Author: Nusret Isanović[1]


Let me address You in a language that I have learned from Your great mind, which I deeply admire and from which I constantly learn a lot: openly, sincerely and critically, applying the principle lying at the core of its intellect - Amicus Plato, sed magis amica veritas.

I hope for Your understanding.

The most frequently posed question in Bosnia and Herzegovina these days is: will there be a war? It is a painful, shocking and tragic question for all of us, since it concerns the very foundations of our survival. However, what appears to be more important at this very moment is the question: will Bosnia and Herzegovina survive? Because the threat to its survival, since the Dayton Agreement, does not come primarily from war by military means (although this threat could never be completely excluded), but from cunning, opaque diplomacy and unscrupulous realpolitik and, especially, from stubbornly persistent nationalist and clerical exclusivist ideologies, especially those produced and nurtured in our neighbouring countries, which no longer choose the means to finally achieve their former imperialist goals of the partition and annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In this kind of war, Bosnia and Herzegovina - fragile, abandoned and betrayed - is completely powerless and has no chance of defending itself, which further encourages its enemies and motivates them inevitably to take advantage of this unique opportunity.

A captive of the Dayton Agreement, Bosnia and Herzegovina is suffocating, disintegrating and dying. It must either be changed or thoroughly revised in terms of content and structure, applying European constitutional and legal models and standards of civilization. Otherwise, the gravesite of Bosnia and Herzegovina will be called the "Dayton Peace Agreement", which will become a monument to prejudice, injustice and barbarism, the historical nonsense of realpolitik and the defeat of the humane principles of Western civilization.

The Dayton Agreement is quite a distinctive and critical structure. Yes, it helped stop the war, but the war was not over and remained a constant threat. In Dayton, the aggressor was rewarded and the victim punished; the message was sent that war and the seizure of territory, crimes and genocide against fragile countries and unprotected peoples did pay off.

Contrary to all norms of international law, democratic standards and principles of justice and fairness, a subversive model of dysfunctional and unsustainable Bosnia and Herzegovina was created, but it was also confirmed that the architects of its dissolution and division were not only in Serbia and Croatia. It has been formally denied in what it for centuries - as no other country in Europe for so long – has been affirming that it is, plural and multilateral, a common country of all its citizens and peoples.

Thanks to Your inaction and support, Serbia has achieved one of its main centuries-old war goals: it has finally crossed the Drina and conquered half of the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina by force, genocide and grave crimes. This was recognized and formally verified in Dayton by the recognition of RS - the greatest Serbian victory in the last hundred years (Dobrica Ćosić). On the other hand, Croatia has opened the way for the gradual realization of its war goal, for the division of Bosnia and Herzegovina in accordance with Karađorđevo agreement between Tuđman and Milošević. What did Bosnia and Herzegovina gain? It lost its republic status and became an official, by war and aggression against it, ethno-nationally fragmented territory; it received a Constitution with many internal contradictions and ambiguities, with immanent inhibitions for its true recovery, the functioning of its institutions and reintegration of its society; it inherited the intact, today completely strengthened and brazenly unbridled, national imperial ideologies whose protagonists and their epigones continued the war against Bosnia and Herzegovina, its citizens and peoples by all other means than military. Today, they are legitimate representatives of "their" peoples in its institutions, which they, without let or hindrance, use in order to dissolve our country from within and "legally" achieve its division. Could any European country reintegrate, function and base its progress on such a legacy?

Because of the Dayton Agreement, Bosnia and Herzegovina and its citizens continue facing unprecedented violence, from both outside and inside. There is no true will to respect them for what they are, within the system of their own references. Thus, in contrast to the autochthonous, natural and only possible Bosnia and Herzegovina, essentially based on the principle of plurality, the idea of civilization and the richness of diversity, there is its denying unnatural and completely impossible, ethno-national Bosnia and Herzegovina that is disenfranchising and inhumane, anti-civilizational and barbaric, with the institutional violence of the „constituent peoples” exerted over its citizens.

Europe! Why did you allow such an obvious injustice to one of Your countries and its citizens?

Europe, we are afraid, terribly afraid, because deep wounds and painful memories are still alive within us, the memories of the extermination of our unprotected people, of terrible destruction, crimes and rapes, of the committed genocide, which again, this time quite openly and encouraged by Your attitude and behaviour towards them, the perpetrators are threatening us with.

We are equally afraid that You, Europe, will abandon us again and leave us to criminals and a new genocide; that You will betray Your promise to protect us with NATO forces or that You will re-impose an embargo, this time on the existence of one people and their right to have a common and civilized country, a civil and plural Bosnia and Herzegovina. We are especially afraid that, in the face of constant and strong pressures, You will continue to allow the peaceful and quiet collapse and disintegration of our homeland and its (entity-based) division, which is certainly an irreversible path to its final disappearance.

