A Bosnian Story Part II

Nikola Hajdin


In my last blog about the children who have lost their father during the Bosnian war, I have put forward a few issues that I believe affect most directly the quality of life of those who are part of this specific group of citizens. In this piece the focus will be on the political reasons behind the story of war, and not just the one we had in Yugoslavia, as the same conclusion might be drawn on similar ongoing atrocities all across the globe.

Even if the dissolution of Yugoslavia was necessary in order for its people to live better — as it was advocated prior to the war by a few non-communist countries — and more than 100,000 people in Bosnia died for that cause, how can anyone explain why the children needed to suffer the most? What is so greatly important that could justify sufferings of the innocent?

Before I embark upon the analysis, a caveat would be appropriate at this juncture in order to serve the reader in understanding better what are the main obstacles that are hampering the protection of human freedoms, which results in the poor life quality of every human being. Political circumstances that heralded the Yugoslavian catastrophe in the early 90’s should be left aside for now, and by no means responsibility of any state will be questioned in this paper. Conversely, questions about the protection of human freedoms should thus be situated around the struggle between somewhat conflicted groups. On the one side, there are those whose thirst for power; political figures that represent the government(s) whose interest is indeed a narrow scope of human freedoms so they can exercise power with a broad leeway; on the other hand, there are those who are ‘collateral damage’ of the previous individuals in their ‘winning game’, and indisputably, the biggest losers in every armed conflict: children regardless of their nationality or any other form of affiliation. I fancy the term ‘winning game’, which I coined myself, which is employed to describe the bizarreness of the struggle for political supremacy.

Why there isn’t more involvement from the international community is not difficult to understand. A person’s/a group’s actions are led by specific incentives which define one’s personality. Countries are directed by the politicians who share similar individual and collective interests. According to the famous German sociologist Max Weber, the prevailing individual interest for every politician is a desire for more power, which is inherent in the political vocation as such. A veil of ‘collective interest’, ‘greater good’ or my favorite ‘protection of human rights’ is often used in order to shield the actions of those who are in the pursuit of private interest. Sometimes a war is an inevitable feature in their journey for more power — as I called it, the ‘winning game’. There is however an interest to help the children, but unfortunately for them it is not an economical one, it is humane.

This way of reasoning could be applied to some extent to national authorities in Bosnia. It appears that the persons who are controlling and directing Bosnian state policy are exclusively concerned with their own individual interests. Given the critique of the international system there are, however, clusters of politicians who yet, indeed remotely, have idealistic incentives. Conceivably, a few Bosnian politicians had those from the outset of their political career. During their professional advancement, surrounded by the colleagues who are marching towards their personal goals (which is indeed more power) using primarily Machiavellian means, a certain level of egocentrism arises in their personalities due to the feeling of being left aside and losing the ‘wining game’, which thus eclipses their idealistic aspirations. Among the great deal of issues that citizens are facing — for example a 44% unemployment rate — they are putting a tremendous effort in moving the discussion from the real issues in the field of hatred and animosity towards other nationals. Today in Bosnia the main topic of every discussion is national confrontation. For those who are in office, it works pretty well. No one is invoking responsibilities for bad governing. The reason why they are elected is because they have strong ambitions to confront every other nationality residing in the country. But, why do regular people fill their hearts with bitterness and haughtiness instead of planning a future full of happiness and joy? That is a paradox from which every attempt to escape remains fruitless. Many of them don’t even know the reason why they hate other nationals. It’s simply because they were told to.

‘A hard knock life’

Maintaining one’s dignity in Bosnia is almost impossible if you are not somewhat involved in politics. How should then one respond to the injustices around them; those who dislike the idea of imposing their will on others, whose mind is not corrupted with a gruesome craving for power, who want to lead a regular, decent life without stealing from others for their own gain, those whose beloved ones died defending the country that now oppresses them? In a paradoxical situation where those who are endowed with the highest authority, and by the virtue of their positions they could influence quality of peoples life, are however preoccupied with their political confrontations and the need for power. Hence, it is not a coincidence why are those within the circles of power are ignorant, unsophisticated and uncultured, as they don’t see any deeper meaning in their deeds, except those oriented strictly to their personal benefit. Consequently, they push their people to flee from the country, or, in the lack of such possibility, into hopelessness and despair.

Above all, yet surprisingly, there are still educated minds that believe the state of welfare could be achieved through the actions of one particular political party or political ideology. A reckless thought of those whose well-founded anger towards the current government was recast into the romantic idea, which, regrettably, was always doomed to failure.

The Bosnian dream includes only an honest job where the salary could suffice for rent and a hot meal on the table. No more than that. Is it too much to ask? No miracle will happen and yet they stopped believing in it such long time ago. There isn’t anyone willing to lead them out of misery and bring to justice those who directly benefit from their despair. Depression is their comfort. There is nothing fancy about it. It’s as simple as it looks. It’s not an American story with a happy ending. It’s a Bosnian one…

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