Tuesday 6 March 2012: International borders
Today I crossed two international borders between three states which didn't exist before 1991 and photographed a bridge over the River Sava from Bosnia to Croatia which will be the external border of the EU in 2013 and is set fair to become a Schengen border some time after that.
Moreover, it was the bridge across which the friend and colleague with whom I am travelling walked with his mother and sister, as a refugee from Sarajevo, in April 1992, escaping to Croatia.
Brcko, on the BiH side of the border, is an interesting case. It has a very particular status within BiH, in relation to the so-called entities, and is in effect a self-governing and integrated territory, with a municipal government which runs most things which have an effect on the ground. Its citizens can be characterised as a third type of citizen in BiH. Brcko struck me as quite prosperous and well integrated, and rather multicultural in the way that various expressions of identity were juxtaposed in a way that suggested greater mutual respect than is evident in other parts of Bosnia. But obviously given the length of our visit, my impression would have to be characterised as rather superficial. But it does demonstrate that sometimes the imposition of civic institutions (by the international community) can actually work.