Monday, April 7, 2008


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 7, 2008) - The famous Irish actor Colin Farrell arrived this weekend in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo to start preparations for a movie by Oscar- winning Bosnian director Danis Tanovic.

Farrell is to play the male lead in the movie titled Triage, based on the book by US journalist Scott Anderson, which follows the memories of war photographer Mark Walsh, who went through numerous war zones in the world, including Bosnia.

"Danis (Tanovic) wrote a great screenplay, very original, and therefore I accepted this role," Bosnian daily Oslobodjenje quoted the famous actor as saying.

During the weekend Farrell visited several places across the country to get a better feeling for what was happening during the 1992-1995 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions against Bosnia.

The tour included the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica where the genocidal Serbian aggressor mass murdered up to 10,000 Bosnian civilians on July 11, 1995, committing the genocide,the worst atrocity in Europe since World War II.

"It is hard to describe how obviously the air and the land has been poisoned by the act of killing thousands of people in the space of a day.
But you really do get the sense of the pain and the loss and I am sad, I really am sad," Farell said.

The famous Irish actor Colin Farrell walks on a street in Srebrenica. Farrell is in Bosnia to prepare for his new film "Triage" about a war photographer. It is directed by Oscar-winning Bosnian director Danis Tanovic.

Farrell said shooting of the film, which deals with dilemmas in wartime, would start in a week in Spain and will then move to Ireland and Bosnia.

"I am playing a war photographer who has been covering wars for 12 years or so and something takes place in the film that closes the distance between himself and what he does," Farrell said.

Besides Farrell, British actor Christopher Lee and Spanish actress Paz Vega are to co-star in the movie to be filmed at locations in Ireland, Spain and Bosnia.

Tanovic's Triage comes less than two years since another group of world famous movie stars gathered in Bosnia to film sequences in Richard Shepard's The Hunting Party, a film about a reporter's attempt to catch a notorious Serbian war criminal.Richard Gere played the main role in the movie.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 7, 2008) - “Bosnia has made an important step forward towards the full-time membership to NATO”, the Bosnian President Haris Silajdzic stated in Sarajevo upon the return of the Bosnian state delegation from the NATO Summit held in Bucharest,Romania. Leaders of 26 NATO member states called on Bosnia to enter the Intensive Dialogue Phase (ID).

President Silajdzic addressed the press at the Sarajevo International Airport, accompanied by the Bosnian Foreign Affairs Minister Sven Alkalaj and the Bosnian Defence Minister Selmo Cikotic. He stated that NATO has clearly recognized the efforts and results achieved in the Bosnian defence reform.

“I must say that this is the result of a good coordination at the state level, especially between ministries of foreign affairs, defence and security”, President Silajdzic emphasized.

He expressed hope that Bosnia will make the next step,the Membership Action Plan (MAP), soon. Maybe at the following Berlin Summit.

”That is the last step in the association processes”, President Silajdzic said.

The Bosnian Defence Minister Selmo Cikotic made it clear that the Membership Action Plan is “a mechanism which requires fulfilment of all the conditions that are planned by the IPAP document and by the intensive dialogue”.

”We are in the process of realization of most of the obligations proscribed by an Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) and Intensive Dialogue. We are of the opinion that majority of obligations will be fulfilled this year. Of course, now we will start working on the application for the MAP membership”, Minister Cikotic stated.

He mentioned that the “only obstacle to Bosnia’s ID membership was the tempo of NATO's Partnership for Peace Program (PFP) realization”.

”For those reasons, we expect that the monitoring of implementation of the obligations will increase and that we will, in the following few months, have the MAP application”, the Bosnian Defence Minister said.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 7, 2008) - Bosnian Oscar-winning film director Danis Tanovic launched a new political party on Saturday in a bid to rise above the problems that beset the Bosnian nation.

The 38-year-old filmmaker, whose "No Man's Land" movie about the absurdity of war won the Oscar for best foreign language film in 2001, said he hoped the new "Our Party" would appeal to those disillusioned people who have not bothered to vote in recent elections.

"This is an attempt to move the things forward from the present deadlock and we can offer a new choice to Bosnians who have been complaining for years there is nobody adequate they could vote for," Tanovic said at the party convention.

Some political commentators believe Tanovic's stature could translate into success at the ballot box.

Tanovic hopes the new party will appeal to younger votes, those who see Bosnia's future in the European Union.

