Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bosnia’s Airline Aims to Tap Pilgrim Market of Medjugorje


Bosnia’s Airline Aims to Tap Pilgrim Market

Bosnia's national carrier plans to start charter flights to Italy, in order to profit from the flow of Italian pilgrims heading for the shrine of Medjugorje.
Eldin Hadzovic
Sarajevo
Bosnia's national carrier BH Airlines says it intends to start charter flights from the southwestern town of Mostar to Pescara in Italy.
The airline hopes to cash in on the flow of pilgrims heading for the shrine of Medjugorje, which is only a short taxi ride from Mostar.
A BH Airlines official told Balkan Insight that the public would be notified as soon as all the papers were signed by both sides.

“I can only confirm that the line from Mostar to Pescara will be open soon,” the official told Balkan Insight.

According to the same source, flights will begin in early September and will run until the end of October.
The service will operate once a week, as it faces competition from Croatia Airlines, which also plans to start flights to Pescara from the resort of Dubrovnik.

Both airlines clearly want to tap the flow of Catholic pilgrims from Italy to Medjugorje, which has become one of the most visited shrines in the world since a group of six local children had a vision of the Virgin Mary there in 1981.

As a result, a once obscure village has grown into a boom town whose streets are lined by multi-storey hotels.
The shrine is now major economic asset to the arid region of Western Herzegovina, the heartland of the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina and an area once known for its poverty.
While pilgrims come to Medjugorje from all over the world - mass there is said in a range of languages - the shrine is especially popular with visitors from Italy and Ireland.
Mostar Airport has been reporting strong passenger figures this year, becoming Bosnia and Herzegovina’s second busiest airport, behind Sarajevo.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Alan Todd volunteer or recruit? Either way a Bosnia hero who should be recognized for his support of the Bosnian State




(Top photo El-Mujihad Bosnian army brigade)
(CFIVA banner)
(A helicopter similar to the one used by Alan Todd at the beginning of the war)

When you think of foreign volunteers in the Bosnian war you're mind probably drifts to pictures of Mujaheddin with a death wish coming from the middle east and the the battlefields of Afghanistan. That's because of strong propaganda coming from Radovan Karadzic and his followers to justify their crimes. Absurd claims by Karadzic that Alija Izetbegovic (war time Bosnian President) wanted to resettle 4 million Mujaheddin in Bosnia during the war was completely absurd. Same with the claims that 100,000 Islamists came to Bosnia to fight for their Muslim brethren. The reality was quite different as the Bosnian government wanted none of these "volunteers" and repeated many times that there was no need for them and all they wanted was arms to defend themselves (there was an illegal arms embargo placed against Bosnia during the war). In reality in order to receive weapons from the Middle East (a must if they were to defend themselves) then they had to accept a few hundred maybe a thousand "humanitarian workers" who often ended up joining Mujihad units. They were unreliable, unstable and did more harm than good for the Bosnians generally.
There was another side to this foreign volunteers that haven't been properly explained or given their due in Bosnia. People like my friend Alan Todd and others who came to Bosnia looking for adventure, excitement, defending multiculturalism or some just looking for the opportunity to kill legally (the latter tended to either be killed rather quickly or fleeing like cowards). Many European volunteers went to defend Croatia in 1991 in HV and HOS units against the Serbian JNA, RSK and VRS. When a shaky truce settled in Croatia, many moved onto Bosnia and they ended up in similar units. When the HVO and ARBiH split in 1993 many former colleagues ended up on opposite sides of the front lines, a strange confluence of events that brought former friends into direct armed conflict.
Alan was none of the former, he was someone by circumstance found himself in the middle of the Siege of Sarajevo at the beginning of the war. He was neither a volunteer or a recruit, he was more of an example of someone, like so many in Bosnia swept up into the tide of war that was consuming Bosnia with the appetite of a Tsunami and leaving similar carnage and destruction in it's wake.
Alan's story at the beginning reminds me of the Mel Gibson character in Air America, a man a bit off kilter, ending up in a bizarre surreal situation (ironic because of the Bosnians love of surrealism). It then tilts into a much darker, hopeless realm of the battle on the front lines in Dobrinja 1992. For those lacking in understanding of the Siege of Sarajevo, Dobrinija was hell on earth in 1992. It was cut off from the rest of the Siege lines in Sarajevo (a siege within a siege) was situated right on the front lines and was attacked by the fourth largest army in Europe (the Serbian JNA/VRS). Dobrinja was partially occupied by the Serbian VRS and was just across the road from the heavily contested Aerodrom (airport) Sarajevo. If you have ever seen the pictures of what these buildings ended up looking like during the war, you would never forget it. The Siege of Sarajevo and the fighting in Dobrinja, it was hell on earth and a hopeless situation. How one could survive a situation that looked liked the 10th circle of hell from Dante's inferno is beyond me.
The end result and the sad story is Alan left Bosnia with little acknowledgement for his contribution to the Bosnian war effort, like all Western volunteers who fought for Bosnia. Unlike their brethren who fought for Croatia whose war efforts were recognized and rewarded. Those who defended Bosnia have never been given the proper dues they deserve. In fact CFIVA (Croatian Forces International Volunteers Association) recognizes those who defended Bosnia by fighting in the HVO and ARBiH the same as those who defended their motherland of Croatia. While Bosnia has done nothing to recognize or reward her defenders. It is a shame that such a situation has become the norm in Bosnia. More than anything the murky situation of Mujidhadeens has led to this overlooking of her defenders (and the total disorganization present in the ARBiH in 1992-93). It is a long overdue process that their should be some level of acknowledgment by the Bosnian government after 20 years for these volunteers who defended Bosnia with their blood, sweat and lives. It is a shame that those who risked everything to defend Bosnia at her birth have no acknowledgment of their contributions. That because of the situation with the Mujihadeens who were rewarded with citizenship and given homes and support by certain Bosnian officials, that these brave Westerners who fought to defend humanity, have been given nothing in return, no official acknowledgment, no plaques, no monuments no official or unofficial recognition at all.
Alan's contribution to Bosnia at it's birth, in the middle of the faultiness as she was starting to crack under the pressure of nationalism, deserves a better fate than this. A man who has participated in the last defense of humanity in the 20th century, on the verge of the 20 year anniversary, finally deserves at the very least a thank you. From me and all who love Bosnia for what it stands for, humanity, civility, multiculturalism, tolerance. I want to say to you and all who defended Bosnia while the international community poured gasoline on it and Milosevic, Karadzic and Mladic lit the match, thank you. Thank you for not being a capo at the concentration camp, choosing who lives and who dies, or turning your back on Bosnia the ideal and what that means for humanity. Most Bosnians fought because they had to, out of fear of total annihilation, like what we saw in Srebrenica and all over Bosnia. Others fought for an idea, that multiculturalism, civility, a shared common humanity must be defended at all costs.
In the current climate of mistrust, hate and fear that gives birth to a madman in Norway who praises Putin and Karadzic and curses Bosnia and all it stands for. Your stance in the defense of humanity is just as important today, as it was 20 years ago. Once again, thank you from me and all who love and defend the ideal of Bosnia then and today.

