Bosnia's gold standard

February 9, 2013

My wife is right. She says when I come to the states I usually find myself rather flat for writing. Today is no exception. But I'll try anyway. My excuse is that I'm on holiday. I'm taking a break. I'm supposed to unwind. I want and need to unplug. Shouldn't we all?

She says it's more than that, though. She says I need to be in Bosnia to write. Right or wrong, giving birth seems easier than writing at the moment (i'm sure a few women chuckled reading this. It's just a metaphor ladies. I know we men couldn't handle labor pains let alone the birth part).

So, I was checking my google analytics stats for my blog the other day. Being slightly retarded in the tech field I find it quite a fun little toy to play with. The thing that perplexed me most beside the sheer number of people who read 'The 10 things I miss most about Bosnia' was the geography. 90 countries. I didn't quite get it, until I did.

It got me thinking. Who the hell is reading my blog from 90 countries? Perhaps it would be better put to ask why in the hell would anyone read my blog from 90 countries? Then I started getting a facebook message here and there...a few emails. Some called me a jerk. Some overly romantic. But most were just 'hey, thanks' notes from every corner of the world.

I've always thought the diaspora were underestimated and under appreciated back home. The simple truth is that some people had to leave, some chose to leave, some had a gun to their heads and were ordered to leave. Regardless, they left. C'est la vie. C'est la guerre.

Many people back in Bosnia still hold a grudge. Although I agree it was much harder to survive the brutal war than to be a refugee in Germany or Australia, it's still no fun leaving your home and seeking refuge in a foreign country. Not for anyone. End of story.

Simply put, I think the diaspora are worth their weight in gold. I really do. Let me tell you why.

Weight in gold

We give them too much grief. Most of them send money home to loved ones and friends. Many of them come and visit religiously, bringing a fresh wave of energy and ideas (and yes, money too). They are our best support system outside of our borders. And I'd even be bold enough to say they are a better support system than the governments and 'system' we have been cursed with over the past twenty years.

Putting the petty tit for tat arguments on 'gdje si bio ti kad je bio najteze' aside, the bottom line is that Bosnia and Herzegovina is over a million strong outside of her borders. What an amazing resource. No sane businessman would trpi  the budalastina that comes with investing in Bosnia. Diaspora often do. Not too many sane people would leave the comfort and security of their new found homes to come back and start something new in a very corrupt, exceptionally dysfunctional country. Diaspora are.

They are our best PR agents. They are our most loyal 'tourists.' They are amongst our best investors. They bridge a huge gap between slow-changing Bosnia and the modernity of the new world. They can and do bring ideas, passion, and employment. But above all, they care. They really do. Imagine a functional marriage between Bosnia and its diaspora. Imagine all that it could bring in a time when even we are losing interest in our own fate let alone the rest of the world.

We are not very good at recognizing who our friends are and nurturing those relationships. Whether it be Bono or Peter Cox or 1.2 million Bosnians abroad, the diaspora and friends of Bosnia should be our gold standard.  We should treasure that resource. Ego aside, just think about it. Who else would put up with our shit?


The Bosnia Guy