"Our policy will be to stop ethnic squabbling, simplify the complex state structure and focus on real problems.We are aware of the challenge...What we are facing is not a hundred-meter race, it is a marathon," Tanovic said.

Some analysts say Tanovic could make a difference in local elections in October, which will be the first test for" Our Party".


ST.LOUIS, USA (April 7, 2008) - Mirza Halilovic had never been on stage, not even for his high school musical.Saso Cemerski loved performing during his student days in Belgrade. But when he moved to St. Louis,USA, he figured his curtain had rung down. His job as an immunological researcher at Washington University keeps him busy, and his accent makes him hard to cast.

Anela Islamovic, fashion model and part-time college student, has graced local stages for years; she enjoys the vivacious world of musical theater.

But they all feel a magnetic attraction to the show they're about to open: Avalon Theatre Company's world première of "Little Bosnia" by Cristina Pippa. They felt compelled to audition for the show as soon as they heard about it.

In fact, director Larry Mabrey estimates that a third of the 50 or 60 actors who showed up at auditions were Bosnian. That doesn't surprise Dijana Groth, another Bosnian who lives here now.

"People are excited because this play tells the story of a new immigrant's struggle with identity," said Groth, who coached American actress Susie Wall on her accent.

As Mabrey hoped, the cast is mixed; about half are Americans, and half are immigrants from the former Yugoslavia.

"People love the idea of an American theater producing a play like this," he said.

Actor-puppeteers Elma Mujanovic (from left), Anela Islamovic and Mirza Halilovic rehearse for Avalon Theatre Company’s “Little Bosnia.”

Mabrey is thrilled with the reaction that just the announcement of the play provoked. Avalon's ticket-reservations list is crowded with new names. The house for Thursday night's preview has been bought out by a Bidwell, Ohio, class for gifted middle students who are studying Bosnia this term. But Mabrey expects most of the audience to come from St. Louis, which has the largest Bosnian community in the United States.

The Bosnian immigrants began to arrive in St.Louis in the early 1990s, fleeing a long war at home. Today the flourishing community extends from south St. Louis into south St. Louis County. With its commercial heart in the Bevo Mill area, the enclave of about 50,000 people boasts restaurants, coffee shops and grocery stores, hairdressers and banking services, and a community center that features one of south St. Louis' most colorful sights: a 33 metres tall minaret.

A minaret rises in Saint Louis,USA.The minaret itself is designed to reflect Bosnian architecture to make a former branch bank turned Islamic community center look more like the mosque.The minaret stretches 107 feet into the sky (33 metres).At a groundbreaking ceremony last July, Mayor Francis Slay said the structure was likely the first minaret in the city’s history.

Mabrey and his wife, Erin Kelley, got the idea for a play about St. Louis' "Little Bosnia" a few years ago. They used to live in south St. Louis, then moved to Chicago and, later, New York. After their son was born, they decided to return to St. Louis and start a theater company. They also decided to move back to their old neighborhood.

When they did, however, they found they had lots of new neighbors, people who impressed them with their warm, hospitable nature, their strong work ethic and, inevitably, their terrible memories.

They got Avalon off the ground, and it caught Pippa's eye. The playwright, who grew up in St. Louis, has been produced a number of times. But as a young writer on the lookout for stages, she sent Mabrey and Kelley samples of her work. Just based on the theater's website, she liked their style. After they read her plays, the couple decided the feeling was mutual.

In the end, they commissioned her to write a play about Bosnians here. Although she hadn't lived in St. Louis in years, the idea intrigued her.

At the famed Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she studied after she graduated from Columbia University, "there's a lot of focus on collaboration (with the community)," she said. "I wrote a play about teenage girls for which I interviewed 40 16-year-olds, and one about a cancer researcher that involved a lot of study and a lot of time in a lab. You hear such wonderful stories. And I like delving into other people's minds."

Adisa Kalkan, a businesswoman who was interested in the project, introduced Pippa to lots of people in Little Bosnia.

"They fed me and took me into their homes and took me dancing," said the writer, who lives with her husband in Kansas City but soon will move to Buffalo, N.Y. "I tried not to ask too many questions. I just listened."

One thing Pippa heard again and again: Keep the story entertaining.

"They don't want to see themselves as tragic figures, and Bosnian culture is all about humor," she said. "It had to be funny to be real."

Pippa, surprised to hear a number of people say that they didn't want to go back to Bosnia even for a visit because it would be too hard to leave again, felt she had to discover its charms for herself. So she went to Bosnia.

