Sunday, 30 September 2012


After just 99 days of this blog going public, we have managed to topple the 15,000 views milestone.

Thank you to everyone who has ever clicked onto this page to have a read; particularly those who are regular readers and contributors.

Upon creating the blog, I honestly could not have anticipated this sort of response. Truthfully, I would have been stoked to have received 500 views after these first 100 days.

Not meaning to boast, but I gain further pride due to the regular messages I receive from people - mostly strangers - providing me with compliments about my work.

Sorry to dust-off the cliche book here, but it is things like that which make it all worthwhile, and motivate me to continue what I am doing here.

Once again; thank you so much.

Football: Celik Zenica v Zeljeznicar

Finally some photographic proof I was actually at a Celik
There was an atmospheric and enjoyable match of football played last night in Zenica, with Celik playing host to reigning league champions Zeljeznicar.

Sadly - for us 'Zenicani' - Celik was, once again, on the receiving end of a defeat; losing 2-1 on this occasion. After a promising opening month to their campaign, Celik are now languishing in 10th position on the table, with relegation seeming like a greater possibility than any hopes of finishing in a position to qualify for Europe (they would need to finish no lower than fourth).

Nonetheless, as previously stated, the atmosphere was, characteristically, fantastic. It perfectly supported my opinion, less than a fortnight ago, when I stated that football is truly nothing without its fans.

Here are some photos and videos of the evening:

Friday, 28 September 2012

Things I'll miss about Bosnia: #1

Here is a new little 'segment' I will bring to you on this blog from now on; 'Things I'll miss about Bosnia'.

In case you are unaware, I do intend to be travelling back home to Australia sometime in the next few months. When exactly, I do not know, but the fact is; I will not be in Bosnia forever.

Lately, upon realisation of this, I have begun to appreciate every little thing that I will not have once I am back in Australia.

So, beginning from today, here are just some of those things which I am talking about. Although many, if not most, of them may not exactly be Bosnian, they are stuff which I have found to be freely available in this nation - to the contrary with Australia - and are the little things which have helped build memories of my time here.

Therefore, and without further to do ... I bring you the first cab off the rank.

#1 - Clipsi Max: Sweet Chilli

These are a flavour of potato chips that are sold in just about every supermarket or petrol station I have visited in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). The cost of a standard 35-grams packet is just 60 fenings (that's around 35 cents in Australia). Not bad! They taste brilliant, and are an absolute must-have whenever I simply glimpse at them - even when I am not hungry! Every other flavour I have tasted in BiH certainly pale in comparison.
Indeed, I may need to stock up on a bunch of these before I jet back home; unless someone discovers a store or two in Melbourne that distributes them - I would be greatly indebted to you!
There is no greater feeling than these cone-shaped beauties being munched on in your mouth, believe me.

Just check out what state I am in when I have my hands on these sweet chilli chips(!):

Can't sit still: Shaking with excitement when 'that' red packet is in
my hands. 

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

2014 World Cup Qualifying: Balkan nations.

Edin Dzeko will be key to Bosnia-Herzegovina's hopes
of qualifying for their first FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
Now to more positive news; A number of Balkan nations have made promising starts to their qualifying campaigns for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, which is due to be held in Brazil.

After the first two match-days, 7 countries out of a possible 10 are undefeated: Serbia (1 win, 1 draw), Croatia (1W, 1D), Bulgaria (1W, 1D), Romania (2W), Bosnia-Herzegovina (2W), Greece (2W) and Montenegro (1W, 1D).

The signs are good, especially when it is considered that only three Balkan nations (Serbia, Greece and Slovenia) were successful in qualifying for the previous World Cup in South Africa in 2010.

In the case of Bosnia-Herzegovina; they will be looking for their first ever qualification into the World Cup finals - and many pundits believe their current team is capable of achieving that goal.

After obliterating minnows Liechtenstein 8-1 away from home, followed by a comprehensive 4-1 victory over Latvia on home soil a few days later, BiH's national side seem primed for their first 'real' test - an away fixture to Greece in Athens.
Some have suggested that Greece is the only thing stopping Bosnia from finishing atop of their qualifying group, so the October 12 match is sure to draw plenty of attention.

