Republika Srpska celebrates disputed holiday

Republika Srpska celebrates disputed holiday

Republika Srpska once again celebrated the January 9, RS Day, which Bosnia and Herzegovina Constitutional court, a few years ago, declared as “not in accordance with BiH Constitution”.

The problem is that this date represents the anniversary of the establishment of Serb Republic Bosnia and Herzegovina National Assembly back in 1992 and, as such, Bosniaks consider it as the date when the war began. The Serb Republic BiH later was renamed Republika Srpska but Bosniak politicians in every occasion remind that the celebration is not proper on that date since members of this nation in RS feel that it reminds them of the hard time they went through during the war.

Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency member and actual Chairman, Milorad Dodik (Serb), said that the existence of Republika Srpskahas has been challenged from the very beginning in the second part of BiH (Federation BiH).

“We have to accept certain realities. As we are enduring the existence of BiH here, so will they have to get used to us. BiH is not the happiest place for us, but we are aware of the international agreement, the obligations we have, the Dayton Peace Agreement and the Constitution”, Dodik said.

He added that RS was always a synonym for statehood and freedom and an example of the primal aspirations of free civilized people who wanted to have their own country.

“Republika Srpska, as an expression of the love of this people, proved it survived in almost impossible conditions and grew in strength in the belief that it should survive all the challenges”, Dodik told reporters.

According to the Constitution, RS has two vice presidents, a Bosniak and a Croat. Bosniak vice president, Ramiz Salkić, challenge the RS Day in almost every statement. On this occasion, he said to the media that for Bosniaks in RS, but also throughout the world, January 9 has never been, nor will ever be a holiday.

“This date has always been and will always be a synonym and a memory of the day when the strategic goals were adopted, after which expelling of Bosniaks, destroying our property, killing our loved ones and committing genocide against our people in this part of our homeland of Bosnia and Herzegovina began”, Salkić said.

He added that, at this moment, Bosniaks in RS have no political power to prevent the celebration of this holiday and to ensure the implementation of decisions of the Constitutional Court. But, Salkić said, it does not mean that Bosniaks should be silent and bend their heads if they see injustice and the spread of falsehood.

“On the contrary, our obligation is to raise our voice and point to injustice. Otherwise, the truth will overcome a lie, and then the conclusions of January 9, 1992 will be fully realized. As the vice-president of this entity, elected by Bosniaks, but partly from other citizens as well, I invite the authorities in this entity to give up the celebration of holidays that further divide and distance us. Holidays should bring people closer, which is not the case here”, Salkić emphasized.

In fact, there was no Bosniak politician who did not condemn the celebration. A big stir was also caused by the presence of two BiH politicians, Vjekoslav Bevanda and Dragan Čović, on the celebration. They are Croats but not on the same political line with member of BiH Presidency, Željko Komšić. Additionally, Čović is a close friend of Milorad Dodik.

However, the January 9 was marked across the Republika Srpska. The biggest celebration, with a parade and eminent guests, was held in Banja Luka. The city downtown was closed for hours and a large number of police officers, firefighters, special police units with armed transporters passed through the street. In a few days, everybody will have forgotten the celebration and will get back to their daily problems.

Until next January…/ΙΒΝΑ