Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Balkan rappers speak out on peace & justice

After writing several posts on war criminals and war crimes tribunal, I found this article to be a refreshing break.

The article focuses on some of the leading Balkan hip-hop artists and their use of rap music to deal with nationalism, violence, corruption and other problems in their post war societies.


Daniel said...

Hi Shaina,

First of all, you rule. Secondly, I love your blog. Thirdly, you are intelligent. And lastly, here is my comment:

I am glad that things are turning to the better in the Balkans, especially now that Bosnia/Serbia/Montenegro were invited into NATO's Partnership for Peace.

Although I don't believe Serbia should be part of any NATO program, due to their historic ties and leanings towards NATO foes, such as Russia, I do recognize that this step can bring some concrete and positive results towards *lasting* peace in the region.

Currently, Bosnia is administratively organized into two entities. In Federation, Bosniaks make up estimated 80% of the population, and in Republika Srpska Serbs make up estimated 90% of the population. These administrative borders were drawn with the blood of innocent Bosniak civilians; however, Dayton Agreement is internationally recognized agreement and should be respected.

I would like to point out that the Bosniaks are one of constituent ethnic group of Serb entity Republika Srpska; and Serbs are also one of constituent groups of Federation. In the case of Republika Srpska, this means that legally that entity can never be separated from Bosnia-Herzegovina, unless that's the will of all constituent people. Simply calling for a Serb referendum would not work. Legally and politically, it's impossible for Republika Srpska to join Serbia without the will of Bosniak people. In fact, on a state level, Bosniaks also have "veto power".

The point is that Dayton Peace Agreement is not perfect - and it has already been *amended* a couple of times (especially with respect to join military command) - but one must realize that this agreement has in fact saved Bosnian statehood. Now, many ordinary Bosniaks would attack my opinion. And again, I am not implying that this agreement is perfect: all I am saying is that this agreement ensures that one ethnic group cannot dominate another, or that one ethnic group cannot bring important decisions that affect the statehood of Bosnia-Herzegovina without getting consensus from other ethnic groups.

Finally, I know how much you love Bosnia - and because you love Bosnia so much, we love you too - I wanna point out that Bosnia is a small nation, but it's rich in literature. Here is a website that is more like Bosnian Amazon: (some parts of site are also translated in English, although overhelming number of books are in Bosnian language.

There is a new book about the fate of Bosniaks in concentration camp Jasenovac during WW2 (published by the Congress of Bosniak Intelectuals)^50076-50076&ISBN=9789958471025 however, it's again in Bosnian language. There is over 500 pages of information and I would love to read that.

Some (although not many) books were translated into English, example .

By the way, I love literature. I have one rare book about Bosniak philosophers in the last 1000 years, it's been printed in only 700 items. It was published by Oriental Institute in Sarajevo, which was (literature wise) the richest Oriental Institute in Europe, and second or third most significant in the whole world. Unfortunately, it burned to the ground. And that I will never forget or forgive. This is all that was left from millions of rare documents that were archived in Oriental Institute in Sarajevo, here is an official website (sadly, only in Bosnian) . Serbs burned Oriental Institute in hopes of erasing Bosniak history. They have not succeeded. Only barbarians can target museums and burn millions of books and priceless artifacts. That I will never forgive.

I got2 go now, it's 12:20 AM here. Time to sleep. Will be back. Cheers.

Shaina said...

thanks very much for your post!

I agree with a lot of your sentiments regarding Dayton. I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, it ended the war, ended the bloodshed, ended the atrocities. In that regard-Dayton can and should be considered a success. And as pointed out, Dayton once and for all legally protected Bosnian statehood, and the teritorial integrity of BiH.
On the otherhand, the legal recogninition of the RS, including all of the areas of Eastern Bosnia that had been ethnically cleansed of Bosniaks; seems to "legitmize" ethnic cleansing. It didn't seem fair, that in the end Karadzic basically got exactly what he wanted-albeit the RS is still a part of Bosnia, and not its own completely independent state.

I think that all Bosnian politicians, and represenatives of both the RS & Federation should focus on economic progress. Unemployment and poverty are still very high, especially in the RS sector. I think that by trying to create jobs for Bosnians, they will not only help their own economy, but at the same, hopefully stop anymore of a "brain drain" occuring.
At the same time, there needs to be a comprehensive plan to end corruption, patronage, etc (easier said than done) not only because it is the right thing to do, but doing so would also attract more foreign investments.

I would also like to see exchange programs, cooperation between non profits in the Federation and non profits in the RS. I think non profits, especially Bosnian run non profits can go a long way in not only leading to reconciliation, but on also providing important services to the most destitute in Bosnia.

I really think that economic progress is where Bosnia needs to focus on, but I'm aware that economic progress cannot occur in a vaccum, and that there must also be political, social changes as well.

I think Bosnia can offer so much to the world, especially in terms of its cultural history & heritage.

ps thanks for the link (i haven't checked it out yet-but i will when i'm done)

- ps; sorry if the reply was somewhat disorganized/incoherent, I really should be in bed right now ;-)