Amar Imamović – Goražde: “It bothers me that we are wasting our potential and we don’t call it as we see it”



Amar Imamović is a young man from Goražde, who speaks his mind about things that bother him and openly names people who do not do their job. As he himself puts it, he and a group he works with are something like a local office of the ombudsman in Goražde, because they work on protection of human rights, and all their friends, families and neighbors are always happy to discuss with them things that bother them, and they are struggling to dispel all that gloom.

Amar also holds a BA in political science. He got his degree from the University of Sarajevo’s School of Political Sciences. His senior year he spent in France, at the European Volunteer Service, which is a part of Erasmus Program. There he spent for 10 months, working in one of the organizations that deal with culture and young people. It was his stay in France that motivated him to do something for his town, when he got back home, and that is how the International Camp „Murs Murs“, happened in Goražde last July. Nearly one hundred young people from Palestine, Germany, Tunisia, Frane and Belgium participated at the camp together with the hosts in BiH. Amar was the Camp Coordinator, and the camp was merged with the Elza Fest and that became an event which both the participants and people from Goražde will long remember.

Amar Imamović:

In those 10 months, with my friends from Goražde I drafted a project proposal, came back from France, worked with them on overall organization and we generated a major project, which hosted 80 people from six different countries in three continents – from Palestine, Tunisia, Germany, Belgium, France, BiH and Serbia as well. In Goražde, we spent 10 days on defining the position of young people in a democracy, tearing down of the walls in a democracy and strenthening the status of young people in a democracies, and we addressed all that through various various musical, theater, photography and multimedia workshops, where we also published our own newspapers and produced some video materials, and many other things. It was great.

What was the camp called?

The camp was called „Murs Murs“. It is an international camp that has been organized since 2010. This year we held the eight international camp, as we did practically every year. The Murs Murs (pronounced mûr), means „wall“ in French, i.e. „walls, walls“, so the focus is on tearing down the walls, obstacles, and all such things.

Are you now living in Goražde, what are your plans?

For the moment, I am still here, I will be resting in Goražde at least through early October. And then, master’s studies, whether at the Sarajevo University, or abroad… There are a few things up in the air, who knows what will actually work out.

What would be your ideal job, what would you like to do in the future?

My ideal job? I don’t know. From this vantage point, my perception of this entire system – it would be very hard to come up with an ideal job in this system. In essence, it would be exactly what I am doing right now. Because, what I do is not really a job, nor any one thing. It is just a form of a struggle, not just mine, but the struggle of all people who have… not exactly an ideal, or a vision. It is more the matter of perception, that we are able to see things as they are, to call it as we see it.

We are so small relative to other cantons. We have only three municipalities and when it seems that it should be easier for us in some areas, to regulate, be it utility policy, water supply issues or classical infrastructure, anything really, we start messing up, we run into problems. And then, small minded people and partial interests prevail and then we lose so much. This is the problem, in a nutshell.

And you haven’t though about going to live abroad?

I’m not thinking about emigrating, my parents did not leave in 1992, so I absolutely have no choice whether I can go. One good thing is, our Mayor, although not our real mayor, but our mayor at the Youth Theater, Aldin Džananović, he once said something quite profound: „One should leave to be able to come back. To know what we are coming back to, why are we coming back, to what we are coming back.“

So, leaving to get more education, to „scout the field“, to look for better ideas, it’s OK, but as to a longer period, and staying abroad, I think…

This is our land and if we leave, other people will come, and that certainly is not in our interest. At least that’s what I think.

What is it that bothers you most about Goražde?

What bothers me in Goražde… Well, if you asked other people, „You know Amar Imamović, what do you think what bothers him in Goražde,“ they would say, „Wow, everything bothers him.“

And it’s not exactly that everything bothers me, but 90% of it does. I don’t mind these good people, gentle, real people, who are struggling, who realize where we are, what we are. But everything else bothers me, because everything here is quasi – quasi elites, quasi culture, quasi… everything.

Our city has been reduced to a single street, which is literally „L“ shaped, and not even well maintained and nice. Our city is so beautiful, but I have a problem to explain it to so many people who come to visit, that it is a beautiful city, but it does not exist as they see it in one hour they spend here, or two days, or five, or seven.

It is an amazing city, but I am truly bothered that we have the Drina River, and we cannot talk enough about the Drina, but we hardly use the river. The approach to the river is so dangerous. We are brave people, so we will not say, „dangerous“. But it had not been regulated as well as we deserve. We have this quarter of the Drina River, which is literally everything we have left where we can do anything, and then we run into problems. We have this rafting, which is advertized as a brand, but you can more often see a house sail down river than a raft.

We do not have a cinema. There is one in Rogatica, and in Višegrad, in Foča they have 3D movies and screens – in Goražde we have 6D stories for little kids. That’s all we have. We do not have an aqua park. And perhaps we do not need one. Let’s say someone promises it, say the Mayor promises it for 2020, and probably, just before those elections, an excavator would show up and then he will pick up another mandate. And that’s not politics, that’s not morality, that’s not ethics. It is something else. It’s just a game.

It bothers me that we have such a predominant Turkish influence in Goražde. we do not value the city as our city, we do not appreciate some things that should be appreciated. Why don’t we make use of the Tower of the Herzeg Stjepan Kosača, which, in truth, is not in our municipality, but, never mind, it’s close by. Why don’t we have, and why are we not making it the foundation for any kind of tourism, for history, anything. We should host professors, pupils, archaeology students, everyone. There are all those necropolises with medieval tombstones – Goršić tombstone necropolis has 320, it is one of three in BiH with more than 300 – and no one in Goražde knows about it. This is a problem.

Obviously, I’m on a roll, I could say much more, but… I am bothered that all my friends are still in the park, just like last year. And it is just like that classic hip hop tune, which people may not know so well… It goes like this:

„Where are all my buddies, in the park, just like last year.

Therefore I clench my fist and I don’t want to show fear.“

In essence, that’s pretty much it. Wherever we go in Goražde, it is as if the time stood still. We would like to change things, but in reality we are all in the same boat. This is so much like that experiment with cooking the frog, and we should fight it.

How could it be changed?

It could be easily changed – let us just call things as we see them. It’s true that, most likely, people here, I looked into it, so I feel that people are a bit vain. Not a bit, quite a bit, but, let’s be optimistic, let’s say, a bit vain. So, when people realize that they are led by idiots and that idiots are making decisions, when they understand that the decisions that had been made, for instance, on the state level, whether the highway will go through Počitelj, or whether this Belgrade – Sarajevo road would even would connected to Goražde, or it would go through Tuzla, and for us it is like, „OK, it’s water under the bridge. We easily get over everything, including such decisions.

I simply feel, when we recognize that not everything that goes on is clean, then we feel as if we humiliated ourselves. While, in fact, that’s exactly how we discard those things that are real, and move on. The problem is really how to address – if we could only resolve vanity. How do we get rid of vanity. Well, I don’t know that. That is for doctors to say. I can talk like this, with my friends I can consider my own destiny, and the destiny of other people, but as to wider issues, I cannot say.

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