The interview with Alan Todd follows....


Q) When and under what circumstances did you arrive in Bosnia?

I arrived as a civilian contractor in March 1992. I was there to help bring in a few helicopters from the former East Germany. We ferried things around, landing at different locations and unloading boxes. It sounds much more exciting and covert than it actually was! All I did was load and unload boxes and people now and then. They could have been anyone. I've no idea really. I've no idea where the helicopters are now either!

Q) How did you end up fighting for the Bosnian government during the war?

When the work ended (it didn't last long), me and a couple of other guys were stuck there. We were given the chance to leave before it got really hot and one guy took it. I decided to stay because in a fit of madness it seemed like a good idea. I don't know why really. It was I suppose a case of wanting to do the right thing, mixed with a bit of adventure.

Q) Did you meet or fight with any other internationals? If so who were they?

There was a Belgian guy called Wit who was contracted with me. He had flown for the Belgian air force in the late 1980's. Wit was killed in 92, other than him I didn't meet anyone at all. I knew there must have been others, but I didn't see them.

Q) In what theatre of operations did you end up serving in?

Being the adventurous sort I ended up in the theatre closest to the airport. My war extended from the airport, right across the road to Dobrinja! So my theatre was I guess Dobrinja, Mojmilo etc?

Q) what was the specific unit you fought in?

I was with 3 Batt Dobrinja Brigade. Part of 12 Division. Our boss was a guy called Hadzic and my section lead was a a guy called Cela. He didn't survive the war.

Q) How did the Bosnian government compensate you during and after the war?

I didn't get anything from them. I am not even sure I was on the army list. I didn't have any wages as such. I did get some money now and then, but not much. And I got nothing afterwards. I'm okay with it. The country has bigger problems than organising my army pension!

Q) When and under what circumstances did you leave Bosnia?

I left in the autumn of 1993. Things were a little easier then and the ethnic make up of 1 korpus was changing a bit. We heard the Serbs had a lot of mercenaries in their units from Romania, Bulgaria, Greece etc and the govt BiH was making a big thing of it. So there was apparently a clear out on our side of foreign volunteers. We knew a guy on the UN side who got me on a plane out.

I've no evidence btw that the Serbs did have foreign fighters or that BiH got rid of their 1 korpus foreigners. You have to understand that nobody got the full picture. I don't think we ever will.

Q) Has the Bosnian government ever recognized your contribution to the defense of the country?

No. I am happy about it and I don't think they will now. It doesn't matter really.

Q) What kind of weapon did you carry during the war?

I had an M70 (similar to a Soviet AK-47). I was lucky that I got hold of one when I was involved in the air side of things. We were really short of weapons though and I know a few guys who rotated their weapons around the unit. I never had enough ammunition or magazines though. I was always looking for spare magazines.

Q) What is your most memorable experience of the war?

I guess it was actually leaving. I was very tired and emotional by then. I was just relieved that I was going home okay.

Q) What was the scariest moment of the war for you?

Everyday was scary! I got separated once from the rest of my unit. We were very close to the enemy at that time and I thought I was done for. I spent a few hours alone thinking I wouldn't get out of it. I cannot imagine how the civilians held things together. It was a very traumatic time for everyone.

Q) were you ever wounded in combat?

No. Not a scratch. Not good. Just very very lucky.

Q) Did you ever lose someone close to you during the war?

I lost quite a few friends. But then everybody did really. Wit was a nice guy in the time I met him. At first it was very upsetting. But then you just get through it. I still think of them.

Q) Your impression of the ARBiH/HVO/VRS  during the war?

I didn't see too much of the HVO really.They were on our left hand side I think more towards the centre really. They seemed okay. The HVO in Sarajevo stayed loyal to us. The enemy (Romania Brigade) were very organised by the look of things. They had lots of heavy weapons that they put in good positions. But they were awful people. There was no need to attack civilians really, but they just kept at it. If we were representative of ABiH we were a mess. The guys were good and very motivated. But we had no support, no decent kit no heavy weapons, no command and control. At first it was a bit chaotic.

Did you ever meet anyone famous? No... no famous people or news agencies near me. We were left well alone!

Q) Did you ever go through the Butmir/Dobrinja tunnel or travel over the airport tarmac?
I went over the tarmac a few times. But only a few. It was really dangerous. I didn't see it myself but I heard people were targeted by the UN as well as the Serbs.

Q) if you could describe the Bosnian war in three words what would they be?
Bosnian war in 3 words? Absolute fucking mess? no you can't use that... What about absolute senseless tragedy?
Q) If you had it all to do over again would you go back to Bosnia and would you change anything about your wartime experience?

Would I go back? I would like to think I would say yes, but I don't know. If it would be exactly the same then I don't know. I don't think I made any difference at all to what happened. Everything was such a mess. I look back and think it was all so sad.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bosnia will be competing in U16 Basketball tournament Division B this week!



Bosnia's U16 men's basketball team will be competing this week in the Division B championship held in Macedonia this week. It doesn't look very promising since some of the biggest Bosnian talents Sandro Gacic, Nedim Dedovic (Nihad's little brother) and about 5 other top level talents that others have been recruiting will not participate.
Bosnia consistently doesn't place it's top talent in this tournament, preferring to "showcase" players who will not be professionals as a favor to their friends and colleagues. Bosnian officials lack of transparency in the selection process and the nepotism generally is alarming for those who love Bosnia and their basketball talent. As usual they seem to be going into this tournament without a plan or a professional development profile of selection, coaching and player development.

If you look back on previous youth selection teams for Bosnia, it is embarrassing the players they call to represent them internationally. It is usually amateur hour were players with little talent fill out the last 7-9 spots on the team. Even playing time seems to be divided up on a loyalty reward basis, rather than who is best qualified or who would benefit from the exposure and playing time in international setting. It seems Bosnian officials are resigned to that this will be another wasted year for young talent in Bosnia and it appears to not bother them at all. It is a travesty against those who want to see Bosnia in best possible shape, with the best players representing them and giving maximal effort every game.

Their group D is definitely winnable once again against the likes of Denmark, Belguim, Estonia and Israel but we shall see if this is just another embarrassing moment for Bosnia and her officials who don't realize their organization of basketball is a joke. The lack of participation of true basketball professionals like Teoman Alibegovic, Gordan Firic, Nenad Markovic, Samir Seleskovic and so many others tells you what you need to know about the representation of Bosnia.

I will recap the tournament and players after it is over...

If you are tired of how Bosnian officials run the National teams please email them and let them know your feelings...

Email: basketbh@bih.net.ba

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

McDonald's New working place for the only street shoe-cleaner in Sarajevo, Bosnia

New working place for the only street shoe-cleaner in Sarajevo

Uncle Miso is very famous in Bosnia, so famous that some Bosnian government officials bought him a flat (an apartment) a few years back to reward him for his dedication to his craft and for being a symbol of Sarajevo.
Uncle Miso, famous living legend from Sarajevo who is the only street shoe-cleaner in Sarajevo, remained at his working place after opening of the first McDonald's restaurant in Sarajevo.

