I must admit that I find extremely irritating Bosniak politicians', journalists' and entrepreneurs' pathological dedication to principles, regularly expressed and proven over the last years on only one example - the case of Mostar "Aluminij". That strict and consistent insistence on the revision of illegal privatization, that enthusiasm to return the ethnic composition of its employees to the pre-war proportions, that social and national reflex that springs to life at every mention of ethnically cleansed former poor workers of "Aluminij" simply irritate with their hypocrisy and perfidy.
Why?! Isn't it true that this a case of a sort of economic apartheid? Isn't it true that trade-unionists all over Europe are horrified by this case?
Of course it is true. There is no point arguing about that. However, the underlying context of this principled national-romantic hysteria about the ethnic privatization of "Aluminij" hides a sizeable lie. The implication is that "Aluminij" is the most profitable company in Bosnia-Hercegovina only because it was ethnically cleansed and Croatized based on Tudman's recipe. And that is totally untrue. The more recent economic history of Croatia is full of "Tudman-style" ethnically privatized companies that disappeared in whirlpools of bankruptcy, and unsuccessful restructuring. Therefore, did Mijo Brajkovic, with plentiful support of capital from abroad, manage to turn "Aluminij" into a successful company only because he is an extreme nationalist, or thanks to his entrepreneurial qualities?
Prior to every election in Mostar the "patriotic" Bosniak block, led by Safet Orucevic kept telling voters that after that election, by force if necessary, they would return pre-war employees of "Aluminij" to their former jobs and secure for them monthly salaries of more than $500. In this collective mirage residents of Mostar forgot to ask their leaders why, for starters, until the gates of "Aluminij" open to them, they do not open at least ajar the gates of the Tobacco Factory Mostar for a few Serbs and Croats out of many who used to work there before the war. Because that was not included in the political agreement between the Croat-Bosniak political elite. Just like Edhem Bicakcic allowed Dragan Covic to privatize "Soko" (that is pillage, loot, destroy) on the cantonal level, thus Ivan Prskalo (former mayor and deputy mayor of Mostar) allowed Safet Oricevic to appoint the governing board of the Tobacco Factory. The fact that in the re-capitalization of "Aluminij" Tudman and Susak had more say than Bosniak duo Izetbegovic-Orucevic, was a logical consequence of the rules of the game tacitly established by "partners" in their strategic political and national communications.
In Mostar and in other parts of the Federation BH everything was divided to "ours" and "yours". The drama with "Aluminum" started when Brajkovic, instead of using its cellars for storage of thousands of grenades, or slicing it into peaces and destroying it (as Covic did with "Soko"), decided to rebuild this factory based on European technological standards. It is almost irrelevant at this time with what political support and with whose money he did that.
Of course, it cannot be relevant to what extent the state capital suffered in that operation, and it is clear that the state will fight for its property to the last. But, in that, it should be taken into account how much the state earns from every ton of produced aluminum and how much is lost from every piece of iron exported by Zenica steelworks with Kuwaiti assistance.
Therefore, we should finally reject the perfidiously constructed trade-unionist and nationalist babbling that "once the rule of law is established" "Aluminij" will be just like in the good old times "both Croat, Serb and Bosniak". It will not! The future and fate of "Aluminij" belong to big global capital with which the state (and not only Brajkovic) should start serious and productive negotiations. Processes through which Brajkovic's company has gone through are, let us be honest, irreversible. Neither will the global capital that has entered or will enter "Aluminij" allow Brajkovic to create nationalist economic enclaves, nor will on the other hand it be inclined to tolerate "strict ethnic equality" based on the 1991 population census.
Let us offer as an illustration the example of Sarajevska Pivara [Sarajevo Brewery], also a highly profitable company. The likelihood of the return of the ethnic structure of its workforce to its pre-war state is in the domain of science fiction. Hilmo Selimovic is the owner of Sarajevska Pivara and he is to be credited with the fact that 99 percent of its employees are Bosniaks. Over the last years the state has unsuccessfully attempted to get as much as possible of the brewery's capital. In the meantime the multinational company Pepsi-Cola has entered the brewery. Every attempt by the authorities to endanger Pepsi's interests in the brewery would most likely be sanctioned by SFOR General John Sylvester with aerial attacks on the government's offices. That's how it is, not only in Sarajevo, but also in (western) [Croat dominated] Mostar. Where Bosniak employees won't be taken into "Aluminij" either by Safet Orucevic or Neven Tomic, but only by investments from abroad that will produce new jobs!