One night, she and her traveling companion, another American woman, got lost. A group that gradually expanded to dozens of people made sure they safely arrived at their destination.

Gradually, her experiences in St. Louis and abroad took shape as a coming-of-age story.

Pippa's hero, Faris, was born in Bosnia but came with his grandmother to St. Louis when he was about 4 years old. Now he's a young man who considers himself American. His grandmother, however, wants him to go back to Bosnia and reclaim the family home.

When he makes the trip, Faris begins to reconcile the different cultures that make him who he is.

Pippa turned to puppets, an ancient theatrical device, to portray war in an intimate theatrical setting. The lead puppeteer is Halilovic, the immigrant who was never before onstage. He describes "Little Bosnia" as "touching and accurate."

Islamovic, who was about Faris' age when she left her Bosnian hometown, agrees.

"People assume I am American. But it was kind of tense after 9/11" because most Bosnians are Muslim, she explained.

Of course, many people struggle with questions of identity, among them immigrants of all nationalities and just about any young adult. That's why Jason Contini, who plays Faris, thinks the play will reach audiences in addition to Bosnians.

"It's always good to see a new play, and everybody has roots," he said.

Cemerski, the immunologist, said: "As soon as this came out, it was impossible to resist. Now I hope Cristina is working on 'Little Bosnia, Part Two.'"


BANJA LUKA, Bosnia (April 7, 2008) – The SDA Party President Sulejman Tihic stated in the northern Bosnian city of Banja Luka on Saturday that he has not been invited to the political parties leaders’ meeting with the International Community's High Representative and EU Special Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajčák on the police reform.

The meeting, according to some announcements, should be held this week. He emphasized that the SDA party’s attitude remains unchanged.

”SDA has not officially received any invitation to the meeting. If we are to talk about the police reform in a wider sense, I am willing to participate. If we are to focus on the two or three variants, proposed by SBiH, SNSD or HDZ, then there is no need for SDA to participate”, Tihic emphasized at a press conference prior to the beginning of the party’s Main Board session.

He emphasized that his party will remain loyal to the attitudes and will not support neither of the three solutions proposed.

Tihic rejected accusations made by some political representatives of the Serbians living in Bosnia, as well as some international community representatives’ accusations that SDA is, by acting that was, blocking Bosnia’s European road.

”They are wrong and I am of the opinion that those parties exactly, together with some of the International Community representatives did not act in accordance to the EU principles and the Mostar Agreement, as well as the Police Reform Implementation Action Plan made in Sarajevo. Only one principle was adopted – Dodik’s principle: there is no EU without the (genocidal Serbian creature in Bosnia) RS”, Tihic said.

Tihic added that he does not mind the existence of the genocidal RS "police" in Bosnia but he does mind that the Mostar Agreement has not been implemented. The agreement states that the entity and cantonal police will be a part of the unified Bosnian state security system.

He added that according to the present solutions, the entity. cantonal and all other police are completely independent; the state level coordination will not have any relevance whatsoever. Local police entities will not be obliged to contact and give any information to the state level institutions.

”Criminals are organized beyond the entities’ lines; we are making local police bodies within the entity and cantonal lines. We have agreed on that in the end. The issue of who is to coordinate the activities has not been supported”, Tihic added.

He agreed that there are some individual joint actions of the police bodies, but the thing is that citizens are not generally satisfied with the results of fight against organized crime, war crimes and corruption.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 7, 2008) – A book about the family tree of the Bosnian Royal Kotromanic Dynasty by Dr Enver Imamovic was promoted in the Bosnian Army Dome in Sarajevo.

"This book is the personal ID of Bosnia and this family tree is a unique work of art.There is small number of countries in Europe which have something like this.”, stated the author Dr Enver Imamovic.

"In one place we have a picturesque and textual display of Bosnian history dating back to 700 years ago in a likable and understandable manner even for children as well as intellectuals and academics. The importance of this family tree is among other that the history of Medieval Bosnia goes back almost 1200 years. Until now, common opinion was that it dated back to 13th century, however documents I have had the chance to examine present the first reference to a Bosnian ruler in a year 986 (10th century)”, stated Dr Imamovic.

He added that there are a lot of documents which speak about the history of the Bosnian state. Bosnia had its dynasty, and that is Kotromanic family and dynasty,and the state itself : the court, state services, diplomacy, flag, money, alphabet,etc., added Dr Imamovic.

