After being lied to over and over again and voting party after party into government, only to see the same corruption spread, a town in Bosnia just banned all politicians.
Bosnian politicians are wrapping up their final days of campaigning this week as elections are scheduled for Sunday. But there is at least one town that won’t allow them to pass. Podgora is that place, and it is full of people who’ve become tired of being lied to over and over again.
“You’ve been lying to us for years. No party is welcome in Podgora,” reads a white banner strung across the main square of the 700-person village, which lies some 30 kilometres (18 miles) from the capital Sarajevo, the AFP reported.
As the AFP reports:
Sunday’s general elections will fill Bosnia’s highest political offices, from a three-person presidency down to district assemblies.
But few are expecting significant change in a nation that has been paralyzed for decades, in part because of unresolved conflicts dating back to the ethnic conflicts that engulfed Bosnia in the 1990s.
The war killed 100,000 and split the country into two largely autonomous regions linked by a weak central government.
Like huge swathes of the population, the people of Podgora are disillusioned by a political class known chiefly for corruption and dysfunction.
“Enough lies!” Adi Silajdzic, 47, told the AFP when they asked him why he supports the ban on politicians. “We’re fed up that every time they come they tell us stories and make promises to ensure votes.”
Thanks to decades of corruption and empty promises, Silajdzic and many others are poor and jobless because corrupt political interests have sold them out time and again.
“And every time, on the day after the elections, it is as if nothing had happened, as if they did not even come to see us,” he said.
The residents of Podgora aren’t bluffing either. A few careless politicians didn’t heed the warning and entered the town anyway to hang up their political signs, but they were quickly torn down. To reiterate their point, one of the locals took the political sign and spray-painted a message on the back. It said, “Did you read it? People have had enough.”
Silajdzic explained to the AFP that they are the ones who keep the town running—not the government. When something is broken, the people pool their own resources and fix it.
“We are the ones who replace bulbs for the street lights,” said Silajdzic.
“We do not have a single garbage container, there is no bus, and the drinking water supply system was constructed before the war with asbestos cement pipes that were not replaced,” he explained.
Just to get elected, the politicians have been shoving lies down the throats of the people and they have not only stopped buying it, but have become cynical in the process.
“They have promised so many times to pave the streets that the cement should be at least one meter thick by now,” Osman Hasic jokingly told the AFP.
When the AFP asked Vedad Silajdzic why he supports the blockade, his answer echoes what we’ve been saying at the Free Thought Project for years.
“We changed, voted for one (party), then for others, but it’s still the same,” said Silajdzic, a 43-year-old construction worker.
“They are all the same. They fight for the armchair and once in it, they do not think about people anymore,” Hasic added.
To those who think the radical idea of kicking out corrupt government would end in chaos, consider the town of Cherán in Mexico.
As the Free Thought Project reported last month, a town in Mexico recently celebrated seven years since kicking out the corrupt narco government and reverting back to an indigenous form of self-governance.
In the town of Cherán, in Michoacán, Mexico, a system of traditional indigenous law-enforcement and accountability continues to guide the people. In early 2011, residents of Cherán created armed militias to fight off illegal logging and drug cartels in their community. The community kicked out politicians and police accused of ties to the drug cartels and began a new system of governance based on Purhépecha traditions.
After kicking out their corrupt politicians and police, Cherán has thrived in peace and has one of the lowest crime rates in the entire country.