Our country is in an agonal (pre-death) state, which, by Your will and the will of the international community, has been maintained for too long, ever since the end of the 1990s, and today it is being threatened with almost certain death. However, an agonal condition is not necessarily an incurable and fatal condition, of course, if there are competent, benevolent and resolute physicians, adequate and effective medicaments and, in particular, medical ethics and the will to treat the patient.

Therefore, the state of agony could be overcome, but before that, we must get out of the depleted "Dayton paradigm" which generates more problems than it solves, and create a new, healthy paradigm, rooted in ethics and civilization, which would allow fair recognition of the problem, its analysis, unadulterated understanding and solution. The author of such a paradigm could only be You Europe, together with the citizens and peoples of Bosnia and Herzegovina, those who are ethical, prudent and open-minded, who are nonideological and truly Europe-oriented, and there are many of them here and around the world. At the moment, Bosnia and Herzegovina has thousands of its citizens with high and relevant education, respectable, influential and very successful around the world, and most of all in Your Union. Many of them graduated from the most prestigious universities and are socially well established. They live European values, love their country and pray to be involved in helping it.

The most important step in that direction, which at the same time is a test of sincerity and good intentions, would be to let Bosnia and Herzegovina join NATO and the EU, without applying primarily economic and exclusive religious criteria but ethical ones, which, mutatis mutandis, has already happened when countries such as Greece, Romania, Bulgaria and Cyprus joined the EU. Thus, all the main threats to our country's survival would be eliminated or reduced to a harmless measure. It remains a mystery and, of course, an open question: why, Europe, have You not done it so far and will You do it now, without hesitation (because time is short), in order to save Bosnia and Herzegovina from further disintegration, institutional (self)destruction, separatist territorial division and its final disappearance? If You really want it, there are many ways, and if You do not want it, as You have not wanted it so far, You will continue looking for excuses (and there are always plenty of them to be found) and imposing conditions, including those You know for sure we will not, in the existing constellation of relations, be able to fulfill. Or, perhaps, You will still wait for Bosnia and Herzegovina to "fall apart", disintegrate and be divided between Serbia and Croatia, for it and one of its people - which is probably the reason for Your actions - to disappear. Unfortunately, this would confirm the opinions of some of Your greatest contemporary thinkers and authoritative connoisseurs of what You are within, such as Jean Baudrillard and Hans Küng. Namely, J. Baudrillard claims that Your attitude towards us is nothing but a logical consequence of the New European Order, whose global characteristics are white fundamentalism, protectionism, discrimination and control, and that a completely logical program is being implemented in Bosnia. According to this program, Bosniaks (Muslims) are destined to be destroyed, driven out or excluded, which is covered up by hypocritical negotiations, cynical demands and empty promises. Therefore, he believes that Your goals and the goals of the enemies and destroyers of Bosnia and Herzegovina are the same, they are the good executors of common affairs: the cleansing of the future Europe; in this sense, they are Your avant-garde and striking fist. That is the reason why the victim was punished in Dayton, while the aggressor was rewarded. All that remains is to convince Bosniaks that they have only themselves to blame for their own misfortune. On the other hand, H. Küng, probably the greatest Catholic thinker of today, fears that a technocratic and re-Christianized Europe will triumph over a humane and ethically grounded Europe. The first one is basically heartless, unethical and realpolitik-driven, "as powerful in words as weak in deeds" (Baudrillard), and the second one - determined by the spirit of medieval Latinism and obsessed with Western Christian exclusivism - unwilling to respect the Constitutive Other (e.g. Jews, Muslims and "infidels"), and therefore considers them irrelevant and without a real human right to a safe place under the European sun. In such Europe, Croatia was assigned the role of a fortress or pre-wall of (Western) Christianity (Antemurale Christianitatis), which is actually a will of Pope Alexander VI and Leo X from the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. If this is indeed the case, what age do we mentally live in and what civilization have we strayed into?

Your great victory over Yourself would be to overcome Your prejudices and misconceptions about one of Your peoples (Bosniaks) who, in Your simplified, often stubborn and arrogant perception, are rather seen as exclusively (religious) Muslims or "Orientals", "Turkized", "potential terrorists” than Europeans, Slavs or Good Bosnians, Europeanized, secularized and predominantly enlightened people, spiritually and civilizationally pluriperspective, tolerant and with a distinctive multicultural sensibility. Bosniaks are by no means Turks or "Asians", they are not the Orient and the Orient is not their path or their existential aspirations' telos; they are Yours, an old European people with millennial deep roots in Your soil, which carries within itself the common primordiality of European peoples. They are today essentially addressed by Your spirit and its educational ethos, its philosophy, literature, art and science; their modern culture is European culture. They certainly belong to You and their views are directed towards You. Therefore, You should no longer be ignoring them and continue rejecting them and treating them as if they were somehing alien and hostile, as if they were a foreign body in Your being.

