Heroes and Heroines of Bosnia and Herzegovina Development

Speeches Shim

The pages that follow are about attaining happiness. Not the tiny bits of happiness that always manage to stay out of reach of the honest and the modest, like in the stories by Isak Samokovlija, but about wishes coming true, about plans and dreams that manifest despite the authorities soaked in corruption doing their best to crush them. “The country doesn’t need to give us anything”, said one of the heroes of this book, “just refrain from taking so much.” Another one seems to be anxious to explain how he gave back more than he was required to, since he believed in paying it forward. Many of them cannot really wrap their heads around the fact that when they needed help, it arrived - free of hidden agendas, free of blackmailing, free of humiliation.

The things they needed, dreamed of having, seemed childishly naive to believe in while surrounded by the reality of betting shops, pawn shops, manipulated tender procedures, and direct deals. A prime minister has his eyes on a 200 square meter apartment, and gets it for the price of a garage, “all by the book”, while a returnee wishes to build homes for bees, which human kind depends on. There are those who make things happen, and those who just want a cut. The tycoon dynasties are playing Monopoly with land and towers, while a single mother is lighting up the darkness of feudalism with her welding torch. The light that comes out of these stories is golden like honey, and green like the Trebižat, white like goat cheese, orange like the herbs, and red like firefighting vehicles from one of only three factories in all Europe.

In this book, Bosnia and Herzegovina shows the faces of its honest, hardworking people, with eyes that sparkle due to the joy they have found in their meaningful work. These are the people that value justice, truth, accountability, knowledge, reconciliation, empathy, and freedom. However, their smiles do not match the esthetics usually seen on election campaign posters, and that adds a layer of sadness to this book. That is the tiny bit of happiness that always seems to be out of reach in this country exhausted by corruption.

-Nenad Veličković

Issuing Country 
Wednesday, June 29, 2022 - 10:00am

Last updated: June 29, 2022