Balkan Memories: Media Constructions of National and Transnational History [1. Aufl.] 9783839417126

This book gives an insight into the media constructions of historical remembrance reflecting transnational, national or

194 56 4MB

English Pages 270 Year 2014

Report DMCA / Copyright

DOWNLOAD FILE

Polecaj historie

Balkan Memories: Media Constructions of National and Transnational History [1. Aufl.]
 9783839417126

Table of contents :
Inhalt
Acknowledgements
Introduction
NATIONAL MEMORIES
Public Monuments, Memorial Churches and the Creation of Serbian National Identity in the 19th Century
Banknote Imagery of Serbia
City Identity and Contemporary Politics of Memory. Case Study: The Fortress of Belgrade
The Long Dark Night (A. Vrdoljak) as a National Epic
Fragments of War. The Siege of Sarajevo in Bosnian Literature
The Poetics of Testimony and Resistance. Anti-war Writing and Social Memory in Bosnia and Herzegovina after the 1992-1995 War
Memory and Conceptual Tropes. Museums, Trade and Documents in Veličković ’s Konač ari
The Reality of Moving Images. Bulgarian Video Art as an Historical Source
TRANSNATIONAL MEMORIES
Memory of a Past to Come. Yugoslavia’s Partisan Film and the Fashioning of Space
Their Youth is within us. The Second World War and Yugoslav Youth Magazines in the 1970s
The Role of the Media in Transgressing Cultural Identities during the Recent Past
Narrative Images of the Yugoslav Totality (and Totalitarianism) in the Bosnian-Herzegovinian Short Story in the Transition from the 20th to the 21st Century
Reflective and Restorative Nostalgia. Two Types of Approaching Catastrophe in Contemporary Yugoslav Literature
The Narrativization of Memories. Trauma and Nostalgia in the Novels The Museum of Unconditional Surrender by Dubravka Ugrešić and Frost and Ash by Jasna Šamić
Goethe’s Oak Tree in the Western Balkans. Wars, Memories and Identities in Contemporary Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian-Herzegovinian Novels
MEMORIES IN CONFLICT
Ambivalent Images of Germany in the Travelogues of Miloš Crnjanski
Writing Art History from a National Point of View. The Case of Dalmatia
Memories in Conflict. Remembering the Par tisans, the Second World War and Bleiburg in Croatia
Monuments to the National War of Liberation in Slovenia. Erection, Reception and Negative Public Opinion
Between Controversy and Reflection. Memory of Marxist Historiography in Croatia after 1990
TV and the End of Grammar-based Politics: Tuđman and Izetbegović
The Iron Curtain in the Memory of the Serbian Newsprint Media
Media and War in Ex-Yugoslavia
Using and Misusing Historical Sources in the Media. A Case Study of a Document
On the Contributors

Citation preview

Tanja Zimmermann (ed.) Balkan Memories

Cultural and Media Studies

Tanja Zimmermann (ed.)

Balkan Memories Media Constructions of National and Transnational History

Sponsored by the DAAD and the International Office of the University of Constance

Bibliographic information published by the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic data are available in the Internet at http://dnb.d-nb.de © 2012 transcript Verlag, Bielefeld

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilized in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Cover layout: Kordula Röckenhaus, Bielefeld Cover illustrations: Jugoslav Vlahovic´, Yugoslavia as a large bubble, 1990 Proofread by Matthias Müller Typeset by Mark-Sebastian Schneider, Bielefeld Printed by Majuskel Medienproduktion GmbH, Wetzlar ISBN 978-3-8376-1712-2

Inhalt Acknowledgements | 9 Introduction | 11 Tanja Zimmermann (Konstanz)

N ATIONAL M EMORIES Public Monuments, Memorial Churches and the Creation of Serbian National Identity in the 19 th Century | 33 Nenad Makuljević (Belgrade)

Banknote Imagery of Serbia | 41 Ivana Živančević-Sekeruš (Novi Sad)

City Identity and Contemporary Politics of Memory Case Study: The Fortress of Belgrade | 49 Bojana Bursać Džalto (Belgrade)

The Long Dark Night (A. Vrdoljak) as a National Epic | 57 Davor Dukić (Zagreb)

Fragments of War The Siege of Sarajevo in Bosnian Literature | 65 Riccardo Nicolosi (Bonn/Konstanz)

The Poetics of Testimony and Resistance Anti-war Writing and Social Memory in Bosnia and Herzegovina after the 1992-1995 War | 77 Enver Kazaz (Sarajevo)

Memory and Conceptual Tropes Museums, Trade and Documents in Veličković’s Konačari | 87 Andrea Lešić (Sarajevo)

The Reality of Moving Images Bulgarian Video Art as an Historical Source | 95 Ana Karaminova (Jena)

T RANSNATIONAL M EMORIES Memory of a Past to Come Yugoslavia’s Partisan Film and the Fashioning of Space | 111 Miranda Jakiša (Berlin)

Their Youth is within us The Second World War and Yugoslav Youth Magazines in the 1970s | 121 Reana Senjković (Zagreb)

The Role of the Media in Transgressing Cultural Identities during the Recent Past | 129 Jasna Galjer (Zagreb)

Narrative Images of the Yugoslav Totality (and Totalitarianism) in the Bosnian-Herzegovinian Short Story in the Transition from the 20 th to the 21 st Century | 139 Anisa Avdagić (Tuzla)

Reflective and Restorative Nostalgia Two Types of Approaching Catastrophe in Contemporary Yugoslav Literature | 147 Davor Beganović (Konstanz/Wien)

The Narrativization of Memories Trauma and Nostalgia in the Novels The Museum of Unconditional Surrender by Dubravka Ugrešić and Frost and Ash by Jasna Šamić | 155 Alma Denić-Grabić (Tuzla)

Goethe’s Oak Tree in the Western Balkans Wars, Memories and Identities in Contemporary Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian-Herzegovinian Novels | 163 Tihomir Brajović (Belgrade)

M EMORIES IN C ONFLICT Ambivalent Images of Germany in the Travelogues of Miloš Crnjanski | 173 Bojana Stojanović Pantović (Novi Sad)

Writing Art History from a National Point of View The Case of Dalmatia | 181 Renata Novak Klemenčič (Ljubljana)

Memories in Conflict Remembering the Partisans, the Second World War and Bleiburg in Croatia | 187 Aleksandar Jakir (Split)

Monuments to the National War of Liberation in Slovenia Erection, Reception and Negative Public Opinion | 207 Marjeta Ciglenečki (Maribor)

Between Controversy and Reflection Memory of Marxist Historiography in Croatia after 1990 | 219 Branimir Janković (Zagreb)

T V and the End of Grammar-based Politics: Tuđman and Izetbegović | 227 Jurij Murašov (Konstanz)

The Iron Curtain in the Memory of the Serbian Newsprint Media | 233 Ana Milojević/Aleksandra Ugrinić (Belgrade)

Media and War in Ex-Yugoslavia | 247 Miroljub Radojković (Belgrade)

Using and Misusing Historical Sources in the Media A Case Study of a Document | 259 Dunja Melčić (Frankfurt a.M.)

On the Contributors | 267

Acknowledgements

In 2010, it seemed a utopian idea to gather specialists in cultural history from the various successor states of Yugoslavia and invite them to share their thoughts on the poetics, and the politics, of national as well as transnational memory. The young states have for a long time been interested in sharpening the profile of their identity and in reinterpreting cultural heritage within territorially defined limits of language and ethnicity. However, the moment seemed to have come to promote and consolidate a culture of respect for and attention to even former opponents, and to foster a dialogue, not only between research in SouthEastern Europe and in Germany but also in other countries of the “old Europe”. I am extremely thankful to all those who had the courage and resolution to create a forum for debate and for cultural exchange, a forum where well-known and established specialists joined ranks with students and young scientists at the beginning of their career. We are all grateful to the German Academic Exchange Office (DAAD) for generously funding the workshop on Balkan memories, which took place in May 2010 in Ljubljana, as the initial meeting of the newly-founded network Media and Memoria in South-Eastern Europe (For more information see: http://www.litwiss.uni-konstanz.de/fachgruppen/slavistik/forschung/ media-and-memoria/). The aim of the network is to assemble historians, art historians, literary theorists, media scholars and political scientists from South-Eastern Europe and Germany and create a forum for discussions on memories from different national and scientific perspectives. Our ambition is also to embed these topics of a dialogic cultural and political imagination in the graduate programs of various universities, so that young scholars and PhD students are provided an opportunity to discuss their projects in an international arena. The aim of this initial meeting was to encourage different forms of cooperation, such as joint workshops, conferences, publications, summer academies, excursions, the exchange of students and teachers between Germany and South-Eastern Europe as well as within South-Eastern Europe. In the DAAD, Anne Röring and Jana Schwarz contributed their experience in research administration and exchange in Eastern Europe. The DAAD also contributed substantially

10

T ANJA Z IMMERMANN

to financing the present volume containing the papers submitted at the conference. Furthermore, we are grateful to the former minister of culture of Slovenia Majda Širca and the vice-minister Stojan Pelko for supporting and inaugurating the conference, to the director of the Moderna galerija in Ljubljana, Zdenka Badovinac, and her helpful staff, in particular the curator, Adela Železnik, for hosting our meeting. My special thanks go to Professor Janez Höfler, my former teacher in art history, who helped me get in touch with the Slovenian colleagues with whom I had lost contact after moving to Germany – and to Slavonic studies – 18 years ago. Further thanks go to Professor Matej Klemenčič, our cicerone during a stimulating visit to Ljubljana, to the artist Jugoslav Vlahović from Belgrade, who gave us the permission to use his caricature for the cover of this volume, to the International Office in Konstanz for supporting the publication, to the English proofreader Matthias Müller, who revised the texts for publication, to the student assistants Tjaša Tomšič and Anja Fetzer, to our secretary Helke Schmal, who put in a lot work in organizing the logistics, and – last but not least – to all the colleagues who joined the workshop as well as the network. Tanja Zimmermann, Konstanz, May 2012

Introduction Tanja Zimmermann (Konstanz)

I.

D OUBLE BINDS OF PAST AND PRESENT : ANACHRONISM AND THE RE VIVAL OF MY THS

Since the middle of the 1990s Maria Todorova (1994; 1997), Vesna Goldsworthy (1998), Slavoj Žižek (1998), David A. Norris (1999) and many others (Bjelić/Savić 2002; Schubert-Dahmen 2003; Bobinac/ Müller-Funk 2008; Zimmermann 2008; Petrović 2009) have envisaged the Balkans as the embodiment of the figure of the Other in the cultural imagination both of the East and the West. In historical and contemporary discourses, the Balkans was always elsewhere, and thus nowhere, only a direction, a path in a labyrinth. While the “associative way” of nation building in Western and Eastern Europe, for example in Germany and Italy, Belgium or Poland was praised as a telos of history, the “dissociative way” of the Balkan states (Lemberg 1994a; 1994b: 603) was regarded as a dead end, leading to no stable form of identity. In several languages the toponym is a plurale tantum: the Balkans in English, les Balkans in French and Balkany in Russian. The hopelessly divided, corrupt and bankrupt states on the Balkans, political “powder kegs”, as numerous travelogues since the beginning of the 20th century reported, were regarded as the results of a failed attempt to implement the West European concept of nation building. The result was not autonomy, but heteronomous fragmentation. Situated between the most belated autocracies, Austria-Hungary, Russia and the Ottoman Empire, the Balkans, ever since they entered into the international political scenario, were a locus of secondary origins or belated beginnings – of copied, recycled, retarded, reiterated, circular, parasitical and simulacral identities, as Jean Baudrillard’s statements about the siege of Sarajevo in 1993 demonstrate (Zimmermann 2009). The causes for contemporary wars were constantly found in circulation of ancient, if not eternal myths (Stevanović 2008). Parallels were drawn between previous wars and conflicts and contemporary ones. According to Holm Sundhaussen (2000; 2001; 2004), during the Milošević era in Serbia, three completely

12

T ANJA Z IMMERMANN

different historical periods were equated and considered to be successive phases in the historical salvation of the Serbian people – the medieval battle against the Ottoman Empire, the suffering under the Ustaša and the Nazi terror during the Second World War, and the contemporary conflicts with the Albanians in Kosovo. In the Republika Srpska, Radovan Karadžić parallelized the shellfire on Sarajevo with the battle of Christian Serbs against the Muslim invasion. Also in Croatia, old ethnic and religious conflicts from the 19th century onwards were remembered simultaneously with contemporary conflicts (Sundhaussen 2004). In all the new nations, old symbols were readily recycled for new political meanings. In Western Europe, the Serbs were parallelized, on the contrary, with the Nazis (Hume 2000; Hammond 2007: 52), whereas in Russia the Kosovar Albanians were equalized with the Chechens (Arbatov 2000). During the 1990s, also literature, war photography and film constantly referred to earlier wars and to the holocaust (Horn 1998; Goulding 2002; Beganović/Braun 2007; Zimmermann 2009; Becker/ Beham 2006). Photographs already marked by pathos and well-known stereotypes could even become a source for comic strips, as Hermann Huppen’s Sarajevo-Tango (1995) and Joe Kubert’s Fax from Sarajevo: A Story of Survival (1996). The fictional film about the Balkans, on the other hand, used documentary sources and combined them with fictional images, as in Jean-Luc Godards Notre musique (2004) (Thiele 2006). The true referent was suspended and replaced by a chain of analogies. Balkan stereotypes not only marked the name and the image of the Balkans, but also inscribed themselves into their memory cultures. Anachronisms and revivals were already part of the Yugoslav official politics before and after the Second World War. Shortly after the rupture with the Soviet Union in 1948, the Croatian writer and leading Yugoslav intellectual Miroslav Krleža (1893-1981) promoted not only in politics, but also in culture a “third way” between East and West (Zimmermann 2010; Zimmermann 2012). According to Krleža, the “third path” already had been heralded in medieval times on the territory of the later Yugoslavia. Especially the Bosnian sect of the Bogomils had supposedly developed some kind of “socialism” and abandoned the ideology of the Eastern and the Western Church. “The contemporary socialist anticipation”, argued Krleža, “is only the dialectic counterpart of a whole series of our medieval anticipations” (Kerleja 1950: 14; Krleža 1950: 54). Anticipation became Krleža’s catchword for Yugoslav culture. Previous cultural manifestations in the southern Slavic region such as the missionary work of Cyril and Methodius, conducted in the Slavic language, the sect of the Bogomils and the autochthone Serbian church were in his view proleptic announcements of the coming of the socialist empire, which found its culmination in Tito’s Yugoslavia. The separation between past and present was overcome by the belief that the past not only participated in the present, but also foretells the future as prophecy. At the 3rd Congress of Yugoslav writers in 1952, Krleža spoke even of an interference of centuries penetrating each other.

I NTRODUCTION

Yugoslav culture was believed to be closed into its own circular chronotopos where early phenomena stimulated and predicted the later ones. Through the prism of anticipation, Krleža turned the old hegemonial cultural transfer from the progressive West to the backward South-East upside down. He claimed that several cultural manifestations, which developed first on Yugoslav territory, had not been able to experience a cultural peak, because they were suppressed by dominant cultures. Thereby, he moved the Balkans, a patchwork of provinces at the edge of European civilisation, into the very centre. Whereas for Krleža a bond with the past was a promise of a glorious future of Yugoslavia, the Serbian writer Radomir Konstantinović (19282011) perceived it in more pessimistic terms. In his work Philosophy of the province (Filozofija palanke), written in 1969, he claimed that Yugoslav culture is excluded from the flow of history and staged in the midst between archaic clan structures and international society. Thus, the Yugoslav community lives in permanent traditionalism and in archaic infantilism. In some kind of timeless eternity, the living cohabitate with dead people. The Serbian film director Želimir Žilnik, one of the founders of the so called “black wave” in Yugoslav film, parodies this anachronism, the permanent presence of an ongoing past, in the imagination of the Balkan people. In his semidocumentary film Tito for the second time among the Serbs, presented in 1994, he let a film actor, dressed like the late president Tito (+1980) walk along the streets of Belgrade, discussing with inhabitants of different generations the golden communist past and the dark post-communist presence. His ‘Tito’ thus represents an allegory of the Balkan past, returning like the undead into the present. In Tito’s Yugoslavia, the alliance between past and presence, autarchy and internationalism, as Krleža and other ideologists of the “third way” formulated it, was promoted in different areas of culture. In the field of music, folk songs were mixed with pop to form a new genre of ethno pop – a phenomenon that could be observed at almost every Eurovision Song Contest up to now. Several Yugoslav film directors, especially Emir Kusturica, combined the image of modern Yugoslavia with the hyperbolic ‘primitive’ Balkans represented by the gypsies, who served to supply his spectators from Western and Eastern Europe with the Balkan stereotypes originating in a seemingly permanent archaism. In Yugoslav abstract painting, the achievements of the international avant-gardes merged with local folk ornamentalism. Besides the modern art currents, ‘naïve’, selftaught peasants and workers, believed to draw on the subterranean styles of ancient Bogomilian and folk art, were given particularly support. The Yugoslav tourist office advertised the supposedly primordial, autarchic way of life of the country’s people, but at the same time afforded foreign guests all the comforts of modern luxury life. In the field of international politics, Yugoslavia distanced itself from the Eastern and Western blocs, but engaged in international contacts on other continents such as Africa

13

14

T ANJA Z IMMERMANN

and Asia. Thus, memories of otherness became an important factor in the Yugoslav international politics of the 1950s and 1960s. Several studies about the Balkans, published during the war period in the 1990s, argue that nowhere historical memory is so closely attached to the present as in this region – an idea already criticized by Pal Kolstø (2005: 1). Their authors see the Balkans as being so obsessed with myths that even the boundary between history and poetry, between reality and imagination had been erased. War atrocities were believed to be relics of ancient mythical rituals which had been brought again to the surface. During our lifetime, a new desire and a predisposition for mythical thinking has spread that was unthinkable after the destructive debacle of myths caused by the Second World War. Especially in South Eastern Europe, now a burning region of crisis, and here especially amongst the Serbs – but not only with them –, one could since long observe that old mythical traditions in particular in poetry were reconsidered, reinterpreted and revived. […] These myths, which had previously flourished in the purposeless garden of poetry, came to life, and began to rage (Lauer 1992: 107f.) […] A bloodthirsty, ritualistic outburst of rage against the dead enemy erupts from atavistic depths, but of course it is nothing else but a destruction of the last remains of humanity in the perpetrator himself. It is about such heroes and their deeds that the people sang their songs. (Ibid.: 127)

Especially the Serbian epics about brutal heroes such as prince Marko (kraljević Marko) were believed to preserve a mythical core which had imprinted itself into the war atrocities of the 1990s. This specific Balkan attitude to myths, which doesn’t distinguish between poetry and reality, between past and present, was blamed for nationalistic excesses, civil war and genocide. The thesis of the particular entrenchment of mythical narratives in South Eastern Europe has much in common with the romantic belief that folk poetry expresses a totality of life, it’s past and present. Already the German historian Leopold von Ranke regarded Serbian epics as a defining part of the historical “memory” of the Serbs. In his study The Serbian Revolution (Die serbische Revolution. Aus serbischen Papieren und Mitteilungen, Hamburg 1829), primarily influenced by Vuk Stefanović Karadžić’s collection of songs, he considers the folk songs to be part of an anonymous oral history – long before the term established itself in historical research. In the first chapter entitled “State of Affairs before Agitation: National Sense of Being and Poetry” (“Lage der Dinge vor den Bewegungen. Nationale Sinnesweise und Poesie”), Ranke observes close links between Serbian poetry and the Serbian nation and history, which had always given preference to the collective over individuals. These poems appear to be the collective product of national interests and orientations. No one seemed to know the names of poets of the newest poems;

I NTRODUCTION one even avoided taking claim for them, and seldom did people ask. […] The people regard them almost as natural occurrences. (Ranke 1829: 35)

All across the land, in the mountains, the plains and forests, the echo of the heroes’ song could be heard, according to Ranke. For him, the folk songs, instead of illustrating the objects and people they were dealing with, themselves testify to a life experience within which they had been produced. Thus, history is communicated to and related with the present by means of folk songs. By reciting them, the past is transformed into a living, up-to-date history. While Ranke emphasized the integration of the past into the present in Serbian epic songs, Cyprien Robert, Professor for Slavic Studies at the Collège de France, highlighted its power to conserve the past in an unchanged form. In his study “The Gusle and Slavic Folk Songs” (“Le gouslo et la poésie populaire des slaves”, 1853), he praises Serbian epics for having fortified the heroic spirit of the Serbian warriors against Islam. The centuries pass by, and with them society changes and is transformed, but the new works of the gouslars still resemble the old ones. In the whirlwind of our fashions and arts, the gouslo remains intact, like the centuries old oaks of the virgin forests whose roots incessantly push up offshoots just like the wormeaten old trunk which produced them; it is in poetry that the brotherhood of Slavic nations is manifested with the most evidence […]. (Robert 1853: 1163)

What Ranke and Robert expressed in their writings wasn’t only a romantic idea. They also reacted to the Serbian folk culture’s recent development into a medium of the political movement that defined explicit political claims. In this way, folk songs became a medium for remembering the past as well as a political means for constructing the future. The heroic epics collected by Vuk Stefanović Karadžić and translated into German by Herder (Keck 1996: 25), into French by Prosper Mérimée (Kohler 2009) and into Russian by Alexander Pushkin (Dvojčenko-Markova 1979: 63, 73), not only articulated the partial desire of the Serbs to fight for freedom, but also the general yearning of the European peoples to push the Ottoman Empire out of Europe. A secularized crusade begun in Greece, in 1829. As asserted by the Croatian literary scholar Ivo Žanić (2002; 2007: 63) in his comprehensive media-anthropological study Flag on the mountain. A Political Anthropology of War in Croatia and Bosnia, the folk song was given a central role during the nationalist war propaganda in the 1990s, especially in the Republika Srbska, governed by Radovan Karadžić, and was thus a case of “political musicology”. The songs orchestrated public electoral campaigns and were also transmitted through television and the radio for this purpose. What at first sight appeared to be Balkan folklore, proved to be at second glance a modern mass-media phenomenon: precisely this alliance between folklore and popular mass media increased

15

16

T ANJA Z IMMERMANN

the effectiveness of the newly formed ideology. The heroic epics, finally, coded in gusle music, were meant to increase the ideological contrast to the western mass media. Thus, archaic folklore was not so much a form of regression, but a deliberate, well targeted act of anti-western, nationalistic demonstration. On the symbolic and ideological level, the idiosyncratic sound was launched as an appeal to return to the origins of the nation. And on their ground, the territorial history was meant to be rewritten – inscribed into the soil also by means of civil war and terror. In her analysis of Excitable speech. A politics of the performative (1997), Judith Butler emphasizes that in hate-filled speech and racist statements “the speaker renews the symbols of the community by re-circulating and thereby reviving such speech” (Butler 2006: 67ff.). She focuses on the phenomenon of updating certain contents, which begin to circulate and thus display their performative force. For Butler, hate speech functions as a kind of quote and sediment of language. Precisely the repetition of certain words transforms language into an encoded memory and fills it with historicity. The “raging of myths” in the Balkans, following Butler, should not be considered as a mythical, regressive way of remembering the past and a return to the mythic origin, but rather as a belated reproduction as well as displacement of the origin from the future into a past that, however, is always still to come, in the sense of Nachträglichkeit (afterwardsness). The war atrocities in the 1990s on the Balkans should therefore not be considered in a context of some specific “Balkan phenomenology”, but in the broader context of racism. According to Slavoj Žižek (2001: 4f.), the Western perception of the Balkans as a place of ethnic horror, intolerance and primitive, irrational passions essentially contributed to the formation of a modern form of racism, too long tolerated as a new political form of Otherness and expressed through anachronistic, archaic, and atavistic events.

II. M EMORIES – NATIONAL , TR ANSNATIONAL , IN CONFLICT Memory cultures in the Balkans are marked by synchronic coexistence or even rivalry within different national and transnational concepts. The gradual decay of the Ottoman Empire from the early 19th till the early 20th century was accompanied by the discovery of national histories of subjugated nations and the construction of their origins (Kolstø 2005). Christian nations cherished memories of the glorious past of the Byzantine, Serbian, Montenegrin and Bulgarian medieval kingdoms before their decline during the 14th and 15th century, that is after the Ottoman invasion (Behschnitt 1980; Perica 2002). The Muslim Bosnians, since 1878 an Austro-Hungarian protectorate, started to construct their own identity based on religion as well as on the Slavic language (Donia 1981; Džaja 1994; Babuna 1996; Haselsteiner 1996). Supported by the government of Benjámin von Kalláy, who attempted to prevent a transnational pan-Slavic

I NTRODUCTION

movement from taking the lead (Okey 2007), they discovered their own medieval tradition based on the Bogomil myth (Lovrenović 2008). After the decay of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Croats and Slovenes joined the polyphony of Balkan memories with their myths of the national origin during medieval times. In the 1990s, after the breakdown of communism and during the period of the Yugoslav dissolution wars, the history of nations in South Eastern Europe was rewritten from a nationalistic point of view and the old myths were revived (Bremer/Popov/Stobbe 1998; Brunnbauer 2004; Brunnbauer/Troebst 2007; Brunnbauer/Helmedach/ Troebst 2007; Melčić 2007; Kuljić 2010; Čolović 2011; Djokić/Ker-Lindsay 2011). Today, in the anticipation of EU entry and aiming at reconciliating the neighbouring nations, historians and schoolbook writers in South Eastern Europe are again rewriting their national histories from a more moderate point of view. Thus, the Balkan memories are not only marked by a plurality of several national histories, but also by a polyphony and a permanent rewriting within each national history. In this anthology, Nenad Makuljević explores how memory culture was established in Serbia during the late 19th and early 20th century. The interest for patrimony manifested itself in the care for cultural heritage and in the erection of monuments, especially of memorial churches and chapels to commemorate national heroes or important historical events. Ivana Živančević-Sekeruš analyzes motives on Serbian banknotes – the visual symbols of a country’s sovereignty and national identity – and investigates how they changed due to economic and political events. Bojana Bursać Džalto describes the symbolic function of the fortress of Belgrade which bears traces of a long and multicultural history for the inhabitants of the capital. Davor Dukić’s contribution is dedicated to the processes of resignification of the national past in the film The Long Dark Night (Duga mračna noć, 2004) by Antun Vrdoljak. The Croatian film director endeavoured to realize a modern national epic by avoiding controversial topics, such as the Ustaša atrocities, the holocaust, and the collaboration of the church with the Nazi regime. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the war experience of the 1990s became a central element of memory culture. Riccardo Nicolosi explores various strategies of disintegration in Bosnian literature, dealing with the siege of Sarajevo. Narratives of memory, fractured in fragments, different perceptions and non-linear time structures correspond to the state of emergency in the besieged city. Enver Kazaz’s contribution deals with the disparity and antagonism between the memories of all three nations in Bosnia, politically indoctrinated for nationalistic aims, and the anti-war literature, which tries to destroy heroic as well as victimized identities. Andrea Lešić explores cognitive poetics in literature and explains how literary tropes of metaphor, metonymy and synecdoche organize and conceptualize memory on different levels of narration from objects to narrative strategies. Ana Karaminova analyses a video by the Bulgarian artist Nadezda Oleg Lyahova and proposes a form

17

18

T ANJA Z IMMERMANN

of analysis that shows how video art can be used as a historical source affecting our memory of historical events. With the founding of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in 1918, there also began the construction of a common, transnational memory of the three leading South Slavic nations (Wachtel 1998). In 1929 the kingdom was renamed Yugoslavia to strengthen the integrative forces of the Serbian dominated state that had to combat national antagonisms. The pan-Slavic ideas from the 19th century, such as the Croatian Illyrian movement, but also other pan-Slavic concepts from Czechoslovakia and Russia, were revived. Already during the First World War, Croatian and Serbian cultural workers and politicians, united in a London-based Yugoslav Committee, began to promote a new common state of the South Slavs. With the support of the Scottish historian Robert William Seton Watson, author of the book The Southern Slav Question and the Habsburg Monarchy (London 1911) and member of the British Ministry of Information, the committee organized an exhibition called “The ruins of the Kosovo temple” by the pan-Slavic Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Meštrović, who already at the international art exhibition in Rome 1911 presented his work in a Serbian instead of the Austro-Hungarian pavilion (Clegg 2002), staged sculptures of dying heroes, their widows with their children and nations enslaved, representing the medieval battle and defeat against the Ottoman Empire on the Kosovo Field, inspired by the Serbian epics. Instead of using specific stylistic features of different South Slavic cultures, the sculptor created a syncretistic artistic language based on ancient Egyptian, BabylonianAssyrian and Greek art as well as on Michelangelo and Rodin to construct a common heroic expression of the South Slavs. The exhibition, accompanied by readings, lectures and pamphlets, was a successful media spectacle that aimed to convince the international diplomacy that the South Slavs under the leading role of the heroic Serbs had to found und build their own multinational state. After the establishment of the multinational South Slavic state, their common mythology was soon overtaken by the present antagonism of nations. During the 1930s, the period when racial ideologies of blood and soil emerged all over Europe, in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, too, the belief in a common future was forgotten. After the Second World War, which in Yugoslavia was also a civil war, the partisan leader and president of the new, socialistic Yugoslavia Josip Broz Tito attempted to unify the different Yugoslav nations by constructing a common transnational state – and memory. Until 1948 Tito, following the Soviet example, had been planning to build a new Balkan and Danube federation, which would not only include the Federative Communist Republic of Yugoslavia as a summa partiorum, but also Bulgaria, Albania, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, Romania and – after the expected victory of the Communists led by general Marcos – also Greece (Gibianskij 1987; Zimmermann 2010). In this short period between 1945 and 1948, front pages of Yugoslav newspapers featured Soviet festive and commemoration

I NTRODUCTION

days as if they were part of the Yugoslav national memory. The plans for the Balkan federation failed due to Soviet politics that were directed towards the domination of the whole of Eastern Europe, thereby also dashing Yugoslavia’s aspirations to take on the leading role among communist countries. Tito’s ideologists abandoned Lenin’s and Stalin’s revision of communism and returned to the origins – the early works of Marx and Engels. They introduced the so-called workers’ self-management, designed to replace the Soviet model of state bureaucracy (Jakir 2011), and proclaimed the socialist paradise hic et nunc by interpreting capitalistic phenomena as socialist achievements (Dimitrijević 2005). Suddenly there was no further talk of the pan-Slavic brotherhood with the Soviets, who were now compared, following Orientalist stereotypes, with Tatars who plunder and enslave entire nations. After Stalin’s break with Tito and the exclusion of Yugoslavia from the Cominform, the Yugoslav leader and his followers adopted the term “third path” as a keyword to designate the autonomy of Yugoslav politics during the Cold War and its manoeuvering between two global powers. Originally, the term was coined by the Soviets to denigrate the Yugoslav deviation from the Soviet “straight line” as a sort of undecided juste milieu During the 1950s, however, Tito and his ideologists incorporated the term into their political vocabulary and turned it into a positive slogan. After the extremely well-attended conference of the Non-Aligned Movement in Belgrade 1961, the new ideology of the “third way”– even of a “third world”, underscored Yugoslavia’s distinction both from the East and from the West. Various (also invented) memories, historical pasts and cultural concepts of the Yugoslav nations were adapted to the image of the “new” multinational Yugoslavia (Höpken 1999; Richter/Bayer 2006). As we have seen, already Tito’s ideologists such as Miroslav Krleža projected the “third path” into the medieval period (Zimmermann 2010): the Slavic “apostles” Cyril and Methodius, the Serbian autochthonous church and especially the medieval Bosnian heretic sect of the Bogomils – all these heresies between the Eastern and the Western church were credited to the account of the “third path”. The integration of the Yugoslav nations, projected into a distant past, seemed to be marked by a simultaneous separation from Eastern and Western culture. In the country itself, “brotherhood and unity” (bratstvo i jedinstvo) of all nations was promoted also in Marxist terms: the nation was depicted as an obsolete concept under the conditions of socialism, the socialist paradise had to be defended against external enemies, national differences were minimized to the level of different folkloristic flavours, new mythologies of the common partisan combat recoded the attachment to the Yugoslav soil (Jakiša 2010; 2011). Also, the Tito cult and new rituals such as the carrying of the relay baton through all the Yugoslav republics on his birthday on the 25th May, widely broadcast on all TV channels, made him the embodiment of unity (Živojinović 2008). The leader cult around Tito, mixed with elements of folk and pop culture, served as a symbol of partisan brotherhood and of a

19

20

T ANJA Z IMMERMANN

common Yugoslav history (Brkljačić 2003; Sretenović/Puto 2004; Petzer 2006; Grigorov 2006; Živojinović 2010). In general, the Balkan clichés which had dominated the perception of the Balkans since the 19th century as a territory of lawlessness, plundering, blood feud, terror, mutual hatred and massacres among nations were pushed aside during the Tito era. Yugoslavia presented itself on the international stage as a bridge between East and West and a messianic land of brotherhood and unity of all worlds’ nations. Also, the socialistic Yugoslav historiography and school books interpreted the civil war simply as a war of Nazi collaborators against the partisans and made little distinction between the Slovenian Domobranci, the Croatian Ustaša, the Serbian Četnici and the Muslim military group, the 13th Waffen-Gebirgs-Division of the SS “Handschar” (Sundhausen 1971). Memories on the Yugoslav holocaust in Jasenovac in Croatia, Staro Sajmište in Belgrade and other concentration camps (Goldstein 2001; 2004; Mataušić 2003; 2008; Karge 2010: 185-224) were presented without complete documentary material simply as places of an abstract, fascist suppression. People had to wait until the early 1990’s before the atrocities of the holocaust as well as of the civile war committed in these camps were shown in photographs and widely discussed. However, even then pathosladen documentations rarely distinguished between the victims from various ethnic, political and religious groups. Memory strategies were simply recoded from Titoism to the new context of rising nationalism. Under Titoism, memories of partisan atrocities such as the Bleiburg Field in Carinthia in 1945 and of Yugoslav gulags on the Adriatic islands of Goli otok and Sveti Grgur as well as at Stara Gradiška and Lepoglava were suppressed. A wider critical public discussion was only possible after the late 1980s, when Tito’s camps were commemorated first in literature and personal confessions (Gruenewald 1987; Münnich 2005), and only later by historians (Banac 1988). Several contributions in this volume are dedicated to socialistic strategies of creating a common transnational memory. Miranda Jakiša stresses the importance of the partisan film and its romanticizing picture of heroic people and actions for the formation of an imaginary territory, the common homeland of Yugoslavia in its contours on the map. The ‘telluric’ (close to the earth) warfare of partisan combat, moving close to the ground with an excellent knowledge of homeland terrain, strengthened memories of a supranational community united through common resistance. Reana Senjković explores strategies in the Yugoslav youth magazines of the 1970s in mediating the Yugoslav partisan past to the young generations. The high-circulation magazine Tina, modeled on contemporary Western girls’ magazines, dealt with everyday problems of adolescents, as if there were no difference between the generations of the partisans and their children. Jasna Galjer illustrates the role of exhibitions in socialist Yugoslavia as a medium of promoting its specific transnational cultural and political identity in opposition to the East Block. At the same time, she criticizes

I NTRODUCTION

that Yugoslavia is presented in recent exhibitions in Western Europe as if there were no difference between Titoism and the Warsaw Pact countries. Already during the 1960s and 1970s the Tito cult had been adapted to modern mass media and to the marketing strategies for younger generations. After the disintegration of Yugoslavia, it did not disappear altogether. It continued as a post-socialist nostalgia, attached less to Tito’s political ideals than to ironically recycled relicts and in pastiches of the communist period (Velikonja 2008), a strategy that soon turned out to be a post-modern signature of post-communist and post-war Balkan identities. The Tito cult became an empty pathos formula, depoliticized and deprived of the ethical aims of the partisan struggle against the fascists and of “brotherhood and unity” amongst nations. He became a media figure, which got its own home pages such as http://www.titoville.com in Slovenia or http://marsal. blog.hr in Croatia, animated by chat sites. Even outside the Yugoslav territory, Tito continues to spread his nostalgic flair, as for example during the events of the Kulturfabrik Kampnagel in Hamburg in June 2007, a mixture of postmodern theatre performances, music and film presentations, accompanied by lectures and discussions on Tito for “beginners”. Already in the 1990s two films parodied nostalgic tendencies in former Yugoslavia. The Serbian filmmaker Želimir Žilnik, mentioned before, has resurrected Tito and let him talk with the nostalgic old generation. The Croatian filmmaker Vinko Brešan presents the leader in his film Marshall Tito’s Spirit (1999) as a popular figure for commercial purposes, selling the illusions of a socialist Disneyland, the tourist oasis “Sozialism” on an Adriatic island. He is meant to attract partisan veterans and communists from former Yugoslavia as well as nostalgic guests from China and Russia. According to Svetlana Slapšak (2011), the post-Yugoslav para-nostalgia veils ethnic differences that marked social reality already in Tito’s Yugoslavia. Thus, the “Yugo Nostalgia”, established with a playful disrespect of the memory of the others, can paradoxically orchestrate even new nationalist narratives. The phenomenon of nostalgia is not only limited to commercial objects such as cups and T-shirts, music and film from the former Yugoslavia, but emerges also in literature where it is at the same time ironized. Anisa Avdagić explores a new discourse on nostalgia in contemporary BosnianHerzegovinian short stories which neither demonize nor idealize the former communist community, but attempt at re-evaluating the ideological bases of later separation. Alma Denić-Grabić analyzes a relationship of trauma and nostalgia in the novels of the exile authors Dubravka Ugrešić and Jasna Šamić. The literary techniques they employ include editing, collage, as well as the poetics of a diary or an unfinished album. Davor Beganović sums up the results of Yugo-nostalgia, following Svetlana Boym’s (2001) distinction between reflective and restorative approaches to the past. In his interpretation of Aleksandar Hemon’s novels, he presents the subversive strategies of irony that aim to overcome the idealized, “false” image of Yugoslavia. Tihomir Brajović, referring to Goethe’s oak tree in Buchenwald, traces transitions of the motif in contemporary

21

22

T ANJA Z IMMERMANN

Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian-Herzegovinian novels, where it stands for a figure of memories transposed from the Second World War to the Post-Yugoslav wars in the 1990s. Thus, a common Balkan memory occurs precisely where it was erased by war and genocide. As the Balkans was stereotyped by East and West, also Balkan memories provided their own stereotyped perceptions of other nations. Bojana Stojanović Pantović explores the ambiguous relationship towards German culture in the travelogues of the Serbian writer Miloš Crnjanski’s, shaped by the popular Völkerpsychologie. On his journeys through Germany in the 1920s and early 1930s he admires hard work, order and discipline of the people, but at the same time criticizes their mentality of collective subordination to the leader. As a zone where national and transnational memories competed on the diachronic as well as synchronic axis, Balkan memories were often written from different points of view and in conflict to each other. Renata Novak Klemenčič demonstrates how political changes had an immediate impact on art-historical writing about Dalmatia. Whereas for Italian irredentists Dalmatian art represented an indigenous Latin art, the Croatian art historians, reacting to such claims, emphasized its specific local Slavic character. Dalmatia was a kind of seismograph of historical turns also after the Second World War and after the Yugoslav dissolution wars. Aleksandar Jakir analyses the situation in contemporary public discussion in Dalmatia over the Antifascist-struggle and the Partisan crimes at the Bleiburg Field in Carinthia. The counter narratives of the Croatian memory policy affected the preservation of partisan monuments and the rewriting of school books. Marjeta Ciglenečki analyses monuments to the National War of Liberation in Slovenia, which in contrast to other East European countries survived relatively unscathed. In her case study she focuses on Slovene Styria, where during the Second World War part of the population supported Germany, and she documents conflicts in the public discussion over partisan monuments after the fall of communism. Branimir Janković examines how the Croatian historiography of the 1990s, pursuing revisionist and nationalist goals, dealt with the Marxist past. In the last decade he traces a revival of Marxist phrases in a new context of students’ protests, demanding free education and criticizing neoliberal capitalism.

III. M ASS MEDIA AND THE SHAPING OF THE B ALK AN MEMORIES Mass media that shaped memory cultures since the beginning of the 19th century were closely intertwined with contemporary political actions. Historic painting by French philhellenic artists, showing in emphatic manner the suffering of the Greek nation under the Ottoman rule, exhibited in Parisian salons and reproduced in the Western European

I NTRODUCTION

illustrated press during the 1820s, had a role in preparing the intervention of European forces against the Ottoman Empire (Kepetzis 2009). At the same time, paintings formed the image of the Balkans as a lawless area where weak and innocent people were slaughtered like animals. In the 1870s, when the South Slavs struggled for their liberty, the illustrated press in Western Europe and Russia reproduced similar affective and appellative images of suffering in an oriental manner, painted by the Paris based Czech Jaroslav Čermák and other artists supporting the South Slavs (Baleva 2009). The Russian press invited volunteers to help the Orthodox brothers on the Balkans. Even writers such as Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy commented political campaigns or used them as a motif in their novels The Brothers Karamazov and Anna Karenina. Political transformations and medial turns often coincided and reinforced each other. In the first half of the 20th century, the radio accompanied images in the illustrated press, now increasingly presented in the context of photo reportages. TV was introduced in Yugoslavia relatively early, in the early 1960s and played a central role during the dissolution of Yugoslavia (Kolstrø 2009). Jurij Murašov shows in this volume the effects of its introduction onto the political rhetoric of Franjo Tuđman and Alija Izetbegović. The speeches of the later opponents became more locally coloured, more idiomatic and speech act orientated. During the period, when the regional media centres in different Yugoslav republics were established, the national differences in Yugoslavia were accentuated. Historians such as Dejan Djokić (2003) had derived the causes of the dissolution of Yugoslavia directly from the deficit of integrative elements. Miroljub Radojković gives us here an overview over the Yugoslav media before and during the wars of disintegration in the 1990s. He explains how the common information space of socialistic Yugoslavia fell apart and became a tool of new nationalist political elites. The mass media influenced also the visibility of important historical events in public perception. Ana Milojević and Aleksandra Ugrinić compare the weak echo to the fall of the Iron Curtain in the Serbian newsprint media in 1989, before the Yugoslav wars, and again in 1999, during the war in Kosovo and the bombing of Belgrade when a redefinition of the political system took place in Yugoslavia. In both circumstances, the most momentous European political event was not perceived in connection with the circumstances in Yugoslavia; it just passed by. From the Balkan wars in 1912 and 1913 (Keisinger 2008) until the dissolution wars in the 1990s, the manipulation of the mass media on the Balkans and about the Balkans became the central topic of Balkan memories (Gow/Paterson/Preston 1996; Höpken 1996; Žanić, 2007 [1998]; Thompson 1999; Brunner Skopljanac 2000; Popov 2000; Kostrø 2009; Petrović 2009). This phenomenon was used even by Jean Baudrillard to underscore his postmodern media theory of simulacra (Zimmermann 2009). In this volume Dunja Melčić analyses a case study of two different reports about Franjo Tuđman’s meeting with his generals, concerning

23

24

T ANJA Z IMMERMANN

the military action “Storm”, during which the Serbs were expelled from Croatia. She demonstrates how investigative journalism can abuse secret material and transform documentary into fiction or how headlines, using the vocabulary of the Shoah like “the final solution”, provoke allusions to the Second World War. Thus, the Balkan memories seem to be a permanent media event. They are in a process of constant rediscovery and rewriting, but only to repeat the image of the Balkans which stays constant. Thus, although they belong to the past, they are at the same time present and reanimated in new media. As such, they gain performative force and affect by their revivals culture and politics. Postmodern strategies in literature, film and other media transform them into moving significants that like the gorges of the Balkans have a labyrinthine structure of a mise en abyme.

R EFERENCES Arbatov, Aleksej (2000): Transformacija rossijskoj voennoj doktriny – uroki Kosovo i Čečni, Garmisch-Partenkirchen: Marshall Center. Babuna, Aydin (1996): Die nationale Entwicklung der bosnischen Muslime. Mit besonderer Berücksichtigung der österreichisch-ungarischen Periode, Frankfurt a.M.: Lang. Banac, Ivo (1988): With Stalin against Tito. Conformist Splits in Yugoslav Communism, Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Baleva, Martina (2009): “Martyrium für die Nation. Der slawische Balkan in der ostmitteleuropäischen Malerei des 19. Jahrhunderts.” In: Osteuropa 59/12, pp. 41-52. Becker, Jörg/Beham, Mira (2006): Operation Balkan. Werbung für Krieg und Tod, Baden-Baden: Nomos. Beganović, Davor/Braun, Peter (eds.) (2007): Krieg sichten. Zur medialen Darstellung der Kriege in Jugoslawien, München: Fink. Beschitt, Wolf Dietrich (1980): Nationalismus bei den Serben und Kroaten, 1830-1914, München: Oldenbourg. Bjelić, Dušan I./Savić, Obrad (eds.) (2002): Balkan as Metaphor. Between Globalization and Fragmentation, Cambridge: MIT Press. Bobinac, Marijan/Müller-Funk, Wolfgang (ed.) (2008): Gedächtnis – Identität – Differenz. Zur kulturellen Konstruktion des südosteuropäischen Raumes im deutschsprachigen Kontext. Beiträge des gleichnamigen Symposiums in Lovran/Kroatien, 4.-7. Oktober 2007, Tübingen-Basel: Francke. Boym, Svetlana (2001): The Future of Nostalgia, New York: Basic Books. Bremer, Thomas/Popov, Nebojša/Stobbe, Heinz-Günther (eds.) (1998): Serbiens Weg in den Krieg, Berlin: Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag. Brkljačić, Maja (2003): “Tito’s bodies in Word and Image.” In: Narodna umjetnost, 40/1, pp. 99-128. Brunnbauer, Ulf/Helmedach, Andreas/Troebst, Stefan (eds.) (2007): Schnittstellen. Gesellschaft, Nation, Konflikt und Erinnerung in Südost-

I NTRODUCTION

europa. Festschrift für Holm Sundhaussen zum 65. Geburtstag, München: Oldenburg. Brunnbauer, Ulf/Troebst, Stefan (eds.) (2007): Zwischen Amnesie und Nostalgie. Die Erinnerung an den Kommunismus in Südosteuropa, Köln: Böhlau Verlag. Brunnbauer, Ulf (ed.) (2004): (Re)Writing History – Historiograpy in Southeast Europe after Socialism, Münster: LIT. Brunner Skopljanac, Nena (ed.) (2000): Media and War, Zagreb: Centre for Transition and Civil Society Research. Butler, Judith (2006): [1997]): Hass spricht: Zur Politik des Performativen. Aus dem Englischen von Katharina Menke und Markus Krist, Frankfurt a.M.: Suhrkamp (amer. Excitable speech: A politics of the performative, New York 1997). Clegg, Elisabeth (2002): “Meštrović, England, and the Great War.” In: The Burlington magazine, 144, pp. 740-751. Čolović, Ivan (2011): Kulturterror auf dem Balkan. Essays zur Politischen Anthropologie, Osnabrück:  Fibre. Dimitrijević, Branislav (2005): “Sozialistischer Konsumismus, Verwestlichung und kulturelle Reproduktion.” In: Boris Groy/Anne von der Heiden/Peter Weibel (eds.), Zurück aus der Zukunft. Osteuropäische Kulturen im Zeitalter des Postkommunismus, Frankfurt a. M.: Suhrkamp, p. 211. Djokić, Dejan/Ker-Lindsay, James (2011): New Perspectives on Yugoslavia. Key Issues and Controversies, London-New York: Routledge. Djokić, Dejan (ed.) (2003): Yugoslavism. Histories of a Failed Idea, 1918-1992, Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. Donia, Robert J. (1981): Islam under the Double Eagle: the Muslims of Bosnia and Hercegovina, 1878-1914, New York: Columbia University Press. Dvojčenko-Markova, E.M. (1979): Puškin v Moldavii i Valachii, Moskau: Nauka. Džaja, Srečko M. (1994): Bosnien-Herzegowina in der österreichisch-ungarischen Epoche (1878-1918): Die Intelligentsia zwischen Tradition und Ideologie, München: Oldenbourg. Gibianskij, Leonid Ja. (1987): Sovetskij Sojuz i Novaja Jugoslavija. 19411947gg., V.K. Volkov (Hg.), Moskva : Nauka. Goldstein, Ivo (2004): Židovi u Zagrebu, 1918-1941, Zagreb: Novi Liber. Goldstein, Ivo (2001): Holokaust u Zagrebu, Zagreb: Novi Liber. Goldsworthy, Vesna (1998): Inventing Ruriatania, New Haven: Yale University Press. Žižek, Slavoj (2001): The fragile absolute – or, why is the Christian legacy worth fighting for?, London: Verso, pp. 3-11. Goulding, Daniel J. (2002): Liberated Cinema. The Yugoslav Experience, 1945-2001, Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Gow, James/Paterson, Richard/Preston, Alison (ed.) (1996): Bosnia by television, London: British Film Institute. Grigorov, Dimitar (2006): “Druže Tito, mi ti se kunemo. Ritual and Political Power in Yugoslavia: Tito’s Birthday Celebrations (1945-1987).”

25

26

T ANJA Z IMMERMANN

In: Joaquim R. Carvalho (ed.), Rituals and Implementation of Religious and Political Power. Aspects of Identity Formation in Europe, Pisa: Pisa University Press, pp. 275-292. Gruenewald, Oskar (1987): “Yugoslav Camp Literature. Rediscovering the Ghost of an Nation’s Past-Present-Future.” In: Slavic review, 46/3-4, pp. 513-528. Hammond, Philip (2007): Media, War and Postmodernity, London: Routledge, p. 52. Haselsteiner, Horst (1996): Bosnien-Hercegovina. Orientkrise und Südslavische Frage, Wien: Böhlau. Höpken, Wolfgang (1996): Öl ins Feuer? Schulbücher, ethnische Stereotype und Gewalt in Südosteuropa, Hannover: Hahnsche Buchhandlung. Hume, Mick (2000): “Nazifying the Serbs, from Bosnia to Kosovo.” In: Philip Hammond, Philip/Herman, Edward S. (eds.), Degraded Capability. The Media and the Kosovo Crisis. London: Pluto Press, pp. 70-78. Jakir, Aleksandar (2010): “The Crisis of socialist Modernity: The soviet Union and Yugoslavia in the 1970s.” In: Mariejanine Calic/Dietmar Neutatz/Julia Obertreis (eds.), Schriften der FRIAS School of History, Göttingen: Vanderhoeck & Ruprecht, pp. 134-155. Jakiša, Miranda (2011): “Der ‘tellurische Charakter’ des Partisanengenres: Jugoslavische Topo-Graphie in Film und Literatur.” In: Esther Kilchmann/Andreas Pflitsch/Franziska Thun-Hohenstein (eds.), Topographie pluraler Kulturen. Europa vom Osten gesehen, Berlin: Kulturverlag Kadmos, pp. 209 -225. Jakiša, Miranda (2010): “Down to Earth Partisans.” In: Wurm, Barbara (ed.): KINO! Partizanski film 10, Ljubljana: Kino!, pp. 54-61. Karge, Heike (2010): Steinerne Erinnerungen – versteinerte Erinnerungen? Kriegsgedenken in Jugoslawien (1947-1970), Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag. Keck, Thomas A. (1996): “Frankreich-Bilder für eine Lyrik-Ausstellung. Eine Darstellung deutscher Rezeption französischer Literatur bis Mitte des 19. Jahrhunderts.” In: Helga Essmann/Udo Schöning (eds.) (1996): Weltliteratur in deutschen Versanthologien des 19. Jahrhunderts, Berlin: E. Schmidt, pp. 3-50. Keisinger, Florian (2008): Unzivilisierte Kriege im zivilisierten Europa? Die Balkankriege und die öffentliche Meinung in Deutschland, England und Irland 1876-1913, Paderborn: Schöningh. Kepetzis, Ekaterini (2009): “Familien im Krieg. Zum griechischen Freiheitskampf in der französischen Malerei der 1820er Jahre.” In: Gilbert Heß/Elena Agazzi/Élisabeth Décultot (eds.), Graecomania. Der europäische Philhellenismus, Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, pp. 133-170. Kostrø, Pål (ed.) (2009): Media Discourse and the Yugoslav Conflicts. Representation of Self and Other, Burlington: Ashgate. Kerleja, Miroslav (1950): Preface, L’art médiéval yougoslave. Moulages et copies exécutés par des artistes Yougoslaves et Français, Paris: Les presses artistiques, pp. 13-18.

I NTRODUCTION

Kohler, Gun-Britt (2009): “Fingierter Mythos, gefälschter Kommentar. Techniken der Simulation in Prosper Mérimées ‘La Guzla.” In: Zeitschrift für Slawistik, 54/2, pp. 187-223. Konstantinović, Radomir (2004): Filozofija palanke, Beograd: Otkrovenje. Krleža, Miroslav (1950): “Die Ausstellung der jugoslawischen mittelalterlichen Malerei und Plastik.” In: Jugoslawien. Illustrierte Zeitschrift vol. 2, pp. 52-61. Kuljić, Teodor (2010): “Umkämpfte Vergangenheiten. Die Kultur der Erinnerung im postjugoslawischen Raum.” In: Sonja Vogel (ed.), Umkämpfte Vergangenheiten, die Kultur der Erinnerung im postjugoslawischen Raum, Berlin: Verbrecher Verlag. Lauer, Reinhard (1995): “Das Wüten der Mythen. Kritische Anmerkungen zur serbischen heroischen Dichtung.” In: Reinhard Lauer/Werner Lehfeldt (eds.): Das jugoslawische Desaster. Historische, sprachliche und ideologische Hintergründe, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, pp. 107-148. Lemberg, Hans (1994a): “Der Versuch der Herstellung synthetischer Nationen im östlichen Europa im Lichte des Theorems von NationBuilding.” In: Hans Lemberg/Peter Heumos (eds.), Das Jahr 1919 in der Tschechoslowakei und in Ostmitteleuropa, München: Oldenbourg, pp. 145-162. Lemberg, Hans (1994b): “Unvollendete Versuche nationaler Identitätsbildung im 20. Jahrhundert im östlichen Europa. Die ‘Tschechoslowaken’, die ‘Jugoslawen’, das ‘Sowjetvolk’!” In: Berding, Helmut (ed.), Nationales Bewusstsein und kollektive Identität. Studien zur Entwicklung des kollektiven Bewusstseins in der Neuzeit 2, Frankfurt a.M.: Suhrkamp, pp. 581-607. Lovrenović, Dubravko (2008): Povijest est magistra vitae. O vladavini prostora nad vremenom, Sarajevo: Rabic. Mataušić, Nataša (2008): Koncentracioni logor Jasenovac fotomonografija, Jasenovac: Spomen-Područje Jasenovac. Mataušić, Nataša (2003): Jasenovac 1941 – 1945. Logor smrti i radni logor, Zagreb: Jesenski i Turk. Melčić, Dunja (ed.) (2007 [1999]): Der Jugoslawien-Krieg, Wiesbaden: Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften. Münnich, Nicole (2005): “Das Grauen erzählen. Vergangenheitsdeutungen in literarischen und historiographischen Texten am Beispiel des jugoslawischen ‘Umerziehungslagers’ Goli otok.” In: Alfrun Kliems (ed.), Sinnstiftung durch Narration in Ost-Mittel-Europa, Geschichte, Literatur, Film, Leipzig: Akademische Verlagsanstalt. Norris, David A. (1999): In the Wake of the Balkan Myth. Questions of Identity and Modernity, Basingstoke: Macmillan. Okey, Robin (2007): Taming Balkan nationalism. The Habsburg “civilizing mission” in Bosnia, 1878-1914, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Pavle, Levi (2007): Disintegration in Frames. Aesthetics and Ideology in the Yugoslav and Post-Yugoslav Cinema, Stanford: Stanford University Press.

