AntiNote: This article first appeared in German on the website of the Antikapitalistische Linke, a constellation of currents within the far-left German political party DIE LINKE which explicitly includes unaffiliated activists and agitators and views itself as a bridge between DIE LINKE and non-partisan anti-capitalist movements within Germany and elsewhere.
A pair of AKL activists recently visited Tuzla and spoke with people involved in the citizens’ assemblies and protests there which generated a good deal of excitement in Left circles in Europe in February and March of this year…but which regrettably seem to have fallen off the radar screen in recent weeks.
As we have seen a number of commentators, even on the Left, reading the movement in Bosnia its last rites and/or pointing out all the places where it “went wrong,” we at the Antidote Writers Collective wish to insist, along with our friends of the AKL, that there is still fog on the mirror. As long as the struggle continues, the struggle continues. The activists in Tuzla are still speaking; is it not the height of rudeness to turn away?
A dispatch from Tuzla by Inge Höger and Carsten Albrecht
Transcribed from This is Hell! Radio’s 22 March 2014 episode and printed with permission. Listen to the full interview here.
“It’s misleading for the international community to say the citizens of Bosnia need to take ownership of their own issues, but then when they take that phrase literally, say, ‘oh, that’s not what we had in mind.’”
Chuck Mertz: We are speaking with Edin Hajdarpašić. He teaches history at Loyola University in Chicago; he is the author of the forthcoming book entitled Whose is Bosnia? Political Imagination and Nation Formation in the Modern Balkans, and wrote an Al Jazeera article recently on what’s going on in Bosnia right now.
This text originally appeared on 9.2.2014 at http://www.lupiga.com/vijesti/glasnik-pregazene-generacije-o-sarajevskim-neredima
By Faruk Šehić, recipient of the European Union Prize for Literature
What actually happened that Friday 7th of February, what wild force was it that had awoken in the people and taken control of the streets surrounding the buildings of the Presidency of BiH and the Canton of Sarajevo? The day before, it had begun in front of the building of the cantonal government during one in a long line of workers’ protests. Amateur footage on the internet documented police brutality and police ineptitude to deal with the situation which quickly escalated. It was to be expected that Friday would be even worse and with even more tension than that first day when the uprising began spreading through the streets of Tuzla. Around noon on the Friday, the building of the cantonal government in Tuzla was set ablaze. After I saw that on state TV, I headed toward city centre.
“He who sows hunger reaps anger,” warned the red graffiti on a Sarajevo government building this week. The message hinted at the depth of poverty and disillusionment in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) that has driven people to join demonstrations across the divided country, where the unemployment rate is about 40 percent. Protesters have since stormed and ransacked government buildings in Tuzla, Zenica, Mostar, and in the capital city of Sarajevo, where the headquarters of the presidency was also set ablaze. Some protesters allegedly threw firecrackers and stones at police, who responded with rubber bullets and tear gas. Hundreds have been injured. On Friday, activist Darko Brkan called the protests “a collective nervous breakdown”.