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Discussion in 'General Discussion Forum' started by TheHouseAlwaysWins, Nov 4, 2019.
What was life like there? Do you remember a nice day or something?
I wish things were better, there is strength to be found in unity. (The Master was right! LOL)
Now there's a bunch of poor countries from which citizens are leaving to find a better life in the West (in my case at least).
I remember many nice days. Lots of friends (20+), playing outside all day in the nature.
Even played video games on my friends' Commodore 64, Amiga or Atari.
The family was closer and we regularly had entire families coming over as guests each weekend to hang around.
I can't remember for certain but I think we even went to the seacoast each or for most summer seasons.
The country was respected in the world and people were relaxed.
One of the coolest memories I have is when my entire family, my uncle and his family went together to a rock concert.
I was 5 or 6 and remember being picked up by my dad to see the band because I was too small.
Now everyone is anxious and doesn't see anything positive for the future of the country.
When the war came, my 17-year old cousin was killed in a prisoner camp and everybody became poor soon.
The last time I could afford a summer vacation in my own country was in 2011.
I don't live there anymore, I left to work and live in another EU country. I honestly don't believe I'll ever come back except to see my family.
(Actually right now I'm here, but I'm going back next week!)
What I will never get is why somebody had the idea one day that they needed to spice things up and bring at little excitement to their lives and said to themselves Ya know what would be a real gas right about now, dying in the street gut shot while watching my children run around on fire while my home gets obliterated. Because obviously the comforts of not being in a god damn war was meaningless when the injustice of the neighboring village stealing a goat 400 years ago was fresh in every bodies mind or whatever other bullshit ass reason they had to start slaughtering each other.
Because people are irrational beings and often don't think about the consequences of their decisions. Propaganda, fear and bad decisions often lead to a chain of events that's almost impossible to stop once they are in motion. Imagine it like the cold war with nuclear weapons, NATO on one side Warsaw Pact on the other. No one wanted war. Yet everyone was ready to start one. Even an accident could have started it but before anyone realized it, things have been already done. For example, the NATO command post exercise codenamed Able Archer 83 carried out in November 1983 almost started a nuclear war between the west and east. The Soviets have been so paranoid about the exercise being a ruse for a surprise attack that they almost pushed the button. Only when the NATO actually learned about the serious intent of the Sowjets, have they cancelled it.
Nationalism has nothing to do with stealing goats. I know the comment was meant tongue in cheek - but it still implies a tangible reason and a tangible direction of guilt. In the scenario, we can for example say - "While I agree it's totally overkill to declare war over a stolen goat, these people are fucking crazy, and those other ones shoulda known better than to steal a goat."
Nobody "stole a goat" so to speak.
I think fear plays a much larger role then nationalism. The kind of nationalists that would go actually to war, are a relatively small minority. But if this minority can also convince the majority of their group, that this other group out there is actively working on destroying you, your family, your house and your dog then you're much more inclined to take up arms to prevent it. But once bullets, tanks and artillery starts flying around, no one gives a crap anymore about it. It becomes only about survival. War develops it's whole own dynamic. And once people are caught up in this there is no escape from it.
Sure, but fear comes into play a bit into the game, wouldn't you agree? Before fear comes the political rethoric, the build up. I'm no expert on the matter, but I doubt Yugoslavians went around just being terrified of each others on a regular basis? Once the us-vs-them rethoric has been established, over time, the fear-mongering begins - "they threaten your way of life."
Well I haven't grown up in Yugoslavia during that time and you're right of course, the rhetoric which lead to the build up sure had something to do with it. Like I said earlier, during Titos rule and after his death there has been the oppression of what you could describe as a national identity and many popular figures, like Franjo Tuđman as much of an asshole he is, had to deal with reprisals, he became later a president of Croatia. Many factors probably played a role here. For example Croatia has a strong catholic history, Serbia was dominated by Christian Orthodox and in Bosnia you had a large Muslim community, but also in Kosovo (up to 80% of the population). So you could say the whole civil war became in some sense also a religious conflict. Not to mention the history during WW2, where Croatian units used to work with the Nazis to fight Serbian partisans. But there certainly was also the fear of "coming up short" before the war started. In other words, being cheated or stepped over. And all considered, that was not an unfounded fear! As far as I understand after Titos death Yugoslavia was ruled by a council made up of 6 members of the states. And each member had the fear of being manipulated or cheated by others in votes. Particularly Serbia as being the largest member had this fear so they did everything they could do prevent that from happening. I don't think the majority of the Yugoslavian population really expected all of this to end up in a civil war and if they knew it things might have been different. But once certain decisions have been made, the army mobilized (the first time in Slovenia I think) things really started to become ugly. And that's where the fear started to come in and where people really took the rhetoric serious. I mean in Serbia Tuđman was seen as a pure fascist with the intention to kill all Serbs and in Croatia you had quite strong Serbian paramilitary organisations, often made up of Serbians living in those areas, lead by war criminals. You can image if people got news about ethnic cleansing in their area that many would take up arms to defend their villages. It was simply put, an absolute mess. Nearly 50 years of political stagnation and cultural oppression simply lead to a lot of mistrust and grudges. It had to show its effect at some point. Maybe right after Titos death if there would have been a serious democratisation going on with an emphasis on sovereignty, things could have been different. But since everyone just wanted to look for their largest part of the pie no matter what that never happend.
