“To Whom The Bell Tolls“ – BiH 25 Years after Dayton

(www.conservo.wordpress.com)

Von Bernd Papenkort *)

“We were always governed by a
High Representative.
.
First came the Turks, followed by the Austrians,
then fascists from Italy and Germany rushed in.
Tito’s time brought a pause.
Now we have the HR Inzko
and the International Community

They all come and go.
And we remain as we are.“
Fuko from Sarajevo

  Fuko from Sarajevo

 

PROLOGUE

Don’t Forget “Srebrenica“


The rotten halls of the former UN Command Post of the Dutch Battalion in Potocari and on the other side of the road the Potocari Cemetery on which more than 8000 victims of Serb war crimes did find their final rest, remind us of the tragedy which happened in BiH in the years 1991 -1995. As a visitor in the Srebrenica Memorial Center in those halls of the Dutch Battalion, you become silent and shocked. Srebrenica with these two memorial places should be a “must“ to visit for all people in BiH and foreigners as well. It shows what can happen when ideology trumps humanity.

Potocari stands as a final for a time in FY, in which political ideologies motivated people to dismiss principles of respect for each other, of tolerance and dignity and pressed humanity on the side-lines. It is a symbol for the catastrophic failure of the UN in one of its most important missions. Blame must be given to the top echelons in its New York UNHQ and down on the chain of command to many peacekeepers in BiH („BiH“: Bosnien-Herzegowina / d. Red.). The video of the Dutch soldiers, having some days later a party after having had handed the people from Srebrenica over to the killing Serbs, is the most disgusting and disturbing video, which I have ever seen.
That after many years and finally the West – under US lead – used NATO to end this disaster and tried to tailor a political settlement at Dayton for this country was a work in order to help the people in BiH to enter into a new and better period of life. In this historical context Srebrenica should never be forgotten. It was the culminating point of the UN disaster in BiH and the starting point for NATO countries to say “enough is enough“ (President Jacques Chirac on the evening of 11th July 1995) and to get involved in state building in BiH.

Is the “End“ always a “New Beginning“?

On 14th December 1995 the Dayton Peace Treaty was signed by all parties in Paris. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, people could gain new hope after suffering for 4 years of terrible conflict. In the months to follow, great numbers of military (NATO) and civilian international organisations poured into BiH in order to implement the Dayton Peace Accords (DPA). Many people living in the country hoped that the DPA would pave the way for a “new beginning“.

But, even 25 years after the signing of the Dayton Peace Accords, Bosnia and Herzegovina has not developed into a normal functioning state, based on the rule of law, equal human rights for all its citizens and economic prosperity for all people. BiH in 2020 has slipped into a country, misused by ethnic orientated parties for own partisan purposes. This is happening under the eyes of the High Representative and the EU, as the ones with main responsibility for the international orchestrated “state building“. Both institutions are flanked by many other international organisations (NATO, OSCE, UN, WB, IMF, etc.) and many Embassies in support of hundreds of NGOs. Many of those NGO’s would not survive a proper accounting and feasibility check for effectiveness and sustainability of their doings. As such, the 25 years of Dayton have catapulted the country in many aspects into one example of a “failed state building“.

The end of the war brought not the new “beginning“ which many citizens in BiH had hoped for. Therefore, this paper is a wakeup call, for the people in BiH, but foremost for the International Community.

This paper is based on my personal experiences, which I gained in work with senior level representatives of the local and international community in BiH. The events described are only a selection of many meetings and conversations, which I had in those years. I refrain to name my interlocutors, but I know, who was sitting opposite to me. In Section 1 – “What went wrong?“ a look back on 25 years of state building in BiH and some points for reflections will be offered. In Section 2 “BiH – Sailing into the Future“ some ideas are furthered that BiH is still not a lost case and that hopes for a “new beginning“ are still available. Section 3 “A new Road Map for BiH“ offers some proposals for a turnaround in order to make BiH a viable and functioning state. The people of BiH deserve it.


SECTION 1
“WHAT WENT WRONG?“

Wrong perception of the West
Tudjman, Milosevic and Izetbegovic
“No Agents for Change“

The negotiations at Dayton, which finally led to the Dayton Peace Accords (DPA), had to deal with two conflicting interests. The western side (Clinton, Chirac, Kohl, Major) wanted to end the UN nightmare in Bosnia and Herzegovina and assumed that the warring factions and their leaders would be war tired and looked for a better future in peace and economic prosperity. The West had pressing other political hot spots waiting at home, too. Therefore, the US/ Clinton pressure for a “one year engagement effort“ and the hope that a phase of peace and reconciliation would begin in SEE like between France and Germany under Francois Mitterrand and Helmut Kohl. It mirrored the political hope in many quarters that the time had come to end century old conflicts in the Balkans.

But, the warring factions (Tudjman, Izetbegovic, Milosevic) came with a different perception to Dayton. They had started their struggle for a “proper“ dissolution of the Republic of Yugoslavia many years ago. From 1991 until 1995 we had seen brutal fighting, manifold bargaining and deals between the local actors across all lines, accompanied by cease fire agreements sponsored by the UN and broken on the next day. To mention here only a few, the famous “Restaurant Table Map“ in which Tudjman proposed to Milosevic the separation of the “whole cake“ of BiH, later Vukovar attacks by Serbs, fighting in Bosnia between Croats and Bosniaks, the forming of the Croat-Bosniak Federation of BiH under the US pressure, the Knin operations by Croats and the disastrous war in BiH. All three looked on Dayton negotiations with different eyes than their western interlocutors. Their interest was “to get a good piece of the cake and to secure their own power base for future developments.“

In retrospect reconciliation and cooperation was not a priority in their “political tool box“. Each of the three leaders was responsible for war crimes committed under their political responsibility: Milosevic/Karadzic for the ethnic cleansing of Bosniaks by Serbs forces at Srebrenica and other places in BiH, Tudjman for killing of Serbs during the operation “Storm“ by Croatian forces in Knin/Croatia and atrocities against Muslims in Ahmici/BiH and Izetbegovic for kiling Serbs in Central Bosnia and Croats in the Bugojno area by Bosnian/Muslim forces. That was one part of the “history“ of those called in by the US for the Dayton talks.

With those divergent views between the West and the Balkan warlords, the US and Western negotiators tailored in relatively short time a masterpiece of diplomacy – the Dayton Peace Accords. However, the basic difference in assumptions, interests and aims between the western side and the 3 local players were not solved and the DPA could be only a starting point to end the conflict. Hoping that the local players would see the new political approach offered and would change their minds and strive for cooperation in order to build a better future for their people.

A lot has now been said about the DPA, its strengths and weaknesses. In the last 25 years claims were manifold to request a “Dayton 2“. Therefore, I would like to offer here a remark made by a former Speaker of the RS National Assembly: “The DPA is not bad. There is no need for another. If you want to obstruct, you can obstruct each constitution. And, we have unfortunately too many obstructionists“.

Supremacy of “Ethnicity“
Seeds for Separation

When Dayton ended, all “Three“ had ensured to get a proper piece of the cake. Additionally, they managed to enshrine in all related documents and annexes “ethnicity“ as a guiding principle for the design of the follow on architecture in political institutions in BiH. Unfortunately, ethnicity orientation has become the seeds for many negative consequences with regard to cooperation, reconciliation and reconstruction in BiH.

Ethnicity in BiH is deeply anchored in history, cultural beliefs and by religions, and too often used by politicians in BiH for own narrow-minded purposes. It is an area, which only outsiders with good knowledge of the country see before their arrival in BiH. The majority of the IC stumbles in this minefield and creates with the acceptance of “respect for ethnicity“ only deeper ethnic entrenchment in the country.

