Sunday, September 16, 2007

Bosnian Police Reform a Stumbling Block

See this article from the Washington Post: Fractured Bosnia Struggles to Form Police Force for All

Not a surprise to anyone who follows the situation in Bosnia carefully, but a depressing reminder of the many pitfalls facing any possible improvement in Bosnia's situation.

It was interesting to read this in conjunction with my reading of "Balkan Idols," since one common theme of Balkan nationalism and religious identity has been the sense of the nation as victim, defined in large part as a persecuted victim of an aggressive or evil neighbor. Specifically concerning Serb national identity, this strong theme of victimization makes it difficult if not impossible for ethnic Serbs in Bosnia to drop their guard. The political leadership would be willing to sacrifice the many possible benefits of EU membership and integration into the European economy in order to hold on to an ethnically 'pure' police force; this decision is only rational if one understands how deeply paranoia and distrust of the 'other' runs in Serb nationalism. Their political, cultural, and religious leaders are failing them; ethnic Serbs in Bosnia need to forge a new identity built on something more positive and open than the self-aggrandizing cult of martyrdom upon which so much of Serbian identity is vested in.


Anonymous said...

Bosnia-Herzegovina must have unified police so we can enter EU, NATO, etc. All we ask is that all police force in the country wear uniforms of Bosnia-Herzegovina so all people can feel secure and protected.

We need multinational police (comprised of all people living in Bosnia-Herzegovina, including minorities).

The least we need is "ethnic police". We don't live in middle ages, and we don't need tribal formes of policing. This is 21 century, and police should be there for everybody, regardless of ethnicity or regions...

Kirk Johnson said...