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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Why is Apple Discriminating Against the Bosnian Language?

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Apple is a global company that prides itself on its diversity and inclusion. But it seems there’s one group Apple is clearly discriminating against: Bosnians. While seemingly benign, the lack of a Bosnian keyboard is triggering for some people in the Balkan region (and the rest of the world, including 500,000 Bosnian-Americans) who feel excluded from representation, especially considering the neighboring countries of Croatia and Serbia each have dedicated keyboards. The Serbian language even includes two: one in Cyrillic and one in Latin script.

Since January 19, 2022, the founder of Health Fitness Revolution magazine and 4 x #1 Fitness Trainer in America, Samir Becic, has been reaching out to Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook in order to implement the Bosnian language and keyboard on their products. Samir even wrote a letter to Tim Cook and the entire Apple executive team. The letter was written because Samir feels that the company has been discriminating against Bosnians since it doesn’t have a Bosnian keyboard on its devices or operating systems. This is particularly disappointing because of all the hundreds of language keyboards available for iPhone users, it doesn’t make any sense why the Bosnian language; widely spoken by millions of native speakers worldwide, would not have a designated keyboard.

While Apple did implement the addition of the Bosnian language in their recent iOS 16 update on September 13, 2022, there is still no option for Bosnian as a keyboard. This newest update marks a 50% improvement towards Samir’s goal of getting Bosnian fully represented on Apple products.

Samir is vocal about his disappointment at the amount of time Apple is taking to implement change: “Why is Apple and its CEO Tim Cook ignoring the requests for the addition of a Bosnian language keyboard? I am not just disappointed because I want to type in my own language on my phone or tablet; I am disappointed because this is a bigger issue than just me. This is an issue about human rights.”

As a community, Bosnians have been waiting for years for this change. It is important to note that this is not a small community. There are approximately 5 million Bosnians globally and an estimated 500,000 in the U.S. alone. In addition, Bosnian is the official language of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and an official language in Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Kosovo.

Apple’s discriminatory behavior against Bosnian users is unacceptable because it denies them access to their culture and heritage. It’s time for Apple to add a keyboard that allows Bosnians to use their products in their native language!

Apple’s decision not to include a Bosnian keyboard is a step back for the Bosnian people. In addition to being a civil rights issue, this is also a political one.

Here is some historical context on why this addition would be so significant: Bosnia and Herzegovina is the only European country to suffer a genocide since WWII. During the Bosnian War, more than 100,000 people were killed and about 2.2 million people were displaced from their homes between 1992 and 1995. This is why Apple needs to support the Bosnian language keyboard on its devices. It’s a way to honor those who survived this tragedy, as well as those who continue to fight against oppression today.

It is important to note that the first international mention of the Bosnian language dates back to the 14th century by Konstantin Filozof. Why would Apple deny the inclusion of a keyboard that has been internationally known for 700 years, and locally for much longer?

Samir’s open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook

Apple possesses a unique position in the corporate world because of it prioritizes people over profits. Samir has been hopeful that his open letter asking for more inclusion would generate positive change for millions of users. To date, the response from Apple has been disappointing. While Apple responded promptly, they gave vague directions on the next steps toward a resolution.

Here is the open letter Samir Becic to Apple CEO Tim Cook and his team in June 2022:

Tim Cook, CEO
Apple Inc.
One Apple Park Way
Cupertino, California 95014

Dear Mr. Cook:
I write to you today to respectfully request that Apple consider making a symbolic, but deeply meaningful and significant, gesture in commemoration of the upcoming anniversary of the slaughter of more than 8,000 Bosnians in the infamous Srebrenica genocide of July 1995. Specifically, I ask that Apple add language support for the Bosnian language to the iOS and iPadOS QuickType Keyboard, both as a means of honoring the memory of the hundreds of thousands of lives taken in the genocidal Bosnian War of 1992-1995, but also as means of supporting the current generation of Bosnians who continue to struggle today for the survival of their nation against the same forces of Serbian nationalism and separatism that sought to wipe them from the face of the earth three decades ago.
I make this request as a native-born Bosnian who witnessed first-hand the horrors and unspeakable tragedy of the 1992-1995 war. In my birth city of Ključ, more than 700 of my fellow townspeople lost their lives, many of whom were my family members, friends, and
neighbors. These events left an indelible mark on me and inspired me to commit my life to helping people in need. As an athlete, I have pursued this goal by devoting myself to improving health and fitness for all peoples by creating a foundation to promote health and fitness for underserved and at-risk communities, writing the HarperCollins published book ReSync Your Life (a step-by-step guide for pursuing a healthy, happy, and fit life without the need for expensive equipment or trainers), and, serving as the current “fitness czar” for the City of Houston. I have also dedicated myself to supporting Bosnians as they have attempted to recover and rebuild, as a people and a nation, in the aftermath of the last Bosnian war and in the face of the same forces of separatism and nationalism that seek to reignite bloodshed and ethnic cleansing in their homeland.
Apple has a chance to make a symbolic, but real, difference in the struggle of the Bosnian people. Adding language support for the Bosnian language to the iOS and iPadOS QuickType Keyboard would act as a powerful, daily, affirmation to Bosnians everywhere that they have not
been forgotten, and that their identity and culture have value, are alive, and are thriving despite past (and ongoing) efforts to destroy them. Apple possesses a unique position in the corporate world because of its prioritization of people over profits. I urge you to act on this laudable philosophy by supporting the Bosnian people as I have here suggested.
With kind regards and thanks for your consideration,
CEO ReSync Enterprises
Official “Fitness Czar” for the City of Houston

Also CC’d to Apple’s executive team:

  • Katherine Adams, Senior Vice President and General Counsel
  • Eddy Cue, Senior Vice President Services
  • Craig Federighi, Senior Vice President Software Engineering
  • John Giannandrea, Senior Vice President Machine Learning and AI Strategy
  • Greg “Joz” Joswiak, Senior Vice President Worldwide Marketing
  • Sabih Khan, Senior Vice President Operations
  • Luca Maestri, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
  • Deirdre O’Brien, Senior Vice President Retail + People
  • Johny Srouji, Senior Vice President Hardware Technologies
  • John Ternus, Senior Vice President Hardware Engineering
  • Lisa Jackson, Vice President Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives
  • Isabel Ge Mahe, Vice President and Managing Director of Greater China
  • Tor Myhren, Vice President Marketing Communications
  • Adrian Perica, Vice President Corporate Development
  • Kristin Huguet Quayle, Vice President Worldwide Communications
  • Phil Schiller, Apple Fellow
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