Miso is one of the most famous symbols of Sarajevo. He has been cleaning shoes at the location in front of current McDonald's and former Express restaurant for 60 years.

Miso was born on December 22nd 1931. Sarajevo was being built and destroyed in front of him. He has never left his working place, not even during the war-time period.

Miso's „working place“, located in the street in front of McDonald's, is now the tidiest since the time when he set up his shoe-cleaning bench several decades ago.

The legendary shoe cleaner was afraid that he would be banished from his working place in front of the luxury restaurant. Therefore, Miso requested owner of McDonald's franchise in Sarajevo, Haris Ihtijarevic, to sign the guarantee that Miso's working place will not be destroyed and that he will not be proclaimed for surplus „labor force“.

Miso does not complain due to shining new restaurant and all-time crowd and queues. He is only thinking how it would be if people would be waiting in such queues in front of his „shop“.

„People are giving me everything; sandwiches, hamburgers, fried potatoes, it is called pommes frites, isn't it. They are giving me everything to eat. I am very happy“, Miso said.

He said that former and current politicians also greet him when they are passing by in Titova Street.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

FIBA U20 basketball Competition in Sarajevo Recap and review of BiH team (and Bosnians)




The U20 B championships are over in Sarajevo with Estonia and Georgia moving up to class A. It was another disappointing showing for Bosnia as they ended up in 6th place getting beat by a much less talented group from Portugal. The injury to Nikola Gajic was the end of any hopes of promotion for Bosnia. Which made their decisions after that point even more confounding.
Bosnia a country brimming with basketball talent, has failed to materialize results commiserate with the talent that they produce. This was another blow to what should be a proud basketball state that consistently is in the top 8-10 teams in Europe. Too much talent bleeds off to other countries as Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Austria, Turkey, Spain and so many other nations benefit from the talent Bosnia produces. This tournament was more proof as Alen Omic was the most dominating center in the U20 A level competition for Slovenia. An agile 7'0 19 year, he put up some big numbers for the Slovenes and would have been a difference maker for Bosnia. You can't lose your best players and still compete at a high level if you are a country under 4 million. Bosnia produces more talent than many much lager nations, but has little to show for it results wise.
What has ended up all too often is Bosnia doesn't have the depth to compete in a tournament were you are playing practically everyday. Also the teams they produce tend to run 4-6 deep talent wise. Once you add in an injury or an off game by one or two players then the game is completely out of reach. The lack of proper competition in practice also hinders their development as the first team is usually practicing against players who don't have the ability to be European professional players. Once they get into game conditions there is an adjustment for these players that are now facing stiff competition for the first time. The coaching lacks proper strategies and ideas about how to play basketball at a level as well. The coaching approach is not professional and they don't have international experience as well. So many more logical choices could be made for coaching youth selections in Bosnia. The lack of proper coaching and training is evident in the lack of defense, rebounding, post offense, shot form and three point shot selection. Bosnian players are generally talented enough to compete at a higher level, but aren't prepared in anyway to win games when their shots aren't falling and the game flow isn't moving their way.
Once Nikola Gajic was injured they had zero chance to advance to A level competition and the focus should have shifted to playing the most talented player on the team Adnan Vrabac who at 17 was one of youngest players in the tournament and by far the most talented Bosnia. He could have used the exposure in real game pressure and situations. Instead he continued to ride the bench and receive about 10 minutes a game. The team instead thrusted players into the starting five that don't have the skill, talent or drive to be professional players. The management should have two goals 1) get promoted to division A 2) develop talent for the future so as to move up to division A next time. What there goals and focus are, I am not really sure and it is perplexing watching people without a plan run Bosnian basketball into the ground. What is the difference if they end up in 5th or 6th place in B level? It really makes no difference at all.

Here is a recap of the players performance and grades...

Nikola Gajic: The team was 3-1 with him starting, the only loss to Belguim when he injured his hand. The team went 2-2 the rest of the way and was exposed by their lack of depth. Nikola has a good future in Europe especially if he develops a better shooting stroke. He has good size and frame and European athleticism. He attacks the basket pretty well but needs to refine his shooting form and outside touch. The difference for him could be playing in a mid level league and a higher league (and better paydays). He will benefit greatly from playing in the US college basketball system.
GRADE: B-

Srdan Loncar: A major weakness of this team (and all levels of the Bosnian National team) is point guard. Srdan gave effort with little results. He really isn't a professional basketball player and I would doubt that he has a long career ahead of him (even in Bosnia). There is nothing you see on the court that translates into a quality basketball player, size, athleticism, shooting, ball handing (his strength, but below average overall). It's a shame Bosnia was exposed and had to play him so many minutes. He did turn in a decent performance against Iceland, that is more a result of the competition than his talent level.
GRADE: F

Ranko Ivic: Another player who was a major contributor to Bosnia's weakness at the guard position. Ranko doesn't do much well, but has decent size. He had a nice game against Belarus, but again that is due more to competition level than his play. Besides the one anomaly game, he did little to help Bosnia achieve their objective of moving up to Divison A. Could have been a decent 10-12th man on the team. The fact he played so many big minutes is more of a reflection on BiH than him. He should play domestically in BiH (for free) for as long as he wants.
GRADE: D

Miralem Halilovic: Miralem carried the team, even with questions about his health going into the tournament. He has been invited to the senior national team (even though he is unlikely to make it and would benefit from some time off). Miralem showed his heart by playing and leading his team through the adversity he experienced. It would have been easy for him to take this tournament off because of injury. Miralem is from Tuzla and has been mentioned as the next Mirza Teletovic, that has always been a large stretch. His game is more similar to Emir Preldzic. He is more of a distributor and ball handler than a volume scorer and physical presence. Miralem should have a solid career in Europe for a lot of years to come. For all of his mention as a great young talent, this was his first time being a showcase talent and a focus on offense and he acquitted himself well. He had a great tournament up until the last game against Portugal, which should have been a showcase for the younger players on the team anyway. His outside shooting remains weak and his assist to turnover ratio is way to high at 1:1 considering his ability to handle the ball.
GRADE: B+

Marko Rikalo: By far the youngest player on the team (16 years old), Marko didn't get the minutes to show much for the team in this tournament. I don't understand once Nikola Gajic was injured he didn't get substantial playing time. He needs to be given the opportunity to play a better level of competion and get a real feel for his talent level. He could end up being a decent mid level European PG, the only guard on the team with this level of talent besides Gajic and Begagic. He should have played more minutes over Ivic and Loncar. Once it was clear that Bosnia wasn't moving up to division A, the team should have played him 20 minutes a game.
GRADE: C

Dino Begagic: Really the only one on the team with 3point shooting range. Dino was inconsistent with his shot in this tournament (not a surprise considering his age 18). When he played well so did Bosnia, when he struggled their offense often bogged down and looked sloppy.  Given their lack of inside threat, the fact that he shot as well as he did is a testament to his talent. Guys that can knock down long shots is always a commodity in demand in Europe. He could turn out to be a mid level European player if he continues to develop. He turned the ball over too much and lacks great athleticism and size. The real question is does Dino want to put in the time and effort in the gym to be a professional basketball player? Will he get the coaching and guidance he needs to move his career into the professional ranks outside of Bosnia?
GRADE: C