Therefore, it had been a wise decision under the Tito regime not to place ethnicity on the forefront of public affairs and political institutions. This time in FY had enabled people in BiH to engage in cross marriages and to live in harmony together. In sports, culture, festivals the question “Who are you?“ did not play any role. Music bands like “Bijelo Dugme“, actors, writers and many families provide numerous examples of cross – ethnicity linkages. And, it was a hallmark of Sarajevo as a multicultural and multifaceted city, which attracted many people from other countries as well.

The DPA, however, surely not intended and foreseen by the West in such a way, gave the returning local actors the chance to configure and tailor their “ethnic boxes“ accordingly. And, they did it with great enthusiasm on all sides. In institutions you got a post, if the quota for the so called “constituent people”(Serbs, Bosniaks and Croats) and the respective party (!) was ok. Minorities (Jews, Roma and other minorities) had been forgotten in Dayton and are still “outside“. It became a must for the ethnic orientated parties to fight for proper representation at all levels instead of seeking common ground for the state. Competency in jobs did not count any longer and based on 1991 census results the allocation of jobs to ethnicity quotas became sometimes artificial due to lack of available expertise and manpower. Some politicians converted even to another ethnicity in order to jump on attractive posts in other boxes.

Now, after 25 years the people of this country are placed in political and administrative boxes which hamper reconciliation and cooperation in all aspects of public life and make family links across ethnic lines difficult. Citizens of BiH can vote only for parliamentary representation of “their people“. For jobs in government institutions from the top down to the gate keeper the “right ethnicity“ is required, for gaining access to education and many other areas of life it is essential to be a member of the appropriate box. One example to show the ridiculousness of such an approach: If you are a Serb living in the Bosniak-dominated Canton Sarajevo, you face in institutions slower or no processing of your requests due to your name. The same person has problems in Eastern Sarajevo institutions because for those politicised institutions they lives on the “wrong“ side. The same happens to Bosniaks, now living in the RS. The question is: Could this have been foreseen by the Dayton architects? Would have been other ways available to bypass this problem in the configuration of the DPA?

My short answer is: No. Even if the western negotiators were aware of the problems of ethnicity, the old wisdom of Bismarck applies: “Politics is the art of the possible“. The West wanted to make under time pressure an effort to “pacify the mess“, but with limited means and ends. And on the other side of the table all three had fought a war, reflecting ethnicity issues. Ethnicity was their power base for the future, whatever the current outcome of the war. And, they wanted to retain it. Neither Izetbegovic, nor Tudjman or Milosevic were ready to accept too much “multiculturalism“ in their respective areas. Therefore, the common ground for the DPA was very limited and it was the task of US diplomats to tailor the art of the possible.

The hope could only be that the international “supervisors“ (the HR, etc.) coming in with the DPA, would make sure that “ethnicity“ did not get on the forefront of all public affairs. This would have required strong leadership by the IC and the will of their staffs to check in detail the “talks“ offered by local “friends“ in implementing the DPA. On this, the IC failed.

1996 Elections
“The missed chance for a new Beginning“

In those first months after Dayton the country was swamped with international organisations. NATO had about 60.000 boots on the ground. Carl Bildt, as first “High Representative“, tried to clear his role as the “UN international supervisor“, the UN with its big amount of suborganisations made efforts to find new roles in spite of its disasters in the last 5 years. And, the OSCE deployed to the country in order to organize elections and to pave the way “towards democracy“.

For many at the western side of the table the call to bring democracy to BiH inspired diplomats, consultants and numerous NGOs to pack their bags at home and to gain “field experience in state building“ by working in BiH. Well paid internationals helped the war-torn Sarajevo and its citizens to build a new economic basis, needing accommodation, offering jobs as interpreters, drivers and supply agents. Restaurants opened and competed with each other in dinner menus for the international community. A new system of personal advantages for those locals and politicians was created – the “green zone“ of Sarajevo started to live and was full of activities and jobs.

The OSCE in lead for the upcoming elections in September 1996 made an effort to establish parties in BiH, to publish lists of their candidates and to ensure a proper election outcome. This formidable task should not be questioned. Election observers were flown in in great numbers to guarantee the proper conduct of elections. After the event, the OSCE made statements that it was “satisfied with the outcome and believed that BiH is now placed on the trajectory towards democracy“. Here are now some remarks needed:

Nine months after the war and with the country still in the recovery phase, with destroyed infrastructure, with return of refugees from other countries into destroyed houses, with no quick start of economy available, people were asked to vote – for “What?“ and “Whom“?.

Some remarks to the “What“: The method in which “democratic party programs“ were developed can be illustrated by following real life story: The Chief of Cabinet of one then Presidency member downloaded the German CDU Party Program and transformed it via copy/paste into their Party Program for the upcoming elections. The same downloading process happened most probably in Banja Luka and Mostar and with copy and paste many former war lords and their entourage changed into “political masters for democracy in BiH“. A Deputy Chief of the OSCE Mission told that they had “cast a view in the election preparations of the “big 3“ (the SDA, HDZ, and SDS) and that all were very much moving forward towards establishing real democracy in BiH. The OSCE would be very satisfied and it would be a good decision to offer now the people a way forward with newly elected leaders“!?

Some remarks to the “Whom“: The electorate knew only “their people from the war“, many of whom now rushed to become “politicians“ and had joined a party in order to seize the opportunity. Former war lords, clan members and family networks became now “political masters“ and got their blessing by the IC under the lead of the HR and OSCE. Many became later members of the CoE and jumped in other international posts. From a political point of view and having in mind what was the long-term aim of this exercise, this early OSCE driven election was a farce and paved the way for many problems to come. We see later the same pattern from Afghanistan to Iraq.

The famous sentence “The end is always a new beginning“ became not true for BiH. It must read for BiH “The end (of the war) created with help of the IC another mess“. Or, with a German phrase: “The IC made the deers (e.g. former war lords) to the country’s gardeners for the future.“

Contemplation 1
Thoughts about Bosnian mentality
“They all come and go, and we stay here“

I outlined the basic difference in perceptions of the western interlocutors and the 3 warring factions at Dayton. Different historical experiences lead to divergent cultural and behavioural approaches. The old saying “never disregard history, culture and religion of a country“ could have offered some advice to the international architects of “state building“, coming to BiH. Many came with good intent to Bosnia, reflecting in their daily activities their background experience, gained at home. That is understandable but does not fit to the Balkans and especially to BiH. Arriving with the belief to transfer “Ohio or Paderborn“ to Kiseljak, Han Pijesak or Bihac, is very naive and will end up in frustration. In order to get a feeling for understanding Bosnian mentality foreigners may be advised to look at the film “Gori vatra “.

This film offers a deep insight into Bosnian (all “3“) mentalities: the capability for deep love, the ability to strive for easy life and to enjoy the day, the readiness to make friendships across ethnic lines, to disregard politics in friendships, to manoeuvre sometimes outside the law without any bad conscious, to enjoy humour and dancing, but to extort to brutality as well. All those factettes are very often grounded in different personalities. Foreigners are often overwhelmed by the local attitude to offer always great hospitality, underestimating the capability to hide one’s real thoughts, concerns and intents. With a “Bosnian“ (not only a Bosniak) you meet a fascinating, complex, sometimes wild character, full of emotional complexity and well anchored in “Bosnian mentality“. For straight forward US and Germans alike, many moments for surprise, misperceptions and miscalculations are waiting. The questions is “what are the roots and characteristics of this mentality?“

A look in into the country’s history may offer some understandings: During the middle ages and follow on centuries this land strip was always governed by foreigners. Starting with the Ottomans/Turks, who used amongst others local members of the “Janissary system“ to administer Bosnia. The Ottoman “beys“ and “kadis“ relied in their rule on help from a selected class of capable locals, who were committed to serve under the Ottoman regime. They could add a “beg“ to the Slavic suffix of “ovic“,which roughly means “descendant of“, indicating to be a member of the higher local land-owning nobility, working with the Ottomans. This group was often sandwiched between their foreign political masters on the top and their local people, among whom they lived. Many felt a certain responsibility for the wellbeing of their local people. The Ottoman system of taxation and contributions placed those “Begs“ in a position to keep their Turkish masters in the country and in Istanbul happy by delivering requested contributions and to circumvent a certain portion of the cake for their own and their peasants needs as well. In such a way a system of fraud, corruption and betrayal of the top and taking care for own “friends“ has been developed. It became a basic feature for surviving under foreign reign.

