Angie’s Love Story

The top news in Bosnia and around the world these days is how Bosnia’s Federal Minister of Culture denied Angelina Golie the right to film in Sarajevo. Her new movie is a love story between a Serb and a Bosniak woman. The Bosniak woman is a rape victim and the Serb is the man in charge of the concentration camp. The synopsis does not specify whether he raped her but it was enough for war victims and especially rape victims in Bosnia and Herzegovina to voice their protest.  The public in Bosnia was divided: one side supported the victims protest headed by Bakira Hasecic of “Woman- Victims of War” and the rest were in support of Angelina’s film. Some claimed that the film should not be criticized before one gets to watch it while others called upon “artistic freedom”.

Several things should be noted about this whole case:

  1. A large number of Bosnian actors have been selected to play roles in this film so it is not in their interest that such a film gets bad publicity.
  2. The Federal Minister of Culture is the only politician who supported the victim groups. He left Haris Silajdzic’s Party for Bosnia and Herzegovina a few months ago, so since elections are over and the possibility for him to stay in politics in quite low – he is trying to made a good impression before he leaves office.
  3. Serbian PINK TV refused to cooperate with Angelina supposedly because the film is “anti-Serb”. Keep in mind that whenever something  is called “anti-Serb” it means that it shows the true nature of the Bosnian war.
  4. Angelina was portrayed by many Bosnians including the Sarajevo Cantonal Minister of Culture as a “proven friend of Bosnia”. It’s hard to believe that somebody who spent 48 hours in a country can become a friend that fast. Meanwhile, the remembrance of Bosnia’s true friends such as Congressman Frank McCloskey (I doubt the Minister has ever heard of him) has not been welcomed by some.
  5. Several Bosnian directors defended Angelina’s film calling it ‘’artistic freedom’’. However, I doubt that anyone of them would film a love story between a Nazi officer and a Jewish woman.

Judging from the synopsis, the thing which bothers me the most is that the Serb is the camp commander(it is not clear if he raped her). No love story can be made between a camp commander and a raped woman.  Rape in Bosnia and Herzegovina was systematic and organized. It was headed and coordinated by camp commanders. Bosnian directors should finally make a film which would portray the truth about the genocidal rape of Bosniaks from 1992-95.

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Fahrudin’s alms

Image: Fahrudin Radoncic and Reisu-l-ulema Mustafa Ceric

Ured za Zekat (Zekat Collecting Office) of the Islamic Community in Bosnia and Herzegovina published a Press Release informing the public that Fahrudin Radoncic, the owner of ‘’Dnevni Avaz’’ – a local newspaper and the head of the newly formed political party ”Savez za Bolju Buducnost”(SBB) paid 50,000 KM in alms to the Islamic Community. This news was quickly published on SBB’s website and on Dnevni Avaz.

The Zekat Collecting Office usually does not announce who gave how much money in alms nor does the giver want the public to know. But this is understandably a different case.

Ties between Radoncic and the Islamic Community were always close but this latest news has hit a bottom low. There is no doubt that such information is being used in pre-election propaganda. Radoncic is a Presidential candidate in the October elections.

The Islamic Community headed by Reisu-l-ulema Mustafa Ceric is known for supporting candidates in previous years. This elections, the IC support will be divided among a few parties with no sole favorite.

One of BBC’s Blackadder episodes symbolizes the current relationship between businessmen and religious figures in B&H :

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October elections – Part 2

Here’s Part2 of my ‘October elections’ post where I give my view and opinion on Bosniak(Bosnian Muslim) Presidential candidates.

October elections – Part 1

3.Haris Silajdzic/Party for Bosnia and Herzegovina

Image: (from left to right) Haris Silajdzic, Abdullah Gul and Boris Tadic in Turkey. Reuters©

In 2006, if you spoke out against Haris, you could have been stoned since everyone was his supporter. That year, Bosniaks in general were very unsatisfied with SDA and especially with Sulejman Tihic(SDA, 2002/2006 member of BH Presidency). Haris arrived under a new slogan ‘100% B&H”, promised to abolish Republika Srpska and defeated Sulejman Tihic in a landslide. He also received full support from Reisu-l-ulema Mustafa Ceric who publicly asked Silajdzic to ”write a new constitution.” Many voted for Haris because they really believed that he would make a change – that he would be the man to finish the job. That election year, people were frightened with Milorad Dodik’s threats of secession  of Republika Srpska so that was a reason more to vote for Haris as he seemed to be the only candidate suitable to stand up to Dodik.

Haris was often criticized for not living in Bosnia the whole time but only in election years. He was also linked to scandals like the Tuzla Bank(Tuzlanska banka) and several other privatizations of local firms.

Abolishment of Republika Srpska turned out to be more harder than imagined. Several mistakes made by Haris made him lose a lot of support among his voters. He disappointed many when he signed the Police Reform agreement (although it did not reform much) and tried to make deals with Dodik on several occasions. For some time he seemed politically dead and it was uncertain if he would run for President in the next elections.

However, several things have brought him back to  the political scene like meetings with Turkish and Serbian counterparts with some major results  and the Ejub Ganic case where he and his advisor Damir Arnaut played a huge role.