Bosnia-Herzegovina will then back up from that match with a fixture at home against Lithuania; of which I plan to attend. So, yes, I am most certainly on the bandwagon, people! Hajmo Bosna!

Check out the cracking goal scored by Edin Dzeko to round out BiH's 4-1 defeat over Latvia in Zenica two weeks ago:

The reality ...

I hate to be all doom-and-gloom, but I felt the need to post this.

While this photo is a few years old, and I do not know its exact whereabouts, it provides a good illustration of how inhabitants of this nation feel about their way of life.

It acts in stark contrast to us Australians, who love telling ourselves how we are all members of 'The Lucky Country'. 

Some might interpret the following as a bit of black humour, while others might be saddened.

Nonetheless, somewhere on a wall in Bosnia and Herzegovina ...

"Just 4 million people have the luck to live in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 
others do not have that luck ... 
But they have everything else."

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Zenica remembers Amer Pivic

A life too short: Amer Pivic, 1994 - 2012.
Zenica marked Tuesday as an official day of mourning to commemorate the life of Amer Pivic, the 18-year-old accidentally killed by a stray bullet during a gun-battle on Saturday evening.

As a mark of respect across the city, flags were flown at half-mast; shopping centres and retail outlets refrained from playing music; radio stations played only 'soft' music, mostly without lyrics; while thousands of people attended Amer's funeral in his home suburb of Klopce.

On an emotional day for the entire city, free buses ran to the cemetery from the bus stop where the teenager was killed on Saturday.

Here are some fantastic and moving pictures and video that have been captured by ZenicaBlog and Klix.


For more photos from the funeral of Amer Pivic, click on the following:


1994 - 2012

Monday, 24 September 2012

The dark side of Zenica

This would be the scene of the bus stop little more than
half-an-hour after Amer first arrived there.
It is approaching half-past-nine on Saturday evening in Zenica's town centre, and eighteen-year-old Amer Pivic is waiting at the bus stop to catch a ride home to Klopce, a suburb only a few minutes drive away.

Normally Amer would stay out longer but, as he told his parents, he is feeling tired after a long day and is deciding to head home early.

Everything appears normal. Cars are idling by; the cafes are full; while, crowds of people are bustling along the city square only a hundred metres away. One might say it was simply just another Saturday night in this central Bosnian city.

Suddenly, at what seems like the flick of a switch, everything changes.

Gunshots begin to ring out. A dozen, perhaps, maybe more.

A number of men armed with guns, including rifles, are chasing down and attempting to kill 26-year-old Dzemal Mahmic, along with his friend Goran Popovic - two men who may or may not have been armed themselves. (Local media reports state that at least 5 or 6 guns were used in the conflict.)

During the chaos, bullets begin to fly aimlessly. Tyres and windows from adjacently-parked cars are blown out from misdirected shots; but it is not just auto-mobiles in the line of fire.

Innocent passers-by are aplenty, and it is only a matter of time before one of them is injured. Semir Basic, 25, receives a gunshot wound to his leg, but it is not life-threatening.

Amer Pivic was just 18-years-old when
he was shot and killed on Saturday
evening. (Source: Facebook)
Unfortunately, Amer Pivic, the young boy waiting for his bus-ride home, is not so lucky. A stray bullet strikes him directly in his chest. Pivic instantly drops to the ground.

As the violence moves elsewhere, onlookers rush to Amer's aid.

Watching the events unfold from the seat of his car, twenty-year-old Ajdin Kokic heroically stops by the side of the road to help Pivic, before placing him inside the car and rushing him to the city's first-aid centre. In the hands of doctors, Amer receives initial treatment before he is rushed to Zenica's main hospital across the other side of town. Sadly, however, it is all to be in vain.

After bravely hanging on to life for another 30 minutes, Pivic dies upon arrival at the hospital. Mahmic and Popovic - the initial targets of the attempted execution - are also rushed to the hospital in a serious condition, but are alive.

