The Belgrade and Sarajevo offices of the Heinrich Böll Foundation, together
with our editor Miloš Ćirić, have invited relevant voices to reflect on what was
achieved over the past decades in the fields of documentation, memorialization, and
processing of recent history. We wanted to learn which actors and factors determine
the cultural context, who could deconstruct the hate narratives, how nationalism
affects the culture of remembrance in the respective societies, and why the most
brutal of experiences did not lead to a better understanding of common history
in the region. In this volume, the role of the external actors is also critically questioned: what were Western donors able to achieve? Why has dealing with history never become mainstream despite the efforts of many brave, consistent and professional individuals? Is there even a need for a moratorium on dealing with the past so that new spaces for peaceful coexistence can emerge?
There is a great difference between a mere survival of the humankind and the preservation of quality of life. That is why the role of justice in the green transition goes far beyond the entitlement to a safe and healthy environment. The coming climate crisis takes place in a world characterized by a whole variety of injustices, which affect all human rights. These injustices will probably be exacerbated by the crisis, on one hand because of deteriorating conditions and on the other due to weakening of social security policies and measures against growing inequalities.
Therefore, our problem is twofold: to develop strategies and policies of a green transition to decarbonised manufacturing, agriculture, and transport; and to do it in a way which not only does not deepen injustices and inequalities but creates conditions for life with dignity for all. In other words, the fundamental change of human relation to nature should be accompanied by a similarly fundamental change in social relationships.
The feminist edition of Perspectives Magazine, a regional publication published annually by the Heinrich Böll Foundation, aims to present the perspectives of Southeastern Europe to an international audience, to analyze global and regional trends and to provide insights into developments and political debates. The theme of this year's issue is gender and feminism in the Western Balkans, which is presented through four thematic units (State of the Art, Gender in Transitions: Revolution is Female?, Interventions and Resistance), which gives an overview of the context, perception of gender and the state of women's rights, and opens the issue of gender by social (re-)evolution and conflicts, initiatives and practices that contribute to the dismantling of patriarchy and very concrete practices of resistance in our countries. Through the issues of gender violence, political participation, economic relations, ecology, activism, physicality and from the perspective of female scientists, activists, journalists and writers, we focus on a kind of strategy for women's rights in the Balkans: is it based on the premise that we do not get tired and give up.
This issue of Balkan Perspectives was written by women and describes the rights and fights for gender equality which last for generations in the Western Balkans.
There is a grotesque reversal of the paradigm of law and order. Neither laws nor international standards determine what is rightful, but criminal power cartels, which show close overlapping with the dominant parties. As a consequence, thereof, personal and human rights are largely undermined, the individual barely stands a chance in those structures outside the legal jurisdiction to assert his/her rights. The EU, has not been able to contain those destructive forces and to emphatically campaign for its agenda – democracy, liberality, diversity.
With its trepidation, which the EU displayed already during the Bosnian War, the EU now fails anew to defend European values in the Balkans. This however increasingly also endangers the EU in its very foundations: raging destructing ideologies, which have forged ahead during the 1990ies, now bounce back into the EU and endanger the cohesion inside the Union.
Open conflicts in the post-Yugoslav wars provided proponents (and users) of ethno-nationalist ideologies with plenty of experiences or "evidence" that "confirmed" all previous fears and concerns: "they" (another ethnic collective) "aimed at us". The war and post-war years were marked by the spread of narratives, which make the abstract and empty ideology of ethnicity very concrete.