27

28

T ANJA Z IMMERMANN

Perica, Vjekoslav (2002): Balkan Idols. Religion and Nationalism in Yugoslav States, New York: Oxford University Press. Petrović, Tanja (ed.) (2009): A Long Way Home. Representations of Western Balkans in Political and Media Discourses, Ljubljana: Mirovni Institut. Petzer, Tatjana (2006): “Tito – Symbol und Kult: Identitätsstiftende Zeichensetzung in Jugoslawien.” In: Angela Richter/Barbara Bayer (eds.), Geschichte (ge-)brauchen: Literatur und Geschichtskultur im Staatssozialismus. Jugoslawien und Bulgarien, Berlin: Frank & Timme, pp. 113–130. Popov, Nebojša (ed.) (2000): The Road to War in Serbia. Trauma und Catharsis, Budapest: Central European University Press. Ranke, Leopold (1829): Die serbische Revolution. Aus serbischen Papieren und Mitteilungen, Hamburg: Perthes. Richter, Angela/Bayer, Barbara (ed.) (2006): Geschichte (ge-)brauchen. Literatur und Geschichtskultur im Staatssozialismus. Jugoslawien und Bulgarien, Berlin: Frank & Timme. Robert, Cyprien (1853):  “Le gouslo et la poésie populaire des slaves.” In: Revue des Deux Mondes, Vol. II, pp. 1159-1200. Schubert, Gabriella/Dahmen, Wolfgang (eds.) (2003): Bilder von Eigenem und Fremden aus dem Donau-Balkan-Raum, München: SüdosteuropaGesellschaft. Slapšak, Svetlana (2011): ““Twin Cultures and Rubik’s Cube Politics: The Dynamics of Cultural Production in Pro-YU, Post-YU, and Other YU Inventions”, In: Südosteuropa. Zeitschrift für Politik und Gesellschaft 59/3, pp. 301-314. Sretenović, Stanislav/Puto, Artan (2004): “Leader cults in the Western Balkans (1945-90): Josip Broz Tito und Enver Hoxha.” In: Balázs Apor/ Jan C. Behrends,/Polly Johnes u.a. (eds.): The Leader Cult in Communist Dictatorship: Stalin and the Eastern Block, Chippenham-Eastbourne: Palgrave, pp. 208–223. Stevanović, Branislav (2008): “From Archaic to modern (political) myth: The causes, functions and consequences.” In: Facta Universitatis. Philosophy, Sociology, Psychology and History 7/1, pp. 25-41. Sundhaussen, Holm (2004)  :  “Jugoslawien und seine Nachfolgestaaten. Konstruktion, Dekonstruktion und Neukonstruktion von ‘Erinnerungen’ und Mythen.” In: Monika Flacke (ed.), Mythen der Nationen. 1945 – Arena der Erinnerungen. Begleitbände zur Ausstellung. Bd. 1, Berlin: Philipp von Zabern, pp. 373-413. Sundhaussen, Holm (2001): “Kriegserinnerung als Gesamtkunstwerk und Tatmotiv. Sechshundertzehn Jahre Kosovo-Krieg (1389-1999).” In: Dietrich Beyrau (ed.), Der Krieg in religiösen und nationalen Deutungen der Neuzeit, Tübingen: Edition Diskord, pp. 11-40. Sundhaussen, Holm (2000): “Kosovo – Eine Konfliktgeschichte.” In: Konrad Clewing/Jens Reuter (eds.) Der Kosovo-Konflikt. Ursachen, Verlauf, Perspektiven, Klagenfurt: Wieser, pp. 65-88. Sundhaussen, Holm (1999): “Kosovo: ‘himmlisches Reich’ und irdischer Kriegsschauplatz. Kontroversen über Recht, Unrecht und Gerechtig-

I NTRODUCTION

keit.” In: Südosteuropa. Zeitschrift für Gegenwartsforschung 48, pp. 237-257. Sundhaussen, Holm (1971): Zur Geschichte der Waffen-SS in Kroatien 1941– 1945. In: Südost-Forschungen, 30, pp. 176–196. Thompson, Mark (1999): Forging War. The Media in Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Luton: University of Luton Press. Todorova, Maria (1999): Die Erfindung des Balkans. Europas bequemes Vorurteil. Darmstadt: Primus-Verlag. Todorova, Maria (1994): “The Balkans. From Discovery to Invention.” In: Slavic Review 53, pp. 453-482. Velikonja, Mitja (2008): Titostalgija – študija nostalgije po Josipu Brozu, Ljubljana: Mirovni institut. Wachtel, Andrew Baruch (1998): Making a Nation, Breaking a Nation. Literature and Cultural politics in Yugoslavia, Stanford: Stanford University Press, p. 79ff. Žanić, Ivo (2007): Flag on the Mountain. A Political Anthropology of the War in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina 1990-1995, London: Saqi. Zimmermann, Tanja (2012): “Jugoslawien als neuer Kontinent – politische Geografie des ‘dritten Weges’.” In: Miranda Jakiša/Andreas Pflitsch (eds.), Jugoslawien – Libanon. Verhandlungen von Zugehörigkeit in fragmentierten Gesellschaften, Berlin: Kadmos (forthcoming). Zimmermann, Tanja (2010): “Titoistische Ketzerei. Die Bogomilen als Antizipation des “dritten Weges” Jugoslawiens.” In: Zeitschrift für Slawistik 55/4, pp. 445-463. Zimmermann, Tanja (2009): “Medien im Ausnahmezustand. Performanz und Simulakrum im Bild des Jugoslawienkrieges.” In: Oliver Ruf (ed.), Ästhetik der Ausschließung. Ausnahmezustände in Geschichte, Theorie und literarischer Fiktion, Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, pp. 137-158. Zimmermann, Tanja (2009): “Ein Kriegsfoto aus Bosnien. Beglaubigungen und Verweigerungen durch Ron Haviv, Susan Sontag und Jean-Luc Godard.” In: Natalia Borissova/Susanne Frank/Andreas Kraft (eds.) (2009): Kriegsnarrative des 20. und 21. Jahrhunderts. Zwischen Apokalypse und Alltag, Bielefeld: transcript, pp. 237-261. Zimmermann, Tanja (2008): “Rituals of (Un)veiling: Orientalism and the Balkans.” In: Claudia Reiche/Andrea Sick (eds.), Do not exist: Europe, Woman, Digital Medium, Bremen: Thealit Frauen.Kultur.Labor, pp. 133-154. Živojinović, Marc (2010): “Der jugoslawische-Tito Kult – Mythologisierte Motive und ritualisierte Kulthandlungen.” In: Benno Ennker/Heidi Hein-Kircher (eds.), Der Führer im Europa des 20. Jahrhunderts, Marburg: Verlag Herder-Institut, pp. 181–199. Živojinović, Marc (2008): “Die Stafette der Jugend zu Ehren des Marschalls.” In: Südost Forschungen 67, pp. 253-276. Žižek, Slavoj (2001). The fragile Absolute – or, Why is the Christian Legacy Worth fighting for?, London-New York: Verso.

29

30

T ANJA Z IMMERMANN

W EBSITES Thiele, Ansgar, “Schuss und Gegenschuss ist Krieg – Teil II: Jean-Luc Godards Notre musique”, December 28, 2010 (http://www.metaphorik. de/11/thiele.htm) Horn, Christine, “Bilder erzählen ihre eigene Geschichte. Eine Reportage mit Folgen.” March 3, 2012 (http://www.novo-magazin.de/itn-vs-lm/ novo34-2.htm,). Žižek, Slavoj, “The Spectre of Balkan”, September 9, 2008 (http://www. umich.edu/~iinet/journal/vol6no2/zizek.htm)

National Memories

Public Monuments, Memorial Churches and the Creation of Serbian National Identity in the 19 th Century Nenad Makuljević (Belgrade)

During the 19th century, the process of erecting public monuments was in full swing all over Europe (cf. Nipperdey 1968, 1977; Hoffman-Curtius 1985; Mittig 1987; Koselleck et al. 1994; Allings 1996; Mai 1997; Berggren 1999). Even though public monuments had been erected since the oldest times, it was in the 19th century that they started to flourish. The chronology of erection of memorials shows that this process reached its peak at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries. In the creation of Serbian national identity public monuments play an important role (cf. Smith 1991). During the 19th century, two general types of Serbian national monuments can be differentiated. The first one comprises constructions from the past, parts of the cultural heritage which have become monuments of national culture. The latter refers to the monuments which were erected, dedicated to, or meant to commemorate national heroes or important historical events. The form of these monuments is not the most important factor defining them as public national monuments, so they can take various artistic and natural forms – sculptures, architectural constructions, important historical sites, and natural areas. Serbian monument culture of the 19th century shows that tombs, memorial churches, memorial houses, memorial schools, artificial nature, and historical sites all had monumental characteristics (Makuljević 2006: 274-308). Some of the earliest ideas about public monuments can be found in the writings of philosopher Dositej Obradović (1744-1811). Obradović adopted, and followed the Enlightenment’s practice of venerating and memorializing remarkable men of letters. Thus, he suggested in 1786 that Serbs should build a monument to the writer, and artist Zaharije Orfelin (1726-1785) (Obradović 1899: 18). Origins of the establishment of Serbian memorial culture can also be found in newspapers and magazines. The first Serbian newspaper “Novine Serbske”, reported extensively on

34

N ENAD M AKULJEVIĆ

contemporary events in Europe and the Napoleonic wars (1799-1815). By the end of the war the Serbian public had become familiar with the process of memorializing war heroes, important events and famous monuments. In that time, several expressions, primarily from the Russian and German language, referring to the monument were used: “пaмятникь” (pamjatnik) and “монументь” (Monument). The practice of introducing the Serbian public to contemporary memorial culture continued in the first decades of the 19th century. Thus, “Serbski letopis” from 1826 featured a text devoted to the monuments in Russia. Here the aim of monuments was described as the eternalization of great deeds (Anonym 1826: 119-120). During the 19th century, the memorial practice, which spread all over Europe, was embraced in Serbia, as well. Serbian students became familiar with the current events in European capitals (Ivanić 1989: 273288), while Serbian newspapers and magazines occasionally featured pictures and comments on some European monuments. In order to promote liberal political ideas, the Serbian public supported the erection of some European monuments. Thus, in Belgrade in 1862, the Board for raising funds for the Cavour statue (monument dedicated to Cammilo Benso, Count of Cavour 1810-1861) was founded as an official support to Italian liberal and national movement (Skerlić 1966: 215). Serbian public national monuments were devoted to heroes and important historical events (cf. Tošić 1985: 125-165; Timotijević 2001: 39-55; Timotijević 2002: 45-77; Makuljević 2006: 274-308; Borozan 2006). The erection of these monuments always depended on the current cultural and political events in the state of Serbia, as well as on the status of the Serbian nation in the Ottoman and Habsburg Empires (cf. Hardtwig 1997: 53-83). Serbian monuments have been dedicated to war heroes, heroes from cultural, religious and political life, to rulers and to the memory of important historical events. One of the most common memorial constructions in the 19th century, which represents Serbian culture of memory, is the memorial church. In Christian societies, memorial churches are built to eternalize the memory of saints, biblical history, church clergy, patrons, and rulers. Construction of memorial churches, as national monuments, was a new and widespread practice in Europe of the 19th century (Nipperdey 1968: 546-551; Nipperday 1977: 412-431; Metken 1988: 159-168). It was based on the connection between Christian and national ideas, on the process of sacralizing the nation (cf. Smith 2003), and on the emphasizing the holiness of national heroes (Nipperday 1968: 546-551). In Serbian culture the connection of church and monument had a twofold basis. In folk memory, which was developed under the Ottoman rule (from 15th to 19th century), old churches and monasteries were monuments of former glory. Therefore, old mediaeval Orthodox churches evoked memories of Serbia’s glorious past. Important reasons for the construction of memorial churches could also be found in religious learning. The erection of memorial churches implied the forming of the

S ERBIAN N ATIONAL I DENTIT Y IN THE 19 TH C ENTURY

liturgical memory of the donors, and, at the same time, the prayer for the salvation of the soul of the person to whom the church is dedicated (Makuljević 2000: 283-293). The practice of construction of Serbian memorial churches for the salvation of the soul can be clearly traced back to the first decades of the 19th century and the time of the rule of Prince Miloš Obrenović (1815-1839; 1858-1860). Prince Miloš erected a church in Savinac in memory of his brother Milan (Milićević 1876: 318-319), and in memory of his father Teodor he built one in Gornja Dobrinja (ibid: 606-607). Vuk Karadžić testified to Prince Miloš’s idea to erect a church functioning as a national monument. As he noted, in the village of Drvenglava, now Crkvina, in the district of Kragujevac, there was a stone carrying an engraved inscription about the tragic death of the Serbian mediaeval ruler Despot Stefan Lazarević (13771427) (Karadžić 1969: 51-52). Vuk Karadžić underlined that Prince Miloš wished to “build a church there in memory of this historically documented Serbian lord full of grace.” (Ibid: p. 52)‘ The idea of the memorial church was actualized around the middle of the 19th century. In a debate over the building of the Karađorđe monument in 1857, most of the board members agreed that, instead of a statue, the leader of the First Serbian Uprising should be honored with a memorial church. Ljuba Nenadović suggested that a building for general public use be constructed as a monument. Therefore his idea was to build a school next to the Žiča Monastery, and that the monastery complex be reconstructed and decorated so as to form a Serbian national pantheon: “Žiča is the greatest and the oldest memorial of all Serbian people and we hold that by constructing new monuments we can support and renew the old ones, celebrating the names of our old kings, great people and rulers. Constructing Žiča and next to it a school with teachers who would celebrate Karađorđe’s name would be the best possible way to immortalize him […] Thus, we maintain that Žiča should be renovated and that the inscription “The Temple of Serbian Glory” should be placed there, that the relics of the Saint King, the bones of Karađorđe, Veljko, Dositej, Luka Lazarević and later Prince Miloš and everyone else who performed great deeds for his people, or is later found to have done so, and similarly, the names of those who fought for this country, at war and at peace, should be inscribed with golden letters on pillars and marble. The names of those who are known to have died gloriously should be inscribed, even if they belong to the lowest class […] and Karađorđe would be most pleased were he to lie there, in that “Temple of Serbian Glory”, with his dukes and soldiers. And above these great men old flags should be raised, and all other war trophies, as was done by the French above Napoleon’s tomb in the church of the Invalides,… Italy thus erects monuments for all prominent people and protects them from oblivion, wealthy England has transformed its Westminster Abbey into a memorial of its eminent people, and when one comes inside, every stone speaks of English history, and every stone reminds both the countrymen and visitors from abroad of English kings, heroes and authors.” (Tošić 1985: 143)

35

36

N ENAD M AKULJEVIĆ

Ljuba Nenadović’s standpoint was supported by the public. It was also promoted by the “Srpske novine” newspaper, where Orthodox churches were believed to be the only appropriate form of a Serbian monument, in line with the mediaeval practice: “A church – not a statue, this is what the pious experience of our people seeks […] Is there a statue, a sculpture, which can affect the people in such a gracious way as our churches and monasteries do? These wonderful people’s monuments are living sources of our folk experience.” (Ibid: 156)

Ljuba Nenadović had a great influence on the Serbian public. He was one of the most distinguished intellectuals of the Princedom of Serbia, and the secretary of the board for construction of Karađorđe’s monument. His idea, to renovate monastery Žiča and turn it into a Serbian national pantheon, shows his knowledge of contemporary European practice. In Serbian public opinion during the 19th century, one of the churches which had a prominent national character was also the Church of Takovo, at which the Second Serbian Uprising began in 1815. Thus, in the year 1865, Milan Milićević referred to it as “the mother of Serbian churches” (Milićević 1876: 344-347). The construction of the memorial chapel was the final phase of the formation of the memorial complex above the “skull tower” – Ćele kula near Niš. After the First Serbian Uprising 1813, as a sign of revenge, the Turks made the Ćele kula using the skulls of the killed Serbian soldiers from Stevan Sinđelić’s army, who tried to conquer this town. The last Ottoman governor of Niš, Mithad Pasha, took the heads of Serbs out of the tower. According to Vladan Đorđević, he “understood that these skulls in the tower did not frighten, but only urged the Serbs to avenge Čegar” (Đorđević 1988: 116). After Niš had been conquered, the Serbian army searched for the places where the skulls may have been hidden. One of the skulls was found deep inside the wall of the tower, and was sent to the National Museum in Belgrade (ibid: 116). This was when the process of construction of the memorial complex around the Ćele kula began. Having conquered Niš, the commander of the headquarters of the Serbian army “lists among his first duties a worthy enclosure and decoration of the Ćele kula, and planting four weeping willows and the most beautiful flowers with his own hands” (ibid: 116). Construction of the roof baldachin with a cross was one of the first activities in the Serbian adaptation of the Ćele kula, which is testified in the photographs and the painting by Đorđe Krstić (Kusovac 2001: 126). The construction of the chapel was started on the initiative of the Board for the construction of a monument for Sinđelić, with Bishop Jeronim as the head in 1892. The foundations of the chapel were consecrated in 1894. The chapel was designed by architect Dimitrije Leko (Makuljević 1997: 41). Thus, the Ćele kula was adapted into a construction with a pronounced

S ERBIAN N ATIONAL I DENTIT Y IN THE 19 TH C ENTURY

sacral and national character. It was turned into a memorial landmark where the skulls of national heroes assumed the meaning of relics. At the end of the 19th century, several initiatives for constructing memorial churches for national heroes were undertaken. Funds were raised for the church in Lenovac devoted to Hajduk Veljko Petrović (Arhiv Srbije 1897: B-3243). During the year 1900 Melentije, the bishop of Timok, consecrated the Church of Grljan, which was “built in memory of Prince Miloš the Great and the fighters who lost their lives in 1876, 1877 and 1878 in this part of Serbia. In 1901, a memorial church for Prince Miloš was built in Dubalj (Arhiv Srbije 1902: B-3262). The construction of memorial churches started at the end of the 19th century in other parts of Southeast Europe. It was at that time that the building of the monumental memorial churches of Saint Alexander Nevsky in Sofia (Bulgaria) and the Saint Vasilije Ostroški in Nikšić (Montenegro) was started. The initiative for building of one of the most significant Serbian memorial churches devoted to Saint Sava was launched in Belgrade. According to the known historical sources, the relics of Saint Sava had been burnt in Vračar near Belgrade. The wish to memorize the place where this event had taken place appeared as early as in the mid-19th century. However, determining the exact location appeared to be the basic problem. Thus, Milan Milićević recorded in 1876 that “we cannot tell with certainty today where the atrocious deed was committed, even though it is quite likely that it happened near today’s Tašmajdan, on the place of the cemetery of Palilula church. But what we have been unable to discover is where “Čupina Umka” is” (Milićević 1876: 69-70). On the occasion of the 300-year anniversary of the day when Saint Sava was burnt in Vračar, a decision to construct a memorial church was reached. Metropolitan Mihailo was the head of the board on this solemn occasion. The board agreed that the church needed to be a representative one, but due to insufficient funds, they decided to build a chapel in Vračar. The foundations of the chapel were consecrated by Metropolitan Mihailo on the April 9 or 10 1895, and the church was built by April 27 1895. Then, in the presence of King Alexander Obrenović, Metropolitan Mihailo and Melentije, the bishop of Timok, consecrated the church of Saint Sava in Vračar (Makuljević 2007: 56). At the beginning of the 20th century, sufficient funds were raised to start working on a new church of Saint Sava in Vračar. The tender for the new church was proposed with the help of Russian – Imperial Academy of Arts in Saint Petersburg, and published in 1905 in the newspaper “Srpske novine”. In the tender proposals it was pointed out that this church should be a worthy monument of the thankful people of Serbia, and it ought to be monumental, built in Serbian-Byzantine style (Anonym 1905: 2). The tender was closed in 1906, when the Imperial Academy of Arts gave their opinion about the submitted works and did not recommend any of the plans for implementation (cf. Makuljević 2007: 237-238; Kadijević 1997:

37

38

N ENAD M AKULJEVIĆ

72-73). As a result, the memorial chapel of Saint Sava built in 1895 was in use until the year 1935, when the new church was finally built. On the territory of Serbia, a memorial church was also built for the Nikolai Rayevski, a prominent Russian volunteer hero of Serbian-Turkish war of 1876. Rayevski lost his life on August 20, 1876 at Gornji Adrovac. The place of his death was first marked with a cross. The idea of building a memorial church was initiated and implemented by his cousin Maria Rayevska (Makuljević 2007: 23). She provided the architectural design and the funds for the church and most probably also had a hand in the interior decoration. The church was consecrated by the bishop of Niš, Nikanor Ružić, on September 2, 1903. The scheme for the interior paintings was adapted both to the memorial function, with Rayevski’s portrait, and to the Russian and Serbian national ideology. In the church, there are painted compositions of “The Baptism of the Russians”, “The Coronation of Saint Stefan Prvovenčani”, and icons of Saint Alexander Nevsky and Saint Prince Lazar (Makuljević 2007: 23). After the change of dynasties in Serbia, and upon Petar Karađorđević’s arrival on the throne in 1903, the construction of the memorial church of Saint Georgije (Saint George) in Oplenac was started (cf. Jovanović 1989). Even though this representative church was designed as a construction comprising a parish church and the Karađorđević family mausoleum, it was certainly supposed to be a memorial devoted to the founder of the dynasty – Karađorđe Petrović. National and dynastic ideology was emphasized on the day when the foundation stone of Oplenac was laid, on September 24, 1907, the day of Saint Stefan Prvovenčani, the patron of the new Serbian state. Karađorđe Petrović was celebrated in the embedded charter, “…The Serbian King, Peter the First, the grandson of the glorious Vožd Ðorđe Petrović the Black. After five centuries of slavery, Black Ðorđe rallied people to fight for freedom and after fighting like true men for nine years, he gloriously defeated the demonic Turkish tribe. In this mountain, named Oplenac, near Topola where a church is built, there was the first house and fortification of Ðorđe’s army. This church is devoted to the name of the Great Martyr George, the bringer of victory.” (Jovanović 1989: 42-43)

The text from the charter shows that the place where the church was built and its dedication to Saint Georgije, were supposed to emphasize the significance of Karađorđe Petrović. The ideological use of memory on Karađorđe was emphasized with the space solution of his tomb in the church. It is separated from the tombs of other members of his family, and placed in the southern niche of the narthex next to the rulers’ thrones (Jovanović 1989: 101). After the First World War, construction of the church in Oplenac was completed, and the remains of the leader of the First Serbian Uprising were solemnly transferred from the old – Karađorđe’s church in Topola to the new mausoleum on September 8, 1930 (Jovanović 1989: 100-101).

S ERBIAN N ATIONAL I DENTIT Y IN THE 19 TH C ENTURY

The building of memorial churches in Serbia during the 19th century reveals some of the important characteristics of Serbian memorial culture. Culture of remembrance was strongly connected with traditional folk practice and the Orthodox church. Therefore the erection of memorial churches was a powerful visual sign of the sacral character of national heroes and an important contribution to the creation of Serbian national identity.

R EFERENCES Allings, Reinhard (1996): Monument und Nation: das Bild vom Nationalstaat im Medium Denkmal; zum Verhältnis von Nation und Staat im deutschen Kaiserreich 1871-1918, Berlin and New York: de Gruyter. Anonym (1826): “Pamjatnici u Slavenskim zemljama.” In: Serbske letopisi 5, pp.119-120. Anonym (1905): “Stečaj.” In: Srpske novine No. 106, May 13, p. 2. Arhiv Srbije, f. MPS, o. c. 1897, B-3243. Arhiv Srbije, f. MPS, o. c. 1902, B-3262. Berggren, Lars (1999): “The ‘Monumenntomania’ of the Nineteenth Century: Causes, Effects and problem of Study.” In: Wessel Reinink/ Jereon Stumpel (eds.), Memory & Oblivion. Proceedings of the XXIXth International Conference of the History of Art held in Amsterdam 1-7 September 1996, Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 561-566. Borozan, Igor (2006): Reprezentativna kultura i politička propaganda: spomenik knezu Milošu u Negotinu. Belgrade: Filozofski fakultet u Beogradu. Đorđević, Vladan (1988): Uspomene, Belgrade: Nolit. Hardtwig, Wolfgang (1997): “Nation – Region – Stadt, Strukturmerkmale des deutschen Nationalismus und lokale Denkmalskulturen.” In: Gunter Mai (ed.), Das Kyffhäuser Denkmal 1896-1996: Ein nationals Monument im europäischen Kontext, Cologne-Weimar-Vienna: Böhlau, pp. 53-83. Hoffman-Curtius, Kathrin (1985): “Das Kreuz als Nationaldenkmal: Deutschland 1814 und 1931.” In: Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte, Heft 1, pp. 77-100. Ivanić, Dušan, ed. (1989): Memoarska proza XVIII i XIX veka. Belgrade: Nolit. Jovanović, Miodrag (1989): Oplenac: hram Svetog Djordja i Mauzolej Karadjordjevića, Topola: “Centar za kulturu” Dušan Petrović Šane. Kadijević, Aleksandar (1997): Jedan vek traženja nacionalnog stila u srpskoj arhitekturi (sredina XIX – sredina XX veka), Belgrade: Gradjevinska knjiga. Karadžić, Vuk (1969 [1826]): “Početak opisanija Srpskih namastira.” In: Sabrana dela Vuka Karadžića, knj. 8, Belgrade: Prosveta, pp. 51-52. Koselleck, Reinhart/Jeismann, Michael, eds. (1994): Der politische Totenkult: Kriegerdenkmäler in der Moderne, München: Fink. Kusovac, Nikola (2001): Slikar Đorđe Krstić 1851-1907, Belgrade: Narodni muzej.

39

40

N ENAD M AKULJEVIĆ

Mai, Gunter (1997): Das Kyffhäuser Denkmal 1896-1996: Ein nationales Monument im europäischen Kontext, Cologne-Weimar-Vienna: Böhlau. Makuljević, Nenad (1997): “Reforma crkvene umetnosti u jugoistočnoj Srbiji posle 1878.” In: Leskovački zbornik vol. XXXVII, p. 41. Makuljević, Nenad (2000): “Crkva u Karanovcu – zadužbina kneza Miloša Obrenovića, Prilog proučavanju odnosa vladarske ideologije i crkvene umetnosti.” In: Tasić, Nikola (ed.), Rudo Polje – Karanovac – Kraljevo, Belgrade – Kraljevo: Balkanološki institut SANU – Narodni muzej Kraljevo, pp. 283-293. Makuljević, Nenad (2006): Umetnosti nacionalna ideja u XIX veku: system evropske i srpske vizuelne kulture u službi nacije, Belgrade: Zavod za udžbenike i nastavna sredstva . Makuljević, Nenad (2007): Crkvena umetnost u Kraljevini Srbiji (1882-1914), Belgrade: Filozofski fakultet. Metken, Günter (1988): “Das Grab des blinden Königs, Karl Friedrich Schinkels Kapelle für Johann von Böhmen.” In: Christian Beutler/ Peter-Klaus Schuster/Martin Wanke (eds.), Kunst um 1800 und die Folgen, Werner Hofmann zu Ehren, München: Prestel, pp. 159-168. Milićević, Milan Dj. (1876): Kneževina Srbija, Belgrade: Državna štamparija. Mittig, Hans-Ernst (1987): “Das Denkmal.” In: Werner Busch/Peter Schmook (eds.), Kunst: die Geschichte ihrer Funktion, Weinheim, Berlin: Quadriga, Belz 457-489. Nipperdey, Thomas (1968): “Nationalidee und Nationaldenkmal in Deutschland im 19. Jahrhundert.” In: Historische Zeitschrift, Band 206, Heft 3, pp. 529-581. Nipperday, Thomas (1977): “Kirchen als Nationaldenkmal. Die Pläne von 1815.” In: Lucius Griesbach/Karl Regner (eds.), Festschrift für Otto von Simson zum 65. Geburtstag, Frankfurt a.M., Berlin and Vienna: Propyläen-Verlag, pp. 412-431. Obradović, Dositej (1899): Domaća pisma Dositeja Obradovića, Belgrade: Srpska književna zadruga. Skerlić, Jovan (1966): Omladina i njena književnost (1848-1871). Izučavanja o nacionalnom i književnom romantizmu kod Srba, Belgrade: Prosveta. Smith, Anthony D. (1991): National identity, London: Penguin Books. Smith, Anthony D. (2003): Chosen Peoples: Sacred Sources of National Identity, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Timotijević, Miroslav (2001): “Heroj pera kao putnik: tipološka geneza javnih nacionalnih spomenika u Srbiji i Valdecova skulptura Dositeja Obradovića.” In: Nasledje III, pp. 39-55. Timotijević, Miroslav (2002): “Mit o nacionalnom heroju spasitelju i podizanje spomenika knezu Mihailu M. Obrenoviću III.” In: Nasleđe IV, pp. 45-77. Tošić, Dragutin (1985): “Ideje i rasprave o Karađorđevom spomeniku u dokumentima srpske štampe 1857. Godine.” In: Godišnjak grada Beograda XXXII, pp.125-165.

Banknote Imagery of Serbia Ivana Živančević-Sekeruš (Novi Sad)

As the visual symbols of a country’s sovereignty, along with its flag and official emblem, there are also its banknotes (cf. Standish 2000; Unwin & Hewitt 2001; Hymans 2004). This paper will look at the changes that have taken place, due to economic and political events, in the appearance of Serbian banknotes from the first banknote which was issued by the National Bank of the Kingdom of Serbia in 1884, to the banknotes that are legal tender in the Republic of Serbia today. Banknotes will be interpreted as ‘places of memory’. They offer a provocative and visually attractive review of the ‘culture of memory’ and of the self-image of the national states of the 19th and 20th centuries. Banknotes that were currency in Serbia for a period of more than a hundred years are an excellent example of this. “Banknotes are more than an economic phenomenon, the overall meaning of their purpose does not lie in them of themselves but in their conversion into other values” (Simmel 1989: 7). Here, of course, we are not interested in money as a symbol of economic value, but as a symbol of national identity: “Paper money is therefore not only a way of reinforcing internal cohesion and identity, but it is also a way of depicting that identity to the outside world in a very tangible, an often beautiful, form” (Unwin/ Hewitt 2001: 1026). Banknotes, since they are in wide and everyday use, are not perceived as an ideological factor, but imperceptibly (subliminally) they do strengthen the recognition of historical figures in a national context and they ‘give’ legitimacy to the state as the ultimate ‘product’ of national processes. The circulating gallery of banknotes implicitly fosters national consciousness, and also has an effect toward the ‘outside’, since banknotes are often the first material evidence of national identity to foreigners who visit a country: “Indeed, foreign visitors are often much more aware of the images on banknotes than are the indigenous inhabitants of a particular state” (ibid: 1009). Billig has termed this phenomenon “banal nationalism” claiming that these seemingly naive symbols are a powerful daily representation of a nation (cf. Billig 1995).

42

I VANA Ž IVANČEVIĆ -S EKERUŠ

The most frequent motifs on banknotes are human figures (Unwin/ Hewitt 2001: 1013), the portraits of rulers or important persons from national history, figures from the world of art and science, as well as allegorical compositions and symbols. This is also true of the Serbian banknotes that are discussed here. The introduction of the Euro, for instance, in addition to an explicit economic program, among other things, was also intended to ‘work’ on a European identity. For this reason, the banknotes were ‘wiped clean’ of national symbolism, and the minimal common denominators are architectural elements, postmodern fragments and the geographical map of Europe (which also includes the countries outside the Euro zone!), although there is an option for national symbols to be engraved on the back of coins (eg. Europe on a bull, for Greece, the eagle for Germany). For the purpose of analysis, the banknotes which have been and still are currency in Serbia can be divided into three categories: the human figure (with the face as the dominant feature), objects/buildings and nature (cf. Hadži-Pešić 1995; Ugričić 2000; Stojanović 2004). Each of these three categories can be found simultaneously on one banknote (most often as a combination of the human figure on the obverse and objects or buildings on the reverse), though it should be mentioned that the primary interest is focused on the choice of motifs on the obverse of the banknote, and this then becomes the dominant motif. Within the framework of each of the three categories, we can undertake a further, more precise division. The category of the human figure, based on frequency, can be divided into three groups: figures of rulers or military leaders (kings, queens, politicians) (ill. 1), leading figures from culture and science (writers, artists, scholars) and figures of so-called ordinary/ nameless people (peasants, workers, soldiers).

Ill. 1: The banknote of 1000 dinars from the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, printed in Belgrade in 1931, represents a portrait of Queen Maria, watermark king Alexander I, drawing by Paja Jovanović

B ANKNOTE I MAGERY OF S ERBIA

The category of objects/buildings is manifested in the form of religious institutions (for instance, the monastery at Oplenac), industrial plants (factories, shipyards, breweries), government institutions (the national assembly, the national bank, a fortress, monuments) and cultural ones (museums, theaters), but they can also be entire cityscapes or some characteristic city/town details (for instance, the bridge in Mostar). Landscapes, flora and fauna are groups in the category of nature. Additional categories are events (historical, mythical or allegorical scenes – e.g. St. George slaying the dragon (ill. 2) and the category of ‘others’, or everything that does not fall into the previous four groups. The category of ‘others’ includes abstract, geometrical motifs, works of art, sheet music, maps, flags and coats of arms.

Ill. 2: The banknote of 1000 dinars from the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians, printed in Paris in 1920, represents Saint George killing the dragon and the monastery of Oplenac The categories of objects/buildings appear only in a relatively small proportion as the dominant motifs, and in general are mainly in the background of portraits on the obverse or the reverse of banknotes (for instance, Dubrovnik, Mostar, the confluence of the Sava and the Danube at Belgrade, Lovćen). After the Second World War, especially, we can consider them as a symbolic federative ‘glue’. The depiction of monuments which commemorate the Second World War (Kozara, Jajce, Sutjeska/Tjentište, Jasenovac), may be interpreted in a similar way, as well as scenes of rural idyll (young and laughing people working in the field, tying sheaves of wheat), scenes which depict the reconstruction and building of the country, industrialization (workers in a shipyard, beside a steam engine, a distinct reminder of the iconography of Soviet art), fertile fields and modern agriculture (a banknote from 1974 in which, along with a masculine looking female figure, there is a combine harvester in the background and a stylized horn of plenty), all intended to emphasize the size and self-sufficiency of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

43

44

I VANA Ž IVANČEVIĆ -S EKERUŠ

By ‘reading’ banknotes we can also discover something about the prevailing style of the period (in our case neo-classicism, fin de siècle, modernism, social realism, all the way to postmodernism) as well as the development of security techniques to prevent forgery. There are potentially around 30 different types of security features that can currently be included within banknotes. At their most simple, these include the images shown on the notes themselves, their colour, the signatures on them, their serial numbers and the quality of the paper. Slightly less visible, are features such as watermarks, metallic strips, seethrough characteristics and holograms. Even more complex, and only discernible under specific lighting conditions, are luminescent features and fluorescent images only visible in particular wavelenghts of light. The precise number of such features to be included is directly related to the costs of production of the notes, and decisions pertaining to this are normally therefore taken by central bank management or the state government (Unwin/Hewitt 2001: 1013). Also visible is the presence of multi-lingualism (Serbian, French, Slovenian, Croatian, Macedonian) and the use of two alphabets (the Cyrillic and the Latin). It becomes evident, likewise, that in various periods there was a collaboration with printers in Belgium (1884), France (1914), the United States (1920) and the Soviet Union (1944), which was also closely linked with the political context in Serbia at the time. We can also establish that the drawings for the banknotes were executed by some of the great names of the world of art (Paja Jovanović, Menti Clement Crnčić) or that the drawings were fashioned on the sculptures and reliefs of Ivan Meštrović, Augustinčić and Kršinić. We would like to focus on what we have found to be the dominant motif – the motif of the human figure, which has been present and pervasive from the issuing of the first banknote in 1884 all the way to the end of the Second World War, accompanied by allegorical scenes. The dominant figures are the male rulers from the Obrenović and Karađorđević families, while the exception is a banknote with the portrait of Queen Marija (ill. 2), printed in Belgrade in 1931, created by the artist Paja Jovanović. It should be observed here that along with Queen Marija, the only named female face on a banknote came in 2005, as the portrait of the painter Nadežda Petrović. All other representations of women are anonymous ‘heroines’ found in allegorical compositions, the figure of a woman as a symbol of the nation and the homeland, very often in a folk costume (ill. 3) or as an anonymous field worker with a scythe in her hand, or later as a depersonalized (and dehumanized) female face on the banknotes of the inflationary 1990s. During the First World War a male figure in uniform appeared on banknotes (printed in France), while in 1939, a banknote was printed in Belgrade with a portrait of King Petar I in a general’s uniform (based on a drawing by Paja Jovanović). A curiosity should also be mentioned here – the printing of a set of six banknotes in Great Britain by the exile Serbian Royal Government in 1943. The banknotes were an almost identical copy of the American dollar, with a portrait of King Petar II, by an unknown artist, and never released into circulation!

B ANKNOTE I MAGERY OF S ERBIA

Ill. 3: The banknote of 50 dinars from the Kingdom of Serbia, printed in Banque de France in 1915. The inscriptions on the reverse are in French, as well as the denomination mark “cinquante francs”, represents a Serbian solder and a girl in folk costume Following the end of the Second World War, the new government issued a series of banknotes of Democratic Federal Yugoslavia which were printed in the Soviet Union. For the first time there is the figure of a partisan with a five-pointed star and a rifle over his shoulder (from a drawing by Đorđe Andrejević Kun (ill. 4), which was followed by scenes from the period of reconstruction and building of the country with anonymous heroes: miners in a mine, blacksmiths, farmers in the field (who use both a scythe and a tractor!). The iconography follows the proclaimed policy of the industrialization of the country, and on a banknote from 1955 the first metal worker with a name appeared, Arif Heralić from Zenica.

Ill. 4: The banknote of 5 dinars from the Democratic Federative Yugoslavia, printed in Belgrade and in Soviet Union in 1944, issued in 1945, drawing by Djordje Andrejević Kun, represents a portrait of a partisan, inscriptions in Cyrillic and Latin alphabet, in Serbian, Croatian, Macedonian and Slovenian languages

45

46

I VANA Ž IVANČEVIĆ -S EKERUŠ

In 1985 a banknote with the portrait of Josip Broz Tito appeared for the first time after his death, a 5000 dinar banknote printed in Belgrade in the same year, which was taken out of circulation in the last decade of the 20th century, symbollically marking the end of Tito’s Yugoslavia. This was also the period of mounting economic crisis, so that the selection of portraits of great men of national history from the more recent and the more distant past can be seen as an effort to remember the famous ancestor and the return of the population’s self-confidence in politically uncertain and economically unstable times. There were figures of great scientists with a worldwide reputation (Nikola Tesla, Mihajlo Pupin, Jovan Cvijić, Josif Pančić), Serbian rulers (Karađorđe, Miloš Obrenović) and writers (Dositej Obradović, Vuk Karadžić, Njegoš, Đura Jakšić (ill. 5), Jovan Jovanović Zmaj, Ivo Andrić). Their names also served the population as an identification of the banknotes (instead of the figures that went into the millions) for money transactions. Among the portraits of great men, during the years of hyperinflation, the faces of unknown girls and boys appeared on the banknotes, all of them with a concerned or sad expression on their faces.

Ill. 5: The banknote of 5000 000 000 dinars, printed in the National bank of Yugoslavia in December 1993, in use till February 1994, represents a portrait of Djura Jakšić (1832-1878), Serbian poet In the period between 2000 and 2002, the National Bank of Yugoslavia issued banknotes with a new look and with an advanced design. In 2006, the National Bank of Serbia issued banknotes which are still legal tender and which could symbolically be called ‘closer to Europe’ by the choice of portraits of great national figures who made a contribution to European culture, science, scholarship and economy: Vuk Karadžić (without a beard and fez, dressed like a young 19th century European), Njegoš (without a fez, in a priest’s robes), the composer Mokranjac, Nikola Tesla, the already mentioned painter Nadežda Petrović, Jovan Cvijić, Đorđe Vajfert (bank governor and businessman), Slobodan Jovanović (lawyer, university professor and rector of Belgrade University, president of the Yugoslav government in exile 1942-43). The choice of the portraits of Vajfert (ill. 6) and Jovanović for the banknotes with the highest denomination could also

B ANKNOTE I MAGERY OF S ERBIA

be understood as an act of political rehabilitation and a distancing from Communist mistakes and crimes.

Ill. 6: The banknote of 1000 dinars, printed in the National bank of Serbia, issued in 2003, represents a portrait of Djordje Vajfert (1850-1937),  Serbian businessman and banker Although it is perhaps too simplified to be universally applicable, in the case of banknotes which were in circulation and which are still in use in Serbia, we agree with the following conclusion: “Perpetually present but never questioned, paper currency permits the classical ideal of the national pantheon to survive and flourish, maintaining in the public domain the constant reminder of the historical portrait as cypher for national identity” (Pointon 1998: 252). We have also identified some recurring features: over a period of more than a century human figures/portraits dominated on banknotes, but only two of them were women (Queen Marija and Nadežda Petrović). The female figure is present in allegorical scenes, as a symbol of fertility and creation, a symbol of the nation or as a part of the ‘ordinary people’, but it is absent as a prominent national leader, with a name and surname. Even on the grounds of this example it can be claimed that Serbian culture has been and continues to be dominated by the male model. We have also discovered that the largest number of figures are the portraits of rulers, statesmen, men from the world of science, scholarship and the arts, which have contributed to the creation of the national identity in the past (which is also the case with other countries). The longest is the presence of Petar Petrović Njegoš and Vuk Karadžić (spanning two centuries!). Unfortunately, even the latest Serbian banknotes rely on the 19th century manner of marking national identity, though they apply sophisticated protection devices against forgery.

R EFERENCES Billig, Michael (1995): Banal Nationalism, London: Sage. Hadži-Pešić, Jovan (1995): Novac Kraljevine Jugoslavije 1918-1941, Belgrade: Narodna banka Jugoslavije.

47

48

I VANA Ž IVANČEVIĆ -S EKERUŠ

Hymans, Jacques E. C. (2004): “The Changing Color of Money: European Currency Iconography and Collective Identity.” In: European Journal of International Relations 10/1, pp. 5-31. Pointon, Marcia (1998): “Money and nationalism.” In: Geoffrey Cubitt (ed.), Imagining nations, Manchester: Manchester University Press, pp. 229-254. Simmel, Georg (1989): Philosophie des Geldes, Frankfurt a.M.: Suhrkamp Verlag. Standish, David (2000): The Art of Money: The History and Design of Paper Currency From Around the World, San Francisco: Chronicle Books. Stojanović, Željko (2004): Novčanice Narodne banke 1884-2004, Belgrade: Jugoslovenski pregled. Ugričić, Miodrag (2000): Novac u Jugoslaviji za vreme Drugog svetskog rata, Belgrade: Jugoslovenski pregled. Unwin, Tim/Hewitt, Virginia (2001): “Banknotes and national identity in central and eastern Europe.” In: Political Geography 20, pp.1005-1028.

City Identity and Contemporary Politics of Memory Case Study: The Fortress of Belgrade Bojana Bursać Džalto (Belgrade)

The modern city of Belgrade encompasses several thousand years old settlements. These settlements originated from different periods, with different social and cultural backgrounds. Even today, many of these layers influence the memory of the citizens of modern Belgrade. They also have a bearing upon the people visiting the Serbian capital and on their perception of this ancient city. Like many other European cities, Belgrade has numerous urban symbols that characterize it visually, historically and culturally. Among the most prominent ones are the Fortress of Belgrade, the Sava and Danube confluence, the Victor Statue, the Church of Saint Sava, the Tomb of the Unknown Solder, Avala Tower and the House of Flowers (Bursać 2009: 273-291). Since each of these symbols is connected to its own specific background, I will concentrate here only on the Fortress of Belgrade and its immediate surroundings as the most complex symbol, which illustrates a long and multicultural history of the site. In focusing on this symbol I will also analyze its influence upon the collective memory of the city’s inhabitants as well as how the politics of memory is reflected on the Fortress. Together with the confluence of the Sava and the Danube, the Fortress of Belgrade represents the most important, the most visible and also the oldest symbol of Belgrade. It is the most complex symbol of the city, with a rich heritage, both tangible and intangible. The complexity of this symbol originates from a long history of settlements that existed on this site over time (cf. Kalić-Mijušković 1967; Popović 2006; Antonović, 1995; Vujović, 2003). The oldest settlements can be traced back to the late Stone Age. It is probably the geographical position of the hill where the Fortress is situated, right on the confluence of two rivers, which was the main reason why this site attracted attention already in prehistoric times. It provides an important strategic position which dominates the surrounding landscape. From the known past of Belgrade we learn that this site

50

B OJANA B URSAĆ D ŽALTO

has constantly had a turbulent history, where many different cultures, ethnicities and religions encountered, mixed and fought. Later, the next most important layer from the history of the city is the Roman period. The Romans conquered the settlement in the beginning of the 1st century A.D. As a part of the Roman Empire, the settlement became known as Singidunum, which is its oldest recorded name (Kalić-Mijušković 1967: 16). It gained municipal rights in the 2nd century during the rule of Emperor Hadrian. It was one of the border (limes) settlements of the Roman Empire, particularly after the Roman Empire was divided into a Western and Eastern part in 395. During this period, too, the settlement experienced turbulent times, being repeatedly attacked and destroyed by the Huns, Sarmants, Goths, Heruli and Gepids. Although destructive in their nature, these historic events shaped the early identity of this place as a crossroads of various cultural influences and an important communication point. The first record of the settlement’s Slavic name – Beograd, meaning ‘The White City’ – is found in the 9th century. It is still a matter of dispute whether this name came about because the town was made of white stone or because the conquerors saw Belgrade as a shiny spot on the top of the hill. For the history of the Serbs, Belgrade became an important place in 1284, when king Dragutin ruled over the town. From 1403/04 Belgrade was the place of residence of Despot Stefan Lazarević, the most important Serbian ruler of the late medieval period. His rule, from 1403/04 until 1427, was a time of genuine prosperity of the town and the Serbian territories under his rule. It was not only the capital of the state, but also an important trading, cultural and religious center. In this time the Mother of God was proclaimed the patron of the town and has remained so till this day. Under the Despot’s rule it became increasingly urbanized and developed. Some of the buildings known from this period are the Despot’s Palace, the Metropolitan Church together with several other churches, the new fortress, a hospital and a library. It was due to its urban morphology that the Belgrade of the 15th century was identified in that time as a mirror city of Constantinople (cf. Erdeljan 2006; Radojčić 2008). The most important aspects of Europe’s history and political situation during the 15th and 16th centuries are reflected in the history of the Fortress. Belgrade was one of greatest obstacles to the Turkish campaign towards Central Europe. It was often perceived as antimurale christianitatis (Popović 2006: 85-164, 325), the Christian world’s final line of defense. Under the command of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent a legendary siege in Belgrade’s history ended with the conquest of Belgrade on August 28, 1521. The Turks named the Fortress Kalemegdan, meaning the ‘Battlefield Fortress.’ The name is still in use today. As the borders of the Turkish Empire moved to the north, Belgrade developed into a prosperous oriental city, bigger than it had ever been in its history. The zenith of the city’s development in Turkish times was in the 17th century, when it became the

C IT Y I DENTIT Y AND C ONTEMPORARY P OLITICS OF M EMORY

second-largest city in the empire, behind Istanbul, with a population of 100,000. Being a border town, Belgrade changed its rulers very often. In 1717, Belgrade was conquered by the Austrians, led by Prince Eugene of Savoy. The Austrians built a new fortress, constructed according to the modern military architecture of that time. It was Nicolas Docsat de Morez, the first designer of the European Belgrade, who drew up the plan for this fortress. At the same time, many other buildings were constructed. The 18th century, too, was full of turbulences, repeated reconstruction and destruction of the city, struggles for domination over the territory and clashing interests of great empires. During the Austrian rule, for example, between 1717 until 1739, Belgrade was completely transformed. Due to new buildings situated mainly in the fortress, the city was losing its Turkish and Oriental characteristics and was becoming a European city. In 1739 the city was reconquered by the Turks and demolished again. This time the demolishers were both the Turks and the Austrians, the latter destroying the new fortress and the city they had previously erected, since they did not want to leave their buildings to the Turks. After difficulties and dysfunctions of the city at the end of the 18th century, a new period in Belgrade’s history began in 1804 with the First Serbian Uprising. The Turkish presence in the fortress ended on April 19, 1867 when the last Ottoman commander Ali Friza Pasha handed over the keys of Belgrade to Prince Mihailo on Kalemegdan. From that time until now Belgrade’s population has been, in terms of religion, mostly Orthodox Christians. Nevertheless, all past religions and sacral objects continued to be a significant part of the city’s identity. The most important religions practiced in Belgrade and whose remains can be found in the Fortress or in its surroundings were polytheistic religions, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Catholicism and Orthodox Christianity. From the 19th century onwards, the history of the Fortress was peaceful except during the First World War and the liberation of Belgrade in 1944. After the Second World War the Fortress and its surroundings lost their military function and were proclaimed a city park. In terms of its history, the Fortress of Belgrade is a paradigm of the city itself, but primarily of its multiculturalism. However, it is difficult to speak about the ‘loci memoriae’ of Belgrade. Were one to imagine the quantity of buildings the Fortress could have, had there been no destruction, their number would be immense. According to Oliver Minić (1955) Belgrade’s identity rests upon very few material remains of the past. Seen from this perspective, one could say that Belgrade became in a certain sense a ‘dematerialized’ city, with a rich history, culture and traditions, but with a relatively small quantity of material evidence. In that sense it can be argued that Belgrade survived a certain dematerialization of the city’s past. Apart from the factual history, which not only shaped the appearance of the modern fortress but also its cultural dimensions and a collective

51

52

B OJANA B URSAĆ D ŽALTO

memory, the Fortress has often had a symbolic meaning for the citizens as well. It is one of these symbolic meanings that Vladimir Velmar-Janković refers to in his book The View from Kalemegdan (Velmar-Janković 1991). He describes the Fortress as a symbol of life within the city. In his view, the opposite symbol, the symbol of death, is the Avala, with its temple dedicated to an unknown soldier. Velmar-Janković emphasizes that the Fortress is the symbol and the living monument of the city, “a temple of victory, a temple of mankind and its temporality, a temple of man and his works, a temple of man and his glory” (Velmar-Janković 1991: 16). Turning back to the complex symbolism of the Fortress, I will here point just to one more aspect which sheds light on the cultural dimensions of this symbol of Belgrade. In becoming the central park of the city, the Fortress also became, in many ways, the heart of downtown cultural life. The war museum and Belgrade zoo are situated there today, as well as the Exhibition Pavilion ‘Cvijeta Zuzorić’. It was this pavilion which promoted European values in Belgrade between the two world wars by hosting many different exhibitions from all around Europe (cf. Vučetić Mladenović 2003b). The park also became a place where numerous sculptures were erected. Many of them represent modern Serbian intellectuals and artists. The sculptures are placed in such a way that visitors can see them all along a short walk and interact with them. The central monument of the Fortress, oriented towards the city centre, is the monument of gratitude to France for its aid in the First World War. However, the most important sculpture for Belgrade, erected at the Belgrade Fortress, is the Pobednik statue – The Victor. The Victor is directly related to the Fortress. It is one of the best-known statues of Belgrade (Vučetić Mladenović 2000: 110-123; Vujović 2003: 106). This statue, situated at the Fortress, was made by Ivan Meštrović, a famous Yugoslav and Croatian sculptor. The silhouette of the statue has been one of the city’s landmarks for decades. It is a symbol used in the media, in logos of various institutions, in products of cultural industries and cultural tourism. It is a nude male bronze figure of a warrior standing on a column some 17 meters high, with a sword in his right hand and a dove in his left. It was erected in the Belgrade fortress in 1928. Due to its position, the statue dominates the panorama of Belgrade. The early history of the monument goes back to the 1910s. Meštrović was assigned by the president of the Municipality of Belgrade to design a monument which would mark the victory of Serbia against the Ottoman Empire in the Second Balkan War. Meštrović designed a fountain which was planned to be placed at the Terazije plateau in Belgrade. However, the monument was not erected on this initial location, but was moved to the Fortress, which was not part of the city centre (cf. Vučetić Mladenović 2000). The new and final position of the monument was crucial in making the silhouette of the Victor a city symbol and an inescapable part of Belgrade’s panorama. The name of the sculpture also changed in this time. Although originally planned for celebrating the victory of Serbia in

C IT Y I DENTIT Y AND C ONTEMPORARY P OLITICS OF M EMORY

the Second Balkan War, the inauguration of the monument took place in 1928 as part of the 10th anniversary celebrations of the Serbian army’s victory in the First World War. In that time the name of the monument was changed from ‘Victor’ to ‘Messenger’. The ‘Messenger’ presented a symbol of the unity of three nations – the Serbs, the Croats and the Slovenes in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The new position of the statue (it is situated above the confluence of the Sava and the Danube) could also be a reason why the statue was interpreted in that context during the time of its inauguration. Due to its location above the confluence, the statue is the first to welcome visitors coming by river to Belgrade from the north and west. Another interesting aspect, when speaking of multicultural symbols of Belgrade, is the fact that the statue was created by a Croatian artist. The third symbol to be presented in this paper is the one closely related to both the Fortress and the Victor. It is the confluence of the Sava and the Danube. The confluence had a strong impact on the history and development of the city. The two rivers played an important role both for surrenders and defenders of the town. For example, in late medieval times, during the rule of Despot Stefan Lazarević, the town was safe not only because it had a strong fortress, but also because the ruler and his allies controlled the rivers. When the rivers came under Turkish control, it was only a question of time when the Turks would conquer the town. The two rivers have also had a tremendous geopolitical significance. The Danube connects the city to Western and Central Europe, as well as to the Eastern European states. On the other hand, the Sava connects four of six states that constituted Yugoslavia (Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia) which has made it an important factor in regional cooperation. Geographical location and the confluence of the two rivers should be considered an important aspect which influenced the position and significance of Belgrade as a regional and national center as well as an international crossroads. Due to the very diverse and sometimes even conflicting identities that can be found in the history of Belgrade one can speak of various dual images of the city such as European Belgrade vs. oriental city, Western vs. Eastern, liberal vs. conservative, modern vs. traditional, old vs. new etc. The symbols of Belgrade analyzed above point to several characteristics of the identity of Belgrade. The first one is the idea of Belgrade as a multicultural city and a crossroads of many traditions, cultures and nations. The ‘dematerialized’ city represents the second central feature of Belgrade’s identity. There is a direct relation to its history and the first characteristic named above. It signifies an interesting phenomenon: culture and multiculturalism as the cornerstones of the Belgrade’s identity are directly related to its permanent destruction, wars and ‘dematerialization’. Finally, the third characteristic is the idea of Belgrade as a capital city and regional capital. These symbols reflect a complex structure of the city’s identity and various politics of memory that shape

53

54

B OJANA B URSAĆ D ŽALTO

it. The city appears as a dynamic system whose identity, even in the times of totalitarian rule, cannot be reduced only to one aspect of its multiple meanings and history. All these various layers and cultural backgrounds come together in building the modern identity of Belgrade. The dominant tendency of both local and state authorities could be to establish a memory which will provide a coexistence of all these particular identities and traditions that formed the city’s history and culture. The idea is that in conserving the memory of all traditions, religions and cultures that have merged on the territory of the Fortress and in its surroundings, the very identity of Belgrade will be preserved as a primarily cosmopolitan and multicultural place.

