The statement that the ‘ Balkans produces more history than it can consume’ is often (wrongly) attributed to Winston Churchill, but nevertheless it resonates very well with the visible difficulty for the established public and political cultures to refrain from using historical interpretations and concepts as divisive tools, or worse – using history as a weapon. But, what does it actually mean when a society ‘consumes’ history? And if we acknowledge that “dealing with the past”, “facing history”, etc entail the proper ‘consumption’ of the past, which history should be dealt with, by whom and how?
In October 2013. a group of young enthusiastic, several different religions and nations, together participated in training about reconciliation and fight against discrimination „Demilitarization and fight against discrimination“.
All participants had two things in common- they lived in Tuzla and they were gathered by then and now the strongest organization for youth- Youth resource center Tuzla.
Peacebuilding, you will agree, is not a simple process. The process largely depends on many structural and cultural factors. One of the elements of cultural factors refers to the traditionalism as value orientation; more specifically the national exclusivism with its prominence in the societies that used to be part of Yugoslavia. Even today, two decades after the ethnical conflicts, the value proposition that presupposes an attitude of inability of having mutual respect while living together – hinders every step in the process of making and building peace. It is commonly noticed that the national hatred, antipathy, and intolerance are ingredients to the culture of the west Balkan – even more so, some theories propone precisely the thesis that the Balkans has always been an arena of intolerance and strong nationalism, which represent the roots of the conflict and fragile peace of these societies.
Divided Past-Joint Future, entire vision for the Balkan region in just four words.
If we think about our past we will find lots of suffering, prejudices and stereotypes…but, can we fight for the better future? Of course we can, it is our job, not just as associations of citizens, but rather as individuals. Borders are just in our head, we are just humans, made of flesh and blood. Born and will be returned to the mother Earth. Balkan is a tricky area, so much history, so much conflicts, so much suffering and pain. Yes, I know, I am painting the dark picture, but then, it is rarely that you can find peaceful area in the world.