The Balkan region is facing its worst social unrest since the end of the war in 1995, as thousands of people in Bosnia-Herzegovina have taken to the streets over the past two weeks to protest against unemployment, poverty and corruption. The protests began in the northern industrial city of Tuzla on February 5 and quickly spread to Sarajevo and at least five other cities, reportedly leaving over 140 police and 20 civilians injured.
The public anger fueling the unrest has defied the country's rigid divisions, drawing participants from across ethnic and religious lines. It has focused attention on the dysfunction of post-war Bosnia and the viability of the Dayton accords that ended the war. One protester in Tuzla told RFE/RL's Balkan Service: "[The politicians] have been doing whatever they want for twenty years. We are asking for resignations. They destroyed our factories, they turned our kids into hooligans and it's time all of that stopped."
We invite you to join Daniel Serwer of Johns Hopkins University's School for Advanced International Studies and our RFE/RL experts in a discussion on the next steps for the Balkans:
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
10 a.m. (Washington, DC) / 4 p.m. (Prague & Sarajevo)
Watch the Hangout here, or via YouTube and Google+)
Daniel Serwer - Professor of Conflict Management and Senior Fellow at the JHU SAIS's Center for Transatlantic Relations and a Senior Fellow at the Middle East Institute, Serwer has led peacebuilding activities in Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan and the Balkans for the US Institute of Peace and, while serving at the US Department of State, mediated between the Croats and Muslims and negotiated the first agreement reached at the Dayton peace talks. Serwer blogs at peacefare.net
Gordana Knezevic - Director of RFE/RL’s Balkan Service since 2008, and previously an online editor with Reuters News Agency in Canada, regularly contributing to the Toronto Star and CBC Radio while there. Before relocating to Canada, Knezevic lived in Bosnia, where she was the Deputy Editor of Oslobođenje, the internationally recognized Sarajevo-based daily paper which never stopped publishing during the Bosnian War. For her work there, she was honored in 1992 with the Courage in Journalism award from the Washington-based International Women’s Media Foundation.
Dzenana Halimovic - Sarajevo Bureau Correspondent who joined RFE/RL 2004 after previously writing for "Oslobođenje," "Vecernje novine" and "Start" magazine, and reporting for the political magazine show "Posteno govoreci" on the state-run BHT television channel. Halimovic was part of the team that produced a series on war crimes issues for XY Films, which won the Erasmus Euromedia Award. She has received an Amnesty International Global Human Rights Award and the 2003 BiH Journalism Union Award for investigative journalism, 2003.
Brian Whitmore, Moderator - Europe Desk Editor for RFE/RL's Central Newsroom and the writer of "The Power Vertical" blog.
We invite you to post questions in advance and follow updates for live links to the Google+ Hangout on Twitter and Facebook.