March 1 – same old story

March 1 – same old story

Every beginning of March in Bosnia and Herzegovina since the end of the 1992-1995 war, leaving country with a large number of death, wounded and mutilated citizens, destroyed economy and three nations (Serbs, Bosniaks and Croats) in deep distrust, has the same story to tell.

For Bosniaks, March 1 is the Independence Day, the remembrance of the 1992 referendum, which was held without the participation of Serbs. This date for Bosniaks means that the state “renewed its historical independence”, but almost none of the Bosniak politicians mention that at the evening on that day, one Serb, Nikola Gardović, was killed in Sarajevo downtown. Because of this incident, Serbs consider March 1 as the date when war in BiH officially started. In last almost three decades this was one of the biggest points of disagreement between Bosniak and Serb politicians.

But in last several years this gap has widened with the fact that Bosniak political leaders demand the abolition of the January 9 as the Republika Srpska Day, claiming that it is not accepted by citizens of all three constitutional nations, who live in this BiH entity. Moreover, these dates have become a real problem because, as they approach, every brick set in the wall of reconciliation in BiH during the previous months falls and pulls a few more with it, making the efforts for a real reconciliation in BiH almost impossible.

It should be said that politicians are not willing to take steps to change this situation for the better and it seems that they do everything to show to their compatriots that tensions are still high. In that context, the statements of Bakir Izetbegović, leader of Party of Democratic Action (Bosniak), about the production of weapons in the Federation BiH, does not help at all.

Izetbegović, on the party convention in city of Kakanj, said that it is “necessary to strengthen the production of weapons in BiH, for “God forbid”. His idea is to reintroduce basic military training for young men. He did not miss the opportunity to mention the Republika Srpska.

“I think that we will have to introduce the basic military training again, defend the truth about the war that has been attacked strongly in these days and improve the situation in the Republic of Srpska”, Bakir Izetbegović said.

He, as all Bosniak leaders before him, did not explain how he thinks to “improve the situation” in the other BiH entity.

On his part, Milorad Dodik, leader of Alliance of the Independent Democrats (Serb) and actual Chairman of the BiH Presidency, is not trying to convince anybody in the country that he is on this political position to serve all BiH citizens. To every criticism and attempts from Federation BiH to change anything in RS, his answer is that he will call a referendum on the Republika Srpska’s cessation. However, the call on the referendum does not necessary mean that RS citizens will vote in favour of an insecure independence of the Republika Srpska.

“Respect” is the word that Serb and Bosniak politicians obviously need to introduce in their vocabulary, but it will take a long time before they realise that./IBNA