Balkan Perspectives Magazine
Balkan.Perspectives is a regional magazine focused on dealing with the past (DwP) in the western Balkans. Produced by forumZFD in four (4) languages, this is a collaborative effort between Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Serbia. The magazine provides a platform for local actors to support conflict-sensitive discourse on issues related to the recent past. By offering a plurality of perspectives on DwP topics from across the region, the magazine aims to challenge stereotypes and ethno-centric narratives, encourage critical thinking and wider debate, and strengthen constructive approaches to dealing with the recent past.
You can subscribe to the magazine electronically by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. We welcome and appreciate your opinions and feedback and hope you find it a valuable resource
Still Invisible and Unheard! Gender Perspectives in Cultures of Remembrance
Already seven years have passed since my colleague, and then Editor-in-Chief, Maike Dafeld, wrote in her editorial of the Balkan.Perspectives edition 09/2016: “When it comes to dealing with the past in the Western Balkans, respecting gender usually means discussing only and exclusively about sexual violence against women during war times. As a consequence, women are not seen as agents of change; and they are also not included when trying to overcome the violent past and rebuilding a peaceful society.“
There have been some changes and developments in these past seven years. However, we still face challenges when we discuss women’s voices and their roles in dealing with the region’s violent past.
Exhibiting the Past – Western Balkans’ Museums and Dealing with the Past
The 21st Balkan.Perspectives edition focuses on the museological landscapes in Bosnia and Hercegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, and Serbia. This edition seeks to discuss the respective cultures of remembrance of the violent dissolution of Yugoslavia, and their representation in the museums of the region. The articles and podcasts scrutinize museums as sites of remembrance, memorialization, and dealing with the past. However, museums are part of a discursive creation of history and thereby, constitute places of memory and history creation. Museums are not neutral and do not reflect objective realities. They are also agents within a dynamic set of processes in the context of nation building, contested histories, and the respective narratives. Therefore, this edition, with the authors and guests in the podcasts seeks to contribute to critical and diverse perspectives and approaches on the roles and functions of museums in the region, within the context of Dealing with the Past.
Never Again …? Western Balkans and the War in Ukraine
The date of 24 February 2022 marks a major shift in Europe. Since the end of World War II, the “Never Again!” slogan has symbolised the political, economic, and cultural efforts to counter wars and violent conflicts, nationalistic narratives, holocaust, genocide, and gross human rights violations. It strongly emphasises the European diversity, celebrates inclusiveness, and holds all of us accountable to learn from the past.
Balkan.Perspectives edition no. 19 is dedicated to the young generations in the Western Balkans; to their motivations and challenges in the various realms connected to dealing with the past, peace building, and reconciliation processes.
The European Union has played and still plays an important role in the context of transitional justice and dealing with the past processes in the aftermath of the violent conflicts in the former Yugoslavia countries in the 1990s and early 2000s.
The Balkan.Perspectives #17 “Violence Taking Place – Trauma and War in Architecture and Public Spaces” is a critical reflection on how trauma, war, and violence have shaped the immediate environment, the buildings and places we live in, thus establishing trauma as part of our everyday life, contributing to a glorification of violence and ethno-nationalistic discourses.
The year 2021 marks the 30th anniversary of the events that eventually led to the violent dissolution of Yugoslavia. The narratives of violence and war still echo across the Western Balkans region through ethno-centric policies, revisionist narration of history, denial of war crimes, nationalistic politics, and the neglection of the importance to deal with this common past.
In previous editions, the Balkan.Perspectives editorial team has brought to your attention how and why history in the Western Balkans region is being contested, challenged, and instrumentalised. The (re)writing of history is not neutral, but rather a deliberate political process which seeks to establish realities and narratives and reflects the power relations at different periods in time.
Dealing with the Past is a difficult topic to digest, especially in the conflict-prone Western Balkans. Before the online platforms made their dramatic entrance here, every truth from the conflicts was vulnerable to manipulation by leaders and their propaganda tools to revive the myths of great nations.
On 30 August 2019, the Day of the Disappeared did not go unnoticed in the former Yugoslavia. Marches were organized to bring attention to the more than 10,000 people who are still missing from the recent wars here
It’s been twenty years since the end of the wars in the western Balkans. Diverse, complex and rich in culture and history, the region has much to celebrate. When it comes to memorializing the recent militarized past, however, free space is limited.
With great pleasure, we present our 10th issue of Balkan.Perspectives: Building Bridges with Imagination and Emotion: Can Art Heal? When the past is made up of conflicting accounts and interpretations, each not acknowledging the other…
Welcome to the 9th edition of Balkan.Perspectives, forumZFD’s magazine on dealing with the past! This issue is dedicated to the topic of trials and justice related to the recent history of the Balkans.
In recent days, we as a team have been discussing a theatre play featuring actors from across the Balkans. They were presenting their own memories and stories from their lives, all of which were very moving. But what left the greatest impression was the fact that all these stories became interlinking facets of one shared history which had had a huge impact on all their lives.
While one should not describe the wars in the Western Balkans as solely religious conflicts, the role of religion shouldn’t be left out when talking about dealing with the past in the Western Balkans. Many peace building initiatives are linked to religious movements, and terms like reconciliation and forgiveness remind us of religious values that are promoted by most religious institutions.
The Balkans is a region where borders throughout the history have changed multiple times. They were imposed by foreign powers, broken down, redrawn, displaced and disputed over the years. With a rise of the nation-state concept and against the backdrop of great instability in the region, nationalism has spread across the region throughout the last century with significant relevance today
Welcome to the fifth issue of the Balkan.Perspectives, forumZFD’s magazine on dealing with the past. This current issue is dedicated to the topic of gender and numerous questions on why gender matter in the process of dealing with the past. When it comes to dealing with the past in the Western Balkans, respecting gender usually means discussing only and exclusively about sexual violence against women during war times.
Dealing with the past is a broad subject; it encompasses many processes that a society can undergo when addressing violence and political oppression in its past. In previous issues we have explored abstract and emotional topics such as the remembrance of the past, the commemoration of known and unknown heroes and how survivors deal with trauma.
Violence, conflict and war do eventually end. However, the events from the past still haunt those who experienced violent conflict. In our newest issue of Balkan.Perspectives we are therefore focusing on the psychological effects of war and conflict. We want to draw attention to those who are still affected by the past. How do people who have been traumatized cope with their experiences? What kind of support do they get from their societies and where have they been neglected?
The prince on the white horse, the silent dark knight fighting evil, the strong and tall demigod from ancient myths – stories about heroes have always been told. They offer comfort and make us believe in the victory of good over evil. In times of conflict and war, these images are harder to keep apart. One’s hero will be the other’s strongest enemy. Who decides then who is the good guy and who the bad?
Wars always represent an acute catastrophe for a society since they destroy the social order and confront the individual with violence and death. They also change the identity of all participants involved in the conflict. The post-war societies of the Western Balkans have established various narratives of the past that are mostly in conflict with one another and usually influenced by an ethnocentric point of view.