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March 4, 2014
March 4, 2014

BiH Writes Her Revolution In The “Book Of Joy” At Governments’ Funerals, As Police Increase Repression

Author: anonymous
Source: Revolution News!  Category: Protest
This article is also available in: elsh
BiH Writes Her Revolution In The “Book Of Joy” At Governments’ Funerals, As Police Increase Repression

Happy government funeral taking place in Tuzla, one of the most cheered forms of protest people from Bosnia and Herzegovina adopted to spread the message that time for real change has come for them. [source]

Police in Bosnia and Herzegovina are hunting down people participating in direct action activities against the ruling classes, as repression against them intensifies. In spite of all threats, beatings, blackmail and propaganda employed by the state, rebels still gather in plenums (public assemblies) where they take decisions for their rulers, and they resist. Police repression has increased in the past days, since people’s plenums become more powerful and the rebellion against the ruling classes extends and diversifies.

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Demo in Zenica, March 4th. Pic by Zenica Blog.

Police repression is not just aimed at intimidating and scaring people participating in an almost all-out rebellion against the ruling classes, it is also aimed at hindering people’s fight against nationalism so they can keep them segregated.

This is especially visible in Mostar, where police are trying to stop people from the East part of the town – predominantly Bosniak – to unite with the people in the West, predominantly Croat, separated by a bridge. People in Mostar participate in protest-walk, they adopted this form of protest so they can also unite, but police are constantly blocking the bridge they must cross to be able to do that.This video filmed early on March 5th shows how cops block people in the Eastern part of Mostar from crossing to the Western side. Three days ago, police injured some protestors to stop them form crossing the bridge in Mostar on the other side. People shouted at cops repressing them: “Fascists”! Whenever police tries to arrest some of them, people save them from the hands of the cops. Yesterday, cops blocked again the road people were protest-walking on, so demonstrators went in another direction. Police chased them, and they played this cat and mouse game several times. In the end, people were smarter and surrounded the cops on the bridge demanding explanations from the chief of police about their reasons for stopping people’s peaceful walk. Tito’s bridge blockade lasted about half an hour after which the protesters returned to the Spanish Square, and then parted ways to meet again today.

Cops are going after the most vocal protestors individually. In Mostar, police beat up the man who started the protests there, all by himself – you can read his story hereMuharem Hindića – Mušica was hit in his leg by a cop from the special troops, “with a blunt object”. Several girls and women were also beaten in this attack.

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Muharem Hindića – Mušica started the protests in Mostar, by speaking to people on the streets about the injustices they endure on behalf of the ruling elites. Days ago, he has been attacked by cops.

Why are cops increasingly violent in Mostar? „Are they trying to provoke an open conflict by any means?” It’s one of the dangers that the rebels in Bosnia and Herzegovina face: „In February, something changed irrevocably. There was an awakening of civic consciousness and civic courage, which no police brutality and systematic dissemination of misinformation by the Ministry of Interior (police), or the united forces of BiH the political class over the bought-off media managed to smother. Protests across Bosnia and Herzegovina have been running for almost a month and there is no indication that they will stop anytime soon.”

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Traces of the war are still visible everywhere in BiH, after 19 years.
Pic is from Mostar.

As it is explained here the fury and anger which burst out in the first days of the rebellion clearly showed that it was not something people wanted to employ on the long run. However, it helped them create the space they needed for “more directly exercise powerful pressure on the system’s institutions and political parties.” As people learn day by day how to better use the plenums – “Just the possibility of such action alone won is a lesson that will be hard to forget” – to take back their lives from the elites which oppress them, police violence and repression is escalating. Here are details of police brutality – unprovoked – and the reason of this might predict a dire perspective, not surprisingly when elites are losing their power to control people they subjugate: Police’s orders to attack people in Mostar „can be explained only by the panic and fear of the political class (among the Croatian people) that the mass social protests will be joined by Croats too. It is evident that any use of force against citizens, any violation of their human rights will backfire into a real revolt reaction from the people, who are not willing to tolerate any criminal behavior of the police, politicians, tycoons, or anybody else. With that in mind, several questions must be asked: Are they trying, in hanging on to power, to provoke an escalation of social protest to the brink of open class conflict, by ordering the excessive use of force against people? If this is what they intend, it means they are willing to bear the consequences of such a development.” Source.

In Sarajevo, police opened the traffic towards a street which was occupied by protestors, without letting them know, and one car ran into people, injuring at least one. Witness say the driver of this car was wearing a uniform, and he came from the direction of presidency palace.

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At this protest, one woman told people how police captured her, took her at the station, held her for 6 hours and beat her repeatedly. All because she dared to participate in protests. Police claims she “attacked” a cop with an umbrella, Dzemila Mujan says they are lying and showed people at the protest her bruises.

