Contrast

This past weekend I took a little detour out of  Bosnia and Eastern Europe to go to Belgium. At that point, I have been exclusively in the East since June 10th and thought it would be fun to visit a friend in Western Europe. The culture shock was almost immediate when I got off the plane in Brussels. From the sticker shock, to the diversity, to the soldiers in full kit patrolling the streets with assault rifles, it was a drastic change from Bosnia.

For me, the sharp contrast was really a lesson in the importance of both a functioning central government and stability are for the development of a country. It also made me wonder what Bosnia would be like today if the war here had never happened or even if the postwar period had experienced actual reconciliation instead of the ethnic divisions that exist. Bosnia has immense potential to compete with any Western country and has a natural beauty that is unrivaled. It’s a shame that the recent past and a totally inept government continue to hold it back.

Going back to the West also reminded me of what makes Eastern Europe unique. Eastern Europe has a character all its own and the cities, Sarajevo included, have a soul. In the West, there is of course easy transportation, clean streets, and a wealth of shops and restaurants to fit just about any desire. Yet, the cities lack the corky character and authentic feel that you get in Eastern Europe, and in particular, Bosnia. I really enjoyed my time in the West, but there is no place like Eastern Europe and nowhere I would rather be right now than Bosnia.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s