Bosnien-Herzegowina: Snjezana Mulic – Busatlija

The biggest barricades are in people’s heads.

— Snjezana Mulic – Busatlija

For the past 12 years, Snjezana Mulic-Busatlija has been working to promote and protect human rights, exposing herself to innumerable risks in a militarized environment and a society driven by nationalism and ethnic division. Through her work as a journalist, she has drawn public attention at national and international levels to the conditions of people during and after the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She has never renounced the highest journalistic principles or given in to numerous forms of pressure. Her courage demonstrated that it is possible to implement the Dayton Peace Agreement.

Before the ink on the Dayton Peace Agreement was dry, Snjezana Mulic-Busatlija, a journalist of the magazine “Dani” (The Days) from Sarajevo, already championed the principles guaranteed by the Agreement: freedom of movement, return of refugees and displaced persons to their pre-war homes, reintegration of the disintegrated country. “Armed” with courage, professionalism, and rarely seen enthusiasm, Snjezana went to Mostar – one of the most devastated and divided cities in Europe after the fall of the Berlin wall – in January 1996. Although the town was divided physically into two parts at that time, she succeeded in visiting both parts and writing about “one Mostar.” She also managed to interview the untouchable “Mayor” of so-called West Mostar – Mijo Brajkovic. Her article encouraged the Journalists’ Association of Bosnia and Herzegovina to nominate her as Journalist of the Year in 1996. Immediately after the war, she took the first bus that traveled to the Republika Srpska and wrote a story about the people from “the other side.” In so doing, she demonstrated that it was possible to implement the Dayton Agreement. She was the first journalist from the Federation of Bosnia and Herzogovina to travel to Pale, the war headquarters of Radovan Karadzic and the seat of government of the Republika Srpska. There, she was maltreated and handcuffed for a short time because she dared to come from the “Muslim part of Bosnia and Herzegovina.” In spite of this, she resumed talking to the people about living together and the return of refugees, the minute her handcuffs were removed. She monitored the return of refugees to Bosnia and Herzogovian and wrote about the problems they faced after returning. Snjezana Mulic-Busatlija’s work had a therapeutic effect on still frightened people from both sides and encouraged them to return to their homes.

Dani Magazine Sarajevo Women’s Association Bosancica