Academic Muhamed Filipovic underlined that Bosnia is as old as any other state in the southeastern Europe. This was never an issue but it was not in the interest of different aggressors who wanted to claim Bosnia for themselves, added Filipovic.

Prof. Dr. Mirko Pejanovic stated that the dynasty tree of the Bosnian Royal Kotromanic Dinasty is precious for the defence of the historical truth of the Bosnian statehood and for the continuity of the Bosnian Kingdom during the Middle Ages.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 7, 2008) – Plan of cooperation between the Bosnian and Canadian Armed Forces for 2008 has been signed in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo.

On behalf of the Bosnian Defence Ministry, the Plan was signed by Zoran Sajinovic, Advisor to the Minister on the Sector of International cooperation. The Canadian Military Attaché in Bosnia Brigadier Michel Legault signed the plan on behalf of Canada.

The plan defines activities in defence sector that are mainly related to training and education of the Bosnian Armed forces’ members and political and defence dialogue between the two countries, as well as exchange of visits of the two military delegations.

This is another confirmation of good relations between Bosnia and Canada which creates presuppositions for promotion of relations between the two countries.


FOJNICA, Bosnia (April 7,2008) – After eight years of reconstruction, the St. Spirit Franciscan Monastery library in Fojnica has been made available to public.Numerous officials attended the opening of the library and museum, including representatives of diplomatic chorus in Bosnia and the International community's High Representative in Bosnia.

The Monastery’s Guardian Friar Mirko Majdandzic stated that there is a lot of work to be done, but that there is no use waiting for another year or two to complete the entire project.

The former Guardian of the monastery Friar Janko Ljubos talked about the history of the monastery. He stated that Franciscans came to Bosnia 670 years ago.

The Croatian Ambassador to Bosnia Josip Vrbosic emphasized that a victory is celebrated today at the monastery.

”We are celebrating the victory of caring over negligence; the victory of responsibility over no responsibility. We are celebrating the victory of responsibility for past, present and future. Memory has managed to claim victory over oblivion here”, Vrbosic said.

The Bosna Srebrena Provincial Friar Mijo Dzolan thanked all the people who helped perseverance of the Fojnica monastery. He emphasized that friars are trying to treat everybody in a humane way and to build friendly and brotherly relations with everybody.

At the end of the ceremony, a member of the Bosnian State Presidency Zeljko Komsic addressed the guests and emphasized the role of Franciscans in perseverance of Bosnian heritage. He called all the people interested to participate in the project of reconstruction and complete it.

Komsic gave the Bosnian Royal Family Kotrtomanic's genealogy to Friar Mirko Majandzic.Embassy of Croatia donated 1.200 books to the monastery.

The ribbon was cut at the entrance to the library by Croatian Ambassador to Bosnia Vrbosic and Bosnian Presidency member Zeljko Komsic.

The monastery library has a collection of 40.000 books, including some valuable hand-printed books. Some of them date from 17, 18 and 19 centuries.

There are 155 manuscripts in the library, some of them written in Bosnian in the Bosancica alphabet, as well as over 2.500 manuscripts written in Turkish.

The monastery has a museum containing many metal artifacts, which is a characteristic of Bosnia. Those are the textile artifacts and a valuable cover presented to Friar Andjelo Zvizdovic by Sultan Mehmet Fatih, in 1463. That act allowed Franciscans to freely practice their faith in Bosnia.

Apart from that, there is the famous Fojnica Coat of Arms collection, containing about 139 emblems, a numismatic collection and other artifacts.


POČITELJ, Bosnia (April 7,2008) - The southern Bosnian town of Pocitelj has World Heritage aspirations. The Bosnian government has been pushing the case for inscribing Pocitelj on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

This fortified township with mediaeval and Ottoman elements is a fabulous spot, clinging to a sheltered hillside overlooking the Neretva river.

There is an exquisite mosque, a madrasa, hammam baths, an imaret (soup-kitchen) and a sahat-kula (Islamic clock tower). In the housing that tumbles down the hillside, Mediterranean and Oriental influences collide: a medley of hipped and gabled roofs on stone buildings with oriel windows that look out onto little courtyards that shelter fig trees.

Already well known among travellers in Bosnia, for it sits right beside the main road from Dubrovnik to Mostar and Sarajevo, Pocitelj is well aware of its potential appeal to tourists. If it makes it onto the UNESCO List, the crowds will surely come.