When the Austrians arrived at Sarajevo after the Congress at Berlin in 1878, Sarajevo citizens across all ethnicities started to riot and fight against Austrian troops. They wanted an independent Bosnia. The Austrian commander called in the local “Ottoman based nobility“ and asked them to name the “terrorists“, who had started to fight against his troops. They were told, if they would refuse to name these people, they would lose their positions. If they delivered the names of those fighters, they could hold positions under the new regime. On the following day they “delivered“ in order to save their own social positions. The Austrians caught all those engaged in the riots and did hang them on the trees in front of the current Ministry of Defence in Sarajevo. The “Bosnian nobility“ survived and served their new masters. This “pragmatic“ approach to manage own survival, enhance own influence, combined with the organisation of the society into family networks survived WWII occupation by Italy and Germany as well. It continued in factettes under the Tito regime.

This basic historical experience is deeply anchored in daily Bosnian life: “We have always a foreign emperor/High Representative above us who directs us and we ourselves need to make sure to get a certain piece of his cake as well. Institutions are available but not well functioning. Therefore party-/family-/friends networks are better and more reliable“. What others call corruption and bribing in order to facilitate own interests, is for many people in BiH a normal matter of life. It reflects behaviour of living under foreign rule and with non-functioning institutions.

Like today in BiH? International Community, do you hear the bell ringing? This century old Balkan attitude is in use today by many politicians in BiH. In view of incoming support (financial or others) by the EU and many other institutions their line is “to thank and make promises, to start planning of requested things, but to ensure to get a piece of the cake, as well. And, finally to decide whether it supports own power positions, or endangers them?“ In case it endangers the own power base then obstruction and delays are called in. This is happening on a daily basis in the “tango“ between the IC and the local players in BiH. The delays and blockings in the rule of law and obstruction in parliamentary work are numerous. The IC is the cow, being milked and having the strings in the nose. Welcome to BiH. One example may illustrate the problem:

Some years ago a HR made an effort to fight corrupted BiH politicians and ended up with a formidable list of Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats. The Head of the EU’s OLAF department (fighting corruption) was asked to come and he did spend some weeks in BiH. His summary was “the local politicians do not understand what corruption is and much more they do not want to know it. My findings are always like grabbing an “Italian spaghetti“ – on one end is an international and on the other end I have a local. The international has diplomatic immunity and is withdrawn, the local is protected by friends in government institutions, parties and the judiciary.“

After talking in the PIC context and asking for support the HR resumed: “The reality is: after interventions from some ambassadors always some Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs are deleted from my list and I am left with lower level figures. When we discuss apprehension, COMSFOR (NATO) tells that he is only responsible for Annex 1A and UNMIBH (amongst others responsible for Police) declares not to have such an action within its mandate. Should I use my own close protection team to execute the rule of law in BiH?“

The “Standing Operating Procedure (SOP)“
of the International Community
“Close your eyes and believe what you hear from the local parties“

The above described ethnicity supremacy in local political thinking and handling of issues, enriched with the mentality of long experience in dealing with foreigners, would have required strong international leadership by the Office of the High Representative and other bodies. In retrospect BiH had only two of those HR’s – Carlos Westendorp and Paddy Ashdown, and with lesser impact Wolfgang Petritsch. Not to forget at lower level John Nicholson, who created the Central Bank and organised the monetary side of BiH.

Westendorp ignored all cries from different quarters and created the currency KM, the BiH flag, the national anthem (without text) and state level number plates in order to prevent that car drivers and passengers could be allocated to an ethnicity box. Paddy Ashdown created the Armed Forces at state level and sacked some politicians. Wolfgang Petritsch did his best, but lacked as Austrian the backing of major countries. All others came and left no legacy behind. The weakest one was the German Christian Schwartz- Schilling, who pardoned sacked politicians and lost any authority after declaring that he would not use the “Bonn powers“ any longer. This was the call for all local politicians to start “dancing on the floor“. What did the country and its people experience in those years?

The International Community, with many HRs and the EUSR’s, were good in “Talks“, but very weak in their “Walks“ to check execution on the ground. Visits, threats, goodwill hints, money and other offerings had been spent in thousands during those last 25 years. But, a proper check of the status of local implementation of all their plans/talks was for many representatives of those international institutions not the exercise of the day. Too many enjoyed their well buffered posts in Sarajevo. The “music sheet“ of the local politicians, based on the local mentality described above, could be practised in those laissez-faire times with great skills. In one meeting the then Chairman of the Council of Ministers of BiH told “I have to sign currently big bunches of papers for the EU, provided by the Directorate for European Integration. They report to the EU what we want to do and what we did. I do not believe in any one of our statements…..“

Consequently, and over time a most unbalanced relationship between the IC and local institutions developed. Mainly the EU pumped money into the country in the hope “to change minds“, achieving close to nothing, but keeping the higher echelons of the local political establishment happy. They could continue to fill money into their bank accounts at home and abroad. Until today the rule of law is not exercised for all citizens in an equal way, corruption and bribing are well known and are a feature in BiH daily politics. Here are a few examples for “closing the eyes“:

The OSCE deepened segregation of young pupils into ethnic boxes by accepting the concept of “two schools under one roof“, with different curricula for young boys and girls just because of their ethnic background. Making fundamentalists happy, but placing with such a concept the seeds for further difficulties in the future. What kind of “national identity“ could be created with such an idea? Some staffers of this organisation developed even remarkable skills in order to stay in well buffered posts: They came as “election experts“, many changed afterwards into “education experts“, finally transformed into “economic experts“. Nobody is willing to report that their work is done and that they are superfluous, could go home and waste not taxpayer money.

The “Civil Service Agency (CSA)“ is another good example. It could have been a milestone to create independent and efficient administrative institutions at state and local level, serving with its employees the country and its citizens. The post was given to a member not belonging to the “3 big ethnicities“ in order to prevent power grabbing by ethnic parties. But, the consequences of the later following appointment of 3 deputies – a Bosniak, a Croat and a Serb – made the “future“ of the CSA clear: The selected deputies made sure that in order to get a post in BiH institutions and public companies, applicants must have the right ethnicity and be a member of the right party. Welcome to the BiH’s wonderland!

International Aid. Pouring in money without a proper check of execution is waste of tax payer money. The following example stands for many IC activities of other organisations as well: GIZ (German Development Agency) had the idea to link students of the University of Sarajevo to internships with German owned companies in BiH in order to prepare them for the follow on life in business. A good amount of money was given to a faculty of the Sarajevo University in order to organize the further details. Companies in BiH offered places at no costs and prepared own staff. But nobody showed up – no professor and no student. In autumn, a GIZ representative visited the company and wanted to thank for the great work done. A thanks letter of the faculty was presented, applauding this project and proposing the same project (plus money) for next year as well. The GIZ member was totally perplexed to hear that nothing had happened on the company side of the “execution“. Did they go back, reporting what happened? To be blamed for not proper management of this project? This is only one project in which well-intended development ideas fail because of the laziness of relevant staffs to check the execution on the ground.