R EFERENCES Antonović, Zdravko, ed. (1995): Istorija Beograda, Belgrade: Balkanološki insitut SANU, Izdavačka kuća Draganić. Bursać, Bojana (2009): “Istraživanje identiteta Beograda.” In: Kultura, pp. 273-291. Čubrilović, Vasa, ed. (1974): Istorija Beograda 1. Stari, srednji i novi vek, Belgrade: Prosveta. Čubrilović, Vasa, ed. (1974): Istorija Beograda 2. Devetnaesti vek, Belgrade: Prosveta. Čubrilović, Vasa, ed. (1974): Istorija Beograda 3. Dvadeseti vek, Belgrade: Prosveta. Dragićević-Šešić, Milena, ed. (2002): Javna i kulturna politika-sociokulturološki aspekti, Belgrade: Čigoja štampa. Erdeljan, Jelena (2006): “Beograd kao novi Jerusalim: razmišljanja o recepciji jednog toposa u doba despota Stefana Lazarevića.” In: Zbornik radova Vizantološkog instituta, pp. 97-110. Kalić Jovanka (1995): “Srednji vek.” In: Istorija Beograda, pp. 49-86. Kalić-Mijušković, Jovanka (1967): Beograd u srednjem veku, Belgrade: Srpska književna zadruga. Kuljić, Todor (2006): Kultura sećanja. Teorijska objašnjenja upotrebe prošlosti, Belgrade: Čigoja štampa. Minić, Oliver (1955): “U potrazi za likom Beograda.” In: Godišnjak Muzeja grada Beograda, pp. 449-458. Popović, Marko (2006): Beogradska tvrđava. The Fotress of Belgrade, Belgrade: JP “Beogradska tvrđava”, Arheološki institut, Zavod za zaštitu spomenika kulture grada Beograda. Radojčić, Svetozar (2008): “Ideja o savršenom gradu u državi kneza Lazara i despota Stefana Lazarevića.” In: Zograf pp. 5-12. Velmar-Janković, Vladimir (1991): Pogled s Kalemegdana. Ogled o beogradskom čoveku, Belgrade: Biblioteka grada Beograda. Vučetić Mladenović, Radina (2000): “Pobeđeni “Pobednik”. Polemika uoči

C IT Y I DENTIT Y AND C ONTEMPORARY P OLITICS OF M EMORY

postavljana Meštrovićevog spomenika.” In: Godišnjak za društvenu istoriju, godina IV, sveska 2, pp. 110-123. Vučetić Mladenović, Radina (2003): Evropa na Kalemegdanu. ‘Cvijeta Zuzorić’ i kulturni život Beograda 1918-1941, Belgrade: Inis. Šarenac, Danilo (2009): “Crkve beogradske tvrđave kao mesto sećanja na 1915. godinu.” In: Srpska teologija u dvadesetom veku: istraživački problemi i rezultati 4, pp. 137-145.

55

The Long Dark Night (A. Vrdoljak) as a National Epic Davor Dukić (Zagreb)

Just before Christmas 1940, a student of agronomy, Iva Kolar, who is a Croat, and his friend Robert Neumann, a Jewish medical student, are on their way back to their native village in Slavonia, inhabited largely by Croats and Germans. The ethnic relations in the village are harmonious – people cherish their own cultural traditions (a young German boy reading stories about Siegfried) and respect the cultural tradition of others (the Jews wish the Christians a merry Christmas). Josef Schmidt, a young German (a Volksdeutscher), returns to the village, having spent several years in Germany. His return coincides with a deterioration of ethnic relations in the village. During his stay in Germany he became fascinated with Nazism, so much so that, because of their ideological differences, he no longer talks to his sister’s husband, Franz Kirchmeier, who is a communist. In the spring of 1941 (the first time leap), at the very beginning of the war, the rift in the village community widens. The Nazi Volksdeutscher arrest Robert’s father, Jakob Neumann, who is a Jewish merchant; German soldiers kill Franz Kirchmeier, and, to retaliate for a Partisan attack on a German train, they also kill a large group of peasants, putting an abrupt bloody end to a pastoral scene of farming. Iva, who instinctively tries to protect Robert, is wanted by the Ustasha authorities. Mata, Iva’s best friend from the village who joined the Ustasha at the outset of the war, helps Iva avoid being arrested, at least for a short while. Iva joins the Partisans. In 1943 (the second time leap) the Ernst Thälmann battalion is formed from Germans (Volksdeutschers) in Slavonia. It is soon destroyed by the German army, thanks to Josef Schmidt, who now holds the rank of Oberscharführer. At night, Josef’s father Alojz buries the killed German partisans on the battlefield. He then goes to the church to seek absolution for what he is about to do, and then goes to the local inn where he kills his son, the son’s superior, Obersturmführer Ressler, a bisexual German, and the local waitress in their sleep. In the meantime, Iva meets Vera while both are with the partisans, and after a short love affair they

58

D AVOR D UKIĆ

have a child and get married. In the spring of 1945 (the third time leap), at the very end of the war, Iva risks his life for his injured friend Mata, and manages to get him out of a column of captured Ustasha. He persuades Robert, now a doctor in Zagreb, to admit Mata to the hospital and dress his wound (his right hand was cut off). Iva manages to attain the rank of colonel during the war, and after the war he is given a managerial position. He lives in Zagreb with his wife Vera and his son Luka, in a big apartment which used to belong to a Jewish family. Iva’s father Luka cannot deal with forced collectivization and the contempt of his fellow villagers (because his son is a communist) and hangs himself. Iva’s ideological conflicts with the communist authorities (represented by the OZNA secret police) escalate. OZNA is headed by comrade Španac, the leader of the partisan uprising in Iva’s home region, and Joka, Vera’s brother and Iva’s one-time fellow fighter, is one of his close associates. After his father’s funeral, at home in his apartment, Iva calls Tito “a rotten egocentric charlatan” in Joka’s presence. Joka passes this on to the secret police, and Iva ends up in prison. Vera, not being able to accept her cruel fate and solitude (her husband in prison, her son in hospital), kills herself with a gun that she was given at the beginning of the war by comrade Španac, her first and only lover before Iva. Joka and a friend of his, an OZNA major, decide that Luka should be put in an orphanage, that his last name should be changed, and that his father should be told that his wife and son are dead. Joka accuses Španac of being a Soviet spy, and Španac ends up in prison, serving his sentence at the Goli otok island, along with Iva. Robert Neumann manages to locate Luka in an orphanage, and takes him to his grandmother Kata, Iva’s mother. In 1952 (the fourth time leap) Iva returns from prison to his family home, where he finds his mother and his son whom he believed to have been dead. This is the story of Antun Vrdoljak’s film The Long Dark Night (2004) in brief. Additional details of the story will be presented in the analysis.

I. The designation national epic used in the title of this text should in no way be taken to suggest that the Croatian nation (its relevant institutions and the audience, i.e. the market) has accepted The Long Dark Night as a canonical representation of its own identity. However, as it becomes plainly evident from the story itself, this was the director’s intention. To be more specific, in addition to being the director, Vrdoljak was also the scriptwriter. Moreover, this is an original script and not an adaptation of an existing literary work or a historical event. Rather, Vrdoljak places his main character, Iva Kolar, into the ‘formative period’ of recent Croatian history, extending from 1940 to 1952. Iva is a real epic hero – his plight corresponds to the collective destiny, and he emanates the basic normative

T HE L ONG D ARK N IGHT AS A N ATIONAL E PIC

national values even at the most difficult historical moments (the long dark night). In a film that aspires to be a national epic, narrative and semantic economy is required. It is attained by activating recognizable stereotypes and ideologemes and the process of typification, in which a minimum number of characters are used to represent an entire ethnic or ideological community. In a story composed in such a way it is relatively easy to construct groups of themes, problems and semantic fields considered important for a national narrative (Bordwell 1996: 105-128). Two central semantic fields in The Long Dark Night which, from the Croatian point of view, point directly to the ideological rift in the nation and the Second World War as a civil war are communism and Ustashism. The semantic field of communism is populated with the largest number of characters, and its characteristic settings include the forest and the rural area during the war, and interior locations – the office of a powerful political figure, a nationalized apartment and a prison – after the war. Out of the many Partisan fighters appearing in the war portion of the film, the representatives of uneducated peasantry (Brko) and the communist elite (Španac) play a prominent part. In the post-war period the communist ideology is presented as the space of political authority, embodied in the OZNA secret police. The new order is characterized by unbridled careerism and lack of personal safety, which makes Vrdoljak’s criticism no different from the general criticism of the Yugoslav anti-Stalinist myth. His unique contribution in the construction of this semantic field is the portrait of Vera. Vera suffers a family trauma (her father, who was a gendarme, was killed by the villagers as an act of revenge after Yugoslavia capitulated); her mother is an atheist village teacher, she is nationally indifferent, and she opts for communism (but without showing any ideological fervor). Her incapability of being a mother is an expression of her inevitable tragic fate rather than a matter of conscious choice. Vera is a case in point of an uprooted character condemned to tragic individualism; axiologically she is the most ambivalent character in Vrdoljak’s film because she sees her destiny through the eyes of the central ideological consciousness, but has no strength to change it. The main character is only conditionally part of this semantic field: Iva joins the communists out of necessity, he is not enthusiastic about communism, he is imprisoned for calling Tito “a rotten egocentric charlatan,” and in the investigation he says that he “has never been a Stalinist or a Bolshevik.” The semantic field of Ustashism is underrepresented in comparison with communism: it is not associated with characteristic settings, and consists of a relatively small number of characters – apart from the anonymous crowd of prisoners at the end of the war, it includes only Mata and (possibly) the former gendarme. The character of the former gendarme, now an Ustasha sergeant, who used to be Mata’s pursuer, but is now on the same political side, actually represents the stereotype of an apolitical yes-man from any regime. The character has been constructed to

59

60

D AVOR D UKIĆ

be easily despised by the viewer, and is the manifestation of the same deep anti-establishment ideology that the author adopts in his harsh criticism of post-war Stalinist political practice. However, it is the character of Mata that exhibits Vrdoljak’s unique contribution in this semantic field. Mata is a variant of the Slavonian lola stereotype – a peasant who is a hedonist, a man who takes pleasure in singing, drinking, eating and sex (Mata plays the tamburica and is the lover of a married woman who is widowed after the war – she, in turn, embodies the corresponding female stereotype of the snaša – a young married Slavonian woman, a bit wild). Mata personifies grassroots opposition to the abuse of authority, which is why he comes into (somewhat poorly explained) conflict with the gendarmerie before the war. Hence, he ends up as an Ustasha merely as a result of his innocent patriotism and a naïve belief that this meant achieving statehood for his country. Thus, neither Iva nor Mata choose opposing sides in the war out of ideological conviction, and therefore there is no ideological dispute between them during their farewell scene at the beginning of the war; after all, it is just an emotional farewell between two friends, separated by the contingent historical circumstances at hand rather than by a profound difference of character or worldview. It is this explicit representation of reconciliation of the opposing sides in the (civil) war that the contemporary film criticism recognized as “Tuđman’s version of recent Croatian history” (Dragojević 2005: 6). Still, the following intriguing hypothesis should be checked: does the mentioned deep anti-establishmentarianism separate Vrdoljak’s from Tuđman’s ‘ideology’? In contrast to Croats, there are deep and bitter divisions between Slavonian Germans (Volksdeutschers): the fanatic Nazi Josef Schmidt and a number of his unnamed, stereotypically presented Slavonian followers on the one hand, and the somewhat more developed characters of the communists on the other (Franz Kirchmeier and his wife who is Josef’s sister and Bartol, the commander of the Ernst Thälmann battalion). The film opens with a caption which says that “for more than two centuries” the German peasants and artisans “lived peacefully and in harmony with their Croatian hosts” until the beginning of the Second World War. This implies that evil comes from ‘without’, and Vrdoljak remains true to this concept: the Nazi idea is brought by Josef from Germany, the main atrocities in the film are committed by the German army, and even in the attempt to separate the Jews at the Zagreb youth rally, the main speaker, who should be a member of the Ustasha youth organization, is wearing a Hitlerjugend badge. The scene in which the Volksdeutscher Erik Lohmann, a Waffen SS soldier, decides to die alongside his Croatian fellow villagers, holding in his arms a child whose life his commander refused to spare, is the key illustration of the pre-eminence of the principle of loyalty to one’s homeland over the principle of overarching (national) ideology. After the Ernst Thälmann battalion is destroyed, the Volksdeutscher theme fades away, reappearing in a brief dialogue scene between Iva’s and Bartol’s fathers, which shows the expulsion of Germans at the end of the war.

T HE L ONG D ARK N IGHT AS A N ATIONAL E PIC

Thus, Vrdoljak’s criticism of the postwar period does not address the fate of the Volksdeutschers in Yugoslav concentration camps. The Holocaust in the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) is presented through a single, harmonious and completely idealized family. The merchant Neumann and his wife, who embodies empathy and the integration of non-Croats into the Slavonian homeland are the victims of Nazi (not Ustasha!) persecution. Their son Robert, after the tragic fate of his family (and his people), reveals in a conversation with Iva that he is ashamed of his non-individualized hatred (towards all Ustasha), overcoming his hatred an instant later by helping Mata, who is injured. Damir Radić’s interpretation that Vrdoljak is drawing “parallels between the Ustasha a priori contempt for all Jews at the beginning of the war (which relates to Mata’s comment about the Jews when he and Iva were parting ways, D. D.) and the Jewish contempt for all Ustasha at the end of the war (which relates to Robert, D. D.)” (Radić 2004: 13-14) seems to be malevolent. Robert also manages to avoid the fate of an uprooted man – he admits that he went to Israel, only to return to his homeland, because in Israel, the new-old mother country of his people, he could see “nothing but sand” (rather than the rich Slavonian soil). Robert’s act of saving Luka Kolar, who, in a way, symbolizes the nation’s generation after the long dark night, and Iva’s mother blessing him for it, makes Robert a kind of a background hero of the film, its most likeable character. The topic of anti-Semitism, in addition to being dealt with through the Neumann family, is also covered through Josef Schmidt’s Nazi argumentations/ interpretations, and through Mata’s shallow folk anti-Semitism reflected in his argument that he doesn’t like Jews because “they killed Jesus”. Iva’s large Zagreb apartment, where Vera feels the spirits of its former Jewish inhabitants/owners, is another allusion to the Holocaust.

II. After a detailed explication or explanation of the manifest (more or less explicit) meanings of the film, let us now turn to its symptomatic interpretation, i.e. to suppressed meanings (Bordwell 1996: 71-104). Let us start with Vrdoljak’s choice of location. In the older film tradition dealing with the Second World War in Croatia, films were mainly set in Dalmatia – starting with the first Yugoslav film Slavica (1947) to Lordan Zafranović’s trilogy (Okupacija u 26 slika [Occupation in 26 Pictures], 1978; Pad Italije [The Fall of Italy], 1981; Večernja zvona [Evening Bells], 1986), which is the only one comparable to Vrdoljak’s latest film in its ideological intentions. Moreover, Antun Vrdoljak is Dalmatian by birth (from the town of Imotski in the Dalmatian Hinterland, at the very border with Herzegovina), and he had already directed three films set in Dalmatia (Ljubav i poneka psovka [Love and an occasional curse] 1969; Povratak [The Return] and Karneval, anđeo i prah [Carnival, Angel and Dust]). By setting The Long Dark Night in

61

62

D AVOR D UKIĆ

Slavonia, Vrdoljak eliminated the entire set of Croatian-Italian war relations from the potential scope of the national narrative, that is to say the Italian occupation of Dalmatia, i.e. Pavelić’s sale/handing-over of Dalmatia to Mussolini. On the other hand, Vrdoljak was the first director who made a film dealing with the fate of the Croatian Volksdeutschers during the Second World War, thus, in a way, enriching the national narrative. He planned to make a film about the Ernst Thälmann squad in co-production with the German Democratic Republic, but this idea was never realized. In the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia the war and postwar destinies of the Volksdeutschers were more or less taboo, especially before the 1980s. Setting the story in Slavonia, however, imposed no restrictions on dealing with the Ustasha crimes, the fate of the Serbs and the role of the church in the Second World War, three important topics in the Croatian national narrative. It has already been pointed out that all the crimes shown in the film were perpetrated by the Germans. There are no characters in the film who declare themselves Serbs – Croatian peasants call the gendarme a Chetnik, which may suggest his Serbian descent. Vera and Joka could be children from a mixed, Croatian-Serbian marriage – they were born in the region of Kordun, inhabited by both Croats and Serbs; Joka’s name is actually Josip (he was named after his maternal grandfather), and his nickname, Joka, as he himself says, was tailored to suit both Serbs and Croats. The nationalities of the more important characters from the Partisan camp and OZNA remain undisclosed, and are not ‘given away’ by their names, nicknames, accent or speech. Thus it is important to point out that Vrdoljak, at least on the overt level, avoided (but did not reject!) the stereotype of Serbian domination in the Croatian repressive state apparatus. The institution of the church has been completely suppressed – there are no cassock-clad characters in the film, and the only scene which takes place in a religious building is when Alojz Schmidt prays at night in an empty church. The older characters, who are linked to their soil and their home region, are all religious, and atheism is associated only with Vera and Joka’s absent mother, and, of course, with the two great conflicting ideologies. There are several allusions to the Bible, and the motif of Cain’s fratricide is a sort of leitmotif throughout the film. In any case, Vrdoljak completely avoided the controversial topic of the role of the Catholic Church in Croatia during the Second World War. How can Vrdoljak’s semantic shifts and suppressions be interpreted? The basic ideologemes of Vrdoljak’s film – the homeland (the native soil), the family, religion – have been observed by most film critics. These conservative values are held by all of the older characters, that is all of the parents from the rural area (Iva’s, Mata’s and Robert’s parents as well as Josef’s father; in other words, all of the older Croats, Jews and Germans). On the other hand, all of the characters belonging to the semantic fields of big, modern, ‘imported’ ideologies embody uprootedness (no link to the

T HE L ONG D ARK N IGHT AS A N ATIONAL E PIC

native soil), and they are Josef Schmidt, Vera, Joka, Španac and several other characters connected with OZNA. In a well-intentioned interpretation, Vrdoljak’s avoidance of controversial topics might be seen as a deliberate attempt to attain ‘political correctness’. This is what Tomislav Kurelac, the most eminent Croatian film critic of the older generation, says about the film in Vijenac, a weekly cultural magazine published by Matica hrvatska. However, younger critics whose reviews were published in leftist periodicals (as opposed to the centrist Vijenac) did not follow suit, interpreting the film mostly as a rightist interpretation of events characteristic of the Croatian Democratic Union party and Tuđman (Radić 2004; Dragojević 2005). On the other hand, true rightism was evident in the column published in the rightist journal Hrvatsko slovo, which did not fail to mention the crimes committed only by the partisans (Bleiburg), alluding to the Croatian anti-fascists who were killed allegedly only because they were Croats (Ivan Goran Kovačić, Ivo Lola Ribar, Andrija Hebrang), and which said that “gendarme physiognomies could be Serbian”, etc. (Nekić 2004). Five years after the release of The Long Dark Night, a young film critic Ana Srzić asked in the title of her essay “Can we make a war film – Ideology against war films”, and her negative answer, therefore, seems completely correct. Yes, the ideological division in the Croatian political, social and media space is such that a national epic is mission impossible. Is that the natural state of every modern western democracy? Does Vrdoljak’s (completely isolated) attempt of doing this in the Croatian cultural space reflect his complete lack of understanding of the time in which he is living? If we agree (or even suggest) that these (somewhat rhetorical) questions should be answered in the positive, let us ask a more specific final question: How can The Long Dark Night be made use of in the context of contemporary media studies and manipulating the history of South-East European cultures? In this context Vrdoljak’s film is an excellent source; it is the best and most comprehensive example illustrating the materialization of the national narrative and the struggle for the resignification of history in the Croatian culture during the 2000s. In view of the film’s ideological intentions and its author’s position in the Croatian culture, The Long Dark Night may be analyzed in the context of recent Croatian documentary TV production, which also seeks to reinterpret national history. Vrdoljak has recently filmed a documentary television series about Josip Broz Tito (Tito, 2010), and Lordan Zafranović is planning to film one too. In 2010 Croatian Radiotelevision broadcast a documentary series about Andrija Hebrang, based on the script written by his son Branko and the author Hrvoje Hitrec. In late 2010 the series entitled Hrvatsko proljeće (Croatian Spring), dealing with the political events in Yugoslavia and Croatia during the 1960s and early 1970s, began airing (directed by M. Bukovčan, written by H. Klasić, M. Bukovčan and K. Kušec). The aim of this essay was to provide a glimpse into the potential comparative material to scholars dealing with the history of South-Eastern Europe, who have not seen and may indeed never see The Long Dark Night.

63

64

D AVOR D UKIĆ

R EFERENCES Bordwell, David (1996): Making Meaning: Inference and Rhetoric in the Interpretation of Cinema, Cambridge, Massachusetts and London: Harvard University Press. Čegir, Tomislav (2004): “Manirizam dvostruke prosudbe.” In: Vijenac 12/263, pp. 32. (http://www.matica.hr/Vijenac/vijenac262.nsf/ AllWebDocs/manirdvostpros). Dragojević, Andrea (2005): “Filmovi blizanci u blizanačkim društvima.” In: Zarez 7/164, pp. 6. (http://www.zarez.hr/164/zariste1.htm). Duga mračna noć (2005), Zagreb: Mediteran film, Hrvatska radiotelevizija. (DVD) Goldstein, Ivo/Goldstein, Slavko (2001): Holokaust u Zagrebu, Zagreb: Židovska općina, Novi Liber. Kurelac, Tomislav (2004): “Vrijednosti na udaru senzacija.” In: Vijenac 12/274-5, pp. 37. (http://www.matica.hr/Vijenac/vijenac274.nsf/AllWe bDocs/51pulskifilmskifestival). Lasić, Igor (2005): “Vrdoljakov film je krivotvorina.” [Interview with Vladimir Geiger] In: Feral Tribune 22/1016, pp.22-23. Nekić, Nevenka (2004): “Filmska saga o Slavoniji – metafora Hrvatske.” In: Hrvatsko slovo 10/470, pp. 21. Radić, Damir (2004): “Vrdoljakova ‘Duga mračna noć’ je maskirani ‘Četverored’.” In: Nacional (Extra) 10/435, pp. 13-14. (http://www. nacional.hr/clanak/12395/vrdoljakova-duga-mracna-noc-je-maskiranicetverored). Srzić, Ana (2009): “Možemo li snimiti ratni film – Ideologija protiv ratnih filmova.” In: Vijenac 17/397, pp. 32. (http://www.matica.hr/Vijenac/ vijenac397.nsf/AllWebDocs/Ideologija_protiv_ratnih_filmova).

Fragments of War The Siege of Sarajevo in Bosnian Literature Riccardo Nicolosi (Bonn/Konstanz)

I. The relation between the city and literature is one of mutual exchange. Cities such as London, Paris, and Rome produce texts rendering the chaotic, opaque labyrinth of urban reality readable and tangible; at the same time the city first catches sight of itself (cf. Stierle 1993: 50). In becoming the medium for its readability, literature constructs its cultural semantics, thus creating ‘reality’. This function of literature is revealed most clearly when urban life finds itself in a state of emergency, which is to say when the usual ‘models of perception’ become unusable (cf. Hauser 1990: 19-30). One example of this has been offered by beleaguered Sarajevo during the Bosnian war of the 1990s. Literary texts emerging during the war and addressing life in the besieged city have not only aimed at processing everyday tragedy through poetic images, but have simultaneously offered an explanatory and perceptive model for the suddenly and incomprehensibly altered city. Bosnian authors such as Miljenko Jergović, Semezdin Mehmedinović, Aleksandar Hemon, Nenad Veličković, Dževad Karahasan, and Alma Lazarevska have participated in the construction of a single ‘siege-text’ for Sarajevo, modeling an urban space in which an emergency situation turned into everyday reality creates its own (unreal) reality. The usual boundaries between life and death, interior and exterior loci, what is part of one’s own domain and what is alien, are here shifted and recoded; areas endowed with new functions – for instance threshold and transitional zones such as intersections and doors and windows; subterranean zones such as cellars and tunnels – now determine the fate of human beings permanently occupying a border between this world and the world beyond. It is as if the different authors have wished to participate together in constructing a fictional topography within which documentation and poetry stand in complex interdependence. For on the one hand, documentation is

66

R ICCARDO N ICOLOSI

the privileged genre for describing the insertion of the unreal and absurd into the war’s everyday reality, for example through an embedding into the fiction of textual forms such as diaries, letters, journalistic commentary, and witness accounts, and through use of first-person narration: hence through procedures suggesting direct experience. On the other hand a fictional ‘poetization’ of the horror estranges its automaticized perception, as encapsulated above all in its mass-medial representation, so that the siege avoids a forgetting grounded in satiation by media images. In this manner Sarajevo’s siege texts are meant as a documentation of the war – its written fixing – that nonetheless cannot be reduced to extra-aesthetic functions since they display their own poeticity, thus in fact claiming aesthetic autonomy. The literary modeling of reality thus offers cognitive models for the state of siege that are meant as anything but depictions of reality. I would now like to consider a figurative aspect of Sarajevo’s siege literature that, working on different structural levels, leads to a particular semanticization of time, space, and identity: the aspect of fragmentation. In particular, in the story A Coin by Aleksandar Hemon the fragment represents the main stylistic principle, with topographic fragmentation leading to a split in the identity of the figures.

II. The fragment is the most important figuration in Sarajevo’s siege texts. On the level of narrative form, we can here observe a disintegration of classical narration, often accompanied by an ironic approach to the war, sometimes by an approach that is absurd and grotesque. Largely pathosfree, this “disciplining of horror” (Kazaz 1999) of postmodern nature is most clearly exemplified in Semezdin Mehmedinović’s (1995) Sarajevo Blues, which has a collage structure allowing a sequence of heterogeneous elements – poems, short stories, essays – to form a kind of ‘fragmentary totality’. On a structural level, Sarajevo Blues reproduces the decomposition of the city that is its basic theme. First and foremost, the war signifies a shaking of the usual perception of reality, which paradoxically can be grasped as an aesthetic gain. Things are newly learned and seen: the city’s space finds itself in a process of continuous metamorphosis signifying an ‘end to the indifferent contemplation of the world’, since the city has been freed – in the formalist sense, estranged – from the rigidity of its habitual viewing. In Mehmedinović’s writing, the shattering of the usual temporal and spatial coordinates allows Sarajevo to emerge as, in Foucault’s sense, a heterotopos, but one that has been established negatively and externally, in which the utopian dimension of otherness so important for Foucault has been inverted into a totalitarian experiment of ethnic exclusion (cf. Beganović 2006). The sharpened, estranging perception of reality here

F RAGMENTS OF W AR

constitutes the only weapon at the disposal of the city’s besieged inhabitants for escaping the lethal heterotopos, if not physically, then at least mentally. The alienating gaze of the besiegers, a kind of (counter-) observation of the observers, is thus meant to overcome the impotence of those who are besieged. But this unmasking gaze and the acuity of its fixing in written form is also turned toward other lethal observers – the photo-reporters whose work perversely supplements that of the sharpshooters. Sarajevo Blues intends to free the city and its inhabitants from the passive position of victimage, which is to say from all forms of siege, including the medial, and all ascriptions and definitions ‘from outside’, as alien or not belonging. The open, fragmentary structure, the strategies of estrangement, and the inversion of power relations are meant to restore the word over themselves and the world to those who are besieged. The world’s fragmentation through states of siege is also conveyed in the war prose of Miljenko Jergović, on the levels of both structure and motif. In the story collection Sarajevo Marlboro, Jergović ([1994] 1999) often shapes the cognitive perspective of the main figures through a strong focus on small details forming the center of his narrated world. Where dramatic events like the war’s outbreak, expatriation, or death of familiar people are accounted for in passing, the protagonist’s attention concentrates on such details, to which they cling as mental lifesavers – so as not to drown in a sea of horror. In the story Brada (The Beard), for example, reality fragments are so mentally enlarged by the figures’ insistent contemplation that they take over the entire picture. On the structural level, Jergović’s stories emerge from a strong selection of events so that their laconicism conveys an impression of fragmentary narration. The elided elements are equally unknown to the narrator, the stories’ figures, and the reader, so that motivation for events is frequently no longer reconstructable. The melancholy banality of everyday life in the war appears as haphazard events from a lost totality of meaning. The story Grob (The Grave) is exemplary in this respect. Here a gravedigger points down to the city from the high-lying Alifakovac cemetery where Rasim, a Moslem, is buried, ‘topographically’ recounting Rasim’s life-stations, which are tied to different city sections. “His entire life can be looked at and reviewed from this location (Cijeli mu je život s ovoga mjesta moguće pogledati i pregledati)” (ibid: 64) the narrator summarizes, in the process seeming to presume a topographic power in Sarajevo that establishes meaning, with his deictic gaze from above – the narrating gravedigger steadily points to the city’s various loci of action – being in a position to seamlessly explain an entire life. But this deictic element merely conceals the fragmentary nature of a story in which numerous omissions make reconstructing events, and above all the motivation for events, nearly impossible. Correspondingly, in the story’s second part the deceptiveness of its deictic contents is unmasked in the gravedigger’s account of a conversation with an American: when he tries to explain Sarajevo’s special reality through the example of cigarette packs that on the outside have

67

68

R ICCARDO N ICOLOSI

no label and on the inside reveal themselves as the inverted packaging of something or other, the inside-out carton reveals itself as nothing else than a carton of old ‘Sarajevo Marlboros’. This ‘perverseness of the real’ removes the veil of coherent wholeness in the gravedigger’s narrative text: he ends the story of Rasim with a clear reference to the fragmentariness of his own narration, with the “you” he invokes referring not only to the American but also to the reader: “...and you can’t know what torments brought deceased Rasim under the earth or why he rescued Jews, or why Salomon rescued him, or what was going on with his face in the dough, in the bakery of deceased Edhem in Vrbanja, which can be seen from whatever cemetery you stand in.” (Ibid: 67) But at the same time Jergović’s stories reveal a counter-movement to the fragmentation of their fictive worlds, in the form of their perfect construction – a coherent world composed of discontinuities. On the level of discourse, the presence of fragmentation processes in these siege texts is particularly apparent in their temporal structure. The opposition between ‘previously’ and ‘since then’ structuring more or less all the texts reveals a split in the inner-fictional experience of time that often leads to non-chronological narration. Characteristic in this regard is an intermeshing of mnemonic fragments with the narrated present, for example in Alma Lazarevska’s story Smrt u muzeju moderne umjetnosti (Death in the Museum of Modern Art), in which the combination of temporal narratives reaches near compositional perfection (Lazarevska 1996: 87-106). Likewise, Dževad Karahasan’s novel Sara and Serafina offers readers a temporal labyrinth in which the narrative present is permanently segmented by intermeshing analepses, inner narratives, and digressions, with this non-linear, spiral-shaped temporal structure seemingly corresponding to the besieged city’s topography: its thick network of alleys transformed into an impenetrable labyrinth through the menace of sharpshooters (Karahasan 1999). To the extent Sarajevo becomes a chronotopos of the state of emergency with its own temporal and spatial coordinates, the conditions for identityconstitution by the siege texts’ figures alter. Individual identity in the city has always been closely tied to its multicultural identity, brutally stripped away in the course of the war. But in these texts, cultural disintegration is rarely explicitly staged as ethnic conflict or a rigid opposition between what is one’s own and the alien, the besieged and besieging. Rather, it is displaced into the interior of the figures, who thus experience a split or decomposition of their own identities, for the most part bound up with problems of ethnic definitions. In Sara and Serafina, these processes of inner fragmentation are represented in exemplary fashion. During the war, the novel’s protagonist experiences an intensification of the split, already present since childhood, between an official ‘state’ imposed identity, which she ties to her Croatian baptismal name Serafina, and a private, ‘true’ sense of self to which she gives the name Sara out of solidarity with a Jewish friend from the time of the German occupation. The

F RAGMENTS OF W AR

problematics of name-change, affecting not only Serafina/Sara but also secondary figures such as the Moslem Kenan, clearly possess an ethnicreligious connotation pointing to the collapse of Yugoslavian collective identity; but this remains largely anchored in the existential dimension of individual identity crises and identity splits that the state of siege exposes and radicalizes, and that finally find their blunt symbolic apogee in the protagonist’s death, her head blown off by a grenade. The fragmentation principle constituting these texts most clearly emerges in their modeling of space. Sarajevo’s topography is characterized in terms of a permanent demarcation atomizing the city (cf. Schlögel 2006: 110-116). The distinction, defining the urban topography, between exterior (above) and interior (below) which is to say between the besiegers and the besieged, themselves separated from the war’s front, forms the basis for further demarcations within the city: divided through the constant danger from above into safe and unsafe places, the former closed and protected, the latter open and exposed to enemy shooting. And other spaces are located within the closed spaces, for instance windowless rooms or cellars revealing no opening to the exterior, since threshold loci like windows or doors are themselves places of danger. On the basis of this interconnected reduction of living-space, microworlds emerge in the city, for example the museum cellar in Nenad Veličkovič’s Konačari (Overnight Visitors), where the figures appear as on a stage and, accompanied by the ironic-estranging voice of the first-person narrator, polyphonically present the drama of the siege as a tragicomedy (Veličković 1995). This parceling up of inner spaces is accompanied by a semanticization of exterior spaces as lethal transitional loci. Above all we repeatedly encounter street intersections as places of death both allowing and hindering a transition from one ‘safe’ space to another. At play here are the prohibitive semantic frontiers whose transgression Jurij Lotman (1972: 332) describes as a condition for the eventfulness of a literary text: “An event in a text is the displacement of a figure over the frontier of a semantic field.” Within the closed, immobile world of the siege, crossing these transitional spaces represents one of the most frequent events, as in Alma Lazarevzka’s story Dafna Pehfogl prelazi most između tamo i ovdje (Dafna Pechvogel Crosses the Bridge Between There and Here), the procedure in this case being carried to an extreme since the text is not only built around such a crossing but treats it directly (Lazarevska 1996: 7-18). For its part, Miljenko Jergovič’s Buđenje (The Awaking) demonstrates the siege text’s eventfulness ex negativo (Jergović 1999: 78-82). This is a short story about a family’s waiting for the return of their son Davor, who went to get water early in the morning and has still not returned at the time the story breaks off. In the absence of any movement over the threshold to outside space – the family waits at home for Davor – the plot remains eventless and situative. It is no accident that the delicate shaping of the communication between those waiting evokes the dialog in a strain of modernist theater – a tradition in which non-eventfulness replaces action.

69

70

R ICCARDO N ICOLOSI

III. One of the most artistically striking of this corpus of siege texts, encapsulating the fragmentation process at its heart, is the story A Coin by the Bosnian-American writer Aleksandar Hemon, from his collection The Question of Bruno (Hemon 2001). In this story, Hemon blends two perspectives on Sarajevo: the interior perspective of Aida, a young woman working for foreign TV companies in the city, and the exterior perspective of an unnamed refugee from Sarajevo living in Chicago who is in correspondence with Aida. He is one of many firstperson narrators in The Question of Bruno whose identification with a single figure is constantly suggested and simultaneously undermined: Jozef Pronek from the story Blind Jozef Pronek & Dead Souls, a kind of alter ego of the (Chicago-based) author himself. On the one hand seven of the eight stories in The Question of Bruno serve as seven episodes from a fragmentarily narrated biography: childhood and youth in communist Sarajevo of the 1970s and 1980s, including vacations on the isle of Mljet (The Sorge Spy Ring, Imitation of Life, Islands); emigration to Chicago shortly before the start of the Bosnian war, then life in a strange land and language unfolding together with the siege, experienced through TV images, letters, and phone calls (A Coin, Blind Jozef Pronek & Dead Souls). Beyond this, the suggested identification of the biographical figure with Hemon, the real author, and his fictionally presented family history (The Accordion, Exchange of Pleasant Words) appears to confirm the coherence of this identity. Nevertheless, such a coherent narrative voice remains more than fragmentary, crumbling into many hypostases that all seem to refer to one identity that, however, reveals itself as a mere simulacrum. In A Coin, the voice of this ‘multiple personality’ receives biographical and existential features that will stamp the figure of Jozef Pronek in the following story: an experience of loneliness, deracination, and a refugee’s ‘placelessness’ (Hemon’s following book, which further recounts Pronek’s story, is thus correspondingly entitled Nowhere Man; cf. Hemon 2002); the self-estrangement and problematization of identity connected to this; the experience of what is foreign as the experience of a foreign language; the disturbed, in part impossible or lost connection with Sarajevo and the people trapped there. A Coin represents a turning point in the constitution of this problematic self: only occupying the edge of the previous two stories, the emigration to Chicago now moves toward the center, together with the events in Sarajevo, which now gain an inner perspective through the voice of Aida – in Blind Jozef Pronek & Dead Souls they were above all mediated through TV images. The gradual displacement of narrative setting to Chicago from Sarajevo signifies a loss of that city as an identity-forming element and the self’s increasing decomposition. Where in the first stories Sarajevo was one of the most important constants in this problematic identity, the Bosnian city now moves into a distance that is not only geographical but also medial:

F RAGMENTS OF W AR

an entity conveyed through images not so much representing reality as dissolving it. “What was in the pictures,” the anonymous narrator of A Coin informs us, after a female friend has asked him to help identify damaged buildings in the city on the basis of photos, “were not buildings – let alone buildings I could’ve come in or out of: what was in the pictures was what was not in the pictures – the pictures recorded the very end of the process of disappearing, the nothingness itself” (Hemon 2001: 128). Hemon’s italicization marks the text of the Chicago-based narrator. In A Coin, Sarajevo is still present as a setting, although not for the Pronek-like narrator living in Chicago, but only for the second narrator, Aida. The doubling of narrative perspective and settings is accompanied by increasing reflection over identity reaching a highpoint in the following story about Jozef Pronek, where progressive identity loss is revealed as, among other things, a shift from first-person to third-person narration. And this shift is retracted in favor, again, of the first person precisely at the point Pronek returns to Sarajevo after the war to visit his parents. Aida and the anonymous Chicago-based narrator are in a correspondence marked, on the one hand, by the “scarce and sudden” arrival in Chicago of those of Aida’s letters, constituting half the narrative, which have escaped “the siege via UN convoys, foreign reporters, or refugee transports” (ibid: 120), and, on the other hand, by the total nonarrival in Sarajevo of the letters from Chicago, excerpts from which are offered the reader in diary-like, italicized form. The fragmentary mode of representation marking Hemon’s book as a whole is rendered most acute in this impossible dialogue: a paradoxical juxtaposing of passages seeming to underscore – indeed expose – the impossibility of forming a coherent whole. In any event it is simultaneously clear that in the end, the addressee of the story’s monological dialog is the reader, functioning as a linkage between the two narrative instances. It is the reader, for instance, who can attest to Aida’s continued existence and that she is writing her Chicago friend at the same time he voices certainty that she is doing so: “Since April,” we first read, “I have received no letters from Aida....I’m sure she is alive, I’m sure that one of these days I’ll have a bundle of her consecutive letters stowed in my mailbox, I’m sure she’s writing them this very moment” (ibid: 129); and directly afterwards, we are offered Aida’s confirmation (“This war, my friend, is men’s business […]”) (ibid: 130). The success of this impossible communication results only from the reading process, through which the unity between sender, receiver, and messages can be reconstructed. Hence what is revealed in this story is the entire book’s semantic structure and the hermeneutic procedure regulating its reading: the fragmentary reconstruction of identity and the past unfolds by means of a secondary equivalence formation allowing the reader to endow initially disparate material with semantic order – a process also instituted through the symmetrical narrative structure, with its many correspondences between spaces, events, figures, and images in both of the story’s settings.

71

72

R ICCARDO N ICOLOSI

In Hemon’s book, the reader’s task is to seek out and systematize the equivalences between the fragmentary scenes within and between the stories – this operation being, it is true, unending. In a postmodern sense, the reconstructed identity remains fragmentary and non-unified, the text’s semantic dimension permanently evading a clear-cut fixing. In this way Hemon seems to be pushing the structuralist paradigm of equivalence as the poetic principle par excellence to an extreme, while in a sense also sharply exposing it, since his isotopes sometimes become very evident leitmotifs appearing to guide readers along a sure path but that actually often lead them astray – to the reconstruction of a semantic whole remaining contradictory and fragmentary. In an interview, Hemon himself has referred more or less in passing to the early modern cabinet of curiosities as exemplifying a structure in which the principle of combination of disparate fragments dominates (Berman 2000). The Question of Bruno seems located quite close to this model, especially the story The Sorge Spy Ring with its ‘typographic and topographic’ alignment of two completely different texts, the biography of the spy Sorge and the childhood memories of the first-person narrator: a seemingly artificial alignment that in the narration’s course leads to an artful blending of its two parts, to an ever-stronger lack of distinction between reality and fiction, past and present. Nevertheless, there is a basic difference with the cabinet of curiosities, lying in the fact that in Hemon’s case belief in the reconstructability of a metaphysical ‘order of things’ is absent. Rather, the combination of fragments apparently points to an order that is more casual than causal, with the fragments only communicating for a moment without being able to form a coherent and metaphysically stable unit. In A Coin, we find a domination of figures of separation, splitting, and fragmenting, on the one hand, and unity, connection, and transition on the other. There is, first of all, the omnipresent motif of corporeal dismemberment as a consequence of grenade explosions and sharpshooters, particularly in the film material that Aida edits for international TV agencies; and in the Aida text, the motif of the tearing apart of animals, animal cadavers, and corpses by wild dogs (“Sometimes one can see two or more dogs fighting over a cat, tearing apart a screaming loaf of fur and flesh” [ibid: 120]; “I saw the rottweiler, trotting away, with a hand in his jaw” [ibid: 13]). In the Chicago text, this has its counterpart in a perverse role-exchange, the narrator now functioning as a kind of voyeuristic sharpshooter, aiming at an insect: With a lightning move of my hand superbly handling the knife, I split the cockroach in two: the front half continued running for an inch or two and then started frenetically revolving around the head; the back half just stood in place, as if surprised, oozing pallid slime. (Ibid: 133)

In any case, the topographical dimension of this figuration of fragmentation is more eloquent. The siege sunders Sarajevo’s topography into loci whose

F RAGMENTS OF W AR

connection is made difficult through the sharpshooters. Crossing through free space has become a tightrope walk on the threshold between life and death, as depicted right at the story’s start with the help of geometry: “Suppose there is a Point A and a Point B and that, if you want to get from point A to point B, you have to pass through an open space clearly visible to a skillful sniper. You have to run from Point A to Point B and the faster you run, the more likely you are to reach Point B alive” (ibid: 199). The city has thus been transformed into a space with countless separated points A and B, with not only intersections but also doors and windows being possible thresholds: “an eager sniper […] killed our neighbor who hadn’t even left the building. He just peeked out of the door, cautiously ajar, and the bullet hit him in the forehead and he just dropped down dead” (ibid: 121). This atomization of urban space repeats the nearly unbridgeable spatial separation between besieged Sarajevo and the outside world (Chicago), and multiplies it, since within the city additional spatial sunderings open. This process is manifest in a multiplication of settings within the city, in turn leading to a splitting in the identity of the narrator, the protagonist of two different stories: that of Aunt Fatima’s corpse, stored in the apartment of Aida’s parents as it cannot be buried and that finally is “disposed of” through the window; and that of Aida’s relationship with the cameraman Kevin, mainly played out in the TV studio where Aida edits the images shot for the foreign news organizations. As a result of the stories running parallel to each other without interfering, Aida is split into two narrative instances that in turn fragment her identity. She thus exists in two hermetically sealed-off settings, within which further interior spaces emerge, themselves just as strictly separated from the outside: Aida’s bedroom, temporarily holding Fatima’s rotting corpse, and the windowless, claustrophobic but safe TV studio, where she sleeps. The only figure in the story who can bring Aida’s two sides together, reconstructing a single identity, is the sharpshooter who observes and “recognizes” her on her way to her parents: When I got this job, I moved to the TV building, going home only occasionally, to check if my parents were alive and well. I’d usually go on Sunday afternoons, after the morning transmission of Friday leftovers. But then I stopped doing that because I realized that my local sniper was waiting for me. Before I ran, everything was silent, and several people ran across the parking lot without being shot at. When I started crossing it, bullets buzzed around me like rabid bees. He watched me. He knew I was coming. Now I go to see them at different times, using different routes, trying to appear differently each time in order to be unrecognizable to the sharpshooter, who could be one of my ex-boyfriends for all I know. (Ibid: 130)

Aida’s sharpshooter is one of the many hypostases of the figure of the constant, all-seeing observer playing a prominent role in The Question of Bruno: from Marshal Tito in The Sorge Spy Ring, who from TV monitors

73

74

R ICCARDO N ICOLOSI

in his Belgrade palace can “see every single resident of Yugoslavia, at any given moment of their lives,” (ibid: 55) and whose narrative corresponds to the “omnipresence of surveillance” (ibid.) in the parallel story of Richard Sorge, to the third-person narrator in Blind Jozef Pronek & Dead Souls, whose authorial status is exposed at the story’s end in that he emerges as such an observer within the fictional world, Pronek waiting to board at the Vienna airport “chewing and smiling at us, as if he knew we were there” (ibid: 211). Hence against all narratological rules, the authorial narrator suddenly materializes in the narrative present as an invisible “we” whose presence is perceived by Pronek. We can understand Hemon’s all-seeing observer as a metaphor of the abstract author who, as postulated in structuralist theory, is able to take in the work’s entire structure, within which all its potential meanings converge, in a single view. Only this view, it seems, can guarantee the coherence of the fictive persons in The Question of Bruno. Hence the abstract reader – the pendent of the abstract author – is here being asked to follow the rules of the game and annul the text’s semantic fragmentation. On the other hand, the fictive figures are engaged in an effort to evade the constant observation – as with Aida, trying to always look different to avoid being recognized by the sharpshooter. In other words, they refuse an unambiguous ascription of identity, which possesses a lethal dimension. In a similar manner, the text withdraws from a reading trying to reconstruct a seamless semantic unity, although in a sense it provokes such an effort. Through its symmetric structure, the text invites a comparison of its textual building blocks, in order, however, to have the formation of equivalence come to nothing. Thus, for example, the absence of communication between Aida and her ‘invisible’ Chicago friend seems overcome through the two protagonists, although spatially separated, experiencing similar things. These experiences seem mirror images, so that we could initially imagine a kind of sympathetic relationship between them: Aida is the one who dreams of being enclosed in false language, and of the consequences of this for her own identity, while her friend endures a sense of being more enclosed and unfree in Chicago than Aida in besieged Sarajevo. But the conspicuous equivalence between Sarajevo’s sharpshooters and the Chicago-based first-person narrator runs counter to this apparently harmonious combination, generating a new fragmentation of the text’s semantics. We can speculate that Aida’s letter is simply the product of the Chicago narrator’s fantasy, which could explain the many correspondences between the two figures and their experiences; nevertheless, regardless if whether or not Aida’s story opens up an additional fictional level, the problem remains of the identity’s localization and fragmentation, in connection to the fragmentation of urban space. The unending movement between fragmentation and combination has an additional metaphoric correspondence in Aida’s work, her editing and transmission of film material from Sarajevo. In this story within a story, she medially experiences everyday wartime life through Kevin’s

F RAGMENTS OF W AR

film images (he films her as well). Her excision of the most horrifying sequences, which she preserves in the Cinema Inferno videotape, is carried out in the studio’s windowless editing room; the process stands in opposition to the direct experience of the decomposition of Aunt Fatima’s corpse, torn apart by dogs after its plunge through the window. Aida thus seems split not only between two settings but also, above all, between the medial world of images of death and the world of real death, perceptible to the senses. She stands as it were in the transitional space between points A and B, like all Hemon’s figures, their identities only locatable in the interspace of a short transition, for which they always have a coin ready, as in the mythological movement to the world beyond. Translated by Joel Golb

This essay was supported by funds made available by the Cultural Foundations of Integration Center of Excellence at the University of Konstanz, established in the framework of the German Federal and State Initiative for Excellence.

R EFERENCES Beganović, Davor (2006): “Nelagoda prostora. Sarajevo blues Semezdina Mehmedinovića.” In: Razlika/Differance. Časopis za kritiku i umjetnost teorije 12/13/14, pp. 37-56. Berman, Jenifer (2000): “Aleksandar Hemon.” In: Bomb 72 (http:// bombsite.com/issues/72/articles/2328). Hauser, Susanne (1990): Der Blick auf die Stadt. Semiotische Untersuchungen zur literarischen Wahrnehmung bis 1919, Berlin: Reimer. Hemon, Aleksandar (2001): The Question of Bruno, New York: Vintage. Hemon, Aleksandar (2002): Nowhere Man, New York: Vintage. Jergović, Miljenko (1999 [1994]): Sarajevski Marlboro, Zagreb: Durieux. Karahasan, Dževad (1999): Sara i Serafina, Zagreb: Durieux. Kazaz, Enver (1999): “Sarajevo – eine literarische Arabeske, oder: Die Disziplinierung des Grauens.” In: Lichtungen. Zeitschrift für Literatur, Kunst und Zeitkritik 77, pp. 36-38. Lazarevska, Alma (1996): Smrt u muzeju moderne umjetnosti, Sarajevo: Bosanska knj. Lotman, Jurij (1972): Die Struktur literarischer Texte, Munich: Fink. Mehmedinović, Semezdin (1995): Sarajevo Blues, Zagreb: Durieux. Schlögel, Karl (2006): Im Raume lesen wir die Zeit. Über Zivilisationsgeschichte und Geopolitik, Frankfurt a.M.: Fischer. Stierle, Karlheinz (1993): Der Mythos von Paris. Zeichen und Bewußtsein der Stadt, Munich/Vienna: Hanser. Veličković, Nenad (1995): Konačari, Sarajevo: Zid.