News reports quickly start to spread of a teenage boy who has been killed in crossfire. Frantically, parents around Zenica begin calling their loved ones to ensure that it was not them that was the victim. Fortunately, for most parents, their child answers the call to reassure them; but, tragically, for the parents of Amer Pivic, the truth is much bleaker.

Fast forward to now - almost 48 hours on from the incident - and the whole city of Zenica is still shell-shocked.

Many are beginning to ask questions.

How could this happen? How could an innocent boy die so publicly? In the centre of a city at Saturday night peak-hour?

Others are simply intimating that they cannot wait to leave this city and this country altogether.

On Sunday at midday, more than a hundred locals gathered at the very spot where Amer Pivic's bloody body had lay just a few hours earlier. Flowers were placed alongside candles on the seat of the bus stop.

While some may have looked at the congregation as people using the opportunity to pay their respects to a young life lost, the truth is that it was much more than just that.

The people of Zenica are sick and tired of mindless, gross violence occurring on their streets. They are sick of not being able to walk around their own city without the feeling of safety and comfort.

Many of the people who gathered at that bus stop on Sunday were thinking to themselves about how often they walk through that very area. They were thinking about the times that they themselves were standing in that spot waiting for the bus to arrive. Very much so, they were thinking, 'That could have been me' - and the same could be said for thousands of others across Zenica who were not there on Sunday.

Now, many of the locals are worried and nervous. Although some suspects have been taken into custody, the possibility of reprisal attacks are certainly not out of the equation.

Moreover, if people are un-fazed with blazing bullets in such a public area, and believe that they can get away with it, then what is there to stop something like this from happening again?

A snapshot of the scenes of violence. (Source: ZenicaBlog)
While a greater police presence in and around the streets may be a temporary measure, it is not the solution.

Tighter checks on those carrying guns might be an option, but it would cause a lot of division from citizens of a country who, only a few years ago, relied on such weaponry to defend their nation at war.

One of the only ways to prevent such an incident from taking place again is for Bosnia-Herzegovina to get its justice system in order and to properly punish whoever is involved in these types of events.

It is one thing for criminal gangs to settle their scores in private, but it is something completely different as soon as innocent members of the public become victims.

Every stone must be turned to find out the who, what, where, why and how. There is no more half-arsed investigating and allowing cold-blooded killers to walk free after just a few years behind bars.

A boy of just 18 years lost his life; a mother and father lost a son; another boy lost his brother.

Let the sentencing finally reflect those facts.

Nobody here wants to be the next Amer Pivic laying dead on the pavement.

Rest in peace / Pocivaj u miru
Amer Pivic
1994 - 2012.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Zenica candidate banned from elections over porn

Mirad Hadziahmetovic has found himself in trouble after
using pornography to attract voters in a local election
campaign. (Source:
A candidate has been kicked out of the running for the mayor of Zenica after it was discovered he was using online porn to attract voters.

Yes, that's right.

Independent candidate Mirad Hadziahmetovic was given the boot by Bosnia's electoral commission on Friday for uploading pornographic video clips onto his online campaign site.

Hadziahmetovic had previously justified his strategy by stating that he uploaded the videos after realising that large numbers of people utilise the Internet to view sexually-explicit content.

It has been reported that he plans to appeal the decision.

Elections for the mayor of Zenica are due to take place on Sunday October 7.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Photo of the Day: Zenica

I haven't posted one of these for a while, so here's another addition to 'Photo of the Day'; this time, featuring a new round-about that has been constructed in Zenica this year.

'A round-about you say? Why is this so interesting?'

Welllllllllll ... I will have you know that this was, to the least of my knowledge, the first round-about built in Zenica, and you can clearly see how much nicer the whole area looks compared to previously.

I don't know how much this cost, nor if the money should have been spent elsewhere, but still, it is a nice addition to the city. Since the successful construction of this particular round-about, a number of other similar road redevelopments have popped up around the city.

(Source: ZenicaBlog)

Thursday, 20 September 2012

A quick, introductory Bosnian lesson!

