Thursday, October 12, 2006

A fragile peace In Bosnia

Following the recent elections in Bosnia Hercegovina it appears that there has been an increase in sectarian tensions. I was somewhat disturbed to hear via A Few Euros More that a grenade was fired at a mosque in Mostar on Tuesday 10th October causing substantial damage. It is believed the act was carried out in retaliation for the desecration of a Catholic cemetery.

As regular readers will know, I visited Mostar during the summer while on a two-week tour of the Balkans. It's a beautiful charming place with the rebuilt old bridge and quaint bazaar-style market place. It seemed calm and peaceful despite the obvious scars of war which lie all around. The front line of the war, one of the city's main thoroughfares is lined on either side with bombed-out buildings pockmarked with bullet holes, yet the local people have demonstrated an amazing resilience. Life has got back to normal in Mostar and the Balkans in general. Tourism seems to have taken off. Churches and mosques rub shouldrers, although it seems it seems there is still an uneasy peace about the region. For the sake of the people of Bosnia of whatever religion or ethnic group, who have suffered unimaginable horrors I sincerely hope this is a one-off incident and not the start of something bigger.

As a commentator on A Few Euros More has remarked:
“The basic question hasn't been answered. How do you set up a democratic sovereign state if you are not sure you'll get a majority for its existence among the citizens?”

It’s not an easy question.

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