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The problem with the Bosnian responses to Macron

10 29 0

In an interview with the Economist earlier this month, French President Emmanuel Macron called Bosnia and Herzegovina a "ticking time-bomb" and claimed that Europe's biggest concern in the Balkans is the "jihadists" returning to the country. Macron's comments came after he vetoed the opening of accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania - two other Balkan nations with significant Muslim populations.

The incident displayed, once again, the contested inclusion of Bosnian Muslims - Europe's most recent victims of genocide - into the European identity. Moreover, the reactions to Macron's comments revealed the Eurocentrism that is prevalent among Bosnians and their allies.

Outraged by Macron's comments about their country, many in Bosnia took swift action to debunk his claims. This was not a difficult task as, of course, the majority-Muslim Balkan country of 3.5 million is not what Macron said it is.

Commentators, analysts and Bosnians pointed out that while France, the largest exporter of foreign fighters to Syria's war, is still struggling to come up with an efficient way of dealing with these individuals' return, Bosnia has already introduced prison sentences of up to 10 years for its citizens who participated in foreign wars. They also pointed out that, unlike France, Bosnia has not seen any terror attacks and, despite political instability, remains a very safe country. Furthermore, they reminded their western neighbours that Bosnia has, for centuries, been a land where various religions, cultures and ethnicities peacefully coexisted.

Some Bosnians, who clearly felt insulted by the way Macron views their country, even extended friendly invitations to the French leader on social media and said that they would be happy to show him how liberal and European the........

© Al Jazeera