75

The Poetics of Testimony and Resistance Anti-war Writing and Social Memory in Bosnia and Herzegovina after the 1992-1995 War Enver Kazaz (Sarajevo)

The literature of Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) has tended to be subversive towards the official narratives which have encoded collective memory of the events of the 1992-1995 war. This subversive feeling is evident from the literature’s very attitude towards the war, which it tends to view as an unfathomable human tragedy, whilst the official narratives present it as the most important historical and cultural event, the site of political legitimization and of a new symbolic power upon which they can build the post-communist and post-war ethnic identity of the Bosnian Croats, Bosnian Serbs, and Bosniaks. Analyzing how the social memory is conveyed and sustained, Paul Connerton (2002) suggests that “it is surely the case that control of the society’s memory largely conditions the hierarchy of power” (Connerton 2002: 10), and that “images of the Past usually legitimize the existing social order” (ibid: 11.) By using an array of ideologically-based ceremonies and commemorative rituals, the Bosniak, Bosnian Croat and Bosnian Serb ethnic nationalisms have – from their top position within the power-hierarchy in the ethnically divided B&H society – succeeded in establishing three opposing interpretations of the war on the basis of the same social memory. Through these, the three ethnic nationalisms feed each other, firmly entrenching their own political authority and, insisting that post-conflict reconciliation is impossible, each of them construes the images of the other two as that of huge, demonic ethnic enemies. The strategies employed by the official nationalist discourse to shape national memory are the following: commemorative rituals (anniversaries of ethnic suffering or ethnic victory in the war), monuments, and the renaming of streets, squares, schools and other public institutions. These strategies ensure that ethno-nationalism develops several key narratives of history by which it endeavors to suppress all forms of alternative – and especially the subversive – narratives, and bring about the homogenization

78

E NVER K AZAZ

of ethnic collectives. That is why it is possible to say that it builds canonical, normative interpretations of the war, using religion in support of these norms’ consecration in the social space. By turning ideology into religion, and making ideology religious, the system’s political institutions create ethnic identities which they claim to be organic, bio-social, some kind of a natural and timeless fact. This concept of ethnic identity prevents it from being seen as an ideological and historical hybrid produced by ideological institutions, through a discursive, heterogeneous field of culture and by bloody historical events. That is the reason why the ethnic nationalisms in Bosnia and Herzegovina appear in the form of an ideology in the Althusserian sense, that is as “a system of imagery made of ideas, concepts, myths and images in which people live their imaginary relationships in regard to real conditions of existence.” (Biti 1997: 133) This system is continually reproduced and strengthened through its own ideological apparatus: education, religion, political parties, media, cultural institutions etc. All of these take part in various forms of subject-formation and identification mechanisms, ultimately enabling ethno-nationalism to achieve a Foucauldian pan-optical control over the whole of society, and allowing ideology to become, as Roland Barthes would put it, a modern mythology. In addition to this, ethno-nationalism integrates all members of an ethnic group into one homogenous and (allegedly) harmonious whole. For nationalistic ideology, the interpretation of wartime events as totalizing ethnic narratives which the society’s ideological apparatuses have produced, shaped and controlled, represents, in fact, the most effective means of achieving its objectives in the aforementioned sense. Most effective because it triggers the most intense range of emotional and psychological reactions both in individuals and in the collective. Also, the fact that rituals are always performed allows them to be staged as a spontaneous, almost biological and organic reaction of the ethnic group to Death, a natural mourning for war victims and not as social ceremonies which are always ideologically coded. The first form in which such an interpretation is exercised is a commemorative ceremony. It is through these ceremonies that all three ethnic nationalisms mark anniversaries of the respective civilians’ or soldiers’ suffering in the past war. The commemorative ceremonies are generally religiously coded, transcending thus from the political, ideological and cultural spheres into the metaphysical one, which confers on them a metaphysical approbation. The paradox lies in the fact that a victim – collectivized, ideologized and politicized through such a religiously coded ceremony – loses its individuality and becomes a metaphysicized ideological and ethno-cultural phenomenon. The close proximity of religion, ideology and politics that occurs during the commemorative ceremonies ultimately causes them to merge, while the burial ritual of innocent victims serves to build new political myths of ethnic communities. In this manner, each ethnic commemorative narrative turns into a sacralized historical

T HE P OETICS OF T ESTIMONY AND R ESISTANCE

story and becomes a new ethnic cult which would eventually grow into a political myth. Paul Connerton theoretically elaborates this dimension of commemorative narratives using paradigmatic examples of Hitler’s Third Reich narrative, stating that their “story is not unequivocally told in the past tense, but in the tense of a metaphysical present.” (Connerton 2002: 61) In the performativity of commemorative rites, in their codedness and canonicity, in their close proximity to religion, politics, and ideology, the ethnic nationalism sees a chance for the consecration of every war event and the mental transcoding of the whole ethnic community. In addition, each of the three B&H nationalistic elites insists on the continuity between the past and the present, extending in this way the victimological discourse from the last war to the overall ethnic history. Ethnic community as a historical subject thus becomes a permanent victim of historic Others and the B&H post-war social horizon becomes covered with a never-ending historical narrative about the two-headed ethnic enemy. This means that the commemorative rituals reinterpret the past, erasing the memory of historical experience shared by all ethnic groups which had been occupied by the same invaders (Ottoman Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire) and during the Second World War exposed to the murderous forces of the common external enemy. Commemorative ceremonies also keep highlighting the role of an internal enemy within the ethnic ordeal, creating the narrative figure of a demonic traitor who openly, or covertly, collaborated with the ethnic executioner. All three ethnic nationalisms strongly insist on such figures, constantly present in the public space either in the form of demonized Bosnian Serbs and Bosnian Croats who have supported the Alija Izetbegović’s regime, or fought in his army; or in the form of members of Abdić’s army which has closely cooperated with the Republika Srpska Army and the Serb Krajina forces in attacking units of the 5th Corps of the B&H Army. This kind of narrative about the demonic traitor is particularly evident during the commemorative rituals which celebrate ethnic heroes transformed into figures who demand from the members of their ethnic community unconditional ethics, and every other kind of loyalty. The hero-centeredness of the last-war narratives, however, is a legacy of a long tradition of South Slavic epic-coded national cultures, always with a titanic figure of a hero at the very center of collective historical memory. From the epic poems and romantic epics, through the heroes of the First World War and then the Second World War, the social memory in the South Slavic cultural space is not only hero-centrically, but also male-centrically and paternalistically coded. And it is not only that the social ethics system has been established on the heroic cultural paradigm (cf. Kazaz 2009), but every single ideological narrative has sought to delegitimize the previous ideology by undoing its system of heroes and trying to ultimately demonize it, in other words, ethnic nationalism employs its system of heroes to primarily satanize the previous, communist ideology.

79

80

E NVER K AZAZ

In this respect all three ethnic nationalisms stand in absolute agreement and all their heroes are associated with the religious value system. This is the reason why all the monuments dedicated to ethnic heroes are ornamented with religious symbols. In this sense, three monuments could serve as a paradigm of post-war nationalistic memorialization in general. Near the entrance to the city of Sarajevo, coming from Vogošća, there is a monument on the prominent hill of Kobilja Glava. The monument honors the dead of the B&H Army’s 1st celebrated Motorized Brigade. The memorial is shaped like a gigantic nišan, an Islamic headstone. It therefore proclaims that all of the soldiers were şehits i.e. martyrs, regardless of their religious beliefs, while showing the Brigade’s combat operations in the light of the Islamic narrative of jihad. The identical model of turning war heroes into saints and martyrs is carried out by the Bosnian Croat and Bosnian Serb ethnic nationalism. The cyclopean monument located in a dually named city of Bosniak-Bosnian Croat ethnic designation: Prozor/Rama, dedicated to the members of the HVO (Croatian Defence Council) local brigade, is dominated by a huge cross. A giant monument to “the heroes of the patriotic war” in Bosanski Brod, a city also called – by the decision of Republika Srpska authorities – Srpski Brod, is similarly dominated by the cross and symbols of Orthodox Christianity. This is an attempt to wipe out the communist system of heroes and their atheistic background from each ethnic group’s collective memory, while the ethnic nationalism takes over the forms of the communist commemorative rituals endeavoring to perform the mental transcoding of the overall ethnic cultural field. Whereas communism tied its own heroes to the project of a future communist society conceptualized as an Utopian paradise, ethnic nationalism ties its heroes to religion, and to the idea that, instead of dying for a future social Utopia, they have died for an otherworldly heaven. The otherworldliness thus becomes the strongest ideological instrument in the process of mental occupation of the community, as Paul Connerton also notes in regard of commemorative rituals in general. A monument, which constantly actualizes the memory of a hero or a victim of the war – as does a procedure of naming streets and squares – has the aim of a symbolic marking of the ethnic territory. Through the memorialization ethnic nationalism territorializes the social memory, which then becomes a distinctive type of agriculture in which the ideology through its symbolic imagery meliorates and sacralizes the ethnic territory. At the same time, memorialization wants ethnic memory to deny the victims of Others. This aspiration is most pronounced in monuments erected to the memory of children killed during the war. The text inscribed on the huge memorial erected in the center of Sarajevo shows how the nationalistic government excludes the victims of others. The inscription reads that the memorial is dedicated to the memory of children killed in the “besieged Sarajevo” during the war, excluding therefore the children killed in the parts of the city which were not besieged. It should be born in mind that during the war Sarajevo was a militarily divided city, so the

T HE P OETICS OF T ESTIMONY AND R ESISTANCE

children killed in the parts of the city controlled by the Republika Srpska Army are in this way given an ethnic label, becoming the subject of ideological exclusion, of demonization even, and ultimately defined as aggressor’s children. This very memorial could have been used to mark the beginning of the demilitarization of the memory of the war, and the establishment of a transethnic memory of the war. It had presented a chance for condemning the ideological and political subjects responsible for all war crimes. However, the deconstruction of such a social memory model carried out by literary narratives of the past war shakes the total ethno-nationalistic order of values, questions the ideological and political hierarchy, and destabilizes its established capillary power. That is why, in the social order of discourse, the literature and the dominant model of social memory have been polemically opposed, where the literature has been a marginal, entirely alternative discourse without a possibility to fully challenge the authoritativeness, normativeness and canonicity of the dominant social memory model. However, some books belonging to the corpus of anti-war writing, with the poetics of testimony at their core, have managed to significantly undermine the ruling ethno-nationalistic interpretations of the war. It is not unimportant to note that the authors of these books have been winning significant support from the so-called independent media, as it is equally important to note that they have systematically been demonized in the ethno-nationalistic media. These are the books which in literary practice had already won their canonical status, where it should be noted that two concomitant canons had been established in the field of literature. The ethno-nationalistic canon was formed by academic institutions, politically and financially sponsored by the very top of the political hierarchy. However, while the alternative and subversive literary canon was formed on the social and academic margins, it nevertheless comes from the very center of literary production, involving the most important writers and the most important books. These writers are under constant pressure from the very top of the academic hierarchy and political government institutions, as well as from the media, and are constantly involved in fierce polemical conflicts. The paradigmatic examples of the opposition and the challenge to the ethno-nationalistic interpretation of the war events are Marko Vešović’s collection of poems Poljska konjica (Polish Cavalry), the poetry of Mile Stojić, Stevan Tontić, Semezdin Mehmedinović, Jozefina Dautbegović and the whole range of poets and poetesses who entered the field of literature during the war and immediately after the war. In the novelistic practice such a model of subversive historical narrative has been accomplished first and foremost by Ivan Lovrenović in his novel Liber memorabilium, Zdenko Lešić in Sarajevski tabloid (Sarajevo Tabloid) and Knjiga o Tari (The Book about Tara), Ivica Đikić in Cirkus Columbia (Columbia Circus), Josip Mlakić in his novels Kad magle stanu (When Fogs Clear Away) and Živi i mrtvi (The Living and the Dead), Nenad Veličković in Konačari (Maya’s

81

82

E NVER K AZAZ

Diary), while the paradigmatic model of subversion of ethno-nationalistic memory achieved through short stories can be observed in Miljenko Jergović’s Sarajevski marlboro (Sarajevo Marlboro), Nenad Veličković’s Đavo u Sarajevu (The Devil in Sarajevo), Alma Lazarevska’s Smrt u muzeju moderne umjetnosti (Death in the Modern Art Museum); Faruk Šehić’s Pod pritiskom (Under Pressure) and in prose works by Damir Uzunović, Josip Mlakić, Goran Samardžić etc. Vešović’s Poljska konjica, as a representative and paradigmatic book of antiwar writing, is created on the basis of a dramatic collection of voices of the Sarajevo people during the siege. Each poem presents an individual voice confessing his or her war experience, and in its emotional and overall semantic tonality the collection ranges from the tragic to the comic, ironic and sarcastic, with socio-political implications sometimes explicitly emphasized while sometimes only hinted. Voices of Sarajevo women and men are materialized in accordance with the principles of the poetics of Skaz, where the Skaz is poetically stylized; the voices are joined by the voice of the poet, i.e. the author himself as a direct, eyewitness of the war events, and someone who, in the name of the highest possible humanitarian goals, organizes their stories by translating them into poetry, while on the metatextual level contemplating, questioning and challenging the meaning of poetry in a time when, in the words of Ilija Ladin, one of the founders of the local anti-war literature: war scenes, not poets, sing the horror. Poljska konjica is, therefore, a kind of historical response to Dante’s Inferno, in which the war experience of the existence descends down to the heart of the historical evil, and confession does not take place before a metaphysical judge but rather before a proclaimed system of universal human values and ethics which our civilization should be based upon. In this manner the actual war and existential situation become a means of inquiry into the humanistic and ethical metanarratives which, as claimed by ideological as well as any other type of power, is laid in the foundation of the modern, neo-liberal Western civilization. The Skaz in Vešović’s collection sustains multiple functions: it is a first-hand individual testimony on the war, it is also an accusation of the forces which demolish Sarajevo and kill people in it, and further on it is also a means of unmasking the hypocritical essence of power underlying the political and ideological institutions of the international community which could have prevented or stopped the war, but failed to do it; and on top of all of that – it is a direct and unequivocal condemnation of the ideological and political system which wages a brutal war. But then it is also a humorous, ironic and at times sarcastic ridicule of the order of the forces of ethno-nationalistic power defending the city. Poljska konjica thus becomes a lyrical diary of the war, a particular ethical and existential chronicle of the anthropological tragedy brought on by the war, the tragedy told from the perspective of the ordinary people who, from the base of the social vertical and through their terrible experiences, oppose all forms of deception perpetrated by the mighty men and institutions of the political system.

T HE P OETICS OF T ESTIMONY AND R ESISTANCE

If the ideological power strictly monitors and controls social memory in order to make it its own instrument, the Poljska konjica subverts official narratives of suffering through the testimonies on the bloody war experience, pronounced from below, from the perspective of ordinary people whose individual narratives deny the proclaimed ideological truths of the official historical narrative. In this manner this book becomes anti-ideological poetry destroying the metanarrative system underlying the social memory as an ethno-nationalistic construct. In addition, each poem, in one way or another, denies or questions the ethno-nationalistic ideological phantasmas from a position of a testimonial of the mere human substance exposed to the tragedy of war. Thanks to its ironic and satirical view on the war lords, Vešović’s book acquires the connotation of a carnival of people’s voices: through the poetry the ordinary people become visible on the cultural and social scene, and their coming out of the anonymity and into the public space achieves the destabilization of ideological hierarchy and power. Vešović offers the poetry as a performing stage for voices of all three ethnic groups, and through his poems masterfully accomplishes the alternative concept of memory of the war. Such is the poem about caricaturality of Nikola Koljević, an ideologue and an official of the Karadžić’s regime, or the poem about General Gvero, who “salutes the dead Christ” by shouting that “the Serbs have finally došli tobe” (in Islam it denotes the return to the true faith of believers who had previously deviated from religious norms; an expression widely used for ‘come to one’s senses’) or a number of other poems showing the image of ethno-nationalistic ideological lords through the prism of irony and satire. This is a remembrance based on the ethics of not belonging to any of the ethno-nationalistic ideological projects, and this is the way it defends the general human values from a vulgar ideological abuse in the midst of the most aggressive ideological campaign. The other poets and poetesses proceed similarly to Vešović. In Stevan Tontić’s poetry, this anti-ideological gesture of poetry is already marked by the title of his book. Blagoslov izgnanstva (The Blessing of Exile), says Tontić in the title of the book, while in the poem he refuses to receive any praise from the ideological lords, hoping that their praise will never reach him. In poems such as Penzionisani general (The Retired General) or Govna i patuljci (Shit and Midgets), Tontić unequivocally condemns the murderous regimes of Milošević and Karadžić, as well as all the other nationalistic governments in former Yugoslavia, insisting on the idea of the individual’s autonomy within the brutal ideological order. When one tries to reduce the corpus of anti-war writing within the B&H interliterary community to a few paradigmatic cases such as Vešović’s or Tontić’s poetry, or the poetry of Mile Stojić and Jozefina Dautbegović, it becomes evident that this writing had formed an alternative model of memories of the war, ranging from a latent to a radically open resistance to ethnic nationalism. If the social memory is ideologically encoded, the remembrance is existential and personalized, and in its individuality

83

84

E NVER K AZAZ

directly opposes the ideological phantasms of the concept of bloodfamily-relationship-ties of ethnic identity, its archaization, ghettoization, phobiazation, confessionalization and a number of other ideologemic tags. This is the reason why the autobiographical expression, or Skaz, is the most common form in which this writing is realized, and consequently its poetics of testimony are based on a personal utterance which is both implicitly and explicitly opposed to collective norms. But, it is not only ideology that is destabilized, denounced and deconstructed in this writing. The same is done with culture. In the novel The Book about Tara, Zdenko Lešić, though the voice of his metadiegetic narrator who goes to Seoul and becomes acquainted wit Korean Buddhism and the metaphysical principle of grace constantly re-confirmed through the flux of existence, exposes the deep militarism, empire-building, and aggressive heroism of Western culture. At the same time, he disintegrates its aggressive phallocentrism through the ironic metaphor of big-whitenose-cracy (i.e., the imperial rule of the white people’s big noses; the big nose humorously presented as the most visible facial distinction of whites) as the fundamental feature of the entire historical experiences through which Westerners have been enslaving and murdering non-Westerners. In addition, big-white-nose-cracy is used to determine distinctions between Caucasian and non-Caucasian culture, and then the story passes from the general to the autobiographical level in which the narrator confesses to the reader his own process of detraumatization and healing. On these grounds the brothers killed in the B&H bloody war and the memory of them become the reason for accepting the norms of culture of compassion arising from a metaphysical principle of the goddess Tara’s mercy. Under its auspices a new ontology is created in the novel, and the imperial tradition of Western culture with its utopianism, ideologies, phallocentrism, and hero-centric gestures, are viewed and evaluated from the point of meeting the ‘far away Other’. Lešić in this manner deconstructs not only the ideology and political system, but also the basis of Western culture, which makes his novel the first major intercultural narrative within local literature. The idea of autonomy of the individual versus the aggressive ideological order, the principle of grief and the surrender to the Goddess of Mercy thus become the basis for a self-healing act of writing as a constant reconsideration of ethics. This moralizing gesture of anti-war writing, its efforts to find authentic values of existence in a deeply inauthentic world, paradigmatically comes to the fore in Lovrenović’s novel Liber Memorabilium. Invoking the form of memorabilia in which the Catholic parishes in B&H have been recording daily life practices without using any interpretation, Lovrenović – in this novel, and at the theoretical level – conceptualizes a different order of historical memory and reaching the truth about the historical identity. The memorabilia, the narrator informs us, records the bare life events; and then – by using this model of narration – the novel develops a distinctive family chronicle in which the narrator searches for the truth about his

T HE P OETICS OF T ESTIMONY AND R ESISTANCE

father who vanished during the Second World War, but the last Bosnian war is constantly reflected on the background of the previous one. Liber Memorabilium is, however, in a metatextual commentary on the novel, defined as a lapidary of a literary biography, given that the narrator also combs through periodicals for his own writings because his manuscripts and his personal library were destroyed after Karadžić’s troops had banished him from the Sarajevo neighborhood of Grbavica. This gives the novel the quality of a monument, and within the social order of discourse it appears as a narration opposing the one developed by the political monuments dedicated to heroes or victims of the war and erected by the ideological power. This novel confronts a small individual and family history, which reviews the ideologically construed official, canonical interpretations of the war, with the large, ideological historical narrative. Lovrenović’s novel was able to revise the two ideologically construed models of social memory: the communist one regarding the Second World War and the nationalistic one established in our time. These novels, as structural patterns and paradigmatic examples of subversive literature established against the ethno-nationalistically profiled social memory, indicate that it is mainly through small stories, personal confessions, intimate autobiographical narratives and testimonies of ordinary people that the autonomy of the individual is preserved against the totalitarian ethno-nationalistic model of society and its hero-worship on the one hand, and victim-adoration on the other. Insisting on personal remembrance as a model of individual narrative of the war, literature was able to destabilize official war narratives and nationalist collective memory of the war. However, it is just a marginal, utterly peripheral discourse in the social discourse network, presenting a fragile hope that the autonomy of an individual could be maintained within a rigid society and its tendency to mentally occupy all its individual members. Might it be that the poetics of testimony and resistance underlying the anti-war writing is just a solace in a society which ever more, and more aggressively, shows features of a mental prison? Translated by Mirjana Evtov

R EFERENCES Connerton, Paul (2002): Kako društva pamte (How Societies Remember), Belgrade: Samizdat B92. Biti, Vladimir (1997): Pojmovnik suvremene književne teorije, Zagreb: Matica hrvatska. Kazaz, Enver (2009): Neprijatelj ili susjed u kući, Sarajevo: Rabić.

85

Memory and Conceptual Tropes Museums, Trade and Documents in Veličković’s Konačari Andrea Lešić (Sarajevo)

This paper will explore the possibilities of using the insights of cognitive poetics in the study of literary memory texts, and, from there, in the study of the formation and regulation of cultural memory. Its theoretical underpinning will be the argument of some of the cognitive scientists (Hernadi, Turner, Fauconnier, and Zeki) that literature offers a unique insight into human cognitive processes, and I shall attempt to show that this notion can be successfully carried over into memory studies. Defining memory not as a reliable mental record of past events, but as a process of meaning-creation which is highly context-dependent, goal-oriented and, in many cases, preferably, future-oriented, I shall argue that the problems of memory start when it falls prey to rigid patterns of cultural stereotype and cliché, which restrict its ability to produce new meanings and adapt to new contextual circumstances. In addition to this, the conceptual tropes we use for imagining and regulating memory processes within our culture could greatly influence the levels of flexibility and inclusiveness of meaning and identity generated by such memory processes. By analysing Nenad Veličković’s novel Konačari, I shall aim to show how the successful (i.e., flexible and context-aware) coding of memory can be seen as following the logic of conceptual tropes, allowing for the possibility of greater semantic flexibility and openness by creating moments of distortion, disruption, displacement and give. Literary texts can offer us models of how signifying flexibility of memory can be achieved, as well as show us, with great clarity, what happens to meaning and identity when cultural procedures for remembering and forgetting fail to allow for such flexibility. To make a sweeping generalisation, in the last four or five decades most of the mainstream literary theories (Marxist, feminist, postcolonial, new historicist, and poststructuralist) have seen literature as an ideologically privileged discourse which seductively speaks to power and from positions of power, and which as such holds no special insight into the workings of the world and the mind other than that how they can both

88

A NDREA L EŠIĆ

be ideologically manipulated by privileged and seductive language of the literary text. Literature, in this view, is cognitively no better and no worse than any other kind of discourse sponsored by the powers that be; morally, it is probably worse than other discourses, precisely for the seductiveness of its insidious message which reconciles us to the ideological, political, and sexual status quo. However, the “cognitive revolution” which has been gradually taking place over the last couple of decades, bringing the insights of the cognitive sciences (and of cognitive linguistics in particular) into the study of literature, has opened the space where it is possible, yet again, to return to and reformulate the old Aristotelian view that literature is a privileged cognitive tool (so, not only or not just a language construct), capable of both organising our knowledge of the world in profoundly perceptive ways and of offering us a unique insight into how our mind organises its knowledge of both itself and the world. This view of the special cognitive status of literature is explicit or implicit in many of the major theories by various cognitive scientists; but for my purposes here I shall quote only Hernadi’s suggestion that […] from their earliest occurrences on, literary transactions could be serving both sets of functions: to expand the cognitive, emotive, and volitional horizons of human awareness […] and to integrate our beliefs, feelings and desires within the fluid mentality required for survival in the increasingly complex social and cultural environments of human organisms. (Hernadi 2002: 39)

With that perspective in mind, I shall approach my present topic with the view that literary texts which problematize our relationship with the past and our handling of our memories of that past offer us a privileged platform for understanding how that handling and that relationship actually happen. My main concern will be with the problem of how the use of tropes (understood broadly as processes that form a part of the cognitive organisation of the world represented by the literary text, and not just as its stylistic features) contributes to the organisation of memories, both as methods of coding and decoding memories, and as conceptual tools for thinking about the processes of memory. I shall examine some instances of how certain key conceptual tropes (a metonymy, a metaphor and a synecdoche) that both organise memory of the past and conceptualize that organisation function in Veličković’s Konačari. The notion of the conceptual trope is here adapted from Lakoff’s and Johnson’s notion of the conceptual metaphor, which structures “what we perceive, how we get around in the world, and how we relate to other people,” and “thus plays a central role in defining our everyday realities.” (Lakoff and Johnson 1980: 454) The conceptual tropes for handling and understanding memory that Veličković’s novel in my analysis throws into relief are MUSEUM, TRADE and DOCUMENT.

M EMORY AND C ONCEPTUAL T ROPES

In this scheme, the MUSEUM functions, effectively, as conceptual metonymy; it is a conceptualisation of how memory functions which is metonymically based on the tools we have of capturing and preserving the past. As such, it provides an opportunity to explore our relationship to official histories and collective pasts, through our relationship to the institution which serves to record and preserve that official history and that collective past (Anderson 1993: 164). What is also specific in Veličković’s novel is that the museum in question is also in itself a kind of remnant of the past era; the (now displaced) Sarajevo City Museum which provided Veličković with his model was, as he explicitly states in his commentary at the end of the novel, very different from the stuffy and official National Museum, and afforded an opportunity for the frequent visitor to create an affectionate and personal attachment to it (Veličković 2008: 255). The quirkiness of the original museum is in the novel further amplified by being colonized by the museum director’s family which adopts it as their home during the siege of Sarajevo, after their own flat is destroyed. However, the family in question (or at least its pater familias, the museum director), whilst moving into the museum and turning it into a private home, at the same time are trying to preserve its integrity as a museum (i.e., the official space for preserving history and collective memory), by refusing to succumb to the pressure to let the Army take it over as their headquarters and by trying to prevent any of the collection from being stolen, traded or sold. The main points of conflict regarding this particular issue in the novel centre around the battle for both the museum and its meaning between two of the museum inhabitants: its director and Julio, the charming, scheming, opportunistic, ex-diplomat friend of Brkić, the museum porter. Whereas the museum director holds onto his role and duty to the museum with integrity and a certain rigidity of purpose, Julio insinuates himself into both the museum and the local power structures, playing a game which is meant to satisfy all, but which seems to consist of an endless circling of goods and good-will in which nobody ever seems to profit anything tangible. So he infuriates the dutiful director by donating antique embroidered shirts to the hospital’s maternity ward, to be used as nappies for newborn babies, only to have them promptly returned as unsuited to that purpose, accompanied by worthless paintings which the hospital donates to the museum as a sign of gratitude for the worthless donation of antique shirts (ibid: 44-48, 52-54). Throughout of the novel, Julio acquires supplies which he trades for something else which is then donated to the third party, who then express their gratitude by sending something else, and yet hardly ever anyone appears to profit from any of the goods which are circulating in this manner. However, that is just the way that Julio seems to function; as a background to this, obvious black market operations are taking place and sizeable profits are being made, but, it would appear, not by Julio, who appears to be mostly accumulating good will; his deals and trades and donations and acquisitions seem to serve some kind of phatic function, much as his impossible, meandering,

89

90

A NDREA L EŠIĆ

fairy-tale like war stories do. In fact, the purpose of Julio’s transactions, both verbal and material, seems to suggest precisely that: the function of memory as pure contentless communication, a largely phatic circulation of stories and goods whose goal is to bind the community together rather than to exchange any meaningful information or to make use of the goods in any meaningful way (at one point, Maja, the novel’s teenage narrator, quotes her mother’s assessment of Julio as somebody whose true nature is that of a water fountain by the roadside; in other words, a source of pure joy for weary travellers; (ibid: 134)). Here we have the appearance of memory through the conceptual metaphor of TRADE, and Julio’s version of it acts in sharp opposition to how the museum director treats both the museum and the flow of information about the war, fighting to keep the museum collection intact, and refusing to engage in gossip, ideological speculation, or attempts to relativize the meaning of the siege. However, when it comes to the director’s determination to preserve the purity of the past (through the preservation of the museum), he nevertheless allows for instances of laxity, or reshuffling of priorities, such as when a museum courtyard is dug up in search of an old well (ibid: 65), or when flags from the museum collection are cut up and sewed into an air balloon meant to help Julio’s friend and the museum’s porter Brkić leave the besieged city (ibid: 84). In both cases the attempt is either to restore the material past or to rearrange and reuse the symbolic past, in order to help the living, and in both instances the attempt fails: the well is never found, and the air balloon flies away without Brkić (ibid: 188-189). Nevertheless, the director’s greatest intervention into the purity of the museum as a space of preservation of the past is made when the museum building becomes his family’s new home, the museum collection of precious rugs employed as buffer on the windows; and there, the new function of the museum, no longer purely a memory site but now also a home and a bomb shelter combined, does serve the living and helps preserve them. In a similar way, his micro-management of the war information is often ineffectual, such as when he tries to present his very carefully formulated thoughts on the war to Davor, his stepson, who is making a radio documentary, only to get his contribution rejected because Davor interprets it as propaganda (Julio’s got rejected because he meandered in his story so much he never got to the point of it) (ibid: 16, 25-28), or when he misinterprets Davor’s wife’s chart of her pregnancy weight gain and stool frequency as some sort of enemy signalling code (ibid: 107); but, nevertheless, his refusal to participate in gossip, speculation and phrase-mongering is in the world of the novel presented as a highly honourable attitude to the information chaos of the war. And, so, the attitude of the two men, Julio and the director, to both the museum (as a site for preserving the past) and to the circulation of information during the war (as a means of creating a story about that war and setting up a framework in which memories of it can later be formulated), are analogous: the director’s careful preservation and refusal

M EMORY AND C ONCEPTUAL T ROPES

to speculate on the one hand, and Julio’s phatic exchange of dubious goods and stories on the other. And yet in the world of the novel, their two ways of interpreting the conceptual metaphor of memory as trade function together in a tenuous yet ultimately well-matched tandem: the honesty and honour of the former limiting the damage of the latter, the charm and flexibility of the latter allowing the former to formulate achievable moral goals. Thus the two approaches are combined in two crucial symbolic moments towards the end, which both happen as the family are all waiting for Sanja, Davor’s wife, to give birth. As everybody is suspended in nervous anticipation of the newborn’s arrival, the director pulls out an old cradle (presumably from the museum collection), and cleans it to receive the baby, breaking the circle of scrupulous preservation to reuse the past in the name of the future (ibid: 250); while Julio, who spent the novel itching to discover the treasures contained in a sealed box which belonged to Greta, his past love and Maja’s grandmother (across the entire length of the novel the box is carried around, repeatedly stolen, hidden, found and is never opened until the very end), finally opens it only to find that the treasure consists of baby clothes, family hand-medowns to be passed to Sanja’s and Davor’s child, thus breaking the circle of phatic circulation of goods in other to put them to good use (ibid: 253). The MUSEUM as a conceptual metonymy for the preservation of the past and TRADE as a conceptual metaphor for the circulation of the information of that past, seen through the comparison of how the museum director and Julio treat both the museum collection and the flow of information during the war, points to the need for a marriage between preservation and communication in our handling of memory, as well as questioning its link with the future. Together, along with other characters, the director and Julio also participate in the formulation and circulation of documents. The DOCUMENT as a conceptual trope in this novel functions largely as a synecdoche (and I shall limit my discussion of it to that meaning). By “document” I mean here any official or officially approved text which offers an authoritative formulation of the war experience from the position of political, administrative or military power, and in that sense I include in its corpus not just official proclamations and documents (such as military summons, press and military accreditations, political and propaganda leaflets and suchlike), but also media texts which are written from that position. Its function as a synecdoche is revealed by its ability to take a fairly limited section of the war experience (that of the point of view of the city administration or of the army) and turn it into a universally applicable formulation of that experience, even the most individual and private side of it (hence my treatment of it as a synecdoche: a part representing the whole). Both the museum director (in his respectful treatment of newspaper articles as documents charting the progress of the war, and in his scrupulous keeping of records for the functioning of the museum, up to and including the logs for toilet use)

91

92

A NDREA L EŠIĆ

and Julio (in his ability to acquire accreditations for himself and others, and to charm and manipulate officialdom to suit his own needs) in their attitudes to the creation and circulation of official documents behave true to form. But the characters who are particularly interesting in this respect are Fata (or, as the narrator mockingly nicknames her, Mrs. Flintstone; a neighbour and the representative of the new, war-time elite) and Davor, the director’s stepson. Davor resolutely refuses to accept the authority of any of the official documents (be they military summons, newspaper reports or military vows), and does his best to undermine them whenever he can, challenging their ability to offer a formulation for any part of his experience. Fata, on the other hand, absolutely embraces the documents’ ability to shape her understanding of her own experience, even though (or especially because) that experience is largely created through the dubious privileges her military commander and black marketeer husband Junuz bestows upon her and her children, rather than through the suffering and deprivation that the official documents insist on. Fata’s normal speech and manner of behaviour is fairly well exemplified by the following quote: She went with the kids to have a look at their second flat. In a tower block, a three room studio, and there in her own place she found somebody else’s lock on the door. Bang on it, nobody comes out, ring, there’s no electricity. Then she kicks out the lock, and a piece of the doorframe into the bargain, when two women appear, one thinks she’s something, and the other’s no better. One shouts across the stairs: Hah! What’s she doing in her flat? And where does it say it’s hers? Doesn’t say anywhere, but there was a lock. There was a security lock before that. But someone kicked the one out, too. Not someone, but her husband, Junuz. (Ibid: 100; trans. by A.L.)

However, when she gets to formulate the war experience within a wider context, Fata’s own lively, spicy speech, full of vulgarisms, ignorance, nosiness and bad grammar, suddenly disappears, her sentences become startlingly long and complex, and her narrative style and subject matter shifts from vivid descriptions of concrete events in her life to abstract generalities couched in the military/administrative-speak: Along the edges of our territory there was some anti-aircraft activity today, and a regrouping of the aggressor’s material and technical equipment has been observed, as well as an introduction of fresh troops, but our lines are unbreakable and firm and the aggressor won’t succeed their criminal objectives. (Ibid.: 89; trans. by A.L.)

Fata slips into this military-speak whenever she discusses the progress of the war; she refuses to see that the language and the reality described through it have very little to do with her everyday experience of that war. This is also exemplified by her attitude to an official leaflet which, in Maya’s paraphrase, requests for gold or money to be donated to the war

M EMORY AND C ONCEPTUAL T ROPES

effort, whilst evoking “sloboda, čast, agresija, ponos, sloboda, krv, odbrana, agresija, domovi, porodice, nezavisna, suverena, nedjeljiva, donatorstvo!” (Ibid: 202). Fata distributes the leaflets through her neighbourhood in the firm belief that she is accomplishing a task of great importance, and completely oblivious to the fact that, and although it does seem that the leaflets come from a legitimate source, they nevertheless become irrevocably tainted by their very association with her as their distributor. Maja notes that it looks as if she is equating the leaflet with the very state that issued it, and so, when the director returns the leaflet she had reverently left for him and which he tore in two in protest at the open robbery legitimised by it, her reaction is one of profound, disbelieving shock (according to her logic, he who tears up the leaflet is by that gesture tearing up the state [ibid: 205]). The director sees Fata as such an annoying presence (and is so outraged by the leaflet) precisely because of her loose synecdochal treatment of the official language and documents, which mocks his respectful and scrupulous treatment of them. Effectively, Fata allows her position of relative power and privilege in the new political and economic structures of the besieged city to shape the official version of events (her Junuz has enough power to keep the dodgy deals he is involved with covered up), and then she appropriates that official language of honour and suffering to formulate her own experience which is, largely, very different from what the official version of events would like to depict. Thus the conceptual synecdoche of the DOCUMENT functions in both directions of the synecdochal displacement: out of the complex and chaotic experience of the siege a segment is lifted and formulated as an expression of the collective experience; thus, synecdochally, a part gets to represent the whole. And then that part formulated by the official document is again synechdochally employed in reverse to offer a formulation of the private sphere of the war experience, the task for which it is ill suited, and which also allows for manipulation and ideological colouring. It is the use of the DOCUMENT as a synecdoche for the creation of memory texts which allows for the ideological manipulation of which Enver Kazaz wites in his contribution to this volume (“The Poetics of Testimony and Resistence”). And yet, it is highly significant that it is the vulgar, nosy and greedy Fata who comes out of the novel as its true heroine, by appearing with a doctor in tow during Sanja’s labour, like a deus ex machina, shattering all mocking condescension Maja had heaped on her throughout the novel. The insight she has had into the official status of the residents of their neighbourhood had made her uniquely capable of coming to Sanja’s rescue. The three conceptual tropes for memory discussed in this paper offer different versions of both the processes of memory and of the way we treat those processes conceptually and behaviourally. MUSEUM stands, metonymically, for the concept of memory as a place of storage and preservation of the past; the TRADE metaphor, on the other hand, stresses the phatic aspect of collective memory as a means of keeping the

93

94

A NDREA L EŠIĆ

community together; employed together they act on balancing the demands of the past with the needs of the future. DOCUMENT as a conceptual synecdoche points to the possible dangers of treating the official version of the past as an expression of individual and private experiences, and thus both smothering those individual voices and creating the means of coopting them ideologically, whilst also pointing out the usefulness of such records. Veličković’s novel puts the three conceptual tropes into action through the interrelations of his lively cast of characters, and shows those concepts conflicting with each other until, at the end, amidst the chaos of the war, they create a perfect balance in which all the characters and their different natures, viewpoints, and modes of behaviour come together in the name of the future, incarnated in Sanja and Davor’s newborn baby.

R EFERENCES Anderson, Benedict (1993): Imagined Communities, London: Verso. Burke, Michael (2003): “Literature as Parable.” In: Joanna Gavins/Gerard Steen (eds.), Cognitive Poetics in Practice. London: Routledge, pp. 115128. Crisp, Peter (2003): “Conceptual metaphor and its expressions.” In: Joanna Gavins/Gerard Steen (eds.), Cognitive Poetics in Practice. London: Routledge, pp. 99-114. Fauconnier, Gilles/Turner, Mark (2002): The Way We Think: Conceptual Blending and the Mind’s Hidden Complexities, New York: Basic Books. Gibbs, Raymond W., Jr. (2003): “Prototypes in Dynamic Meaning Construal.” In: Joanna Gavins/Gerard Steen (eds.), Cognitive Poetics in Practice. London: Routledge, pp. 27-40. Hernadi, Paul (2002): “Why is Literature: A Coevolutionary Perspective on Imaginative Worldmaking.” In: Poetics Today 23, pp. 21-42. Lakoff, George/Johnson, Mark (1980): “Conceptual Metaphor in Everyday Language.” In: The Journal of Philosophy 77, pp. 453-486. Tsur, Reuven (2008): Towards a Theory of Cognitive Poetics, Brighton: Sussex Academic Press. Turner, Mark (1996): The Literary Mind, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Veličković, Nenad (2008): Konačari, Sarajevo: Omnibus. Zeki, Semir (2009): Splendors and Miseries of the Brain: Love, Creativity, and the Quest for Human Happiness, Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

The Reality of Moving Images Bulgarian Video Art as an Historical Source Ana Karaminova (Jena)

Our capacity to remember is composed of images, thus visualized events, which we have either perceived and memorized as a “finished product” (e.g. visualizations of media images, monuments or works of art), or which are the result of our own processing of experience or rather consciousness, i.e. self-created imaginations intuitively linked to certain events. This paper deals with the dual character of works of art, video art in particular, as an example of how social problems are visually processed by an intellectual elite i.e. the artists. They will also be analysed in terms of their role as exhibition objects, which are perceived by the public both as an aesthetic product and as a documentation of historical events. The central question of this paper is therefore: Can video art works be used as an historical source? In a first part, of a more theoretical nature, I will present various research approaches dealing with the image as a source and give an outline of a model for the analysis and evaluation of video art works. Subsequently I will discuss, by way of example, a specific work of video art. The observations in this paper are based on the assumption that, with an appropriate approach, video art can be used to gain knowledge about the past. Both role and function of (video) art works as historical documents and sources is therefore a point that will here receive particular attention (cf. Goetz 1993: 88-89). The term video art is here understood to mean an art form that is used by artists to express their artistic intention employing technical and digital resources within the framework of a “film” of indefinite length. In Western Europe and the USA video art has been around since the end of the 1960s. In Southeastern Europe, however, this art form appeared much later. Bulgarian artists started to use this medium only after the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, and initially utilized it to document happenings and other cultural events. Since the mid-1990s we can observe a development towards professionalization, in connection

96

A NA K ARAMINOVA

with the introduction of new electronic technology and the emergence of certain prominent artists in the field of video art. After the fall of the Iron Curtain, the Soros Center for the Arts – Sofia played an important role in the development of new forms of art, including video art. It not only sponsored art projects, but also gave artists access to technical equipment for the realization of their ideas. Video exhibitions such as VideoHart not only served to popularize and promote Bulgarian video art, but also, in critical articles published in the accompanying  exhibition catalogue, provided information on the international history of the development of this art form. By drawing attention to the mediatic potential of working with video art interest for the medium was sparked. What is noticeable about video art works created in Bulgaria is that in most of them their authors take a clearly articulated socio-critical stand on current problems of society. This tendency, which began in the 1990s, can still be observed and continues to gain importance due to new, more sophisticated means of expression. The decision to select works of Bulgarian video art to support this paper’s thesis is justifiable on at least two grounds: The practice of this art form in Bulgaria was enabled by and developed only after a political change, which suggests a causal connection; the contents conveyed by many Bulgarian video art works are of a political and socio-critical nature and thus have the potential to become a medium for historical contents. At this juncture I wish to make clear that, in the context of this paper, video art works will not be regarded as a means of historical source studies, but rather as objects that are above all of aesthetic value and will therefore be analyzed primarily as works of art. Their function as historical sources is dealt with in second place, since despite its significance for this paper’s central question, it does not represent their original purpose. The essential task here is to answer questions that are of importance for the historical study of video art works by means of art historical analysis. This paper therefore attempts to find exemplary answers to how video art images can affect our memory of historical events, how society is visually (re)constructed, how moving images can voice social criticism, and how (video) art can gain political importance and meaning.

I. THEORIES AND M E THODS The approach of using images as sources of memory construction and politics of history has ceased to be a scientific novelty since the 1880s (cf. Jäger/Knauer 2009). Various discourses address, in addition to the significance of images in comparison to other historical sources, the effectiveness of images and methodical approaches by evaluation and analysis. What is striking, however, is that they focus predominantly on “still images” such as paintings, photographs, posters and cartoons. By contrast, moving images such as TV programmes, video art as well

T HE R EALIT Y OF M OVING I MAGES

as electronic images from the Internet, rarely figure as research areas. An exception are films with their respective analysis, which have been the subject of many theoretical and empirical studies (cf. Erll/Nünning, Ansgar 2008; Mikos 2003; Rosenstone 2008). Video art does not enjoy the same popularity as films and TV programmes as it is mainly shown in museums, galleries and art exhibitions, where it is viewed by a limited group of experts and art enthusiasts. However, due to their special form and content videos constitute an extremely interesting research area, since they exert an influence that is just as powerful as that of other media. Based on this assessment, I will in the following discuss the three-fold character of video art: as an audio-visual medium, as art and as an historical document, bearing in mind that video art works belong to those modern visual media that constitute an inseparable part of contemporary history and worldview and can characterize as well as reflect modern society’s patterns of thought. A scientific-theoretical basis for the analysis of video images, as historical sources, is as yet lacking, which means working with video art entails numerous difficulties. For one thing there is the heterogeneous complexity of the research topic: videos consist of moving images that are often accompanied by music or sound, sometimes even by text. Furthermore, we should not neglect the fact that a work of video art is also an art object which can, depending on its significance and the kind of historical issues it addresses, become a source (cf. Wohlfeil 1992: 22). What is required here is an interdisciplinary methodology: an art-historical description of the moving images with respect to aesthetic features and iconographic interpretations, a filmtheoretical representation of compositional mechanisms, of sound or music, an historical, and where appropriate, sociological interpretation of content and identification of its relevance for historiography. Several research approaches have played a particularly prominent role in the creation of an interpretation model. One such approach is the one adopted by Aleida and Jan Assmann, who, in the field of Cultural Memory Studies, introduced the concept of “storage media” (“Speichermedien”), denoting external mechanisms which use memory for organizing and recording events (Assmann 2006). These storage media comprise a very broad spectrum ranging from papyri to digital data carriers, which also include video art. Another important concept for the analysis of video art works as historical sources is the documentation of the filmic perspective. The major issue here concerns the relationship between the video art work and reality. An attempt to answer this question is the following definition by Knut Hieckethier: A documentary account becomes documentary by claiming a referential link to pre-mediatic reality, which is then accepted into the recipients’ communicative use. The documentary claim of a product can be contested in the discourse over social communication about the media, by challenging this direct reference.

97

98

A NA K ARAMINOVA Whether the latter actually exists, can only be ascertained through a direct comparison of the mediatic portrayal with pre-mediatic reality, which as a rule is very rarely possible for media users (Hickethier 2007: 181)

The historian Reiner Wohlfeil (1991: 24-33) considers images to be no less significant as testimonies to past events than other historical sources. In his analysis of art works he follows the classical approach to pictures developed by Ervin Panofsky and Aby Warburg, which includes the model of image description and interpretation and the observation that images, like formulae, are codes to be deciphered. Wohlfeil enhances these models to accomodate the multi-faceted nature of art and the possibility of using art as an historical source. The process employed by Wohlfeil comprises three stages: 1. Pre-iconographic description, which is free from interpretation and gives a detailed account of what is happening in an image. 2. Iconographichistorical analysis, which determines the image’s integration in its social environment, 3. Interpretive analysis of the document’s historical significance with the tools of the science of history, which examines the image source through historical criticism and investigation of its significance. Although this procedure, until now, has not been applied to video art, the methodical techniques which Wohlfeil proposes can be used for moving images as well. It should be emphasized that the above analysis procedure for evaluating video art as historical sources treats the works as an open system, whose elements function interactively, but are also subject to different patterns of interpretation depending on the research objective and on the hermeneutic competences of the interpreter. The five-step model summarized below will aid in understanding and interpreting any particular video artwork. The following analysis will focus on a work by the renowned Bulgarian video artist Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova. While her popularity, indicating a broad dissemination of her work, was an important factor, the choice was primarily made on the merit of the artistic quality and expressiveness of the work.

II. V IDEO -A RT -S OURCE 1. Form(at) – Data – Description Technical data is essential for any video analysis, as they determine the form of the art work and thereby provide important clues to possibilities of perception and interpretation. Besides the title of the art work, the duration in minutes and seconds as well as its format (e.g. VHS, DVD, MPEG-4 etc.) should be noted, as well as if there is sound, and if so, what kind of sound (e.g. speech acts of the protagonists, music, voices etc.). Equally important are indications about hardware, i.e. if the art work under review was originally shown on a monitor, designed as a video sculpture or an environment or if it was part of a multimedia installation.

T HE R EALIT Y OF M OVING I MAGES

Nadezda Oleg Lyahova’s work “The Lions of Sofia” has a duration of 7 min and 42 sec. and was completed in 2006 in Sofia. The format is a video-CD including sound and text and is displayed as a part of multimedia exhibitions. The Lions of Sofia is one of the few works of video art sold at the Bulgarian art market, and is owned by the “Sofia City Art Gallery”. The camera work either focuses on certain objects or captures an action, and then withdraws rapidly, presenting a circular view of the surroundings and the context of the events. Colours are grey-toned and cold. Natural daylight was used without any additional lighting. The video’s soundtrack reproduces the hum of street life, at the same time monotonous and distant. A special feature of the video is the accompanying text in certain scenes. These texts provide information about the displayed images in a partly neutral but also partly sarcastic tone, revealing the artist’s critical attitude towards the problems presented. Another peculiarity is the montage of Oleg Lyahova’s own photographs, which deal with the same topic, in the second part of the film. The deliberate use of montage techniques is part of the work’s stylistic features.

2. Video Description This step involves a precise depiction in chronological order of what the human eye sees. Similar to a primary or natural picture description, video art works can be described as static works of art. In other words, the action on the projected area is described step by step. Here one should, however, not “dissect” the flow into individual images, but rather view it as the corpus of a story, as a whole. This however does not preclude more detailed specification whenever called for at significant moments of the video. Redacted segments can be “quoted” by noting the precise time measurement of the scene, because for video art, “time” is a factor which is vital for the composition of individual images and for the perception of the footage. The duration of individual scenes can in some cases be of great importance for the formal structure and later on for the interpretation of the respective video art work. Descriptions of the space framing images and action, of proximity and distance, as well as camera movements, lighting conditions, editing and montage details are equally important. The relationship of these elements to each other can also be explained here (ibid: 49). First, the camera in Oleg Lyahova’s work shows three gates: the Presidential Palace’s gate with two guards marching in front of it, the Parliament’s gate and that of the Council of Ministers Building. The coat of arms of Bulgaria appears above all three entrances, thus becoming the centre of attention (ill. 1: 0’45’’). The emblem shows two lions holding a shield and a third, smaller lion displayed on the shield. In addition, lion sculptures can be seen on the street in front of the Palace of Justice, ignored by passing pedestrians. For all their larger-than-life size, they seem dispensable and misplaced. They are surrounded by building site fences and advertising pillars.

99

100

A NA K ARAMINOVA

Ill. 1 The next scene shows the surroundings of the artist’s house, as we learn from the accompanying text in the video. From an upper-floor window, we look down onto the courtyard (ill. 2: 1’11’’). We see the top of an old car and bare trees. In another corner, a “neighbor” is repairing his old bicycle. A shot of the street shows a horse-drawn carriage which stops next to a waste container. The driver gets off, looks inside the container and then continues his journey without taking anything out of it. The man is wearing old, dark clothes and a pink winter cap. The carriage is small and made of worn, dark wood; its back seems to be empty.

Ill. 2

T HE R EALIT Y OF M OVING I MAGES

In the following scene, our gaze wanders down from the top-floor facade of the house opposite with its discoloured plaster, across old windows and a balcony full of unidentifiable objects, to the lowest floor, where the camera pans across the damaged pavement, before pulling back and showing a bird’s eye view of the street with an old current transformer and a low hanging power supply line. We can now see, on the other side of the street, the ruins of a burnt-down house. The accompanying text informs us that the house has escaped demolishment for 30 years due to the absence of a court order. From the window of the artist’s apartment we can also see the roofs of the Foreign Ministry and the Rumanian Embassy. They serve as a backdrop for the textual narrative of a destitute woman’s story. Even though she is in severe dire straits, she has declined the artist’s offer of help, as she has pride, too. From 4’08’’ on, images are shown in front of a black background. Their static quality lends them a photographic character. Alternating with moving images, they show the following: Image: A crowd of people are trying to get on and off the backmost right side of a tram. The wall bordering the pavement is covered from top to bottom with blue posters entitled “Britanica” [a popular English language school]. On the left side of the tram there is a pillar with a poster showing the picture of a man entitled “AZIS. Show Concert” [Advertisement for a Chalga concert]. Text: “People are sardined into a tram amidst ads of English language courses and a chalga poster.” Image: An old woman carrying a shopping bag tries to cross a street, with her back to the camera. She is shown with her foot raised about to take a step, surrounded, in the form of a triangle, by two cabs on the left side and a Mercedes on the right side. Text: “An elderly woman tries to cross the street.”

Ill. 3

101

102

A NA K ARAMINOVA

Moving image: A broad busy thoroughfare where pedestrians, cyclists, trams and cars attempt to make headway (ill. 3: 4’36’’). Text: It is not safe to be a streetwalker even in a downtown street, which recently was posted with a Pedestrians Only sign. Moving image: The camera follows a faded road marking on the darkyellow paving, and then shows the surroundings. As we are informed by the text, this is a central place in Sofia with government buildings that have assumed a different function since the regime change (ill. 4: 5’11’’). Text: “It is one of the earliest paved streets in Sofia (late 19th century) leading to Battenberg Square. The Mausoleum of the leader of the people, Georgi Dimitrov used to be there. We [razed] it in the early years following the fall of the communist regime. The schismatic synod is now [holding] Mass there. The former Royal Palace, now housing the National Art Gallery, is opposite. A clock has been mounted at the square to count the days remaining till Bulgaria’s accession to the European Union.”

Ill. 4 Image: An old man in traditional costume is playing the rebec sitting down. In the background, we can see an empty fountain with the sculpture of a dancing female nude and the neo-classical facade of Bulgaria’s National Theatre. Text: “A decrepit old man in a national costume plays the rebec in front of the National Theater nearby [...]” Image: A middle-aged man with white hair and beard gazes earnestly into the camera while playing accordion. He is sitting there with a tray in front of him. Text: “[...] An accordion player chimes in [...] 360 to go.”

T HE R EALIT Y OF M OVING I MAGES

Image: In the very back of the frame, but in a central position, there is a squatting lion sculpture surrounded by traffic: a cab right under it, a horse-drawn carriage driven by two men (filling three quarters of the left side of the frame), right on the left a tram, of which we only glimpse a slither, and on the right side, in the foreground, a biker (ill. 5: 6’01’’). The image acquires a very special dynamics by the fact that all protagonists look to the left and seem to move from left to right. Only the cab drives in the opposite direction. Text: “Hustle and bustle. They mind their business. 360 to go.”

Ill. 5 Image: An unshaven middle-aged man is sitting on a green bench. Next to him is a chess board with a chess clock. Text: “A chess player waits for a partner.” Moving image: We see a larger-than-life Coca Cola bottle in the middle of the frame. The background consists of a row of horizontally suspended flags of different nations. The camera zooms out and shows a square with a large Christmas tree and two representative buildings. Text: “It is more than a Coca Cola advertisement. It is part of the Christmas decoration in front of the former Communist Party headquarters, now office of Parliament. The tree was officially lit on Christmas Eve.” Image: A middle-aged woman [self-portrait of the artist] in traditional costume holds a piece of white lace in her hands and looks welcomingly into the camera (ill. 6: 7’01’’). In the background we see a city which can be identified as Sofia by the dome of the Alexander Nevski Cathedral. “Welcome to Sofia” it says in red letters next to a yellow “M” reminiscent of McDonalds, with a “Big Mac” sign in red below. Text: “It is a time-

103

104

A NA K ARAMINOVA

honored Bulgarian tradition to welcome the guest with specially baked bread. And though I can still find my grandmother’s clothes in a chest, I do not know the baking recipe. However, even if I knew it, it will be easier to buy the bread.” Image: At the bottom of the sculpture of a recumbent lion with its head turned towards the viewer, is a dog adopting the same pose. It is not wearing a collar, so we can only assume that it is a stray dog. This last picture is without accompanying text.

