This statement was published originally on February 12, on the website for the PEN Center in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The Board of PEN Center in Bosnia-Herzegovina sends its strongest support to the just claims of protesters who in increasing numbers appear in the streets of Bosnia-Herzegovina’s cities. Protest against inefficient and corrupt government, against kleptocracy which for decades has been robbing all its citizens and at the same time playing them off against each other and dividing them into ethnical voting bodies, making them prone to manipulation of all kinds, are completely justified. At the moment a great and irreversible process of change is happening in our country, which should result in dignified life for all our citizens and not just for the estranged political elites who even do not know what is happening to those at the expense of whom they live their luxurious lives.
We appeal to all writers and other artists from the region and beyond to give their support to the just demands for immediate change of the political and economic situation in the whole of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and to the efforts to build a more just society based on the rule of law and greater social equality, to our rights to free assembly and free expression, and especially to our insistence on greater inclusion of young experts, especially women, in all levels of government.
A state which doesn’t care about its most important cultural institutions, a state which doesn’t care for its elderly writers and other artists who barely survive, does not have the right to any respect. For more than two decades writers and other intellectuals, who have critically perceived the situation in our country and who do not belong to any political option, have found themselves on the social margin – a point from which they can very well see who pushes all of us into chaos and into possible further violence.