Bosnia update

Tuzla workers’ march

Workers marching to border

Workers marching to border

laid off Bosnian workers on the march

laid off Bosnian workers on the march

Postscript at 14.30 hrs Sunday 12 December 2014

Today the wall round Europe was too high for the workers of Tuzla. The border police were under very strict instructions: let nobody through the border without a passport! Very few did have one. The European Union is first of all two big brothers, then the smaller ones, then the children by a second marriage, and then the more or less distant cousins, finally the ones born out of wedlock … the emotions stirred by the Srebrenica massacre in full sight and with the full knowledge of the whole of Europe have not been quoted on the stock exchange for a long time …

Even the weather was against the workers: It got very cold and it snowed heavily … with the average age closer to 50 than 30, exhaustion after three days on the road left the women hardly able to stand. A hundred of the toughest ones stood their ground in front of the border post and the implacable police for several hours, the void of Europe yawning in front of them, the void of Bosnia behind  …

The mayor of Tuzla was elected by workers’ votes and was happy to provide the after-sales service. Three buses were sent to Orasje at ten in the morning. At 13:30 they set off back to Tuzla. A whole hospital was requisitioned to receive the marchers who were completely exhausted, for the Bosnian state takes care of those to whom it administers, even if it doesn’t give them enough to eat. There would be warm drinks and the famous Ćevapi kebabs. They even hired six cabs to get everybody home! Yesterday they couldn’t raise a bus fare, today everybody gets a taxi home. It’s a miracle!

But the miracle only fools those who want to be fooled. Edina ALICIC, president of the union at Aida, swallows her bitterness and says: “You had to go through it to understand it. It’s something we will remember for the rest of our lives. And it’s not over yet. We won’t stop.”

To welcome them back, even as I write this, a lot of citizens are heading for the meeting-place at the canton government office. Everybody remembers this building which was set on fire last February. Hasan, who wanted to go on but not to let everybody get dispersed, says they are going straight there “to see if they haven’t freshened it up a bit in the five days we were away. If not, maybe we could sort it out and put it back as good as new so everybody can admire it”. Work may not start tonight, but it will one day soon.

Radoslav Pavlovic, 12 December 2014

Categories: Europe, workers' struggles

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