Civil Society of the Western Balkans in the Turn of the Millenium
Book part (Published version)
MetadataShow full item record
In the text, the author attempts to identify the basic causes of the failure or only partial success of Western Balkans civil society, i.e. nongovernmental organizations as their key organizational form, in the process of reconciliation and renewal of cooperation between recently warring ex-Yugoslav nations. She starts from an etimological finding that the word reconciliation in Serbian (pomirenje) is actually derived from the word peace (mir), as a linguistic label of an inter-group relation that is contrary to the one named war. Therefore, the stabilization and ensurance of peace, mainly established by means of an external intervention (the same one which in fact created a strong presumption for its violation), is a wished-for and intended outcome of the reconciliation process among ethnic groups that populate the Western Balkans region. However, the historical experience, reminds the author, teaches us that it is only a just and fair peace that is stable and long-lastin...g. In the ex-Yugoslav “case”, taking into account all its causes and occasions, such justice implies a clear and consistent definition of state-territorial borders among peoples, all of whom (except Serbian), through referendums, fragmented the state union in which they had lived togetherfor almost eight decades. Namely, the inter-ethnic conflicts in the region of former Yugoslavia did not commence for the purpose of the commission of crimes, which might be wrongly concluded through the absolutization of this, undoubtedly the most tragic of all, its criminal dimension, which is something that the Serbian non-governmental sector particularly insists on – the true motive of the wars, according to the author of this text, was the conviction of some of their internal participants of the injustice of the already existing, “republican” borders of the new states that kept emerging on the ruins of the SFRY, a conviction which, considering the political technology of the secessionist fait accompli of other participants in the years-long fragmentation and disintegration of the second Yugoslavia, was inevitably conducive to war as a method of correcting the injustice that had been perceived. With the tendentious, reductionist and largely falsifying interpretation of the ex-Yugoslav case that arose on those bases (instead of the declared humanitarian and pacifist treatment of the same), as a self-imposed mission for which they had too few expert qualifications and too many crypto-political and profitable motives, the “third sector” of the Western Balkans, mainly its Serbian part, through the majority of their activities, contributed more to the moral confusion and social destabilization of the region and to further group-psychological distancing of peoples inhabiting it, than to theirreconciliation understood in the aforesaid terms, as a basis of productive cooperation and safe progress in the region where they live. The more clearly it reflects the unpleasant fact of their actions and the sooner it agrees to the redefinition of their hitherto mostly misconceived mission, or to its reduction within the declared and socially expected framework, the sooner will the local non-governmental sector in Serbia, according to the author, start to increase their relatively low social credibility and become a respectable factor of a solution to the tragic and decades-long interethnic “enigma” of the Western Balkans region.
Keywords:Western Balkans / civil society / disintegration of Yugoslavia / interethnic reconciliation
Source:The Western Balkans - From Stabilization to Integration, 2012, 395-404
- Belgrade: Institute of International Politics and Economics