BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA: A PART OF
THE SERBIAN NATIONAL PROJECT
The second conference in the series, realized with the assistance of
the Fund for an Open Society under the project "Opening a Dialogue of the Recent Past
'within' the Serbian Society"
Source: www.slobodnaevropa.org, July 3, 2007, 16:08:37
Is There an End to Serbian Delusions of Bosnia?
By Zelimir Bojovic
Historians Latinka Perovic and Olivera Milosavljevic told today's
conference "Bosnia-Herzegovina: A Part of the Serbian National Project" -
organized by the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia - that Serbia's
nationalistic elites still strongly aspire to Bosnia-Herzegovina. Such aspirations, as
they put it, considerably jeopardize Bosnia's society. For her part, Sonja Biserko,
chairwoman of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia, suggested a revision of
the Dayton Peace Accords.
Sonja Biserko underlines that the issue of Bosnia-Herzegovina is crucial
for all future processes in the Balkans, which is why the international community should
take a more responsible and by far more clear-cut attitude towards Bosnia-Herzegovina.
"In brief, that's the topic that sublimates, so to speak, all
regional developments over the past 15 years but also the international community's
inaptitude and inadequate behavior," said Biserko.
Historian Latinka Perovic says that the present-day problem of
Bosnia-Herzegovina can be hardly understood outside the context of the Serbian
nationalistic ideology "the sum and substance of which is the Greater Serbia
project." "That substrate remains the same for two centuries now. Though it
suffered three actual defeats in the past century, this substrate is kept alive in
people's minds," said Ms. Perovic.
Latinka Perovic pinpoints that today's Bosnia-Herzegovina is "in a
blind alley" and will hardly find its way out without an intellectual and
perceptional endeavor to analyze the developments that have brought about its situation.
Such processes, say Perovic, necessitate serious historical analyses, rather than
historicism that predominates today.
"Historicism emerges whenever something is taken as the truth today
and something else tomorrow. Historicism relativizes the significance of accumulated
knowledge and leads to intellectual degradation that surrounds us today. That intellectual
degradation leads to moral indifference and hinders proper perception of the ongoing
developments," said Ms. Perovic.
Historian Olivera Milosavljevic pinpoints that almost no new rationality
adjusted to the modern age has taken root in the Serbian society.
"All we have now is what a few truly believed in 100 years ago. The
myths of the so-called historical and ethnic rights, and epics, as the sources of
historical truth, which used to be mobilization auxiliaries in early 20th century became
the only argument and purpose of mobilization by the close of that century."
For Latinka Perovic it is the absence of the process of facing the past
in the Serbian society with its warring past that is problematic not only for the Serbian
society but also for further democratic processes of Bosnian society.
"From the angle of the science of history, we are still far from
taking the stock of the Bosnian war and accepting it was an aggression against an
internationally recognized state, a war that resulted in the most heinous crimes, and that
is the Greater Serbia idea that still refers to it as a part of Serbia's epic and heroic
past, and postpones punishment of those crimes. And without punishment of the crimes, the
Serbian society would never recover its morals. The absence of accountability fosters the
process of disintegration in Bosnia, but also hinders Serbia's progress, leads to all her
misunderstandings with her neighbors, destabilizes the entire region and blocks
integrative processes," said Ms. Perovic.
This is why Sonja Biserko takes revision of the Dayton Accords
imperative. According to her, the revision would turn the society of Bosnia-Herzegovina
into a predominantly civil one, which would cut down the aspirations of Serbia's
"The purpose of the Dayton Accords was to put an end to the war.
Unfortunately, they cemented Bosnia's system by ethnic principle, that is along the lines
of partition. Therefore, the revision of the Dayton Accords aimed at integrating Bosnia as
a functional state would simultaneously put an end to Serbian delusions of Bosnia,"