THE WAR IN Bosnia and Herzegovina was furious for three and a half years. Then, in 1995, three weeks after being virtually trapped at the US Air Force base in Dayton, Ohio, war leaders signed a contract to end it. Bosnia has been devastated, half of its population has fled or ethnic cleansing has killed more than 100,000 people. Since then, the country has been in peace. But on November 21, just a quarter of a century after the deal with Dayton, many Bosnians do not celebrate.
Most are miserable and it’s not hard to understand why. Income is low, public services are poor, and politicians are arguing the same things they fought in the war. Bosnians continue to age and migrate, and cities are plagued by smog. “Half of the country’s 14-year-olds are functionally illiterate,” said Adnan Serimagic, a think tank of the European Stability Initiative.
Before the war, there were about 4.2 million people in Bosnia. No one knows for sure, but today it’s probably between 2.7m and 3.3m. Due to the small population, it is sometimes said that the country only needs the mayor. Instead, Dayton created a complex system designed so that none of the three major ethnic groups in the country could control the other. The next 25 years are often unreasonable and seem to serve only in the interests of nationalist politicians who have successfully resisted reform attempts.
This small country has a weak central government, three presidents, two “entities”, and an autonomous region. The majority of Serbs live in the Republic of Srpska (RS), Bosnian (a term used to refer to Bosnian Muslims, who make up about half of the country’s population) and Croats live primarily in 10 cantons called the Commonwealth. Most, if not all, major political parties are ethnically based, and their leaders rarely agree on the major issues of governance and international affairs. The international “senior representative” remains domestic only to make his widespread power available when peace is threatened.
Milorad Dodik, who has long dominated the politics of RSMock Bosnia and talk about independence and integration with Serbia. Bosnian and Herzegovina leaders often seek their “third entity.” Bosniaks celebrate November 25th as “National Day”. That’s because modern Bosnia was founded in 1943. At school, all three ethnic groups learn different histories. Before the war, 13% of marriages were mixed, and in Sarajevo, one-third were mixed. The number of mixed races in 2019 was only 3%. According to a 2018 survey, 49% of young Bosnians want to leave.
Gloom is so popular that it is common for parents to pressure their children to go. Originally from Tuzla, Ivana Cook was born months before the end of the war. She says 20 of the 25 students in her class who graduated from school have left. Cook’s mother says she regrets not leaving after the war. Cook didn’t want to move, but she’s lucky. She has a job and an apartment and shares it with her boyfriend. About 80% of Bosnians of her age still live with their parents and the youth unemployment rate is high.
In the early postwar period, Bosnians were not very mixed. And it is still true that many young people from single-ethnic towns and villages, or divided cities of Mostar, have never met anyone of a different ethnicity. But that’s not as much as it used to be, and Bosnian politics often has far more subtle nuances than believed. On November 15, Serbs were overwhelmingly elected mayor of central Sarajevo, Bosniak. The majority of young Bosnians are not hostile to each other. They play sports together, civil society activists work on the cause together, and many cross boundaries between entities every day to work, shop, or just enjoy somewhere.
But that inevitably means that the first generation, who do not remember the war, will change nations. In last week’s local elections, 27-year-old Drasko Stanivukovic was elected mayor of the capital, Banja Luka. RS.. He states that his leadership is corrupt and needs to be replaced.He is against independence RSBut otherwise, he holds many of the same Serbian nationalist positions as Mr. Dodik.
26-year-old Hana Curak, a sociologist in Sarajevo, says lack of opportunity is a headache for her generation. Eighty-seven percent of young people surveyed in 2018 say they need to connect with power to find a job. Due to the high proportion of educated liberal youth, many remain less inventive step and have nationalist values. She believes that by justifying a system in which ethnicity is paramount, Dayton actually helped make many of her generation “more conservative and nationalist than their parents.”
“People have said for years that it’s up to young people to save us from this misery that scares me, but my impression is that they are not so much with our other people. It doesn’t change. “For those who are dedicated to making better Bosnia,” it will be a long struggle. ” ■■
This article was published in the printed European section under the heading “Daytonat 25”.
25-year-old Dayton-Bosnia remains miserable after a quarter-century of peace | Europe
Source link 25-year-old Dayton-Bosnia remains miserable after a quarter-century of peace | Europe