Bosnia’s gold standard

My wife is right. She says when I come to the states I usually find myself rather flat for writing. Today is no exception. But I’ll try anyway. My excuse is that I’m on holiday. I’m taking a break. I’m supposed to unwind. I want and need to unplug. Shouldn’t we all?

She says it’s more than that, though. She says I need to be in Bosnia to write. Right or wrong, giving birth seems easier than writing at the moment (i’m sure a few women chuckled reading this. It’s just a metaphor ladies. I know we men couldn’t handle labor pains let alone the birth part).

So, I was checking my google analytics stats for my blog the other day. Being slightly retarded in the tech field I find it quite a fun little toy to play with. The thing that perplexed me most beside the sheer number of people who read ‘The 10 things I miss most about Bosnia’ was the geography. 90 countries. I didn’t quite get it, until I did.

It got me thinking. Who the hell is reading my blog from 90 countries? Perhaps it would be better put to ask why in the hell would anyone read my blog from 90 countries? Then I started getting a facebook message here and there…a few emails. Some called me a jerk. Some overly romantic. But most were just ‘hey, thanks’ notes from every corner of the world.

I’ve always thought the diaspora were underestimated and under appreciated back home. The simple truth is that some people had to leave, some chose to leave, some had a gun to their heads and were ordered to leave. Regardless, they left. C’est la vie. C’est la guerre.

Many people back in Bosnia still hold a grudge. Although I agree it was much harder to survive the brutal war than to be a refugee in Germany or Australia, it’s still no fun leaving your home and seeking refuge in a foreign country. Not for anyone. End of story.

Simply put, I think the diaspora are worth their weight in gold. I really do. Let me tell you why.

Weight in gold

We give them too much grief. Most of them send money home to loved ones and friends. Many of them come and visit religiously, bringing a fresh wave of energy and ideas (and yes, money too). They are our best support system outside of our borders. And I’d even be bold enough to say they are a better support system than the governments and ‘system’ we have been cursed with over the past twenty years.

Putting the petty tit for tat arguments on ‘gdje si bio ti kad je bio najteze‘ aside, the bottom line is that Bosnia and Herzegovina is over a million strong outside of her borders. What an amazing resource. No sane businessman would trpi  the budalastina that comes with investing in Bosnia. Diaspora often do. Not too many sane people would leave the comfort and security of their new found homes to come back and start something new in a very corrupt, exceptionally dysfunctional country. Diaspora are.

They are our best PR agents. They are our most loyal ‘tourists.’ They are amongst our best investors. They bridge a huge gap between slow-changing Bosnia and the modernity of the new world. They can and do bring ideas, passion, and employment. But above all, they care. They really do. Imagine a functional marriage between Bosnia and its diaspora. Imagine all that it could bring in a time when even we are losing interest in our own fate let alone the rest of the world.

We are not very good at recognizing who our friends are and nurturing those relationships. Whether it be Bono or Peter Cox or 1.2 million Bosnians abroad, the diaspora and friends of Bosnia should be our gold standard.  We should treasure that resource. Ego aside, just think about it. Who else would put up with our shit?

 

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5 thoughts on “Bosnia’s gold standard

  1. Jasna

    I’ll be 26 next month. I was 5 years old when the Serbs forced us out of Gacko. I remember the day and as young as I was, I remember a bit of life before the war. My family and I spent the next two years going from place to place (forced out of Ljubuski, Mostar, Dubrovnik). My mom left to the States with 4 kids in 1994 – my dad stayed to fight and joined us after the war. I’ve gone back to Bosnia at least 1x a year since I was 16. I made the decision to move back permanently last year. I’m not going back with typical dijaspora illusions of life there. I’ll be leaving a great job for (who knows how long of a time span) of unemployment. I’ll be bringing with me skills, experience, and education.

    I do this because I love my country – I love the beauty there and the ugliness of some aspects of society there (corruption, turbo-folk etc. Yes, turbofolk culture is very ugly lol). I’m used to working hard and surviving, I’ve had to do it since I was 5 years old. I’m not content to toil away my whole life for the American political/economic machine, I would rather toil to improve Bosnian society in what minor way I can. Some of us have to get the ball rolling. Out of a snowflake, to a snow pile, to an avalanche.

  2. Emi

    Sve ovo stoji Tim, i mislim da su u principu ljudi svega toga svjesni. I u pravu si, ko drugi bi trpio toliko nebuloze i pored svega dolazio, ulagao, putovao, kupovao…Kako god, mislim da je razlog sto dijaspora i BiH ne mogu biti u sretnom braku samo pitanje ega. Bila sam vani, vratila se u BiH, pa sam opet u dijaspori, i nakon svih tih selidbi i putovanja sam uvidjela da Bosanci vole da kukaju, to im je dusevna hrana. Takodjer vole da se sazaljevaju. I koliko svi bili svjesni ovog svega o cemu pises, kada se pojavi neko iz dijaspore sa bijesnim autom, Bosnjo nece pomisliti “koliko li se ovaj naradio i kamate naplacao za ovo auto” vec “lako je njemu”. Kada taj isti dijasporac izadje iz BMW-a i pocne domacem Bosnji pricati kako je naporno raditi vani, i kako bi i on volio da moze da pije kafu po citav dan, onda se domaci Bosnjo naljuti – ne samo da je ovaj dosao da se hvali i da mu utrlja koliko para ima-vec mu oduzima njegovo urodjeno pravo da kuka kako mu je lose! Znaci ne samo da se ovaj osjeca jos jadniji i siromasniji, vec sad nema pravo ni da se sazaljeva jer treba da bude zahvalan sto moze da pije pisljivu kafu svaki dan! Isto vazi i za dijasporca – on je gradjanin druge klase u svojoj drzavi, i ubija se radeci, crnci kako bi dosao kuci i imao sta pokazati. Kad potrosi sve pare na rodbinu, pare koje je mukotrpno zaradjivao, ocekuje neku vrstu zahvalnosti. Obicno je ne moze dobiti, jer domaci Bosnjo samo vidi BMWa , ne koliku kamatu ovaj placa na posudjene pare. I kad tako ovaj dijasporac, ogorcen sto je crncio citave godine, potrosio tolike pare i nije dobio ni “hvala”, vec samo kukanje i pricu kako je njemu lako, kako je lako biti Bosnjo sa tudjim pasosom itd – dijasporcu prekipi i on pocne da kuka. U pocetku se pravi da je nesto postigao, hvali se autom i sl, ali nakon nekog vremena pocne da se sazaljeva. U njegovom gradu njegova raja pije kafu po citav dan, na poslu se na forumima zezaju, a on svabu mora moliti da ode u halu. I onda i ovaj pocne da prica- kako je vani tesko, kako se puno radi, kako grca u dugovima, kako jedva ima za kafe i tako… Kad dijasporac pocne da kuka, domaci se Bosnjo naljuti jos vise, jer ko je njemu sa BMW om dao pravo da kuka pored njega , domaceg kokuza… I u principu, to je razlog te netrpeljivosti – sto jedni drugima oduzimaju pravo samosazaljevanja i kukanja. Sve je to ego “ti ces meni reci kako je meni dobro” ili “ti ces meni reci kako je meni lose”. Ja mislim da svim narodima na Balkanu treba dovesti ucitelje joge i meditacije i da bi se svi problemi rjesili

  3. Cober

    Zašto se sve, sva ova priča u krajnosti svodi samo na novac? Zašto se gleda samo kroz novac kao mjerilo svega? Ima tu mnogo, mnogo više od materijalnog..

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