3. Art historical interpretation Even though this step is an obvious one, it is often ignored by historians. But an art historical explanation of an image source is indispensable, because it visualizes the intention of the artist’s statement and the video art work’s iconographic connection, i.e. it enables its contextualization in art historical developments. The art historical interpretation should include factographic knowledge and external stylistic features as well as questions regarding the understanding of the work, it should, in short, reveal its inner meaning. Here, sequences from the video art work under review should be examined not only in illustrative and descriptive terms, but also on the level of art criticism, in order to elucidate stylistic and compositional characteristics of the video and thereby its artistic significance. The video “The Lions of Sofia” can be classified in the iconographical tradition of city portrayals (also called “vedutas”), which originated at the beginning of the early modern age and were made rapidly popular by the beginning globalization. Traditionally, these pictures show the city in its beauty, which often seems to be of a utopian perfection. Another characteristic feature of the vedutas is the organization of the picture along a central perspective, which turns the cityscape into an open window to the world. Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova plays with the art canon. The image of the city she creates or rather shows, refers to the notion of a globalized world (in this case Bulgaria joining the European Union), yet at the same time confronts the stereotype of the beautiful cityscape with a grey, poor and chaotic capital. It is not a central perspective that she uses as an artistic device, but a collage of shots from different angles full of movement and diagonals. What is at the centre of this work is not technical manipulation and artistic fiction, but a possibly selective reproduction of the artist’s public environment. An everyday story is told with moving, static and textual images. The lions in Oleg Lyahova’s video are not only sculptures but a metaphor for public institutions, which define the social structures. The residents of the city can also be seen as “lions” in their daily struggle to overcome the miserable circumstances of their lives. The scenes shown, while appearing to be shot at random, are in fact consciously selected. No important detail seems to escape Oleg Lyahova’s camera. Thematically, the video can be divided into four parts: 1. The presentation of the most important national institutions and symbols; 2. The surroundings of an

T HE R EALIT Y OF M OVING I MAGES

apartment block; 3. Human portraits; 4. Past, present and future reflected in national buildings with changing functions during the course of history and the allusion to Bulgaria’s accession to the European Union. All elements of the composition are carefully designed and orchestrated and follow a well-balanced aesthetics.

4. Historical interpretation Until this last step findings should be gathered by means of descriptive and art historical analysis which determine the historical significance of the video art work. The step involving the actual interpretation is based on the assumption that an image’s significance as a historical document exceeds the intention of the artist’s statement. It is rather co-created by the social context, the integration into traditions as well as functions and effects of a work. The image is now read and evaluated as the expression of a mentality, as a (partly subconscious) comment on the events of the day. (Büttner 2010)

These until now individual pieces of information will subsequently be assembled with regard to a specific historical question, so that the video art work’s historical content becomes apparent. The historical context in which the art work or its contents are to be seen should also be elucidated here. In order to do justice to the video art work’s significance as a historical source, it should be compared to other historical sources. In this way the authenticity and originality of the respective video art work is verified with regard to its historical dimension as a source. Lastly, one should examine how the findings obtained from the video art source analysis relate to the state of knowledge or state of research of the topic in question. In the following examples I will touch only briefly on this part of the video art source analysis, to be treated in more detail at a later stage in my research work on video art. A possible historical question relating to Oleg Lyahova’s video could be in how far the three most important conditions of entry into the European Union have been met in daily life. Which indications of political order, economical stability and governmental sense of duty towards the citizens can be recognized on the streets of the Bulgarian capital before the admission into the European Union? In the video The Lions of Sofia we follow the video artist through the streets of Sofia and witness scenes from daily life in the winter of the year 2006. The video illustrates in an unbiased manner the situation on the streets and in the centre of the city, without any kind of staging or actors. The participants are random pedestrians; the images document the authentic and actual infrastructural conditions and circumstances of life in Sofia. In doing so, the video mainly focuses on the problems of poverty and public traffic. The artist’s critical standpoint is clearly visible. After seeing the images showing the bad condition the

105

106

A NA K ARAMINOVA

centre of Bulgaria’s capital is in, we ask ourselves whether the country can make it into the EU in 360 days (as the countdown clock in the video shows). Even today, with Bulgaria being in the EU, this still seems like a miracle. In 2001, Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova met a woman who made her living by singing at the underpass near her home. The artist offered her money to participate in an art project, where she would sing in an acoustically insulated cube and could be seen but not heard by passers-by. After giving it some thought the woman turned the offer down. This incident made Oleg Lyahova take an interest in street life, which she subsequently tried to capture via her camera.

5. Circumstances of the work’s genesis and relevant data about the artist and her work In order to understand the artistic message, but also to assess the power of the work’s images or the scope of its reception, it is necessary to gather information about the genesis of the video art work. Therefore, details about the motive for creating the work, about exhibition venues and material media should be researched. Because developments in art, in this specific case, video art, do not originate isolated from social and political processes, it is of great importance to take the latter into account. On the one hand, because the socio-political context is directly or indirectly involved in the production of the (video) image; on the other hand, because knowledge of historical events is necessary when establishing the images’ value as sources. This interpretation model examines, in the first two parts, the formal and aesthetical perception of the work, the third step incorporates the context of the video art work’s genesis, while the fourth and fifth step describe the procedures involving art historical and historical analysis. Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova has been successfully working in the field of video art since 2005. Her work is characterized by philosophical reflection (Moderate Optimism, 9’17’, DVD, video installation, 2006) and sociocritical observations (Globally and on a Long-Term Basis the Situation is Positive, 12’31’’, DVD, video installation, 2009). She has professional experience working as a journalist and has been actively engaged as a contemporary artist since 1995, contributing regularly to the new art media. Her journalistic skills are noticeable in her works: Her curiosity, social and political sense of responsibility, her research, her logical and creative way of thinking, and her straightforward way of providing information. The example shows how a work of video art can be used as an historical source. A form of analysis has been developed which focuses on the mediatic characteristics and both the formal and aesthetic qualities of the work, and which also generates content for historical interpretation via a description from an art historical perspective. The video art work The Lions of Sofia, reveals the personal observations of the artist and her critical position.

T HE R EALIT Y OF M OVING I MAGES

Tension is not created through the imagery itself, but by the process of inserting one image in another, through montage techniques, changes of perspective, mechanisms of narration or sound selection. The continuity of the imagery is made possible through the medium of video; its ability to create images that provide place and possibilities for the creativity of the artist. Its conscious camera movement, montage of scenes, colour and sound choice make this an impressive work. It is easy to understand for anyone familiar with the history and specific characteristics of the local situation. Further information provided by the artist enables it to be set in a socio-political context, at the same time enhancing its quality and expanding its meaning.

R EFERENCES Assmann, Aleida (2006): Erinnerungsräume: Formen und Wandlungen des kulturellen Gedächtnisses, München: Verlag C.H.Beck. Büttner, Sabine (2010): “Bilder als historische Quellen”, December 29, 2010 (http://www.historicum.net/lehren-lernen/arbeiten-mitquellen/bilder-als-quellen/) Goetz, Hanns-Werner (1993): Proseminar Geschichte: Mittelalter, Stuttgart: Eugen Ulmer. Hickethier, Knut (2007): Film- und Fernsehanalyse, Stuttgart: Verlag J.B. Metzler. Jäger, Jens/Knauerer, Martin, eds. (2009): Bilder als Historische Quellen? Dimension der Debatte um historische Bildforschung, München: Wilhelm Fink Verlag. Wohlfeil, Rainer (1991): “Methodische Reflexionen zur Historischen Bildkunde.” In: Brigitte Tolkemitt/Reinert Wohlfeil (eds.), Historische Bildkunde: Probleme-Wege-Beispiele, Berlin: Duncker und Humbolt, pp. 17-37. Exh. cat (1995): VideoHart, Sofia: Soros Center for the Arts.

107

Transnational Memories

Memory of a Past to Come Yugoslavia’s Partisan Film and the Fashioning of Space Miranda Jakiša (Berlin)

When all episodes of the partisan TV series Otpisani, based on the plot of the 1974 partisan film of the same title by Aleksandar Đorđević, were broadcast on Serbian television a few years ago, Natalija Bašić at the Hamburg Institute of Social Research was inspired to review Yugoslavia’s memory of the partisan past. Evidently this past was in many ways returning to the present – including some digitally remastered DVD versions of former Yugoslavia’s partisan films. In interviewing three generations of post-Yugoslav families, Bašić found out that the historical memory of most Yugoslavs, grandparents, parents and their children, was not dominated by information generated in schoolbooks but rather determined by their knowledge of partisan films (Bašić 2004: 58). In the last years the revival of the partisan genre that shapes memories of Yugoslavia in post-Yugoslav contexts so significantly has been broadly reflected on (cf. Velikonja 2009). However, less attention has been paid to the cinematic and literary genre’s role within Yugoslavia’s self-fashioning and its artistic rootedness in a partisan myth-based nation-narration. In Yugoslavia, already in 1943 artistic adaptations of the NOB (Narodno Oslobodilačka Borba/National Liberation Movement) were declared a national task by the Vrhovni štab of the KPJ (the Supreme Staff of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia). The first partisan film Slavica (1947) initiated the decade-long liaison between the state and the partisan genre, helping the Yugoslav partisan myth to erect its own monument in cinema. The genre of the partisan film played a central role within Yugoslav selffashioning by giving Yugoslavia images for its nation-building founding myth; and it also contributed to a joint Jugo-Slav (South-Slavic) territory being accepted by its population. The genre’s extraordinary career that followed in the decades after the Second World War was less due to its privileged relationship with the state than to the popularity of the action-packed narrative with its spacefashioning and space-reconfiguring potential. The partisan feature of

112

M IRANDA J AKIŠA

‘telluric’ (close to the earth) warfare was translated into cinematic images and, once there, convinced representatives of the official sphere (like Josip Broz Tito who is said to have commissioned partisan films like Sutjeska and Bitka na Neretvi) as well as broad audiences. The partisan film (an ally of partisan literature in Yugoslavia), as I hope to show, reconfigured the notion of homeland and of national territory from Slovenia to Macedonia by exploiting the motives of partisan ground level movement and of partisan strategic edge of terrain knowledge. The ‘telluric’ ideas presented in partisan films – such as originating locally from the country, defending one’s own homes from out of the underground and staying in touch with the earth – were gradually expanded and adjusted to a bigger home unit named ‘Jugoslavija’, thus establishing an imagined common space. How was this achieved? By a combination, one could say, of two qualities: quite obviously, the partisan film was ideologically welcome in Yugoslav times; but at the same time it also met needs for entertainment and therefore became one of Yugoslavia’s persistent genres. Both official state culture and popular culture in Yugoslavia benefited from the partisan genre’s coming to terms with historical separatism and war trauma, and also profited from its romanticizing picture of a heroic people’s liberation movement and the blockbusting action elements. Generously budgeted, the Yugoslav partisan film presented its audience pyrotechnical spectacles, monumental numbers of extras and sensational aviation displays – which, by the way, were mostly performed by the Yugoslav Army. Cast with wellknown celebrities like Milena Dravić, Ljubiša Samardžić, Rade Marković and Bata Živojinović (Goulding 2002: 196) and provided with popular music and singers, the partisan film evidently had no difficulties in winning the Yugoslav public: The Yugoslav cinema magazine Sineast reports in 1974 record numbers of 3 815 464 persons watching the premiere of Sutjeska in Yugoslavia and lists 37 nations that bought the film on spot. The cinema audience became, in a way, one of Yugoslavia’s first integrated groups – and cinema the arena to produce sentiments of belonging within the new state of Titoist Yugoslavia. Stevo Ostojić (1979: 35), former editor of the journal Filmska kultura wrote: “Svi se dobro sjećamo proljeća 1947 – Afrićeve i naše Slavice […] nju je vidjelo nekoliko milijuna ljudi, i gledaju je rado još i danas!” (“We all remember the spring of 1947 well – Afrićs and our Slavica […] a few million people saw her and like to watch her still today!”). Ostojić describes a common, joint Yugoslav audience that in the Andersonian sense of nation (cf. Anderson 1991) state imagined the Second Yugoslavia via its partisan myth as a supranational entity. It is hard to tell whether this same public contributed to a “Gemeinsamkeitsglauben” (community belief) by choice – a notion coined by the German sociologist Max Weber (1980: 237) – or did so because it was forced to attend screenings (as some commentators describe). What seems sure, however, is that there was a Yugoslav audience, which took the depiction of history shown in these films for granted and replaced conflicting personal memories with it. In the partisan-genre the

M EMORY OF A P AST TO C OME

military nucleus of partisan warfare, the fight pro aris et focis (“for our homes”, literally “for altars and hearths”), became central: the new space of Yugoslavia as well as the new range of feelings of belonging were reand prefigured within film (ill. 1).

Ill. 1: Young men fashioned after film partisans in the JNA (Jugoslovenska Narodna Armija) stadion in Belgrade 1973 This new space and array of the partisan genre can be reviewed from the perspective of military commentators. Carl Schmitt and Che Guevara (next to Mao Zedong, Lenin and a few others) have theorized partisan warfare, pointing out four main characteristics that can be found within the artistic partisan genre as well: the political commitment of the combatants, the ‘telluric character’ (Schmitt 1963: 26) of partisan warfare, the extraordinary mobility and the irregularity of partisan combat. The partisan strategy of low level combat and striking from an ambush or hiding-place (the telluric character) played a prominent role in the already mentioned success of partisan film.

PARTISAN WAR I: PRO ARIS ET FOCIS OR THE FIGHT FOR A ‘ GOOD CAUSE ’ First of all, to originate from a combat zone guarantees the indefeasibility of the ‘good cause’ and replaces within film what Carl Schmitt termed the “political commitment” of partisan warfare (1963: 21). Instead of a socialist (or any other) ideology as political commitment the fight for one’s home appears as an act of self-defense imperatively justified. Ernesto Che Guevara claims that the guerillero/partisan has to be “an inhabitant of the operation area.” (1968: 54) Only then, Guevara is convinced, does he know the territory and ground in detail and will be able to win his cause (ibid: 26). (Guevara himself did not meet his own demand, of course, being an Argentine fighting in Cuba and Bolivia!).

113

114

M IRANDA J AKIŠA

Being a war zone inhabitant provides the partisan with a home field advantage and is crucial for the strategic edge of terrain knowledge. Partisans thus were a group formed in the moment of defense and out of a heterogeneous multitude of locals that in the course of the narrative were transformed into Yugoslav partisans. Of course, the partisans’ inner diversity also existed on the side of the partisans’ enemies. Internal and external enemies, Germans, Italians, Chetniks (četnici), Ustashas (ustaše), Hungarians and others, are mirrored in the newly integrated partisan group and accordingly fused into one homogenous new group: the fascists (fašisti) (cf. Flaker 1981). One could say that the slogan of ‘brotherhood and unity’ (bratstvo i jedinstvo) and its oxymoral structure of being many (= brothers) and one (= unity) at same time, in film and literature was applied to both fronts: the invaders and the defenders. United within the genre, the new community of Yugoslav film partisans subdued Second Yugoslavia in ground level warfare and intimate, septic earth contact that, by the way, significantly differed from another well-known visual pattern of the socialist multi-ethnic state: the clean and sterile catalogues of nationalities and traditional national attire.

PARTISAN WAR II: TELLURIC COMBAT Carl Schmitt’s term ‘telluric character’ (1963: 26) signifies the partisans’ attachment to their native soil on the one hand and ground level fighting as well as the use of terrain knowledge as a warfare advantage on the other. Accordingly, the partisan genre connected the motive of partisan terrain knowledge and their living in the mountains and woods, their familiarity with secret paths and their hiding in caves and burrows with partisan figures explicitly originating from the defended areas. In Veljko Bulajić’s Kozara from 1962, partisans sing the Kozara-song, the song of their home country, and dance kolo (round dance) calling the land majka Kozara (mother Kozara). In the first Yugoslav film Slavica from 1947, they wear Dalmatian garb and know the Bay of Hvar and the surrounding karst like the back of their hand. In Bitka na Neretvi from 1969, a film supervised and commissioned by Josip Broz himself, later partisan fighters at the beginning of the narrative reluctantly tear themselves away from their Bosnian farms. The local Bosnian host of the film character Vladimir Nazor bids the Croatian poet farewell with an “Alahimanet“(expression for “Good-bye” with Arabic etymology common among Bosnian Muslims) and not only the village’s minarets but also the way hay is stacked accounts for the specific Bosnian setting (cf. Stanković 2008). Particular regions in Yugoslav partisan film were often specified in this way by dialect, idiom, songs, customs, garb, landscape, architecture and naming conventions (Ahmed in Kozara, Marin in Slavica) as places distinct from the rest of Yugoslavia, thus guaranteeing the authentic connection of the people to the defended land.

M EMORY OF A P AST TO C OME

Beyond origin and derivation, the closeness to the soil and the contact with the ground is pictured in topoi like groping and feeling one’s way through the mist or hiding in caves, dugouts or burrows. In Kozara, a peasant partisan hides from the adversary’s troops in a burrow with his baby son, whom he found in the woods beside his killed mother. Father and son hold on underground in the root systems of the trees where the peasant’s hand is pierced by the iron lance of a soldier searching for partisans in earth holes (ill. 2). Other shots in Kozara show partisans entrusted to nature’s care in the woods, in midst of branches or lying pressed to the ground to avoid capture.

Ill. 2: Father and son underground in Kozara This organic bond to the soil and ground cannot be cut, for partisanship stands or falls by its telluric character. Therefore in Sutjeska (1973), a partisan blinded in combat carries another wounded partisan, who is unable to walk, on his back through a misty forest. While the blind man feels his way forward with his feet, the man being carried tells him what he sees. The ground felt in this scene is crucial to their progress and the partisans in this scene merge symbiotically not only with each other but also with the earth below them. In the cult movie Valter brani Sarajevo (1972) this conjunction of people (= partisans) with tellus (ground, native soil etc.) was carried to extremes. The key sentence is spoken at the end of the film when the ‘Obersturmführer’ (performed by GDR actor Hannjo Hasse), who up to this point failed to track down the local saboteur with the code name Valter, finally realizes his identity. In front of the panorama of Sarajevo the Nazis hold a conversation in German (which had cult status in Yugoslavia): “Merkwürdig, seit ich in Sarajevo bin, suche ich Valter und finde ihn nicht. Und jetzt, wo ich gehen muss, weiß ich, wer er ist.” “Sie wissen, wer Valter ist? Sagen Sie mir sofort seinen Namen!” “Ich werde ihn Ihnen zeigen. Sehen Sie diese Stadt? Das ist Valter!” (“Strange, but ever since I’m in Sarajevo, I have been looking for Valter, but couldn’t find him. And now, that I have to go, I know who he is.” “You know who Valter is? Tell me his name immediately.” “I will show him to you. Do you see this city? This is Valter.”).

115

116

M IRANDA J AKIŠA

PARTISAN WAR III: M OBILE YU- UNITS The telluric and patriotic bond in union with the ubiquitous resistance fight that asks for utmost mobility provided the opportunity to reorganize the Yugoslav space within the genre through means of partisan warfare. Units that were at first regionally distinct and autochthonous dissociated themselves in the narrative from the native land and set themselves in motion so that many branches could unite to the image of a gigantic national stream (ill. 3).

Ill. 3: Uniting national stream in Sutjeska Accordingly the Dalmatian newcomers ask the partisans in Slavica in the i-kavica, the Dalmatian idiom that accounts for their local origin: “Gdi su partizani?” (“Where are the partisans?”) and get the Serbo-Croatian reply: “U cijeloj Jugoslaviji!” (“All over Yugoslavia.”). Groups of locals decamping and then joining into a united march can be found in similar images of partisan troops on the move in many partisan films. Often, open ground is visualized from a bird’s eye view in which few smaller branches unite to an enormous stream out of sight for the observer. In marching as well as touching and rather feeling one’s way through the terrain, the new territory of Yugoslavia with its mountains and valleys was – in a metaphorical sense – topographically mapped and thus appropriated. This topographic appropriation manifests itself in the omnipresent image of a national, united march of partisans that film audiences in Yugoslavia knew so well from Sutjeska, Kozara or Bitka na Neretvi, to name just a few prominent examples. What military tacticians also remark about partisan warfare is that it becomes ubiquitous and permanent once the local rebels and resistance participants have parted from their native soil and set themselves in motion. While doing so, the Yugoslav film partisans keep ongoing contact with the defended terrain, ignoring the fact that at the same time this terrain is not their direct homeland any more. In this sense their fighting mode differs significantly from the military appointment on a classical battle field with agreed place and time. The latter way of warfare was left to the homogeneous nation-state while the partisan’s inability to bring about a final decision (which characterizes his combat mode) was

M EMORY OF A P AST TO C OME

implicitly equated with the internal, ongoing Yugoslav conflicts. The permanent need for negotiation – e.g. the Muslims’ fight for acceptance and national recognition within Yugoslavia – linked partisanship and Yugoslavism on a further level. It may seem surprising, but the genre coincided with the everyday lives of Yugoslavs in more than one respect.

PARTISAN WAR IV: I RREGUL AR ARMY OF THE PEOPLE Inseparably intertwined with the partisan’s close contact to the ground and his origin from the combat zone was his derivation from the (‘common’) people in Yugoslav partisan film. Partisans, in Che Guevara’s diction “the armed avant-garde of the people” (1968: 16), originate from the local and common population. A partisan’s military service remains transitory: he may return to the people and the civilian status any time. The partisan’s involvement in state affairs therefore is changeable. While Mao perceives the partisan as a fish swimming in the water of people, Yugoslav partisans and Yugoslav people were understood as one and the same. Essential for the Yugoslav partisan myth was not the combatant operating within the protection of the population, but the identity of people and partisans. The Yugoslav film partisan scale could therefore be described as doubledirected. It pointed towards population in self defense on the one side and towards political commitment on the other. The ultimate endpoints of this scale in film were the local people who were unable to fight (the aged and the infants) and the urban communist elites that served their ideology in the provinces. In between, the rest of the scale was shifting and alterable at any time. One and the same partisan could in the course of time be a silent supporter or an active combatant. Accordingly, within the partisan genre solitary figures stepped forward and became (temporarily) part of the partisan troops – children became couriers, women spies or medics, peasants became informants, contact persons and especially food suppliers. While the people’s involvement varied and shifted permanently, the central motive of the wounded guaranteed that the partisan army of Yugoslavia at no point transformed into a regular army. Such an army would stand for authority and government instead of self-defense and the people. The cult of the wounded and its prominence within partisan genre (Tito being wounded at the Sutjeska is without a doubt the omnipresent point of reference) functioned as a link back to the common people. A wounded person is no longer a combatant and not yet a civilian: the circle of partisan troops and autochthonous population is therefore completed in the wounded man. In the films, usually the wounded partisan is transferred back to the people he came from – either to be cared for or to be buried. In a scene in Kozara, partisans together with local people dig graves for the dead relatives (respectively comrades) and in Sutjeska, to choose one more example out of many other possible ones, women with

117

118

M IRANDA J AKIŠA

scarves (therefore civilians and common folk) carry wounded partisans back to the villages (ill. 4).

Ill. 4: Partisan funeral in Kozara The Yugoslav partisan narrative, as we can see, preserved the irregularity of partisan combat that could have easily been compensated in transforming the partisan army into a regular army – an idea that communist theorists like Mao and Lenin strongly advocated in their works. Instead, within the Yugoslav partisan genre the transitory state was permanently conserved and in reality the JNA, the later Yugoslav People Army, even adopted the partisans’ perpetual transitory state from film (and literature) into its self-portrayal and self-concept. While partisanship and paramilitary irregularity are generally considered as being close to forms of terrorism, they evidently were not suspicious in Yugoslavia where the resistance pattern was already established by hajduk-culture: their fight for freedom against the Ottoman yoke had turned the partisan cause into a matter of legitimacy. Yugoslavia’s army – without a doubt a regular state army – imitated the resistance attitude of film partisans, producing legitimacy and disguising its eventual regularity in masquerading men that were serving their time as partisans. The JNA soldiers were modeled on film partisans (ill. 5). In summary, the legitimacy of the ‘good cause’ allowed the partisan figure in real-life politics as well as in art to move through a homeland that was created by this motion: a homeland in which the partisan did not literally have his home and hearth any more but a homeland that he successively made his own by keeping close contact with the soil. South Slavic regions, invaded by different ‘fascists’, were transformed by this cinematic partisan topography into a common space that readers of partisan literature and audiences of partisan film imagined as Yugoslavia.

M EMORY OF A P AST TO C OME

Ill. 5: JNA soldier in the 1980s dressed as partisan This reexamination of partisan film motives and techniques could lead back to today’s genre revival, as mentioned above. The pop-culture figure of the partisan, which we find in global NGO movements, and the Yugoslav film partisan may have one thing in common: their ‘telluric’ character. While in Yugoslavia the telluric potential was in a very special way successful, it may be returning in contemporary anti-global attitudes: transformed into the wish to reclaim lost public space and reinterpreted as ecological consciousness.

R EFERENCES Anderson, Benedict (1991 [1983]): Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, London and New York: Verso. Bašić, Natalija (2004): “Der Zweite Weltkrieg im Fernsehen. Filmpartisanen im kroatischen und serbischen Familiengedächtnis.” In: Ethnologia balkanica 8, pp. 57-77. Flaker, Aleksandar (1981): “Partizanska slika svijeta.” In: Forum. Časopis razreda za suvremenu književnost jugoslavenske akadamije znanosti i umjetnosti 41/6, pp. 897-910. Goulding, Daniel J. (2002): Liberated Cinema. The Yugoslav Experience 1945-2001, Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Guevara, Ernesto Che (1968): Guerilla – Theorie und Methode, Berlin: Wagenbach.

119

120

M IRANDA J AKIŠA

Ostojić, Stevo (1979): Lijepi gorki film, Zagreb: August Cesarec. Schmitt, Carl (1963): Theorie des Partisanen. Zwischenbemerkungen zum Begriff des Politischen, Berlin: Duncker & Humblot. Stanković, Peter (2008): “Constructs of Slovenianess in Slovenian Partisan Films.” In: Društvena istraživanja 17/4-5, pp. 907-926. Velikonja, Mitja (2009): “Povratak otpisanih. Emancipatorski potencijali jugonostalgije.” In: Ivan Čolović (ed.), Zid je mrtav – živeli zidovi! Pad Berlinskog zida i raspad Jugoslavije, Belgrade: XX vek, pp. 382-397. Wachtel, Andrew B. (1998): “Supranational Yugoslav Culture: Brotherhood and Unity.” In: Making a Nation, Breaking a Nation. Literature and Cultural Politics in Yugoslavia, Stanford: Stanford University Press, pp. 128-134. Weber, Max (1980[1921-1922]): Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft. Grundriss der verstehenden Soziologie, Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.

F ILMOGR APHY Afrić, Vjekoslav, dir. (1947): Slavica. Avala Film. Bulajić, Veljko, dir. (1969): Bitka na Neretvi. American International Pictures. Bulajić, Veljko, dir. (1962): Kozara. Bosna Film. Delić, Stipe, dir. (1973): Sutjeska. Bosna Film. Krvavac, Hajrudin, dir. (1972): Valter brani Sarajevo. Bosna Film.

Their Youth is within us The Second World War and Yugoslav Youth Magazines in the 1970s Reana Senjković (Zagreb)

I. THEORY Recently, some authors have argued that a vast majority of (collective) memory studies conducted so far have failed to provide an insight into what they termed the “competitive arena of memory politics”. The competition, as formulated here, occurs in the form of negotiations among a) persistent and contextually specific cultural traditions, b) the “ingenuity” of memory makers and c) the subversive interests of “memory consumers”. Only a full insight into processes taking place in the arena, it is argued, would help us discover a way of distinguishing among (the abundance of) failed collective memory initiatives on the one hand and (the few cases of) successful collective memory construction on the other (Kansteiner 2002: 179). Or, in Alon Confino’s words: […] every society sets up images of the past. Yet to make a difference in society, it is not enough for a certain past to be selected. It must steer emotions, motivate people to act, be received; in short, it must become a socio-cultural mode of action. Why is it that some pasts triumph while others fail? Why do people prefer one image of the past over another? (Confino 1997: 1390)

In other words, as Confino argues, if we tend to answer the question of “who wants whom to remember what, and why?”, we will “reduce memory […] to the political”. In fact, memory is much more complex; actually, it is “fundamentally a concept of culture”. Thus, we will ignore “the construction of popular memories […] and their links to the everyday level of experience”, i.e. “the private spheres of family, friends, workplace and neighborhood” (ibid: 1393-1394).

122

R EANA S ENJKOVIĆ

No doubt, this shift in memory studies echoes the “ethnographic turn” which, during the 1980s and afterwards, grew in importance in social sciences in general and cultural studies in particular. Indeed, some premises for such a shift in cultural studies could be found already in the late 1950s: when turning back to his 1957 seminal book The Uses of Literacy, Richard Hoggart, the founder and the first director of the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies in Birmingham, stated that his intention was, inter alia, to find out what people actually do with popular magazines they read. That was why he paid that much attention to “the context” where people live and receive this “mass material”, along with many other things. Therefore, it would be instructive to recapitulate what we have learnt from the respective debate. First and foremost, we would have to acknowledge that the idea lying behind the mentioned theoretical and methodological shift is in itself political: From the beginning, British cultural studies systematically rejected high/ low culture distinctions and took seriously the artifacts of media culture, thus surpassing the elitism of dominant literary approaches to culture. Likewise, British cultural studies overcame the limitations of the Frankfurt-school notion of a passive audience in their conceptions of an active audience that creates meanings and the popular. Reproducing the activism of oppositional groups in the 1960s and 1970s, the Birmingham school was engaged in a project aimed at a comprehensive criticism of the present configuration of culture and society, attempting to link theory and practice to orient cultural studies toward fundamental social transformation. (Kellner and Durham 2001: xxiv)

This brings new light to and casts some doubts on the implicit presupposition that by moving away from the question of “who wants whom to remember what, and why?” to the research into “the private spheres of family, friends, workplace and neighborhood” we would also move from “the political” to the more complex and substantial field of “the cultural”. Likewise, the mentioned shift to individual, active understandings of hegemonic/authoritative discourse, that are capable of negotiating with the mediated meanings, and of confronting them, overestimated the enlightening power of ethnographic research (cf. Spitulnik 1993: 298), and overemphasized the resisting capabilities (“the subversive interests”) of ordinary people (“memory consumers”). Or, as Stuart Hall put it: “This is a heroic alternative; but not a very convincing one. Basically, what is wrong with it is that it neglects the absolutely essential relations of cultural power – of domination and subordination – which is an intrinsic feature of cultural relations” (Hall 1994: 460). Thus, and especially regarding the memory studies, where limited usefulness of ethnographic research is more than obvious, I will propose to step back a pace and to consider the “‘ingenuity’ of memory makers” which, in order to be efficient, had to take into consideration resisting capabilities of ordinary people, anticipate them in each and every possible

T HEIR Y OUTH IS WITHIN US

way and to nullify them by maximizing people’s pleasures in consuming the mediated memories.

II. P R ACTICE 20th century European ‘totalitarian regimes’, unlike their ‘democratic’ counterparts, have never denied their reliance on propaganda activities (cf. Doob 1948: 201-244). No doubt, the socialist one-party states’ nomenclaturas have been, and to a great extent, instructed by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin’s Čto delat’? (What is to be Done?, 1902), but soon they recognized that the(ir) material (be it official handbooks or high-circulation magazines) mainly “consist of dreary uplift”, which “no normal [person] would ever look at” (cf. Orwell 1947: 81). Here, my aim is to ‘uncover’ some of the strategies Yugoslav socialist authorities have used in mediating the Yugoslav revolutionary, heroic past to the “last Yugoslav generation”. For the purpose of further elaborating the topic we may thus presume that after the decision was made about which past should be memorized (the Yugoslav authoritative discourse after the Second World War had no fundamental doubt about it), what was left to decide was just a mode of its mediation (or, to paraphrase Confino’s words, to find out why it is that that some narrations triumph while others fail, why do people prefer one story of the past over another). Although no consensus was ever reached to close the respective debate, it was obvious that the idea of using pop-cultural genres in mediating the preferred ideological messages prevailed over time. My example will be of the only Yugoslav girls’ magazine, Tina, which was published from 1971 to 1976. In order to show its fashion of representing Yugoslav socialist revolutionary history I will take into account the fact that, while approaching the 30th anniversary of victory, Yugoslav media have devoted greater attention to keeping the memory of the Second World War alive, either under the political pressure or as a self-evident assumption. In fact, 1975 was a year which saw an intense production of media images of the past: the TV program abounded with serials and film cycles, such as The Time of War and after the War” or “People in the War”, and many other commemorative programs. No doubt, this ‘memory’ has been under a great burden of competing not only with the ‘persistent and contextually specific cultural traditions’, with private memories of Second World War participants (at that time many of them were under 60), but also with the Western imaginary, overtly available in the Yugoslav society. Tina was published by the Zagreb-based Vjesnik publishing house. The first issue appeared on May 26, 1971 with a circulation of close to 55,000 copies. Its circulation and the sales kept growing until 1974, peaking at a circulation of 113,032 copies and 90,572 copies sold, which made Tina a high-circulation magazine (Špicer 1990: 9). The Yugoslav Tina was modeled on contemporary Western girls’

123

124

R EANA S ENJKOVIĆ

magazines and, most probably, on its namesake which was first published on February 25, 1967 by London-based Fleetway publications, and which was “a phenomenally ambitious attempt at a pan-European girls’ adventure comic, which could be syndicated all over the continent” (Khoury 2004: 15). It had the same cover, most pages contained imported comics, and the rest contained pop music columns, horoscopes, various quiz columns and questions and answers columns. Still, even in the early days, i.e. before the general appearance of the Yugoslav girls’ magazine started changing, it was evident that some material was adapted to the particular Yugoslav context of the period. In time, Tina started departing from its model, accompanied by an increase in the copies sold, which nearly tripled in the following three years. As in the case of many other popular magazines of the time, there were no strict editorial rules imposed from ‘above’, and there was no direct censorship threatening Tina’s journalists and editors. Throughout its short history Tina mostly dealt with issues supposedly popular among adolescent girls (music, cosmetics, fashion), together with topics on (‘progressive’) pop culture, literary columns and various themes that would be instructive (or of use) in their daily lives (including schooling, job opportunities, puberty problems including health and sex issues, remaking clothes and the like). Articles dealing with social problems of the time that became a common feature on Tina’s pages, distinguishing it from its western counterparts (cf. McRobbie 1991), are especially interesting. Their topics range from the life of girls “in the province”, the life of children with divorced parents, girls who were raped, single mothers, living with an alcoholic father, living in a correctional institution for young offenders, to the life of young women and men who were treated for drug addiction. Ideologically charged materials, which are of interest for this paper, were published relatively infrequently, typically only on special occasions, mainly before the Youth Day celebration (May 25), or the Republic Day (November 29). It was clear that such a content, in order to be read, should not seem dull: this was openly recognized and propagated, as in Tina’s interview conducted with a group of secondary school youths and published under the heading “Mladi i politika” (Young People and Politics). Here Ivo Družić, at that time the leader of the Zagreb’s League of Socialist Youth, stated: “The young generation is interested in politics but does not like the manner in which they are presented. They are not interested in the kind of politics the newspapers write about, because they’re dull and outdated […] They are not interested in official statements, but in politics that have some meaning for a more human relationship to the world.” (Tina 116: 2)

Tina’s series Njihova je mladost u nama (Their youth is within us) featured interviews with the participants of the National Liberation War. A subtitle reveals the function of these pieces: “Like today’s youth”. The aim was to

T HEIR Y OUTH IS WITHIN US

provide a comparison which would ‘bridge the gap’ between the modern reader and the heroic character of a young woman who, along with other young women and men from her village, in the face of many dangers, aided the ‘national movement’. The subtitle was followed by a passage from the testimony of Vera Krunić, an awardee of the 1941 Partisan Commemorative Medal: “When I compare us with today’s youth, I can simply say that we too, just like the girls today, [wanted] to be beautiful and attractive. Cosmetics were really scarce at that time, especially when compared with what is available today, but we made do.” (Tina 81: 5)

The other testimony showed not only that there was no gap between the two generations of young women when it comes to beauty, but also that those who participated in the partisan struggle experienced many adventures: When the platoon was formed, I wanted to go along. On July 13 th 1941 it was planned to move to Berani, to fight Italians. I was eager to take part. Just imagine, a female with a rifle! There were forty of us in the platoon. They showed us how to use a rifle but, because of all the excitement, my bullet got stuck. And I stood up as if I wasn’t in the front line, and I yelled: ‘Milo, my bullet got stuck!’ ‘Get down!’ – they yelled at me. Comrade Milo crawled up to me and checked my rifle: ‘It’s stuck. You put two bullets in it! (Tina 88: 11)

The figure of Ivo Lola Ribar was particularly suitable for playing a significant role in the Yugoslav socialist imaginary. Ribar had been a member of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia since 1936; he had organized student strikes before the war; he had been the founder and editor of youth papers and the secretary of the Central Committee of the Association of Communist Youth of Yugoslavia since 1940. After his death in 1943, the status of a national hero was conferred on him. From then on, the Yugoslav revolutionary imaginary would permanently identify him with Ernesto Che Guevara, but it was the ‘ordinary’ emotional side of Ribar’s personality which was the most acceptable mediator of the story of the Yugoslav revolution. Therefore, on Dan mladosti (Youth Day) Tina recalled the letter that he wrote to his girlfriend Sloboda Trajković, herself an active member of the National Liberation Movement, just before he was killed: There are only two things in my life: my service to our holy cause and my love for you, my dearest. Just like millions of others, there was no way for us to achieve our happiness and lead the life that we wanted in isolation, but only through our struggle and our victory. And that is why these two things, in essence, are one and the same for me. You should know, my darling, that you are the only one I have ever loved. I have dreamed about our happiness together, the happiness

125

126

R EANA S ENJKOVIĆ that we wanted, the happiness worthy of free people. This is the only true happiness, the only happiness one should want. If I do not live to see that great moment, do not grieve, my dearest! In the world in which you will be living then, there will always be a part of me that is alive, the best part of me and my love for you. (Tina 53: 4)

Tina also quoted a section from an interview that Josip Broz gave to the paper Mladost (Youth) in 1957, where the Yugoslav president said that the press is not devoting enough attention to remembering youth heroes who gave their lives for the ideals of the socialist revolution. This was followed by short biographies of three youth revolutionaries, the very same that Broz used to illustrate his admonition. Mijo Oreški was a twenty-threeyear-old mason who would sometimes, according to the article, “go hungry because he gave his money for the campaigns of the Association of Communist Youth of Yugoslavia”. Janko Mišić, along with two of his comrades, fought against “one hundred policemen and detectives who surrounded and killed them”. Josip Debeljak organized a strike of food factory workers in Belgrade, the police arrested him and brought him to Zagreb in chains. He managed to jump out of the moving train, and after he was caught, he managed to escape again. The police found him wounded in an illegal apartment, and after a shooting he fell dead (ibid).

III. C ONCLUSION , ACCOMPANIED BY SOME REMARKS ON ME THODOLOGY

This type of journalistic discourse, which was reminiscent of the genre of romance or the adventure and action genre even when it dealt with ideologically acceptable topics, was in fact a realization of George Orwell’s suggestion about the desirability of exploiting popular genres in promoting ideology (1947). However, Tina’s journalists had sufficient evidence at their disposal for the reliability and validity of such an approach in mediating the message of the past. In fact, it must have seemed quite commonsensical: they need not know of George Orwell’s early suggestion that the “get-up and style of story” carrying the leftist message could/ should not seem boring (ibid: 81), neither do they need to be informed about similar reflections arising from the respective debate in Yugoslavia. And, also, they need not learn only from megalomanic, but well-accepted projects such as Bitka na Neretvi (The Battle of Neretva, 1969), or Sutjeska (The Battle of Sutjeska, 1973), where Hollywood actors (including Yul Brynner, Franco Nero and Richard Burton) raised attendance at regular film screenings. The most notable contemporary example was the television series Kapelski kresovi (The bonfires on Kapela mountain, 1975-1976). The first of the thirteen episodes of the television series was broadcast on the most important state holiday, the Day of the Republic, November 29, 1975. An instant success, the press reported that a surprisingly high percentage

T HEIR Y OUTH IS WITHIN US

of 83.1% of viewers in the age group up to fifteen years regularly watched every episode, and that kindergarten children were playing a game based on Kapelski kresovi. Consequently, Tina published an interview with Veljko Kovačević, a veteran of the Spanish Civil War and later commander of the First Primorje-Goranski corps of the Partisan forces, the author of the novel Kapelski kresovi (1961), on which the eponymous television series was based. There is no doubt that the excellent reception of this series was enhanced by the inclusion into the story-line of customary ‘Hollywood paraphernalia’, including unbelievably heroic battles, last-minute escapes, shootings from galloping horses, love interest, and comic relief (cf. Orwell 1947: 81; cf. Kirin and Senjković 2010): Veljko Kovačević […] is a quiet and staid man, calm in his gestures and manners, logical in his speech. […] Our one and only topic is: Kapelski kresovi […]. The series is full of crude dramatics, but a love is wriggling through it as well. Ina and Jastreb, two young people, felt affection for each other, emotions flared, together with all that what is deeply human in them. […] Already at school, as a pupil, Jastreb bore in himself, hidden but firm, love for his school mate, who herself was not indifferent to the pair of black eyes looking so friendly and ardently at her. He always wanted to tell her [about his feelings], but his words were left unspoken […]. Now, when they came together, the glow of youthful love broke out in flames. (Tina 182: 4)

However, such examples of the ‘ingenuity of memory-makers’ tell us little about modes of their reception. If we wished to conduct ethnographic research on the topic, our interviewees would inevitably formulate their answers not only in accordance to our expectations (or to what they presume to be our expectations) (cf. Geertz 1973; Gupta/Ferguson 1997: 1-46), but also in accordance to today’s “structure of feeling”, and their own, individual stance towards political and social changes that have meanwhile occurred. Therefore, we may need to take the notion of ingenuity (of memory makers) literally.

R EFERENCES Confino, Alon (1997): “Collective Memory and Cultural History: Problems of Method.” In: The American Historical Review 102/5, pp. 1386-1403. Confino, Alon/Koshar, Rudy (2001): “Regimes of Consumer Culture: New Narratives in Twentieth-Century German History.” In: German History 19/2, pp. 135-161. Doob, Leonard William (1948): Public Opinion and Propaganda, New York: Henry Holt and Company. Hall, Stuart (1994 [1981]): “Notes on Deconstructing the ‘Popular.’” In: John Storey (ed.), Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: a reader, New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf, pp. 455-466.

127

128

R EANA S ENJKOVIĆ

Hoggart, Richard (1959 [1957]): The Uses of Literacy, London: Chatto and Windus. Kansteiner, Wulf (2002): “Finding Meaning in Memory: A Methodological Critique of Collective Memory Studies.” In: History and Theory 41/2, pp. 179-197. Khoury, George (2004): True Brit: a celebration of the great comic book artists of the UK, Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing. Jambrešić Kirin, Renata/Senjković, Reana (2010): “Legacies of the Second World War in Croatian Cultural Memory: Women as Seen through the Media.” In: Aspasia 4, pp. 71-96. Kellner, Douglas/Durham, Meenakshi Gigi, eds. (2001): Media and Cultural Studies Keyworks, New York: Blackwell. Lorsy, Ernst (1994 [1926]): “The Hour of Chewing Gum” In: Anton Kaes/ Martin Jay/Edward Dimendberg (eds.), The Weimar Republic Sourcebook, Berkeley: University of California Press, pp. 662-663. McRobbie, Angela (1991 [1978]): “Jackie Magazine: Romantic Individualism and the Teenage Girl.” In: Angela McRobbie, Feminism and Youth Culture. From “Jackie” to “Just Seventeen”, London: MacMillan, pp. 81134. Mirić, Milorad (1961): “Omladina i kulturno-zabavni život (Youth and Cultural-Entertaining Life).” In: Naše teme 4, pp. 494-507. Orwell, George (1947 [1940]): “Boys’ Weeklies.” In: George Orwell, Critical Essays, London: Secker and Warburg, pp. 57-82. Spitulnik, Debra (1993): “Anthropology and Mass Media”. In: Annual Review of Anthropology 22, pp. 292-315. Špicer, Gruda (1990): Tina: 1971-1976, Zagreb: Vjesnik.

N E WSPAPERS Kopić, J. (1973): “Dan Mladosti (Youth Day)”. In: Tina 53, May 23, pp. 4. Šoić, Blaženka (1974): “Njihova je mladost u nama (Their Youth is Within Us)”. In: Tina 81, February 13, pp. 5. Štimec, Spomenka (1974): “Njihova je mladost u nama. Bila je nježna, plava… (Their Youth is Within Us. She was Gentle, Blond…)”. In: Tina 88, April 3, pp. 11. Grenac, Davorka (1974): “Mladi i politika (Youth and Politics)”. In: Tina 116, October 16, pp. 3. Đ. P. (1976): “Kresovi su simbol. Ljubav iz đačke klupe (Kresovi are the Symbol. School Love)”. In: Tina 182, January 14, pp. 4-5. “Kapelski kresovi”. In: Studio 621, February 20, 1976, pp. 2-5.

The Role of the Media in Transgressing Cultural Identities during the Recent Past Jasna Galjer (Zagreb)

Unlike cultural anthropology and literary theory, historical surveys of contemporary art history in Croatia almost completely ignored the complexity of interactions between art and ideology. Thus very little is known about the “medialization” of museum and curatorial practices, exhibitions and mass-media regarding the recent past. In applying the methodological apparatus of cultural studies, the paper deals with key aspects and changes of the socialist and post-socialist media in creating and reconstructing social memory and cultural identity and the role of the popular culture in its ‘co-modification’. Focussing on the phenomena of ‘false memories’, the purpose is to analyze the cultural practices of the recent past through representational practices of institutional and popular culture in the period after 1991. This paper deals with exhibitions in a wide range of trade fairs, travelling exhibitions of art and design, as well as Yugoslav participations at World Exhibitions in the period of the Cold War, in particular the Brussels Expo 1958, including current views from the so-called post-communist perspective on the recent past. The intention is to illustrate the role of the exhibition as a medium of mass communication and expression of the awareness of the need to promote one’s own cultural and political identity, economic and industrial production, as well as its codes and specific methods of working in the forming of the modernist cultural paradigm, which has not yet been entirely historicized and evaluated. The political conditions at the end of the Second World War entailed the need for promotional showings on the international scene of the new state, the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia, headed no longer by the king but by Josip Broz Tito. Since most of these exhibitions were of a propagandistic nature, an interesting issue is the attitude to ideology, i.e. to the political context without which it would have been impossible to produce them. It is quiet telling though that at the time when socialist realism was

130

J ASNA G ALJER

dominant, when in all areas, at the height of the universal ideologization of society, there were fierce debates about “tendentiousness” and the right to artistic autonomy, they were formulated with a clear propaganda message, completely independent of the then current patterns of Agitprop. This means that the State approved this departure with the intention of representing the visual culture that in this case was to be understood as a correlative for a democracy. It is not surprising that, for promoting itself, Yugoslavia chose a modern form without any of the iconography that prevailed in the other socialist states. This was particularly true in the period when it was important to internationally advertise the state policy decision to adopt a more independent position in the Eastern Bloc, while from that very direction came clear signals of aspirations to bring back the FPRY (Federative People’s Republic of Yugoslavia) into the Soviet fold. Such an orientation was in part a consequence of the turnabout in Government policy in 1948, i.e. the parting of the ways with the USSR and rapprochement with the West, and the corresponding decline in the importance of the doctrine manifested in architecture with the new collectivism, aimed at new forms, as against those that came from capitalist countries, that is, technological and mechanical functionalism. Indeed, the small group of people designing spaces for these fairs saw their tasks as being more than just a technical job. In general, nation-wide competitions were held for plans for exhibition pavilions or stands for international trade fairs, then very common forms of doing commerce. The commissions mainly went to architects and artists who specialized in such projects. They grasped this opportunity to put into practice some of their ideas, such as the concept of unity of objects or plastic synthesis as a structural principle. They thought about object-placing, of information and even advertising, permanently keeping in mind the idea of the artist’s and architect’s new role in a society embarking on post-war reconstruction. In circumstances in which endeavors for the acceptance of abstract art coincided with the battle for the right to freedom of artistic creation, the appearance of the EXAT 51 (Experimental Atelier 51) group was totally atypical (ill. 1), a thing apart in terms of the spiritual climate of its own milieu, to which the art of moderate bourgeois modernism or ‘socialist aestheticism’ was much more appropriate (cf. Denegri 2004: 13-84). The influence of ideology, which around 1950 was manifested in an exhibition of medieval art as a ‘package’ of the cultural heritage for promotion in the West, changed radically after the liberalization of domestic conditions. It is not surprising that the consular official of the USA in Zagreb reported on the occasion of the first EXAT 51 exhibition held in Zagreb in 1953 that the MOMA in New York should be supplied with information about the exhibits. It is interesting to track the concept of Yugoslav appearances at international art exhibitions, since they faithfully reflected the course of the national cultural policy of the time that, via the Federal Commission for Foreign Cultural Connections, had a direct impact on its formation. In this sense it

T HE R OLE OF THE M EDIA IN T RANSGRESSING C ULTURAL I DENTITIES

is instructive to compare the Yugoslav appearances at the Venice Biennales from 1950 to 1960, which present a range from Bakić’s formal investigations to Džamonja’s experiments in the breakdown of sculptural forms.

Ill. 1: Exhibition “Brotherhood and Unity Motorway”, Zagreb, Art Pavillion, 1950, architectural design and realisation: Vjenceslav Richter, Zvonimir Radić, Ivan Picelj, Aleksandar Srnec One of the examples was the Yugoslav attendance of the XXV Biennale in Venice, in 1950, where different generations of artists gathered, linked by a model of realism. But the very fact that Yugoslavia appeared at this event, strongly criticized from an ideological point of view only two years earlier, was a sign of a certain opening. The awareness grew that the communication with artistic developments abroad, even with those that were until then considered as originating in the ‘decadent’ West, was necessary and unavoidable. In 1952 in the Modern Gallery in Zagreb, a big exhibition of modern French painting was held, and in Zagreb and Split there was, in 1953, a guest exhibition of Le Corbusier. In the same year Zagreb hosted a major international photography exhibition, while in 1955 there was a Henry Moore exhibition in several Yugoslav urban centers, and in 1956 a CIAM Congress and an AICA conference took place in Dubrovnik. The influence on the shaping of the group members’ spiritual horizon was another consequence of participating in designing Yugoslav pavilions at fairs abroad. At the time it was rarely possible to travel and stay abroad. So they used these journeys to acquire better knowledge in their fields of interest. These circumstances formed the cultural background of the Didactic Exhibition on Abstract Art, organized in 1957 in the then newly founded City Gallery of Contemporary Art in Zagreb by a group of artists and critics who were close to the programmatic ideas of the group EXAT 51 and gathered around the magazine Čovjek i prostor (Man and Space). The exhibition travelled around Yugoslavia until 1962, bringing abstract art closer to the public. That exhibition shows the degree to which abstract art had really ceased to be problematic in the former Yugoslavia as early as the

131

132

J ASNA G ALJER

second half of the 1950s, but in the contemporary, so-called transitional, post-socialist period that fact is interpreted in accordance with a particular ideological vision of the cultural history of Yugoslavia. On the one hand it is understood as a cliché about the strong domestic social realism and the struggle for modern art in opposition to the official party line, which frequently also leads to the thesis about the struggle for modern art as a kind of form of resistance of the remains of the threatened bourgeois society, the aspiration to ‘join the main current of European culture’ to which we have, of course, always belonged, and on the other hand the extended arm of the very breakthrough of abstraction, a Machiavellian manipulation by which the system presented itself to the world. At the first World Exhibition after the Second World War in Brussels, the Expo 58, the primary concern was to present the development, specificity of the social and political system, culture and art, where the model of workers’ self-management was ‘the guiding red thread’. Making self-management a prominent conceptual feature shows how articulate the program was in making clear the idiosyncrasy of the state for which the appearance at the World Exhibition was an extremely important opportunity for (self) promotion. The presentation of Yugoslavia as a democratic country also served to bring out even more the difference to other socialist countries. The entire definition of the Yugoslav model of socialism had acquired additional importance because of the political context of the Expo and the foreign policy of the FPRY, which after its opening up to the West in the mid-1950s was also characterized by increasing normalization of relations with the USSR (cf. Bilandžić 1999: 342-343).