The conclusion may be a tough one: It is not only the BiH side to blame. They could continue with “what they have learned in centuries under foreign rein“. A big question mark must be placed about the way in which the International Community conducted efforts of “state building“ in BiH, with sometimes very questionable and oversized staffs and the believe to change hearts and minds by pouring money in the country. This failed so far. We have now a country in which the rule of law is not applied equally to all citizens. Legislation and its proper execution is hampered by ethnic-orientated obstruction, members of Parliaments seek advantages for own purposes, political criminals are not handled by police and the judiciary in an appropriate way because many of those ranks are influenced by ethnic parties from which they were shifted in positions. BiH today is a good example for failed state building. It is currently closer to a mafia state then to a functioning democracy.

Contemplation 2
“The Power of Protest“
Unknown in BiH?

The headline hints to an abnormity in BiH. Is the Power of Protest unknown in BiH? Is the saying right “Each country has the politicians it deserves?“ Does BiH get “what it deserves“ ? Both statements are worth a closer reflection.

For outsiders, coming from western countries, protests of students and demonstrations of people for certain political issues and mobilizing of masses are quite normal. Currently the death of George Floyd led to mass protests all over the US, bringing in all colours, old and young, student and workers. In Belarus people are on the streets in opposition to fraud and corruption. The results of both protests need to be seen, but there will be some change. The same happens in EU countries on different matters. BiH, in contrast, seems to be a place where the “stillness of a cemetery“ seems to prevail.

Here in BiH, where the political class offers on a weekly basis facts of corruption, incompetence and misuse in offices and institutions, only some parts of the media and sometimes individuals react. The larger part of the “populace“ remains so far silent. Students prefer to sit more in cafes than being catalysts of change. The working part of the people knows what is ongoing, but remains “silent“, and the elder pensioners and unemployed try to find their way through the mess. Only in some cases of flagrant injustice a minority stands up, but is then “silenced“ by police and judiciary of the establishment.

The brain drain of younger professionals to the EU countries and the UK/the US is an answer, too. BiH is losing well educated people in considerable numbers. If that development continues, only the elder, the party associated employees and the top “elite“ will remain. The current situation reminds in all those aspects that something is deeply wrong with the political situation in BiH. Those in power show all signs of autocratic behaviour and obviously see no need to be alarmed because the remaining element is part of their “electorate“.

Unfortunately this brain drain is intensified by some EU embassies (e.g. Germany) to offer work in their countries in order to minimize their problems at home. In an assessment check one young BiH student became very clear, when he was told that his capability and personality would not match the conditions required. His answer was “If I get no job in Germany, my parents will make sure that I get a post in the civil administration in Sarajevo due to their party connections“.

It is not the case that many good people are not aware what is happening. But, they have to take care of their families and remain quiet. The motto is very often “Hopefully the next generation can make a change. Our situation is like the grass which finally penetrates the asphalt (of corruption). But, if you are too early, the lawn mower (political establishment) will cut you away“. All this happens on a daily basis under the eyes of all the international supervisors on state building. Is it not normal that with such a situation neither the HR, the EU and many other internationals are by many people not respected any longer?

Such an attitude is the consequence of developments which were explained in Section 1 “Mentality“ and in the assessment of the IC work. Together they are hampering any move forward and any change in the country. And, as long as enough money is poured into BiH by the EU and others, the top elected elite will make sure that all get a certain piece of the cake. Much remains in pockets on the top and the lower levels get enough to be silent. It is reported in the media that public tenders, sponsored by the EU, are a farce because they are tailored in such a way that one specific institution/person will get it. Other interested parties often refrain from making any effort because the result is known. The readers are reminded on the “spaghetti problem“, mentioned earlier.

In spite of this situation the saying “the power of protest is unknown in BiH“ does not match reality. Media and others show the way to go. Some recent protests of the “Walk for Progress“ movement offer a glimmer of hope, but it needs to be seen whether they fall back in the “BiH lethargy“. In order to mobilize the masses the conditions must be changed. Internally and with help from outside. The HR/EU need to get away from their comfortable laissez faire attitude towards “BiH ownership“, which is only an excuse for not taking their own work seriously. And, BiH people need to stand up and telling their political class “enough is enough“.

Section 2
“Sailing into the Future“

The Future of BiH is a Multicultural Society
“Returning to historical roots“

I have chosen “multicultural society“ by intent in order to get away from any ethnic ghosts of BiH history. This does not mean that religions and ethnic cultural roots have no place in this concept. They should be preserved – but in the proper place. Religion should be a private matter, historical cultural roots can be proudly celebrated. But, tolerance for and of “others“ must become a characteristics in future BiH politics. This is not a new concept which needs to be brought to BiH by the IC and another wave of consultants. It was the hallmark of the old Bosnia with its living together across all ethnic divides – in families, business, politics. The old Bascarsija area in Sarajevo is the best example. This city part reflects the best traditions of times in which all people of different backgrounds could live and work together. And, you find these roots still in many villages across BiH as well.

With such an open minded and creative approach BiH could become a “role model“ for many other countries in the world, especially EU countries which face a lot of problems in migration and integration of other ethnic groups as well. And, such an approach would give BiH quite a strong bargaining chip when it comes to accession talks with the EU. The big question is “How to get there?“ Some comments referring to this question:

The World Around BiH
“Fog and Storms Ahead“

In order not to disappear in the world of dreams and phantasies, one need to see realities. A look to the outside world in 2020 may be useful. The global political architecture is in a transition period, geopolitics is back with old alliances fragmented and new players jumping on the stage. Multipolarity offers new challenges AND new options and all countries will be forced to redefine national interests and priorities in order to adjust to a changing political landscape.

Multipolarity challenges the current global order and many international institutions are under tough questioning by new powers. Globalization may be followed by semi-globalization, called regionalisation. Climate change, migration/integration, demography, technology developments, economic problems resulting in social upheavals and splits of societies and last but not least pandemics will take their toll, too. Countries are forced to focus on internal problems in order to preserve a functioning nation state and in parallel to keep and redefine international contacts. New alliances and institutions will be created.

BiH sits in such a situation in the “no man’s land“, or in the glacis between West and East. It has still not full own sovereignty and the DPA sets the political framework for BiH and places the neighbouring states Croatia and Serbia in a prerogative position as well. It is under the supervision of political masters in various international institutions, may it be the OHR, EU, PIC, NATO, UN, OSCE and some others. Additionally, some external players (RUS, TUR, CHI, US, GULF countries) promote their own geopolitical interests in the whole region. Therefore the “freedom of manoeuvre“ for BiH politicians is narrowed down and they need to act in a very fluid external landscape, balancing their own positions with the interests of external influencers. Strategic foresight and sound politics will be required in order to manoeuvre BiH in those upcoming foggy times

I am convinced that for BiH the “World 2025“ looks on the western side with EU, NATO and its individual players very different from today. The same applies for the eastern side with RUS, CHI, TUR, GULF countries. Neither the “West“ nor the „East“ will be in 2025 like in 2020. And, BiH has arrived with its internal problems and a non-functioning governance system in 2020 at a “break-even point“. Therefore, whether we like it or not the questions could arise to those holding the strings in their hands: “Should we hold it together?“, and “What would be alternatives?“ .