Mirza Bulic: Mirza came into the tournament as the most experienced player outside of Halilovic and was by far the biggest disappointment on the team. Mirza played big minutes for Sloboda Dita Tuzla and was expected to be a key to the tournament. He played terribly early and only started to come on and play well the last to games. He has good size and skill level, the question is which is he closer to, the Mirza we saw the first six games when he was awful or the one you saw the last two when he averaged about 22ppg 7rbpg 3aspg 2.5 stlpg and shot 50% from the field? Besides the injury to Gajic, the single biggest reason for the disappointing results can be found right here.
GRADE: D+

Nemanja Sladoje: Has professional basketball player size but not one skill. It is surprising they kept him on the roster and cut some other, more deserving talent. If the guy can't play you should at least bring in a younger player who could benefit from the time spent getting coached up. Has decent shot blocking ability but has poor defensive instincts.
GRADE: F

Ernad Mujic: He is suppose to be one of the great young talents for legendary team KK BOSNA ASA. Which means one of two things, BOSNA has no idea how to evaluate talent or it has no idea how to coach talent. Ernad did nothing in this tournament and looks like a complete bust. He has good size, is a decent athlete but at the age of 18 against this level of talent should have showed more.
GRADE: F

Nermin Buza: A very similar story to Ernad with similar results. Suppose to be one of the "next" generation of KK BOSNA ASA, Nermin showed nothing against inferior competition and may look like a basketball player, he doesn't play like one. I will be shocked if he is still playing basketball in four years.
GRADE: F

Adin Vrabac: Adin came in as the biggest talent on the team and it was perplexing to watch him rot on the bench. A very young talent (17 years old) with good size and a high level of skill. I was surprised he didn't get more playing time and was outraged what once Gajic was out he didn't move into the starting five or at least get some serious playing time. Adin flashed his big time talent (especially after getting used to a higher level of competition). I am not sure if Bosnia was hiding him for some reason or they are just not focused on winning and the future. he only played about 10 minutes a game which is not nearly enough for a player of his talent. They wasted this tournament by not getting playing time for him. He needs to work on his physical development and to get stronger if he is to play the forward position in Europe.
GRADE: C

Mladen Lukic: The best post player on the team, yet still played under 20 minutes a game. Should have a decent career in Europe based upon his size and skill level. He is a lunchbox type of center, not very skilled but if he works to his strengths, defending, boxing out, rebounding and scoring within five feet he could be a solid role player in Europe. I am surprised he didn't get more of a chance to show his talent since Bosnia lacked post presence. He really needs to get some decent coaching so he can put his natural physical skills to use.
GRADE: C


BOSNIAN'S WHO PLAYED IN THE U20 A and B TOURNAMENT FOR OTHER COUNTRIES

Alen Omic (slovenia): Having recently turned 18, Alem Omic turned in a dominating performance for Slovenia in Division A. From the time he came to Slovenia from Tuzla two years ago, he immediately made an impact for the Slovenes and was the most dominating center in this last tournament. Alen shows all the ability to be an impact player in Europe and the possibility to have an NBA career. He played against a high level of competition and responded every time. Another great center who has gotten away from Bosnia, following in the tradition of Stanko Barac, Mirza Begic, Nedzad Sinanovic and so many others...
GRADE: A

Edo Muric (Slovenia) A very good glue guy for a quality European team. Edo should go on to have a very productive, long  European career.
GRADE: B+

Boris Barac (Croatia) Had a disappointing tournament after just having a breakout U19 World Championship for Croatia. You could blame the results on a higher level of competition and fatigue as Croatia was relegated to division B.
GRADE: C-

Ante Cutura (Croatia) A big man with size who likes to play on the perimeter and avoid contact.
GRADE: D

Domagoj Bubalo (Croatia) Played well for Croatia in this tournament, another nice Bosnian player with size who is playing for someone else.
GRADE: B-

Monday, July 25, 2011

Bosnia's failed policy of two schools under one roof




Two schools under one roof
Doris Dragic and Doris Raguz, both 16, attend high school in the town of Stolac in southern Herzegovina. Ironically, the two teenagers attend classes in the same building but they go to different schools.

Dragic studies in a school under the BiH school programme, while her namesake opted to attend a school under the educational programme of neighbouring Croatia. The latter conducts classes in, and studies about, the Croatian language and history.

Such "double schools" are an educational phenomenon that came about as a result of the unsettled political relations between Croats and Bosniaks in parts of the country with a significant Croat population.

The schools have two separate entrances, one for Bosniaks and the other for Croats, and classes are taught in separate shifts from one another.

Student presence in a school other than their own is not allowed and is a punishable offence. The same is true for socialising during class breaks.

However, many things do connect the two Dorises, least of which is the same preference in music, but given little or no interaction at school, they seem to barely know each other. In fact, they know each other only as passerbys and have no desire to socialise after school.

"She goes to a Bosniak school, has her own friends and they speak their own language, go out to different places so there is no reason to be friends. It is better this way, the less we socialize, the less problems we will have," Doris Raguz said.

Doris Dragic counters that students from different schools can spend time together, but rarely do it.

"Nobody forbids us from socialising, but [if we do] I don't know what we could talk about. I will go to the university in Sarajevo, and those from the Croat school go mostly to [universities in] Croatia," Dragic said.

There are 58 double schools throughout BiH, where a generation of students acquire an "us versus them" mentality.

"So much time and money was invested, but the division is getting worse. The new generations often do not know about the parts of the country in which others live," Schuler Helfen Leben Foundation representative Aida Vehabovic told SETimes.

The net result of the set up is that young people are brought up to be nationalist and chauvinist, Vehabovic explained.

The political parties are the main supporters of the educational separation and status quo, despite proclaiming publicly that such a state of affairs is undesirable. In fact, former Central Bosnia canton Education Minster Greta Kuna's statement that "apples and oranges should not be mixed and neither should Bosniak and Croat children" is still a current reference.

Sociologist Adnan Omerbasic warns that the goals of those who perpetuate the status quo are more sinister.

"The students will be voters in a few years. To manipulate somebody in their teenage years is not hard; in the long run you have created voters who will subconsciously support your political position that all who are different are enemies and should be avoided. That is fatal for the future," Omerbasic said.

There is no denying the system is feeding mistrust and hatred. It also makes fertile ground for future conflict.

"The politisation of the educational system is one of the key societal barriers ... But I am encouraged that the young people are overcoming the forced-upon barriers through their creativity and their desire to socialise, even though the [process] moves slowly," BiH Education Minster Damir Masic told.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Bosnian post, the worst in the world? They get my vote!


