We are investigating the possibilities for POO to
continue it's work in Bosnie Hercegovina. The need for that is still at present. It is only now that the
land is recovering from the tremendous war that took place. In several cities and regions the houses are
rebuild, the people and the state are investing in the infrastructure and the people start speaking about
'the people and the government' again instead of 'the Serbs, the Croats and the Muslims'.
Even if nationalism had it greatest victory on the Balkans, which is proved by the fact that all the leaders from before the war still hold there place and by the fact that most 'peaceagreements' are based on races and ethnicity, still the human beings are getting human again. Not as it was when local politicians forced the people into the role of victim, a role also played greatly by many. Not as it was when the people were putted into the role of victims and barbarians in the same time by western media, politics and intellectuals.
The western media (at this moment I see things from a Dutch point of view) starts to show interest in the people who suffered in the Balkan tragedy. Several programs with portrets from the Balkan are shown on television, unfortunately not all of a great quality. Because of that I made the conclusion (probably much too fast) that the Balkans is more a hype, a subject that must be explored. It is more this than a sincere look back at our own human failures.
Jaques Klein, subchief of the international community (which was classified as 'a virtual community with strong, undemocratic institutes'), spoke about his concern in relation to the developments in BiH. He said that the international 'community' had hoped that there would be a normal cooperation between the different groups in BiH, as soon as the violence had stopped. A few years of rest would help the warlords to decide that economical cooperation is better than killing each other. Unfortunaly these warlords are the ones that destroyed Yugoslavia (quite a prosperous country) with their nationalistic, paranoia xenofobic attitude. After the war they were not capable of cooperating with each other. The fact that the international community was surprised about that, surprises me. Jaques Klein showed his frustration when he explained that in a normal country, like Maleysia, Indonesia or Peru you must bribe officials who than will arrange the things for you. But in Bosnia such a person will only do half of the job. And for the other half you must bribe a second person who will do half the job, etcetera, etcetera. The result of that is that those who will pay the bribe back off. He called it 'inefficient corruption'. Well Jaques, if things were that easy….
The international community is also complaining about the Bosnian economical laws. It is said they are limiting business. But here the great money business is thinking a little bit too much about itself. In Bonia there are indeed laws saying that foreigners can not start his company in Bosnia without a local partner. Also the money earned can not be exported. These laws are not so strange for a country that has to recover from a devastating war and has to stand on it's own feet within a few years. It is because of this reason there in no McDonalds in BiH. Maybe it is funny to know that during the economical boycot (during the middle of the 90's) in Serbia, McDonalds Belgrade was still open. While we know that they only prefer to work if they can export their profits…. Not even having said this my partner came up with an article about a change of course. (See below)
In the mean time there is a worldwide reconsideration going on about devellopmentcooperation politics (and money, of course). There are several arguments used of which two who caught my attention. a) Western countries wanted too much and too often the projects in developing countries were done accoording to western plans. With the result that many projects failed. And b) the biggest part of the money for development cooperation had to be spend in the donorcountry itself.
Solution that is suggested is: From now on we will only give money to countries that will have a proper administration. What ever that may be.
I was wondering; are these the first signs of western straightforwardness towards their own mistakes or are these the first signs that developmentcooperation politics (together with humanitairian aid grown into a business of billions) will withdraw itself from areas that are political and economical not interesting anymore.
We shall see.
Take care and be aware