Maybe one of the most useful things done by Haris Silajdzic is that he gave a greater role to his advisors. Advisors of former Presidents were basically unknown and useless. Haris managed to bring in US-educated Damir Arnaut and Elvir Camdzic and UK-educated Sejfudin Hodzic who have proved to be a very reliable and useful asset.

Haris Silajdzic will most probably take the Presidency again but not in a landslide like last time. He will have to be careful about the promises he makes this elections.

4.Dzemaludin Latic/ A-SDA

Former SDA official who claims that he was the closest to late President Alija Izetbegovic – at least he believes so. He was considered to have been the ideologue of SDA from its formation onwards. He along with several other so-called Bosniak intellectuals gathered around the weekly Ljiljan magazine(firstly called ‘Muslimanski Glas‘ it was renamed during the war) which was considered to be pro-SDA.

He is also known as the author of some of the most famous Nasheed.  Although some claim that the melody and text was ”borrowed and translated” from Turkish and Iranian musicians.

Dzemaludin, popularly called ‘Dzemo’ was removed from SDA a few years ago by Sulejman Tihic in the now famous ”Tihic purges” where hardliners and people unfaithful to Tihic were removed from the Party. Most of these people formed the A-SDA as an alternative to the old SDA. A-SDA does not enjoy popular support and it’s stronghold is in the Krajina region.

Dzemo, in the past, has had several projects which were failures like the Bosniak Television(Bosnjacka Televizija) and Ljiljan magazine which was a successful and popular magazine until the Latic brothers and other guys like Mensur Brdar got a hold of it.

A-SDA seems to be another failure. Hopefully his last.

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October elections – Part 1

The October elections are right around the corner. Unlike the past years – this is going to be quiet interesting. In the following post I will be giving my view and opinion on several candidates for the BH Presidency.

1. Fahrudin Radoncic/Coalition for a Better Future(SBB)

Image: Fahrudin Radoncic(left) and Reisu-l-ulema Mustafa Ceric(right), unknown man holding his belly in the middle.

A new party called ‘Savez za Bolju Buducnost‘ – ‘Coalition for a Better Future’ will be covering almost all positions including the Bosniak Member of the Presidency and it’s candidate is Fahrundin Radoncic – the owner of Dnevni Avaz, a local newspaper.

Dnevni Avaz, which is infamous for launching dirty campaigns against its opponents has turned all its artillery against other political parties especially other candidates for the Presidency. It can be compared to McCarthy-style accusations of treason, disloyalty, corruption etc.

The Coalition for Better Future will win some seats but it certainly will not get a landslide victory and won’t get the Presidency. The party has not been able to get popular figures to join except for Dr.Emir Kabil who is a well-known doctor from Tuzla. The others are all relatively anonymous.

Radoncic has been associated with several scandals including the Federal Development bank(Razvojna banka) scandal where the bank credited the construction of the ‘Avaz Twist Tower‘ – which wasn’t a prosperous investment. In one period he got into business with controversial Serbian businessman Miroslav Miskovic who was very close to former Yugoslav President and Hague genocide suspect Slobodan Milosevic.

Radoncic regularly received support from the head of the Islamic Community of Bosnia and Herzegovina – Reisu-l-ulema Mustafa Ceric. But this support weakened drastically  in the last couple of months.

2. Bakir Izetbegovic/Party for Democratic Action(SDA)

Image: Candidates for SDA leadership(from left to right): Adnan Terzic, Sulejman Tihic and Bakir Izetbegovic. Reuters©

Simply called ‘The Son’. Bakir is the son of late President Alija Izetbegovic and after so many years decided to run for President. Many commentators consider this one of his worst decisions ever. Bakir lost elections one year ago in intra-party elections when he was running for President of SDA. This was a major blow to the Izetbegovic family since Alija’s son lost to Sulejman Tihic – a low-key offical in SDA, a man brought into the SDA by Alija Izetbegovic.

Tihic, former member of the Presidency of BH lost in 2006 elections to Haris Silajdzic (Party for Bosnia and Herzegovina), is known for getting rid of enemies within the Party. A good example is Elmir Jahic, who challenged Tihic in 2005 in SDA elections for leadership in the Party. He has disappeared from the political scene and from the Party.  Some suspect that Tihic purposely allowed Bakir to be the Presidential candidate – with no chance of winning – so that he could be slowly removed from the Party after defeat. If one does not have support within the Party and within the voters – he should go.

Bakir has lived under his father’s fame for too long and has lost contact with reality. He has not done much – or anything for that matter in the BH Parliament for the interests of his voters(this is his second term in office).  He is often criticized for his close links to some Bosniak criminals.

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The man of entirely good character

Image:Radislav Krstic, convicted to 35 years on genocide charges.

Aside from the matters to which I am about to turn the Claimant was apparently a man of entirely good character (…) I start by noting that it was common ground that the Claimant had been convicted of very serious criminal activity which involved active assistance in the imposition of unimaginable and indescribable suffering on the Bosnian Muslim population of Srebrenica (…)

Radislav Krstić v. Secretary of State for Justice, England and Wales High Court (Administrative Court) Decisions, Case No: CO/4878/2010, 13 August 2010, para. 2 and 15.

Complete decision here.

Note: This post was borrowed from Gleaning the dicta.

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Tito in Visegrad

Josip Broz Tito visiting Visegad in 1970.

‘Brotherhood and Unity’ before it turned ugly.

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