Ill. 2: Model for the Yugoslav pavillion at EXPO 1958 by Vjenceslav Richter and Emil Weber

T HE R OLE OF THE M EDIA IN T RANSGRESSING C ULTURAL I DENTITIES

The first version of the project for the pavilion was an inventive construction called the “foundations in the air” by its creator, referring directly to human strivings for progress and the launching of the first rocket into space. This kind of concept of representation of the country’s identity as ‘the Other’ was not acceptable, not only because of architectural, i.e. aesthetic and functional reasons, but above all because of the over-liberal approach to the ideology that was identified with the state politics. But even without this symbolic sign of the central 70 meters pillar, the pavilion was a literally and symbolically ‘open house’ (ill. 2) that stood out from the other pavilions at the exhibition as it was not closed with an entrance door (Galjer 2009: 288-311). Numerous important art events in the second half of the 1950s helped to focus the interest of the institutionalized art world on the previously little known contemporary art of Yugoslavia. The circumstances that affected the work of artists from the FPRY of that time, particularly the ability to get scholarships and exhibit abroad, which directly depended on their abilities to relate to the corridors of power, are still unexplained. The presence of Yugoslav artists at international exhibitions gathered momentum. Among the most important, apart from Venice Biennales, were the exhibitions of the Mediterranean Biennales in Alexandria in 1955, 1957 and 1959/1960, the São Paolo Biennale in 1955, the Tokyo painting Biennale in 1955 and 1957. Survey and thematic exhibitions of contemporary Yugoslav art toured the countries of both West and East. The normalization of relations with the USSR can be seen in cultural exchanges, and among the exhibitions there was an increasingly balanced ratio of East and West. Thus in 1956 there was an exhibition of contemporary Yugoslav art that later visited Milan and several Polish cities, and there was an exhibition of modern Yugoslav painting in London. In 1957 there was an exhibition of contemporary Croatian painting and sculpture in Erlangen, an exhibition of contemporary Yugoslav graphic arts was shown in the Hermitage in 1959 and in Tokyo in 1960. An exhibition of contemporary Yugoslav painting went on tour to Mexico in 1959, and another show of contemporary Yugoslav painting went round the whole of the USA from 1959 to 1962. It is characteristic that in most cases these were the artists who represented the version of “temperate modernism” influenced by French painting. There was no sign of Socialist Realism, and none of radical new expressions, such as Art Informel. Thus ‘socialism with a human face’ at the very outset adopted various promotional forms for design in the social community. One has to bear in mind here that the period from the end of the 1940s and the early 1950s was a period of profound economic crisis, of great shortages and the purchase of ordinary items on ‘points’, when the FPRY made great use of American aid in food and money just to survive. The fact that in such circumstances there was a systematic participation in international events and that the architects and artists involved in these projects were among the privileged classes, shows the highly political and ideological character of this activity. Although an inseparable part of art history and cultural history, the above

133

134

J ASNA G ALJER

mentioned cases are very often neglected, ignored or represented in the context of contemporary confrontations, often ideologically colored. To illustrate this I would like to point to three exhibitions at present on show as representations of new forms of a currently very popular, even fashionable recontextualisation of art practices from ‘Eastern Europe’. The question is what conclusions could be drawn from these exhibitions, whether they offer any homogenizing pictures of the various artistic practices represented there, and how they use or manipulate the communicative codes of the exhibition as a medium. The first one is Crossing Nations and Generations: The Promises of the Past, 1950-2010: A Discontinuous History of Art in Former Eastern Europe, (2010) at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. According to the author’s statement, the exhibition “questions the former opposition between Eastern and Western Europe by reinterpreting the history of the communist bloc countries”(cf. Sosnowska 2010), offering a valuable and useful survey of the last decades of the Eastern European art scene – a scene which has now the place it deserves. To draw this discontinuous history of art in the former Eastern bloc, this trans-national and trans-generational project features works by more than fifty artists from Central and Eastern Europe but also from other European countries. Various successive narratives converge, marking the idea that this historicization is a fluid one; A part of the exhibition is devoted to the archival documents concerning artistic exchange between Paris and Eastern Europe, as well as the films about their performances. The curators do not offer a stable concept of ‘Eastern Europe’, but instead include also artists from the Middle East (Israeli artist Yael Bartana), western Asia (Ugay), and other regions. The question what would be the alternative to the modernist linear view on recent past also remains open. The second example is the exhibition A Pair of Left Shoes: Reality Check in Eastern Europe (2010) at Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb, inspired by the Boris Buden’s text “In the Shoes of Communism” reinterpreting Jameson’s thesis on postmodernism in the context of post-communist conditions (Buden 2004: 35). The story about a pair of left shoes that workers of steelworks in Poland received in mid-1950s as a reward for good work is taken as a representation of the absurdity of the communist system in general in its rigidness towards the individual, as a metaphor of economic production in which ugliness, non-functionality, clumsiness or senselessness prevailed. By simplifying the complex and heterogeneous situations and relations that existed in former communist societies, the exhibition operates with stereotypes which are arbitrary, not taking into consideration the history of design or material culture as an integral part of the socialist variant of modernism. For example, the space of personal and collective memories of the period opens new dilemmas regarding the negativist image that has normatively been created since the fall of the Wall. At the same time, one of the most frequent questions in art and culture is why and how the utopian matrix of modernism has survived after its formal disappearance, usually

T HE R OLE OF THE M EDIA IN T RANSGRESSING C ULTURAL I DENTITIES

as a neomodernist Utopia of a better world, as an open criticism of today’s political ideas which wrongly identify modernism with communist ideology. By putting together artists from countries all over the former Eastern Bloc, many of them the same as in the previous two cases, the exhibition tries to explain the common motives of artists from former Eastern European countries, presuming that such a category exists. The exhibition Art Always has Its Consequences (2010) opened in the space of the place where the Museum of Contemporary Art had been situated until recently, reflected on the “politics of exhibiting” and, like the exhibition in Beaubourg, by including historic works alongside new productions, archival material and documents, reconstructing and reinterpreting paradigmatic artistic and exhibition positions from 1950s until today, shows the historical continuity of similar art experiments which question the social role of art. This exhibition extracts the presented works from the neutrality imposed by the prevailing consensus, which sees the involvement of art in emancipatory social processes as ideological and social ballast. It is realised as a collaborative project of various organizations from Hungary, Poland, and two from former Yugoslavia; one from Novi Sad and the other from Zagreb. Through various formats the project deals with topics connected with the modernistic inheritance and joint history, of which many are not directed towards the production of art objects and their aesthetic evaluation but towards mediation and communication of an artwork with a wider public than the usual gallery-goers. The research was directed towards a specific historical economic and political context and also towards the forming of internationally recognized ‘universal’ norms, in relationship to which the exhibited art practices attempt to affirm historical continuity and to question their own context. The traditional geopolitical concepts of East and West today seem too simplistic to describe the complex movement of capital and its territorial repositioning in the last few decades. But that does not mean that there has been a change in the prevailing thought or rhetoric about the centre and a periphery which constantly trails after it, through which postcommunist countries are defined as cultural spaces in which modernism has been halted for decades and which now is necessary to integrate into the global capitalistic system through the process of ‘transition’. Nor does it mean that the previous divisions, economic disparities and inequalities have simply vanished. It is a paradoxical fact that in the dominant discourse of art history, Eastern Europe indeed did not exist during the time of the Cold War, except as a cliché used for the purpose of ideological instrumentalization of the autonomy of art. As a concept it exists in the art world only today, when the processes of its historicization and building of its narrative have been established. But what still needs to be done is to deconstruct the hegemonic narrative of the West and point out the ways in which it continues to determine the economic relations of art production. The case of socialist Yugoslavia indicates those changes

135

136

J ASNA G ALJER

effectively, because it was not thought of as a part of Eastern Europe. Only after the fall of the Wall and breakup of Yugoslavia at the beginning of the 1990s did Yugoslavia and the newly founded independent countries which emerged from it become part of ‘former Eastern Europe’. That does not mean that Yugoslavia was not in many ways ‘objectively’ part of Eastern Europe, but that the very concept of (former) Eastern Europe is a changeable ideological construct. It is symptomatic that among artists chosen to represent all the above mentioned concepts many names are present at these three shows. They have also very much in common if we compare their ideological apparatuses, particularly that of generalizing ideas of ‘communism’, ‘socialism’ or ‘Eastern Europe’, neglecting specific cultural and national identities or traditions. Which leads to the conclusion that we are witnessing a new trend in conceptualizing art history, constructing cultural production and politics of memory. The problem arises because of the lack of criteria for evaluating their objectives. And finally, what does Yugoslavia mean today? Is it a neutral geopolitical determination which we can freely use in whatever context and from whichever position? Or is it about a political project worth of rethinking and reexamining in contemporary political constellations? With what purposes? Many projects started within the past few years by organizations initiated during the 1990s in the circle of Soros centers investigate the historical continuities and ruptures of the cultural-political space known as Yugoslavia – how this space was constructed, conducted and institutionalized; What were its operational language and critical terms; How were the cultural practices organized in the official state institutions, and how in the self-initiated spaces of alternative/marginal art production; can we see these two modes of organization as clearly opposed and separated, or as conceptually and politically interconnected – all these questions still appear to be intriguing and unresolved, especially for those cultural actors who try to flee from the stranglehold of the post-Socialist ‘master narrative’, which strongly determined contemporary cultural production over the past two decades.

R EFERENCES Bilandžić, Dušan (1999): Hrvatska moderna povijest, Zagreb: Golden Marketing. Buden, Boris (2004): “U cipelama komunizma – nekoliko napomena o mehanizmu postosocijalističke normalizacije.” In: Up&underground 7/8, pp. 35-39. Denegri, Jerko (2004): Constructive Approach Art – Exat 51 and New Tendencies, Zagreb: Horetzky.

T HE R OLE OF THE M EDIA IN T RANSGRESSING C ULTURAL I DENTITIES

Galjer, Jasna (2009): Expo 58 and the Yugoslav pavilion by Vjenceslav Richter, Zagreb: Horetzky. Sosnowska, Monika (2010): “1000 Words.” In: Artforum 5, pp. 222-227.

137

Narrative Images of the Yugoslav Totality (and Totalitarianism) in the BosnianHerzegovinian Short Story in the Transition from the 20 th to the 21 st Century Anisa Avdagić (Tuzla)

If identities are, as Stuart Hall suggested, “about questions of using the resources of history”, and if they are “constituted within, not outside representation” (Hall 2005: 4), how can the narratives dealing with the stigma of communism and the strategies and techniques of representing the former Yugoslav unity in the Bosnian-Herzegovinian contemporary short story be understood? Can we understand this as a question of cultural identity, as a process “of becoming rather than being: not ‘who we are’ or ‘where we came from’, so much as what we might become, how we have been represented and how that bears on how we might represent ourselves” (ibid: 4)? If the narrativization of the past and of the self (in the past) is also a question of identity, what arises from the third recognizable practice of using the past? Because, besides the two fundamental politically and ideologically opposite discourses – the demonization of former communism as a regime and as a society, and the idealization of the former community – there is a third one. This third site and the corresponding narrative practice could be described as an overlapping discourse, or as border thinking. The overlapping discourse was not established as the average value of the demonization of former communism and of the idealization of the former community; rather, it was formed as a (narrative) review and an attempt to re-evaluate all the ideological bases of separation and all related discriminatory practices. Moreover, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the border discourse strategically problematizes all ethically deficient gestures of specific social practices that have been found within the field of symbolic visibility. Therefore, the border discourse equally subverts the demonization of communism as well as the nostalgic idealization of all values in the former community (when that nostalgia is not productive and does not carry political

140

A NISA A VDAGIĆ

potential). It does so by attempting, albeit in a non-optimistic context, to realize new politics of hope, to create a new hybrid map of liveability (cf. Butler 2005). It ultimately transforms the narrative into the critical response to the question of constituting the cultural identity within the polarized representation. In other words, this is a narrative that continues to denounce the dark spots of the former regime and society, for example, the remaining, but disguised techniques of Stalinism in Yugoslav culture such as Aleksandar Hemon’s The Sorge Spy Ring (1995), which is focused of the ‘internal enemy’. Hemon ‘evaluates’ Yugoslav reality (and its language) as a meta-language, a ‘meta-Stalinism’, and as a reflected form of control which, through the symbolic authority and through the media (especially, after 1948), is represented as its opposite – not as a remaining form of (Stalinist) control, but as the idea of security that struggles against the forms of (Stalinist) control. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, communism stands as a collective discomfort on the new symbolic map of Western values and democratic orientation. However, narratives dealing with the former regime could not be seen just as a ceremonial attempt of destigmatization. Neither could they be seen just as a way of demonstrating the author’s cultural preference for democratic principles and loyalty to Western or European values which are the only relevant (but not the only functional) parameters emerging after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Nor could they be seen as supporting the nationalist discourse, which, through the reconstruction or deconstruction of communism, tends to represent the idea of ‘liberation’. On the contrary, the alleged opposition between the former macro-process and the current micro-process of social control is completely deconstructed and transformed into two recognizable faces of the same problem. Miljenko Jergović’s stories are scattered across all sorts of spatialtemporal backgrounds, thus bringing out the multiple perception of (Yugoslav) reality. However, one can still recognize a common focus on the individual story and the personal void that is caused by the ideological changes. Sentimental images of the past and a narrative dealing with the loss often move Jergović’s stories towards a nostalgic discourse. However, they repel the diversity of Yugoslav taboos and reveal the dark spots that prevent the confirmation of the dominant politics of mourning or other practices which attempt to ‘confiscate’ the (meaning of the) historical past. Frequent usage of the naïve narrator, who actually materializes the view outside the political mainstream or frequent carnivalesque interventions show that narrative representations of former Yugoslav society do not aspire to a standpoint of universality, nor to the political coherence of its own system of representation. Hence, the characters (children or other marginalized individuals) are usually removed from the process of forming the sense of history. The story Šuštanje (Rustle), for example, reveals inconsistencies of Yugoslav society and, by focusing on the collective perception of the former symbolic substances, reveals the

N ARRATIVE I MAGES OF THE Y UGOSL AV T OTALIT Y

politicization of public opinion and memory. It focuses on a symptomatic memory figure – the unknown hero: - Who is he? - Well, an unknown hero – the grandmother looked for the boy’s sandwich in the bag. - Who knew him? – The boy seemed concerned. - No one, that is why he is unknown. - And how did they know that he is a hero? - They knew because he was defending his homeland – Grandmother found a sandwich, nervously expecting that the boy would again say that he was not hungry. - How was he defending it? - With a rifle, you see that he has a rifle. - And no one knew him? – The boy suspected that the grandmother was hiding something. - Other unknown heroes knew him. - And why don’t they say his name now? - Because they are unknown too – Grandmother became furious. - Where do the unknown heroes live? – The boy thought that they should be found and asked about their names and the name of this one here. - They don’t live anywhere. They are dead! – Grandmother said, even surprising herself with what pleasure she uttered the word dead, the word which should turn the boy away from new questions. He, however, did not even blink. - All unknown heroes are dead? – The boy raised his eyebrows. - All of them! They were killed, so that you could stand here. - And, what if they weren’t killed, where would I be standing? - Eat your sandwich; you have not eaten since this morning. [...] - How come you know all about the unknown heroes? - Everyone knows. - Who told them when all unknown heroes are dead? - No one. There are things in life that do not need to be told. [...] - I’d like to be an unknown hero. - You will, if you eat well. – Grandmother popped up and bit her tongue. But it was too late. - And then I’ll have a monument, you will come, someone will ask who this is, and you will not tell because if you do, then I will no longer be an unknown hero, and the monument will no longer be. You won’t tell, will you? - I will not. Eat your sandwich. [...] - Is this how the unknown hero looked like when he died? - Yes – Grandma sighed. - But, where is the blood, and why doesn’t he have a hole in his head? [...] - Monuments are not made with holes and blood. - Then he did not look like this when he died. - This is how he looked before he died.

141

142

A NISA A VDAGIĆ - And how did he look when he died? Was his head torn away? – The boy asked, with a voluptuous smile. - No one knows that. He’s an unknown hero. (Jergović 1999: 217-219)

The story has no direct aim in seeking ignored humanistic traces and their restitutions; it represents an indirect attempt to redefine the process of constituting the universal subject of ideology. The story establishes the paradox of the Yugoslav logic and politics of remembering the victims who were publicly emptied of any distinctive meaning. They bear the traces of a new symbolic violence, because they only become instruments of preservation of social power. The figure of the unknown hero, through the produced excess of the new symbolic violation, even in a public silence, whispers about the political aesthetization of death. The death of the unknown hero that appears after the revolutionary effort and the anonymous fame is factually abstracted. The story represents the reality in which the ideological and technical productions of identity lose the capability of true compassion, affection, love. Moreover, it seems that the practice of collectivization and such policies do not want to make the gesture of recognition of the unknown possible. The political discourse rejects the authentication of the experience, because it is the anonymity/ identity castration which (even ephemerally) prevents every (public) suspicion in political power built on such a collective fascination with death. In this sense, the story points to the dissimilarity between institutional and individual experience of the beautiful death (of the unknown Other) and exemplifies that only the individual, in her or his private space, has a capacity for genuine love. Thus the boy’s grandmother – already tired with endless questions about the unknown hero and the institutionalized policy of death – answers only to satisfy the form of public knowledge until the moment when she in the same hasty manner incorporates the grandchild’s life into the story about the beautiful, unknown death. Only then, as suggested by the narrator, does she regret her answer (and bites her tongue), because someone else’s life or death can still be imagined as her own happiness or loss. In contrast, the boy is innocently enjoying the nameless production of collective memory, or even collective masochism. He is envisioning the possible loss of his name or identity, because he is (within the naive recognition of the interpellative power of political language) still liable to become a part of the processes that produce defined subjectivities. On the other hand, the story, through the economy of the grandmother’s comments, also points out that the adult’s rising suspicion in political power and its inviolability also covers the figure of the unknown hero as a superior center of political transcendence. Therefore, even for the individual, the silent speech of the unknown hero loses its full sentimental and testimonial significance, and the monument itself is just seen as an empty sign of no longer promising and interpellative political power.

N ARRATIVE I MAGES OF THE Y UGOSL AV T OTALIT Y

Besides denouncing the (myths of) the political power of Yugoslav reality and addressing the traumatic effects of political and social abatement (such as the loss of the sense of caring and ethics for the unknown Other), the stories of Miljenko Jergović from the collection Sarajevski Marlboro write out the history of populist myths that have always been an integral part of cultural identity. The populist myths can be recognized as the only part that, regardless of the different ideological parameters, cannot disqualify nostalgia. Sarajevski Marlboro opens up many questions regarding the ideological and political appropriation or suspension of everyday myths which are a pledge of memory, or even life. What happens with the forcibly discharged form of the everyday myth, can this emptiness be filled, can it be explained to the other, and how can these and other “derivatives of sorrow” (as a dried cactus in one of the Jergović’s story) affect life itself? As a response to this set of conflicting questions, Sarajevski Marlboro operates, through the collection and the story titles, as a narrative lexicon of Yugoslav ‘mythology’. For example, Sarajevski Marlboro (a specific and no longer existing brand of tobacco) as a main title, as well as a metaphor, triggers the important series of questions in the process of remembering and representing the self to the other: I took the cigarettes out of the pocket, see this, I say to him, these are the cigarettes produced in Sarajevo, and do you know why its pack is completely white? He shook his head. It is white because there is no place to print labels on the packs. You will now conclude that we are miserable and unhappy because there is nothing written on our cigarettes, you will conclude that because you do not know how to look. I start to tear open that pack of cigarettes, I know the inside of it is not white, but may be there is an upturned baby soap cover, may be there is a part of a cinema poster, may be there is a part of a shoe advertisement. [...] So I unfolded the pack and I almost collapsed. The Marlboro cover glanced inside, the old one from Sarajevo, the American gawked, I cursed, did not know what more to tell him. Whatever I say to him, he, as he is, will think what a crazy people, they turn the cigarette packs inside out, and then tear open the pack to see what cigarettes they have purchased. Like the cigarette packs are inside out, everything is inside out for them, what they say, what they think and what they do. I regretted not saying anything to the American, or at least not telling him that we are an unfortunate, unarmed people shot by Chetnik beasts and the misfortune turned us all insane. He would write that down, and I would not, before myself or before him, appear to be silly. (Ibid: 66-67)

Through the metaphors in the titles of the stories, the narrator discussed the one-sided stigma of communism/socialism and powerfully evoked the simplistic politics of loss, for example, in Sarajevski Marlboro, through the well-known Volkswagen beetle, which was popular and praised amongst the Yugoslav youth, to the Bosnian pot an almost unavoidable dish prepared and served in a special clay pot, or in the importance of (good) neighborhoods that have crumbled under the ideological production of

143

144

A NISA A VDAGIĆ

fear and distrust and vertical organization of the nation or home. For example, the story Krađa (Stealing) is about the possibilities of goodneighborly relations in the war. Specific conditions of life prevent the universal principle of responsibility (for the other), so the narrator transforms small, everyday acts into an ethical gesture par excellence. The narrator/character gives a bag of apples to his neighbor, but in the hungry days of the war even apples are precious, especially if the neighbor is suspected as an enemy. Next day, the neighbor brings a small jar of apple jam repeating that there is life in apples (Jergović 1999: 22-24). The narrator moves beyond mere idealization of the past reality, so the stories, through the mentioned objects and practices of everyday life provoke readers to rethink the resulting absence of meaning, to reconsider the loss which cannot be simply settled by different or privileged implicit roots. Regardless of the further ‘uselessness’ or shifted functions of the Yugoslav everyday myths, the stories of Miljenko Jergović refuse to constitute their meaning, as well as the ‘meaning’ of Yugoslav reality and unity merely as an act of new social power. As a result, life before or outside the imaginary or proper start cannot be compensated or classified by the trend and legislation of a new or existing ideographic system, at least not without considering the depth of the trauma provoked by such practice. In this rejection of differently centered games of substitution which are, each in its own way, represented as an alleged shockproof requirement, the ethical and political boundaries of Jergović’s stories become most visible. In other words, the narrative images of Yugoslav reality are not uniform (not even with the same author), and the process of creating a new sense of the past depends on the position that the text represents, in relation to the multiform ideologies that structure the system of representation. The post-war, transitional present time of Bosnia and Herzegovina did not diminish ideological clarity. On the contrary – like the broken mirror, the transitional present multiplied spaces for differently centered narcissistic fantasies. Consequently, for this analysis, it is of utmost importance to recognize the position the text assumes as the answer to the omnipresent political question: who has the right to represent the universality in culture (Šuvaković 2006: 58). If “identities are about questions of using the resources of history” (Hall 2005: 4), these selected stories and illustrations within the postponed reception of the former system, create a specific field of vision. In addition, through these new tracks of conceptualizing cultural identity, the stories make way for a new poetical and ethical model which is reflected in the process of imagining the experience of the Other and Otherness as a possible or liveable one (cf. Noddings 2002: 8-25). It is performed because individual and collective experiences, as they are always the sum of multiple perspectives, cannot be subsumed under the category of sameness. For this reason, selected stories in the name of each individual life reveal polarities and essentialized positions of thinking of the past which do not provide equal social viability. These stories are ‘the

N ARRATIVE I MAGES OF THE Y UGOSL AV T OTALIT Y

spot’ where the critique of arrogant usage of the past occurs as an ethical corrective.

R EFERENCES Butler, Judith (2005[2004]): Raščinjavanje roda, Sarajevo: Šahinpašić. Hall, Stuart (2005[1996]): “Introduction: Who Needs ‘Identity’?” In: Stuart Hall/Paul du Gay (eds.), Questions of Cultural Identity, London, Thousand Oaks and New Delhi: SAGE Publication, pp. 1-17. Hemon, Aleksandar (2004): Pitanje Bruna, Sarajevo: Civitas. Jergović, Miljenko (1999): Sarajevski Marlboro, Karivani, druge priče, Zagreb: Durieux. Moranjak-Bamburać, Nirman (2004): “Ima li rata u ratnom pismu?” In: Sarajevske sveske 5, pp. 79-92. Noddings, Nell (2002 [1984]): “Etika brižnosti.” In: Treća IV/2, pp. 8-25. Šuvaković, Miško (2006): “Biopolitičko tumačenje otvorene potencijalnosti balkanske umetnosti.” In: Zeničke sveske 3, pp. 55-63. Žalica, Antonije (2007): Bandiera Rossa, Wuppertal-Tuzla: Bosanska riječ – Das Bosnische Wort.

145

Reflective and Restorative Nostalgia Two Types of Approaching Catastrophe in Contemporary Yugoslav Literature Davor Beganović (Konstanz/Wien)

Nostalgia is a concept that, although firmly positioned in the contemporary cultural discourse, has its origins in the field of medicine. It was used to describe and determine an illness discovered by Johannes Hofer, the physician who detected it in Swiss mercenaries condemned to long absences from home, filled with boredom and the monotony of everyday life. In the treatise Disertatio medica de nostalgia, published in Basel 1688, Hofer used two Greek concepts, nostos (the return home) and algia (longing) and coined one of those neologism that lives its own life, independent of the primary conditions of their creation but at the same time breaking up with the original praxis in whose wake they were created – medicine, in the concrete case. Hofer found the causes of illness in an interesting mixture of the organic and the psychological (torn apart from mother’s tender care). This combination had fatal consequences for those qualities of soldiers that were thought to be essential: bravery and decisiveness in battle. Hofer’s interpretations were almost immediately rejected by his more patriotically-oriented countrymen. They would indicate a certain cowardice as a consequence of such an emotional condition and it was actually incompatible with the heroic nature of Swiss (Starobinski 1966: 87). Hofer’s adversaries, as a peculiar counterbalance to his explanations, established the elements that were not directly connected with the psyche, but tried to locate the causes of grave disorders in the topography and atmosphere. The Swiss, accustomed to life in Alpine heights, after descending to lower lands, found themselves confronted with, for their constitutions, unbearably low atmospheric pressure that had a fatal influence on their unaccustomed bodies – an accent is displaced from soul to body. But at the end of the 18th century such an organic explanation was suppressed on account of the mental one connected with the idée fixe, the longing from the second part of Hofer’s neologism. Precisely this longing remains the bond that bridges the apparently insurmountable gap

148

D AVOR B EGANOVIĆ

between body and soul. “In the unified whole which the network of nerves binds to the brain, there is no idée fixe, no lasting sorrow which, in the long run, give rise to organic lesions.” (Starobinski 1966: 89) The second fundamental feature of nostalgia which would help to convey this ‘illness’ in the very proximity of culture is its connectedness with memory. This characteristic leads Svetlana Boym to establish a division that accounts for the double functioning of memory. In this approach she divides nostalgia into restorative and reflective aspects. While the first, attempting to reconstruct the elements of a common past, is mainly connected with different forms of a collective, the second turns to an individual and its personal longing for the lost. According to Boym, “[r]estorative nostalgia stresses nostos and attempts a transhistorical construction of the lost home. Reflective nostalgia thrives in algia, the longing itself, and delays the homecoming – wistfully, ironically, desperately. Restorative nostalgia does not think of itself as nostalgia, but rather as truth and tradition. Reflective nostalgia dwells on ambivalences of human longing and belonging and does not shy away from the contradictions of modernity. Restorative nostalgia protects the absolute truth, while reflective nostalgia calls it into doubt.” (Boym 2001: XVIII) The conservative function of restorative nostalgia is mirrored in its consequent efforts toward finding in the past that which in the present could connect relatively heterogeneous groups into an all-encompassing and all-inclusive unit. Reflective nostalgia, meanwhile, does not care about the value prescribed from such an elusive authority such as nation, state or leader. If it, in its postmodernist mode, it even discusses them, it does so in an intricately ironic view. More often, in modernism as well as in postmodernism, it deals with the inner world of its protagonists, putting them in position from which they could reflect their loss, translates it into “an ethical and creative challenge, not merely a pretext for midnight melancholias.” (ibid.) Let us try to define more closely the important relation between melancholy and nostalgia. As we know, melancholy has its medical roots in an antique Greece where the term was used to describe one of the four temperaments, connected with a “black bile”. Roland Lambrecht interprets the volatility of relation between melancholy and nostalgia as caused by arbitrary construction of the second term which in a very short time passed from medicine to metaphysical comprehension of man without succeeding in gaining ground in any of these two domains. It is left levitating between the secularized medicine and hidden theology. For this reason it is dominated by “insatiable longing of a person for a homeland that would embrace him. As such longing it (nostalgia – D.B.) is discussed only in the experience of loss of protection: in a territorial sense by exile from the native country, in a temporal one by the sudden emersion of alienation from one’s own environment.” (Lambrecht 1994: 188) In this constellation the concept of nostalgia is necessarily connected with the notion of happiness, consequently equating the sadness following

R EFLECTIVE AND R ESTORATIVE N OSTALGIA

nostalgia with a state of permanent search for an object that has always been lost and transported to utopia: it should be sought for either in the future or in the past, never in present. In the following I will try to apply the division made by Boym to some examples of Yugoslav culture originating after the civil war 1991-1995, enriched with cognitions deriving from the intricate relation between the reflective nostalgia and melancholy foreshadowed by Lambrecht. In my considerations restorative nostalgia will play a minor role. It would be immediately clear why. Before the war, the privilege of interpretation was on the side of “national conscious” subjects. The nation was a cradle which was to be restored if happiness should permeate an ideal world of people’s unity. After the war this position was diminished by obvious drawbacks, on economic as well as on the social level. Suddenly restorative nostalgia (colloquially known as Yugo-Nostalgia) is turned in the opposite direction – towards a former Yugoslavia. Craving for a golden age of national unity changed its direction and looked at “project Yugoslavia”, thought of as a paradise lost, Arcadia in which the streams of contention flow, emerging from positive experiences of shared life. Restorative nostalgia, in general, is turned towards a mythical reception of history, mythological elements contained in one culture. Unity should be restored according to them. Now, if we are talking about this specifically Yugoslav movement towards recent past, we cannot overlook an important fact, and that is the primary place of objects of mass culture and consumer society in this specific restoration. In a word, out of pragmatic reasons this nostos is condensed on the level of restoration of the symbols of mass culture: namely, they hide a common denominator that could be used as a bond between urban classes, regardless of the newly-created borders. Therefore the central element of dissemination of restorative Yugonostalgia refers to common rock-music, followed by comics, articles of mass consumption and the whole project is, then, focused on the person of the last and only Yugoslav president, Marshal Tito. About this phenomena Slovenian sociologist Mitja Velikonja wrote an inspiring book Titostalgia (cf. Velikonja 2009). The capital result of this project is Leksikon Yu mitologije. It started as a sort of Wikipedia, where everybody was allowed to present his/her remembrance of particular objects constructing everyday life in socialist Yugoslavia. In a medial change, the most interesting contributions were collected in the book, amended with articles written exclusively for it or taken from some other, already printed, sources. The rebellion which could still be found in the hype of internet was lost at a stroke. Freshness was abolished and the book fixed as a monument of past time, as an unproductive memory of advocates of restorative nostalgia. On the other hand, an important component of urban restorative nostalgia can be followed in the process of revival of prominent rock-bands (such as Bijelo Dugme), as well as pop-singers, such as Zdravko Čolić who are still able to summon up impressive masses of fans at concerts.

149

150

D AVOR B EGANOVIĆ

In sum, I can assert the following facts: in the nineties cultural memory in the lands of former Yugoslavia was determined by restorative nostalgia, in incantation of the lost values of national unity. Its products were the memorabilia devoted to the common past. The best example of this current is the choreography of meetings organized during so-called anti-bureaucratic revolution in the late eighties and early nineties in Serbia. But at the same time Yugoslavia was still present and could not, as a whole, serve as a projection screen for nostalgic sentiments. Only after its disintegration and successive division into more or less effective successors it became possible to call its ghosts back. It was done in the form of manifestations that lacked any subversion concerning the new regimes. The production of souvenirs, t-shirts, cups, digging out of old banknotes signaling remembrance of ‘jolly times’ of inflation… They were recognized as false sentiments and ritually laughed out and waved back. A real subversion cannot be only an ad nauseam repetition of stereotypes. It should seriously call into question the primacy of the new elites who acted nationally but thought economically, on behalf of their own. The challenge to this system of economic nationalism (which could be the only other name for obvious depredation) was to be sought elsewhere, in the world of reflective nostalgia and its proponents. The second part of this essay will deal with them. My main examples come from literature and I think that I have good reasons for this decision. Denying generation borders, fiction from all over the former Yugoslavia concentrates on the construction of unsentimental but nevertheless melancholic discourse whose aim is to untie the vicious circle of eternal return to the past. It was never essentially worked out but locked into an unproductive repetition of exclusively national as well as unitaristic stereotypes leading to recollection of former glory. The authors such as Dubravka Ugrešić and Zorana Ferić, David Albahari and Vladimir Arsenijević, Semezdin Mehmedinović and Miljenko Jergović follow diametrically opposed paths. They fictionally reconstruct the picture, sometimes sad, then again ironic, playful, in most cases critical, of the world whose perishing was caused by a violent intrusion of enemy forces – from within as well as from outside. The common project is the restoring of Arcadia. But reflective nostalgia does not allow for false sentiments and this is exactly the reason why their Arcadia appears to be the false one, always to be detected as a topos (in its double sense – the rhetoric as well as the geographic term), a literary construction loosely bound with a ‘real world’. This project, which can provisionally be defined as ‘the writing together of a story that came to an unhappy end’, varies from one to another author. Depending on the poetic degree of the author, it is more or less realistic and postmodern, traumatic or melancholic. But they share one common theme: giving a meaning to a loss, filling a rupture in the memory with sense, gluing together a tattered picture that used to divide and connect and whose destruction was not the necessary means to reach an alleged higher aim whose apogee, as it happened, wasn’t that

R EFLECTIVE AND R ESTORATIVE N OSTALGIA

vertiginous at all. Reflective and reflecting nostalgics reject and abolish the borders of new countries, criticize their autarchy and offer their own picture of the past, recent as well as early in which the present is mirrored, too. But this time, stripped of its ideological mask and laid bare showing its ugliness. The poetry necessary to represent such a state is the poetry of non-acceptance, rejection, loneliness. Its name is melancholy. Yugoslav melancholic nostalgics are in the virile state of unwillingly dwelling in the present, which can only offer them spaces of endless melancholic sorrow, and a past in which lost happiness is situated – critically reflected, often the subject of irony but still cognizable. Two Aleksandar Hemon’s stories, both from the book A Question of Bruno, will help me to make a further difference in the body of texts generating reflective nostalgia. This border runs between the axis of space and time and can be seen as a dividing line between two subtypes of reflective nostagia. I will call them topographic and temporal. The story A Coin presents a narrator who is an emotional but distanced participant of represented events. “Suppose there is Point A and Point B, if you want to go from point A to point B, you have to pass through an open space clearly visible to a skillful sniper. You have to run from Point A to Point B and the faster you run, the more likely you are to reach Point B alive.” (Hemon 2001: 119) According to Riccardo Nicolosi “Aida seems to be divided not only between diegetic places, but mostly between the medial world of death pictures and the real, sensuous perceptible deaths. In a way, she stands in the middle, in the transition space between Point A and Point B, as other characters by Hemon, too, whose identity is to be found only in the interspace of a short transition for which they always have a coin ready, as for the mythological transition into the nether world.” (Nicolosi 2007: 150). Some parts of the story were written in an epistolary form that made possible specific fracturing of the narrative perspective. The besieged city (Sarajevo) and the free metropolis (Chicago) interlockingly refract thanks to the one-way correspondence: the narrator’s letters to his long-time friend Aida are his micro-confessions. With their help he tries to restore a lost contact or even to enhance it to an intimacy level higher than the one before the war. His sentimental lines are the ruptures in the text structure which make the irruption of nostalgia in the narrative possible. He is unable to comprehend the moment in which Aida’s (unrepresented) letters cease to arrive as the most logical outcome in war-torn Sarajevo – her death. Therefore his continuation of writing there is some sort of death delay or its abolition. Moreover, he doesn’t only write his letters, but continues to construct the lines Aida would have written herself. The operation of writing is in a sense a desperate effort to defeat the invincible, to abolish the absence or, at least, to make it a temporary occurrence. As a part of the grotesque world Aida has a paradox advantage in relation to the narrator-correspondent-emigrant who is overwhelmed with feeling of deepest nothingness. She doesn’t have a need for a spiritual exit from the besieged city. What she needs is the elementary, physical distance

151

152

D AVOR B EGANOVIĆ

and displacement in order to be saved from the necessity of choosing between madness and destruction; for him, physical salvation, in a space of the foreign country, is the perceivable and palpable fact of existence. Psychologically, this space is displaced in a grotesque world of not-yetbelonging. The only way to solve this double grotesqueness and double notbelonging is to create a new space that should topologically be positioned in the space of reflective nostalgia. He reaches this aim behind the lens of a Polaroid camera, making the photographs of objects at his disposal; mostly those situated in the rooms of his émigré apartment. The Polaroid conveys the nostalgic picture of absence in which there is projected virtual presence of place of longing, the place whose fate is mourned. Instead of Sarajevo, and that is the reality hidden behind the lenses, he photographs the ambient emptied of any significance, a materialized void of the foreign world: “But once you get to point B everything is quickly gone, as if it never happened. You pick yourself up and walk back into your besieged life, happy to be. You move a wet curl from your forehead, inhale deeply, and put your hand in the pocket, where you may or may not find a worthless coin; a coin.” (Hemon 2001: 134) If topographic nostalgia found its most pregnant expression in the “emigrant” part of The Question of Bruno, temporal is to be sought in stories that reconstruct the lost childhood. It appears that this type of nostalgia can be located in the genre of idyll, or in those parts of it that survived the extinction of the genre at the beginning of the 19th century. According to Wolfgang Preisendanz (1986: 92), idyll is “aesthetically founded and in the aesthetic delimited psychotope [in which] perception is determined by remote position of perceiver who is situated outside of its boundaries”. It seems that Hemon’s stories transgress these generic frames, even destroy them intrinsically, on the thematic as well as on formal level of the organization of narrative. In this way Hemon’s narrator undertakes an enterprise that is, according to Renate Lachmann, from the very beginning condemned to failure: The actual object of idyllic remembrance is utopia. Neither the recurrence of a suppressed, nor the revocation of a forgotten condition are in the foreground but rather the mnemonic enterprise to restitute a condition considered as lost. But the condition that is believed to be lost is a simulacrum – either because it was never there, or because it can no more be. Obviously, the simulacrum character of the idyllic world is that what makes its gaiety melancholic. (Lachmann 2002: 282)

Hemon’s quixotic attempt at revocation of the lost idyllic childhood world is additionally intriguing because of the doom consciousness that is always already inscribed in it. The story Islands refers to an Arcadian place chosen as an exemplum for an ideal youth world – the island Mljet. Mljet is the place in Croatian literature traditionally bound to idyll. Its most prominent resident was

R EFLECTIVE AND R ESTORATIVE N OSTALGIA

baroque poet and monk Ignjat Đorđić who spent some of his life in the abbey situated “on the island on the lake on the island”, the space of idyllic seclusion par excellence. This world is lost and should be, at least in fiction, reconstructed. But Hemon follows another strategy: as it were, the almost topical idyllic of Mljet is put in question. Its specific emplacement as locus amoenus is not thematized in the measure which is necessary to translate consequently a topos deriving from antique literature in the narrative of the postmodern Bosnian-American author. The island itself, its nature and geography, are left intact, but the narrator connects it with characters who are by no means ideal inhabitants of that world. In contrast to aetheric creatures dwelling in the pastoral landscapes, they are characterized with elementary physicality tending to be transformed in grotesqueness. The horrors emerging from stories of Uncle Julius, former Gulag inmate, are paradigms of anti-idyll. His memories are the moment in which the smallest possibility of bringing the idyllic elements into the nostalgic discourse is being crushed. The experiences of Uncle Julius are moved from the world of light, in which they have been communicated, into the world of darkness, from where they come. He himself is, obviously, only temporarily situated on the sunny side of life and drifts inevitably into the horror vacui of the past. The very collapse of the idyll is detected in the last scene of the story describing the family’s coming back from vacation. In this tragic finale the last traces of the careless happiness that was at least present in the spare denotations are deleted. Nostalgic memories of childhood and the expectations of the reader are exaggerated by the choice of the place and turned upside down in Hemon’s narrative world. What is left is violence, abuse, death and – irreversible hatred. “The cat [that the family left in the flat before going on vacation – D.B.], having not been fed for more than a week, was emaciated and nearly mad with hunger. I would call her, but she wouldn’t come to me; she would just look at me with irreversible hatred.” (Hemon 2001: 21) Re-creation of the lost happiness is once more eluded; this time idyll is transformed into tragedy. Two genres existing parallel in the history of European literature collided here, changed their places and the sadness situated in the narrative itself almost invisibly shaded the brightness of Arcadia. Hemon’s approach to nostalgia is subversive. He subverts the topographic one both in the narrative – either by interventions of an ironic narrator or by interpolation of the characters on the very brink of absurdity – and in a thematic way – through Aida’s significant silence. The temporal one is abolished in the process of contamination of the ideal world with tragic events, or its gaiety is ironically subverted by intrusion of grotesque bodies in the aetheric structure of the idyll. His fiction is yet nostalgic. The nostalgia is sublimated in the conception of the time in which it was allowed to be – nostalgic. Hemon subverts the subversion – because he is an author of paradox.

153

154

D AVOR B EGANOVIĆ

R EFERENCES Adrić, Iris/Arsenijević, Vladimir/Mtić, Đorđe (2004): Leksikon Yu mitologije, Belgrade and Zagreb: Postscriptum and Rende. Boym, Svetlana (2001): The Future of Nostalgia, New York: Basic Books. Hemon, Aleksandar (2001): The Question of Bruno, New York: Vintage. Lachmann, Renate (2002): Erzählte Phantastik. Zu Phantasiegeschichte und Semantik phantatischer Texte, Frankfurt a.M.: Suhrkamp. Lambrecht, Roland (1994): Melancholie. Von Leiden and der Welt und Schmerzen der Reflexion, Reinbeck bei Hamburg: Rowohlt. Nicolosi, Riccardo (2007): “Fragmente des Krieges. Die Belagerung Sarajevos in der neueren bosnischen Literatur.” In: Davor Beganović/ Peter Braun (eds.), Krieg Sichten. Zur medialen Darstellung der Kriege in Jugoslawien. München: Wilhelm Fink, pp. 129-150. Preisendanz, Wolfgang (1986): “Reduktionsformen des Idyllischen im Roman des 19. Jahrhunderts (Flaubert, Fontane).” In: Hans Ulrich Seeber/Paul Gerhard Klussmann (eds.), Idylle und Modernisierung in der europäischen Literaturen des 19 Jahrhunderts. Bonn: Bouvier, pp. 8192. Starobinski, Jean (1966): “The Idea of Nostalgia.” In: Diogenes  54, pp. 81-103. Velikonja, Mitja (2009): Titostalgia. A Study of Nostalgia for Josip Broz, Ljubljana: Peace Institute.

The Narrativization of Memories Trauma and Nostalgia in the Novels The Museum of Unconditional Surrender by Dubravka Ugrešić and Frost and Ash by Jasna Šamić Alma Denić-Grabić (Tuzla)

The authors, Jasna Šamić and Dubravka Ugrešić, who are a part of the exile wave literature, both handle and actualize the topic of relation of history, remembering and forgetting but at the same time raise the question of reconstructing the narrative identity as a place of chiasma between collective and individual (hi)stories. In that sense, the narrativization of memories in the novels Frost and Ash (Mraz i pepeo, 1997) by Jasna Šamić and The Museum of Unconditional Surrender (2002) by Dubravka Ugrešić becomes an available place and means of actualizing past content. By using memories they create a frame for accessing and interpreting the present and the state of exile as trauma and nostalgia. In this paper, using the narrativization of memories (cf. Kuljić 2006: 10), I will look into the way how mechanisms of constructing the different, untold or forgotten past are created, showing how memories/ forgetting and cultural memory of regulatory politics par excellence are a part in (de)constructing identity: gender identity (Ugrešić The Museum of Unconditional Surrender and Šamić Frost and Ash), deconstructing the discourse on collective and gender identity (Šamić Frost and Ash). The different perspectives in The Museum of Unconditional Surrender were realized not only regarding the timelines of the present and the past of narration, but also in the semigenre/semidiscourse sense: diary, autobiography, biography, anecdote, photography, which means that the novel is based not only on the story as a fabulative principle, but, as the author herself comments in one interview: “on the principle of editing or collage of elements, which when juxtaposed create additional meanings” (Ugrešić 2000: 3-4). Referring to visual arts like museums and photography, the novel The Museum of Unconditional Surrender is realized as an installation of memories in which, through the reconstruction of the

156

A LMA D ENIĆ -G RABIĆ

past “the human trash recycled into an artistic exhibit has the right to an extended life, an ironic eternity” (Ugrešić 2002: 295). The novel consists of exile stories (“Ich bin müde” – “I’m tired”, “Guten Tag” – “Good day”, “Was ist Kunst?” – “What’s art?” and “Wo bin ich?” – “Where am I”) inserted into fragments (photographs/biographies) of memories – “The Home Museum”, “Stories with the discrete motive of an angel leaving the space”, “Group photograph”. Chapters in such order, which are shifting alternately, but overlap as well, open up gaps in the narrative tissue and symptomatically initiate the process of remembering as a consequence of traumatic experience of the present excommunicated territorial and historical existence. The double exile consciousness of the narrative subject, exposed to different times and places, calls back to life memories and the absent, in order to initiate not the sentimental and commercial emigrant story, but the creative thinking about the poetics of albums and photographs as stored memory and makes it one of the possible strategies of survival. The tension between the personal and the collective memory, the photograph (in the family album) and the museum fosters the story about identitary narrations overcome by the relations of the private memory and stored contents of history which intervene in the story of placement, exile and nostalgia: In the lowest, bottom drawer of my desk, the photographs are stirring. When I open the drawer, faces, smiles, bodies, those smudges of light on the rectangles of paper, all come out. I put one bundle of photographs into an envelope, glued it, tied it together with a ribbon and put on the bottom of the drawer. I occasionally take out the envelope, I touch it. I can feel the pain at the tips of my fingers and I know it still is not the time to open it. But one day, when the pain goes away, I will open it, go through the photographs and sort them into an album. (Ugrešić 2002: 51)

The impossibility of sorting the photographs into an album and establishing a seeming chronology in putting your own exile life into order, is a consequence of the narrative subject’s constantly being faced with the fact that the story is a performative effect of “sorted” photographs and that “memory does not reconstruct only the past” (Assman 2005: 49), it can also come up with and set up coordinates of today’s experience and even of the future. Taking into account that photographs can be reordered, the album/life shows its own fictional character, putting forth the unreliability of narration. The personal storytelling and placing of photographs are not done by the principles of causality, but in the order the storyteller remembers them and makes them up, sums them up or spins them out, thus writing an untold narrative which has a subversive character in relation to the socio-political context and creating a different way of reading history. Personal criteria in selecting the places of remembering, the area of private (small narration), in which the actors of remembering family

T HE N ARRATIVIZATION OF M EMORIES

and friends become a scene for the refraction of political patterns. The approach to the past is set through narrativizing memories through the places of remembering: 1. The family album and the story of the mother, a Bulgarian woman, a foreigner who “happened to be” in Yugoslavia; 2. Other literature; 3. Group photographs and biography: 4. Museums, souvenirs. By creating genealogy through the grandmother’s and mother’s biography, and the memories of her own childhood, there is another system of values and ideology. That is the place from which the narrative subject articulates the gender, hybrid identity as a point of resistance towards the nationalistic, heroic story. The memories of her grandmother, who died young and alone, shed light on the traumatic experience of the author’s gender excommunication which started in her childhood by the girls teasing and calling her names Gypsy girl! Gypsy girl! This meant stigmatizing the other. In this way, the identity of the narrative subject, the unwritten history of everyday life, the counter-narration appears in the gap between what was and what and how the text itself remembers, thus representing the narrative identity of the author as a dynamic relation between the sameness and the otherness. Biographical stories, personal and those of others, are what “makes the basic weft of creating the feminine ‘phenomenology of exile’ as a double (territorial and historical) displacement from the pathetic national story about heroic resistance and uncollectible victim” (Jambrešić-Kirin 2001: 175). “Mother’s albums, the way she folded “the facts of life”, will bring forth the everyday life that I had forgotten” (Ugrešić 2002: 37). Incorporating the mother’s diary into the narrative structure of the novel, in which you can see the beginning of the war activities in the former Yugoslavia, also functions as anticipation of the horrific outcomes of destiny which the author repeats. The intuitive and not sufficiently conscious quote of the mother, “Maybe the point of it is that I was born as a woman” (Ugrešić 2002: 78), creates a double noose inside the Romanesque narrative. The Bulgarian woman’s experience of being the other, the Second World War and poverty, the foreboding of new war destruction, the changing of the colour of the flag and life, all the accidentally piled-up clues discover the inner fear of the author who, all of a sudden, due to socio-political changes, found herself in exile. The forgotten everyday life symptomatically offers the political question of “confiscating memories” and putting an end to the socialistic past and identity from “the period of workers trade-union trips to the seaside, speeches and flags, admission into the pioneers, miniature socialistic spectacles, […] the first of May, […] relays, marathons, first dresses, shoes, first travels abroad” (Ugrešić 2002: 38). From the perspective of the processed past, the narrative of identity, “which instead of the monolithic and homogenic experience, through breaks and aporias of understanding, representing, announcing and referenciality” (Moranjak-Bamburać 2006: 363) presents itself as excommunicated and displaced from the construct

157

158

A LMA D ENIĆ -G RABIĆ

of national memory. That is why auto-referring to one’s own text, writing and reconstructing forgotten stories and the narrativization of memory appears as textual politics and a political “fight for the territory of collective memory” (Ugrešić 1999: 251). Referring to the context of the breakdown of the state of Yugoslavia and the horrific wars in this area, the novel speaks of the devastating consequences of war activities which caused persecution, forced of the people who did not fit into the models of nationalistic design or did not fit into the monolithical identitary profiles into political exile. This opens up one of the best topics – testimonies of the victim, the stories and nostalgia as consequences of forced amnesia and constructing forced memory. The ethical dimension of literature is perceived in this case as an individual effort in confronting the experiences of war trauma and a way how not to slip into the enchanted circle of the discourse of the victim. By remembering the events which produced “the group photograph”, it is not only that the coming to terms with trauma caused by forced amnesia of an identity (cultural identity of the former Yugoslavia) and untying of the knot of uninterpretable pain qualm (ibid: 254) starts, but by going through the archive of everyday life, our own and that of other people’s, the novel becomes a museum and metonymy for vanished reality and the place for reconstructed memory. The empty and white spaces on the group photograph, which needs to be remembered, become a trace and model of something real and present how memories work, as Angela Richter noticed (Richter 2006). Hence the dichotomy remembering-forgetting, represented through the story of Alfred, the angel, the metonymy of a cultural context, (the memory is given to only one participant of the event who was not touched by the hand of forgetting) is read as a textual game, where memory as well as writing are auto-referentially seen as a sign of presence: “Our empty photograph taken a couple of years ago, during a dinner I want to remember. It is also possible that it had never been taken. It is possible that I made all this up, that, onto the white indifferent paper, I am projecting faces which do exist but I am writing in events which had never happened” (Ugrešić 2002: 225). An unmeasurable sense of the state of exile develops in the chapter “Stories with the discrete motive of an angel leaving the space” in which there is a line-up of biographies of different people in different time and place. Although the novel raises the question of exile as freedom from forced identification and as a question of choice, speaking about a cumulative trauma due to the new times and “east-western” divisions is a border line and a place of transitionary narration which links childhood as the space of future nostalgia and Berlin as a non-place, making it possible to create one’s own place within which it is possible to recognize the being of the author through different forms of the other, not condescending to petrification but fictionalizing of the identity. Since this unmeasurable sense of exile, just like the territory of nostalgia is represented as absent presence, the text takes the role of

T HE N ARRATIVIZATION OF M EMORIES

representation, presenting absent reality, and in its perfomativity becomes an installation of memory in which “the human trash”, dead fragments of memory – photographs and museum exhibits, have their right to an extended lifetime. The experience of cultural difference and exile life can be presented only in the question “Wo bin ich”, which is asked by the author and the question “Gdje sam to ja?” uttered by the Bosnian woman in bloomers, and through topographic details of the mutant city which “has both its Western and Eastern face: sometimes the Western face shows itself in the Eastern and the Eastern in the Western” (Ugrešić 2002: 300). The constructed space of the novel in that sense sets a temporal dump of souvenirs of the evaporated everyday life as a substitute, a supplement of the absent, confiscated memory, but also as the thing which gives meaning to the oniric exile life. Just like The Museum of Unconditional Surrender, the novel Frost and Ash by Jasna Šamić is a text in which the woman appears to be the producer of sense and in which from the feminine experience and point of view there is a great deal of questioning of the cultural stereotypes: the question of identity, nation and homeland; the question of family and the role of the woman, and above all the position of the intellectual woman in the precarious time of political and ideological changes, the downfall of one and the setting of other ‘values’ on the foundations of nationalism. The novel Frost and Ash is composed in the form of a diary written by a female and male subject, where the female diary, written in the first person, makes up the largest part of the novel, and the boundaries of the diary are crossed and full of essayistic digressions, confessions and psychoanalytic statements. The novel questions the idea of the dominant system of values in a way that the narrative identity takes on the female subject, subverting the patriarchal epic matrix. In that sense, it can be read as a picture of social and political overthrows and the breakdown of one system of values, like “a chronicle of chaos of the communist ideology in the area of the Yugoslav community” (Kazaz 1998: 854), however, the experience of reality is very different from the usual male experience of reality. In fact, if you could talk about the chronicle, in this case it is about the chronicle of political, social, family strategies of violence against women. In the Dictionary of basic feminist terms (Rečnik osnovnih feminističkih pojmova, 1999) by a group of authors, it says that a diary is “a private entry about the daily life” (Mršević et al. 1999: 31), which feminist critics consider to be “the key documents, sometimes the only existing remnants of past times with authentic existing voices of our predecesors” (ibid.), which try to get the untold history of the other out into the open. Krista Wolf says that female “memories” enlighten the breaks between the descriptions of battles. By using the diary form, it is possible to close the generation gaps and create “intellectual and emotional ties between women who lived in different times” (ibid: 32).

159

160

A LMA D ENIĆ -G RABIĆ

The heroine does not put the diary entries about her experiences and memories about traumatic experiences from childhood in a chronological order, but the way she remembers them. Thus the incorporation of the father’s diary which witnesses an era, the cataclysm of the Second World War, is the place from which the author will start settling the accounts and rebelling against Father’s/Male creation of history. In that sense, Frost and Ash as well as The Museum of Unconditional Surrender by Dubravka Ugrešić are novels which deconstruct a grand narration in order to write an intimate drama of a person and by doing so, from the point of a marginal subject, a gender identity as strategy of rebellion against the pretensions of big stories and big topics is constructed. The mixture and the interweaving of the author’s childhood and youth scenes when she remembers the despotic figure of her father, with her father’s diary and in the end the scene of seeing her father’s body on the deathbed create a specific mosaic which becomes material for self-interpretation and self-knowing the female subject in the process. Therefore it is no surprise that in one place the author says that it is not only necessary to talk but also to become hysterical, let out a “scream, forcefully stopped, a silent scream in the throat” (Šamić 1997: 160): “In ancient China, a philosopher narrates, women, when taken over by rage or excessive grief, would go up on a platform, a dais erected in the street, especially for that purpose. Women would let go their anger and lament. One should revive this custom, this way of confession.” With this “silent scream” the woman breaks the rules founded on the law of the Father as pater familias, the bearer of the phallocentric system which creates a cultural milieu and has unlimited power in it. The scenes of violence and raping of women, from the women’s perspective are especially important for this analysis because “this point of view has been deprived of its legitimacy in the history of literature for centuries” (Lukić 2001: 247). Besides, set testimonies and memories of rapes raise the question of the cumulative trauma which is transferred from generation to generation and becomes a stumbling stone for both the author and the reader. The blind spot of the novel, “The testimony by Hadžera Bijedić, thrown into the Čavkarica pit in September 1941”, a testimony of raping and murdering women and children is set into the story of the breakdown of an ideology, the communist system and forming of a genocide ideology in creating a programme of ethically clean zones in the novel. While men are fighting for “their thing”, constructing national identities, returning to the past and reviewing “collective traumas”, Hadžera’s testimony reveals the ruinous effects of war and the nationalistic revival of the patriarchal tradition presented in the new/old fascism: Us women, we were afraid […] There was six of us women, some children and old men, and two-three young men. They had caught them running away. There was about one hundred Chetniks. We walked for a long time. They made us sing Serbian songs [...] They found an appropriate pit, fifty meters away. They

T HE N ARRATIVIZATION OF M EMORIES would take five people at a time, returning without them after ten minutes or so. It was my turn. They took me along with the little children, one old man and one woman. As soon as I came near the chasm, I understood what was about to happen and I fainted out of fear. I woke up in the pit. The bodies of the dead children were on me. They were light so they had not killed me. [...] All of a sudden I heard someone crying. A woman was screaming for help. She was pregnant. I threw her a piece of bread I had put in my pocket before I left the house. She could not catch it. She died a couple of hours after that. (Šamić 1997: 138-139)

Violence against women (and others) who are out of a single order, a collective identity, and thus labelled as “birth machines” (cf. Papić 2001) of the Other nation, of the sworn enemies, become the real target of destruction, and their bodies become a space for representing the politics of power (raped women, those of them who survived, gave birth to “their” children) which implemented/implements “violence against all bodies which “aren’t ours”, against the bodies of the eliminated of the Others” (2001: 60). Such scenes are not in concord with considering the novel as a chronicle of the breakdown of a system, because the novel opens up as a critical space for all the epics and chronicles about wars in which the woman and her body become a double other; the woman is rejected by her own people as an unrepresentative Other and at the same time she becomes “the representative Other as a target of violence against the nation of the enemy” (ibid: 41). Facing the socialistic past in the novels The Museum of Unconditional Surrender and Frost and Ash, the process of remembering is initiated as a consequence of a traumatic experience of the present excommunicated territorial and historical existence. In that sense, we can recognize a certain politics of memory, heritage and generations (Derida 2004: 12) in both novels. That is the only politics of justice in the sense of responsibility towards debt and the Other: “One should count on them. It is impossible not to be indebted, you have to count on them, on them of whom there is more than one: more than one” (ibid: 14). Counting on them in the context of the novel presents the request to set up a project which counts on the Other, which is, in the novels by Jasna Šamić i Dubravka Ugrešić, presented as reconstructing a story in the socialistic period in order to deconstruct the ideological-manipulative strategies of the nationalistic project and its politics of forgetting.

