp Detainees of BiH in front of the former Omarska Camp, planned for May 9th – the Victory Day over Fascism. Gathering of the victims is considered by the DNS to be a political provocation, which may have unforeseeable harmful consequences for the coexistence in Prijedor. And how much he himself cares for the tolerance and the consequences of his “peaceable” statements is best illustrated through his elucidation as to why the gathering of former Bosniak and Croat detainees is unacceptable at the location where they were detained in the summer of 1992.

“The Day of Victory over Fascism is not appropriate for holding of such a manifestation, unless the organizer of the gathering has some connections with those who plundered Europe 60 years ago”, explained Pavic.

The irony with which the victims are brought into connection with the fascism of the first half of the 20th century is even more unacceptable as this statement was uttered by a man who has just two years ago in Sarajevo been proclaimed the best mayor of the Central and Southeast Europe. At that time Pavic spoke of his merits as to why Prijedor has become, even for the international community, a bright example of development, coexistence and prosperity in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and not so long ago had it been considered, due to the war crimes committed, a dark spot in Europe.

Declaratively, the Mayor of Prijedor is all for coexistence at present as well. That is exactly why, as he claims, he’s opposing the gathering of the former concentration camp detainees whose participants shall “discharge their indignation and hatred, leaving the citizens of Prijedor with an evil seed that they shall afterwards have to be struggling with and overcoming it”. It is praiseworthy that Pavic is thinking on a long term and warning about possible consequences of other people’s statements and actions whereas he’s not thinking about what he’s achieving with his prohibition. Should he have observed the interest of his citizens and compatriots he’d surely have sustained himself from embargo and connecting victims with fascists. With his decision to, shortly before the “disputable” gathering in Omarska, additionally heat up the boiling political atmosphere in BiH, Pavic leaves an open room for prohibitions also of some other commemorative gatherings, which we, unfortunately, abound with. 

As per schedule, after Prijedor, the next in line is the commemoration of the anniversary of the sufferings of the soldiers of the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) at Brcanska Malta in Tuzla. The fact that on May 15th last year, when the associations from the Republic of Srpska have for the first time laid down flowers in Tuzla, there were no incidents does not mean that now it is smart to set off, through agitators’ slogans, the fury of Tuzla citizens. On the contrary. Pavic, as a public figure, should show much more political maturity and accountability than the anonymous commentators on internet forums. That way he’d be of more assistance to the local community whose interests he swears on.

In case on May 3rd last year the Sarajevan police had observed more the “wisdom” effused in forums and the “maturity” of the Mayor, Alija Behmen, the families of the killed JNA soldiers wouldn’t then, or this May, pay honour to their killed relatives in the former Dobrovoljacka Street in Sarajevo. Behmen as well talked last year, as Pavic does these days, about political manipulation, opposed the gathering in the centre of Sarajevo, by which, as he said, the aggressor and his victim would be equalized. Even the City Council of Sarajevo had supported Behmen’s decision to prohibit the commemoration of the JNA soldiers, and the session during which the embargo for Dobrovoljacka was confirmed abounded with, to put it mildly, the speech of hatred directed towards the Serb people.

Luckily, the then-Minister of Interior of Sarajevo Canton and the Police Commissioner have decided to do their job observing solely the law, and not the political instructions whoever they may be coming from. The responsible behaviour of the head of the Sarajevan Ministry of Interior had necessitated the commitment of a huge number of police officers, the city had been reminiscent of the times of curfew, but all had passed peacefully. The same scenario was repeated this year as well in Hamdije Kresevljakovica Street, except that, precisely because the politicians didn’t get involved that much by adding extra fuel, there was no counter-gathering of the “Green Berets” and other associations.

The parallel Sarajevo – Prijedor is just one of the illustrative examples as to how much the political leaders can direct the behaviour of the associations of the past war’s victims was not mentioned here either as a counter-point in a story of whose pain is the greater one. The sufferings and traumas experienced are to a greater extent more difficult and more long-lasting than the political speeches on commemorations. They shall, unfortunately, not disappear after al-Fatihas have been recited and after candles have been lit at the crime scene, but they should nevertheless not be worsened by depriving the victims of their right to remembrance and by misusing them for the purpose of increasing one’s own political rating.

The non-involvement of politics with the wounds of the war proved worth of gold two-three days ago in Konjic. For the killed members of Croatian Defence Council (HVO) and the BiH Army, a common memorial stone was laid in spite of the fact that these two armies were in the war against each other. The names of those killed found themselves on one spot as a result of the decision made by their families, who, far away from the public eye, had been preparing for this action for a long time. Once the entire arduous job had been done, again somebody was there to make profit on the parents’ tears. This time it was Zivko Budimir, the President of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. His presence at the uncovering of the memorial stone to the killed citizens of Konjic was desirable inasmuch as was Pavic’s invitation for peace and coexistence.


Gastarbeider in Sarajevo
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