Contemplation 3
“Dissolution of BiH?“

There are doubts whether the DPA approach of pressing three different ethnic parties in one state are viable. Those arguments have found over time and in view of the BiH internal political problems great support in the Republika Srpska (RS) population. The main party SNSD of Milorad Dodik threatens permanently to hold a referendum in the RS for independence from BiH. On the BiH Croat side many are still unhappy to have been pressed by the US into a joint Federation with the main Bosniak parties. Under the lead of Dragan Covic’s HDZ Croats request tacitly a separate – third – entity and to strengthen ties with the “motherland“ in Zagreb. They may be waiting for the Serb referendum in order to join the walk away from BiH? In view of those developments, the Bosniak parties, foremost the SDA under Bakir Izetbegovic and his entourage have established close links to Erdogan’s AKP government in Turkey and to former war allies in the Gulf states All of them pour money to their clientele, thus creating influence in business, education and academic life and portraying their fundamentalist religious approach into public life. From an outsider point of view BiH now is a “boiling soup“.

With such a difficult situation, in which obviously no side is keen to strive for a DPA configured state, the alternative “to give it up, and let the Serbs go to Serbia, the Croats go to their motherland and the Bosniaks have Central Bosnia“ seems to be a very attractive option. The hope is to bring with such a “grand bargain“ a final solution to all other hot spots in the Balkan as well. But, this looks good only at a first glance.

A referendum would/could probably not prevented, neither by the EU nor NATO with means of military force. But, if successful, it would split the RS into a western part (Banja Luka) and the eastern part of the RS from Biljelina in the north to Trebinje in the south. The Brcko District separates the RS in the Posavina Corridor area into two pieces. Serbia would gain the low developed eastern part. The economic powerhouse of the RS around Banja Luka would form a “Serbian Kaliningrad“. To become “independent“ with these two separate pieces, makes even less sense. Both options are neither from a political nor economic view attractive and the long- term sustainability must remain questionable for each earth grounded Serbian government. And, there would other problems looming.

A referendum for independence would have severe repercussions on all other unsettled hot spots in the Western Balkans. To name the Albanian/Kosovo strife for a “greater Albania“, the open outcome on the Kosovo question with its Serb minorities, both Kosovo and Serbia entangled in the current mess between EU and US activities, Northern Macedonia waits with its not calmed down Albanian population, and one should not forget the Sandzak in Serbia, which is heavily supported by the SDA from Sarajevo and looks for things to come as well. Last but not least, Montenegro has still to finalize its new state building and bring Serbs and Montenegrins on board as well.

As such the ”BiH question“ is only one brick in a complicated system of multi ethnicity statehood in the greater region. If you break one brick out, one may initiate a cascading effect with “others“ to follow. Welcome to the Balkans 1878 and 1914!

BiH Leadership Capabilities
“Why should we follow You?“

The internal situation of BiH was described in part 1 “What went wrong“. It may be worth to recount the history of the area in order to get some deeper knowledge of the shaping and behaviour of their leaders. This may be helpful in order to make corrections for leader selections and right leader developments in the future.

The Western Balkans was always glacis and has always been shaped by power struggles between outside empires. International conflict resolution efforts, driven by external interests, reflected local interests only in a marginal way and never created lasting results. They ended many times in renewed conflicts. State-/ and nation building was never allowed to grow via internal domestic and evolutionary processes in the whole region. Even worse, it prevented in many countries the creation of strong local political elites which, like in other countries, who were proud of their nation, defined their national interests in a cooperative way and were committed to serve common goals of all people in their country.

The current political “elites” in BiH are in many ways the “products of their external masters”, be it the Sultan, or now the HR. This permanent intervention and outside shaping created a political class, which is accustomed to get instructions from “above”, but at the same time ensuring to safeguard their own individual or party interests. Local citizens, which are many times left out of this play, are antagonized by this and call it “a billiard play between foreign masters and their local friends”.

Those politicians have never experienced the full burdens of political responsibilities and were never asked to bear the consequences of their own decisions. Even after many efforts by the IC side to establish the rule of law and create accountable governments, weak local politicians tend to regard their electorate as “quantity negligible”, because ultimately a “Foreigner” (HRs, SRs., Special Envoy) tells them “what to do”. This is not the way in the future.

The IC has offered all democratic tools for use in BiH and a valid argument is “the people of BiH have elections and they vote for their political masters – what else?”. A cynical reply could be “Each country has the politicians which its people deserve. Let it go….” This could be a very dangerous laissez faire approach. Disregarding increasing dissatisfaction of the population with the current governance system, combined with growing disinterest of the international community could be the last add- on mixture to change the “boiling soup” into an explosive composition. And the time is running.

Therefore “Guided Ownership” in its real sense is needed in BiH. The OHR must get away from its sleeping mode and change into an active catalysator for change. To focus in a very rigorous way on the rule of law and make sure that it is executed in all spheres of BiH politics. The aim would be to create sustainable conditions in order to make BiH politicians firmly responsible to take responsibility for good governance. To make political classes of the country really accountable towards their electorate – and not only to a “High Representative” like the current one, who is too often accepting excuses for obstruction and delays. This would require a strong effort of the International Community. Some ideas are offered below.

Section 3
A New Road Map for BiH

If the analysis in Section 1 and Section 2 is shared, it becomes clear that BiH in its current situation is “on the cliff”. This must be a wakeup call for the OHR, other international institutions and for the people in BiH. The IC cannot any longer continue with its “laissez faire approach” and the people in BiH need to adjust the current political establishment along the line “wrong people from the bus, right people in the bus and then those new ones on the right seat”. This requires an active alliance between the IC and the people. It must build upon the current constitutional framework provided with Dayton1. No change of borders, no new entities are needed. The focus must be on the political institutions created by the DPA and the aim should be to make BiH internally more efficient by basing all government activities on the rule of law. This process may be a painful and a longer one, but it could help to create a politically more stable, economic prosperous and socially more balanced country. And, in view of historical experiences with regard to 1991 events, a warning to hardliners, fundamentalists and protagonists in all different quarters must be given: “Peaceful change is required, not a revolution!”

Continue with the DPA
From obstruction towards cooperation

The political state design of the DPA for BiH must continue to be the platform for the organisation of governance. One needs to remember the statement of the former Speaker of the RSNA “You can obstruct each constitution, if you want to obstruct”. The RS position that the DPA is the accepted platform makes sense and is realistic. Any ideas of a “Dayton 2” (Bosniaks) should be placed in the world of dreams because there would be never a new UNSCR on this issue again possible. What is needed, however, is that the obstructionists in all quarters (Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats) are called to order and are forced to change habits and work together in a cooperative way. This task lies with the HR.

Another High Representative (HR).
“Walks” are needed, not any longer “Talks”

This function of the HR and its foundation in an UNSCR are very much needed. Both elements hold BiH in its current configuration together. If it would be given up, all obstructionists and fundamentalists could start to implement their plans and would dance on the floor, with unpleasable consequences for many living in BiH and around. But another HR personality is needed. The current one, Valentin Inzko from Austria, has been now 10 years here. He is the master in talks and excuses, but people in BiH miss any forceful activity of him in his actions. It is not enough to report to the UN and PIC capitals “what are the problems”. People wonder what he does and Milorad Dodik had the good question “for what does Inzko get his salary?”. Inzko has become a part of the problem and cannot be a part of a future solution

The main purpose of the OHR must be in future to execute its TOR in a much more stringent way and to develop BiH into a functioning state. The OHR needs to get a clear tasker list with bench marks to be achieved and a defined end state. It is not the HR task to support the drive of BiH into one alliance, whether it is the EU or NATO. The current lead composition with three Austrians in the main driver seats (HR, EUSR, COMEUFOR) is questionable in view of the current situation and the needs for robust change.

