Twenty years have gone by since the beginning of the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and sixteen years have passed since the signing of the Dayton Accords marking the end of the war. The only difference between the three and a half years of war and the sixteen years of peace is that people are no longer killing each other off, they are dying of natural causes. Nothing else has changed one iota. The balance of power is the same. The Serbs are still the “aggressors” and the Bosnians the “victims”.

The position of victim in peace time perfectly suits the Bosnian political, cultural and religious elites. According to them, the very meaning of the Bosnian nation is sublimated in its victimisation. Because, once the Bosnians stop being victims, there will be no need to defend them, to avenge them and to bury them alive under this myth.

This would remove the raison d’être of the patriotic elites who survive as long as there is an enemy threatening those who escaped from the horrors of war. And if an enemy is lacking, aggressors that outnumber the Bosnians can always be mobilised against, and a victim can never be totally free.

The system was conceived to function permanently and systematically. Those who do not see the Bosnians exclusively as victims of genocide are called defenders of Serbian crimes, even advocates of Milorad Dodik [President of the Republika Srpska, Bosnia's Serbian political entity], or followers of Ratko Mladic [commander of Bosnia's Serbian forces during the war and now on trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia]. That is Bosnia's Catch 22. The true patriot fights for freedom as a theoretical possibility, not for actual freedom – which includes the freedom not to be a victim, the most horrid and dangerous of freedoms.

Jolie and Bosnia, Borat and Kazakhstan

State tributes to this eternal victim are always spectacular and organised in major sports centres such as the Zetra [built for the 1984 Winter Olympics]. That was the venue of the recent premiere showing of Angelina Jolie's film, “In the Land of Blood and Honey”. The same film was decried a few months earlier by veterans, village muftis and Sarajevo's Minister of Culture, all outraged by the scenario (which they had not read) in which a Bosnian woman, raped by Serbian soldiers, falls in love with a Serbian. For this Angelina Jolie was dubbed a “Serbian whore”.

Having later learned that it is the Serbs who in the film attack the Bosnian woman, they awarded the film's director the Golden Lily, the country's highest distinction. Thus the ritual held at the Zetra was not experienced as a movie premiere but as a ceremony to award an international victim certificate. “Angelina Jolie's film is the best thing that happened to Bosnia- Herzegovina since the Dayton Accords,” Grand Mufti Mustafa Ceric even said after the premiere, having been promoted for the occasion to the rank of “best-known film critic”.

Thus Angelina Jolie represents for Bosnia-Herzegovina what Sasha Baron Cohen, alias Borat Sagdïev represented for Kazakhstan – a serious international reference, even if the two films are poles apart. It follows, like it or not, that Bosnia and Kazakhstan are lost countries that need to be recognised by Hollywood to justify their existence. This is certainly detrimental to Bosnia-Herzegovina, given that at least the elites of Astana had not called "Borat" the worst thing that could happen to Kazakhstan since independence was proclaimed.