“Why is there no sex in Bosnian government departments?”

Language of Liberty Institute (LLI) returned to Bosnia for our first events of 2014. Bosnia was the location of our last event for 2013 in December, but while we had a Liberty Seminar in the capital Sarajevo then, this time we held seminars in two country towns, Tuzla and Zenica, the location of our two Bosnian partners in spreading liberty, MULTI in Tuzla, run by Admir Čavalić, and the Center for the Advancement of Free Enterprise (CAFE) in Zenica, run by Edo Omerčević. Incidentally, a few weeks ago, Tuzla was the location of the first major uprising against the government of Bosnia. Whilst overshadowed by the event in the Ukraine, it was significant for Bosnia as the anger, frustration and dissatisfaction with the government spilled over into the streets of several cities in Bosnia, including the capital. This could be a “wakeup-call” for the government, although it is still too early to judge. The trigger for the Tuzla uprising (which became the trigger for the demonstrations that followed) was the loss of jobs by employees of former state enterprises that had been privatized and given to friends and relatives of the ruling elite. With no experience or competence to run the businesses, the new owners stripped the companies of their assets (for some quick and easy cash) and then let the companies fail and go into bankruptcy, causing the loss of jobs and the anger of the affected employees who have now joined the ever-growing ranks of unemployed in Bosnia. The Tuzla demonstration was followed by protests in other parts of Bosnia, including Zenica and the capital, to display the general anger and dissatisfaction of the population with a government marked by nepotism, cronyism, corruption and incompetence. A joke making the rounds in Bosnia, and even the world, is typical …

Language of Liberty Institute (LLI) Events in December 2013

Following the camps in Ethiopia, we headed to the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina, for the Language of Liberty Institute’s first event in that country. The 2-day seminar on Liberty and Entrepreneurship was organized by two previous Liberty Camp students, Edo Omerčević from the local economic think tank Centar za poslovnu afirmaciju and Admir Čavalić from the local NGO Multi. Both men are founders of their respective organizations and very active in the promotion of liberty and free enterprise . Some 16 students attended the seminar and we enjoyed instructive discussions on the current state of Bosnia in terms of ease of doing business, taxation, bureaucracy, and government interference in the lives of people generally. Unfortunately, Bosnia’s ratings on these issues are among the lowest in Europe and it is not easy to start a new business. A few of the students were actual entrepreneurs, mainly in the IT industry, and the obstacles that government bureaucracy places in their way are  very counterproductive and will not help the country in its economic development. Bosnia is still recovering from its recent tragic history of the mid-1990s and we had the opportunity visit the Srebrenica Gallery with its haunting images of the 13 July 1995 massacre of thousands of people in this village not that far from the Bosnian capital. The Old Town of Sarajevo was more positive, with mosques, a synagogue, an Orthodox church and a Roman Catholic cathedral all in close proximity to each other, demonstrating the traditional atmosphere of tolerance and pluralism. This year, Sarajevo will be remembered for the 100th anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Franz-Ferdinand on 28th June, that triggered  World War I. There is certainly a lot of history here and not far from Tirana, Albania, the location for this year’s ISIL World Liberty Summit from 28 to31 August – an …