Τα κείμενά μου σε αυτή την σελίδα δημοσιεύθηκαν (ή προορίζονταν για δημοσίευση) σε
εφημερίδες,  περιοδικά και διάφορες ιστοσελίδες. Δεν αντανακλούν πάντα
τις προσωπικές μου απόψεις αλλά θεωρώ ότι έχουν ενδιαφέρον.


Σάββατο, 18 Νοεμβρίου 2017 20:30

Slavenca Draculic: We were naive believing that after 1989 life in Europe will be all rosy and peaceful

Written by

A writer, journalist and columnist in major newspapers around the world, with her books being translated into dozens of languages, Slavenka Drakulic experienced the dissolution of Yugoslavia, wrote thousands of pages about the events and the experience of the war and devoted most of her life in trying to explain what happened in Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

In the wake of the events in Catalonia and the rapid rise of nationalism and extreme right in Europe, Slavenka Drakulic talked with CNN Greece for the inevitable parallels with today’s events in Europe, pointing out that it is difficult you stop the virus of nationalism once it starting contaminate people.

You have said that “the big obstacle for a war is psychology. That you need a justification before you start killing”. Now in Catalonia we experience a messy situation with a dangerous rise of radical nationalism and a fierce fight back from Madrid. Some may say that a war or an armed conflict are not possible in Spain, but if we take a look at what happened a couple of years back we see that there was a strong armed militia in the Basque country.
You experienced the war in Yugoslavia from its early beginnings. According to your experience, do you think there are, or are in the making, the preconditions for the Catalonian situation to turn violent?


Of course that for any war you need to arm people. But if we are speaking about psychological preconditions, the absolute precondition is violence in words, in language. Maybe it sounds a little bit strange, but strong words are powerful. Nationalism needs enemy and it has to be clear who the enemy is. In fact it has to create the enemy.

Therefore, nationalist propaganda machine through media lunches language of war If there was some history of conflict between two sides, so much the better because it could be used, manipulated and twisted to divide people and whip up emotions of fear and hatred. For that you need strong language.

What are the first signs of a potentially serious civil conflict?

Well, exactly the kind of speech when you have the feeling that blood is dripping out of words. Long before wars broke out in the former Yugoslavia, we were listening and reading half-truths, myths and plain lies about the other side – be it Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian or Kosovar side.

We used to say that “war of words “ preceded the real war… Judging from what I read, it seems to me that Spaniards and Catalans are not there yet – in spite of political decisions , they still communicate in rather civilized way


In your opinion, why are nationalism and fascism on a rise in the EU?

Clearly, out of fear. But, where this fear comes from and why now? This is a complex question. We could say that mass immigration in the 2015 and 2016 and ways EU – politicians dealt with that, regional divisions, manipulations etc. triggered it off. But
fear must have deeper reasons. I think we were rather naïve believing that after 1989 life in Europe will be all rosy and peaceful. EU consists of many different members – unequal in size, in economic development, in history, in political culture and culture in general… Frustrations are many and accumulating , instead of diminishing . One way to express them is nationalism and rise of radical right, when the feeling of insecurity prevails.

Regions in Europe where there are separatist movements are mixed societies with different ethnic groups. Is this enough to deter the conflict?

Not in my experience. Ethnic mixture is not a guarantee for peace. There was not more ethnically mixed region than former Yugoslavia, especially Bosnia and Herzegovina. To many it looked impossible to divide these people. But this is rational thinking. War, especially a civil war, is all about emotions.

The trauma in the countries of the former Yugoslavia still exists. I went there 2 years ago. Many people, even in Sarajevo, a city that had suffered a lot, have “yugonostalgia” and say that life was better in Yugoslavia. How can you explain that?

It is easy to explain. These people are not “Yugo-nostalgic “ in terms of the political regime. They are nostalgic for peace , for secure job and regular income every month. Nowadays many of them struggle just to survive…why wouldn’t they long for the past?

What lessons can governments and separatist movements take from the Yugoslavian experience?

Unfortunately, only negative ones. Like, for example , that it is possible to destroy even a very tightly knitted community of people who lived together in peace for almost fifty years. The price in death and destruction is high – but do they care?

Published in CNN Greece in Greek 18-11-2017

Read 636 times