27 November, 2005

bruce lee, a hero for bosnia

A German cultural foundation has financed the erection of a statue of Chinese-American martial arts icon Bruce Lee in an effort to provide representation of a hero for Bosnian Croats and Muslims in Mostar. Any questions?

BruceleeBELGRADE, Nov. 26 (Xinhuanet) — A bronze statue of martial arts legend Bruce Lee was unveiled in the ethnically divided city of Mostar in Bosnia-Herzegovina on Saturday, a day before a second statue of him is unveiled in Hong Kong to mark his 65th birthday.

The life-size 1.68 meter statue depicts the Chinese-American kung fu cinema icon in a typical defensive fighting position as a symbolic protest against ethnic division, said reports reaching here from Mostar.

"Lee fought for justice freedom and reconciliation. I hope his statue will bring you happiness and prosperity," Chinese ambassador to Bosnia-Herzegovina Li Shuyuan told the unveiling ceremony, held in Mostar’s central park.

The ceremony was also attended by the German ambassador, whose country’s cultural foundation financed the project, and staff of the US embassy here.

In a rare show of unity some 300 Bosnian Croats and Muslims attended the ceremony. During the ceremony members of a local kungfu club, dressed in colorful kimonos, demonstrated the martial art skills using the kung fu accessories that included nun chucks, swords and sticks.

The statue, made by Croatian sculptor Ivan Fijolic, was unveiled by Nino Raspudic of the Urban Movement of Mostar, a youth association that pushed for a statue to be erected more than two years ago.

Lee was chosen as a hero that all ethnic groups could relate to, in a city that was nearly destroyed during fierce fighting between Croats and Muslims and remains bitterly divided.

South Africa’s Mail & Guardian notes that Mostar unveiled the statue a day ahead of a similar unveiling in Hong Kong.:

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.

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by @ 11:45 am. Filed under China, Hong Kong, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Media

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