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.