Bosnian Independence Day is a national public holiday held on 1 March to celebrate independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

Citizens of the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina voted for the independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina on the referendum that was held between 29 February and 1 March 1992. The referendum question was: “Are you in favor of a sovereign and independent Bosnia-Herzegovina, a state of equal citizens and nations of Muslims, Serbs, Croats and others who live in it?” Independence was strongly favoured by Bosniak and Bosnian Croat voters, but the referendum was largely boycotted by Bosnian Serbs. The total turn out of voters was 63.6% of which 99.7% voted for the independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina - the absolute majority of the voting-age population of Yugoslav Bosnian SR. #IndepedenceDay #Bosnia #BosnaiHercegovina #BiH #Bosna #Hercegovina #Jugoslavija

When a war ends people just assume and believe it’s truly ended. They talk about the survivors moving on, building their country back up, and resuming their lives.

Nobody talks about the pyschological trauma the survivors will have to deal with and the impact that trauma will have even on the generations that will come long after the war is over.

People in Bosnia never truly healed from the war and genocide but nobody even tried to help them. There wasn’t a huge collective movement to get Bosnians the psychological help they needed. It was just “Okay, the war is over go and fix the country we left in shambles for you”. And people did. Instead of talking about the trauma they experienced Bosnians simply tried to move on. Despite the fact so many of these Bosnian now found themselves being forced to live and work along side those same people that murdered their families and/or raped and tortured them.

20 years later and nobody has posed the question of why we suddenley have an influx of suicide in Bosnia or why abortion rates increased suddenley. Nobody is asking why Bosnians all of a sudden found themselves being more comforted in the kafana than the masjid. Or why drug use among both older and younger people increased so heavily? Or why alcoholism became such a problem? Or why domestic abuse increased by huge percentages? People talk about the rampant crime in Bosnia but the crime is just a side effect of the actual problem. Nobody wants to talk about the root of the problem. When did this start? Why did it start?

20 years later and people are hurting more than ever. Nobody is telling them “Hey, you need to heal” or “Hey, lets help this country heal, lets help everyone recover”.

And while Bosnian people use drugs, alcohol, music and everything from religion to the kafana to deal with aftermath of war the outside world is concerned about the poor homeless dogs that roam the streets of Bosnia.

In reality what that tells us is that dogs are more important than Bosnians. Dogs are worth saving but Bosnian people and Bosnian youth, especially, are not. Dogs are important but the socio-economic, psychological and emotional healing of an entire group of people is not important at all.

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Safet Isović - Bosno Moja Poharana

Bosnia and Herzegovina celebrates Independence Day on 1st of March. So we bring you Bosnian legend Safet Isović and his wonderful sevdah song about Bosnia. 

My devastated Bosnia
My not plowed country
Four years not sowed
My stable without oxes
My house without walls
Old mother without sons
Instead of brothers and sisters
Freedom is talking
And gives me new paths
Go back to our Bosnia
So we could cast out enemies
Renew our Bosnia
So we could run over enemies
Renew our Bosnia
So we could be happy in it
So we could hug brotherly
So we could be proud of Bosnia

A year or so after the war ended my family decided to take a trip down to Jablaničko Jezero to go camping. It was my parents and siblings and my aunts and uncles and cousins. Huge family camping trip. We prepared everything and were just ready to relax. First vacation after the war so everyone needed it.

We found the perfect spot. The water was beautiful and blue. The beach was clean. It was like war never happened there. Trees everywhere, fresh air, clean water and a village close enough to us to grab food and other necessities.

So, on our third or second day there i’m playing in the water and I turn around and bump into a guy. The guy screams my name and I look confused until he comes closer…my cousin, Senad, who we all believed to be dead along with his family. He hugs me and we cry. I call out for my parents and they run and freak out when they see him.

He takes us to where our uncle and aunt settled, some run down little home in a village close to Konjic. I can’t describe that feeling. Nobody knew what happened to them during the war and nobody thought they’d survive (they lived in Mostar and stuff was BAD there and their house in Mostar was bombed ).

We hugged each other all night. We stayed down by the lake, singing songs and talking. Us kids didn’t even go to sleep till very late.

And when we woke up, we watched the sun rise and our parents drank coffee. It was so peaceful and tranquil and beautiful.

Our camping trip that was supposed to last a week lasted the entire summer. We spent the entire summer by the lake. Swiming and singing and staying up all night talking, barbecueing and just enjoying life.

It ended up becoming a family tradition. Every summer we’d go down to Jablanicko and spend the summer there. Our parents didn’t go to work and would save up all year for us to enjoy the summer.

And we really did enjoy it. I can’t translate the feelings into words nor can i paint an accurate picture of how beautiful it was. I just remember that those summers were the greatest moments of my life.

My aunt and uncle eventually returned to Mostar…to a new house that was built with the help of the family. I moved to America, my sister to Sweden, my cousins to Switzerland, my other aunt to the Netherlands, and the others stayed behind in Sarajevo and they tell me they refuse to go to the lake without me.


Last time I went home to visit, on my second week there, my uncle put me in the car and told me he had something to show me…half an hour after we left Sarajevo I realized where we were going. And when we got there everyone was there…just waiting. And it was like i was 11 years old all over again, the dirty beach, the water, the fresh air and the sunrise just waiting for me to join them.

Bosna, to je jedna dobra zemlja.
Kad plače klobućaju kiseljaci.
Sagni se i pij, niko se ne ljuti.
U Bosni ima jedna tišina.
U tišini jedna njiva.
U toj njivi obeharalo stablo.
Zimi Bosna po svu noć srebrom zvoni.
Bosna ima Bosanaca.
Kad Bosanac liježe na počinak
On polako glavu spušta na zemlju
Da zemlju ne povrijedi.
Bosna ima majku.
Majka se popne na brdo iznad pruge
Pa mahne mašinovođi.
Majka mahne masinovođi, a lokomotiva vrisne.
Bosna ima kuću
U kući živi starica
Njen smjeh je ajet o džennetu.
Skloni obuću kad prelazis Unu, Savu, Drinu
Operi noge u rijekama
Bosna je ćilimom zastrta.
—  Nedžad Ibrišimović