mercoledì 1 luglio 2015

The Drina Valley: one year after the floods

Maybe you remember that last year most of northern Bosnia was flooded, with the Bosna and Drina rivers valleys hit hardest. About 1,5 million of people were affected by this disaster, 27 people died and 950.000 had to leave their homes, hardly damaged by water and mud. The total damage was more than 1 billion euro and a lot of farmlands were under water, which was a real tragedy, as people in the Bosna and Drina valleys live mostly of land. (Click here for more detailed info)
As for the Bosna valley and the towns and villages where I went short after the 2014 floods, I read that in Željezno polje (a village hardly affected by landslides) "the situation is the same" (Click here for further info).
I was told that in Doboj many shops, restaurants and pubs are still closed. Finally, they say that in Topčić Polje the situation is better (Click here for further info).
I was not there so I cannot confirm these news. I just went back to the Bijeljina area two weeks ago and I can say that I couldn't believe my eyes: thanks to the international and national aid, but thanks mostly to the hard work done by the population, everything seems quite ok, even in Velino Selo (a small village 20 km far from Bijeljina) which, in may of 2014, was declared "red zone".
What to say more? Just that I really hope the situation improves soon in Željezno polje: part of my heart's there too.

To compare the situation in the Bijeljina region look at the following pics.

Two weeks after the floods

Bijeljina alluvione Bosnia
Bijeljina alluvione Bosnia
Velino Selo alluvione Bosnia
Velino Selo alluvione Bosnia
Velino Selo alluvione Bosnia
Bijeljina alluvione Bosnia
Velino Selo alluvione Bosnia
Velino Selo alluvione Bosnia
Velino Selo alluvione Bosnia

One year after the floods

Bijeljina
Bijeljina
Velino Selo
Bijeljina
Novo Selo Bosnia
Velino Selo Bosnia
Velino Selo Bosnia
Velino Selo Bosnia
Drina Bosnia Bijeljina


lunedì 29 giugno 2015

Which river are you most like and why?

All those who were born or who live on the bank of a river are assumed to spend some time on the river itself and to observe and understand its nature, its behavior, its character, in a few words its personality. As for me, I was born on the Soča (Isonzo) river and I can say that it reminds me of a young guy, active and quiet at the same time.
Instead, the river Sava reminds me of a middle-aged housewife, who spends her days preparing "pita" and gossiping with her neighbors.
Af for the river Danube, he's an old man, who likes telling stories to his grandchildren and who is proud of himself when troubadours from all over Europe sing about him.
The Neretva River is undoubtedly the reincarnation of Odysseus, an old-timey warrior who, after many years of fighting, is going to get some rest in the Adriatic sea.
Finally, the Drina river, the one that I like the most, because I identify with her: a nervous woman who cannot stay still for a minute and who, when enough is enough, burst her banks and overflows, without prior warning.
Today's winner is therefore the river Drina. But, as I spent some time on the banks of other rivers in Bosnia Hercegovina and Serbia, I wish to pay tribute to all of them. I hope you'll appreciate the pics and that you'll enjoy answering the question included in this post's title.
That's all.



Vrelo Bosne
Spring of the Bosna River (Ilidža, 2013)
Skakavac
The Skakavac waterfall, formed on the river Perućica (12 km from Sarajevo, 2013)
Skakavac
The Skakavac waterfall (ibid)
Drina Bijeljina
The river Drina (near Bijeljina, 2015)
The river Trebišnjica (Trebinje, 2013)
Janja Bijeljina
The river Janja (Bijeljina, 2015)
Sava Belgrado
The River Sava (Belgrade, 2015)
Novi Sad Danubio
The River Danube (Novi Sad, 2015)
Sava Brčko
The River Sava (Brčko, 2015)
Sava Brčko
Fishing on the river Sava (Brčko, 2015)
Somewhere, I don't know where (2013)
Zavidovići
The river Bosna (Zavidovići, 2014)
Il ponte sulla Neretva
The bridge on the Neretva (Jablanica, 2013)
Confluence of Drina and Sava Rivers (Rača, 2014)
Sava Danubio Belgrado
Confluence of Sava and Danube Rivers (Belgrade, 2015)
Drina tramonto
Sunset on the Drina (near Bijeljina, 2015)
Sunset on the Sava (Belgrade, 2015)
The Danube in the night (Belgrade, 2015)

lunedì 22 giugno 2015

Mi smo Titovi (We are Tito's)

"Mi smo Titovi" is the sign that welcomes you at caffe Tito in Sarajevo. It literally means "We are Tito's" and underlies a feeling that here and there, in former Yugoslavia, hasn't totally disappeared yet: a sense of belonging to an idea of society, whose symbol was Josip Broz (Tito) himself, the communist leader of the multinational yugoslav partisan movement during World War II, the President of Yugoslavia from 1953 to 1980, the co-founder and chief leader of the Non-Aligned Movement.
Many people who I met, especially in Bosnia and Hercegovina, say that when Tito was alive, things were better, compared with the war period and with today's one, when free trade and deregulation make wild sex in all the six countries that made up the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY). People say that those times anybody had a job, anybody had a house, anybody could go to school and university; there was one big united country and not six small ones and there was peace; nationalism and religion were secondary issues. Then things changed, from many points of view, starting from the war and continuing with the present economic situation (Click here to read some brief evaluations about Bosnia and Hercegovina).
In a few words Tito represents the symbol of a unified country where people could live in peace and where social rights (education, social assistance, health assistance) were granted to all.
Was the SFRY a democracy? Before you answer that, please define "democracy", take a look at Italy or another UE country and decide whether a regime of social inequality, social injustice and class privileges can be considered democratic.

As far as I'm concerned, I was really moved at Tito's grave in Belgrade, as I was at Che Guevara's one in Santa Clara, three years ago. Rest in peace, both of you.

That's all.

p.s. pics where taken (in alphabetical order) in: Bijeljina, Belgrade, Sarajevo, Trebević. They are intentionally mixed.

caffe Tito Sarajevo
Tito nostalgija
Kuća cveće Belgrado
caffe SFRJ Belgrado
Tito calendario
caffe Tito Sarajevo
caffe Tito Sarajevo
Battaglia sulla Neretva
Tito e Jovanka Broz
Bijeljina stazione autobus
caffe SFRJ Belgrado
caffe Tito Sarajevo
caffe SFRJ Belgrado
Kuća Cveće Belgrado
Tomba di Tito Belgrado
Caffe Tito Sarajevo