Bosnian Shoemaker Thrilled by Invite to Trump Inauguration

By Danijel Kovacevic

The inauguration of Donald Trump will be held on January 20. Photo: Flickr/Marc Nozell.

The owner of the Bosnian shoe factory that sent specially designed shoes to Melania Trump has had ‘sleepless nights’ since receiving an invitation to go to Washington for one of the inaugural balls.

Marinko Umicevic, director of the Banja Luka-based factory Bema, told BIRN on Wednesday that he had been having sleepless nights since receiving an invitation to one of the inauguration parties for new US President Donald Trump on January 20. “On a Monday evening, I got a phone call from the agency that said it was organizing the humanitarian inaugural ball. They said that I’d caused them troubles. Apparently, I was invited to the VIP ball, but they forgot to send me an invitation earlier,” Umicevic said. He said he had not slept all night because of that phone call, which had raised a new set of problems.“I need to figure it out what kind of present to give Melania, what to buy for her. I don’t care much about [Donald] Trump. But I need to bring something nice to her,” Umicevic said.Umicevic said he had asked the agency if he could somebody along, and when he received an affirmative answer, he said he would like to take Milorad Dodik, President of the Bosnian Serb entity, Republika Srpska.“My wife didn’t like that. She is angry now and she doesn’t want to iron my shirts anymore,” Umicevic said with a smile.“It is not easy to go to America, I have got lots of things to prepare,” said Umicevic who spend a better part of the Tuesday preparing documents for a US visa.

President Dodik’s own application to go to Washington for the events was turned down by the US embassy.

But, it seems like the shoemaker will get closer to America’s new President and First Lady than the President of Republika Srpska.

Before his visa was turned down, Dodik boasted of having received several invitations for the inauguration of the new President.

It later turned out that the invites were for the accompanying events that take place in Washington on inauguration day, not the actual inauguration ceremony.

In late August, while the American presidential race was still on and most of the polls favoured Democrat Hillary Clinton, Bema sent two pairs of shoes for Melania Trump designed by factory’s best designers: a pair of comfortable shoes with memory foam insoles and a leather-made high heels.

While most Europeans seemed to root for Clinton in the campaign, most Serbs backed Trump, largely because of his calls for America to put relations on a new footing with Serbia’s old ally, Russia.

Another factor of interest to the Serbs was that Melania is a Slav. She was born in the industrial town of Sevnica in Slovenia.

“The shoes for Melania Trump are our response to the dirty comments she has been exposed to as a wife and a mother,” Umicevic said at that time.Umicevic is not sure whether the new First Lady will wear his shoes on inauguration day.

Earlier, he told BIRN that he would not be disappointed if he did not receive a call to go to the inauguration.

“Those shoes have fulfilled its purpose because Ms Trump comes from this area. With her and her husband in the White House, we all expect some kind of olive branch from America,” he said. In December 2016, Bema sent footwear for war-crime suspects from Bosnia and Herzegovina who are currently in the detention unit in the Hague Tribunal, ICTY.All nine defendants, four Serbs, and five Croats, received a pair of shoes from Bema.

Back in 2010, Bema sent special shoes made of goat skin as a Christmas present for the 33 Chilean miners who were rescued after spending 69 days in a collapsed mine deep underground.

Originally published at www.balkaninsight.com on January 11, 2017.

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