161

162

A LMA D ENIĆ -G RABIĆ

R EFERENCES Assman, Jan (2005): Kulturno pamćenje: pismo, sjećanje i politički identitet u ranim visokim kulturama; translated from German by Vahidin Preljević, Zenica: Vrijeme. Babić, S./Đurić, D./Friedmann, S./Kivinmaa, K./Maljković, D/Meškova, S./Mršević, Z./Mrvić, N./Perović, V./Petrić, A./Slapšak, S., eds. (1999): Rečnik osnovnih feminističkih pojmova, Belgrade: IP Žarko Abulj. Boym, Svetlana (2005): Budućnost nostalgije, Belgrade: Geopoetika. Derrida, Jacques (2004): Marksove sablasti, Belgrade: Jasen. Jambrešić-Kirin, Renata (2001): “Za književnicu je pisanje dom: o suvremenoj hrvatskoj ženskoj književnosti u i o egzilu. Egzil i hrvatska ženska autobiografska književnost 90-ih.” In: Reč 61/7, pp. 175-197. Kazaz, Enver (1998): “Roman nepopustive iskrenosti.” In: Enes Duraković (eds.), Bošnjačka književnost u književnoj kritici, Book. 4, Novija književnost – proza, Sarajevo: Alef, pp. 853-855. Kowalcyk, Izabela (2002): “Pregovaranje oko ženskog identiteta u Poljskoj.” In: Treća, 1/IV, pp. 148-159. Kristeva, Julija (1989): Moći užasa, Zagreb: Naprijed. Kuljić, Todor (2006): Kultura sećanja, Belgrade: Čigoja štampa. Lukić, Jasmina (2001): “Tijelo i tekst u feminističkoj vizuri.” In: Treća 1-2/ III, pp. 237-250. Moranjak-Bamburać, Nirman (2006): “Trauma – memorija – pripovijedanje.” In: Sarajevske sveske 13, pp. 359-368. Mršević, Zorica et al. (1999), Rečnik osnovnih feminističkih pojmova, Beograd. Papić, Žarana (2001): “Europa nakon 1989: Etnički ratovi, fašizacija društvenog života i politika tijela u Srbiji.” In: Treća 1-2/III, pp. 40. Šamić, Jasna (1997): Mraz i pepeo, Sarajevo: Bosanska knjiga. Ugrešić, Dubravka (1999): Kultura laži, Zagreb: Arkzin. Ugrešić, Dubravka (2000): “Biti izvan.” In: Reč, no. 60/5, pp. 3-4. Ugrešić, Dubravka (2002): Muzej bezuvjetne predaje, Zagreb: Konzor; Belgrade: Samizdat B92.

W EBSITES Bachman-Medick, Doris: “Postkolonijalne geografske karte.” December 15, 2006 (http://www.zarez.hr/57/temabroja 1.htm). Moranjak-Bamburać, Nirman: “Tematizacija feminističke kritike u bosanskim uslovima.” April 5, 2004 (http://www.ifbosna.org.ba/ bosanski/dokumenti/rodna/94nova/). Richter, Angela: “Sećanje i zaborav u tuđini: Hrvatica Dubravka Ugrešić i Srbin David Albahari.” January 23, 2006 (http://www.omnibus.ba/ ble/angela_bl.htm). Rada Iveković: “Politike feminizma.” April 14, 2002 (http://www. zenskestudije.edu.yu/srpski/zenskestudije/index.html).

Goethe’s Oak Tree in the Western Balkans Wars, Memories and Identities in Contemporary Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian-Herzegovinian Novels Tihomir Brajović (Belgrade)

Almost half a century after the end of the Second World War and after the concentration camp of Buchenwald, near Weimar in Germany, was closed and just a few years before Yugoslavia disintegrated and concentration camps made their ominous comeback into European history, a novel came out in Sarajevo in 1988, bearing a striking title – Goethe’s Oak Tree in Buchenwald. In the introduction to his first novel, weaving the story of how the notorious camp was built, Miodrag Žalica, accomplished poet and playwright, evokes and varies, in the voice of the camp’s builders, the well-known idea that “Goethe’s oak stands for [...] the real and authentic Germany”. This was the reason for keeping the famous poet’s tree within the perimeter of the camp, for the builders of the camp believed that “when one thought in the camp he would find and see the gallows, he would actually come across the oak under which Goethe sat” and thus “the useful would be combined with the good. The useful, in this case, being the concentration camp itself, and the good, Goethe’s oak and its romantic culture” (Žalica 1988: 15). Therefore, in the mind of those who conceived this strange, unusual idea, it was endowed with “both purpose and piety” (ibid: 16). In the light of what was to ensue in the novel and history alike, ‘piety’ – just as much as ‘purpose’ and ‘usefulness’ – cannot but resound with irony. It is, in any case, utterly different from how the camp builders in the mentioned scene understood it and what they wanted to express by it. The word and the notion ‘piety’, which that at the same time encompasses reverance, piousness, loyalty and faithfulness, dignified memory, will turn out to be the key to understanding of what had happened in Buchenwald. And not only in Buchenwald, of course. Some twenty years after Žalica’s novel, Buchenwald and Goethe’s oak tree make another appearance in the Western Balkans, this time in the novel by a Serbian writer and former Buchenwald inmate, Ivan Ivanji. In his Ash Man (Čovek od pepela), written

164

T IHOMIR B RAJOVIĆ

as an essayed novel or a novelized essay on wartime and confinement memories, the concentration camp “is a museum now, a memorial centre, actually” (Ivanji 2006: 7) and “dealing with […] the objects from the concentration camp, tidily arranged in glass cases, is just like any other job for the employees of the memorial centre. Whatever it is they do with them they call, quite seriously, ‘work on memories’” (ibid: 15). Ivan Ivanji, however, reminds the reader quite overtly that the Russians detained their opponents in the same place, in Buchenwald, even in the same barracks, immediately after the end of the war, “celebrated as a victory by the larger portion of mankind. A memorial centre within the memorial centre is now being built to commemorate the sufferings of those people too” (ibid: 17). The site of Buchenwald has thus become the topos of a double memory, contradictory in a certain way, at which the traces of almost unprecedented historical and ideological cruelty of the modern age meet (ill. 2). Morever, there is a possibility of a ‘triple memorial usage’ of the space: “as a Nazi concentration camp from 1937 to 1945; as a Soviet internment camp from 1945 to 1950; and as a memorial to enhance the ‘anti-fa legend’ of the GDR from 1950 to 1990” (Farmer 1989: 107). Placed in the very heart of this ambivalent and contradictory post-traumatic fixation, the figure of Goethe’s oak tree points to an utterly peculiar cultural and literary memory lane that stands out here and is then reiterated, quite symptomatically, in other contemporary Western Balkan novels. “I write of something else so as not to write of something, just as I remember what was not so as not to remember what was” (Ugrešić 2002: 284). Dubravka Ugrešić writes in The Museum of Unconditional Surrender, her exemplary exile novel of Berlin and the painful experience of Yugoslavia’s disintegration. In this novel, the capital of Germany appears as a before-after place, that is, a symbolic memory and “archeological site” in which “the layers of time settle one over the other [...] as if an invisible, befuddled archeologist left wrong landmarks all over the place; it is often difficult to say what happened before and what happened after” (ibid: 282). For that reason, even a sojourn in such a place often feels like treading through a jumble of historical, ideological and cultural remnants, just as telling stories of personal fates linked to the city in some way often grows into a muddled hodgepodge of traces from the Second World War and the fall of the Wall, the German and ex-Yugoslav experience of division. Just like the hero of one of the most convincing post-war novels, David Albahari’s Svetski putnik (Globetrotter, 2001), descendant of a Balkan warcriminal and a second-generation exile in Canada, who, by the exigence of circumstance became a “culprit without a guilt, a criminal without a crime, an executioner without a victim” (Albahari 2001: 176), the narrator in Dubravka Ugrešić’s fragmentary novel is overwhelmed by a particular cultural phenomenon that could be termed ‘the transposed memory syndrome’ or ‘compensated memory’, which seems to be characteristic for understanding and depicting neuralgic topics of the recent past in the contemporary literature of the Western Balkans.

G OETHE ‘ S O AK T REE IN THE W ESTERN B ALKANS

Two outstanding novels by younger writers speak in favour of such a view. Having entered the world of literature a couple of decades after the medial generation of Dubravka Ugrešić and David Albahari and practicaly half a century after the generation of Miodrag Žalica and Ivan Ivanji, the generation fully possessed by the crucial experience of the Second World War, these young authors are shaped by the recent Balkan wars. The novels are Saša Ilić’s Berlinsko okno (Berlin Window, 2005) and Igor Štiks’s Elijahova stolica (Elijah’s Chair, 2006), which actually merge, in plot and theme, two epochal war-time experiences from the middle and the end of the twentieth century. Both novels do it in the above described way, reflecting the ex-Yugoslav, i.e. west Balkan history and the topical moment through the thematic and symbolic prism of the more recent German history and culture, as a paradigm of its kind. Just as it does in Dubravka Ugrešić’s Museum of Unconditional Surrender, the German capital appears as a markedly before-after place in Saša Ilić’s Berlin Window; it is a temporally complex stage for narration and a palimpsest urban topos so saturated with history that it often dominates the present. It may be best illustrated by the experience of a supporting heroine who feels that she has an insurmountable “problem with others’ memory”, because she is “tortured by something that is not hers, but that has started to lift its head [...], becoming heavier and heavier, dragging her into the depths, only to come back to her as an echo of somebody else’s memories” and owing to which she “begins to remember something that she has never experienced”(Ilić 2005: 32-33). The phenomenon of obsessive emergence of “other’s memory”, of “what comes back as an echo of somebody else’s memories” although “never personally experienced” appears here several times as an irrefutable expression of the already mentioned ‘compensated memory’ that, for some reason, ‘moves’ the memory of people and events onto other persons and into other times. The Berlin Window shows, in a literary persuasive way, that this unusual, almost compulsive transposition of anxious memories is a consequence of a particular lack or, rather, insufficient presence of that unique amalgam of respect, dignified memory, loyalty and vivid awareness of the past that we identified as piety at the beginning. Where there is no piety manifested as conscious remembering and commitment in the full sense of the word, where there are ideological, ethical or cognitive barriers or complex, even controversial outlines of shaping and understanding piety, ‘compensated memory’ emerges as some kind of “inappropriate”, spontaneously “transferred” memory that becomes emblematic of this inner, though forceful “change of places”; it can blend and cross individual and collective, domestic and foreign, old and modern memories, or images and figural representations through which they materialize. In Saša Ilić’s novel, such materialization comes in the destiny of Isa Fermeren, “a fifteen-year-old with an accordeon” who, “having refused to hail the Nazi flag at school one morning, was compelled to leave her high-school in Lübeck and set out [...] in search of a job” only to come

165

166

T IHOMIR B RAJOVIĆ

to Berlin “where she performed in the Catacombs Cabaret from 1933 on”; then she “went through the machinery of Ravensbrück, Buchenwald and Dachau” (ibid: 10-11), survived by sheer miracle, and “a year after the end of the war, her book of memories came out” (ibid: 298). Although culturally somewhat different from the paradoxical image of Goethe’s oak tree in Buchenwald, the image that spans high culture and military cruelty, this emblematic representation of the cabaret-singer girl, a Buchenwald inmate that combines popular culture with ideological repression into an artistic-political engagement, brings forth the same, already identified phenomenon of the “transferred” and thus disturbing memory. “The story of Isa Fermeren hurt me. Knowing that she left Lübeck as a schoolgirl who refused to hail the Nazi flag one morning made me nervous” (ibid: 287-288), admits Victor Greber, character in the novel, former professor of South Slavic languages at Humboldt University, testifying to the uneasiness that haunts those not ready to timely and thoroughly face their own, as well as collective past. In an indirect way, Greber’s ultimate realization that Isa Fermeren’s destiny still offers him “hope that a horrible voyage may be survived” testifies to this belated knowledge. It can be done even by subsequent understanding and remembering, since the “questions that we ask about the missing and the dead, after all about the camps [...] can bring no one back to life, though they can bring some humanity back to us” (ibid: 301). It seems that Igor Štiks’ Elijah’s Chair counts on a similar ethical imperative to accept with piety the existence of others as one’s own. With its entirely romanesque structure this novel appeals to no less than the evocation of the more recent European history of dishonour. “Who could’ve even thought something like this might happen!? In Sarajevo! We are in the camp again!”(Štiks 2006: 241) exclaims Richard Richter, an Austrian writer in search of the secret of his own ancestry, brought into the hub of the war tragedy by the irony of fate and made to symbolically view the collective suffering of the ghetto and the concentration camp in the Bosnian capital Golgotha; in the shadowy paths of his senses and mind, he once again makes out the paradigmatic and contradictory character of the European intellectual outlining the wide span from Sophocles’ Oedipus to Frisch’s Walter Faber. Based on the premise that the “European homo faber creates his destiny in Sarajevo today, because what he sees here is only a mirror in which his own future is shown” (ibid: 114), Štiks’ exciting and dramatic story relies most heavily on a rather intriguing thought – so much alike the romanesque visions of Saša Ilić and Dubravka Ugrešić, for example – that urban space has a more textured and more durable “memory” than people do, since the “cities engrave their history in the walls, into things, and not into the deceptive and corruptable human memory” (ibid: 174). Trying to save the enigma of his own identity from oblivion, Štiks’ fin-de-siècle homo faber will reveal, in the same way in which he reveals his Oedipus-like hybris, that he has, like Albahari’s Globetrotter, become a “culprit without guilt, a criminal without a crime” since he is

G OETHE ‘ S O AK T REE IN THE W ESTERN B ALKANS

a simultaneously Jewish, German and South-Slav by origin, intertwined in the intrigue of intimate mysteries and ideological betrayal. In the light of this unexpected, but in the novel nevertheless regular transposition of oblivion and memory, the unstoppable flow of events in which he is trapped seems to him as consequence of a particular interference of private ill-fate of a parent with public, collective voluntarism. Putting his hero in a position where he is compelled to say “In Sarajevo, I was not a foreigner, just like Oedipus was not one in Thebes” (ibid: 61), Igor Štiks molds his novel, to quite a large degree, as a criticism of the West European civilization as a Narcissist, short-sighted (self)-oblivion, not ready to face the fact that by hesitating in the Balkans “the European homo faber goes on rationally creating his destiny by doing nothing” (ibid: 113), to put it in the words of the novel’s heroine, who dramatizes Frisch’s novel in war-ridden Sarajevo. Thus the European, whose relation to the Balkan man, although long forgotten and furtive, is still immediate, allows the reiteration of what he had once been through, what he himself had initiated on the modern scale of world wars and crimes, without realizing that the marginalized Other is but himself. Read in this way, Elijah’s Chair appears as a book that closes the circle of contemporary novelist transposition of war memory and the perception of identity that derives from it in the West Balkans. It could be said that the “memory” of Štiks’ novel is compensated in it its own way, as is the case with those previously interpreted. In this novel, the war itself is presented sporadically and mostly indirectly, the relations and roles of the confronted parties match the well-known media picture and the overall narrative interest is directed primarily towards the problem of West-European treatment of Bosnian suffering and West-Balkan animosities as the consequence and the boomerang effect of the old, unsettled accounts and resentments to be paid off, with delay, by the whole region and the continent. “Historical knowledge […] has a vital function in the construction of community identity”, notes Hayden White with his writer’s authority. However, he immediately warns, and adequately so, that “problems arise precisely in any effort to use historical knowledge for purposes of identity construction”, because “historical knowledge always comes to the present in a processed form, not as a raw data or information stored in an archive”, but “as represented knowledge, as written, filmed, videotaped, photographed, dramatized and narrativized” (White 2006: 29). White might be offering us an adequate theoretical frame for understanding this phenomenon when he says that “latent meaning of an historical discourse consists of the generic story-type of which the facts themselves, arranged in a specific order and endowed with different weights, are the manifest form”, while each individual, concrete narrative is “an image of the events about which the story is told, while the generic story-type serves as a conceptual model to which the events are to be linked in order to permit their encodation as elements of a recognizable structure” (White 1978: 110).

167

168

T IHOMIR B RAJOVIĆ

Still, which would be the generic narrative in the explicit variants and variations of modern German literary, linguistic, political and, clearly, war experience that would be paradigmaticaly discernable for the West Balkan cultures? Going back once again to the Goethe’s oak implications, we can say that the understanding of that exemplary narrative is probably the most pregnantly expressed in Ivan Ivanji’s novel, whose symbolic hero, that rose from “the ashes […] of the murdered in Buchenwald concentration camp on Ettersberg hill near Weimar… possesses the features of a complex being and the knowledge of the entire manhood [emphasis T.B.]” (Ivanji 2006: 96). In this case, the knowledge is compressed into a disconcerning memory and realization that “as far as Weimar is concerned, it has to be noted that not only was the elite culture not resistant to the infection, but the barbarianism sprang out of the very cultural centre” (ibid: 16). It seems, therefore, that it is a narrative of crucial importance for civilization, a narrative about the controversy of culture and destruction, about its historical consequences that offer testimony of how important the cathartic and revitalizing mechanisms of self-facing and expression are; it is a narrative about nourishing piety for the victims of that controversy. The contemporary Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian-Herzegovinian novel shows, in other words, that in the times of crisis in civilization and culture zones, the dialectics of collective forgetting and remembering of the postmodern era may acquire a characteristic form of oblivionistmemorial narration, in the interpretation of gifted, imaginative and susceptible individuals. It means that it obtains the paradoxical narrative form of ‘evocative oblivion’, which ‘cushions’, distances and ‘objectivizes’ traumas and frustrations, still painful, of its own community by recalling the historical experience of the others. Obsessively returning to the German experience, which is in a way defining, epochally and civilizationally, in its creative and destructive expression, the novelists of the Western Balkans link the narratives of wars and exterminations, past and present, foreign and domestic, in a less common, vicarious and ‘discrete’ way. By doing so, they place their own experiences in the context of widely known ‘narrative histories’ that can be understood as ‘generic’, i.e. paradigmatic and exemplary. In this way, these contemporary ‘images’ of well-known ‘conceptual models’ relieve and relax, to a certain degree, the prolonged anxiety of their respective cultures, arising as they necessarily face their own singular roles and the unrepeatable sensation of the events that marked the nineties in the region and, in a way, on the whole continent. It seems that the German example, because of its representativeness, could be instructive and additionally inspiring, not only in symbolical rewinding, but also in active cognitive treatment of the past, recent and less recent, frustrating as a rule and, in a certain sense, cognitively blocked. As newer research convincingly shows, the debate ‘boom’ concerning the memories of the war, its controversies and concentration camps played an important role after 1989. It actually became the cornerstone in rebuilding German identity (Farmer 1989: 98). So, if the analogy

G OETHE ‘ S O AK T REE IN THE W ESTERN B ALKANS

with German experience of World War Two has been that inspirational for the West Balkan novelists, then undoubtedly, in the years to come, the newer German experience of mastering “multiple, overlapping histories” and complex “plural nature of social memory and identity” (ibid: 108-115) could also be stimulating for the culture and public of the region as the exemplary expression of the post-cold-war and postmodern era that derives from the overall history of the European 20th century and its numerous controversies.

R EFERENCES Albahari, David (2001): Svetski putnik, Belgrade: Stubovi Kulture. Farmer, Sarah (1989): “Symbols that Face Two Ways: Commemorating the Victims of Nazism and Stalinism at Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen.” In: Representations No 49, Winter 1995, Special Issue: Identifying Histories: Eastern Europe Before and After, pp. 97-119. Ilić, Saša (2005): Berlinsko okno, Belgrade: Fabrika Knjiga. Ivanji, Ivan (2006): Čovek od pepela, Belgrade: Stubovi Kulture. Štiks, Igor (2006): Elijahova stolica, Zaprešić: Fraktura. Ugrešić, Dubravka (2006): Muzej bezuvjetne predaje, Zagreb-Beograd: Konzor & Samizdat B92. White, Hayden (1978): Tropics of Discourse, Essays in Cultural Criticism, Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press. White, Hayden (2006): “Historical Discourse and Literary Writing.” In: Kuisma Korhonen (ed.), Tropes for the Past, Hayden White and the History/Literature debate, Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, pp. 25-34. Žalica, Miodrag (1988): Geteov hrast u Buhenvaldu, Sarajevo: Svjetlost.

169

Memories in Conflict

Ambivalent Images of Germany in the Travelogues of Miloš Crnjanski Bojana Stojanović Pantović (Novi Sad)

Images of Germany and the Germans in Miloš Crnanjski’s travelogues conform, in their main points, to the ambiguous relationship of Serbian writers and university professors towards this question, starting from Ljubomir P. Nenadović and Laza Lazarević, in the 19th century, to the generation of writers between the two wars, such as Dragiša Vasić and Stanislav Vinaver (cf. Vasić 1996: 92-121). This image consists, on the one hand, of great admiration for the particular traits of the German character and mentality, such as hard work, order, discipline, perseverance, temerity, orientation toward progress, and awareness of national identity, as well as a fascination with German art and culture. On the other hand, the travelogues criticized the negative side of German mentality, seen in an unconditional readiness to surrender to one leader and to fulfill his demands. Or, as Dragiša Vasić puts it in his Impressions from Germany (1923): “The German […] he works, always in a hurry: he doesn’t waste his time, he is serious like a machine […] He holds a woman in his arms like a technical, dead thing […] because he is cut out to work, not to play” (ibid.: 97). The images of Germany that Miloš Crnjanski (1892-1975) articulates in his essays, travel writing and journalism, from 1921 onwards, can be perceived as extremely complex and often contradictory, far removed from any sort of black and white, either/or view. Crnjanski’s political ideas and opinions present a special issue, debatable even today. In the Belgrade daily Politika there has been a discussion recently about Crnjanski’s political (non)conformism, i.e. the reasons for his lack of commentary on some important issues from the time of Nazi Germany (cf. Websites Politika, Novosti). The participants of the debate were Zoran Avramović, sociologist, the author of the book Politics and Literature in Miloš Crnjanski’s Work (2007) and Nikola Bertolino, translator and essayist, and the author of the book Questions about Crnjanski (2009). The fact is that, initially, Crnjanski sympathized with leftist ideas, while later on, as a high government official, he converted to the right wing politics of Milan

174

B OJANA S TOJANOVIĆ P ANTOVIĆ

Stojadinović; he might even have had sympathies for Hitler and General Franco. However, not much is known about his personal attitude toward these issues, apart from the fact that in the letters to his friends he was critical of the current situation in Germany of the time. In a private letter to Marko Ristić, Crnjanski expressed his dissatisfaction toward Berlin: “Berlin, as a greatness, as a result, beauty, modernity, is such an idiotic thing that I will never be able to dream of the Belgrade of the future” (Crnjanski 2004: 96). This duality of his images of Germany must have been influenced by his stay in that country, and especially in Berlin, as an official at the Yugoslav embassy, as Cultural Attaché (1928-1929) and, after that, as a correspondent for the Central Press Agency of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. At that time (1935-1938), he was a reporter for the government’s rightwing newspaper, Vreme (Time) writing under the pseudonym M. Putnik. His impressions of Germany, and Berlin, with its transformation from a metropolis, during the Weimar Republic, into a megalopolis, are indicative of his opinion during both of his sojourns in the city. In the key section of his The Book of Germany (1931), entitled The Iris of Berlin (Iris Berlina) the author creates a somewhat frightening picture of the city that becomes a synecdoche for all of Germany. It signifies an important turning point with Berlin taking over the leading position not only in Prussia, but also spreading its economic, industrial, financial, political and cultural influence to the rest of the country. At the same time, after Germany had recuperated from the First World War, Berlin became a symbol of the country’s upcoming military expansionism. However, in order to fully understand Crnjanski’s ambivalent and troubled picture of Berlin and Germany, we have to turn to his first travelogue, Letters from Paris (Pisma iz Pariza, 1921). While traveling to the City of Light, he mentions several stops on his way: first Vienna, and then Munich. In a short letter from Munich, Crnjanski gives a somewhat bitter but emotional account of his brief visit to the city, writing about his political conversations with military officers, as well as with socialists and tram drivers, his chinwag with elegantly-clad ladies or chamber maids (Crnjanski 1966 [1921]): 16). The image of Other is created through ideological stereotypes expressed by the military elite, at a time when Germany was still recovering from the Treaty of Versailles. The negative stereotypes about the Serbs, as well as other nations, are also introduced through the words of the German officers: “Why should I write about all this? It’s boring. The officers were saying that our bravery is only savagery, and that the Serbian women are even cheaper than the Hungarian and Polish ones” (ibid: 16). And a little bit further on: Still, they are ridiculous (the Germans) with their American bank accounts, with their sly belief in Russia, with their stupid hatred towards France. They used to

A MBIVALENT I MAGES OF G ERMANY believe only in themselves once […]. And all of a sudden, the same people have started to babble, to utter threats, to lie, to go crazy. Someone’s pushing them into it. Someone’s chasing them. Some old German god from a Wagner opera. And the rage, the insane, stupid rage. (Ibid: 17)

Crnjanski here highlights some sort of German obsession with greatness and their inclination towards triumph that could be seen from the political and historical situation of the time. Still, it seems that the Munich of the 1920s, and the Berlin of the 1930s, could be compared to the irrational escalation of Serbian nationalism in the 1990s, regardless of the consequences of such a compensatory project. The mythical selfconfidence of the Germans as a dominant nation on the European political scene is intertwined with a bitter feeling of frustration, defeat, the desire for revenge to make others pay for their lost dignity. In his orientation towards expressionism in literature, Crnjanski found something else to be quite close to him: the metaphysical, mystical and spiritual side of the German national polity. His conversations with intellectuals and young poets influenced his yearnings for a synesthetic connection of all phenomena, things and beings, expressed in his artistic concept of Sumatraism. It also stirred up the author’s obsession with colors, nuances, purity and the original unity of man and the universe. When he talks about the three days he spent with “quiet, noble, pale and lean people, men and women” (ibid: 17), Crnjanski completely changes his impression of Munich; his feelings about it are perfectly adjusted to his concept of Sumatraism which he articulated around that time, in the 1920s. Those factories, which are red like enormous bakeries, quaking from the work being done, are not all that is German. What is German are those high windows that shine through the fog, high up, beneath the roofs, next to the dark, towering churches... And how it will, later, teach Europe an entirely new love, German love, for the mountains, for the forests, and for the heavens: a love that will not be dependent on cities, society and life. (Ibid: 18-19)

If one of the specificities of Serbian expressionism is that it only sporadically topicalized the urban and metropolitan topoi (Stojanović Pantović 1998: 16-17), then the travel diary The Iris of Berlin, written immediately after the novel Migrations (Seobe, 1929), replaces that void in every aspect, because the style and sensibility of this travel diary by Crnjanski are indubitably different from that of the novel. The author lucidly notes the changes in the Germany of the day: the obvious Americanization of Berlin, the phenomenon of consuming and the consumer society, technological advances, the cult of speed and the automobile, financial power and the intense investment in industry, the plethora of foreign corporations. Likewise, the loss of German national identity is also observed in a certain sense, first growing into cosmopolitanism, and then transforming into

175

176

B OJANA S TOJANOVIĆ P ANTOVIĆ

alienation and the loss of individuality. In addition one finds the invasion of the film industry, the discourse of sexuality, the question of women’s rights and gender roles. The relationship between the provinces and the center is also an important, new theme that Crnjanski discusses in The Iris of Berlin. The power of money and economy make it possible for Berlin, as a megalopolis, to equalize all national traditions (e.g. Bavarian and Prussian). This leads the writer to the conclusion that the state as a unique system turns more or less equal differences into a symbol of identicalness which is orchestrated from a single center. In that sense, the capital city can be the center of a country, and still not exclude all of its other parts. On the other hand, in terms of the image of Berlin as a new European megalopolis as seen by Crnjanski, it represents such a center that makes the rest of the country seem provincial, thus becoming one center with two superstructures. Berlin was so far ahead of the other, more impoverished part of Germany, that it was perhaps the only city that was interesting for foreigners. Crnjanski noted all of that clearly: Berlin observes its opponents in the country with irony, full of strength. All of those national problems in Bavaria and Saxony mean only insignificant numbers in the endless Berlin banks, behind the high glassed windows, where the steel vaults hide their armor, as blue as submarines. Those barriers can disturb Germany, great and cosmopolitan, in its new, postwar advancement. (Crnjanski 1966 [1931]): 230)

Let us observe also the following quotation: All roads lead to it, all trains rush toward it, from it airplanes depart carrying newspapers. It is like a central post office, central bank, maternity ward, the central police of the country, of trade, gambling and it is the central hotel, brewery and, if only that were to precisely correspond to vanity of all that is human, it is also the central insane asylum. (Ibid: 233)

If, on the one hand, nostalgia is felt for the old, prewar Germany in which, in spite of certain political and religious problems, there was always a high degree of national unity, Crnjanski indubitably adores this new face of Berlin. But he no longer cares about the past, he rather rushes toward the future: “because it is completely modern, with a new profile, without all of the former things, under a helmet. The word ‘danger’ here is perhaps unjustifiable, otherwise one might say that Berlin now has much greater strength than it used to. It connects the German lands to itself as they have never been connected to it before” (ibid: 233). Because of that, the writer in him now sees, in place of the former Sparta, a German Athens which has a much greater influence than Munich or Vienna ever had. It is beyond all doubt that the concept and topos of the megalopolis to a great extent exclude the concept of nationalism as a desire of an entity

A MBIVALENT I MAGES OF G ERMANY

for a homogenous community. In the metropolis, or rather megalopolis, according to Georg Simmel a place of maximum individual freedom in every possible sense becomes a reality. Namely, it actualizes such a kind and measure of personal freedom that there is no possible analogy to it in other relationships (Simmel 2001 [1903]: 146). The figure of the consumer in Crnjanski is related to the exaggerated process of the Americanization of German and European culture, thus foreseeing modern consumer discourse as epitomized by speed, automobiles, advertisements and especially by “moving pictures”, the new medium of film, American musicals, jazz and so on. Although “hard work” is at the basis of Berlin life, the author adds that it is not fairly distributed in terms of gender roles. While men are characterized by anxiety and the race for money, women are, in contrast, freed of those responsibilities and long for “sexuality, luxury and poetry”, which is quite hard for the average mature German male to cope with” (Crnjanski 1966 [1931]: 303-305). Of special interest is the part where Crnjanski writes about the ever growing feminist movement, about prostitution and other forms of sexuality (homosexuality and lesbianism, promiscuity that is allowed even in marriage, the rejection of the role of motherhood): “Regarding marriage, however, regarding the crisis of marriage (due to postwar economic reasons and frequent deviations from the norm), Berlin has made the solution of the problem of the sexual the main post-war issue” (ibid: 305). Marveling at the beauty of German girls and women, the Serbian writer noticed not those who were so-called “beauties of the night”, but rather “beauties of the day, of water, of summer, of daylight. Proper Dianas, easy on the eye, wherever there is fresh air” (ibid: 308). In general terms, although Crnjanski shows a certain reservation towards the new forms of human freedom, he is quite interested in the field of sexuality, which is very evident in his novel The Journal of Čarnojević (Dnevnik o Čarnojeviću, 1921) or the collection Stories about Men (Priče o muškom, 1920). Both works contain elements of queer aesthetics (avtor? 2001: 67). In terms of language and style, this travel diary is written in a nervous, tense and paratactic style, where (as if in a panopticon) flashes follow one after the other – of the subjective and the lyrical, of the journalistic and the ideological, of the polemic and the analytical, of the travel diary and a political approach and discourse. The urban language of the metropolis and the space of its activity is simultaneously interiorized and exteriorized in Crnjanski’s narrative. The city is thus experienced almost physically, as the manifestation of the author’s own “I”, and on the other hand it is drawn into that Babylon of perversion. Mention is also made of hysterical breakups, fights because of familial and material circumstances, childhood suicide, confessions, weeping, the giggling and arguments of friends, lady friends, mistresses and companions. Likewise, gestures and poses play an important role: in the stores, stations and cafés [...]. Still such an everyday reality at night spills over into rosy, blue lightening which open

177

178

B OJANA S TOJANOVIĆ P ANTOVIĆ

up, always and everywhere, questions of the character and meaning of Sumatraism as a mainline philosophical-poetic creative path in the works of Miloš Crnjanski. “Otherwise, Germany is all in colors, both internal and external. They are dull to the foreigner, but deep and full of hues [...]. The postwar colors flooded all of that in waves of yellow, red, green and so on. As such, all the phenomena flood into a river of strange irises” (Crnjanski 1966 [1931]: 221). The iris, whose blossom is most often a dark violet color, signifies grief and sadness in Byzantine and Greek Orthodoxy. But in the Serbian writer it is as if he is constantly warning us about the ephemerality that we are most often conscious of at night, when all of our confusing lives are slowly dying out in the lights of the advertisements. Sumatraism – although it conjures up Serbian tradition (Branko Radičević, Laza Kostić) and the (neo)romantic world heritage – in Crnjanski should absolutely not be juxtaposed with or separated from the concept of the urban, and in this case from the metropolitan. In spite of the author’s longing for an all-encompassing spatial-temporal accord and the harmonization of disagreements from any of the physicalpsychological points of the subject and personal perception, there is always a clear consciousness of his distancing, separation, decimation, disappearance, waning and emptiness. For if Sumatraism were to be understood as radically opposed to urbanity and as a naive apology for nature – in opposition to culture – Crnjanski would certainly not be either a modernist writer or much less a postmodern one, as he is considered to be by some contemporary researchers (cf. Lompar 2007). Thus, Crnjanski’s Sumatraism has its own developmental line, but its starting point is doubtlessly in the poetics of German expressionism, which can be seen from his abovementioned marveling at Bavarian landscapes, but also those of Berlin: “If someone does not understand today’s expressionist art, he cannot call himself an artist”, Crnjanski wrote in one of his art critiques in 1920 (Crnjanski 1999: 428). In these briefly presented images from Crnjanski about Germany and the Germans, there is an obvious ambivalence in terms of ideologicalpolitical characteristics, and also those related to mentality, society, culture and anthropology. However, in terms of the internal poetic-aesthetic stimuli that are of ultimate significance in understanding the literary works and the thoughts of this writer, a remarkably inspirational heteroimage dominates, indicating a self-image, and therefore the writer’s personal expressionistic sensibility as represented by Sumatraism.

R EFERENCES Bruchm, Steven (2001): Reflecting Narcissus. A Queer Aesthetics, University of Minessota. Crnjanski, Miloš (1966 [1921]): “Pisma iz Pariza. II Minhen.” In: Putopisi, Belgrade: Prosveta-Matica srpska, pp. 15-19.

A MBIVALENT I MAGES OF G ERMANY

Crnjanski, Miloš (1966 [1931]): “Iris Berlina.” In: Putopisi, Belgrade: Prosveta-Matica srpska, pp. 221-320. Crnjanski, Miloš (1999 [1920]): “O izložbi ratnih slikara.” In: Eseji i članci, I, Dela Miloša Crnjanskog, vol. X. Belgrade-Lausanne: Zadužbina Miloša Crnjanskog and L’age d’homme, pp. 425-431. Crnjanski, Miloš (2004): Pisma ljubavi i mržnje, Belgrade: Filip Višnjić. Hobsbawm,Eric (1996 [1991]): Nacije i nacionalizam od 1780, Prevela S. Nikolić. Belgrade: Filip Višnjić. Lompar, Milo (2007): Apolonovi putokazi, Belgrade: Službeni glasnik. Nedić, Marko (1972): “Putopisna proza Miloša Crnjanskog.” In: Ljubiša Jeremić/Aleksandar Petrov (eds.), Književno delo Miloša Crnjanskog, Belgrade: BIGZ, pp. 276-290. Simmel, Georg (2001 [1903]): “Velegradi i duševni život.” In: Kontrapunkti kulture. Zagreb: Naklada Jesenski i Turk, pp. 135-152. Stojanović Pantović, Bojana (1998): Srpski ekspresionizam, Novi Sad: Matica srpska. Vasić, Dragiša (1996 [1923]): “Utisci iz Nemačke.” In: M.Sofronijević and M.Maksimović (eds.), Srbi o Nemcima, Belgrade: DBR International Publishing, pp. 92-121. Vladušić, Slobodan (2009): Slike metropola u prozi Miloša Crnjanskog, Novi Sad. Filozofski fakultet. (“Unpublished manuscript”). Vučković, Radovan (2001): “Putopisi Stanislava Vinavera i Miloša Crnjanskog o Nemačkoj.” In: Slobodanka Peković/Staniša Tutnjević (eds.), Knjiga o putopisu, Belgrade: Institut za književnost i umetnost, pp. 290-302.

W EBSITES “Inicijative”, October 17, 2009 ( http://www.sanu.ac.rs-Inicijative-2009 GabrijelaSubert.pdf). “Nacionalizam i zablude Miloša Crnjanskog”, August 1, 2010 ( http://www. politika.rs/rubrike/Kulturni-dodatak/Nacionalizam-i-zablude-Milosha Crnjanskog.lt.html ). “Hitler je za Crnjanskog bio samodržac”, July 25, 2010 (http://novosti-izbkd.blogspot.com/2009/07/hitler-je-za-crnjanskog-bio-samodrzac. html).

179

Writing Art History from a National Point of View The Case of Dalmatia Renata Novak Klemenčič (Ljubljana)

After centuries of Venetian domination, with the fall of the Republic in 1797 the population of Dalmatia was faced with many changes. Throughout the 19th century, the Italian population of Dalmatian towns gradually lost its political influence and therefore the ethnic structure of the population began to change. During the reign of Napoleon, Dalmatia was initially part of the Kingdom of Italy, but after the reorganisation of 1809 it was annexed to the Illyrian Provinces, which caused the first major wave of the emigration of the Italian population. After Napoleon’s demise, the Vienna Congress annexed Dalmatia to the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Dalmatia was founded with Zadar as its administrative and ecclesiastic capital. By the end of the 19th century, Croatian national tendencies resulted in the introduction of Croatian as the official language; this was supported also by the monarchy in its struggle against the territorial pretensions of Italy, which increased steadily throughout the 19th century. The situation was exceptionally tense during and immediately after the First World War, when the Treaty of Rapallo annexed Lastovo, Zadar and several nearby islands to Italy, whereas the rest of Dalmatia became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. Needless to say, these political changes had an immediate impact on art-historical writing about art in Dalmatia and have continued to shape it to the present day. There had been a lot of interest in Dalmatia even before the World War. In Vienna two large photographic repertories on Dalmatian art were published in 1910 by Georg Kowalczyk and Ciril Metod Iveković, and in the same year, some of Austrian art historians organized a study trip to Dalmatia. On that occasion Max Dvořak (1911: 1) and Eduard Brückner (1911) stressed Venetian colonial policy on shaping the art in Dalmatia, while Dagobert Frey, only two years later in a study of the Šibenik cathedral and Giorgio da Sebenico (written on the basis of archival research by Vojeslav Mole) made the point that art in Dalmatia did not follow precisely the

182

R ENATA N OVAK K LEMENČIČ

lines of development of Italian art. According to his interpretation, the geographical conditions, political and economical situation and materials made possible for the artists to follow the Italian influences but also to modify and assimilate them (1913: 2). Hans Folnesics, on the other hand, in his survey of the 15th century Dalmatian sculpture and architecture in 1914 argued against some older assertions that the renaissance in Dalmatia had an evolution parallel to the one in Italy because of a strong influence of the Palace of Diocletian. These assertions, according to Folnesics, were only the product of local patriotism (1914: 27). During and after the First World War, Italian irredentist tendencies began to be expressed in art history literature. Among several writings that tried to justify Italian claims to Dalmatia on geological, ethnical, historical, and other grounds (Karaman 1917-1919: 134-147) some art-historical studies should be pointed out. In 1917 Adolfo Venturi, Ettore Pais and Pompeo Molmenti published a book entitled Dalmazia monumentale in Milan. In the introduction Tomaso Sillani presented the book as a widely accessible work that offers a comprehensive presentation of the main elements of Dalmatian art, “where there are many buildings of different periods, but of one single Latin essence, and they all give Dalmatia […] its strong and indestructible Italian aspect” (Venturi/Pais/Molmenti 1917: s. p.). The paper by Adolfo Venturi, probably the most influential Italian art historian at the time, outlined the main emphasis of his lecture “Dalmazia artistica”, which he held in March 1916 in Rome and was published in this book for the first time. According to his opinion, in Dalmatia indigenous Italian art developed without other “frontier” influences, therefore this was not “frontier” art created on the junction of different cultures, but purely Italian art: So in those countries [that have a mixed population and natural boundaries] art is formed as a hybrid, as something border-like, as it were, gathering words and phrases of different languages into a turbid mixture. This did not happen in Dalmatia, because the indigenous art was not oppressed, displaced, not even touched by art of different origin or tendency: the art of Zadar and of the Bay of Kotor, of their town halls and churches, loggias, and private palaces, was Italian. (Venturi/Pais/Molmenti 1917: 19-20; trans. by R.N.K.)

As we will see later, this became a very popular quotation in all subsequent waves of irredentist tendencies. Soon after the First World War, the text is quoted by above-mentioned Alessandro Dudan (1921: 1) in a widely known and several times reprinted monograph entitled La Dalmazia nell’arte italiana. Venti secoli di civiltà, which was initially published in two volumes in 1921 and 1922. He explained the indigenous Italian character of art in Dalmatia in greater detail and with greater clarity in the Emporium magazine as early as 1918. According to him, Italian art in Dalmatia did not originate from major cities, such as Rome and Venice, unlike art that spread to the Asia Minor and the Black Sea area; on the contrary, Italian art

W RITING A RT H ISTORY FROM A N ATIONAL P OINT OF V IEW

on the Dalmatian coast developed in the form of the indigenous creativity of Dalmatian artists because of their Latin soul, just as it developed, for example, in Tuscany: “Qualcuno ama insinuare che furono Roma e Venezia ad importare l’arte loro in Dalmazia, come la portarono in Levante, Asia Minore, Mar Nero. Non è vero! In Dalmazia l’arte romanica, italiana s’ è sviluppata autoctona con artisti dalmati, per le forze dell’anima latina dalmatica, in ugual guisa che si sviluppava in Toscana.” (Dudan 1918: 184). A similar line of thinking can also be found in a book on Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Dalmatia, written in 1918 in French by Attilio Tamaro. Naturally, Croatian art historians defended Dalmatian art heritage and searched for ways of how to present it as more Slavic. In his first monograph, Ljubo Karaman, who studied with Max Dvořak in Vienna, focused on Early Christian art. Discussing the architecture of simple stone churches in Dalmatia and its hinterland, he rejected the different theories about Byzantine, Asian and Northern European influences and pointed out that they were built by Croatian artists and were commissioned by Croatian patrons (Karaman 1930: 56). He attributed the multitude of different architectural types to the provincial and peripheral environment (ibid: 52). Three years later, in his monograph on 15th and 16th century art in Dalmatia, he attempted to supply scientific proof for the claim that art in Dalmatia is a blend of Italian and “local” art (Karaman 1933: 5). In addition, he attempted to include artists of Slavic origin in the overview of Dalmatian art on equal footing as others, immigrant artists. Of the latter, in several cases, for example of Albanian Andrea Alessi, and of Lombard Bonino da Milano, he pointed out that they quickly “settled down” in Dalmatia, whereas of the Florentine Niccolo di Giovanni (Fiorentino) he says that he can be regarded as a “local artist”, because he can be given a place in art history only based on his works in Dalmatia (ibid: 69, 79, 80). Karaman’s theories were clearly a response to Italian irredentism: he placed emphasis on Croatian artists and patrons instead of the Italian ones and he replaced the notion of indigenous Italian art in Dalmatia with the idea of a provincial and peripheral environment as a fertile crossroads of different influences. Both Italian and Croatian politically motivated ideas from the period of the First World War and the following years had a profound influence on the research into the history of Dalmatian art up to the most recent years. Italian studies, written mostly in the periods of political instability, followed the line of art as indigenous Italian creativity in Dalmatia. Moreover, the words of Venturi from Dalmazia monumentale were literally repeated. An example is an article by two well-known art historians working in Padua during the Second World War, Sergio Bettini and Giuseppe Fiocco, entitled “Arte italiana e arte croata”, published in a book of essays Italia e Croazia in 1942. When the Italian irredentist tendencies emerged again in the 1990s when Croatia became an independent country, we find the quotation in the reprinted survey of Alessandro Dudan (1999: 1). Similar views to those of Alessandro Dudan are still, although maybe less aggressively, promoted

183

184

R ENATA N OVAK K LEMENČIČ

by Giuseppe Maria Pilo, well know Venetian art historian, who in 2000 published a monograph entitled Per trecentosettantasette anni. La gloria di Venezia nelle testimonianze artistiche della Dalmazia, five years later translated into English as The Fruitful Impact: The Venetian heritage in the art of Dalmatia. Apart from many other inconsistencies, in his book he even considers Dubrovnik as “the fifth maritime republic of Italy” (2000: 219) whereas at the very beginning he includes the entire Dalmatian coast, including Dubrovnik, in the Venetian Republic (ibid: 23). Declaratively, he suggests Dalmatian art should be considered as a result of positive, mutual connections, but when discussing individual monuments, he hardly ever mentions elements that are not Venetian. It might be indicative that the Zadar city gate with Venetian symbols that adorns the title page of Pilo’s book was a well-known and recurrent motif on the postcards of the fascist era. On the other hand, the theory of a provincial, frontier and peripheral art, which Ljubo Karaman continued to develop in the 1950s and 1960s (Karaman 1952; Karaman 1963), resulted in an excessive emphasis of the role of ‘local’ artists and a supposed independent development of Dalmatian art with modest influences from abroad. Croatian art historians even studied artists who arrived in Dalmatia from Italy and stayed there for a long period of time only from the moment when they appeared in Dalmatia until the moment they left. Therefore they were not interested in stylistic elements that these artists brought with them, the elements with which they influenced other art centres, nor the circumstances that led to their arrival in Dalmatia. On the other hand Dalmatian monuments were rarely incorporated in the monographs and surveys of art outside the borders of the former Yugoslavia. Of course, language barriers also represent an important obstacle, and one of the leading Slovenian art historians, Janez Höfler, attempted to solve it in 1989 with the publication of a German survey of medieval and early renaissance Dalmatian art, which after many decades allowed non-Croatian speaking researchers an insight into the state of research in the history of Dalmatian art. Höfler, being neither Croatian nor Italian, also tried to evaluate objectively the importance of individual monuments in the context of art of the Adriatic rim. Surprisingly, or not, some Croatian art historians responded to his book with considerable disapproval. Especially Radovan Ivančević, one of the best known Croatian art historians of the last decades of the 20th century, objected to the use of Italian names for places and artists, the separation of Dalmatia and the rest of Croatia and the disregard for the Croatian aspect of Dalmatian art (Ivančević 1997: 15, 244). Only lately have things been gradually changing. Croatian art historians really made an effort for a better presentation of Dalmatian cultural heritage throughout Europe, especially by organizing special exhibitions in important cultural centres, using their professional contacts to get some of the most important, internationally acclaimed scholars as collaborators and authors of several catalogue entries (e.g. Marković/

W RITING A RT H ISTORY FROM A N ATIONAL P OINT OF V IEW

Badurina 1999; Belamarić 2001; Jurković/Erlande-Brandenburg 2004). All these events had a specific objective to establish a wider European context for art in Croatia (as well as in Dalmatia, of course). Beside that, recent research has pointed out that some of the Croatian theses about the peripheral character of Dalmatian art were not really adequate. As Samo Štefanac (2008: 95) demonstrated recently, at least for the 1460s, Dalmatia was neither a simple Venetian province (in artistic terms), colonized by second-rate Venetian artists, nor was it really peripheral, isolated from wider artistic currents.

R EFERENCES Belamarić, Joško, ed. (2001): Tesori della Croazia restaurati da Venetian Heritage Inc., Venezia: Edizioni Multigraf. Bettini, Sergio/Fiocco, Giuseppe (1942): “Arte italiana e arte croata.” In: Italia e Croazia, Roma: Reale accademia d’Italia. Brückner Eduard, ed. (1911): Dalmatien und das österreichische Küstenland, Wien: Franz Deuticke. Dudan, Alessandro (1918): “Dalmazia italiana.” In: Emporium 48/286, pp. 179-195. Dudan, Alessandro (1921/1922): La Dalmazia nell’arte italiana. Venti secoli di civiltà, Milano: Fratelli Treves. Dudan, Alessandro (1999): La Dalmazia nell’arte italiana. Venti secoli di civiltà, Fiume: Unione Italia; Trieste: Università popolare di Trieste. Dvořak, Max (1911): “Italienische Kunstwerke in Dalmatien”. In: Jahrbuch des Kunsthistorischen Institutes der K. K. Zentral-Kommission für Denkmalpflege 5, 1911, p. 1. Folnesics, Hans (1914): “Studien zur Entwicklungsgeschichte der Architektur und Plastik des XV. Jahrhunderts in Dalmatien.” In: Jahrbuch des Kunsthistorischen Institutes der k .k. Zentralkommission für Denkmalpflege 8, pp. 27-196. Frey, Dagobert (1913): “Der Dom von Sebenico und sein Baumeister Giorgio Orsini.” In: Jahrbuch des Kunsthistorischen Institutes der k. k. Zentralkommission für Denkmalpflege 7, pp. 1-169. Höfler, Janez (1989): Die Kunst Dalmatiens, Graz: Akademische Druckund Verlagsanstalt. Ivančević, Radovan (1997): Rana renesansa u Trogiru, Split: Književni krug. Iveković, Ciril Metod (1910): Dalmatiens Architektur und Plastik, Wien: A. Schroll & Co. Jurković, Miljenko/Erlande-Brandenburg, Alain, eds. (2004): Hrvatska renesansa, Zagreb: Galerija Klovićevi dvori. Karaman, Ljubo (1917–1919): “Recensioni. Dalmazia Monumentale...” In: Bulletino di archeologia e storia Dalmata XL-XLII, pp. 134-147. Karaman, Ljubo (1930): Iz kolijevke hrvatske prošlosti: historijsko-umjetničke crtice o starohrvatskim spomenicima, Zagreb: Matica hrvatska.

185

186

R ENATA N OVAK K LEMENČIČ

Karaman, Ljubo (1933): Umjetnost u Dalmaciji. XV. i XVI. vijek, Zagreb: Matica hrvatska. Karaman, Ljubo (1952): Pregled umjetnosti u Dalmaciji (od doseljenja Hrvata do pada Mletaka), Zagreb: Matica hrvatska. Karaman, Ljubo (1963): O djelovanju domaće sredine u umjetnosti hrvatskih krajeva, Zagreb: [Društvo historičara umjetnosti]. Kowalczyk, Georg (1910): Denkmaeler der Kunst in Dalmatien, Wien: Verlag von Franz Malota. Marković, Vladimir/Badurina, Anđelko, ed. (1999): The Croats. Christianity, Culture, Art, Zagreb: Ministry of Culture of tre Republic of Croatia, The Gallery of Klovićevi dvori. Pilo, Giuseppe Maria (2000): Per trecentosettantasette anni. La gloria di Venezia nelle testimonianze artistiche della Dalmazia, Venezia: Edizioni della Laguna. Pilo, Giuseppe Maria (2005): The Fruitful Impact. The Venetian Heritage in the Art of Dalmatia. “For three hundred and seventy-seven Years”, Venezia: Edizioni della Laguna. Štefanac, Samo (2008): “Stilske mijene u arhitekturi i skulpturi na Jadranu šezdesetih godina 15. stoljeća.” In: Marković, Predrag/Gudelj, Jasenka (eds.), Renesansa i renesanse u umjetnosti Hrvatske, pp. 89-98. Tamaro, Attilio (1918): La Venetie Julienne et la Dalmatie : histoire de la nation italienne sur ses frontieres orientales, Roma: Imprimerie du Sénat. Venturi, Adolfo/Pais, Ettore/Molmenti, Pompeo (1917): Dalmazia monumentale, Milano: Editori Alfieri e Lacroix.

