e-book Violence Taking Place: The Architecture of the Kosovo Conflict (Cultural Memory in the Present)

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Amongst their projects is NORTH, a multidisciplinary research into the shifting geopolitical conditions of the Arctic and Subarctic regions, which focuses on the relation between political, spatial and territorial dimensions of the changing environments in the High North.

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A workshop that explores the use of remote sensing technologies within human rights investigations and advocacy work and examines the current challenges that govern the use of satellite imagery as evidence within legal and juridical frameworks. He has conducted extensive work to apply remote sensing, satellite imagery, and related tools to large-scale atrocities in Darfur, Burma, Ethiopia, and elsewhere, in partnership with Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and numerous other organizations.

He has published in the International Journal of Remote Sensing, the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, and other publications and has presented at a wide variety of academic and private-sector venues. He holds an MA in geography from the University of Maryland. His research has mainly focused on the use of satellite remote sensing to monitor and enforce laws.

Ray is particularly interested in legal applications for satellites, how they might influence regulatory compliance, and evidential and privacy implications. These developments demonstrate how historic memory can influence the present in either a positive or a negative way. The Yugoslav case also highlights the importance of autobiographical memory and oral history in shaping the representation of the past. If we consider that historical memory has both cumulative and presentist aspects 5 , we must also acknowledge the fact that the initial construction of a historical event limits what can subsequently be said about it 6.

A special emphasis is given to the existence of hidden transcripts related to World War II and on discourses challenging the foundations of Yugoslav society during this period. The second part deals with the externalization of the hidden transcripts which produced an increase of inter-ethnic tensions resulting in the outbreak of the war. We draw on the existing academic literature in order to explore how changes in public discourse, the display of symbols, and competition over monuments affected these individuals and led them to take part in the conflict. Finally, in the third chapter, we analyse the recollection of the latest conflict among the Serb and Croat war veterans.

Drawing on the work of Maurice Halbwachs, we scrutinize the presentist features of these narratives and discern the importance of collective remembrance in the perpetuation of memories. In other words, the hidden transcripts generated in both the dominant and subordinated group are concealed by a mask which constitutes the public transcript. Of particular interest to us is the work of Robert Hayden who analyses how the official discourse of the Communist Party was challenged both within and outside the party in the eighties He shows how these criticisms originally aimed at undermining communism were soon used to build nationalist feelings.

Instead of prompting the democratization of society, the outbreak of these secret stories led to an atmosphere of increased polarization between the mutually exclusive histories. Consequently, the initial totalizing socialist ideology was replaced by a totalizing nationalist one, resulting in the dismembering of the country and the outburst of inter-ethnic conflicts. In order to do so, we are going to analyze accounts relating to the pre-war period by emphasizing perceptions of national identities, inter-ethnic relations and attitudes toward the authorities.

Collective Memory In Personal Accounts Of Veterans Of The Croatian War

These testimonies all begin with an autobiography of the informant through remembering of the pre-war period and life in socialist Yugoslavia which brings them to evoke inter-ethnic relations and the perception of national identity during that period. Although included in the Republic of Croatia, this territory had regional and historic specificities since it was first the borderland between the Venetian Republic and the Ottomans, and later between the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires.

Resistance was soon organized around the royalist pro-Serb Chetniks and the Yugoslav communist partisans that fought against each other while opposing the Nazi Germans and Croat Ustashas. As we shall see, these historical references played an important role in shaping the identity of the local Serb community. This situation produced a dichotomy between public and private transcripts, generating hostility towards the authorities and reproducing inter-ethnic antagonisms through the generations.

These facts are illustrated by testimonies in which the informants depict how public exhibition of national identity was banned during the socialist period. The patterns of national differentiation were translated to the domain of sport at the club level. This mass phenomenon constituted an important medium for the propagation of nationalism in the former Yugoslavia This is certainly the domain where hidden narratives are the most salient since they stand in direct opposition to official history.

These accounts were not only meant to retrace events experienced by preceding generations, but to produce a holistic vision of Serbian history starting from the Middle Ages. The induction of history at an informal level thus enabled the formation of a national consciousness.

As the memory of ethnic strife and mass atrocities perpetrated during World War II was repressed by the communist regime, the remembrance and commemoration of these events was relegated to the private sphere. So, we talked about it, we knew who was an Ustasha before. He grew up in a mixed neighbourhood, where he used to play with his Croat friends, although they secretly felt contempt for each other at an early stage. This is that fake picture of brotherhood and unity. This divergence between public and hidden transcripts led to increasing tensions and to an escalating display of nationalist symbols, fuelled by opposing discourses competing over identity and historical representations that soon turned into open conflicts.

