Croatia and Montenegro

CROATIA: Our journey from Mostar to Dubrovnik can be best described as circuitous.  Dubrovnik is a coastal exclave, isolated from the rest of Croatia by the city of Neum, which is Bosnia and Herzegovina’s only coastline.  In 1699, when Dubrovnik was its own nation-state, it voluntarily gave up control over Neum to the Ottomans, mostly in order to form a powerful buffer between themselves and the Republic of Venice which lay to the north.  The anomaly has remained ever since. The area around Dubrovnik is mountainous, so it is best to approach along the coast.  To do this from Mostar, … Continue reading Croatia and Montenegro

The Other Side of Bosnia

Mostar is, in many ways, another Sarajevo: another divided, destroyed city.  Another city where your political surroundings can change very quickly just by crossing the street.  Another city buried in a valley, surrounded by vantage points from which its enemies could hurl down shells – the Ottomans have a lot answer for. But Mostar comes from the forgotten side of the Bosnian Wars, that period in 1992 when the Bosniaks were under attack not only by the Serbs but also by the Croats.  Much of southern Bosnia towards the coast has traditionally been the preserve of the Croats; it was … Continue reading The Other Side of Bosnia

The Many Arabics of Politics [link]

My new Bosnia post should be up over the weekend.  In the meantime, the rather excellent website has just published an article of mine about the use of various forms of the Arabic language in political contexts.  Go and check it out, along with the rest of the site (although I suspect that many people reading this are doing so because of that article). Continue reading The Many Arabics of Politics [link]

Bosnia, or Everybody Hates Dayton

Sarajevo is the capital of a country which has no government.  It isn’t in a state of anarchy or chaos.  It simply feels like the government got up one day and left, and life carried on as normal, with everyone hoping that the government would come back at some point before too much could fall apart.  That day was back in 1995, and the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina are still waiting. We only hear of Bosnia today in connection with the capture or sentence of a former war criminal is a distressing indication of how completely the West has … Continue reading Bosnia, or Everybody Hates Dayton