EDITORIAL ~ Issue. 14 – 04/2020

Dear Readers,

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. Now these truths are subject to much needed critical thinking and it seems that social media and media platforms can be tools to reshape these processes, especially in terms of transparency and fact-checking. However, the online realm does have its drawbacks, particularly when tackling issues as sensitive as those relating to the conflict past. The ‘free-for-all’ nature of the internet, and the instant platform given to us by social media, means that anyone can write, post, or share any opinion that they see as “truth”, and with it, reach a large audience, fast.

[expander_maker id=”2″ more=”Read more” less=”Read less”]

One thing the online space does is to tear down many barriers to information, giving us access to both facts and disinformation, and allowing us to share these, regardless of the physical borders that enclose us. This gives each of us the power to check our news sources, check the facts, and check each other. Of course, this great freedom we have to express ourselves comes with a responsibility to monitor ourselves. There is a certain anonymity to commenting online, which can also be misused to hurl insults and express our pain through blaming and shaming others, through denying war crimes, and in effect our own feelings of guilt by association, and to perpetuate ‘us’ and ‘them’ rhetoric. So, although we have this great ‘real-time’ resource at our fingertips, we can choose to use it to critically analyze the past, to check the facts, to find out more or we can use it to push demagogic agendas and continue to deepen divisions and mistrust between us. With that in mind, dealing with the past online is a precarious task.

The line between self-expression and sharing demagogy is thin. In this edition of Balkan.Perspectives, contributing authors from across the Western Balkans highlight how this line shifts and bends. Belma Buljubašić, Besnike Salihu, Fahri Hiseni, Fitim Gashi, Jovana Prusina, Katerina Smileva, Srdjan Puhalo, and Vladan Djukanović stem from journalism, academia, law, and civil society, and despite writing from different contexts, align on many points.
On a final note, the 14th edition of Balkan.Perspectives entitled “How to Deal with the Past in the Digital Age? Western Balkans Online.” happens to also be our first fully online issue. From now on, all editions of the magazine will be presented in digital form only, available on

We hope you find the articles in this edition of Balkan.Perspectives thought-provoking and engaging. As always, your feedback is welcome – please email us:

Stay safe during these destabilizing times,

Vanessa Robinson-Conlon / Editor-in-Chief


Remembering the past on Social Media

AUTHOR: VLADAN ĐUKANOVIĆ Photo credits: Vladan Đukanović We often treat social media as something new and even unknown, despite it having been part of our lives for over a decade. Ever since it made its explosive debut in the Balkans, […]

The Trials are Ending – Now What?

Photo credits: Jovana Prusina When we speak about transitional justice, we are also speaking about criminal justice, victims and witnesses, missing and internally displaced persons and their families, mass graves and the right to truth, reparations, lustrations and more. War […]

Inside the Trap of Fake News

AUTHOR: FITIM GASHI Photo credits:  Fitim Gashi Trigger Warning: This article contains graphic language depicting sexual violence against women that took place during the war in Kosovo. A member of the parliament caused a scandal with a photograph on the day […]

Close but Unknown

AUTHOR: FAHRI HISENI Photo credits: Fahri Hiseni It is difficult to comment on interethnic relations in any society and doing so from a Balkan perspective is no exception. One reason for this is the complex historical context within which the […]

Impressum 14 – 04/2020

Editor in Chief: Vanessa Robinson-Conlon

Editorial Team: Sunita Dautbegović-Bošnjaković, Martin Filipovski, Srđan Hercigonja, Vjollca Islami Hajrullahu, Nehari Sharri

Authors: Belma Buljubašić, Besnike Salihu, Fahri Hiseni, Fitim Gashi, Jovana Prusina, Katerina Smileva, Srđan Puhalo, and Vladan Gjukanović

Design (Cover page): Envinion

Translation: LBG Communications (Albanian), Luna Djordjevic (BCS), Martina Kimovska (Macedonian)

Proofreading: LBG Communications (Albanian), Zinaida Lakić (BCS), Zanet Ristoska (Macedonian), Lauren Hanna (English)