I sometimes have a hard time figuring out why the hell we are so immune to ultra violence. But then again…for most of us it wasn't too long ago that living under siege for three or four years became a normal thing.
Still…silence like a cancer grows…
When the first foundation stone for the Ferhadija Mosque was laid in Banja Luka several years ago a man was stoned to death in front of the world. It was Banja Luka and that resembled Tehran (as Dodik has referred to Sarajevo) then…and from the Serbian side we heard little or nothing about hooligans, nationalists and cetniks setting fire to buses, hailing racist insults and barraging an international delegation with stones…and like a medieval tribe, literally kill a man by stoning him to death. The only thing that was more shocking to me than the event itself was how little anyone talked about it afterwards – particularly from the side of the perpetrators.
Croats repeat a similar ritual in Mostar on a regular basis. Whether it be a Muslim funeral on the west bank or, god forbid, Croatia proper losing a football match – somebody is going to pay with blood. And they always do. And again….i have never heard the Croatian community openly talking about this disgusting display of fascism.
Now we have our wahabi's. Some are saying it was only a small group. Some are saying they certainly do feel angered or ashamed but i get the feeling that way too many are silent for all the wrong reasons. Homophobia here is particularly strong. One would think that the ultra violence that tortured this town for so long would stir strong support against any type of violence. But it seems like the ‘democratic struje’ of the leading parties here remain strangely silenced and rather unaffected that a group well organized, militant-like extremist literally hunted citizens and guests of this city down like dogs to attack them. What's to say they won't keep doing so? Maybe now some of us can get a inkling of a feeling of why some minorities here may feel vulnerable or even threatened?
This should shock us. It should scare us. And yet the silence to me is the loudest sign that we are far from resembling a democratic or multi-cultural society. Our acceptance of violence is certainly a result of our war years. And perhaps there does exist a certain degree of understanding of our numbness to it. But i hope and pray it hasn't killed the tremendous humanity that lies in the hearts and minds of many here.
If not, believe me, the violence will find a way to perpetrate itself again on us. There is an African saying that warns…'we always pay for the violence of our ancestors.’