Did not the Bosniaks during the aggression against our country, together with the other citizens of Sarajevo, do a magnificent civilizational feat, unique in the European history of warfare, which You should be proud of? Namely, during the four-year military siege of Sarajevo - when Serbian forces turned this city into one of the largest concentration camps in modern Europe, by barbarically setting fire to its cultural and educational institutions and terrorizing and killing its unprotected population on a daily basis - not a single Serbian Orthodox church was destroyed. Of course, not a single place of worship of other religions that have found their home in Bosnia for centuries has been demolished. Not a single Catholic church nor Jewish synagogue was destroyed, because in besieged Sarajevo there were civilized people whose attitude towards the Other was based on the principle of humanity, real respect and holiness of the neighbor, and not on hatred, barbaric passion for destruction, denial of everything that was not theirs and on resentment. This rare civilization phenomenon, which is quintessentially ethically based, has been a part of our common Bosnian plurality, our matrix ethos, (multi)culture and unique multi-religious landscape for centuries. Nowhere else in Europe as in our, hopefully also Your European Sarajevo has there for centuries been, in an area of only a few hundred meters, a Muslim mosque, a Jewish synagogue, an Orthodox and a Catholic church. It was similar in many other cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina before the aggression and ethnic cleansing. We keep it as the most precious value of our common being, as our strength, as a sign of human existence in the world, thus resisting, even in the most difficult circumstances, the forces of destruction, hatred and evil.

We do not start nor wage wars, nor do we commit (planned and systematic) crimes. We fight only when we have to, when our lives and our living space are endangered. So the wars we ever participated in were only defensive and we were forced into them. Undoubtedly, You know that this was the case with the last war, in which we seem to have committed an unallowable "sin": we defended ourselves and survived.

Therefore, our tradition of living together and our historical and cultural ethos is foreign to the concept of ethno-territorial division of Bosnia and Herzegovina and, in particular, the idea of a "Muslim state", which is often, completely unjustly and maliciously planted on us. Let me say something.

During the last few years there has been a focused, persistent and perfidious – happening before Your eyes, which, unfortunately, You often choose to keep closed - preparation for the institutional formalization of the three-part ethno-territorial division of Bosnia and Herzegovina in which one of its entities, implicit states, would be a "Muslim Bosniak entity." Would that - even if completely absurd - really happen, it would be just one of the last steps towards the definitive division of Bosnia and Herzegovina between Serbia and Croatia, and that means towards its disappearance and destruction of one of its peoples.

The "Muslim state" (as well as the Croatian or Serbian) on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina would be an unnatural and dangerous outgrowth on its historical and cultural being, a completely meaningless geopolitical anachronism, contrary to all that it has ever been and could only be: a country of national, religious and cultural pluralism, the homeland of all its citizens and its (Bosnian-Herzegovinian) peoples: Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks. How could a Muslim state be possible in Bosnia and Herzegovina at all, and how could a Muslim Bosnia and Herzegovina be possible in Europe?

From the point of view of elementary common sense, a Muslim state in Bosnia and Herzegovina is a meaningless, instrumental sophistry, logical obstruction and offensive aporia, which could only have stemmed from the corpus of disturbed geopolitics of emotions and cunning of realpolitical mind, on the one hand, and from stupid naivety, ignorance and barbaric irresponsibility towards one's own country, its citizens and peoples, on the other hand. Bosnia and Herzegovina can only be a civilized European country of deliberative and inclusive democracy and rule of (just) law, open society, with equal rights and civil liberties for all who live in it, or it will disappear in cleric-nationalist barbarism - tertium non datur - which, You Europe, at this moment - what an absurdity - encourage and support.

We are a small, powerless and unprotected people, the most fragile and unprotected one in Europe, and You are great, strong and powerful. Like other fragile nations, we are not in position to choose and shape our own destiny alone. We need Your help, but the one that is sincere, determined and concrete. Your help is our human right, and Your ethical and civilizational obligation. Why are you denying us Your help all this time? You, that are our (wider) homeland and the homeland of our homeland Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Finally, let me ask you again:

  • To reject the amendments to the Election Law according to the HDZ model, which irreversibly leads to the final division of Bosnia and Herzegovina between Serbia and Croatia, and its disappearance,
  • To apply, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, clearly and decisively, your undepleted democratic models and values of civilization and to strongly oppose Nazi/nationalist barbarism - in it, its neighborhood and in Yourself, and
  • To do everything You can (and you can do a lot) so that our and Your Bosnia and Herzegovina without delay joins NATO and the EU. Because time is short!

In the hope that You will not betray Yourself and, our and Your Bosnia and Herzegovina,

Your Bosnian-Herzegovinian European.


[1]  Full professor of philosophy at the Faculty of Islamic Studies, University of Sarajevo


foto home: radiosarajevo.ba

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