THE Bosnian war ended either on November 21st 1995, when a peace accord was reached in an American air force base in Dayton, Ohio, or on December 14th, when the accord was signed in Paris.
The Dayton deal allowed the Bosnian state to survive, but divided.
One part is the predominantly Serbian Republika Srpska (RS).
The second is the Federation, a predominantly Bosniak and Croat union divided into ten cantons.
Then there is Brcko, an autonomous town that muddles along by itself.
On paper, Bosnia is no more complicated than Belgium.
In practice it is even more dysfunctional, because being divided has kept the scars of war fresh.
The divisions reproduce themselves in how the anniversary of Dayton is celebrated.If November 21st does not fall on a weekend, as it did this year, only residents of RS get the day off.Bosniaks (but not Croats) celebrate not the 21st but the 25th, the date modern Bosnia was founded by anti-fascist partisans in 1943.That holiday is ignored in RS; it celebrates January 9th, the date it was founded in 1992—precisely in order to divide Bosnia and create a Greater Serbia.On November 26th Bosnia’s Constitutional Court annulled that holiday on the grounds that it was also a Serbian Orthodox religious one, and thus discriminated against Catholic Croats and Bosniaks.Milorad Dodik, the pugnacious Bosnian Serb leader, dismissed the court as a Muslim one, and invited it to “stick this decision you know where.” Not only do Bosnians disagree over celebrating the war’s end, they cannot agree on when it started.