In Sarajevo (and not only in Sarajevo) America gets what it wants

After I posted the previous message on the controversy over the proposed new US Embassy site in Sarajevo, I received the following message from Andras Riedlmayer, a friend of East Ethnia and an editor of the International Justice Watch Discussion List. He has permitted me to reprint it here, so here is this weblog's first-ever guest post:

The ex-Marshall Tito Barracks, a massive complex across the street from the National Museum and the Filozofski fakultet in Sarajevo, was built more than a century ago as the Franz-Joseph Barracks. After Dayton, the shot-up but structurally sound barracks complex was restored and converted to educational use -- both symbolically and practically a smart move.

More than half of the building complex was turned over to the University of Sarajevo on a 99-year-lease; other parts of the complex have been renovated and refurbished and now house the temporary quarters of the National and University Library of Bosnia and the Oriental Institute, both of which had been bombed out of their original facilities elsewhere in Sarajevo by Gen. Mladic's gunners firing from the surrounding hills.

But all these fine though struggling institutions, which -- as we are constantly reminded -- embody not only the culture of the country but also the hopes for its future, will now have to pack up and find other quarters. Not because of Gen. Mladic, this time, but because the US wants the site for its new fortified embassy.

Whatever dear America wants, America gets... the wishes and needs of the locals don't count (and they'd better keep smiling and not be so bold as to ask for any favors when America decides what it wants and expects to get it - on the cheap, with no questions asked or conditions imposed).

In Skopje, the arrogant SOBs representing our beloved country demanded and got permission to construct their proposed new fortress of a US embassy on the site of a prehistoric citadel overlooking the city; needless to say both the archaeological remains and the 300-year-old Muslim cemetery at the site will have to be bulldozed to make room for the Empire's newest Dark Castle (no doubt complete with a soundproof dungeon in its basement for the CIA torture sessions).

Marshal Tito Barracks during the war (from FAMA's Sarajevo Survival Map)

Refurbished after the war (photos)

"Help Protect Kale Gradiste" (Macedonian citizens' petition)

"One Country's Treasure is America's ... Embassy?"

Commentary by Skopje Dnevnik's Todor Pendarov

"Macedonian Muslims oppose building U.S. Embassy on cemetery"

"Fortress America: Where No Birds or Ideas Fly"


Eric Gordy said...

See the poster and read about the protest against the sale today (Tuesday, 22 February) at 10 at:


Anonymous said...

da nam zivi, zivi rad!

zdenka pregelj said...

A poslije ludosti, zna se ja!
My grandfather served Franz Josef in those baracks... (I mean, so much for the history of the baracks...) But, as you and your friend said...
It's no longer, like in that song: "What ever Lola wants, Lola gets", now it's what ever Billy wants, (or Oncle Sam?) Billy gets!!!
For 200 KM per square meter!!!

Eric Gordy said...

Isnt there another song, "Little Billy won't go home"?...
One of the things that bothers me here is that recent US embassies are designed with security primarily in mind, which usually means a vast blank streetscape of wall, with the streets in front closed to traffic and visibly patrolled by people under heavy arms. What a way to offer a vision of the country to the world!