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Über dieses Buch

Drawing primarily on selected filmic texts from former-Yugoslavia, the book examines key social and political events that triggered the Yugoslav wars in the 1990s.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Introduction

Abstract
The fall of the Berlin Wall was the beginning of a new era for the European continent. The immediate consequences of the more-than-symbolic demolition of the wall that divided the city of Berlin were the re-unification of Germany and the beginning of democratic processes all over Eastern Europe. What followed was the Continent’s cultural, economic and political convergence, previously unparalleled in European history. In the years to follow, the supranational organisation named the European Union (EU) would economically and politically integrate the European ‘west’ with most of the European ‘east’. The process has not been without setbacks and dilemmas but it is still ongoing. The EU official motto is ‘United in Diversity’. The motto signifies Europeans longing for a continent embracing peace and prosperity; a Continent which prospers due its cultural and linguistic diversity.
Dino Murtic

1. Theoretical and Methodological Considerations

Abstract
Theoretically speaking, this book finds its conceptual framework in ethical philosophies grouped under the umbrella of cosmopolitanism. This conceptual meditation on cosmopolitanism, however, begins with the presumption that cosmopolitanism is no longer a utopian concept; it has already been achieved (Balibar 2002). The consequences of ‘world unification’, explained by either the impact of rapid technological modernisation or the current domination of neo-capitalism, are clearly visible. Nonetheless, the majority of moral principles on which a utopian cosmopolitanism has been conceived, as a ‘precondition or an immediate consequence’ of humans’ interconnection, has not been implemented (Balibar 2002, p. 149). By bearing in mind Balibar’s observation, my aim in this book is to emphasise the role of filmic images in conceiving and reconfiguring the ethical and socio-political landscape of our time. In this sense, particular film art has the possibility to participate in, if not initiate, a critical dialogue between a cosmopolitan imagination and embodied ethics.
Dino Murtic

2. Once Upon a Time in Sarajevo

Abstract
Before its brutal dismemberment at the beginning of the 1990s, Yugoslavia was a complex, multicultural society constituted of six republics and two autonomous provinces. Its capital was Belgrade, the only city in Yugoslavia with more than one million inhabitants. Other administrative urban centres included the cities of Zagreb, Ljubljana, Skopje, Podgorica, Novi Sad, Pristina, and Sarajevo. Centred in the geographical centre of the central republic in the Yugoslav Federation, the city of Sarajevo was, as the cultural anthropologist Fran Markowitz (2011) observes, ‘Yugoslavia’s most Yugoslav city’ (p. 71). It was Sarajevo’s dynamic cultural and metropolitan presence that represented the ethnic and religious diversity of Yugoslavia as a cosmopolitan national entity.
Dino Murtic

3. An Historical Fable of a Country That Is No More

Abstract
The key question, if one speaks about the siege of Sarajevo and other horrific consequences of the Yugoslav disintegration at the end of the 20th century, is where to begin? Should I begin the narrative with the migrations of South Slav tribes on the Balkan Peninsula and their mingling with the Peninsula’s indigenous populations since the 7th century of the Common Era? I also might choose to emphasise the creation of the several medieval feudal kingdoms, named after those Slavic tribes, as the focal point in a narrative about Yugoslavia or the land of the South Slavs. Or, perhaps, I could begin from the historical point when the national state formed solely for South Slavs was mentioned for the first time. As Ivo Banac (1992)—one of the most prominent scholars on Yugoslav history—emphasises, it is a simultaneously burdensome and onerous necessity to tell the Yugoslav story from the beginning. But regardless of the starting point for any discussion of the Yugoslav demise, one must avoid the preposterous ‘audacity of the grand simplifiers’ (Banac 1992, p. 142). To avoid the simplification of grand narrative, any history should cover the middle of the 19th century. That is the time when the formation of nations, as one of the major creations of modernity, was almost fully realised throughout Europe. Also, it is the time when Yugoslavia, as the common state for all South Slavs, was mentioned and imagined for the first time.
Dino Murtic

4. Ordinary Men at War

Abstract
As already elaborated, the war in the former Yugoslavia did not begin suddenly. Throughout the 1980s, it was the symbiosis of nationalistically-oriented intellectuals, clergy and obedient media that paved the road to the disaster. At the summit of the conflict, however, it would be six men—the presidents of six Yugoslav republics—that would become the real masters of war and peace. For more than a year, these six men moved from one city to another, from one palace to another, and from one tourist resort to another. They discussed a future for people living in Yugoslavia. Instead of peace at any cost, they opted for the war(s) in which young men were asked to kill and to be killed in the name of their leader and in the name of the society they came from.
Dino Murtic

5. Women Speak after the War

Abstract
The absence of women’s voices presents a significant emptiness in European filmic and general historiography. Post-Yugoslav territories fit perfectly with the ‘Old Continent’s’ paradigm of the distant and even recent past. With a few exceptions, which only confirm the rule of general absence, women’s perspectives and discursive stances on the Western Balkans are blurred, not taken into account due to their ‘irrelevance’, or simply ignored. Consequently, no-one should be surprised at my stating that the absence of women’s perspectives in creating knowledge about the Western Balkans is both ethically and epistemologically problematic. Without knowing the role of women in the post-Yugoslav past and present, we are not in position to create a valid epistemological knowledge (Slapsak 2009). And only with plural perceptions of an event may we strive towards the ‘universal’ (Balibar 2007).
Dino Murtic

6. Roma: The Other in the Other

Abstract
The chain of othering in the post-Yugoslav territories, according to Zizek (2000), is heading from the east and south to the west and north. Zizek begins this ironic chain with the Serbs. Their other(s) are Muslims from Kosovo and Bosnia. Thus, the Serbs are defenders of the ‘Christian civilisation against this Europe’s Other’ (Zizek 2000, p. 3). The Croats, continues Zizek, safeguard Western democratic values from the ‘despotic and Byzantine Serbia’ (p. 3). Slovenes, however, watch Croats carefully as they are considered a threat for ‘peaceful Mitteleuropa’ (Zizek 2000, p. 4). For the Austrians, nevertheless, the people from the Western Balkans, all together, are the ‘Slavic hordes’ (Zizek 2000, p. 4). In this chapter, however, I intend to argue that the Roma1 people are the Other for all post-Yugoslavs, including Slavic Muslims from Bosnia and Albanians from Kosovo; two of the lowest ranking Others in Zizek’s sequence.
Dino Murtic

Conclusion: Sarajevo and One Illusion in August

Abstract
In Chapter 2, ‘Once upon a time in Sarajevo’, I began my narrative of Sarajevo and Yugoslavia by echoing a statement by cultural anthropologist Fran Markowitz (2011), who described pre-1990s Sarajevo as the most Yugoslav city in Yugoslavia. For Markowitz, pre-war Sarajevo was the ideal mirror image of a state known for its cultural, religious and ethnic diversity. The city of Sarajevo—in which Yugoslav multiplicity was compacted in a dense urban environment—was the classic example of a settlement in which almost all human beings, regardless of their ethnic and religious backgrounds, could live in harmony. This was true multiculturalism. Sarajevans called it cohabitation, or ‘common life’, as Markowitz (2010, p. 29) credibly translates the South Slavic phrase ‘zajednicki zivot’.
Dino Murtic

Backmatter

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