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Bosnian People Voice Their Dreams In First General Assembly

The Tuzla, Bosnia People’s Assembly Report 2.13.14

Live stream and video below.

People gathered for a session of Plenum in Tuzla to express their views and set forth demands. Six representatives were chosen by majority vote to represent Plenum at the assembly. The representatives are: Sabina Mujezinovic (unemployed), Ankica Djuric (union worker), Asim Dedic (Electro-Technical College graduate), Nedjad Ibrahimovic (teacher), Elizabeta Lukacovic (human rights activist) and Amir Bajramovic (professor).

Asim Dedic, one of the six representatives, expressed his dissatisfaction on the overall hiring process in his field: “I am one of many unsatisfied citizens, about injustice in our society.  I will focus my talk on injustice in my professional field.  We have come to realize that there are only three ways to earn a job: party affiliation, nepotism and money.  Until we change these three injustices, there won’t be hope.” The audience, who has previously split in ten working groups all chose their representative to share the groups’ views.  Here are the groups and the words of their representatives:

Hamo Sunjadovic speaks about engaging retirees

“I want to salute my students and protest attendees.  I am now retired and I want to salute all my fellow retirees.  Frequently it is said that we are the last ones to be thought of, so I wanted to raise my voice.  I want to invite them to join and get engaged.  Nobody has respected us since the beginning of this state, so I want you all to get engaged and to answer this question.  I summon all my students who I have been teaching for 40 years to get engaged and become greater participants and to see their future in this democracy.”

Emina speaks about labor unions

“Many people ask me these days, ‘How come we never mention the work of labor unions?’ Many workers blame the labor union and I personally blame the labor union for the state in Dita; so called “Yellow” labor union.  The labor union did not listen to the workers and was protecting the interests of the company.  The leaders of the union are ‘bought up’ people. They isolate themselves from the people when the protests started.  Now they emerge as a group to negotiate with the assembly.  I have few suggestions, because I cannot let myself to be represented by Ismet Bajramovic. I can’t let myself be represented by Kata Iveljic, who sold me.  I and a large group of workers propose that we form an independent labor union for the county of Tuzla, and that the ‘yellow’ labor union does not have the right to participate.  I also want to encourage fellow workers that we can’t be quiet, to speak up, and to make them feel fear.  We need to show our determination, courage, and that we all stand behind each other.”

An anonymous protest participant speaks about the assembly

“I want to ask: Is it normal when you go to the health clinic to see a dentist and they tell you to come at 5:00 a.m. if you want to be seen by the dentist, because he leaves at 9 a.m. to practice in his private office to make money and not pay any taxes? I want the representatives to mention this when they meet with the assembly.  In addition, we do not know who the owners are of many private companies. People work for years but do not know who the owner is; everyone guesses who it is.  For years in Croatia as well, they have been promising to release this information, but we are still waiting.  Also, one can’t be part of the assembly forever, sitting in the chair at 80 years of age.  There needs to be an age limit to when they have to retire.” – protest participant  The session is interrupted to share an announcement that the protests will continue tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. and that everyone is encouraged to join.

Suad Murselovic speaks about corruption

“Today, there are 600 of us gathered.  I ask that we are not hypocrites.  Many did not go out to vote.  In many countries people get fined or prohibited to get legal documents if they did not go out to vote. Also, we should not denounce the individuals who are part of a political party.  We did not come out to protest because of that, we came out to denounce the ones who are corrupted in power.”

Mirsad Zafic asks that political parties not get involved in this gathering

“I want to ask what we can do? There are many of us who are hungry, and the first thing that we can do is go see them and check how they are doing.  I have other suggestions, but this is enough for now.”

“This victory and this gathering is an act of the people.  Because of that I want to request that the political parties do not get involved in this gathering.  We deserve this gathering; the ones who are not involved in political parties.”

Amir Sisic speaks about injustice in the work place

“I hope that we form a TV channel, or at least a public radio station.  We will gather donations to form this channel.  It would be a place where the politicians would never be the main news.  It would be a place for the people to talk; to voice firsthand experiences of injustice, such as the one the professor shared with us earlier where her superior attacked her for voicing her opinion, and where she was afraid of losing her job.  She shouldn’t have to be afraid; her superior should be the one losing her job.  There are many similar stories and they have to be brought to light! There are companies who give their employees $50 in warm meals, to get them to sign a paper that they are receiving $250 in salaries. We will bring all of these companies to light! The people should have the main word.”

Avdo Mehic, expressed his request to fight corruption.

“The pensions should be equalized. We are all retirees; we do not benefit the social system so we should all have the same monthly pension payouts.” – Mehkovic Mirsad, retiree.

The speaker gets an approval to request the government to provide public buildings for continued meetings. The session was concluded with choosing of representatives and members of new working groups. The following working groups were formed: Ministry of Interior; Justice and Administration; Planning Committee; Finances, Industry, Energy, and Mining; Agriculture, Water, and Forestry; Health; Veterans; Work and Social Politics; Trade and Tourism; Development; Worker Coordination; and Education, Science, and Culture.  

Paper was passed around and everyone’s contact information was written down.  The speaker asked everyone to come again at their next session and to continue working in their groups.

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