Is there a better future for us?

bihDiscrimination is still a problem throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina. Sarajevo, the Bosniak-majority capital, preserved in part its traditional role as a multiethnic city; however, complaints persisted of discrimination, isolation, and widespread marginalization of non-Muslims. There were reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice, and prominent societal leaders rarely took positive steps to promote religious freedom. Discriminatory incidents aimed at religious symbols, clerics, and property in all three ethnic majority areas continued.

But, last month Bosnia has launched its first census as an independent state. The 15-day survey, the first in 22 years, should give the most detailed snapshot yet. The results will provide data vital for efficient economic planning and for Bosnia ambition to join the European Union. But preparations have been marred by tension between leaders of Bosnia’s former warring sides – Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) – who each fear being weakened in the system of ethnic quotas set by the 1995 Dayton peace accord. The last census was in 1991, on the eve of Yugoslavia’s collapse, when 43.5 % of Bosnia’s then 4.4 million people declared themselves as Muslims, 31.2 % as Serbs and 17.4 % as Croats.

Results of this census are still unknown, but those numbers are not important. What is important, is big unanswered question: Is there better future for us? Are people in Bosnia finally overcome what happened in last war and live without prejudices, together, in brotherhood? Are schools finally change and realise that it doesn’t matter what is our religion and everyone is entitled to same education? Are „two schools under one roof“ finally going to be in our past? (For, those who don’t know, „two schools under one roof“ are schools where children of various ethnicity use the same school without having joint classes.)

I am hoping for the best. Even though, maybe, my hopes are too high, I believe in young people. I believe we can all learn from mistakes our parents and other people made in past and do everything we can prevent them from happening again. It is our obligation to make sure our children will live in better country, where it doesn’t matter what is our religion, name or ethnicity. To change the world, we need to start from ourself. That way, we can be sure that we are the ones that will guide our comunity into better future.

 

Mladen Pejic

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