There’s Little To Celebrate

Bosnia’s politicians and representatives were celebrating to 20th anniversary of the Dayton Accords a few days ago in Sarajevo. Most Bosnians wonder what there is to celebrate.

Sometimes a picture says more than a thousand words. This is certainly true for this photo Jim Marshall took in Sarajevo. It stands for what most people in Bosnia think about the Dayton Accords signed 20 years ago.

The Guardian has summed up the situation in a pretty good piece calling the treaty  „a synonym for inertia, neglect and despair“.

Dayton basically is a 20 year long armistice. It’s held the country in something between war and peace for two decades. All it has succeeded in on the long run is reinforcing ethnic divisions and keeping nationalists in power while rendering Bosnia almost ungovernable.

There’s little to be added to the Guardian’s interpretation save to demonstrate the situation with an example or two of how Dayton makes life more difficult for normal people in Bosnia, no matter whether they live in the Federation or Republika Srpska.

As pointed out in my first report, there are two public railway companies, each operating in its respective entity. That doesn’t make the country’s already inadequate railway system any better.

Dayton also divides Sarajevo. The North and East of the city, including the center, are Federation territory. Much of the Southwest is in Republika Srpska. To add a shot of comedy to tragedy, the Serb part is called Istočno – East.

I’ve been told that there are a number of provisions that cab drivers don’t take too many passengers across the entity line. A cab from the Federation part is not allowed to pick up a fare in Istočno and the other way round.

So, one does understand why most Bosnians aren’t so happy about it. Yet there seems to be no political movement or party strong enough to do anything about it.

Odds are Bosnia’s political class will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Dayton Accords, too. Keeping most Bosnians fed up it keeps them well fed.

Photo: (c) Jim Marshall, Sarajevo

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