[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Sunday, 4 June 2006, 01:03 GMT 02:03 UK
Bosnians say 'enough' to politics
By Nicholas Walton
BBC News, Sarajevo

Bosnians brave the rain to attend the protest concert
There is widespread disillusionment among young Bosnians

The Bosnian word dosta means "enough", and it was that simple message which lay behind this protest concert in Sarajevo.

Dosta, the group that organised the concert, is run by students and young people, and this was their chance to show how wide their support was.

Twenty bands were on the bill, including Frenkie, Disciplinska Komisija and Letu Stuke.

Dark skies and heavy rain threatened to dampen the party spirit, but the enthusiastic crowd, hiding under umbrellas and drinking plastic bottles of cheap beer, still enjoyed the music.

The number of big-name bands supporting the concert reflect how widespread disillusionment is among young Bosnians.

Day after day, the same stories dominate television news here, with politicians from across this divided nation blaming each other or the international community for all that goes wrong.

Disillusioned youth

But on the streets, the people have more immediate concerns. The economy is still troubled, wages and pensions are low.

The agenda is nationalism, the agenda is nations, the agenda is politics, the agenda is war
Darko Brkan
Concert organiser

And, for the young, there is a sense that the politicians are ignoring the challenges of real life in a country still scarred by the war that cost well over 100,000 lives.

Nena is a 23-year-old who is hoping to study at Sarajevo's music academy.

She says that life is hard for many - the unemployed, those that were crippled during the war and pensioners trying to survive on 65 euros (44; $84) a month.

Politicians don't represent people, she argues, they only represent their own greed.

Mohammed, an art student, says that really smart people are leaving Bosnia because of the economy and the political situation.

"The politicians aren't doing their job. It's now time to say 'enough'."

Political fatigue

One of the members of Dosta is Darko Brkan. He says the concert was organised to show that the people of Bosnia have had enough with politics.

The politicians aren't doing their job. It's now time to say 'enough'
Art student and concert-goer

"In Bosnia, 99% of the people can give you one hour of expertise on the politics, on the nationalities, on the entities, on the countries, but nobody can give you two sane sentences on how to improve their life.

"The agenda is nationalism, the agenda is nations, the agenda is politics, the agenda is war."

In a country where so much blood was spilt over nationalism, many feel that such an agenda keeps Bosnia stuck with the same old splits and issues as before.

When the people of Montenegro voted for independence in their recent referendum, politicians in Bosnia spent the next couple of weeks endlessly arguing about whether a similar referendum could or should happen here.

It was an example of the type of politics that people are tired of.

Branko Jakubovic is a member of Dubioza Kolektiv, one of the bands that appeared at the concert.

"The politicians are making out that all the nationalities are boiling all the time," he complains, "but it's they who are putting the heat on.

"People just want to have a decent job and decent meals to eat. Normal Bosnians just don't care about different nationalities."

Looking abroad

One reason critics believe the politicians talk so much about nationalities, rather than everyday issues like the economy and how people here live, is that much of public life here has been run with the help of foreigners.

The Office of the High Representative, the chief civilian agency of the international community, is closing down next year.

Some hope this will force the local politicians to act more responsibly.

Young people in most countries feel some sense of disillusionment, but thanks to its recent violent past, Bosnia is different.

Many of them grew up in other countries as refugees, and found out that life in stable, richer countries was often much better than back home.

One survey found that three-quarters of young people wanted to move abroad in the future.

If Bosnia is to become a normal country, as most of its citizens want, the politicians will have to find a way to reverse that statistic.

Country profile: Bosnia-Hercegovina
30 Apr 06 |  Country profiles
Bosnia hides scars of division
02 Dec 04 |  Europe


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific