The Bosnian Conflict ended years ago. Our generation no longer need to worry about the Balkans. The West resolved everything with their bombardments and the Dayton Peace Accords.
That is what we are led to believe. Syria is seemingly becoming another Bosnia, but it is still not right to discuss Bosnia in the past tense.
A random encounter with a Montenegrin recently enlightened me to the current situation in the Balkan region. He fled Split to Sarajevo aged 5, when the Serb-Croatian conflict began, and then went on to Montenegro. His views on politics were interesting enough but his unique insight into the current Bosnian situation was particularly compelling. My personal knowledge of the Bosnian situation ended with the final full-stop of my 12,000 word dissertation. The Dayton Accords, signed on the 14 December 1995 “put an end to the three and a half-year long Bosnian War”. We are led to believe that from that point onwards everyone lived happily ever after.
The reality is vastly different. Not a day goes by when the war is not mentioned. Even the young generation of Bosnians, who were not alive during the war, harbor grievances towards others based along ethno-religious lines. Everyday, tensions simmer violently below the surface. Nationalism is a force that still controls. Zivko is now a PE teacher at a state elementary school but it took him three years to get the job, despite the fact that he speaks fluent English and Italian and has a good university degree. Why? He refuses to become a member of any party. According to him, there is no way to move forward in the public sector without party membership, and political parties are both highly partisan and nationalistic.
These divisions threaten Bosnia’s prospects of EU membership. With our heads turned in another direction is it possible that similar circumstances to before could lead to a war very close to home?
Just doin’ ma duty,