'I've had threats before'
by Fadil Banjanovic Bracika
Fadil Banjanovic Bracika, himself a refugee from Zvornik, is one of the the most prominent activists fighting for the return of refugees to eastern Bosnia. He has served as member of the Zvornik municipal council, deputy to the Tuzlansko-Podrinjski cantonal assembly, regional president of the Alliance of Refugees and Displaced Persons - Tuzla, and assistant cantonal minister for return and repatriation.
‘In the course of my job, I have encountered many obstacles and received many threats. When we went back after the war to places like Mahala and Jusici, we took some blows, and by heaven we gave some back. I never provoked anyone, but I swear to God I wasn’t scared either. If MUP, SFOR and all the other institutions responsible for work, peace, and security know how we were treated, now is their chance to prove themselves in the context of the global anti-terrorism campaign.
Anyway, I do not think we are dealing here with any mysterious, ideologically blinkered cells or cults. I recognize the influence of the old centres of power within and around the [RS] government. They are not specifically attacking Bracika, Meholjic or Desnica, but seeking to threaten all new people who tomorrow might potentially shake up cocooned positions, in the context of the constitutional changes and our enhanced constituent status.
It is fear of the fact that some entirely new people may come into a position to control financial flows, customs, security, big earnings from the telecommunications and electrical industries, and so on. But so far only the names of those in power have changed, nothing of substance. That is why they are trying to scare people, trying to create a tense atmosphere, which may delay changes and preserve the monopoly of individuals who have been overcome by panic.’
Translated from Dani (Sarajevo), 2 August 2002