(the watch the BH POSTA stole from my friend was like this with the silver face if you see that as#hole wearing my friends watch in Bosnia, please contact me or my friend in Sarajevo I will give a small reward for it's safe return)
There are some terrible post offices in the world, even in Europe Italy, France and Lithuania come right to mind. None of those in my opinion are as bad as Bosnian BH POSTA who have managed to "lose" two registered packages I have sent to friends in the last few years. Now granted, I haven't shipped to every country in the world, actually I have only shipped to about 40 max so we are talking about 16% of the worlds nations I have shipped to. But I have shipped to pretty much every developed first or second world nation and have touched on a few third world ones too.
Bosnia BH POSTA has "lost" quite a few packages of mine, around 10 out of 100 so an attrition rate of about 10% from my perspective. The most amazing aspect is it is a tiny country of under 4 million, the size of a mid sized European city, not even the size of Chicago.
I have never had a registered package go missing that I had sent anywhere in the world except for Bosnia. Not only has it happened once there, but actually twice! These packages are signed for every step of the way and are kept in a controlled area liked locked cabinet as they move around the globe. This hasn't deterred people who work at the BH POSTA from stealing them and no one doing anything about it. Registered is the most secure way of sending a package, yet both times all the response I have gotten from BH POSTA is "the package was never delivered" well I know that! One of your Post employees stole it! You could find out if you cared, but I think they rather think instead of paying their employees a living wage, letting them lift an occasional package from abroad that isn't there's is a better option. Last year when I was in BiH there was a big story of a Postal employee who was stealing tons of mail from people for years before he got caught.
I have heard that BH POSTA employees regularly steal mail from abroad thinking it is ex pats sending cash to their relatives. All I was sending was a Android watch to a friend, it was a really cool watch with a steel band, a leather band and a band that you can change it into a pocket watch it is the same one as the one shown in the foto. I think your a total piece of sh#t if you steal peoples packages from abroad that they send to their friends and family but that's just me...
I would warn anyone that using Bosnian BH POSTA is a bad idea, use any service but them or risk it all as they don't really care about you or your family or friends.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Dodik: I was not calling for secession of Republika Srpska

Dodik: I was not calling for secession of Republika Srpska
RS President, Milorad Dodik, stated on Thursday he was never interceding for secession of RS from BiH, and that this insinuation was “a set up”.

Dodik said that RS did not destroy anything "but is clearly against the institutions that were established without the constitutional and legal basis, and only spend joint funds".

He stressed that "the High Representative has nothing more to deal with the internal matters of BiH".

Dodik said that the International Community should reduce its commitment to "normal level".

RS President claims he was not avoiding the talk about the forming of the government at the level of BiH, but that the problem are actually Bosniak political elites, primarily SDP President, Zlatko Lagumdzija, whom he accused of "changing the fundamental Dayton principles of representation of constituent peoples".

Talking about the arrest of Ratko Mladic and the crime in Srebrenica, Dodik said that everyone should be held responsible for their own guilt, but also that "there is a bitter feeling that the crimes against Serbs by far do not have the same attention and treatment as the crimes committed by Serbs against others”.

Dodik does not deny that the crime of great proportions was committed in Srebrenica and the guilty must be punished, but he believes that "those who rushed with the qualification of a crime as of genocide did it for political reasons".

RS President accentuated that RS "implemented all the requirements of the Hague Tribunal and not hide any suspect".

Friday, July 22, 2011

Bosnia Joint funeral and burial of the remains of 35 Bosniak civilians who were executed on 29 April 1992 at the site of Rasidov han shall be held on 27 July in Snagovo, Zvornik municipality.


Joint funeral and burial of the remains of 35 Bosniak civilians who were executed on 29 April 1992 at the site of Rasidov han shall be held on 27 July in Snagovo, Zvornik municipality.
Funeral procession for 35 civilian victims will be held, followed by burial of 15 complete skeletal remains and parts of cremated remains of 20 victims’ bodies.
This crime against the civilians of Snagovo was of the cruelest crimes committed against Bosniaks in the recent war.
The remains of 20 murdered women, children, men and older people on the same day, 29 April 1992, after being shot were placed on a pile and burned in order to cover up this mass crime.
To date, 19 years later, no one has been convicted for this horrific crime against Bosniak civilians  of Snagovo.
So far, only one victim of this crime has been buried and a joint funeral on 27 July will be held for the remaining 35 victims.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Bosnia U20 basketball team moves on to the qualifying round!


(Miralem Halilovic top picture and Nikola Gajic bottom picture)

Bosnia & Herzegovina has moved on from group G with their win over Israel the other day. The only blemish on their record so far was a beating at the hands of undefeated Belgium. Their next game is in the qualifying round against the up and coming Czech republic which has done a great job of moving from the fringes of European basketball to the middle of the pack with some good young talent. Bosnia has a good chance to knock off Czech Republic but then will face Belgium again in their most serious test so far. They have played well but at times inconsistent and lack proper depth to win it all I believe. They are close but it seems that the inconsistency of Dino Begagic and the under performance of wonder kid Adnan Vrabac (arguably the most talented Bosnian on the team according to scouting reports).
So far though the play of Miralem Halilovic has been inspired, it has been much appreciated that a kid heavily recruited who plays in the Euroleague didn't find it too small a stage playing in the U20 B tournament. Or that the kid who suddenly realizes he is Croatian, Slovenian or Spanish and abandon his home country for new found glory abroad.
Nikola Gajic isn't the most physically talented Guard around but he is going to play basketball in the US next year and has worked hard at his game since representing Bosnian U16 squad a couple of years ago. Bosnia would benefit from sending more of it's young players to play in the US university system, much like what you see Lithuania do with it's players. Especially since coaching at home is at such a poor level. Gajic has quick hands and good timing and a nice size for a perimeter player. If he can develop his 3 point shot he could turn out to be a nice player in Europe in the years to come. He does some nice things that come naturally to him.

Dino Begagic has been one of my favorite young Bosnian basketball players because of his shooting range. Bosnia has struggled with solid 3pt shooting since the days of Jasmin Hukic and Mirza Teletovic. The range is obvious with Dino, one perplexing aspect is his poor free throw shooting, if you can hit 3 pointers with consistency then the free throw should be no problem. Bosnia needs his 3 point shot to be falling if they are to challenge moving up to division A. His shooting spreads the floor and allows others to get easier looks at the basket.
Adnan Vrabac came into the tournament with the most talent by scouts (along with Miralem Halilovic who seems older than he is because he has been playing in Europe for so long) but has struggled in his first major European competition. He is very young (17 years old) and has played against inferior competition but I would love to have him make a difference in at least one game in this tournament.
The two big power players for KK BOSNA ASA Ernad Mujic and Nermin Buza have shown little so far, same with Mirza Bulic who came in with some international experience and getting a lot of playing time with the now defunct Sloboda Dita Tuzla.
Ranko Ivic and Srdjan Loncar have shared minutes so far with mixed results.
I will do a full report after the tournament is done.

Bosnia was knocked off by Czech Republic yesterday. Nikola Gajic hurt his hand in the previous game and didn't play. Bosnia's lack of proper depth killed them in this game as their back court provided almost nothing. I was surprised they didn't make some moves and insert Adnan Vrabac into the starting five.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Serbia;Last remaining Serb war crimes fugitive Goran Hadzic arrested

 
Last remaining Serb war crimes fugitive Goran Hadzic arrested
 
Goran Hadzic, Serbia's last major war crimes fugitive, a Croatian Serb wartime leader indicted for crimes against humanity during the 1991-95 Croatian war, has been arrested.