Even though cops arrested lots of people, since February 3rd, they have not managed to count the number of the people they held under arrest. They were busy with another counting: the police boss in Bosnia and Herzegovina boasted in the Parliament that between February 5th and February 20th, exactly 42.442 people participated in protests against the ruling classes, cops’ bosses. Some of these people are terrorized now by police as they are summoned up at police stations to be accused of “property damage” or even of “terrorism”, though cops cannot really explain what damage or terrorism was done to the government buildings since they are insured and there were no victims that would fit the accusation of “terrorism”.

However, cops do know, to the surprise of the demonstrators, that violent protests are to take place on March 7th. It’s another form of intimidation, not particularly smart. Source

Happy government funerals

In Sarajevo, protestors organize burials for the government and political parties, and invite everybody to write “condolences” in the Book of Joy” at their funeral.

In Tuzla, the government was buried during a street carnival organized by students and teachers of a catholic school, where they paraded the city with masks and costumes of police, criminals, fairies, elves, trumpeters, doctors, undertakers. They also carried a coffin symbolizing the government of Tuzla, as students said time has come for a real change, and passers-by cheered them. Quite a happy funeral.

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People are invited to join governments’ funeral in Sarajevo and Tuzla and write condolences in “The Book Of Joy”.

Class war erupted in Bosnia and Herzegovina after police repressed a peaceful demonstration of the workers in Tuzla, demanding their jobs back after they were fired due to some “successful privatizations”. After they burnt down government buildings, people created their own open spaces – called plenums – where they forced the cantonal governments of Tuzla, Una-Sana, Sarajevo and Zenica-Doboj. They also fired the chief executives of the the Tuzla Canton (Sead Čaušević), of the Zenica-Doboj Canton (Munib Husejnagić), of the Sarajevo Canton (Suad Željković) and the President of the Assembly of the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton (Ramiz Jelovac). It’s a fight against social injustice, as well as one against ethnic divisions.

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Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 7th February, 2014, two days after the people’s rebellion against the ruling classes erupted.

Since February 5th, people from almost 20 cities and towns held rallies, protest walks, sit-ins, and/or citizens’ plenums (Banja Luka, Bihać, Brčko, Bugojno, Cazin, Donji Vakuf, Fojnica, Goražde, Konjic, Maglaj, Mostar, Orašje, Prijedor, Sarajevo, Tešanj, Travnik, Tuzla, Zavidovići, Zenica.) In 8 of the 10 cantons of the Federation and in Brčko district, people have formed representative plenums. So far, these forms of struggle succeeded to put a stop to the practice of “golden parachutes” (one year of salary paid to former assembly representatives and government officials), they had the local parliament in Sarajevo, the municipal council of Cazin endorse the demands of the people’s plenum in their respective cities. People’s plenum also forced the local parliamentarians to cut down their salaries by 20 percent.

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BiH, 19 years after the war. Pic is from Mostar.

The media are trying to turn the plenums into what they are not, and as the plenums are open, everyone can propose anything. It was the case when a regular participant Zvonimir Bosnjak proposed that the plenum nominates professor Besim Spahić for prime-minister, and local media immediately ran the story that the plenum already proposed someone to run the government, which was not true. Later, since everybody knew that professor would have not accepted, and he also refused, media blamed the plenum for making the proposal without even asking him first. Local media have tried to use the same tactic to discredit the plenum from Tuzla, but they were unsuccessful since people participating at these assemblies have understood the reasons media are against them.

This is an example of how the media propaganda constantly tries to undermine and attack the credibility of these public assemblies. However, people participating at these plenums say are never to propose anyone for prime-minister, since they are a tool for pressuring politicians into respecting people’s agenda and doing their jobs.

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“Stop nationalism”, graffiti on a Government building set on fire during the February 3rd social protests in BiH.

Zenica is one of the most vibrant places where an incipient form of direct democracy is practised. Every day at noon, people go out protesting. They keep doing it for 25 days already. At each protests, between 300 and 500 people participate. In the past days, students have joined them too. At their plenum in Zenica, after they fired their government, they organized 10 working groups to work on 3,000 demands people put forward at the plenum.

On March 7th, the delegates from more plenums in BiH will gather in Tuzla to discuss and articulate their demands at a federation level. As this assembly is quite an important step people in BiH have taken since the start of their rebellion, police are in panic. They already started to issue threats to intimidate them, such as announcing that on March 7th there will be violent protests. People have no idea what cops are talking about since the delegates at the federation-level plenum in Tuzla will not meet to protest.

