Bosnia Continues to be Ethnically Divided
It’s been 20 years since the war in Bosnia Broke out, a war that took over 150,000 lives in four very quick years, yet today more than ever Bosnia continues to be ethnically divided. Neighborhoods were torn apart, homes destroyed, friendships divided and families broken forever. Since the war, ethnic tensions continue to exist between Bosnia’s three largest nationalities: Bosnian Serbs, Croats and Bosniak Muslims.
Throughout the country, ordinary people continue to express their weariness with the way Bosnia is divided and run by politicians. A population of only 3.4 million people eager to move on from the war, and mainly worried now about how they’ll cope economically. The financial crisis has hit Bosnia hard, and the squabbles between ethnically-based political parties have worsened its impact.
The country is stuck in a time warp – that its structures had been frozen somewhere in the years just after the war. Its map is still based on the Dayton Peace Accords drawn up in 1995, with internal borders based on the front lines of the war. Road signs read “Welcome to the Republika Srpska” when you cross over into the Bosnian Serb political entity, and the Serb rather than the Bosnian flag flies high in its capital. Locals told us complicated stories of paying different tax rates in different regions, and of the huge paperwork involved in voting in another area. Bosnian people may wish to move on, but it’s going to take a long time to bring the country closer together in political and organizational terms.
The Bosnian schooling system is a great example of the ethnic divide. Single schools where two ethnicity’s attend and learn two different curriculum’s that represent their ethnic background. This is not only a confusing system, but also unwanted by the students.
The end seems to be in sight for the ethically divided system seems, but the schooling system is just the beginning. Earlier this year The Education Ministry in the larger of Bosnia’s two entities has unveiled a two-year plan to end the phenomenon of ‘two schools operating under one roof’ and unite children of different ethnic groups.
Instead of divided schools, which in practice means one building with two entrances and divided playgrounds, the plan calls for the formation of multi-ethnic classes.
The problem of ethnic division and examples of ‘two schools under one roof’ is not something that people want, but because politics continue to demand with idiotic rules that either need updating or total elimination. As we all know, the only way to move forward in life is to let go of the past – something that’s been a problem for all three sides.
Here’s a video we came across that illustrates our point on how Bosnia continues to be ethnically divided. Ultimately time will tell what happens, but not having two schools under one roof is a start.