‘Enough lies!’: Bosnian village tells politicians to keep away

As politicians embark on their final days of campaigning for Bosnian elections on Sunday, there is one small corner of the country where they cannot pass: Podgora, a poor hamlet fed up with the government’s broken promises. “You’ve been lying to us for years. No party is welcome in Podgora,” reads a white banner strung across the main square of the 700-person village, which lies some 30 km from the capital Sarajevo. Sunday’s general elections will fill Bosnia’s highest political offices, from a three-person presidency down to district assemblies. But few are expecting significant change in a nation that has been paralysed for decades, in part because of unresolved conflicts dating back to the ethnic conflicts that engulfed Bosnia in the 1990s. The war killed 1,00,000 people and split the country into two largely autonomous regions linked by a weak central government. Like huge swathes of the population, the people of Podgora are disillusioned by a political class known chiefly for corruption and dysfunction. “Enough lies!” Adi Silajdzic, 47, said when asked why he supported the village’s politician blockade. “We’re fed up that every time they come they tell us stories and make promises to ensure votes.” No follow-up “And every time, on the day after the elections, it is as if nothing had happened, as if they did not even come to see us,” said the unemployed father. A few political campaigners did not heed the warning and put up posters inside Podgora, which is home to Bosnian Muslims. But locals quickly ripped them down. To underscore their point, someone scrawled another message on the back of the banner with a spray can: “Did you read it? People have had enough.” Families pitched in to pay for the $58 banner — a hefty sum in a community where most are unemployed, living off small vegetable farms and livestock. Sitting around a wooden table in the shade of a plum tree, a group of local men said Podgora has been neglected by authorities ever since the war, which left lasting damage on Bosnia’s economy and infrastructure. “We are the ones who replace bulbs for the street lights,” said Mr. Silajdzic. Osman Hasic, a 56-year-old pensioner, joked: “They have promised so many times to pave the streets that the cement should be at least one metre thick by now.”

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-life/enough-lies-bosnian-village-tells-politicians-to-keep-away/article25117009.ece

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