People are still leaving Bosnia and Herzegovina. I do not have statistical data on how massive this phenomenon is, but I have, unfortunately, a few examples from my close environment, so I conclude based on conversations with them.
They spent the post-war years in the hope that it would be better - they voted, went out to protest, signed petitions, pointed out, shouted, got nervous… All their initiatives failed, and every protest was ridiculed. A better future has never arrived. On the contrary, new crises are announced, and greater sacrifices are required.
People like my friends are usually called the active sections of the population, because they are capable of initiative and ready for change. They are precious to any society that is seriously planning its future. Ours is not like that.
It seems to me that no one in Bosnia and Herzegovina is thinking about the future anymore. We have been stuck in the same mud for decades. Only the past is important, and it is always debated in the same way - never conciliatory, always aggressive. Political parties base their election strategies on conflict (this is called concern for national interests), there is no rapprochement (this is called weakness), no compromise (betrayal), and only radicalism provides secure votes (as analysts advise).
We have a full calendar of important dates. But other than religious, do you know of one that celebrants greet with a smile? Our state and entity holidays provoke pride in some and contempt in others. Anniversaries of battles, mass sufferings, and heinous crimes are being marked, veterans are lining up, and war flags are being kissed. It insists on dealing with the past, but it does not represent a true confrontation with tragedy, an exploration of cause and effect so that mistakes do not happen again, so that we can avoid new tragedies. Dealing with the past is used to homogenize nations, when they are together it is easier to manipulate, and then mobilization is implied.
Our holidays are not celebrated, they are only marked, because there is no joy in them, only gloomy faces and clenched jaws.
(This year's May Day greetings were sent individually by the members of the Presidency. In them, without mutual agreement, they emphasize the importance of workers' rights. In that way, they very effectively disgusted my Labor Day. As for the New Years, they have long been just a good opportunity to announce a new crisis.)
Of course, not everyone is equally depressed. The media broadcast celebratory statuses from the social networks of national leaders, and details from millions of weddings, family lunches and parties on the occasion of the birth of the heir. Only in these photos are their smiles neither fake nor mocking. In these statuses, we see that they do not live in the past, on the contrary, they carefully build their own better future.
Followers perversely enjoy their happiness as they watch them share copious Eid money or decorate Accordion players with money worth half the average pension.
Families are leaving. They choose places where the future is certain, where the holidays are colourful and harmless, where vampires are at rest, the ghosts of the past are calm and the bequests are not at all sinister. They share with friends items they can't take with them, gifts they carefully choose for their children, paintings they look forward to, desks they inherited, things they thought would stay with them forever, in that beautiful future they have blindly waited for. We accept those gifts, but with some remorse, as if we are guilty of something, as if we have not done enough to help them stay. And we probably haven’t.