Unfortunately, it seems as if the title for my previous post on PBS topic could also work for this topic. Elections are slated to take place in October; but they are already the subject of much division and constroversy.
I've been asked to write about the elections, and I was planning on writing about them for a while; but writing about the elections are much easier said than done.
However, just on an overview of the election shows that this does seem to be a very divisive campaign, where nationalism and jingoism unfortunately seems to be (for the most part) the rule rather the exception. To further complicate matters, there is also the issue over the status of the Republika Srpska entry in Bosnia, and whether it should be dismantled and incorporated into Bosnia, or whether it should be completely separate from Bosnia and be able to annex itself to Serbia. (Which would probably spark another Balkan war). To complicate matters, there is also greater regional issues, such as the status of Kosovo.
These elections are part of Bosnia's growing process. And there is bound to be some awkwardness involved. However, these elections and all of the issues they represent: the constitutional debate, debate over the RS, debate over war criminals and war crimes tribunal seems to bring out the worst in the politicians. Many of whom are resorting to nationalist slogans in order appeal to their base. The fact that they are using this tactic is frightening enough, the fact that it appears to be working for them, is even more frightening.
There are some voices in the wilderness though. Human rights groups based in Bosnia have issued press releases calling for the nation's politicians to focus more on the issues and not on nationalist rhetoric. A group of citizens from all ethnic groups are working as election observers to make sure that the elections are carried out in a fair manner.
While I obviously cannot speak for the people in Bosnia, they are no different than people the world over; and I'm sure that their primary concern is for their children's future and education, to lower the level of unemployment and to find a way to support their families and live in dignity.
It seems that many of these issues have been ignored by many politicians in favor of rallying cries of nationalism and ethnic division.
Aug 27th NYT/IHT article on Ethnic Division and Election.
What is your thoughts on the elections? Is my pessimism warrented or not? Or, am I not pessimistic enough?