2007-02-21

Dayton on the scales

Thanks to the Neretva River blog for bringing attention to this interesting lawsuit. The coverage of it includes, as Mr Observer notes, some level of freaky antisemitism. But the case is also interesting for reasons having to do with the basic structure of the agreement which has become the working document for Bosnia-Hercegovina's institutions. It seems surprising that there have not been more legal objections to a framework that treats (some) ethnic groups as though they were citizens, and citizens as though they were nothing.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Last year Mladen Ivanic from the Party for Democratic Progress stated during the constitutional reform negotiations that politicians from Srpska were advocating a switch to a three-member presidency, where one member would be elected in Republika Srpska and two in Federation B-H, regardless of their ethnicity.

Chris said...

Well, that proposal was quickly rejected by the Croats, for obvious reasons.

Anonymous said...

Although it is interesting that Zeljko Komsic was elected to the presidency in 2006 with mostly Bosniak vote... which makes it doubtful that Croats would loose anything if candidates did not have to be of certain ethnicity. After all Komsic says that he is Bosnian! :)

Anonymous said...

The coverage of it includes, as Mr Observer notes, some level of freaky antisemitism

Here’s the quote from an unnamed Bosnian official he’s referring to;

"However, the case of Mr. Finci is special," one official continued. "Mr.Finci is the director of the state agency for employees in Sarajevo, and is
using the issue for gain. You must keep in mind that Jews still have a lot of power in Bosnia- Herzegovina and that there are other positions besides the presidency."

One wonders who this official is.

This stuff about Jews having a lot of power in Bosnia really is too much. How many Jews are there are in Bosnia anyway? What power do they have?

Obviously it is possible to engage in the kind of paranoid thinking evidenced in this quote in absence ofa large Jewish community. In some countries such thinking exists where there are no Jews to speak of.

By the way, if the Dayton system were modified to allow the election of someone who was not a Serb, a Croat or a Muslim, to the Presidency, Finci would be an excellent candidate for the job.

Steve Albert

Chris said...

Anonymous: True, but is there enough support to institutionalize the situation?

To give a similar example, the municipality of Srebrenica is to some extent left outside of Republika Srpska structures. This may be the result of a "Gentleman's agreement", or it may be not, but it's tolerated. Does this imply that a majority of representatives in the RS assembly would vote for transferring the municipality to the Federation?

chris said...

Steve Albert: Besides ugly old-school antisemitism, there seems to be something specifically Bosnian...if constitutional discrimination was done away with, people who do not identify with one of the "constituent peoples" would rather naturally acquire (some) political power by brokering between the ethnic groups.

observer said...

Hopefully, racist clauses in the Dayton Accords will look more and more ridiculous as time goes on. Although not related to Bosnia or Dayton it is worth pointing out that in Croatia the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued about 500 work visas just last year to citizens of the PRC and the total estimated number of PRC citizens in Croatia as of last year was about 1500, which makes the Chinese population larger than a couple national minority groups which are entitled to national minority seats in the Sabor. This raises the question: do current constitutional arrangements create 'second class' minorities? My view is that the children of new immigrants should also be able to fully participate in political life regardless of race or ethnicity - and in Bosnia if Dayton prevents that from happening then it must be changed.

nETsOLDIER said...

Pozdrav. Prvi put pišem na ovom Blogu. Hvala na linku za AntiTurbo. Dosta mi znači da se moj protest protiv TurboFolka čuje tako daleko :)

Nadam se da se gosopodin Gordy ne ljuti radi jednog njegovog citata na AntiTurboFolk Blogu... Tekstove, koje gosp. Gordy piše, od esencijalnog značaja su za kulturu za koju se zalažem...

Ne znam da li ste naišli na informaciju o održavanju Folk Revije u Zagrebu, 7. 03. 2007.
Volio bih pročitati Vaše mišljenje o tom skupu primitivizma u samoj blizini centra grada...
Ovo će biti najveći okup TurboFolk zvijezda na jednom mjestu do sada u Zagrebu, ali i Hrvatskoj...

Best Regards,
Davor.

Eric Gordy said...

Zdravo Davore! Jako zanimljivo zvuci taj festival. Da nemas mozda koji link?

Davor said...

Hvala na brzom odgovoru :)
Naravno da imam:

Ovo je s Jutarnjeg Lista. Oni su prvi objavili ovu vijest, iako sam par dana ranije naletio na plakat u centru grada za ovu "manfiestaciju primitivizma" :)

link:
http://www.jutarnji.hr/zagreb/clanak/art-2007,2,20,koncert_narodno,63458.jl

Ako Te još nešto interesira, stojim na raspolaganju.

Davor said...

Zaboravih napomenuti da je medijski sponzor ozloglašena privatna televizija BN iz Republike Srpske... Pozdrav!

Steve Albert said...

Chris ;

You wrote

If constitutional discrimination was done away with, people who do not identify with one of the "constituent peoples" would rather naturally acquire (some) political power by brokering between the ethnic groups.

I believe that 1/4 of the pre-war population of Bosnia were in mixed marriages.

What ethnic group do their children belong to?

Should they have to choose?

Should the children of these marriages broker disputes between their parents?

The above was not meant to disparage your helpful idea about people acting as mediators. I think you have a good point. But the very fact that we are talking about this kind of political trade-off shows what a mess the war and the Dayton system which legitimized the ethnic divisions that were a product of Milosevic's genocidal wars has created.

Steve