Monday, February 02, 2009


Haven't posted anything on blogger for a week because I was busy working on my new blog: Blogging Balkanistan.
Which I hope will become a more comprehensive blog focusing on the Balkans and related issues.

I have four articles up already, on Bulgarian economic and political realities, the Gay and Lesbian scene in Belgrade, commemoration of the Srebrenica genocide by the EU and the possibility of the US joining the ICC (in addition to the Balkans, I also hope to occassionally write articles on world wide issues of human rights, genocide/crimes against humanity, other war crimes, etc.) Which hopefully will give a good indication of the diversity of topics I hope on covering.

If you have followed the Bosnia Vault-thank you! I really hope you will also continue to read/comment at Blogging Balkanistan as well.

I will keep the Bosnia Vault up as an archive. In the meantime, please update all links to

Tomorrow I will go on my shameless self-promotional tour.

Until then-see you at the new blog!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Monday, January 12, 2009

Night And Fog

Alain Resnais' "Night and Fog" begins with colored shots of Auschwitz and the surrounding the landscape. Many Holocaust documentaries also include a similar shot, perhaps because there is such a contrast between the natural beauty-the rich yellows, greens and browns of the Polish countryside and the grainy black and white images of starving prisoners and mass graves. But Resnais' documentary was filmed in 1955, only 10 years after the camp was liberated, and some of the landscape and images that Renais filmed, probably greeted the victims of the camp.

Night and Fog is one of the first major documentaries on the Holocaust, and has received numerous awards since its first release. The film is in French with English subtitles. There were some technical problems with the subtitles, they went by too fast, and the white lettering against gray background made it almost impossible to read.

But, the narration is of secondary importance. It is the images that endure long after the film ends. Besides the tranquil shots of the post-war Auschwitz countryside, there are the images of the dirty prison barracks and the pale blue latrines. The stillness of those images contrast in tenure and tone with the black and white war time footage. There is the famous shot of the family with the little boy being deported from Warsaw; and the video clip of the half starving Roma girl arriving at the camp. There are the films of the trains arriving at Auschwitz, of the rooms full of hair, of the starving half-dead naked prisoners humiliated, the mass graves; and a woman-who looking at her face I could not tell if she was dead or alive, before the camera panned to her limp corpse. These images are both familiar and startling. Holocaust awareness was a major part of my school curriculum, we had entire units on the Holocaust in the 5th and 8th grade, I've visited the Holocaust Museum in D.C., read "Night" and "The Diary of Anne Frank" in school. But these images still have the power to shock and sicken. And more than once I found myself adverting my gaze from the screen.

Even when I could make the narration out, they faded in comparison to the images on the film. But two things stood out to me. The first is, unless I missed it, there are almost no mention of the Jews as the primary (although by no means only) target of the genocide; and certainly no mention of the fact that the Jews were singled out for complete annihilation. There is however a brief mention of political prisoners at the beginning of the film (the title of the film comes from a Nazi pogrom against political rivals). This omission is perhaps better understood within a larger context. Early reporting of the Holocaust was unfortunately influenced by institutional Anti-Semitism. In U.S. newsreels for example, the suffering of the Jews was often downplayed. In France the story is much more complex, and it is really only since the 1990s that there has been an acknowledgment of the role of the French collaborationists in the Final Solution.

What also sticks in my mind is the ending, a haunting warning and prophesy of things to come. It is easy to confine the Holocaust to one time and one place. But, if it took place at this one time and place, how can it not happen again?

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

A Dialogue

A rare dialogue between a Serbian writer and an Albanian one from Kosova, organized by Radio Free Europe's Most (Bridge) programme and showing a large degree of agreement on the present situation - and also on the future

Also, here is an article by Vladimir Arsenijevic, one of the participants in the dialogue.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Year in Review

Kosovo and Karadzic dominated. Although I don't think anyone needs an article to tell them that.

A year of progress over war crimes in Bosnia's courts.

Hague and Arusha Courts Work Overtime

From Radio Netherlands Worldwide:

Never before were so many cases being processed simultaneously at the Yugoslavia Tribunal in The Hague and the Rwanda Tribunal in Arusha. Speed has been increased in order to have as many cases as possible finished by 2010. Both the Arusha and the Hague tribunal will have to close by then. Only appeal cases can continue until 2012.

Bosnian Serb PM offered part of RS for Brcko

A summary of a report from Slobodna Bosna, allegedly, Dodik offered 8% of the RS (Bosanska Posavina and some "unproductive" municipalities in eastern Bosnia) in exchange for integration of Brcko into the RS.

The Santaland Diaries

Protesting in favor of Santa in Sarajevo. While Christmas is celebrated in Kosovo.

Some background information to the "Santa ban" in the pre-schools can be found in this New York Times article.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Bosnia's Main Parties Agree to Change Const.


Leaders of Bosnia's biggest Muslim,
Croat, and Serb parties have called for parliament to begin revising
the constitution, a key condition for joining the European Union.

Efforts to change the constitution enshrined in the Dayton peace treaty
that ended the Bosnia's 1992-95 civil war have been in the works for
two years.

But, interethnic squabbling has hampered progress to reform the
charter to take away power from Bosnia's two autonomous entities,
the Serb Republic and Muslim-Croat Federation, which have coexisted
in an uneasy alliance since the end of the war.

Full Article

Monday, December 15, 2008

The (Really) Moderate Muslims of Kosovo

An article by Michael Totten. Although there is nothing really new in the article for anyone who has some knowledge of the region; the article is well written. On a side note, I'm also glad to see that the very liberal and inclusive form of Islam practiced in Kosovo is given positive attention as well.

Michael at PoliGazette add his own thoughts on the article: here.