At the end of February, 2,000 war veterans of the Republic of Srpska army protested in Banja Luka, in the Serb part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, demanding that the person who represents them in the government be fired and another one elected by the people’s plenum be appointed instead. It’s very significant for the situation of BiH that war veterans accept the idea of people’s plenums, particularly since the propaganda against the BiH rebellion is huge in Srpska, as media are inventing all sorts of fears. War veterans side with people’s demands regarding social conditions, government’s corruption and nepotism, and they also demand privatizations be reviewed. In Brcko, people demanded the government to cancel „the celebration of Brcko District day” for which authorities planned to waste 100.000 euros. Governments’ funerals are the celebration they want.

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“I don’t have a job because I do not have a connection to get it”

“I dont have a job because I do not have a connection to get it” – this is the story of 1 in 4 people in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where, as privatizations led to more people thrown in the streets with no means of making a living, the ruling class protects their own by securing them jobs in the state bureaucracy – supported by the ever impoverished working people. It’s one of the reasons in Sarajevo and Tuzla people cheer at symbolic funerals of their governments.

In Zavidovici, a town in the vecinity of Zenica, 90 percent of the inhabitants depended on a wood factory called Krivaja, which was destroyed by privatization. People have been dumped on the street, this video is showing some of them protesting in tents, in cold, for the past two weeks, totally ignored by their authorities. In Zadovic local people also organized their plenum, where 90 percent of the participants are unemployed.

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Demo in Zenica. On March 7th, the delegates from plenums from more cities will gather in Tuzla.

As Damir Arsenijevic, of the University of Tuzla writes here: The message of the protests in Bosnia and Herzegovina is clear: „the time of the ethno-nationalist elites, who stole the country’s resources, common goods and capital in the blood of war and genocide, is over. It is not accidental that the 85 wealthiest oligarchs in Bosnia and Herzegovina are collectively worth $9 billion (figures from WealthX): this ‘wealth’ was looted from Bosnian citizens, whether in the shape of passing corrupt laws to pour money into their own pockets, or the siphoning off of money from the International Community to subdue the population into compliance with ethnic criminality for fear of a return to conflict.

The citizens’ struggle is resolute—to keep the space for direct democratic participation open, to insist their voices are heard and that their actions count.”

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“I am crazy enough to change Bosnia”

“Local and international politicians, who in concert have maintained and allowed the parasitisation of the unwieldy and nepotistic ethnic bureaucratic structures, have exhausted the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina for almost 22 years. Out of rage and despair, the citizens, forced to rummage through dustbins to survive, forced to give bribes for basic services, have finally stood up to put an end to everyday terror of ethnic privatised slavery. The images of this slavery are thus: a worker, who has not been paid for almost 4 years, but is forced to go to work every day, with no health benefits, had to watch his wife die in agony because he could not afford healthcare; a student, forced to give huge bribes or sell her body to pass an exam, to graduate only to be unemployed and have no prospect for the future; a woman, whose son was severely beaten up by the police because he took to the street to demand the end to hunger, asked him to show his bruises to the plenum in Tuzla comprising over 700 people.”

“For over 22 years, citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina who survived the war were told that they are a ‘charity case’, that they live in a ‘black hole’, that they face a shapeless future and the best they can hope for is to ‘get by’, ‘put up with it’ and be grateful if their children are offered a chance to work in American military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, servicing these wars. For over 22 years, ethno-capitalist elites have raped and killed, mentally and physically abused women, men and children alike in the carnage that was heralded as ‘transition into democracy’. Since the end of the war in 1995, instead of mourning the horrific losses, citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina have been forced, by local and international actors alike, to accept that they can only speak and act if they embrace the status of victims, off the backs and bodies of whom the ethnic elites can steal their riches.”

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“The protests created, for the first time, a chance for Bosnia and Herzegovina to move from melancholia to mourning: that is, to face the losses and start counting the gains from the war. Ours is life that has survived war and genocide; has survived the feeling of deep mistrust whilst expecting some salvation. Ours is life that has been brutalized by the corrupt privatization of public companies, life that only dreams of fleeing this country, life that knows that its only certainty is that it can die in solitude and hunger. This is the life we have to recuperate – to create anew more humane and social ties that offer the youth of this country a fruitful, and not a featureless future. And it is this life that in agony and pain gives up on mistrust and works hard to produce and practice a different future now. How do I know this? I am part of this life and every day, I remind myself to get up and go to the streets to protest, to keep the body-politic, in public space, moving and practising that future—because this is our only chance of staying alive.” Source.

So, Are you crazy enough to change BiH?” Protestors have created a page where they invite people everywhere to answer this question – yes, they were called “crazy” and “terrorists”. Some “terrorists” indeed these rebels are. Here it is:Crazy Enough To Change Bosnia.

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