Indeed, the respect of mutual traditions offered a good base for peaceful coexistence and shared celebrations. A former shop owner from Knin recalls how the Serbs used to participate in the celebration of the Catholic Christmas and the Croats did the same with the Serbian feasts However, he argues that this harmony was essentially due to the numerical supremacy of one group over the other, owing to the fact that the Serbs outnumbered the Croats, who, according to him, only represented twenty per cent of the population in that neighbourhood.

This perception is contested by accounts of people who lived in regions with a more equal ethnic composition of the population. Indeed, an interviewee from Karlovac, a town where the representation of ethnic groups was more balanced, states that the same practices of mutual respect and harmonious coexistence prevailed in that area They had an important social meaning as they promoted group interaction and identity creation at a local level.

Even if they were bearers of a particular national tradition and culture, these religious celebrations often included members of the other ethnic group.


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This is illustrated by the passionate account of an informant from Modrino Selo who recalls the greatness of these events to which both Serbs and Croats participated cordially at least until the nineties Although they were an exception rather than a rule, mixed marriages occurred on these occasions. Moreover, the ties between the two communities were maintained by the kinship relations between Croat and Serb families which were transmitted through generations. For the majority, the establishment of the kingdom of Yugoslavia after the First World War was seen as an extension of the Serbian monarchy and the replacement of Austro-Hungarian domination by Serbian hegemony.

The advantage is that it enables a more compre-hensive analysis of the Croatian national narrative among war veterans.

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There has always been a desire for freedom, for independence, so that we could finally re-establish this state that we had eleven centuries ago. There is a famous joke saying that they planted corn praying for rain in Serbia.

Bibliotheek: nieuwe aanwinsten - april 2013

In that situation, the hidden transcripts were calling attention to the defence of the Croatian national interests which were, in their view, compromised by the Yugoslav state. The longing for the establishment of an independent Croatian state was a hidden transcript which occasionally emerged in the public sphere and directly challenged the official discourse during the socialist period. Although it was excluded from the public sphere by the communist authorities who had made every attempt to suppress and erase all such notions since World War II, the nationalist discourse remained at the private level.

In this context, several informants declared how the death of Tito was already at that time perceived as a presage for the emancipation of Croatia 30 and the forewarning of increasing tensions inside the Yugoslav federation that could lead to war In the former Yugoslavia, the totalizing communist ideology has been replaced by a totalizing nationalist one, producing competing and mutually exclusive histories based on the hidden transcripts of the socialist period. Discourses calling for a re-assessment of the past emerged on both sides, having deep implications for the political consciousness of the present.

In this section, we will refer to the existing literature in order to analyse how the instrumentalization of symbols by the political elites has been perceived by the interviewed war veterans. Therefore, we limit our analysis to the factors that have played a major role in triggering the conflict from the point of view of our informants. An architect from Zadar describes how these political changes were followed by purges in the management of firms and state institutions where the old establishment war replaced by political cadres loyal to the new regime Soon, tensions increased with the appearance of nationalist discourse and symbols, and mounting acts of violence led to the geographical separation of the two communities, which sought refuge in safer places, where their ethnic group was predominant.

In Croatia, the uncovering of the massacres committed by the communist partisans against Croat and Serbian collaborators at the end of World War II compromised the old political elite and opened the way to the nationalist HDZ which advocated secession from Yugoslavia For the Serb minority, an independent Croatia was associated with the genocide perpetrated by the Ustasha regime, whose importance the leading Croatian politicians tended to minimize Hence, instead of acknowledging the massacres committed during World War II and giving way to public recognition of the Serb hidden transcripts, the new Croatian history denied the genocide, forcing these experiences back into hiding As soon as the HDZ won, they were enemies, so they joined the other ones nationalists, M.

O and they had the weaponry from the beginning so they took these territories. Afterwards, we gained strength and took them back.

Kosovo war: The conflict that won't go away - BBC News

Furthermore, it reintroduced the symbols associated with the fascist wartime state, the most prominent one being the chessboard as the key symbol of nationhood. Indeed, this political act was irritating the collective memory of the Serb minority, which perceived it as an open provocation and refused to comply with the directives of the new government. There was no way at that time… for any Serb to wear it, because they perished under that same chessboard.

This can be illustrated by the story of the church in Cetina, which became a matter of dispute between the local Serbs and Croats.

The Demise and Afterlife of Artifacts

This story is confirmed by another informant who states how it was the first direct confrontation between the two communities since both wanted to celebrate Ascension Day, which exceptionally that year was held on the same date, in this church Therefore, just as religious celebrations presented an opportunity for social interaction in peaceful times, they were also a potential source of inter-ethnic tensions.

Add to Cart Add to Cart. Add to Wishlist Add to Wishlist. Social life and customs. While the construction of architecture has a place in architectural discourse, its destruction, generally seen as incompatible with the very idea of "culture," has been neglected in theoretical and historical discussion.