The new person must be an independent and strong character, not hanging on the strings of some countries and be happy, like Inzko, that the PIC can only agree on the lowest common dominator. He/she must use his/her mandate to fight all the serious problems of BiH from the very beginning: corruption, rule of law, crimes in parties, etc. And, therefore the use of “Bonn Powers” by a new HR may be much needed in the beginning because he needs to make quickly clear, who has the final saying in BiH, to be the final implementer of the DPA.

Peace Implementation Council (PIC)
“From Steering to Advising”

The question arises “What is the role of the PIC?”. It is quite clear that Dayton signatories and other countries want to have knowledge about what is ongoing and want to safeguard own policies in BiH. The PIC in its various forms has a mandate and it could be a useful instrument to help to coordinate the very complex task of the OHR. But, it should not be the decision making body for the HR. A weak HR, like Inzko, becomes the slave of the PIC and tends to give up responsibility for own decision making.

The current situation in which Inzko is hiding behind the PIC and bases his activities on the lowest common denominator acceptable at the PIC, cannot be the way into a better future. This today’s decision making, based on PIC’s member agreements, is hampering any HR effort to change things in BiH. For the future the slogan must be “Advice yes, Steering no”. And a HR is needed, who is willing to use the “Bonn Powers”, given to him in his /her mandate.



Adjusting the Local Political Landscape
“Wrong People from the Bus and Right People on the Bus”.

Wrong people from the bus. The party structures in BiH are very often deeply corrupted. The current leaderships in many BiH parties have been in government functions at various levels and for many years. Too many are responsible for the current mess and some of their members are no “agents for change”. Too many of those top people have additionally a very questionable record on values and virtues, required for government functions. A new beginning with all of them is very questionable. It must come to a “political triage”. To separate into those, who should have no future and those who may have a chance to change from “Saulus to Paulus”. And, here the OHR must take an active role and become a catalysator for change, not being an observer of ongoing things, like the current HR does it.

The belief that parties could organize the required turn around internally may be an illusion because those persons under question know “too many skeletons” in the closets of their compatriots. It would require an effort by the new HR to initiate such a process and to indicate to some in the political establishment “the time has come to hand over and retreat from public functions” and to give some others the chance to become a “Paulus”. If the current HR organisation and other external intelligence services have not lived in this country with closed eyes for the last 25 years, enough “arguments” (reports on corruption, criminal activities, patronage, misuse in office etc.) may be available and may provide enough ammunition for a campaign to inform the public about the moral values inherited in some parties and some politicians. This may help to facilitate the decision of some current key politicians to enjoy in future a life without politics. Or, to join a new phase as “Paulus” under clear guidance of the new HR.

“Right People on the Bus”. The final aim of each party is to participate with delegates in parliamentary work, in governments and other institutions. Only qualified representatives with convincing moral background should have a chance to get in those institutions. A tough vetting process before elections and nominations for functions at the political level is a must in the current situation in BiH. The current system does not match these requirements. The public is well aware via media what is offered on lies, not recording and false or no information by the current stakeholders and what kind of “screening” is being conducted under the aegis of the CEC and other BiH institutions. It comes close to a farce. This very important process should not be left under solely execution by the local CEC.

A proper “Task Force Vetting (TFV)” has to be created under lead of the OHR and in close cooperation with the OSCE as the main institution for conduct of elections. It could start with the upcoming elections in 2020. The task would be the vetting of all key personnel in Parliament, Government, and Judicial institutions. Without their blessing no position could be given to members of BiH parties. Such an approach would offer a certain guarantee to have in future in BiH “the right people on the bus”. It was done many years ago by NATO and EUFOR for military personnel. The time has come to rethink about this. What was possible for the military, should be not a crime to politicians in BiH.

Setting Efficiency Benchmarks for Political Functions. Too often party representatives get into posts in BiH without having the required knowledge and background for such positions. This phenomenon is not BiH typical. It is well known in many other western democracies as well and a reason for growing dissatisfaction about the “lack of efficiency in delivery” of the political system. Some countries have started to introduce measures in order to counter such developments. They comprise for example:
• 3-5 years professional work outside the party establishment in order to be eligible for MP
• Time limitations for MPs, eg. 3 -5 election periods
• Ministers and cabinet level staff must have professional background experience in their nominated portfolio
• Clear bench marks for assessing efficiency and work, based on election promises. Implementation be periodically published by the government.

Would these not be ideas for BiH as well?

 

Enhance Trust into Civil Administration
“Right people in the bus on the right place”

In order to make government institutions more efficient and making them to a trusted element in public work, a renewed effort must be made to place all elements of the civil administration and public enterprise on a redefined start platform. It would not require any new TOR for the OHR, but only using his Bonn powers and focus on some elements which are currently hampering trust and efficiency of those institutions. It would help to neutralize the “Bosnian disease”, described in Contemplation 3. Some elements could be:

Terminating Party Connections within government and public institutions. Nobody will argue against elected politicians, when they bring in some own trusted members for the top cabinet level element. But that is it. At the levels below the country is over staffed at many levels of state, entity, local administration levels. Many placeholders there got a post due to party networks and family links. Qualification is not very much in the focus when it comes to patronage via party or family networks. In too many institutions the staff sees themselves as executing agents of a certain party from whom they got their posts. This system is not only on the top, it goes down to the lowest levels in institutions and public enterprises. Figures indicate that 60% of the BiH workforce sits in such positions. By this approach parties have developed a retarding system, which guarantees them at elections a “sure outcome”. Who may vote not for his party in order to keep his post? The big ethnicity block parties have always a safe bet for the outcome in elections. As such democratic elections have become a farce in BiH and it cannot be tolerated in the future. A first step to break this connection would be to require that below cabinet level all civil servants in such institutions cannot be any longer members of a party. What is possible with soldiers of the Armed Forces in BiH should be possible with the civilian employees as well.

Establish “Human Resource Advisory Boards (HRAB)” in state companies and institutions. In order to minimize political influence in all Public enterprises and government institutions a new system to enhance and guarantee professionalism in function should be introduced in each organisational unit. A model could be the “German Personalvertretung”, which is based on law. This body is representing the interests of all employees with regard to working conditions, economic conditions and selection of employees and integrated in the daily management work of the company/institution. It is comprised of employees of the respective organisation and their members are elected annually by the whole workforce. The body has no decision rights, but has to advice the top management in those areas mentioned above. All employees have via the HRAB a possibility to contribute with ideas and proposals to the internal work organisation and to ensure the application of the rules of law, governing their respective work. It is a “tool” with great impact and it could become a good element to facilitate social stability, enhance interest for working in the organisation and to support trust in the top as well. In case of misuse of influence by the top, it can go public and as such is seen as a corrective tool, well recognised in media and judicial system.

Ensure transparency in procurement. Another step would be to make the tenders and decision making for public procurement much more transparent and to give the institutionalised audit agencies the right to file claims against misuse and ensure independent prosecution.

Governments at local levels (cantons) should be asked to produce an “Cantonal Efficiency Map” to be published annually/before elections and based on statistical data, like employment rate, investment rates, education situation, public health performance, budget openness, GNI factor, etc). This is done in Germany by a news consortium and has motivated many political placeholders to develop new energetic ideas in order to succeed in elections…

Adjust the nonsense of the “Two Schools under one Roof” and do not separate young kids along ethnicity lines. What is possible in the Armed Forces in BiH should be not a problem to be implemented in the cultural/educational sector as well.

Consequently, many BiH institutions require a major turnaround along the line “right people on the bus, wrong people off the bus, the right people in the bus on the right seat”. This does not mean that all politicians and civil servants in BiH are useless. And, it is not required to remove all “party placeholders” from their posts. But, there must be a new set for the “Rules for the Work in Governance” with clear benchmarks for entrance and holding of positions.

