|Krug 99 – Circle 99
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
24 January 2024 – 50
ANNOUNCEMENT: ABOUT THE VISIT OF CROATIAN PRIME MINISTER ANDREJ PLENKOVIC TO SARAJEVO
There is probably not a single person in Bosnia and Herzegovina, except maybe fascists and incorrigible cynics, who did not feel a sense of deep humiliation and shame at the behavior of [Croatian Prime Minister Andrej] Plenkovic during the recent EU delegation visit to Sarajevo.
Instead of a long-awaited apology for its ‘joint criminal enterprise’ and an acceptance of Croatia’s responsibility for eliminating the political, material and moral consequences that arose with the ‘joint criminal enterprise,’ Plenkovic conducted himself like a colonial envoy, airing spiteful lectures to the free citizens of Bosnia about how they have voted in the past and how they should vote in the future. For that matter, even Croatia itself today, judging by his words, has not shed the criterion of tribal identification when it comes to voting on the basis of rights and laws in this politically and democratically enlightened nation. And he laughs in the face of those with whom he came here, who – by the way – would themselves not be in a position to travel here had their elections been conducted on such a (un-European) basis.
The caution exercised by the Premier of the Netherlands is worthy of noting and respecting. He was confronted with obvious traps set up by those who – in the role of Bosnia’s “greatest ally” for European integration – imposed a veritable continuous attempt at the colonization of Bosnia. Much more honorable was [Netherlands Prime Minister] Mark Rutte’s acceptance of his country’s partial responsibility in the past. In any case, more honorable than Plenkovic’s misleading phrases which could have influenced only the naïve and the uninformed, like geese in a fog. The Dutch insistence on the fulfilling of specific criteria directly assists the development of a modern democratic Bosnia and Herzegovina. In contrast, Croatia aims by all means to subjugate Bosnia through its ‘joint criminal enterprise’ policies and in this way to permanently keep us from EU integration.
Obviously, the EU delegation did not mean to come to Bosnia with those whose intentions were not European but colonial. The demagogic explanation that they had brought with them “Bosnia’s greatest ally” would then seem quite ironic. Either that, or they did not grasp the real-politik conception of the successor of [former Croatian President] Franjo Tudjman’s policies in its modern-day guise. Does anyone really think that the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a nation in their own right, can be so naïve as to not realize how Croatia and its ‘joint criminal enterprise’ clique will blackmail Bosnia when it comes to eventual talks [on EU membership]? This will happen with all six negotiating clusters through which Croatia will attempt to reach a final resolution of several issues, including [contested geographic areas of] Kostajnica and Trgovska Gora, the illegal exploitation of the hydro-electric potential of Lake Busko, dissatisfaction that Bosnia has a seacoast, and finally even the issue of changing the Constitution and Electoral Law of Bosnia and Herzegovina, all of which would then be decided in favor of Croatia and at Bosnia’s expense. Plenkovic’s deceitful enthusiasm can only have these objectives in mind.
Plenkovic’s demonization of [Bosnian President Zeljko] Komsic, which is part of the attempt to colonize Bosnia, cannot stand. Those who voted for Komsic were neither Muslims nor Bosnians, but politically enlightened and democratically empowered citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The repulsive reducing of Bosnjaks into a religious grouping, the belittling of their political expression with [Plenkovic’s] call on [head of the Islamic community] Reis Kavazovic, none of this can conceal the fear and angst about an ever growing Bosnian national and state consciousness. The lessons from the Second World War, erroneous calculations during the most recent warfare, and today’s attempts to isolate an entire nation from the rule of law and the standards of democracy – if nothing has been learned through all this, then it might be experienced again through new transport trains into exile with their way-stations at [coastal island] Obonjan and other collection points.
So, here’s a message for Plenkovic, and for whomever else comes here as an envoy from Croatia: Acknowledge the consequences of the ‘joint criminal enterprise’ and at least make some small contribution toward correcting the injustices of the ‘joint criminal enterprise’ for the Bosnian state and for Bosnian society. This would be met by a natural human tendency to accept such a friendly gesture, and then sincere dialogue would be possible. [Interwar Yugoslav Deputy Prime Minister Prime Minister] Vladko Macek did not succeed, Franjo Tudjman did not succeed, and neither will Andrej Plenkovic succeed in destroying Bosnia.
Zeljko Komsic is not perfect, but he is indisputably a person with honorable intentions towards his homeland. He can be accused of any number of faults, like any human being, but he has one virtue that cannot be denied: His loyalty to his homeland and all of its people, all of the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Attempts to create or foment hatred among the peoples of Bosnia has resulted in failure. Clearly, hatred toward the Komsic phenomenon reflects that failure.
With Dragan Covic the result would have been a foregone conclusion. One of which would be lamentations, which we have already seen, about ISIS and Muslim fanatics. When all that it is really about is a democratically educated self-conscious nation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Maybe there has been too much sincere and unaffected affection for the Croatian people, especially in certain parts of Bosnia, for there to be a grudge against Croatians. But there have also been in their name so many deceitful assaults from Pantovcak [Croatia’s Presidency headquarters] that these cannot be easily forgotten.
Bosnia belongs to all of its citizens, however they might be called and whichever god they might worship. Let Bosnia finally develop its relations in peace and with the rights of all its people on a fully democratic model.
[Translation note: The phrase “joint criminal enterprise” is frequently used in this text. This is a legal doctrine used in the prosecution of war crimes committed by political and military leaderships. The International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia found the leaderships of both Serbia and Croatia guilty of “joint criminal enterprises” in the warfare during the 1990s in former Yugoslavia.]
Adil Kulenovic President, Krug 99 (Circle 99)
Vrazova 1, Sarajevo
|Association of Independent Intellectuals – Circle 99 (Bosnian: Krug 99), a leading Bosnian think-tank, was established in Sarajevo in 1993, in the midst of the Bosnian war (1992-1995), while the capital was under siege. Circle 99 provides a platform to bring together intellectuals of various professional and ethnic identities; university professors, members of the Academy of Sciences and Arts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, artists, journalists, entrepreneurs, diplomats, and other prominent figures from Bosnia and from abroad. Multidisciplinary discussions and initiatives are held each Sunday throughout the academic year, in the form of regular sessions about politics, science, education, culture, economy, and other societal issues. The overall goal is to sensitize the public towards a democratic transformation, achieving and maintaining peace, and integration of modern Bosnia into the community of countries fostering liberal democracy. Circle 99 has been declared an organization of special significance for the city of Sarajevo.