An ethnically-divided Bosnian city has agreed to erect a new symbol of unity – a statue of kung fu legend Bruce Lee, worshipped by Muslims, Serbs and Croats.
In the city of Mostar, a group of enthusiasts came up with the idea of honoring the childhood hero of the city’s ethnic groups back in 2003, on the 30th anniversary of his death.
They launched the project, found donors and waited a year for the city’s approval.
“We plan to erect the statue in November in the centre of the city,” Veselin Gatalo, a member of the Urban Movement organisation, told Reuters.
“This will be a monument to universal justice that Mostar needs more than any other city I know.”
He said the town of Mostar, scene of fighting between Muslims and Croats in 1993-1994, needed a symbol of justice, mastery and honesty – virtues upheld by the late Chinese-American actor.
Born in San Francisco, Bruce Lee starred in several kung fu movies, including 1973′s Enter the Dragon. He died at the age of 32 from swelling on the brain.
A German organisation agreed last year to sponsor the project with a 5,000 euros grant.
The statue, cast in bronze and showing the martial arts master in a typical fighting pose, will be designed by a local sculptor and put up in central Mostar.
Lee’s widow Linda will be invited to attend the ceremony.
For years, reconciliation in post-war Mostar was slower than anywhere else in Bosnia.
But the reconstruction of the city’s Old Bridge last year has helped reunite Muslim and Croat communities separated by the river.
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