No Joke

An Englishman, a Welshman and a Bosnian walked into a kitchen shop. It could be the start of a joke. It happened today, and it honestly felt like we’d stumbled into a retail version of The Office. I had decided I’d regale you with this comedy of errors and customer disservice when I remembered I actually have something sobering, something of substance to write about.

We may have just had May Day, the widely recognised holiday for workers, but there is little to celebrate for Mostar’s municipal workers. They have yet to be paid this year. This somewhat unbelievable situation has been allowed to happen because Mostar has no Mayor. Why Mostar has no Mayor is anyone’s guess. I know the Mayor is not directly elected but appointed by elected politicians. It’s probably six months since those responsible for making an appointment were elected themselves. The ensuing political deadlock has lead to one group of activists fly-posting the town with various slogans and suggestions – like appointing a donkey!

Some of these workers have received a couple of months of lunch allowance. That means the lucky ones have taken home 300KM for four full months work. Crude approximations make that 20KM a week. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the princely sum of £1.50 a day – or about two dollars. You could say it’s better than nothing, but one person’s lunch money only buys one person one meal. It’s true the Bible tells us Jesus fed five thousand with one boy’s lunch but for most people that’s not the reality they live in. However, if this crisis continues much longer we’ll need to see that kind of miracle in Mostar if those affected are to have any chance of surviving.


The politics in Mostar is something else. I don't know how they are able to get away with it. And it is so sad as it is really holding up everyone elses efforts to get on with their lives.

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