Okay, so I was told by someone that my blog posts had started to become too politically-orientated, therefore, today's entry will steer away somewhat from the normal subjects I cover.

Some might, perhaps, think this is a bit overdue, especially since I have used these words on a number of occasions throughout my posts, but today will be short lesson for some of you on typical and common Bosnian words and phrases!

A few of you might think, 'What's the point?', but who knows when it will come in handy, and remember guys; girls are always impressed by someone who is multilingual!

Okay, so where do we start?

How about we act out a scenario where you are meeting someone, or you bump into someone you know - as, in all truth, this is the most common situation I find myself in when I am forced to use Bosnian.

So, lets start with greetings. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, there are a number of ways you can greet someone. Though, sometimes, as I have discovered myself, it is difficult to know which greeting to use to whom, and at what time.

Here is a list of the common greetings used here.

  • Ciao - Cao (This is fine to use, except for with elder people; with older generations, you are expected to speak more formally and respectfully.)
  • Hello - Zdravo (This is probably the safest option when it comes to greeting someone ... usually can be said to anyone, as well as at any time.)
  • Good day / G'day - Dobar dan
  • Good morning - Dobro jutro
  • Good evening - Dobro vece
  • Peace be upon you - Selam-alejkum (This is a popular worldwide greeting used by Muslims; so, obviously, be wary of who you say it to - it wouldn't quite make sense in saying it to a Catholic, for example.)
Now, once you've greeted the person, the next part of the conversation generally involves questions, so ...
  • What's up? - Sta ima? 
  • How are you? - Kako si? (When speaking to an elder person - someone who you need to show greater respect to - you say 'Kako ste?'; 'ste' is the plural form of 'you' - and, in Bosnia, that is how formal respect is expressed through verbal language.)
  • Where are you? - 'dje si? (To be honest, even after seven months here, and hearing it every day, I still can't really explain this one. Nonetheless, it's a popular thing for people to say, so, if you hear it, just go with the flow, that is all I will say.)
Now some basic words and phrases that you may or may not need, in case of an actual proper conversation breaking out (in that case, good luck, because you will probably need it!).
  • Yes - Da
  • No - Ne
  • Good - Dobro
  • Bad - Lose (Pronounced 'lo-she'.)
  • Please - Molim
  • Thank you - Hvala
  • Sorry - Izvini
  • Come on! - Hajde!
  • Lets go! - Hajmo!
  • I love you - Volim te
  • Bon Appetite - Prijatno 
  • My name is .. - Moje ime je ..
  • Collingwood is the best football team in Australia - Collingwood je najbolji fudbalski tim u Australiji
Well, lets be honest, if you read up to the last Bosnian phrase I provided, then you know all there is to know in this special language.

Now that the conversation has reached its conclusion, just remember to be polite, and provide a good ol' fashioned 'Vidimo se' ('See you later') before you leave.

Thanks guys, hopefully you learned something today; whether it was a few new Bosnian terms, or the fact that I will never be a qualified language teacher, I am sure it was useful to your brain.

Until next time!

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Football: Away supporters set to be forbidden in BiH again

Ivica Osim. (Source:
After a number of violent fan-related incidents over the weekend, the Football Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina (FFBiH) looks set to re-impose a blanket ban on all away supporters at matches - merely 6 weeks after it lifted the prohibition.

Speaking to media on Tuesday, Ivica Osim, the Chairman of the Committee for the Normalisation of the FFBiH, suggested that away supporters must again be forbidden following the recent unsavoury incidents.

Over the weekend, a number of off-field incidents made headlines in the local papers. These occurrences included:
  • A number of pubs and cafes receiving extensive damage following clashes between supporters of Zeljeznicar and Zrinjski Mostar; 38 people were arrested.
  • Borac fans tearing out seats and smashing windows on their train ride back to Banja Luka following their match against Celik Zenica.
  • A mini-bus carrying nine Slavija Sarajevo fans being attacked and set alight by an unidentified group whilst passing through Mostar on their return from an away trip in Gabela. 
Osim was straight-forward when outlining what course of action would follow.

