Work on yourself, move your limits, be the difference in your community so you don’t have to change countries.

Anisa Mahmutovic

They ask me why I’m so vocal about staying in Bosnia and Herzegovina – a Masters graduate, just hired at a temporary job at a large media house?

I don’t justify it in a lot of detail – ‘So, I want to stay – so what?’

I can’t keep telling people how I’d been to this ‘golden’ Germany and ‘socialist’ Austria, I’ve seen beautiful people, lakes, and overcrowded cities. I have seen those ‘hospitable’ natives who can’t wait to call us ‘Ausländer’.

I represent Bosnia and Herzegovina at international congresses, and I am proud to say my country’s name, my heart is as full as Majevica. And when I’m in BiH, in Sarajevo, I say I’m from Sapna. As if my Sapna is a big deal. Over there, I’m an unwanted citizen for politicians, and the last hope of the regular Joe when his rights are being threatened by those with nothing more than evening school in their resume.

I’m here to fight on my own turf and fight for my own people, with education and bravery alongside my peers and colleagues. Transition has left us with uneducated officials, and snobs in expensive cars, who we should send back wherever it is they came from.

Better systems have fallen because of corruption and crime, and so could ours – even tomorrow, if we were to go out on the streets and throw all the instigators out of our institutions, and appoint young people who are not burdened by the past and who have not yet learned about corruption, rigged tenders and election theft.

Things will be better when we stop sending our teenagers to other countries so they can push a stroller, but actually train them to do something in their own country that we will be proud of.

Do not agree to live on the edge of poverty, while your spiritual-political leader is making millions.

You don’t owe him anything, or any minister, prime minister or director. Remember, they are your employees.

You think I’m writing this from a comfortable home. I’m not!

This is written by a girl who was educated by her parents from daily wages and crops without a single mark of regular income. A child whose chances of education were zero because I’m not from a big city, I didn’t have a lot of money, nor did my parents hold important positions.

They worked on other people’s fields, as well as their own, and I started doing part time work when I started studying and going through life.

I am also writing to you as the only Master of Communication in my municipality for whom there was no work, nor will there be in the future. As a young journalist who did investigative stories about public procurement, I also had security measures taken by relevant institutions.

As you can see, it’s everything but pleasant, but that’s why I know what I’m going to say to my daughter when she’s born.

That’s why I’m here to tell you, it will be easier for you, because people like me are treading your path.

I live a decent life with my work, of course with some debt but still less than those in Germany.

I am writing to tell you, if someone like me, with a bad social pedigree, from the province, could become everything I am today, you can too, you just need to stay, grit your teeth, and fight for yourself and your little future family.

Work on yourself, move your limits, be the difference in your community so you don’t have to change countries.

Because even if you don’t care about the state, then you do care about your mother and father who one day won’t be there, and you can’t hug them via a video call.


Anisa Mahmutovic, correspondent for the Federal Journalism Agency