Hadzic was a key figure in the breakaway Krajina Serb republic in Croatia, and after the arrest of wartime General Ratko Mladic earlier this year, he was Serbia's last remaining figure sought by the United Nations war crime tribunal in the Hague.

A Serbian official confirmed the arrest but declined to give details. President Boris Tadic, who announced the arrest of Mladic in May, scheduled an urgent news conference for 11am. (0900 GMT).

Hadzic is charged with ordering the killing of hundreds and the deportation of thousands of Croats and other non-Serbs from the area.

The European Union, which hailed Belgrade for finding Mladic in May, has continued to insist on the arrest of Hadzic for Serbia to make progress towards European Union membership.

Hadzic lived openly in the northern Serbian city of Novi Sad until July 13, 2004, when The Hague sent an indictment and arrest warrant to Belgrade.

He fled immediately, tipped off by nationalist hardliners in Serbia's security services.

Scott O'Grady bad pilot who got rewarded for getting shot down over Bosnia now a politician?


Scott O'Grady has gotten all the glory and accolades when he was shot down over Bosnia in 1995 and survived  five days eluding capture by the Bosnian Serbs. The reality of the situation, however is much different as Scott O'Grady was a bad pilot who was shot down over Bosnia because he wasn't very good at his job. Just like John McCain (shot down three times over Vietnam, graduated at the bottom of his class) he has been rewarded greatly and seen as a hero while a the same time the true hero, an a Air force ACE pilot has largely been ignored by the media, Captain Bob Wright. Captain Wright shot down three Serbian fighters in an engagement known as the Banja Luka incident. He ran out of missiles and then turned over the mission to Scott O'Grady who promptly missed with his missiles and returned empty handed. Later, Scott O'Grady was shot out of the sky while on another mission with Captain Wright. Captain Wrights accomplishment has gone largely unnoticed, at the same time Scott O'Grady has parlayed his poor job skills into a book writing career and motivational speaking tour. He has now entered the arena of political hack, deciding to run for office in the great state of Texas. I am always amazed how bad military men are made into hero's in the Republican party (McCain, Bush Jr., O'Grady) while at the same time people like Tammy Duckworth and John Kerry get roasted for being real hero's.

I think Scott O'Grady owes something to the people of Bosnia for using his fame for personal gain while at the same time Captain Wright has largely been ignored. Also the fact that he was a part of one of the worst movies ever made that was about his "exploits" Behind Enemy Lines. It's time for Captain Wright to get his due and for Scott O'Grady to assume his true place in infamy.







Banja Luka incident

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
Banja Luka incident
Part of the Bosnian War
Bosnia Feb28 1994 USAF F-16 Capt. Robert G. Wright.PNG
Feb. 28 1994 over Bosnian skies, a USAF F-16 flown by Capt. Robert G. "Wilbur" Wright
DateFebruary 28, 1994
Locationsouthwest of Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina
ResultNATO victory
Belligerents


US Army Air Roundel.svg
RV i PVO VRS


Roundel of the USAF.svg
USAF
Strength
6 J-21 Jastrebs
2 J-22 Oraos
4+ F-16s
Casualties and losses
4 aircraft[1]none
The Banja Luka incident on February 28, 1994, was an incident in which six Republika Srpska Air Force J-21 Jastreb single-seat light attack jets were engaged, and four of them shot down, by United States Air Force F-16s southwest of Banja Luka, Bosnia.

 

Bombing of Novi Travnik

As part of Operation Deny Flight, a NATO Airborne Early Warning aircraft (NAEW) flying over Hungarian territory, detected unidentified contacts south of Banja Luka at 6:35 a.m.. Two NATO U.S. Air Force F-16s, "Black 03" and "Black 04",[2] of the 526th Fighter Squadron "Black Knights", 86th Fighter Wing based, at the time, at Ramstein AB Germany, were vectored to the area and intercepted six J-21 Jastreb and two J-22 Orao aircraft which were attacking the Bratstvo military factory at Novi Travnik.[3]
In accordance with the UN and NATO rules of engagement, orders to "land or exit the no-fly zone or be engaged" were issued twice but both warnings were ignored. While warnings were issued, the violating aircraft dropped bombs over their target, which was left in flames. In such circumstances NATO has a "single key", meaning that only one clearance was needed, so the Combined Air Operations Center was immediately able to clear the F-16s to attack.

 Air engagement

The Serbian Jastrebs headed northwards, back to their base. At 6:45 a.m., the NATO fighters engaged their opponents. Captain Robert G. Wright fired an AIM-120 AMRAAM, downing the first Jastreb which was flying at 5,000 feet. The remaining Jastrebs dropped to a few hundred feet, flying at low level to use the mountainous terrain to hide from radar and make their escape back to Udbina. Wright pressed on, closing to within AIM-9 Sidewinder range. He fired two of his heat-seeking Sidewinder missiles, and they were seen to hit the Serbian aircraft.
After he expended all his missiles and low on fuel, Wright handed over the chase to his wingman, Capt. Scott F. "Zulu" O'Grady, who had been flying top to cover his flight leader.
O'Grady dropped down to engage and fired an AIM-9M but it did not lock-on and missed. Black flight was now approaching "bingo fuel", the point at which a plane will not have enough fuel to return, so they pulled off to refuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker circling in orbit over the Adriatic. At the same time another pair of 526th Fighter Squadron F-16Cs, "Knight 25" and "Knight 26",[4] had been vectored to the area by the AWACS. At 6:50 a.m., "Knight 25" managed to get in behind the remaining three Jastrebs. He launched a Sidewinder, downing another Serb J-21 Jastreb.
By now the Serbs were close to the international border and the F-16s had to break off the pursuit because NATO was not empowered to engage aircraft outside Bosnian airspace. The remaining aircraft was able to land at Udbina Air Base in the Republic of Serbian Krajina in Croatia.
The USAF credited three kills to Captain Robert Gordon "Wilbur" Wright,[5] flying F-16C-40 #89-2137/RS, using an AIM-120 AMRAAM and two AIM-9 Sidewinders; and one kill using an AIM-9 Sidewinder to Captain Stephen L. "Yogi" Allen[6] flying F-16C-40 #89-2009/RS[7] of the same unit. The Serbs acknowledged the loss of five aircraft in the incident; the discrepancy probably stems from the fact that an additional aircraft crashed while trying to escape in low-level flight.[8]

Bosnian-Serb pilots

The Bosnian-Serb pilots involved in the incident were:
  • Capt. 1st Class Ranko Vukmirović[8]KIA.
  • Capt. 1st Class Zvezdan Pešić[8] KIA.
  • Capt. 1st Class Goran Zarić[8] ejected at low altitude, KIA.
  • Maj. Uroš Studen[8] ejected near Jajce, survived.
  • Capt. 1st Class Zlatko Mikerević[8] ejected probably near the villages of Bravsko and Crkveno, 9 miles west of Ključ, survived.
  • Capt. 1st Class Zlatan Crnalić[8] landed at Udbina Airport with his J-21 Jastreb Sr.nr. 24275 badly damaged; the aircraft later re-entered service.
Scott Francis O'Grady (born October 12, 1965) is a former USAF Captain and former United States Air Force fighter pilot who gained prominence after the June 2, 1995 Mrkonjić Grad incident, in which he ejected over Bosnia when his F-16C was shot down by a Bosnian Serb SA-6 while he was patrolling the no-fly zone. He also participated in the Banja Luka incident where he fired upon one enemy aircraft. The film "Behind Enemy Lines" is loosely based upon his experiences.