"There are not many dilemmas," he said. "We will again forbid organised away support at matches."

The 71-year-old continued on, saying that it was a "mistake" to remove the ban, and that the situation was now "worse than it was before."

"Now it shows how much we were right in the first place," Osim said. "If something doesn't work, then it simply doesn't work. It can't be forced.

"We won't ... wait until someone dies or, God forbid, burns inside a car, so we are sitting down and deciding  what we will do. It is going to be a prohibition, and that's it."


Football for fans!

Although there is little doubting there is an issue of fan trouble in Bosnia-Herzegovina, it must be questioned whether this is a reasonable and adequate measure to be taken.

The blanket ban on organised away support will not prevent further supporter incidents from occurring. Fans will continue to travel to the cities in which their club is playing. When you consider that these away supporters will be looking to evade police surveillance in order to reach the stadium, the likelihood of fan violence taking place is only multiplied.

An example of this occurred in Zenica in late March, when the media reported that Sarajevo supporters - who were defying a previous ban on away fans at a fixture against Celik - were attacked by locals at the stadium when it was discovered who they were. So, does the prohibition of away supporters really prevent trouble from occurring?

The answer to that question is no, and each of the incidents that took place over this most recent weekend could still easily occur, even with a stadium ban; especially when you consider that each incident occurred on the streets.

The support from the travelling 'Robijasi' in
Trebinje last month provided a great atmosphere
to an otherwise dull match.
Furthermore, and lets be frank for a moment, football as a sport is nothing without its fans. The atmosphere created by supporters at football stadiums is what separates it from other sports, and is, arguably, its 'X-factor'.

Last Saturday evening, I attended the fixture between Celik Zenica and Borac Banja Luka. Although the overall attendance only numbered a couple of thousand, the presence of ambient supporters from both sides - around 1000 of Celik's 'Robijasi' along with 200 travelling Borac fans - made for an electric and memorable atmosphere.

As I previously documented on here, I myself travelled to a Celik away fixture to the far-away city of Trebinje. As Trebinje's club is one with a very small fan-base, the only atmosphere being made on that day was by us away supporters.

I would hate to think how dull and boring that match would have been without us there, and, if this ban goes ahead, this will, sadly, become a common sight across many stadiums in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

I, therefore, call on Osim and his colleagues to reconsider such a drastic decision. Keep football for the fans!

Monday, 17 September 2012

'Every family in BiH must have at least five children,' says Turkish PM

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
(Source: Anatolia)
The Turkish Prime Minister has stated the importance of increasing the birth rate in Bosnia and Herzegovina during a fly-in visit to the nation at the weekend.

Speaking to students at the University of Sarajevo on Saturday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stressed that the situation surrounding Bosnia's declining birth rate must be addressed in order to generate a "young and dynamic population".

During his address, Erdogan called upon Bosnian families to have at least five children, whilst drawing reference to a previous statement he made in Turkey, in which he signalled for every family to have at least three children.

The Prime Minister believed that taking such action would comprise of a number of benefits for Bosnia-Herzegovina.

"The foundation of the economy is manpower," Erdogan said.

"If there are people there and effort, then there is capital, production and consumption. If there are no people, then there is none of the above.

"Consequently, success is in a young and dynamic population. Economics has developed thanks to the people. Where there is no manpower, you cannot speak about the economy."

Erdogan also sighted issues in other areas of Europe in order to further caution Bosnians.

"Today, one of the biggest problems in European countries, in terms of population, is the large number of old people," he said.

"Therefore, Bosnia and Herzegovina should do something so that it does not fall into this situation."

DURING his visit to Bosnia, the Turkish PM also accepted an award on behalf of Ottoman statesman Isa-Beg Ishakovic, the founder of the Bosnian capital Sarajevo.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

I'm back!

Ciao everyone,

Sadly, my days of relaxing on the Croatian beaches have come to an end, and I have now returned home to Zenica.

The good news is; you can expect to hear from me with a range of new topics in the coming days!

Hope you had a good weekend, and hear from me soon!