Banner photo by Avaz Daily.
This commentary by Ladislav Tomičić was published in the Croatian publication Novi List on 16 February 2014 at http://www.novilist.hr/Komentari/Kolumne/Ladovina-Ladislava-Tomicica/Sto-smo-sve-slagali-o-Bosni-i-Hercegovini
All the lies about Bosnia-Herzegovina
The social uprising next door began out of despair and impoverishment, and the notion that it has involved Bosniaks exclusively is a notorious lie.
Who began the social uprising in Bosnia-Herzegovina, why, and with what objective in mind? In answering these questions, a large number of Croatian media outlets have fed their readers, viewers, and listeners an ample serving of lies and constructs that cannot hold up even to the most superficial analysis. The trailblazer in construing reality is a certain Zagreb commentator who is also known for fabricating conversations with high-ranking politicians and for backing anyone who can pay for a lunch that includes a expensive bottle of wine.
This person has served up to the public the theory that the protests have underscored national divisions in BH. The same notion has been promoted by quite a few self-styled experts on our neighboring country, of which there are as many in Croatia as your heart desires. Their material has come in part from the political amateurism exhibited by Prime Minister Zoran Milanović, whose visit to Mostar provided an opportunity to depict him as the premature child of Franjo Tuđman’s criminal policy toward BH. On the same day that Milanović traveled to Mostar, the notorious Banja Luka politician Milorad Dodik traveled to Belgrade to sit at Aleksandar Vučić’s feet, which was a signal to the self-styled analysts that they should depict the social uprising exclusively in light of the nationalist policies that have produced nothing but misery and injustice for two decades now. The collateral victims of this analytic approach have been the facts.
The social uprising next door began out of despair and impoverishment, and the notion that it has involved Bosniaks exclusively is a notorious lie. Protests have indeed taken place in the part of the Federation inhabited predominantly by Bosniaks, but their participants have included citizens of all three nationalities. This has also been an uprising against nationalist policies. Anyone who has witnessed the protests has been able to see this for himself, but unfortunately that’s not in the job description of the self-styled analysts.
Demonstrations have also taken place in cities where Croats are the majority population, and they have also occurred in Republika Srpska, but they have not taken root there only because the political elite rules with an iron fist in the part of BH that we still know by that name. The people who organized peaceful protests in Banja Luka remain apprehensive about their safety to this day, while the protestors in Bijeljina faced an organized pack of nationalists who intimidated them and threatened them with cudgels.
Let’s now return to Zoran Milanović’s visit to Mostar, and let’s make it clear why we consider that a case of political amateurism. Zoran Milanović is certainly no nationalist, but by going to Mostar and calling on Mostar’s Croat Democratic Union party, Milanović provided cause for being regarded as such in BH.
We might say that in this way the Croatian prime minister helped those with malicious intentions who have stopped at nothing in their efforts to depict the revolt by BH citizens against fraud, poverty, and nationalism as a Bosniak national cause. This is why film director Jasmila Žbanić gave him the reaction that he deserved: Go home! And how else could she have reacted, when one of Milanović’s hosts in Mostar was Dragan Čović, who enjoys public renown as one of the most corrupt politicians in BH?
To recall, corrupt politicians are the protestors’ main target. True, corruption has not been proved in Čović’s case, but readers can judge for themselves, bearing in mind that he built a villa worth six million convertible marks, and when asked where he got the money, he replied, “My wife and I have 30-year careers behind us.” By the way, the course of the Radobolje River was diverted so that it would pass through the yard of Čović’s villa. Considering all these facts, as well as the fact that during his visit Milanović limited himself to meeting with Croats exclusively, no one can blame director Žbanić for delivering to Milanović the message that he deserved. Her “go home” scandalized the hypocritical Croatian public more than the destruction of the Old Bridge in Mostar, a barbarism orchestrated by Croatian political and military figures. The only truth that the self-styled experts on BH have managed to pick up on is that the political elites are trying to turn the social uprising to their advantage.
This is not, however, about exploiting the movement in order to curtail the political rights of Croats in BH. One person who has starting trying to exploit the protests is Fahrudin Radončić, the chairman of the Alliance for a Better Future, whose goal is to score political points and settle scores with Bakir Izetbegović of the Party of Democratic Action and Zlatko Lagumdžija of the Social Democratic Party. This is not going very well for Radončić, and before long we will be witnessing counterblows from Izetbegović and Lagumdžija. But where do the protesters fit in with this? The people who are taking to the streets of major BH cities believe that the protests can actually bring about change. Maybe they’re naive, but they have nothing to lose.
Translated by phtevenson