Graffiti scribbles on souls
Most smooth surfaces in Bosnia and Hercegovina are covered with pen, felt marker and spray paint. It's dirty, unsightly and often obscene. It makes people frustrated, depressed, and later apathetic. Does the 14-year-old scribbling on the wall with his snickering friends looking on understand the cumulative psychological effect of his actions? I doubt it. But the effect is real.
The Tipping Point
It's the Broken Windows symptom I read about in Malcolm Gladwell's book "The Tipping Point". Essentially, humans sink to the standard of their surroundings. If we're in a meticulously-kept garden, we would never think to drop a candy-wrapper on the ground. But in a trashed neighbourhood strewn with litter, car parts and broken windows, what difference is another candy-wrapper going to make?
Some parts of Bosnia and Hercegovina are that trashed neighbourhood, trapped in a downward spiral. And it frustrates and depresses a lot of people. I feel for them.