Prepare Economic Sustainability
“Live from what you earn”

Currently BiH is a country hanging on the financial supply chain of many international organisations (EU; WB; IMF, donations by countries, etc). This is very comfortable for the current political establishment because they get what they need in order to survive. This could last indefinitely. Changing this situation would require to get away from the current EU policy to pour money into BiH with the “hope to achieve change”. A strict conditionality, based on the Macron proposal for a EU membership, is the only way to go forward and make BiH politicians more accountable for their activities. A new EU policy could be “money/awards are granted in phases (!) and in “retro (!), only after implementation is checked by proper EU accounting. 25 years of obstruction and delays by the current establishment are too long. Enough is now enough.

There is good reason to be quite optimistic about BiH economic and business capabilities and to hope for a better future. Small and medium sized companies have been linked into the network of the global business world. BiH business people have established sometimes with help of outside organisations (USAID, etc.) quite a good position in global supply chains and in regional or local markets. Entrepreneurship is in those circles is a given asset and internationally recognised, too. This is a good basis on which a sound economic and financial policy for the country could be built.

Such a policy would help to increase “ownership” in the own affairs and to place the country on the economic and budgetary side finally on a sound platform along the line “the money you spend, is earned by you”.

OUTLOOK
“Do You Hear the Bell?”

BiH in 2020 is not a lost case. But, it is high time for the international community – foremost the HR and EU – to get away from their current laissez faire and money infusion therapy in order to cure the patient. And, it is up to the “patient“ – the people in BiH – to stand up and press forward with changes in the political domain in order to have a better life. Such local engagement (ownership) – with no excuses that a “HR” is responsible – will make own citizens aware that they have to safeguard own interests and will force them to become more engaged in politics. In such conditions the population will show quickly its own assessment about performance of their own local politicians. Often it takes in politics, government and business only a handful of people – the right ones – to be catalysts to real and meaningful change.

BiH was a country in which in earlier times people lived peacefully together in multiethnic communities. It is a country, when it would overcome its narrow-minded national problems, could become a model for many other countries in Europe. All nations are facing a need or pressure towards multi ethnicity. BiH is not a special case. Due to its history BiH could do this work much easier – if its current political leaders would find a common denominator: the dedication to serve the country and its citizens and not only one’s own party or pockets interests.

Such an effort must recognize and consider the “world around“ as well: It is driven by high speed technology developments on the business side, geopolitics, pandemic and other global risks and desperate struggling on political and the government side to cope with the consequences of such rapid developments. The speed in technology and related developments is pressing us sometimes to our limits. Therefore, BiH leadership of the future must be “glocal” – capable of serving and seeing the needs of all groups within their states or corporations – while simultaneously ensuring the global linkages which will enable both the power and the potentials of nations and corporations to flourish in a world where finance, economy, development, health trade and communications are becoming increasingly transnational. Those leaders, who focus only on their party interests and their own fortune, are in reality the ones leading their people sooner or later into the backyards of developments.

EPILOGUE
From Srebrenica to……?

The aim of this paper is to offer ideas to make BiH a viable state, internally stable and cooperating peacefully in the international context as a respected player. It is in the deep interest of the EU to drive this process further forward because BiH is a European country. The required turnaround must be a concerted effort between OHR, EU, other international key players and the local people in BiH. Currently BiH is like a sick man stumbling towards respective alliances (EU, NATO). There are increasing signs that the “public” gets nervous. One part leaves the country, another part starts protesting. The bells in BiH are ringing! Does the EU hear the bells?

And, in order to link to my Prologue at the beginning: The legacies of those poor people killed in the “Srebrenicas”, “Ahmicis” and “Central Bosnias” should not be forgotten. Their fate should be for us a forceful reminder not to repeat the same mistakes of disinterest and negligence, which was the hallmark of the UN in BiH.

State Building in and for BiH requires a renewed impetus and more forceful implementers. Not to continue with the laissez faire of the last 25 years. The diplomats from Dayton would applaud it and the people in BiH deserve it.

**********

*) Aus besonderen Gründen veröffentliche ich dieses Manuskript ausnahmsweise in englischer Sprache. Der Beitrag ist ein historisches Dokument – verfaßt von einem ausgewiesenen Fachmann, der viele Jahre für die UN, die EU und die NATO tätig war. Er lebt seit über 25 Jahren in Sarajewo, ist als politischer Berater tätig und kennt die Problematik auf dem Balkan und besonders in BiH sehr genau. P.H.  

www.conservo.wordpress.com     

Über conservo

ÜBER MICH, CONSERVO Liebe Leser, dieser Blog ist ein besonderer Blog. Er wurde 2010 von Peter Helmes gegründet, und ich führe ihn seit dem 1.11.2020 in seinem Sinne fort. Dieser Blog ist konservativ, er ist christlich, und er ist abendländisch. Allein das macht ihn in den diesen unruhigen Zeiten zu einem Exoten. „Ich bin das Licht der Welt. Wer mir nachfolgt, der wird nicht wandeln in der Finsternis, sondern wird das Licht des Lebens haben.“ (Joh 8, 12) Heute steht alles auf dem Kopf. Was früher noch galt, gilt heute nicht mehr. Grenzen wurden aufgehoben, Geschlechter abgeschafft, die traditionelle Familie ist unter Dauerbeschuss, wer am meisten Minderheitenmerkmale auf sich vereint, darf – zumindest in Deutschland – fordern, was er will. Das Christentum steht weltweit mit dem Rücken zur Wand. Lau sind sie geworden – die Christen hier im Lande, aber auch die orientalischen Christen, die sich nach der Flucht aus dem Orient hier ein neues Leben aufbauen konnten, und dennoch angesichts der Islamisierung schweigen. Finanzstarke und einflussreiche Interessengruppen unter Klaus Schwab, Bill Gates, George Soros u.v.m. setzen weltweit den Great Reset mit seiner neofeudalistischen Ökodiktatur mittels Massenmigration, Globalisierung, Plandemien und mit Hilfe gekaufter Politiker, Journalisten und „Sozialen“ Medien gegen die Interessen der Völker mit nie gekannter Brutalität durch. Die geistige und seelische Not der Menschen steigert sich tagtäglich inmitten dieser finsteren Zeit. Gerade westliche Menschen scheinen jeglichen Halt, Glauben und ihre natürliche Wehrhaftigkeit verloren zu haben. Jeder wird im Leben auf seinen Platz gestellt. Jedes Volk hat sein Schicksal und muss es in seinem eigenen Land bewältigen. Migration und der entgrenzte Einheitsmensch sind nicht unsere Bestimmung. Dennoch wird erneut versucht, dem Menschen als freiem und göttlichem Wesen unter Tarnworten wie „Solidarität“, „Vielfalt“ und „Humanität“ die teuflische Gleichheitslehre des Kommunismus aufzuerlegen. Dies ist wider die Natur und wider jedes menschliche und göttliche Gesetz. „Hütet euch vor dem Sauerteig der Pharisäer, das heißt vor der Heuchelei. Nichts ist verhüllt, was nicht enthüllt wird, und nichts ist verborgen, was nicht bekannt wird. Deshalb wird man alles, was ihr im Dunkeln redet, am hellen Tag hören, und was ihr einander hinter verschlossenen Türen ins Ohr flüstert, das wird man auf den Dächern verkünden.“ (Luk, 1 - 3) Dank Peter Helmes analysieren langjährige, hervorragende Kolumnisten, basierend auf christlichen Werten, in aller Klarheit das heutige Tohuwabohu aus verschiedensten Blickwinkeln: Die Geißel der Globalisierung, geostrategische Interessen, die Massenmigration und importierte Gewalt, das Versagen der Politiker und der Verlust unserer Werte, Kultur und Heimat. Die Kolumnen wie auch die Diskussionen sind offen, respektvoll und tabufrei; denn nur so kann man die drängenden Themen der Zeit in der Tiefe analysieren, Machtstrukturen herausarbeiten und Roß und Reiter benennen. Nur so können wir uns auf uns selbst und unsere Stärken rückbesinnen und Deutschland, unsere Heimat, verteidigen. „Wenn ihr bleiben werdet an meinem Wort, so seid ihr wahrhaftig meine Jünger und werdet die Wahrheit erkennen, und die Wahrheit wird euch frei machen.“ (Joh, 32 – 33) Nochmal: Wir stehen mit dem Rücken zur Wand. Deshalb sind unsere westlichen Wurzeln, Werte und unser Glauben nötiger denn je. Sie geben uns den Rückhalt, um aufzustehen und zu sagen: „Nein. Bis hierher und nicht weiter. Es ist jetzt genug!“ Wie schon Peter, lade ich Euch ein, alles zu kommentieren, zu korrigieren und zu kritisieren. Eine kleine Regel muss ich leider einbauen. Unterschiedliche Ansichten können durchaus in aller Härte debattiert werden. Wer jedoch andere Foristen mehrfach persönlich angeht, beleidigt oder unflätig beschimpft, wird nach einer dreimaligen Verwarnung vom Diskussionsforum ausgeschlossen. Maria Schneider Beiträge bitte an Maria_Schneider@mailbox.org Haftungsausschluß: Für die Inhalte von verknüpften Seiten übernehme ich keine Haftung. Rechtlicher Hinweis: Mit Urteil vom 12. Mai 1998 – 312 O 85/98 -, Haftung für Links, hat das Landgericht Hamburg entschieden, daß man durch das Anhängen eines Links den Inhalt der gelinkten Seite ggf. mit zu verantworten hat. Dies kann nur dadurch verhindert werden, indem man sich ausdrücklich von diesen Inhalten distanziert. Ich distanziere mich hiermit ausdrücklich von allen Inhalten aller gelinkten Seiten in meinen emails und auf den Seiten der „sozialen Medien“ und mache mir diese Inhalte nicht zu Eigen. Diese Erklärung gilt für alle in und mit meiner Internetadresse/emails angebrachten Links. Die verlinkten Seiten wurden zum Zeitpunkt der Verlinkung auf mögliche Rechtsverstöße überprüft. Zu diesem Zeitpunkt waren keine Rechtsverstöße ersichtlich. Eine permanente inhaltliche Kontrolle der verlinkten Websites ist ohne konkrete Anhaltspunkte einer Rechtsverletzung nicht zumutbar. Bei Bekanntwerden von Rechtsverletzungen werden jedoch derartige Links umgehend entfernen. Maria Schneider 10.11.2020
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8 Antworten zu “To Whom The Bell Tolls“ – BiH 25 Years after Dayton

