My time in Bosnia Herzegovina has had three phases and I want to tell you about them. I’m sorry for writing so much about Bosnia, but there have been to many things in my head not to tell them.

First phase.
The Romans needed 150 years to conquer them, the Turks another 150 to conquer the city of Jajce. Bosnia is a tough country and this is how it’s been during their entire history. This made me think that they have gotten over the war, I imagined a country wanting to be free and independent again. Free of wars and with a future. I arrived to Bosnia Herzegovina with an open mind but looking for this.

Second phase.
I learned more things about the country and it was not very encouraging. Dayton agreement finished the war 15 years ago and seems nothing has changed since, separated schools, changing governments that look after their own people, cities divided by a river, I saw separation everywhere and a country with a very fragile framework, the ministers are multiplied by 3, giving 140 ministers, imagine the expense and the paperwork.

I also learned how the war was created with TV reports frightening everybody “they come for us”…
Also, how one side or the other got villages involved in the war that had nothing to do with it, getting people who were living in peace to join the war by fighting with their neighbours.

I´ve met NGOs who told me how history is taught in schools without trying to unite the people and I was not liking it at all. I was thinking that even there were people trying to do help, if one day the peace forces would leave everything would collapse and the war would return in the exact same way.
The video is about the first and second phase:

As I say in the video, I don’t like it, it’s a stereotypical image that doesn’t tell what Bosnia is now, it doesn’t show the cafes with people talking, the streets with shops and pedestrians, and the tranquility of the landscapes or about the villages with history.The video is shit but I’ve posted it as it has been part of my thinking process.

Third phase.
I changed my way of thinking again. 15 years seems to be a lot of time but it’s not(Bosnia is like a small child and we don’t ask kids for too much) and there’s alot been done during this time, the normality that one feels in a city is extraordinary, the cities have been reconstructed, this is a huge step.

Bureaucracy is one of the biggest problems but NATO is focusing their efforts on solving it.
Nobody wants to come back to war, they say that if there’s work there won’t be problems and cultures are starting to mix. Mostar the divided city has started joint budgets, the ambulance service for example. There are mixed kinder-gardens, it seems the 15 years are crossing some wounds.

All this has made me come back to something similar to my first phase, I’ve had a great time in Bosnia Herzegovina and I’m sure Sarajevo is going to become a popular destination to spend a weekend as Prague, Barcelona or Edinburgh with the bonus of seeing the city of the war and the mix of cultures that no other european city has. Also as not that many people have come, it gives an exploratory feeling that you don’t have in London or Rome.

I recommend you coming, moving is easy, cheap, there’s a lot of people that speak in English and transportation is not expensive. It will need some more effort to move around but you’ll be rewarded, be sure.
This is why I regret about the video, It would have been more enriching if I recorded a video of the new and beautiful rather than the old and hurt.

During my time here I’ve also learnt about the trade and merchant scene in Bosnia. The crossroads of cultures also meant a merchant hub and cities like Disoko, Jajce Travnik Gorazde and Livno swapped goods from east and west.
There also was a small community of Sephardic Jews who were expelled from Spain in 1492 settled in several towns bringing their delicate crafts onto the scene.

To finalize, if any of you have interest on some videos on Sarajevo during the siege, here you have some:
First part of a documentary of people living their normal lifes
Second part.
Shooting to civilians. Take notice of the backgroun; clean streets, supermarkets, normal lights…

Ah!! A comment for guys about Croatia, and I don’t mean to be sexist. I give you a reason for not liking Croatians… they invented the tie!!!

See you soon


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