I'm one of those Americans who find it interesting to read what foreigners and visitors to the U.S. think about the States. Doesn't mean that I agree with everything they say, but it is always interesting to get a view of your country from an outsiders' perspective, not to mention healthy as well.
Anyways, in the library I found an old "travel" guide to the former Yugoslavia published somewhere in the early 1980s. There was no date, and I couldn't find any mentions of Tito to try to gauge if it was written before or after his death.
First discovery: Half of Yugolavia! Mostly I have just focused on primarily Bosnia, than Serbia and to a lesser extent, Croatia; for the obvious reason that those are the countries that are most involved and effected by the war. But it was interesting to see towns in current day Montenegro, Slovenia, Macedonia. Especially Slovenia-what a gorgeous country!
Second discovery: Am I too politically correct? Beyond introducing us to cities, the book also introduced us to some "locals" as well. One picture featured a eldery Serb farm couple, dressed in traditonal ethnic clothing. The caption below their names read (paraphrase) "Like all people of the Balkans, the Serbs are proud and violent people, but they're very hospitable hosts!" Maybe this is just a sign of me being too politically correct, but the entire description just sounded really condesending, overly generic/stereotypical, and reduced the entire peoples of the Balkans to an overly generic caricature. And I'm not sure what was going on that the one picture of people expressly idenfied as "Bosnian Muslims" were people in a marketplace, where the women wore white hijabs. First, I was surprised to see so many people dressed in more "traditional" clothing, especially circa 1970s-1980s. I know that some conservative and elderly women of Eastern Bosnia where colorful kerciefs and other head covering; but even amongst the more conservative set, I have rarely seen a traditional hijab on. Secondly, it seemed as if the authors were ignoring the complex and varied for Islam and Islamic culture has played in Yugoslavia, and instead were just relying on really generic protypes. Most people in the west associate Islam with wearing a veil of some sort? Fine. Find a picture of some people wearing a veil, and use them as the prototype for all Bosnian Muslims. Now, don't get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with wearing a traditional outfit, and of course, very conservative/traditional Jewish and Christian ladies do the same as well. I just had a feeling that if someone traveled to Yugoslavia they would be in a big surprise to discover that unlike what the picture makes it out to be, 99% of Bosniak women are not wearing any sort of clothing where you can indentify their religion with!