  1. Mona Lisa schreibt:

    Meine Muttersprache ist Deutsch.

    Gefällt 1 Person

  2. Ingrid schreibt:

    So gut ist unser Schulenglisch nicht, dass man das lesen würde und könnte.
    Bitte mal eine Zusammenfassung von jemand der dieses Sprache fließend beherrscht.

    Gefällt 1 Person

  3. Dr. Gunther Kümel schreibt:

    Ein langer Text. Der Autor beschreibt die Misere des Balkans aus der Sicht der Bosnier.
    Eine ähnliche Misere könnte von Serbien berichtet werden, oder von Kroatien, von Mazedonien, oder, noch wesentlich schlimmer, vom Kosovo.
    Der Ursprung des Konflikts ist das Zusammenzwingen kulturell verschiedener slawischer Völker mit Deutschen und Albanern in einen artifiziellen Staat ohne historische Wurzel 1918 (wie Polen, wie CSR).
    Allerdings greifen die Siedlungsgebiete im Balkan derart ineinander, daß das Problem unlösbar erschien. In der Zwischenkriegszeit dümpelte der Staat glücklos und chaotisch dahin.Tito brachte dann eine bedeutende Volksgruppe um (die Deutschen) und zwang den anderen eine Serbenherrschaaft und Uniformität auf. „Serbokraotisch“ war eine ungeliebte neue Kunstsprache, die keinen glücklich machte, am wenigsten die mitteleuropäischen Slowenen, die eine eigene Sprache sprechen, und die Albaner.

    Als die kommunistischen Diktaturen sich auflösten, zerfiel „Süd-Slawien“. Jede Nationalität wollte ihre Sprache, ihre Kultur, ihre Religion für sich haben, in einem eigenen Nationalstaat. Dem Beispiel Titos (Ausrottunfg der Deutschen) folgend, wollte jede Nation ihre Minderheiten loswerden. Eine einvernehmliche humane Lösung wäre, vielleicht, noch irgendwie möglich gewesen.
    Aber da entdeckte der „Westen“ den Balkan als Interessensgebiet, und das mußte scheitern!
    .
    Der Krieg der US-geführten NATO gegen Serbien war ein völkerrechtswidriger Angriffskrieg. Die BRD-Grünen folgten den Interessen der USA und zogen die Deutschen in diesen bösen Krieg.
    Der „Hufeisenplan“ war eine grüne Fälschung, mit der Auschwitz-Keule wurde uns der Krieg aufgezwungen. Dafür wurde der Taxilenker und deliktbeladene Straßenkämpfer Fischer fetter Harvard-Professor.
    Es gab nicht nur ein Srebrenica, alle Seiten begingen Tito-Verbrechen. Das schlimmste Verbrechen von allen war aber der Abwurf von Uranbomben durch die USA. In Vietnam versuchen die Einheimischen seit Jahrzehnten, die Tretminen und die abgeregneten Gifte zu eliminieren, in Serbien muß jeder 238U-Bombensplitter ausgegraben und deponiert, verseuchter Boden abgebaggert werden. Video: Todesstaub (Irak).

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    • Ingrid schreibt:

      Recht vielen Dank Herr Kümel, ich kann mich noch gut an diesen Krieg erinnern und an die Fehler die da alle gemacht wurden.
      Danke und schönen Sonntag.
      Ingrid

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    • Semenchkare schreibt:

      Ich danke auch für die Zusammenfassung.

      Wobei ich mich zu erinnern glaube, das der Konflikt mit der Masseninvasion von Moslems, über einen längeren Zeitraum, zum Krieg führte.

      Der Islam wollte herrschen und die NATO stand ihnen im Krieg bei, gegen das ursprünglich dort wohnende Volk!

      Die Verteidiger ihres eigenen Landes hat man danach zu „Kriegsverbrechern“ erklärt!

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      • Dr. Gunther Kümel schreibt:

        Semenchkare,
        Die Albaner haben seit langer Zeit in die urserbische Provinz Kosovo eingesiedelt, das ist keine neue Entwicklung. Allerdings, das wollte ich noch anmerken, haben Djihadisten aus Afghanistan, Tschetschenien und dem Nahen Osten in dem Krieg aller gegen alle mitgekämpft. Von wem die bloß nach Europa geholt worden sind??

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  4. Dieterb Farwick schreibt:

    Lieber Bernd !
    Mein Glückwunsch zu der Veröffentlichung Deines außerordentlichen Beitrages. Es ist eine Ausnahme, dass Peter Helmes den Text in englischer Sprache veröffentlicht.
    Nicht alle Leser beherrschen die englische Sprache.
    Ich wäre Dir daher dankbar, wenn Du eine kurze Zusammenfassung in deutscher Sprache schreiben könntest direkt an http://www.conservo.wordpress.com.

    Mit besten Grüßen – auch von Haus zu Haus –

    Dein Dieter

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