Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Bosnia 's Skool Daze

I received this observation by email Monday, from a colleague who works in Bosnia with an Imperial agency that shall remain nameless:
"It reminds me of a college campus with so many people sitting around over pots of coffee and pizza crusts, complaining about the restrictive regulations, too much to read, lack of pristine dorm rooms, lack of committee funds, leather furniture in the president’s office, and a student council president who does little more for the college than the homecoming queen. The students sit around and yet don’t get off their asses to clean up the dorm room, kick out the apathetic council president and elect a worker bee. Ah, the similarities are endless - everyone waiting for the magic alum to pop in with a billion-dollar gift and golden job recommendations."
The comparison is incredibly apt when it comes to describing the apathy and shiftlessness of Bosnians (of all ethnicities). One should also note that the local government in Bosnia has great power over its own unfortunate citizens, as the Communist-era laws give it authority to control nearly every aspect of people's lives - and yet, when it comes to actually running Bosnia, they are as powerless as a student government.

Meanwhile, for all his/her authority, no college president is anywhere near as powerful as Paddy Ashdown, Baronet Norton-sub-Hamdon, by the grace of the Contact Group the autokrator of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Imperial Viceroy and Potentate Extraordinary.

It is he who does not allow the Bosnians to elect a worker bee, but insists on homecoming queens and Potemkin officials. Folks in the Serb Republic can elect whoever they want, Ashdown will sack him whenever he feels ornery. He's done it before; his predecessors have done it before; and there is nothing to stop him from doing it again. The one time people in the Muslim-Croat Federation actually elected someone decent, with a plan and an independent streak, he was forced into an alliance with chauvinist slime, sabotaged every step of the way, and finally shoved out of power when Ashdown himself supported the Old Guard in the 2002 election.

Bosnia has a host of problems, starting with its paradoxical existence, but a major one is surely that even if someone bothers to try and get out of the mire, the local kleptocrats and the Empire - currently in the persona of Viceroy Ashdown - are always there to grind them back down. Is it a wonder no one bothers, then?

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