I’ve been seeing more stories about Mostar in the news, and not exactly in a positive light. With headlines like “Politicking paralyzes divided Bosnian town of Mostar” and “80 meetings later, still no solution for Mostar dispute,” it’s troubling to think that this is happening where I live. I know I wrote about this before, but I really mean it: I walk these streets each day and things seem so normal on the surface. Meanwhile, there’s actually an intense political storm going on. Right now, Mostar doesn’t have a budget for 2013 – something not necessarily head turning as an American, accustomed by now to having a Congress that waits until the absolute last possible minute to act on the nation’s budget. But the thing is, they did find a solution in the end.
Here, it doesn’t sound like there’s a solution in sight – at least one of the major party leaders has said he doesn’t see a solution until the elections in 2014. And that’s creating problems for citizens, as 0ne of the articles mentions. “Mostar has entered 2013 without a budget to fund soup kitchens or kindergartens, pay fire-fighters or heat schools.”
I mentioned this to my housemom Maja, and she said something to the effect of “Yeah, this happens every year.” She said there was even a time not too long ago that they didn’t have a mayor for an entire year, so eventually the mayor whose mandate had expired just sort of renewed the mandate.
Besides all this political chaos, it’s also weird to see this place I call home depicted in galleries like this one called “Mostar: A city divided.” There are some really interesting comparison pictures, taken just after the war and then recently, but what’s missing among the various shots of bullet hole gouged buildings is, for instance, a picture of Mepas Mall, the shiny huge shopping-dining-cinema-bowling alley complex that opened a bit under a year ago. Or one of the other few malls I can name off the top of my head. Or the neighborhood near my residence that’s filled with nice homes. Or the new, beautiful sidewalks and street corners that have been renovated lately.
Those things don’t make the news, but they are here and happening. And I’d think that each one is a step of progress, in some way. But while I wish that the articles could be about the progress in Mostar, it seems that may not happen in the immediate future… I guess only time will tell.