Repressed traumas are reviving

Štefica Galić
Autor/ica 6.5.2022. u 10:25

Repressed traumas are reviving

Photo: Natalija Miletic

In the time of global rearrangements starting with the war in Ukraine, world peace is on „glass legs“. Fear of nuclear disaster flies as a dark shadow above humanity, universal economic crisis, poverty, coronavirus pandemic, all is reflected through creation of an iron curtain. Europe is tired in its own problems and we in Bosnia and Herzegovina are living under, not only theoretic, threat of the new conflict. From the sites of Ukraine lot of people sees similarity with the war horror in which former Yugoslavia fell apart. Repressed traumas are reviving. Because of that, everywhere and always, peace should be advocated, the cease of killing and destruction. I call on reason and dialog of all people of good will and an end to the conflict. War brings only devastation from which you can never heal.

I live in Mostar, city which was totally devastated in the war during 1990s of the past century. City which is even today divided with the invisible wall on the left and right side, that immediately implies national and political classifications. And like there is no hope that Mostar will ever be what it has been, city of peace and good relations among people. New generations have been raised in parallel worlds, separate with national educational systems, without common activities and socializing, hardly having opportunities to meet each other. There are young people who did not cross the world known Old bridge, the symbol of this town, even though they live only few hundred meters from it, and all because of the prejudices they bring from home, school or church. Only rare, curious people cross the “border”, meet and socialize, while the extreme ones arranging battles in the streets. Nationalistic parties which were at war yesterday are the governing today. Nor even they know their city but not even like it. The only thing they are interested in is the realization of their own interests. Lot of wounds have not been healed, lot of people is murdered and never found, lot of those who still wants to find them and bury their mortal remains. And then there is so called “quiet majority” who does not want to give up from “their own” criminals. They keep quiet today and will be quiet forever. And, of course, there are eternal prisoners of the dark past who are drawing fascistic graffiti on the antifascist monuments, ones that are not being ruined yet. There are too much of those who accepted false history that is imposed through public sphere, media and educational system.

Will Mostar ever again be the city of love or will it stay the “city case”? I do not know, nor even dare to answer that question. Will it forgive and start developing truthful peace? I do not know. But I do know that peace is impossible until the war criminals are walking freely on the streets of Mostar.

Since the war ended, quarter of the century today, our country is a prisoner of frozen conflict and in total non-functional government system. International Community has stopped the war with the Dayton peace agreement. It could have stopped it before it even started but it did not. Don’t we see the same scenario in Ukraine today? We in Bosnia and Herzegovina have never seen the original of that famous agreement, and its interpretations are coming from three different ruling ethno narratives shaped as their interest policies suits at the moment. Most of the time they are Croatian-Serbian aspirations of disintegration of BiH, secession and affiliation of parts of our country to Croatia and Serbia – former aggressors on BiH. Bosniaks were the greatest victims in the past war, today they are trying to keep our country as whole. But there is a Bosniak nationalism arose as a reaction to Serbian and Croatian nationalism. There is also civil option that wants unique and indivisible BiH. It is majority in urban areas but at the elections, concurs very small percentage of votes.

With Dayton peace agreement the discriminatory constitution has been imposed. We are not all equal in front of the law. Only those who declare as one of the three constitutive people can run for the elections. Others – no! From the name of our country it has been expelled the word “Republic” and after the genocide over Bosniaks, International Community has awarded the protagonists of the genocide policy and ethnic cleansing, with the half of territory of BiH, creating entity of Republic Srpska which representative Milorad Dodik wants to affiliate with Serbia.  On the other side barely disguised fascist creation Herzeg-Bosnia is formally abolished as well as their symbols, but unfortunately, today, it lives through HDZ-tudjman policy led by Dragan Covic.

The citizens are literally mad of all. They want secular, democratic, civic state where they could have equal rights just like in other states in Europe. Unfortunately, that is impossible, because there is no political consensus about any question. Criminals are running this country. Citizens are misguided with the system of manipulation and corruption and have been involved within the dishonorable politician games. And that is how they (politicians) keep governing the country for three decades now.

Why am I keep saying this? Not to be forgotten, because I’m afraid it has already been forgotten. That is why lawsuits against nationalistic leaders ends in shells, that is why they build their haciendas as if from Hollywood movies, that is why the Church and clergy undisturbed participate in the pre-election campaigns, that is why media are in the hands and under control of those so called legitimate representatives “of their own” people. And every one of them is repeating same mantra about endangerment of their “own” people while the truth is that we are all threatened by their governance.

I, personally am endangerment by Dragan Covic’s street right, his mercenaries in the system, physically and verbally attacked for years now and that is why today I am under the Bundestag protection. All because I am editing our web portal where we publish articles that bring critical observations about important topics in our society: investigative stories about corruption, present in every segment of our society and system, stories that are dealing with the truth about the past, about the clergy and nationalism that is intolerable…. We are small pocket of resistance that does not want to be door mat for politicians. Our way of thinking is opposite to the spirit of government and that is why we are exposed to attacks.

I have an impression that even last young people are leaving country because it is unbearable to live in this state. My children left as well. Older people are leaving too. Better to say, running. Our lives have passed in fights, fear, hate, poverty, lies…

Citizens of my country want only one thing: to live normally. This, however, the nationalistic policy of their representatives does not let them. They are the breaks on every normality here. Same parties that led us to war are governing today. They neither want nor can build peace and better society.

The verdicts of the Hague Tribunal are not respected and convicted war criminals are celebrated as heroes at every side, and it is considered as patriotic act.

Citizens do not believe anyone anymore, nor one state institution, nor media, nor politicians, because they have been cheated for years. The elections in October are new hope for everyone. Even though we witness the worst situation from elections to elections. Disunited opposition is unable to bring change. And that is how we live, the unbearable imposed form without content in the vicious circle of nonsense.

Complete and objective information should be one of the human rights, but we should be honest and acknowledge that the capitalist market economy cannot guarantee that right, recently said Viktor Ivancic, journalist and writer, founder of Feral Tribune from Croatia. None country at the ex-yu space does not tolerate critics toward government nor even finance critical media. We don’t get carried away by liberalism of the West, where the freedom of speech and press is guaranteed, because in reality it is not so free as it thinks about itself: the destinies of Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning are the obvious examples and the most serious attacks on press freedom in the western world in the past few decades.

Human rights, unfortunately, is usually empty word on the paper. It is common thing in lot of the countries, so in ours as well. Freedom of speech exists only for “hate dealers” who are in the service of nationalistic policies and thus protected from the responsibility for publicly written word which will citizens accept as truthful and thus contribute to further partition in the society.

Today, the truth is maybe the hardest thing to reach. If government or company wants to filter the truth and decide what is real news and what is false, that is the problem, especially now, during coronavirus pandemic or war in Ukraine. For 20 years now we have been in a kind of permanent war, either against terrorism or against disinformation, and during the war, we know the truth always suffers first.

But we still have to search for the truth and speak it out loud. As a lie becomes an order in the world, Kafka said long ago.

This text was published on the occasion of ‘Week of Free Expression from 3 to 10 May 2022.’ –

Štefica Galić
Autor/ica 6.5.2022. u 10:25