Youths in the Bosnian city of Mostar said on Thursday they were delighted they would beat Hong Kong to erect a statue honouring the late martial arts film legend Bruce Lee.
The statue is to be unveiled at the weekend in the southern city more famous for its 16th-century Ottoman bridge, which reopened last year after being destroyed during Bosnia’s 1992-1995 war.
“We initiated this long before Hong Kong. I am sure they did not have as many problems as we did in securing the permits … but it all turned out well,” said Nino Raspudic of the Urban Movement of Mostar.
“It’s cool that we will be the first and Hong Kong the second” to honour the kung-fu film legend with a monument.
The Mostar youth association launched the initiative two years ago to symbolise the fight against ethnic division.
Lee was chosen as a hero that all people could relate to in a city that suffered widespread destruction during fierce fighting between Croats and Muslims during the Bosnian conflict.
“We chose Bruce Lee for a reason. We want to honour him personally but also as a true symbol of the fight against injustice,” Raspudic said.
After a lengthy procedure to secure all the necessary permits, the movement will finally place the life-sized bronze statue of the cinema icon in a city park on Saturday.
A day later, a statue of Lee is due to be erected in Hong Kong to honour the 65th anniversary of his birth. He died in 1973.
Mostar’s city administration has been unified under international pressure but ethnic divisions remain. Following the war both ethnic groups erected monuments and renamed streets after heroes of their own ethnic groups. – AFP