Two decades on from the siege of Sarajevo, Bosnia has fallen off the international radar - and its people feel they have been forgotten. Not just by the wider world, but their own government. The administration is split along ethnic lines - and could not agree on anything but its own above-average pay packets. Even getting an identity card for your baby or getting married became a huge problem. Four in ten are unemployed - in large part due to a series of botched privatizations. That is what sparked the initial protests in Tuzla - but empathy with their cause brought demonstrators out in towns across Bosnia.
Now, the main locus of the protest movement is switched to the DIRECT DEMOCRATIC PLENUMS - general assemblies, emerging all around Bosnia and Herzegovina. Those are places where people can gather and try to formulate their demands. The participants are defining their rules, moderating the plenums by themselves, and, after summing up, sending their demands to cantonal assembles.
The first plenum appeared in Tuzla, the center and starting point of the protests, where the protesters were most articulated and most organized from the start. After that, plenums started to appear in other cities as well, taking Tuzla as their example. The first ultimatum request from the Plenum - the abolition of wage payment after the termination of the mandate of the government and Assembly of Tuzla Canton, the so-called “golden parachute”, was adopted by a unanimous decision of the Tuzla Canton Assembly, proving that politicians have to be pushed to realize the true power of direct democracy.
Problems are still there. But plenums are still there too. What’s going on in Bosnia is not only important for the citizens of that country and its region, but also for the world — as an inspiration and a good lesson on how we can and should struggle for a better world.
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