|How to act||
Građanske grupe, Kultura, Širenje informacija
Bosna i Hercegovina, Tuzla
1993, 1994, 1995, 1996
Forum of Tuzla Citizens
After the first multi-party elections in BiH in 1990, Tuzla became one of the rare municipalities where none of the three ethnonational parties won power, but rather a coalition of leftist non-nationalist parties. During the war, the municipality of Tuzla, led by mayor Selim Bešlagić, actively endeavoured to maintain the existing interethnic social bonds in the city and to preserve Tuzla as an undivided community. But also within Tuzla nationalist voices became stronger, and Bosniak nationalist forces openly called for the establishment of a Muslim Bosnia. In the face of this mounting pressure, the response of Tuzla’s civic forces gained momentum from 1993 in a twofold and interconnected way. On the one hand, more and more citizens started to organise themselves in order to vocally articulate and defend the civic and multi-ethnic spirit of the city against all forms of divisions and nationalism; this happened especially through the newly created Forum of Tuzla Citizens (FTC), led by Vehid Šehić, which quickly acquired more than 10,000 members. On the other hand, the local government led by Mayor Bešlagić also became much more vocal, especially at an international level, in promoting Tuzla as a model of civic and interethnic cooperation in BiH and in Europe, opposing all forms of extremism.
FTC became quickly a privileged interlocutor for other civic groups in BiH and international solidarity groups ; in cooperation with the Verona Forum and Circle 99, FTC organised in Tuzla in November 1994 the international Conference “Can we be without multicultural Europe?”, and they were the main partner of the Helsinki Citizens Assembly for its 4th General Assembly which was held in Tuzla in October 1995 and was attended by 600 participants from BiH and abroad.