 







Incidents

The Mrkonjić Grad incident occurred June 2, 1995, near Mrkonjić Grad in Serb territory. He survived for almost six days by eating leaves, grass and ants, and avoiding Serb patrols while trying to contact Magic, NATO's airborne command center. He evaded capture and was rescued on June 8 by U.S. Marines of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit based on the USS Kearsarge.
"Behind Enemy Lines" is loosely based on his story. Although he gave it a positive rating on the film review television show Hot Or Not, he sued the film company in 2002 for making the film without his permission. O'Grady authored two books, along with Michael French and Jeff Coplon, detailing his experiences of being shot down over Bosnia and his eventual rescue — Return with Honor and Basher Five-Two (O'Grady's call sign).
The incident was later depicted on the documentary television program Situation Critical in episode #5 "Downed Pilot", and "Escape! – Escape From Bosnia: The Scott O'Grady Story" on the History Channel.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bosnia; First McDonald’s to Open in Sarajevo

 

First McDonald’s to Open in Sarajevo

The first McDonald’s restaurant in Bosnia and Herzegovina will open in Sarajevo on Wednesday, 20 July.
Senka Kurt
Sarajevo

Construction work on the exterior of the building is almost done.

Bosnia and Herzegovina has been one of the few remaining countries in Europe without a McDonald’s.

However, the opening of the first outlet has not gone smoothly, despite the country’s need for foreign investment.

The Financial Police launched an investigation into the “activities” of the new franchise that company spokesman Adi Hadziarapovic says were aimed at intimidating the investor.

“McDonald’s was facing the overt resistance of certain civil servants,” Hadziarapovic said.

But with all the necessary documents and permissions now in place, its opening is eagerly anticipated.

The new McDonald’s will be located on Titova Street in downtown Sarajevo. According to country manager Muhamed Pozderac, prices will be tailored to the market, which means they will be cheaper than in neighbouring countries. For instance, a hamburger will cost ony 1 euro.

Several Bosnian products will be on the restaurant’s menu as well. These include Bosnian salad, water and mineral water. Arrangements for local baked goods are also being prepared.

McDonald’s diners will enjoy their meals in 400 square metres of space. The decor, which was  created by French interior designer Philippe Avanzi, will feature various types of graffiti, much like that in restaurants in major French and German cities.

The restaurant will employ 60 to 80 workers who were trained in Serbia, Austria and Germany.

A “drive-in” McDonald’s is expected to open in Sarajevo by the end of September. Mostar, Tuzla, Banja Luka and Zenica are scheduled to get drive-in McDonald’s restaurants next year.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Q and A with Nedzad Kladusak, Bosnian basketball supporter and man behind the scenes!


Nedzad Kladusak is a passionate basketball fan, who not only follows basketball closely in Bosnia. He has dedicated his time and energy into improving the dreary conditions that have followed Bosnian basketball in the postwar era. Bosnian basketball had a great tradition while a part of Yugoslavia. It enjoyed a rich history of great coaches, players and victories including winning the modern equivalent of the Euroleague basketball title. Many great players were born and moved through the Bosnian schools and teams including Predrag Danilovic, Zoran Savic, Zoran Planinic, Aleksandar Radojovic, Vladmir Radmanovic, Bojan Bogdanovic, Mirza Delibasic and a host of other NBA draft pics and European stars. Bosnian basketball fell on hard times during the war and it has gotten worse since then. The highlight of the Bosnian international team was the inspired play by Nenad Markovic in wartime scoring over 60pts in a competition and taking the talented Croatian teams led by stars of Dino Radja and Toni Kukoc to the limit of thier ability.
Nedzad, just like myself sees the potential ability in the future of Bosnian basketball. Also the need for sports to transcend political life and strife in everyday Bosnia. If the Bosnian Football and Basketball teams are organized in such a way as to inspire all Bosnians regardless of were they live or their religion, then they can make a genuine positive impact on the future of the country. Unfortunately Bosnian basketball (and sports in general) are treated the same way the country is, to be used and abused and neglected because you either are for it or against in the 1990's, depending on which side of the argument you fall.
The reality is a few elites in Bosnian sports make quite a nice living off of running a corrupt system that enjoys support of the international community without protecting the future and supporting the youths that grow up wide eyed and innocent loving the game of basketball. The few that have both the talent and also the love of the game in Bosnia often find they must leave the country at a young age in order to pursue their dream. Such great examples include Stanko Barac, Bojan Bogdanovic, Nihad Dedovic, Mirza Begic, Emir Preldzic, Nedzad Sinanovic, Alen Omic, Djordje Micic, Sandro Gacic, Nedim Dedovic and so many others. The loss of these great young talents means little to the officials that run Bosnian basketball, unless they can squeeze some money out of the kids on the way out of the country. They also almost completely ignore the fact that because of the war in the 1990's over half of the worlds Bosnian population live outside of it's borders. Little attention was paid to these great young talents until Nedzad took the time to bring many of them to the attention of Bosnian officials. What would it cost to pick up a telephone, call a kid and tell him that you follow his career and look forward to his development? Or to send a few letters to kids like Goran Suton, Igor Hadziaomerovic and maybe a national team jersey with the kids name on the back and words of support from a great like Teletovic or Markovic? Practically nothing, Bosnian officials can't compete with a big time professional club from Spain. What they can do is recruit Bosnian kids in much the same way that a US college coach (from a clean program) recruits college players. That is what is needed to bring some of these youngsters back into the family. The two positions of center and point guard (also the two most important positions on the basketball court in many ways) are the weakest on the Bosnian international team. At the same time Bosnia has produced tremendous talent at both of these positions and they have all played abroad Damir Mulaomerovic, Aleksandar Capin, Vule Avdalovic, Zoran Planinic are all great examples of Bosnian point guards who have never put on the Bosnian National Team jersey.
Nedzad, like myself is passionate about Bosnian basketball and the potential the future holds. It is a bond for both of us that we can share with few others who feel the same. I have always been the type of person who roots for the underdog, there is no bigger underdog in all of Europe than Bosnia. This is not just pie in the sky dreamy hope, this is a seriously talented basketball sporting country that is passionate about their teams. If you don't believe it, wait till a team like KK BOSNA ASA is good again and go catch a game at Skenderija which is full to capacity and filled with rabid basketball fanatics.
Bosnia deserves better and so does it's players and fans. Nedzad is one man, with a passion for it, that is doing his best to make it happen, not only for himself, but all of Bosnia and her people.

