Thursday, May 15, 2014


Perhaps the Balkans have held such enduring fascination to me precisely because of the excerpted sentence from the article below: "Bosnia's bloody history."

Certainly the centuries-long Ottoman occupation had something to do with it. Immersed as I've been lately in books about the origins of World War I, it is difficult not to return again and again to pre-war Serbia, the Black Hand, the Russian Empire's indirect complicity ... and it always comes back to these dark, brooding mountains and a Hatfield-McCoy dichotomy which may or may not be relevant.

Then there's Brčko. Success or failure?

Are there such things as EDIT funds in Bosnia?

Welcome to Brčko, Europe’s only free city and a law unto itself, by Peter Geoghegan (Guardian)

Unshackled from Bosnia's bloody history, seemingly thriving as a beacon of multi-ethnicity, is Brčko a model for urban success?

Education has not been the only success for Brčko. In its early days the international community, keen to make the free city work, pumped in cash. Brčko was rebuilt. Between 2001 and 2004, more than 200km of roads were built and 8,000 jobs created. Thousands returned to city. Better pay and conditions paved the way for radical reforms in education and policing.

Yes, but ...

Corruption, too, is a particular problem of the free city. Because so many "national" powers are concentrated in a small cadre of people, graft is even worse than in the rest of Bosnia, where it is endemic. "This is a very small community, everyone knows everyone," says police chief Goran Lujić. "That can be a problem."

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