Lessons from Bosnia — Part 5

Citizen Awareness

Meliha Avdic
15 min readSep 29

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

This is the most important topic we will discuss. At the same time, it is the biggest topic. This could easily be a book, and I could easily do a hundred talks just on this topic. We could talk about information overload, sifting through what is important, what is not, lies versus the truth. We could talk about miscommunication; i.e. the government is too far and citizens are too close, this could cause all kinds of issues. We could talk about personal awareness, from discovering a need you have and then going out there to fix it, to going out there to fix it no matter what — these two are very different. The topic is huge! However, I will sum it up into the most important points.

Let’s start with the Dayton Peace Agreement (Dayton). When it first came into power, the people of Bosnia welcomed it. It ended the war. The forces from Serbia and Croatia were pulling out. That’s all that mattered, that’s all that the people knew.

That does NOT mean that everyone supported Dayton. Some people were against it from the moment they heard about it. A book called Dayton v. Attorneys by Ahmed Zilic and Saba Risaluddin was published in 1997. Dayton was signed in December of 1995. When did they have the time to get together, outline this book, and write it, and have it published?

However, this book is very academic and most people have not even heard of it, let alone read it. This happens to be the case with a large number of other books on the topic. And, as I said earlier, Dayton doesn’t even exist in Bosnian, so people couldn’t have read the original document.

People of Bosnia know about Dayton through its practical application and what they’ve been told by a large number of domestic and international officials addressing the people through public media, usually the TV. After 27 years, most people in Bosnia have no idea about the document, who has what rights, who has what kind of power, but they are certain that the document is unfair and unjust, especially to the victims of mass murder and genocide, and that our government is simply chaos.

I remember I had three questions about Dayton and I went out there to ask three experts in the field. All three of the experts I asked gave me different answers. So I concluded that no one…

Meliha Avdic

Born in Bosnia, grew up in the UK-another war child, yes. Passionate about people and the state of society. A bit of a maverick. www.meliha.webador.co.uk