Thursday 21 May 2015

A Bosnian 1905?

On 5 February 2014 anger over factory closures in Tuzla, Bosnia Hercegovina, spilled into the streets. Two days later, demonstrations spread to Sarajevo, Mostar and other towns and cities. In their wake, People's Plenums were set up to express and give organisational strength to this new movement. This was taking place in a country where more than one in four of the workforce is without work and the average wage for those with work is less than 400 euros a month. By contrast, politicians get 3000 euros a month. The Guardian estimated that 60% of the country's money is spent on the political set-up and 40% on its people. In April 2014 I was doing research for 'Left Field' and visited Zagreb, Ljubljana, Mostar and Belgrade. A month later, many of the roads I had travelled on were under water, hit by the worst floods for centuries. An already bad situation was now made much worse. While in Mostar, I addressed a Plenum demonstration. (Start video at 1:20 if you don't speak the language). In retrospect, it may seem to have been over-optimistic to have aligned the Bosnian movement with the political undercurrents at work in other parts of Europe. Time and the people will decide.

Photo. Tuzla Plenum session, 'Freedom is My Nation'.

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