Point of No Return

by Marina Antić
Source: Titoland 2.0
January 2, 2015

bosnian-elderlyYesterday, an 82-year old man shot himself on the steps of the RS Presidential Palace in Banja Luka, without a doubt for reasons all too well known to the Bosnian seniors: monthly pensions averaging at about 300KM, expensive medicines, food and shelter, and little help from the state, other than to contemplate further cuts to the social security system, under the advice of the IMF and the World Bank.

Everyday, walking the streets of Sarajevo, you can see the elderly digging through garbage, looking for food. Those lucky enough to have food on the table have taken to leaving their food leftovers in plastic bags hanging on the big garbage containers all around town. Improvised community pantries, Bosnian style.

Or the elderly woman with diabetes who cannot afford the blood sugar monitoring supplies, and must take her insulin blind, each time risking comma or death, because the state sponsored medical system gives the elderly a limited number of glucose measuring strips a month, not nearly enough.

Or the ones who have to heat their homes with wooden stoves, gathering scraps of wood around town, like they did in the war. Or deciding to buy wood over their medicines, food over the heating supplies, etc.

The life of the elderly in Bosnia is getting worse by the day. How many more will need to end their life before the government begins to take care of them? How many more need to rise in desperation before we will begin to turn this system around to take care of its sick, elderly, homeless, and the rest?

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