Sunday, November 4, 2012

New blog!

I lived in Mostar from fall of 2007 to spring of 2011. I decided to start a new blog to reflect the fact that I am no longer "Katie in Mostar"... It's called Pilgrimography, and it's a documentary blog following my adventures in small town eastern Bosnia and beyond! I am so excited to share my new blog with you, please come and visit!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

With great sadness I learned last night that Nisvet Dzanko had passed away. Dzanko was a geography teacher turned TV star, the most unpretentious big celebrity in Bosnia. He was known for his show "Positive Geography", where he traveled all over the country, from big cities to tiny villages, listening to people's stories along the way. Truly kind hearted, patient, humble, witty and always insightful and wise. He was universally beloved; he could speak with equal ease to the Mayor of Sarajevo or the old woman selling onions in a small town market. I am so thankful to have had the chance to get to know him. He was such a great support to me for the brief time I worked on Bosnian Federal TV, always taking the time to encourage me and show me the way. The video clip below actually came about because I was so nervous on camera and so he "featured" me in his weekly video as a guest interviewer, to ease me into the work. So typical of him. Hvala ti, Dzanko, na svemu. Puno nam nedostajes!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Street ads

A campaign in Belgrade is making a splash with its poster "I evict Roma (gypsies) from your neighborhood"- like a racial "exterminator" service. The Belgrade city government, as many other governments in Europe and in the region, occasionally "cleans up" informal settlements by evicting all the residents-- this happened in Mostar in 2010. Other slogans from the campaign so far include: "I like your statuses on Facebook"; "Guaranteed prevention of student protests with simple false promises"; "I delay court cases until further notice". Very provocative... and anonymous. The group calls itself "Narodni Oglas", The People's Advertisement.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

On the way to school

Mostar's own Little Red Riding Hood-- a small girl was attacked by a pack of dogs on her way to school. Amazingly, she survived, although she lost one ear and is covered with bites. She is a student from a Roma community where I volunteered with a Novi Most project. Mostar has a large stray dog population and is required by law to establish an animal shelter or at least a pound, which still does not exist. In the past, they solved the problem by shooting problematic dogs, but dog lovers and animal rights activists in the city formed a campaign last year around a dog who was killed this way right in the city center, so they have now stopped that practice. However, they have not yet built the animal shelter. Implementation gap.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Good Friday

20 years after the war, 11541 chairs for each of the citizens killed in Sarajevo during the siege. So moving. (How might a tribute in Mostar have looked?)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Informal settlements

Cities use illegal ghettos to retain control of prime real estate.

Residents of illegal settlements in constant danger of eviction

Sefa Hajrusi, 34 and a father of two, is one of 15 families who will receive housing in 2012 through a project sponsored by Mostar city administration, Swiss Caritas and the Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees (MHRR).

Kathryn Hampton (AbrašMEDIA)

However, he already has a house, one which he built himself several years ago on land owned by the city. There are about 50 other families, also squatters, who have homes in the Hajrusis’ neighbourhood.

Meanwhile, the land parcel to be used for the housing project is home to another large com-munity of squatters in improvised dwellings.

The city takes no responsibility for providing services to the residents, most of whom are without running water or electricity, and on occasion enforces its right to evict the residents, as did Mostar city administration in 2010, when it evicted approximately 40 families for the storage needs of the public road service. None of the families were provided with alternative accommodation or land.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Where has RTV Mostar gone?

RTV Mostar, a local TV station where I worked for several months as a video editor in 2010, has completely disappeared without a word... During my time there, a close partnership with new, commercial news station TV1 had begun in earnest, with constant exchanges of staff and programming. RTVMo gradually lost many main staff members to the Sarajevo TV1 studio and its daily news report was substituted by the TV1 news anchors, however, RTV Mostar retained its own channel and flagship program "Grad" ("City"), a 6 pm, much-watched talk show covering current events in Mostar.

Many employees, including almost all the people I worked with, who were longtime employees of RTVMo, have been fired. Only a few remain in the studio, where they occasionally file "Mostar" stories to the main TV1 studio. The Mostar regulatory agency says that the disappearance of RTVMo is due to technical difficulties.

RTV Mostar, which broadcast throughout the war, and after the war remained the only multi-ethnic TV station in Herzegovina, has vanished without a trace, without a word of explanation.