Balkan.Perspectives #20

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.

However, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the pictures from Kyiv, Bucha, Mariupol, and many other Ukrainian cities, the destruction, the number of casualties, and a stream of internally displaced persons and refugees, leads us to question the ability of the European and global communities to solve conflicts peacefully and to live up to their standard of “Never Again!”. Therefore, this Balkan.Perspectives edition frames “Never again …?” as a question. On the one hand, this edition seeks to reflect on the experiences made in the 1990s and early 2000s when this consensus fell short of its own standards with the violent dissolution of former Yugoslavia, with severe human rights violations in Europe since the end of World War II including the fall of Vukovar, the siege of Sarajevo, the massacres during the Kosovo war, and the genocide in Srebrenica.

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On the other hand, this Balkan.Perspectives edition seeks to analyse and discuss the possible individual, collective, and societal impacts that the war in Ukraine has on the Western Balkans. It emphasises the importance of Dealing with the Past processes in our region, the support for Peace Initiatives and collective efforts for inclusive approaches to living together.

This edition features articles by Stanislav Petkovski-Sasho and Nenad Markovič from North Macedonia. They provide a focused insight into the multitude of impacts that the Russian invasion has on domestic Macedonian politics, and how the 2001 conflict relates to current events. From Serbia, Ivana Jakšić and Marija Ratković engage in a discussion on the aspects of re-traumatisation due to the conflict in Ukraine and on the femaleperspective of the current war between Russia and Ukraine. In the contributions from Bosnia and Hercegovina Jasminko Halilović reflects on his most recent experiences after having to leave Kyiv in February 2022 and Velma Šarić’s articles stand witness to the continuity of war 30 years after the siege of Sarajevo in 1992. Visar Xhambazi reflects on possible impacts of the Russian invasion in Ukraine on Kosovo, the role of international organisations, and the dialogue process with Serbia. In her contribution, Feride Rushiti, also from Kosovo, asks for a serious discussion on the still existing trauma in Kosovar and Western Balkan societies, and the re-traumatisation that the war in the Ukraine ignites.

We are also pleased to share a new Balkan.Perspectives Podcast edition with our listeners. As usual, you can listen and download the podcasts via our website or via your preferred streaming service like Spotify, Google Podcast, or Apple Podcast. We would like to thank our partners, the production team behind and in front of the microphones and our guests who contributed to the podcasts. In Bosnia and Hercegovina, we thank Oslobođenje KUN, Đorđe Krajišnik, Berina Bukva and Edvin Kanka Ćudić. In Kosovo we thank TILLT Radio, Serbeze Haxhiaj and Lulzim Peci. In North Macedonia we thank Radio MOF and Nenad Marković. In Serbia we thank the radio show Ženergija on Radio Aparat and Sanja Radović

This Balkan.Perspectives marks the 20th edition. During this time we saw the magazine transform from a printed edition to an online platform for critical reflections on Dealing with the Past and Peace Initiatives in the Western Balkan with new formats like the podcast, a brand new website with a new design to meet the needs of our readers. We hope more developments will follow in the next editions. Therefore, we wish you an interesting read, an enjoyable time with the podcasts, and hopefully you stay with us for another twenty and more editions.

Alexander Vojvoda
Editor in Chief


Balkan.Perspectives Podcast

The Balkan Perspectives podcast is forumZFD’s audio format on Dealing with the Past and Peace Education in the Western Balkans. The podcast is produced in four languages (Albanian, BHCS, Macedonian and English) by the forumZFD offices in Bosnia and Hercegovina, […]

Wе, during the War and beyond

When world wars happen, like the current one in Ukraine, it reminds us, the inhabitants of the Balkan Peninsula, of our history and the misfortunes that every generation has had to endure for centuries. There are monuments all over the […]

Impressum 20 – 07/2022

Editor in Chief: Alexander Vojvoda

Editorial Team: Sunita Dautbegović-Bošnjaković, Martin Filipovski, Ana Pejović

Authors: Jasminko Halilović, Ivana Jakšić, Nenad Markovič, Stanislav Petkovski-Sasho, Marija Ratković, Feride Rushiti, Velma Šarić, Visar Xhambazi

Podcasts: Bosnia and Hercegovina: Đorđe Krajišnik, Oslobođenje KUN, Berina Bukva and Edvin Kanka Ćudić Kosovo: TILLT Radio, Serbeze Haxhiaj and Lulzim Peci North Macedonia: Radio MOF and Nenad Marković Serbia: radio show Ženergija on Radio Aparat and Sanja Radović

Design (Cover page): Envinion

Translation: LBG Communications (Albanian), Luna Đorđević (BHCS), Martina Kimovska (Macedonian)

Proofreading: LBG Communications (Albanian/English), Zinaida Lakić (BHCS), Zanet Ristoska (Macedonian)