Some other lands, beyond the borders of their age-old hearths and ancestral spaces have become more important to them. A kind of enigma is unfolding these days. In order to resolve the crisis in BiH, apparently, a tripartite meeting of leaders of Croatia, Serbia and Turkey is being offered.
Banja Luka high schoolers of the ’70 generation are scattered around the world, they have a Viber group chat, and so every day someone reaches out with a comment, a congratulations, a photo… The vaccine is one of the conversation topics. A real little war between the proponents of the vaccine and the anti-vaxxers is flaring up. A colleague wonders: ‘I’m afraid of how all of this will end?’ As if she’s afraid of a war of global proportions? One of the main reasons is she lives in Ontario. But who knows why that’s a good thing?! Because to this day, there is no good in the Balkans.
And if there was a global conflict because of the vaccines, it would be a civil one. The Balkan peoples are unlikely to come to the fore. Because here, in the mountainous Balkans, it’s mostly peasants. And a lot of illiterates. And a lot of nationalists. They’re not up for a war for or against vaccines. To them, it’s wars for the ‘national cause’ that are much more important.
But nationalists aren’t even worthy of talking about them right now. My only regret is that the peasants were manipulated, so they get their votes in the elections. Cities wake up from time to time and choose others.
And what else do nationalists do to us? They expel those who survived, even without war. They are in power, they don’t allow them to get the jobs they deserve, they don’t pay them as much as they’re worth. And people leave, to all 4 corners of the world. They are looking for a back-up ‘homeland’. I found mine, back in the ’80s – in the then Czechoslovakia. So, before the ‘Balkan wars’ that happened at the twilight of the 20th century. It was real twilight. And dawn never came.
In the 1990s, this choice became its own ironic departure from the imposed ‘back-up homelands’ that became a political tool. And suddenly Bosnia became something incidental to Bosnians, and Herzegovina to Herzegovinians. Some other lands, beyond the borders of their age-old hearths and ancestral spaces have become more important to them. A kind of enigma is unfolding these days. In order to resolve the crisis in BiH, apparently, a tripartite meeting of leaders of Croatia, Serbia and Turkey is being offered.
In order to, apparently, resolve the relations between Croats, Serbs and Bosniaks. Others are not mentioned, and neither are ‘Bosnians’ and ‘Herzegovinians’ / a possessive adjective derived from belonging to a country called Bosnia and Herzegovina /. So the Bosniaks turned out to be Turks. So Turkey is the back-up homeland of Bosniaks ???
I recently travelled to the south-eastern part of that country, in the area of the ‘lucky crescent’, as Mesopotamia was called, to the archaeological excavations of Gobeklitepe, the ‘zero point of time’, and there was no reason for me to believe that I was in my ‘back-up homeland’.
And when I go to Prague, I feel it with my whole being. My important spiritual ancestors were born there, such as Hrabal, Kundera, Kochout, Menzel, Hyvnar … and my colleague Havliček Borovski, whose slogan ‘People to themselves’ was used by the Prague National Theater / Narodni divadlo / in 1983 when they celebrated 100 years of existence. And I was really happy with the similar slogan of the Sarajevo National Theater, which is celebrating this jubilee this year: ‘Theatre to the people’.
That’s what I actually wanted to write about. And about the successes. Swimmer Lane Pudar, a 15-year-old who celebrates every victory as a success of the country in which she lives, about the successes of Bosnian women’s basketball…
I also wanted to write about the BiH national football team, which had the opportunity to qualify for the World Cup. What a celebration that would have been !!!
The whole region would have celebrated!?!?!?
Dzevdet Tuzlic, BiH journalist with decades of experience in radio, television and print media