Interview...

Q) What made you interested in playing basketball and when and were did you get your start? 
A) When I was 9 years old I saw my first basketball match. I begged my parents to let me watch those games. Since we have been in BIH and we didn t finish our house at that time I watched these games together with my neighbour. I was so impressed by Drazen Petrovic and Muggsy Bogues. Since then I spent hours and hours on the court trying to imitate those crazy things I saw.   
  
Q) What clubs did you play for? I live in a small town and there have been only lower division teams I played for. It was pretty aware that I don t have the physical prerequisites to make it on a higher level so I focused on my academic career and not spending time on basketball camps etc.. However I played every day for hours on the freecourt and I played against many excellent players. 
 
  
Q) how did your playing career end?  
Well I still love to play and I am still to keen to work on details. However I am professionally so much involved that I am glad if I can play 5 hours a week. In the last three years I had two serious ankle injuries longer and longer to recover. 
 
 
  
Q) What drives your passion for Bosnian basketball? I still remember that moment. It s been during wartimes. My hometown has been shelled every day and I didn t hear about my relatives for months. One day our teacher asked us who wants to see a match of the EC 1993. The arenas have been empty and the schools had tickets for free. since I loved basketball I asked for a ticket. When we arrived in the arena I saw that BIH will play against Russia. I was so happy that I yelled. I was not prepared so I had no flag with me. I designed a Bosnian flag with lilies on my booklet. I animated the kids around me to cheer for BIH. It s been surrealistic to see a guy like very very young Gordan Firic, Sabahudin Bilalovic, Mario Primorac. Those guys fought so bravely against Bazarevich, Karassev, Bakov.... it s been such a wonderful event in my life that I still remember after almost 20 years. The second event were those legendary games against Croatia. it s been the post-war period and at that time Croatia was still not accepting BIH. My whole family has been in delirium after Markovic netted his legendary three-pointer. Its hard to describe but it s something you will never forget. 
 
  
Q) Who are your favorite players (both in BiH and internationally)?  
Ohh that is a very tough question. I saw Kukoc, Petrovic, Jordan.... There are many incredible players. But okay if I have to chose I say Hakeem Olajuwon. He is such a complete player combining technique, timing, athleticism, smartness and a very high ethic standard. I think there are some players who are virtually on the same level but I prefer big men. And Olajuwon was in my eyes the best and most complete big men. 
 
Mirza Delibasic is outstanding in the history of Bosnian basketball. Nenad Markovic, Mario Primorac and Gordan Firic also do have a 
 
  
Q) Who was your favorite player from the Yugoslavia international teams from the 1980's? 

I think Petrovic. Simply a genius who gave his team whatever it needed - scoring, assists, defense, leadership, ideas. 
  
Q) Who is the best Bosnian basketball coach today? 

Another difficult question but I think that Bosa Tanjevic (despite he is originally Montenegrinian) is the best Bosnian coach. On the second place I would list Svetislav Pesic. Ivan Velic is very promising and I think he should be much more involved in KSBIH activities. But actually there are far less coaching prospects than talented players. 
 
  
Q) Who is the best player you have ever played a game with (even a shooting practice)? 

I played against players who now play in the german PRO A (2. Bundesliga) like Dima Rastatter. I played mostly against Heiko Hartmann a talented player a now 21 year old PG. I practised with him every day of a week for about 4 hours over a period of 4 years, He made it to the the NBBL but after serious back and knee problems he quit playing basketball. I think if he would have stayed healthy he would have had chances to make it in the Bundesliga.
 
  
Q) What is your involvment with Bosnian basketball today?  
I support young Bosnian talents to get some exposure and I advise KSBIH related to the draft and scouting of young prospects living out of BIH. I promote Bosnian basketball since in Europe most people underestimate the relevance of BIH in basketball.
 
  
Q) Were do you see Bosnian basketball in 10 years?  
It depends. I think it largely depends on the political situation in the country. There are needed many organisational challenges and also clubs have to work much more professionally . If basketball is considered more as a common project not as a nice opportunity for some few to make some bucks no matter if it s legal or not I think we can play a good role in European basketball. 
Ideally BIH will have all basketball NT selections for both men and women, 3 strong leagues and every team will have only three players that are not eligible to play for BIH NT. The coaches will be highly educated producing regularly players for the NT. The basketball NT will play in Mostar and Banja Luka in front of 7000 spectators. 
  
  
Q) Do you think Bosnian basketball will ever get to the point were it isn't losing players to Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Australia, Austria, Spain and so many other countries? 
 A) Honestly not in the near future. I think when war criminals are no longer treated as heroes, when there are no ethnically clean school classes, when it becomes also normal in Siroki Brijeg to hire non-Croatian kids because they are good players. I think when we come to that point we will notice that we have something we can be proud to represent its values through playing basketball under its flags.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Bosnia; Sarajevo to regain the Trebevic cable car!

 
Sarajevo will regain its „Trebević cable car”
 
 
Rebuilding the Trebević cable car means „restoring one of Sarajevo’s key landmarks,” Sarajevo Canton Prime Minister Fikret Musić said after the signing of an MoU on 12 July, laying out the terms of the cable car restoration project.

Signatories were Prime Minister Musić, Acting Head of the EU Delegation Renzo Daviddi, Sarajevo Mayor Alija Behmen and the Director of the Sarajevo Economic Regional Development Agency (SERDA), Ševkija Okerić.

„In the ten years that I have been here, I have heard so much about the Trebević cable car,” Renzo Daviddi noted, „and today we have the pleasure of signing the MoU. All of us are totally committed to restoring this invaluable resource.” He stressed that the restoration project will boost income generation and that tourism development offers benefits directly and indirectly to all citizens.

„This project will be a joint effort by the EU, Swiss Confederation and BiH partners,” Daviddi said.

„Sarajevo is not complete without the Trebević cable car,” Mayor Behmen said, and he thanked the EU, Swiss confederation as well as Canton Sarajevo, Stari grad municipality, Istočno Sarajevo and SERDA  for their cooperation.

SERDA Director Okerić stressed the importance of the cable car for tourism development and as a means of facilitating much greater recreational use of the Trebević area.

Cable cars and equipment have been donated by the Graechen ski centre in Wallis Canton, Switzerland. The selected cable cars are ideally suited to the project and meet the highest quality standards. The new Trebević cable car will have 6 sitting cabins and between 11 and 13 pillars, with a capacity to transport 1,200 passengers an hour.

The cost of reconstruction was estimated in the feasibility study at 15-16 million KM, which includes land expropriation, provision of necessary permits, concept design, equipment acquisition and construction, but this figure can now be revised in light of the Swiss donation.

The rehabilitation of the Trebević cable car has attracted huge media interest. The MoU signing ceremony, at Sarajevo City Hall, was attended by numerous guests, including Federation Prime Minister Nermin Nikšić and Deputy Head of Mission of the Swiss Embassy Lukas Rosenkranz, as well as EU representatives and officials from the City of Sarajevo, Canton Sarajevo and Istočno Sarajevo.