Dunno what prompted me, but many years ago, on another forum, I made a large scale info-dump-thread about the build up and development of the Yugoslavian wars, but mostly just from the superficial events, starting with the independence of Slovenia, ending with Montenegro, and with the horrors between summed up.
(I was not aware of the more subtle inner workings, nor the deeper history of Yugoslavia, which - as you illustrate - play a definite role)
I think I was at a stage in life, when it had just really dawned on me what an absolutely bat shit horrific war had taken place in modern day Europe, after so much sentiment of "the last war" being WW2 (especially for a Norwegian)
I grew up with Bosnian kids, refugees, but at the time I was too young to really compartmentalize. If you're into history, geopolitics, world-events, my experience is that - since there is SO much to learn, many historical events will come to you in phases, and that, I guess, was my Yugoslav-war phase. I soaked up documentaries, footage, articles, and I was struck by how... practical a lot of the approach was. War is practical. People, I think, imagine a lot of "abstractions", "paperwork" "diplomacy" people in suits doing people-in-suit-stuff, but on the ground it's practical action, even down to the dudes in suits.
I was amazed at how the final negotiation regarding Bosnia's borders played out, where - iirc - the president of Bosnia had actually been screaming, banging his fists up and down a huge map, where they were drawing lines. It doesn't get much more practical and non-abstract than banging a map with your fists
Well things have been complicated by the fact that Yugoslavia was not neatly dived in ethnically groups. You had quite a substantial number of Serbians living in Kosov, Crotaia and a few other parts. Bosnia in particular had quite some ethnic pluralistic, often with Muslims and Christians actually being together in a marriage. Subsequently Bosnia was hit quite hard during the war, exactly because of this. It was not rare that a family on one day, was divided with the next where either the husband or the wife had to leave. Sometimes because the family demanded it, sometimes because they feared for their live due to the ethnic cleansing. It was terrible. And to this day I have nothing but distain for those Serbians that committed atrocities during the war.
The "Serb republic" within Bosnia was always something that looked so off and weird to me, forced and artificial in a sense - and a good example of ethnic cleansing. Reading about it gives me the same dark and uncomfortable feeling as reading about WW2 in the sense that for many people, there must have been a feeling of utter doom and no room for mercy or compromise (as is common with hatred-fueled war and ethnic cleansing)
I did not come across similar descriptions, untill I learned of the ethnic cleansing of Georgians in Abkhazia (which happened roughly at the same time, and was probably overshadowed in world media by the Yugoslav war. Details of these actions are astoundingly horrible, and there's an added horror by the fact that it was all watched and monitored by UN observers, as well as perpetrated by state sponsored forces/openly operating volunteer militias, something that also shocked me with the Yugoslav wars)
Yeah the civil war was really not one of the UNs proudest moments I guess. You had such a cleansing going on right under their nose. But what could they do anyway? Surrounded by heavy artillery, vastly outnumbered and without any back up of their own. You could see that UN general being completely overwhelmed by the situation.
Being a professional soldier is a pretty special job. 99 % of the time it's most likely pretty boring, but there is that 1 %, or even 0,0001 % of the times when it's anything but boring. There isn't going to be a general next to you to face the situation, there might be a lieutenant. The command might come through the radio "lay down the weapons" or "fight". It's one or the other. Then the lieutenant might disagree with that order and change it based on his/her grass roots view of the situation. If ltn decides to fight, shit goes into high gear and you might get a one way ticket to Valhalla. Or get badly messed up but live. It's that kind of job.