By 1st Lt. Philippe Mouret
First published in
SFOR Informer#125, October 31, 2001
An Environmental Protection Day took place in
Kalinovik on Oct. 20. The event was organised by SFOR, the municipality
and the German Heinrich Bll Foundation, with the cooperation
of the Sarajevian Association of Citizens for Sustainable Development
Stimulation and Quality of Life (FONDEKO).
Kalinovik - Kalinovik is in Republika Srpska (RS),
about 40 kilometres to the South of Sarajevo. The city is perched
in the middle of one of the karstic landscapes that are so characteristic
of the region. These calcareous plateaus, eaten into by water,
are strewn with dolines or poljes, which look like lunar craters.
It was in this moon-like scenery that the Environmental Protection
Day was held, which rallied 700 children, from ages 6 to 16, and
who came from both Entities. They are schooled at Kalinovik, Sarajevo,
Hadzici, Srpsko Gorazde and Gorazde. "To reunite them was
our first objective," said Rudolf Mauch, program coordinator
of Heinrich Bll Foundation.
A study morning
Cengic, executive director of FONDEKO, showed a short film that
displayed a camper unconcerned about nature and battling against
a bear. The bear quickly defended itself by using karate moves,
and the children roared with laughter. Cengic commented: "This
film illustrates the resistance that nature should set against
attacks of man. But the human being is assaulted himself in his
environment by industries, pollution, noise We should have in
mind that we are a part of a whole..." Pupils listened intently,
Capt. Gerd Katzer, from the German Battle Group (GEBG), took his
place on the stage. He explained: "You must keep in mind
nature protection to become responsible adults. After growing,
you will change things."
The meeting took place in Kalinovik's community hall decorated
with drawings painted by the pupils. These revealed a large awareness
of all pollutions: those, common to environmental deterioration,
but also those unfortunately specific to BiH, mines.
In the afternoon, children spread throughout Kalinovik armed with
plastic gloves, shovels, rakes and big bin liners. The young people
performed their mission diligently, but this task also allowed
for new games. Gloves make tremendous water bombs.
The work started again. It was necessary to dig holes to plant
three trees and install a plaque to commemorate this day. Under
the command of German 1st Lt. Michael Godel, from Psychological
Operations, the small troop pounced on the tools. The City Mayor,
Niko Avram, arrived to chair the ceremony accompanied by Brig.
Gen. Bernd Kiesheyer, the commander of GEBG. SFOR offered the
plaque and a tree. The other two trees were donated by the Heinrich
Bll Foundation and the Mirko newspaper.
A new hope
This event was a success, all the more so because the weather
was nice. The only downside was that the Kalinovik people were
not able participate in the event. Godel explained: "This
is one of the poorest region of RS. The first concern of the population
is still to be able to subsist." Avram specified: "It
is Saturday, people don't work, but they go to the field or do
other work to improve daily life."
Nevertheless, hope is back. Valida Kalender, a student who received
a scholarship from the Heinrich Bll Foundation concluded: "Sometimes
I wish to leave BiH, but when I see people working together, as
today, I resume confidence."
Nations of SFOR: Germany