Memories in Conflict Remembering the Partisans, the Second World War and Bleiburg in Croatia Aleksandar Jakir (Split)

A newly published book called Anti-Fascist Split (2010) on the anti-fascist struggle in Split, the capital of Dalmatia, states that in a city which then had about 43,000 inhabitants, about “12,500 armed fighters” and Partisans, including 6,150 youths and 1,130 women, fought bravely, and all in all “18,000 citizens actively collaborated in the resistance movement” (cf. preface: XIII). On several hundred pages, the book gives a detailed chronology of events in Split during World War II. The epilogue states that the names of 1,853 men, women and children from Split are still engraved on 11 stone walls at the “Lovrinac” cemetery in Split. They lost their lives during this struggle on the side of the anti-fascist Partisan movement, in the so-called “National Liberation Struggle”. Indeed, organizations such as the “Young Anti-Fascists” in Croatia, as well as other political parties, organizations, writers and journalists, take great pride in the anti-fascist struggle in the region of Dalmatia, as well as in all of Croatia during the World War II (cf. website Antifast.bloger.hr). Well-known intellectuals and journalists see anti-fascism as a “force that united Dalmatia” (cf. for example the frequent comments of Jurica Pavičić on the website Jutarnji. hr). In Croatia, the so-called “Day of the Anti-Fascist Struggle” is a national holiday celebrated on June 22. It marks the beginning of the uprising of Croatian anti-fascist Partisans against German and Italian occupying forces that started with the forming of the First Sisak Partisan Detachment on June 22, 1941 in the woods near Sisak, Croatia. This Partisan Detachment, often hailed as the first armed anti-fascist resistance unit in the whole of occupied Europe, was formed in Croatia, in the Brezovica forest near the town of Sisak. Article 1 of the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia (cf. Narodne novine/Official Gazette 56/90, and later consolidated versions, also on www.usud.hr) clearly states that “the Croatian state is founded on the historical right of the Croatian nation to full sovereignty […] establishing the foundations of state sovereignty during the course of

188

A LEKSANDAR J AKIR

the Second World War, by the decisions of the Anti-fascist Council of the National Liberation of Croatia (1943), as opposed to the proclamation of the Independent State of Croatia (1941) […]”. Hence, there should be no doubt about the historical role of the anti-fascist communist-led Partisan movement, based on pan-Yugoslav ideology, which emerged in early 1941, under the command of Croatian-born Josip Broz Tito, and which spread quickly into many parts of Yugoslavia. Alas, on May 14, 2011, a couple of months after the book “Antifascist Split”, which was funded by the local authorities, was presented to the public, the Croatian parliamentary envoy Andrija Hebrang made the following statement during a commemoration marking the 66th anniversary of the Bleiburg killings, and the so-called “Way of the Cross” marches: “Those who committed crimes must admit to them and repent, and then we will forgive and close that chapter in Croatian history” (cf. http://daily.tportal.hr/127871/Hebrang-Communist-crimes-must-beprosecuted.htm). The annual commemoration is held on Bleiburg Field in Carinthia (Austria), according to the article, “in honour of fleeing Croatian soldiers and civilians who were handed over by the Allied forces to Tito’s Partisans in Austria at the end of the Second World War. Thousands of them were killed by the Partisans without trial at Bleiburg Field and during the death marches back to Yugoslavia, known as the “Way of the Cross” marches. (For a discussion and list of historical works dealing with this highly controversial issue cf. Jakir 2009). Andrija Hebrang, a longtime minister in all conservative Croatian governments since the beginning of the 1990s (and son of one of the communist leaders during the anti-fascist struggle in Croatia), emphasized that children and future generations must be taught the truth, without which there could be no reconciliation, adding that in Croatia there was a deep rift between the descendants of those who had committed crimes and the victims of those crimes and their descendants. In February 2011, the Croatian Minister of Internal Affairs, Tomislav Karamarko, chimed in by indicating his efforts to uncover and persecute the “communist crimes” that took place during and after World War II. He stressed that it is necessary “that the mentioned crimes are investigated, that mass and individual graves are discovered and that both the victims and the guilty are identified.” (cf. Croatiantimes.com). Obviously there seem to be different notions of the “historical truth” in the Croatian public discourse on World War II and the Partisan struggle. The controversies over remembering and forgetting certain aspects of the past is a highly debated subject in Croatia, inspite of the “mainstream” narratives and interpretations. Every year, the commemoration at Bleiburg rekindles the debates and controversies. The announcement to prosecute crimes committed by members of the Partisan movement sparked reactions of both support and criticism in the Croatian public. For example, harsh criticism came from those who thought that this was yet another political move aimed to harness support at the upcoming parliamentary elections. Thus, Croatia’s former

M EMORIES IN C ONFLICT

president Stjepan Mesić criticized the Minister, and commented that this was “nothing more than a cheap and unsuccessful attempt to compromise an idea and an ideology, as some individuals that ascribed to it had really committed crimes”. (cf. Večernji list, 2. 11. 2011) Indeed, when we reflect on the electoral campaigns since 1989/90 in Croatia, we can easily find examples of how history was and is used for the benefit of ideological aims that have nothing to do with history as a result of methodical research and scholarship. Vjeran Pavlaković has rightly pointed out that the French sociologist Maurice Halbwachs, in his work on collective memory, had argued quite a long time ago that all memory is socially constructed. There can be little doubt that both institutionalized memory – the interpretations of the past constructed by political elites, their supporters, and their opponents – and individual memory are subject to the needs of the present. Every observer of the political debates in Croatia on historical topics will easily come to the conclusion of how deep the divisions in Croatian society are, which interwine the traumatic cultural memories of both World War II and the country’s war for independence in the beginning of the 1990s. The memory of the Second World War and the remembrance of the Partisans remains a political battlefield in Croatia. The politics of memory are usually defined as the political means by which events are remembered and recorded, or discarded. The terminology addresses the role of politics in shaping collective memory and how remembrances can differ markedly. The influence of politics on memory is seen in the way history is written and passed on. There can be little doubt about the fact that memories are influenced by political and cultural forces. Government policies and social rules, as well as popular culture and social norms influence the way events are remembered. In Croatia, one aspect of the politics of memory seems to be the newest debate on “communist crimes” and how Partisan monuments are treated. As Vjeran Pavlaković (2008; 2009) puts it, Partisan monuments, and public spaces in general, underwent an ideological and ethno-national transformation in order to excise the Yugoslav past from the dominant historical narrative and to replace it with a more acceptable Croatian one. The “censorship” of Partisan monuments in the wake of the Homeland War (Domovinski rat) included not only their removal by the new authorities, but vandalism, damage from various weapons, complete destruction by paramilitaries or Croatian soldiers, and even the erection of some (non-official) new monuments with counter-narratives celebrating the Ustaša regime. The Association of Antifascist Veterans of Croatia estimated that several thousands of Partisan memorials were damaged or destroyed in the 1990s, a process that was certainly affected by the Serb-Croat conflict during the Homeland War. The devastation among monuments was particularly extensive in regions most affected by the war, such as Dalmatia, Lika, Banija, Kordun, and Slavonia.

189

190

A LEKSANDAR J AKIR

The region of Dalmatia on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea, between the island of Rab in the northwest and the Bay of Kotor in the southeast, including its hinterland (the Dalmatian Zagora) has rightly been described as a “promising laboratory for studies on contemporary cultures of remembrance” (Robionek, Müller, Vulesica 2010: 8). Public monuments are probably the most visible examples of a country’s culture of memory, and are therefore also often at the center of controversies during periods of political transition. In Croatia alone, over 6,000 Partisan monuments and memory sites were erected between 1945 and 1990. In the words of Bernd Robionek, the region of Dalmatia is literally studded with memorials, above all from World War II, and after the Homeland War of 1991-95, also with monuments remembering this war and with monuments which represent “national heritage”. In Split, Dalmatia’s capital, we can simultaneously observe a number of layers of memory. We can find monuments that deal with complete concealment, those which show a process of repression (construction of a new memorial place), and we can also observe the coexistence of Partisan monuments and the presentation of national statehood in the public sphere (cf. Robionek, Müller, Vulesica 2010: 16-27). However, historical science finds itself in a very complicated mutual relationship with society. How the Yugoslav Partisans are “remembered”, seems to be a good illustration of this thesis. Back in socialist times, as is well-known, victory in World War II formed the basic myth of socialist Yugoslavia and served as a doubly differentiating characteristic in relation to both Western countries and the socialist countries of the former Soviet bloc (Jakir 2009). In the decades after World War II, Josip Broz Tito and his comrades regularly invoked the achievements of the so-called National Liberation Struggle with which the communist party in power legitimized its role in society. It can be concluded that during the period of socialist Yugoslavia the Partisan struggle was glorified. In 1948, after the split between the Yugoslav and Soviet leaderships, the Partisans understandably had to promote the symbolic idea that the Partisan struggle was autochthonous and rooted in the people. Partisan traditions were especially emphasized in schools, which were oriented towards remembering those that fell during World War II on the side of the Partisans, through the use of names and the organization of holidays and celebrations. The Yugoslav Federal League of Veterans of the People’s Liberation War, SUBNOR (Savez udružena boraca narodnooslobodilačkog rata Jugoslavije, SUBNOR) ideologically supervised these public manifestations of memory. However, social heterogeneity and different historical heritages conditioned various ways of presenting the past. One could argue that, according to the perspective of these various representations, the overall vision of the future of the Yugoslav community was from an early period on understood quite differently in each republic. In any case, one could also argue that collective memories always represent an act of reconstruction and design, and therefore are

M EMORIES IN C ONFLICT

inseparable from the social context in which they are renewed. After democratic changes in the socialist system in Croatia, and especially after the Croatian War of Independence against the Serb-controlled Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA), which claimed that it continued the tradition of the Yugoslav Partisans, the attitude towards the Partisan movement changed in major areas of Croatian society. The renaming of schools or streets after 1990 is a visible example of this process. For example, in the City of Split from 1990 to 1993, approximately 150 streets which referred to the Partisan war and socialism were renamed. In some instances, the pre-1941 names of streets were restored, while in other cases, new names were introduced. Collective remembrance, and accordingly, memorial architecture changed. The construction, destruction, restoration, or censorship of a country’s monuments allows scholars to analyze how the political elite seek to transmit their ideological world views, and the mechanisms they use in moulding the past for contemporary political legitimacy (cf. Pavlaković 2008; 2009). Generally speaking, the basis for the legitimization of new social elites and the symbol of cohesion already becomes clear when we analyze memorial architecture. Thus, in many European societies, the symbol of the soldier in the uniform of the victorious army, and/or civilians killed in war, was used in the process of the social integration of modern states. Olga Manojlović-Pintar (2004; 2005) convincingly described how the production of military monuments during the course of the last two centuries far surpassed all other forms and memorial presentations. After an analysis of World War II monuments and the construction of collective identities, she articulated the process that she called ‘the spatialisation of ideology’. She showed that in the process of creating the identity of the Yugoslav community, the key elements were represented by various aspects of memorializing World War II and by the glorification of martyrdom of fallen soldiers and civilian victims. In fact, all research on monuments to heroes and the analyses of manifestations that were held at their pedestals, highlight that one is dealing with firstrate lieux de mémoire/places of memory through which collective memory and state and national ideologies are constructed, as Pierre Nora has put it (cf. Nora 1989; 1996). His significant description of the difference between the mythical formation of memory and the actual position of previous events, such as historical sites and historical objects, shows how human society is haunted by memory, as well as history. Pierre Nora’s concept of lieux de mémoire has described the artificial landscape of the modern (re)creation of national and cultural memory through the promotion of new symbols. Different kinds of monuments were intended to strengthen collective cooperation, creating a picture of a united society that is linked by common memory. It has been rightly stated that historical events should not be reviewed according to the measure of collective or personal interests and benefits, rather one should interpret these events according to the circumstances and conditions of their development, which also means that present day

191

192

A LEKSANDAR J AKIR

values should not be transferred to past times. As is well-known, historical science and history are frequently experienced as a field of political manipulation. In reading serious works of contemporary historiography, one can observe to what extent the metaphor of construction is used. For example, in his observations on the relationship between the past, history and society, the German historian Holm Sundhaussen (cf. Sundhaussen 2000: 19-32) emphasizes that for the present and future of every society not only are trends in the past and historical facts relevant, but also the way in which the past is constructed by historians. According to Sundhaussen, the construction of the past is an elementary part of the collective founding of an identity that gives a particular group (such as a nation) a meaning and a goal, and which further rescues that group from transitoriness and inserts it into a chain of generations that provides continuity. From the vast course of events in the past, only those elements that give the group direction and permanence are selected in the process of constructing the past of that particular group. These elements become a component part of the so-called historical memory of a particular society. The construction of such a historical or collective memory does not reproduce past events nor is it an expression of past facts, but rather it is a construct through which past or present events are filtered and interpreted and subsequently re-interpreted. Sundhaussen argues that memory is a mental process, a path from perception to apperception. In other words, memory will be continually interpreted, accommodated and revised until it takes the stylized form which appeals to the self-consciousness and cultural code of a society. For that reason, it seems necessary to differentiate the images and concepts of the past from history as the result of methodical research. In both cases, the past is constructed, but the manner of construction is different. Every observation of complex social realities, whether they belong to the past or present, as Sundhaussen would say, is always selective, insofar as we as human beings are incapable of observing complex reality in its entirety. One only ever observes segments, and they too are a result of the process of filtration, in which filters are used consciously or unconsciously. We all make use of screens that direct our observations and which alter information, independent of its authenticity. The unconscious filters of a whole social and cultural community, such as a nation are thus described, for example, as a cultural code. If we compare the accounts of events from Croatian national history in school textbooks throughout the twentieth century, we will easily observe that every new state, regime, ideology and political change in one of the four state entities through which Croatia passed during the course of the last century (the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, 1918-41; the so-called Independent State of Croatia during World War II, 1941-45; socialist Yugoslavia, 194590 and present-day Croatia, since 1990) reinterpreted the same events and personalities, accommodating them to the given political, ideological and national moment. Of course, it is not only a Croatian characteristic to proclaim previous “official” interpretations of the past as incorrect and

M EMORIES IN C ONFLICT

dangerous. However, Croatia has, in a relatively short time (which does not even surpass an average human lifetime) gone through a number of changes of state entities and ideologies, and each time a “new” national memory had to be constructed. Each time it was, however, necessary to ensure the memory was not completely alien to its intended recipients. The official version of the memory of World War II in socialist Yugoslavia did not reflect plurality, nor did it attempt to integrate dissenting views. It promoted the memories that endorsed the regime and its ideology, and repressed other narratives. In present day Croatia, as can be seen by the way the Partisan movement and World War II are remembered, it seems that we have officially recognized and publicly expressed competing narratives of the past, which exist in parallel. However, the task of today’s historians, in Croatia as well as elsewhere, should be to promote and conduct methodical research and scholarship that will help in dealing with “difficult heritages” by contextualizing controversial events and interpretations of the problematic heritage of the Age of Extremes (Eric Hobsbawn). Let us take a closer look at the perception of one of the most complicated subjects of contemporary national history in the Croatian public – the post1945 killings of Bleiburg and the Way of the Cross marches. On the basis of recently published scientific research and sources, these events connect with the withdrawal of the troops of the so-called independent State of Croatia and of numerous civilians, who became the victims of mass executions after they became prisoners of the communist-led Yugoslav army in May 1945, events which can now be better analyzed. Different evaluations of the number of victims, when a large number of prisoners did not survive the exhausting death marches after the executions, as well as different assessments in recent historiography, point to the fact that Bleiburg and the Way of the Cross is treated very differently in Croatian historiography. However, it is surely an excellent example for “Memories in Conflict”. A particular focus of debate is the question of responsibility, with an emphasis on the role played by Josip Broz Tito, in this traumatic episode of Croatian history. The recent arrest and investigation of Josip Boljkovac, a Partisan in World War II and the former head of a branch of the Department of National Security (OZN) in Karlovac, or more precisely, the CommunistYugoslav secret service, has again brought the bloody history of Croatia in the 20th century to the forefront of public attention. It was the first time that a prominent member of the Communist regime in Croatia has undergone investigation, leading to one of the very complex and painful topics concerning Croatian national history in the 20th century again making the headlines in the press and other media. It deals with events around mid-May 1945, which have been inscribed in the collective memory of the Croatian nation as the “Bleiburg Tragedy”. There appears to be no doubt that the complex issue of Bleiburg is “full of charged emotions that complicates any judgment” (Geiger 2009: 319). However, there is no

193

194

A LEKSANDAR J AKIR

longer any controversy about the basic facts, even though historiography emphasizes that there are still sources that continue to be unavailable and that “not all historical facts have as yet been accurately confirmed” (Grahek 2005: 641). The total losses connected to Bleiburg, according to established estimates and allegations cited in more recent literature, could amount to betweeen 70,000 to 80,000 victims of which Croatian losses are estimated at 50,000 to 55,000 victims (cf. Grahek Ravančić 2009 and 2006: 148-159). In May 1945, members of the Armed Forces of the Independent State of Croatia, remnants of the German, Slovenian and Chetnik military formations and the vast columns of civilians retreated towards the Austrian border along the lines Celje – Slovenj Gradec – Dravograd – Bleiburg, with the intention of surrendering to the British forces. One part of the column of refugees fell into the hands of the Yugoslav Army already on Slovenian territory, while the other one managed to reach the Bleiburg Field and to surrender to the British Army. However, the British handed them over to the Yugoslav Army, which subsequently started squaring accounts with the prisoners. The communist propaganda spoke of “settling accounts with the people’s enemy”. Today, there can be no doubt that this was a massive crime against the prisoners that was systematically carried out by the Yugoslav authorities. The terms Bleiburg Tragedy and Way of the Cross, refer to the Austrian town of Bleiburg in Carinthia, close to where the tragedy of the prisoners (Croatian and others) started, and the fate that awaited them afterwards on the numerous mass execution grounds and lengthy marches throughout former Yugoslavia. Bleiburg and the Way of the Cross are still seen as a very delicate topic that cannot be analyzed unambiguously and which still provokes great controversy. Of course, the media are also in part responsible for such a public conception. Whenever the Bleiburg Tragedy is discussed, it frequently seems that the facts cannot be established, or that some people choose to ignore them, creating room for manipulation and politicizing. One of the problems concerns the downplaying or the exaggeration of the actual number of victims. Citing inflated numbers that are not based on sources or that are the result of inexpert analyses, contributes to the spreading of falsehoods. Determining the number of Bleiburg casualties should be left to historians that are ready to make dedicated and objective conclusions on the basis of available documents and testimonies. Unfortunately, it is obvious that discrepancies in the range of hundreds of thousands originate from the peculiar rivalry that arises over the number of victims. This kind of approach is entirely irresponsible and frivolous, not only towards the victims, but towards the general public as well. Already in the early post-war years, the pro-Utasha political emigration began to build a mythological and emotional symbol of the collective tragedy around the Bleiburg and Way of the Cross events. This symbol was interpreted as the focal point that gathered and united the politically divided émigrés (Goldstein 2008: 368). Actually, in some of the émigré circles, it was said that the number of the Bleiburg Tragedy

M EMORIES IN C ONFLICT

victims was in the hundreds of thousands, from about 200,000 to as many as 500,000. There is no doubt that such numbers are exaggerated. It is obvious that the followers of the Ustasha movement systematically inflated the number of the Bleiburg and the Way of the Cross victims, just as the followers of the Communist ideologies minimized this number or kept silent about the actual number of victims. As a relevant source on the number of victims, most historians cite the research conducted by the demographers Vladimir Žerjavić and Bogoljub Kočović. In his work entitled Obsession and megalomania surrounding Jasenovac and Bleiburg, Vladimir Žerjavić came to the conclusion that “the losses linked to Bleiburg could amount to about fifty thousand”, after scrupulously weighing and evaluating the veracity of available data (Žerjavić 1992: 77). This is the figure most widely accepted among historians that have dealt with this topic, in spite of the fact that it is, of course, difficult to speak of “the overall number”. The only option is to rely on the research by Vladimir Žerjavić, which has up to now shown itself to be the most reliable in overall estimates […] (Goldstein 2011: 88). Public controversy and manipulation have resulted in a situation that does not aid rational discourse. If we take a look at the majority of the writings published on this topic over the last decades, it becomes clear that each side that drew politically motivated conclusions certainly had its motives to do so. Already back then in May 1945 the Ustasha and Croatian Home Guardsmen (domobrani) commanders, by citing a large number of victims, attempted to convince the Americans and the English that the issue concerned the exodus of a nation fleeing from the communists, and that the Croatian nation was subjected to genocide. The communist authorities, on the other hand, later on tried to diminish their own guilt and to justify the crimes by downplaying the number of actual victims. Attempts at manipulation should be condemned, whether for political, economic, personal or other purposes. Sadly, we are witnesses to the fact that the number of victims is still being used for manipulation, politicization and ideologization. Their number is either reduced or increased, either way a truly reprehensible act. The notion of collective guilt is not acceptable, since there were specific individuals that gave the orders and others that executed them, as well as the victims of such decisions. It therefore still has to be determined who was responsible and to what extent anyone influenced events. The mass crime that occurred in May 1945 is still a stumbling block for historiographers. Considering the still present emotions that are tied to this issue, the question continues to remain open, in spite of numerous historical and journalistic publications devoted to this topic. In his numerous historiographic works, Vladimir Geiger thoroughly covered the question of Croatian losses during World War II and in the post-war period caused by the National Liberation Army and the Partisan Yugoslav forces, or the later Yugoslav Army and communist government. He cited a large number of sources that refer to numeric indicators, and his works contain lists of all the important

195

196

A LEKSANDAR J AKIR

papers, proceedings and books on Bleiburg and the Way of the Cross in historiographic, journalistic and memoire literature published up to now (Geiger 2010 b). Discussions still revolve around the existence or non-existence of guilt and responsibility. A consensus over this has not as yet been reached by historiographic experts, neither over the level of individual responsibility. However, in the meantime, there is less and less dispute over the obvious fact that murders committed after the end of World War II in 1945 cannot be qualified in any other manner than as a crime. In the proceedings of works on the subject published in 2007, Ivo Josipović, the present Croatian President (a former law professor) emphasizes that the events of May 1945 were war crimes. In “Bleiburg and the Way of the Cross and in all that occurred, including the revenge that, unfortunately, prevailed over justice, partially for understandable historical reasons, we clearly have a situation that qualifies as a crime” (Josipović 2007: 41). But when the issue of responsibility for the Bleiburg tragedy is raised all kinds of theories and assumptions abound. Before attempting to shed light on the role of Josip Broz Tito and the Yugoslav Army, I would like to briefly touch upon the question of British responsibility, both moral and legal, for the war crimes committed by the Partisans against prisoners and civilians. Much has been written on the reasons why the British refused to take on the Croatian Army as prisoners, which they were obliged to do according to the laws of war. There are many theories that attempt to explain this act. The fact remains that General Scott was ordered to hand over the Croatian forces to the Partisans by the Chief of Staff of the V Corps of the 8th Army of the British Army, Brigadier General Toby Low, who was later granted a title of nobility, becoming Lord Aldington. In his book, Minister and Massacres (Tolstoj 1991), in the original English version published for the first time in 1986, Nikolaj Tolstoj accused Toby Low and the British Minister at the time, Harold Macmillan, later Prime Minister of the Government, of war crimes, claiming that they ignored the decisions of higher British military authorities. As Ante Stamać recently claimed again and rightfully so, the book Minister and Massacres “is not based on stories and desirable ideologies or political orientations, but rather on accurate facts that are kept as authentic documents in the archives of pertinent offices in the British Government, and on living testimonies by witnesses: the initiators of events, their executors, and miraculous survivors”. Of course, it is important to emphasize that the tragedy of the Croats is not separated from the general context, in which the Cossacks (a popular name for Russians, Ukranians, White Russians and members of the Caucasian nations that fought alongside the Axis powers against the Soviet Union), the Slovenians, and the members of the Chetnik formations underwent a similar or even worse fate. In the sector administrated by the V Corps of the 8th Army of the Yugoslav National Army after the end of the war, throughout Corinthia and southern Styria, over a million defeated military personnel and anti-communists from urban and rural areas converged

M EMORIES IN C ONFLICT

into an indescribable, immense and chaotic flood of refugees. In terms of numbers, all the major reports confirm that there were around 200,000 Croat refugees and approximately 100,000 Cossacks. Not only soldiers, but many accompanying families had the intention of surrendering to the British. Many suffered the same or a similar fate: they were handed over to their persecutors (Stamać 2009). In his reply to Tolstoj, Lord Aldington claimed that he was only following the orders of superiors from military headquarters, and that they were in line with the agreement achieved in Yalta. According to some sources, it is believed that the British in fact wanted to complicate the situation for Tito, with whom they could see an issue arising over the border (Istria/Trieste), which is why the British handed over hundreds of thousands of people into the care of the Yugoslavs. But, when, at the end of May, the British became aware of the ruthless mass liquidations, they stopped handing over people. In any case, there is no doubt that the British handed over members of the Axis forces (civilians too) to their communist allies, to Tito and Stalin. How then did the Partisan Army and the Yugoslav National Army treat prisoners? Any serious historiographic discussion on the question of the so-called Partisan crimes after 1945 must take a stand regarding the documented orders of Josip Broz Tito since 1941, when he said that “it is forbidden under penalty of death to react to crimes with any retaliatory measures that are prohibited in the Partisan ranks”. In December 1944, the Supreme Commander gave the order: “All prisoners are to be treated according to international law. Strictest measures will be carried out against anyone deviating from this or disregarding my order.” In May 1945, we find an order to “undertake at all costs the most energetic measures to prevent the killing of prisoners of war and prisoners captured by units, individual authorities and individuals” (Josip Broz Tito, Vojna i Sabrana djela, Military and Collected Works, cited here according to Geiger 2010: 30, 31). On more than one occasion, Tito gave orders to prevent the killings. An example of an order from May 14, 1945 is well known, where Tito sent a circular dispatch to all army headquarters and supreme headquarters in Slovenia and Croatia: “Undertake the most energetic measures to ensure at all costs that prisoners of war are not killed and that arrests are not made by units, individual authorities or individuals… If there are individuals among the prisoners and arrested persons that must account for their war crimes, transfer them in writing to military courts for further processing”(Tito, Sabrana djela, Collected Works, Vol. 29: 43; see also Badovinac 2007: 81; Goldstein 2011: 25). It is therefore correct that Josip Broz Tito issued such and similar orders, including the prevention of liquidations on the long marches of the Way of the Cross. However, Tito never sought responsibility for the perpetators nor did he announce punishments for new offenders. Vladimir Geiger concludes that the atmosphere at the time and the development of events left “considerable freedom for individuals in command, certainly not without the knowledge of the highest military

197

198

A LEKSANDAR J AKIR

and political persons and institutions, in order to deal with the many opponents to the new system” (Geiger 2009: 320). At the rally in Ljubljana, on May 27, 1945, Josip Broz Tito was clear: “Concerning these traitors who were found inside our country – it is a thing of the past. The hand of justice, the revenging hand of our nation has caught up with most of them, and only a smaller number managed to escape with the aid of helpers outside our country. This minority will never again see our beautiful mountains, our flowering fields. If this should happen, then it will be for a very short time.” (Tito, Sabrana djela, Collected Works, Vol. 28: 78). The day after a speech in Ljubljana, on May 28, 1945, an internal order was issued that stated: “Captured Home Guardsmen are no longer regarded as prisoners and they will be released from the concentration camps so as to complement the ranks of the Yugoslav Army. This does not apply to officers and non-commissioned officers who will continue to remain in the concentration camps as prisoners.” However, it is a fact that liquidations continued even after these orders were issued (Dubravica 2007: 57). As the President of the Federal Government and Minister of National Defense, Tito had the authority that enabled him to energetically deal with disobedient subordinates. Considering the fact that the mass killing of war prisoners did exist and went unpunished, it can be concluded that there was a big difference between what was prescribed and what actually occurred. Among others, the historian Vladimir Geiger convincingly showed how hatred was systematically promoted during the war, finally culminating in May 1945. In 1943, Milovan Đilas writes: “Do not interrogate them, do not waste time, do not try to outwit them! They know what they are doing. Kill them like dogs, just as they deserve [...]” (Đilas 1947: 30, 67, here cit. according to Geiger, 2009: 325-326). Promoting hatred continued until just before the end of the war, which is supported by the fact that a book by Ilja Erenburg War and a booklet by Mihail Šolohov Learning Hatred, which really represent anthological texts on “speaking hatred” were published just a month before the end of the war (Geiger 2009: 326). According to everything that we know today, there can be no doubt that Tito was aware of all the events, so that it can be assumed that he gave his approval, even if it was silent. This confirms his responsibility for the crimes committed against prisoners and civilians. Historiography shows that mass liquidations were carried out by lower-ranking commanders who acted willingly. But, the fact remains that the Supreme Commander carried the responsibility for them as they were not punished, particularly as there is no reason to doubt that Tito approved in principle of a reckoning taking place. In general, consideration must be given to the fact that written sources “reveal all the layeredness, complexity of events, as well as the mercilessness that ruled at the time” (Goldstein 2008: 376). Accordingly, there seems to be sufficient grounds for the conclusion that the post-war killings were part of the organized work of KP Yugoslavia, which was carried out by the People’s Liberation Army and the Yugoslav

M EMORIES IN C ONFLICT

Partisan Detachments (NOV and POJ). While conducting the mass crimes and repressions, the Partisan hierarchy was led by the desire to remove all potential future opponents that might take over the government, and not by an irrational feeling of hatred (Geiger 2010: 32). The enemy had to be removed, and so the report from the Third Division of the Department for the Protection of the People, VI Corps NOV and PO Yugoslavia is in line with this, dated 15.01.1945, regarding the liquidation of Home Guardsmen officers and soldiers, in which it says that “All those we know to be our enemy and who will be against us tomorrow, must be liquidated without scruples” (Dizdar 2005: 54, Jurčević 2005: 333; Geiger 2009: 321). In support of the theory that the orders for liquidation came from the highest rank is the statement by Zdenko Zavadlav, the deputy head of the OZN for the Maribor region, who was charged with organizing the execution of prisoners. In his testimony, he mentions “transporters” and “serial firing squads” that were conducted by the OZN units and the Yugoslav National Defense Corps (KNOJ). This was a special unit of the Yugoslav People’s Liberation Army that dealt with “security”, formed in 1944 by a decision of the National Committee for the Liberation of Yugoslavia. A statement by the deputy head of the OZN in the Maribor region testifies to how the orders arrived “from the top” as “the enemy had to be killed without trial as long as the revolution still lasted” (Zavadlav 1990: 91-93, here, according to Geiger 2009: 322). In Tito’s speech regarding the capitulation of the Third Reich, on May 9, he clearly states that “the people of Yugoslavia – builders of a new, happier Yugoslavia, will not allow anyone to interfere in their efforts towards this construction. All those that would prevent this, our people and our army will act against without mercy” (Tito according to Geiger 2010: 37). On one occasion, Ivo Banac claimed that there were no (mis)deeds, particularly when they were massive, without appropriate directives. A revealing example of this is a dispatch by Aleksander Ranković directed to the OZN for Croatia, in which the head of the repressive apparatus expresses dissatisfaction with the small number of those killed: “We are surprised by this indecisiveness in cleansing Zagreb of criminals. You are acting contrary to our orders, for we told you to work fast and energetically and that you complete everything in the first days” (Dizdar 2005: 113). Accordingly, massive liquidations were not regarded as an excess, just as it is difficult to imagine that Ranković at the time Tito’s closest associate, could have issued such orders without his approval. Quoting Vinko Nikolić, a participant in the Bleiburg tragedy, and a supporter and founder of the NDH (Independent State of Croatia), we can add that the culprits of the Bleiburg tragedy are, of course, both the political and military leaders of the NDH, and that “before the Croats, it is Ante Pavelić who bears the primary responsibility”. Of course, Nikolić also emphasizes that the Partisan army was the most to blame, as they massacred all the prisoners of war, civilians and military personnel that laid down their weapons, but he also cites the command of the Allied

199

200

A LEKSANDAR J AKIR

Forces, which did not respect the Geneva Convention (Strčić 2007: 25). However, it was surely the Division for the Protection of the People (OZN) and the Yugoslav Corps of National Defense, which played a prominent part in carrying out the crimes, assuming a key role in their organization and implementation, while responsibility for retaliatory events included the overall structure of the totalitarian government of the second Yugoslavia. (Jurčević 2005: 301). The units under the Third Yugoslav Army, were commanded by General Lieutenant Kosta Nađ, Colonel Branko Petričević, a political commissioner and Colonel Vukašin Subotić, Chief of Headquarters, who captured about 100,000 enemy soldiers in the final fighting in Slovenia and can be regarded as the one most responsible for the treatment of prisoners in Carinthia and Styria (Simčić 2008: 284-285, here, according to Geiger 2009: 321). In his report to Tito, the commander of the Third Army, Kosta Nađ, emphasized that “national traitors, Chetniks and particularly Ustasha, were dealt a decisive deathly blow, preventing them from escaping the deserved punishment for the crimes and misdeeds that these misfits carried out against our people” (Popović 1985: 196, here according to Geiger 2009: 321). The historian Ivo Goldstein also believes there is no doubt that prisoners were killed in many places without a court trial, individually or in groups, but he considers that the NDH army as an army did not have the right to treatment according to the Geneva Convention, as, since its establishment, it had not observed Article 1, Item 4, of the Regulations concerning the Laws and Customs of War on Land. However, Ivo Goldstein considers that a crime was committed against individuals and groups who were killed on the Way of the Cross without trial, as international law after World War II defined such acts as war crimes, but emphasizes that this does not necessarily characterize the so-called National Struggle for Liberation NOB, even though these crimes throw a shadow on the “People’s Liberation Fight”. The theory that enemy soldiers captured up to May 9, 1945 were prisoners of war, while those captured between May 9 and 15 could not be regarded as prisoners of war, since they were caught as armed rebels and therefore considered outlaws or terrorists to whom the rules of war were not applicable, was the subject of much debate. According to international conventions on the rules of war, also persons captured after May 9, even if treated as rebels or outlaws, should be spared illegal liquidation (Geiger 2007: 814). It should also be emphasized that neither the conflict with those designated as “national enemies” nor “the conflict with the class enemy” that is, the massive crime at the end of World War II, was exclusively directed towards the Croats, but also towards others who were, according to the communist perspective prevailing in 1945, regarded as enemies (Goldstein 2006: 59-74). After World War II, the weaknesses of the international penal law became clearly apparent. From today’s perspective, one of the more serious flaws was selectivity, since not everyone answered for their crimes under equal criteria. Members of military and political formations of

M EMORIES IN C ONFLICT

victorious forces generally did not answer for their crimes. Today, we recognize in Article 7 Item 3 of the Hague Statute that with this regulation the boundary of responsibility goes beyond the traditional criteria of guilt. It is based on the premise that in times of war a commander has greater authority and increased responsibility. “In one of the above-mentioned forms of command responsibility, the commander did not commit or order a crime, did not even know that his subordinates were preparing a crime. But he could have known about the crime, but failed to carry out appropriate measures to prevent it. Moreover, even though he might not have foreseen the crime, he is guilty of not taking measures under his authority to punish the perpetrator of the crime. (Josipović 2007: 39). This is a broad concept of responsibility that clashes with the classic interpretation of penal law, which was applied for the first time during the trial of the Japanese General Yamashita. But, it was only during The Hague trials that it was widely applied (Josipović 2007: 41). According to the criteria of responsibility today, Tito is indisputably a war criminal. However, the criteria of responsibility have significantly changed in relation to 1945. In the words of Ivo Josipović: “That which combatants considered to be on the side of justice, on the side of those defending their nation and homeland, whether allowed and possible yesterday, is not the case today. And everyone must keep this in mind.” (Josipović 2007: 41). The texts of those who underwent and survived the sufferings of the Bleiburg Field and the Way of the Cross (compare Vulić 2006; Vodanović Pović 1988) are frequently imbued with subjective perceptions – understandable in human terms, but nevertheless unacceptable as historical views – and are often inclined to exaggerate the numbers of those killed. Such articles have most certainly contributed to the creation of the Bleiburg myth. On the other hand, communist publications attempted to diminish the guilt of the Yugoslav authorities, if they mentioned the events in Bleiburg and on the Way of the Cross at all. Then, as a third factor, there are the British authorities who tried to justify their actions, invoking the Yalta agreement (Grahek Ravančić 2007: 548). It is impossible to give an unambiguous answer, and of course, without the share being disproportionate from all three sides. It also depends whether one is considering legal, moral or historical responsibility. According to international conventions, the responsibility of those who perpetrated the mass executions of prisoners on the Bleiburg Field and on the Way of the Cross is of an individual and authoritative nature, “from Yugoslav (JA) Army units on the ground to the highest military and state levels, also including Tito” (Geiger 2009: 336). But even six decades after the end of World War II are obviously not enough for a historiographic discourse on pre- and post-war events to be written without emotions. However, there are clear signs of a change for the better. The organization of scientific conferences helped contribute towards the clarification of this historical topic, such as the Round Table entitled Bleiburg and the Way of the Cross 1945 that was initiated by the Anti-fascist Council of Croatia in 2006. During this conference, authors, scholars and experts presented

201

202

A LEKSANDAR J AKIR

their opinions based on studies and research, with the intention of doing everything possible to obtain clearer scientific knowledge based on expert studies to bring attention to known facts. The organizers rightfully emphasized that “only facts can ensure that all victims receive the respect they deserve and show the way to a humane future for the living” (Hrženjak 2007: 6). It is good that such and similar conferences are being held regardless of unfounded comments and evaluations. They lay a basis for constructive debate that will allow to shed some light on at least a part of this issue. A discussion of the results of study and research, as well as new findings regarding these tragic historical events that were frequently misused for political purposes, would seem to be the only correct path. Only when historians discuss this controversial issue by applying methods of critical historical science and the language of facts, and when the media are no longer engulfed with the interpretations of those who claim the right to speak about the subject without knowledge of facts and sources, can we arrive at a realistic judgment of the events of May 1945. War crimes are crimes that violate the laws and customs of war. The punishment of war criminals is regulated by a number of laws, so no matter where the crime occurred, it will continue to be classified as a crime and there is no justification for the crime. There is no doubt that among those executed there were war criminals as well as innocent civilians. By criminally massacring the innocent, individuals themselves became criminals. There are no greater or lesser victims. It is inhumane to weigh and measure in this context. In the noble words of Cardinal Bozanić, “In respecting another’s life, there can be no differences, not national, not worldy, not party-related”, adding, “The Church mourns the victims, the Church mourns the executioners. It battles against sins and carries out reconciliation with God and among people (Bozanić 2008: 20).” On January 25, 2006, the Council of Europe passed Resolution 1481 on the need for the international condemnation of crimes of totalitarian communist regimes, calling for the prosecution of criminals and condemning the violation of human rights by totalitarian communist regimes, at the same time strongly condemning communist crimes. Even though the Republic of Croatia also accepted this resolution, it seems as yet not to have progressed to the point of confronting and prosecuting communist criminals in Croatia. No one has been brought to justice for the Bleiburg tragedy and the Way of the Cross. It seems that the crimes committed by the communists were relativized for a long time even after the democratic changes, forgetting that a crime remains a crime regardless whether committed by the victor or the defeated. Historiography focusing on the socialist period generally “resolved” problems of guilt and responsibility for those who were victimized by Bleiburg and the Way of the Cross by simply ignoring them as a subject matter, and there was even an opinion that all those condemned to death or killed without trial deserved such a fate. On the other hand, revisionist historiography generally interpreted the crimes that were committed in a

M EMORIES IN C ONFLICT

very superficial and schematic way as hatred for everything Croatian, or as hatred for the church, in case of crimes against the clergy. What was definitely lacking was an analysis of the broader Croatian and Yugoslavian context. And so Croatian historical science and the public find themselves in the position that not even today, at the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century, have they achieved consensus regarding the problem of guilt and responsibility, and the fate of tens of thousands of people who lost their lives in the conflict with the “people’s enemy”, with or without court sentences. While in power, the communist party prohibited any mention of this, which was “one of the methods of re-designing history under the aegis of totalitarian regimes” in which the Yugoslav and Croatian communists “managed to hold out for almost 40 years after initiating the rupture with Stalinism”. This enabled the “long-term traumatization of the Bleiburg syndrome” (Goldstein 2011: 38). Today, where conditions are favourable for open discussion and scientific dialogue, it should be kept in mind that it is “unavoidable […] to face the past” without which we will not be “in the position to judge and condemn each crime” (Geiger 2009: 337). When it comes to the question of how to remember the Partisans, World War II and Bleiburg in Croatia, there are, as we have shown, different memories and notions of “historical truth” in the Croatian public discourse. However, the competing narratives of the past should be an incentive for historians, in Croatia as well as elsewhere, to promote and conduct methodical research and scholarship that will help in dealing with the “difficult heritages” by contextualizing controversial events and interpretations of the problematic heritage of the Age of Extremes (Eric Hobsbawn).

R EFERENCES Bleiburg i Križni put 1945. Zbornik radova sa znanstvenog skupa, Zagreb 12. travnja 2006, Zagreb 2007. Bozanić, Josip (2008): Istina u ljubavi, Zagreb: Glas Koncila-Školska knjiga. Geiger, Vladimir (2010 a): “Tito i likvidacija hrvatskih zarobljenika u Blajburgu 1945.” In: Istorija 20. veka 28/2, pp. 29 – 52. Geiger, V. (2010 b): “Ljudski gubici Hrvatske u Drugome svjetskom ratu i u poraću koje su prouzročili Narodnooslobodilačka vojska i Partizanski odredi Jugoslavije/Jugoslavenska armija i komunistička vlast Brojidbeni pokazatelji (procjene, izračuni, popisi).” In: Časopis za suvremenu povijest 42/3, pp. 693 – 722. Geiger, Vladimir (2009): “Bleiburg.” In: Despot Zvonimir: Tito. Tajne vladara. Najnoviji prilozi za biografiju Josipa Broza, Zagreb: Večernji edicija, pp. 319-337. Geiger Vladimir (2005): “Osvrt na važnije žrtvoslove u Drugom svjetskom ratu i poraću objavljene u Republici Hrvatskoj 1991.-2004. godine.”

203

204

A LEKSANDAR J AKIR

In: Dijalog povjesničara – istoričara 9, Hans-Georg Fleck/Igor Graovac (eds.), Zagreb: Zaklada Friedrich-Naumann Stiftung, pp. 621-639. Goldstein Ivo (2011): Povijest Hrvatske 1945-2011., 1. Svezak 1945-1968, Zagreb: EPH Media. Goldstein, Ivo (2008): Hrvatska 1918.- 2008., Europapress holding, Zagreb: Novi Liber. Goldstein, I. (2005): “Značenje godine 1945. u hrvatskoj povijesti i osvetnički gnjev.” In: Kolanović, N. K. (ed.) 1945. – razdjelnica hrvatske povijesti: Zbornik radova, Zagreb: Hrvatski institut za povijest, pp. 59 – 73. Grahek, Martina (2005) Bleiburg i Križni put u hrvatskim udžbenicima povijesti. In: Dijalog povjesničara – istoričara 9, Hans-Georg Fleck/ Igor Graovac (eds.), Zagreb: Zaklada Friedrich-Naumann Stiftung, pp. 641-659. Grahek Ravančić, Martina (2009): Bleiburg i Križni put,Zagreb: Hrvatski Institut za povijest. Jakir, Aleksandar (2009): “Der Partisanenmythos im sozialistischen Jugoslawien und aktuelle Interpretationen des ‘Volksbefreiungskrieges’ 1941-1945.” In: Bernhard Chiari/Gerhard P. Groß (eds.), Am Rande Europas? Der Balkan – Raum und Bevölkerung als Wirkungsfelder militärischer Gewalt. Militärgeschichtliches Forschungsamt, München: Oldenbourg, pp. 287-300. Josipović, Ivo (2007): “Odgovornost za ratne zločine nakon II. svjetskog rata.” In: Bleiburg i Križni put 1945. Zbornik radova sa znanstvenog skupa, Zagreb, pp. 38-41. Jurčević, Josip (2005): Bleiburg: jugoslavenski poratni zločini nad Hrvatima, Zagreb: Dokumentacijsko-informacijsko središte. Kuzmić, Marin (ed.) (2010): Antifašistički Split. Ratna kronika 1941.-45, Split: Udruga antifašističkih boraca i antifašista grada Splita. Manojlović-Pintar, Olga (2004): “‘Tito je stena’, (Dis)kontinuitet vladarskih predstavljanja u Jugoslaviji i Srbiji XX veka.” In: Godišnjak za društvenu istoriju, god. IX, sveska 2-3, 2004, pp. 85-101. Manojlović-Pintar, Olga (2005): “‘Široka strana moja rodnaja’ Spomenici sovjetskim vojnicima podizani u Srbiji 1944 – 1954.” In: Tokovi istorije. Časopis Instituta za noviju istoriju Srbije 1-2, pp. 134-145. Robionek, Bernd/Müller, Nils/Vulesica, Marija, eds. (2010): Erinnerungskultur in Dalmatien. Vom Partisanenkult zur Repräsentation der Nationalstaatlichkeit. Kultura sjećanja u Dalmaciji. Od partizanskog kulta do reprezentacije nacionalne državnosti, Berlin: OEZ Verlag. Demoule, Jean-Paul (1998): Lascaux. In: L. D. Kritzman/P. Nora (eds.), Realms of Memory: the construction of the French past. Vol. 3: Symbolism, New York and Chichester: Columbia University Press, pp. 163-190. Nora, Pierre, ed. (1984-1992): Les Lieux de mémoire. Seven Volumes, Paris: Edition Gallimard. Nora, Pierre (1989 [1984]): “Between Memory and History: Les Lieux de Mémoire.” In: Representations 26, Spring 1989, pp. 7-25. (also in Nora and Kritzman 1996: 1-20)

M EMORIES IN C ONFLICT

Nora, Pierre (1996): “From lieux de mémoire to realms of memory.” In: Pierre Nora, Pierre/Lawrence D. Kritzman (eds.), Realms of Memory: Rethinking the French Past. Vol. 1: conflicts and divisions, New York and Chichester: Columbia University Press: XV-XXIV. Nora, Pierre/Kritzman, Lawrence D., eds. (1996): Realms of Memory: Rethinking the French Past. Vol. 1: conflicts and divisions, New York and Chichester: Columbia University Press. Pavlaković, Vjeran (2008a): “Flirting with Fascism: The Ustaša Legacy and Croatian Politics in the 1990s.” In: Lorenzo Bertucelli/Mila Orlić (eds.), Una storia balcanica: Fascismo, comunismo e nazionalismo nella Jugoslavia del Novecento, Verona: Ombre Corte, pp. 152-173. Pavlaković, Vjeran (2008b): “Red Stars, Black Shirts: Symbols, Commemorations, and Contested Histories of World War Two in Croatia,” an NCEEER Working Paper http://www.nceeer.org/Papers/ papers.php. Pavlaković, Vjeran (2009): “The Commemorative Culture of Bleiburg, 1990–2009.” In: Sulejman Bosto/Tihomir Cipek (eds.), Kultura sjećanja: 1945. – Povijesni lomovi i svladavanje prošlosti, Zagreb: Disput, pp. 167-194. Sundhaussen, Holm (2000): “Prošlost, povijest i društvo.” In: HansGeorg Fleck/Igor Graovac (eds.), Dijalog povjesničara – istoričara 2, Zagreb: Zaklada Friedrich-Naumann Stiftung, pp. 19-32. Vulić, Petar (ed.) (2006): Sjećanja iz povorke smrti. Svjedočanstva preživjelih pripadnika UHDV 1941.-45. na Križni put 1945, Zagreb. Tito, Josip Broz, Sabrana djela, Vol. 28, 1 May – 6 July 1945, Beograd: Izdavački centar Komunist 1988. Tolstoj, Nikolaj (1991): Ministar i pokolji, Zagreb: Nakladni zavod Matice hrvatske. Simčić, Miro (2008): Tito bez maske. Zagreb: Mozaik knjiga. Stamać, Ante (2009): “Britanska istinoljubivost grofa Tolstoja.” In: Vijenac No. 394, April 9, p. 12. Vodanović Pović, Vinka (1988): Suze za Hrvatsku. Chicago: ZIRAL. Zavadlav, Zdenko (1990): Iz dnevniških zapiskov mariborskega oznovca (izbrani list), 1. Del: Leto 1945, Maribor.

W EBSITES Daily Portal, May 14, 2011 (http://daily.tportal.hr/127871/HebrangCommunist-crimes-must-be-prosecuted.html) Croatian Times, February 16, 2011 (http://www.croatiantimes.com/news/ General_News/20110216/17256/) Jutranji list, December 20, 2011 (http://www.jutarnji.hr/pise-juricapavicic--grad-koji-nema-pravo-slaviti-22- lipnja/954940/) Rezolucija Vijeća Evriope 1481/2006, May 9, 2012 (http://hr.wikipedia. org/wiki/Rezolucija_Vije%C4%87a_Europe_1481/2006)

205

Monuments to the National War of Liberation in Slovenia Erection, Reception and Negative Public Opinion Marjeta Ciglenečki (Maribor)

The Second World War reached Yugoslavia on April 6, 1941. Up until that time Yugoslavia was divided into ban’s provinces; Slovenia did not exist as an autonomous political unity, but Slovenes mostly inhabited an area within state borders, known as the Dravska banovina (Drava domain). Historically speaking, Styria had been a province of the Holy Roman Empire, in 1918, however, it was to be divided up. In the northern region, which remained in Austria, German predominated, while in the southern region, which was incorporated into the new state of Yugoslavia, strong national differences marked social life from the middle of the 19th century up until 1918. In towns most of the inhabitants spoke German and they owned the majority of capital; the Slovenes were a minority in the towns and very few of them were wealthy, but the countryside was absolutely Slovene. Adolf Hitler and his staff planned the occupation of Styria with the utmost care; the local inhabitants, who were politically oriented towards German nationalism, were of great help to him. Slovene intellectuals, especially teachers, physicians, lawyers and even priests were exiled in 1941; the lists of their names and all relevant information had already been compiled in the late 1930s. The exiled intellectuals were replaced by German ones, Slovene was strictly forbidden and the names of the towns, streets and villages were changed from Slovene to German ones. The level of support for Hitler among Styrians was high, and accordingly, not much resistance was to be expected in Styria. After the end of the Second World War Yugoslavia became part of the Eastern bloc; the system was loosened in 1948 after Josip Broz Tito’s split with Stalin. Yugoslavia was home to a unique type of socialist political regime and enjoyed a somewhat special position in Eastern Europe. In the late 1980s new political movements appeared and after a period of dramatic tension Yugoslavia collapsed in 1991. In Slovenia the socialist regime was replaced by a Western European type of capitalist system. In the 1990s the time came to reassess some chapters from the history of the period 1941-

208

M ARJETA C IGLENEČKI

1945 and also of the decades which followed the National War of Liberation. The people, who had chosen the “wrong side” between 1941 and 1945 and were accused of treason because of that, demanded rehabilitation. The image of the heroic partisans was spoiled by the disclosure and public recognition of the crimes which took place after May 15, 1945 which were perpetrated by special groups of partisans. In the final days of the war, thousands of militiamen escaped over the border to Austrian Carinthia and were returned to Slovenia on the orders of the English military authorities; they were transported immediately for execution to Kočevski rog. Their killing had been known about in limited circles of intellectuals from at least 1975 on, when Boris Pahor published an interview with Edvard Kocbek in Trieste (cf. Pahor 1975). But in Slovenia this horrific story was kept secret, as well as many others of a similar nature. Over the last few years a special group of Slovene historians has been researching hidden execution sites and their findings have revealed astonishing information about the high numbers of victims and the degree of cruelty of the executioners. New facts about the events during and soon after the Second World War split Slovene society. Public discussion now focuses on whether the existing monuments to the National War of Liberation should be removed or preserved and new ones to the victims of the partisans and communist authorities erected (cf. François 2004: 21-23). After the end of the Second World War the authorities in Yugoslavia as well in Slovenia strongly supported any kind of activities which contributed to the establishment of the new political system. The National War of Liberation was glorified; the communist party and the partisan army were considered on equal terms. The partisan troops were celebrated as winners over the occupiers on the one hand and as creators of the new, more righteous political system on the other. In trying to form a new collective memory (Erll 2005: 102-103), the idea of erecting monuments to the National War of Liberation, which make up the largest number of public monuments in Slovenia, was vigorously supported. Most of the monuments were erected in the 1950s and 1960s, while in the 1970s the eagerness for them diminished, eventually disappearing altogether in the 1980s. The monuments of the 50s and 60s tend to be smaller in scale and of fairly low artistic quality. For those who commissioned them it was more important to signpost particular places in order not to forget the events being commemorated; quality was not the most important factor – but there are exceptions. Quite a lot of the monuments were formed as simple signs in the landscape – pieces of stone, cut by local hewers, with an inscription added. Later, in the 1960s and in 1970s, greater weight was placed on artistic quality. We can divide the monuments to the National War of Liberation in Slovenia into two main groups: in the first one there are monuments erected on sites of special events which were intended to be celebrated; others were erected in exposed public locations, such as squares, parks etc. and are part of the urban arrangement of towns and villages. Other

M ONUMENTS TO THE N ATIONAL W AR OF L IBERATION IN S LOVENIA

kinds of classification are also possible (cf. Žnidaršič 2005: 141-142; Čopič 1967: 16-30; Ravnikar 1967: 113; Čopič/Prelovšek/Žitko 1991; Bernik 1992). In general such classification reflects the situation in the Eastern bloc, but as Horst Bredekamp established, Yugoslav monument building displays some defining features (2004: 34). In turn, Slovenia differs essentially from Serbia and Croatia. The huge memorial sites which were common in the southern Yugoslav republics were much less common in Slovenia, where commissioners were inclined to moderate dimensions and to creating a more intimate experience for the spectator. The monuments in Slovenia were commissioned by associations of ex-combatants and other participants in the National War of Liberation, by the Slovene republic, by various societies and sometimes even by individuals. The commissioners were also responsible for the preservation of the monuments and for the organization of various events which took place in their vicinity. Associations of ex-combatants also took care of the documentation relating to the monuments; the listed monuments were officially recognized as part of the national heritage by local and state authorities, so the funds for their preservation were assured. This was the situation up until the late 1980s, when new questions about the Second World War began to arise. The need to recognize the victims of the partisan army and the communist regime and to build monuments to celebrate them came under discussion. From the late 1980s on such monuments have been erected, although not systematically and following no generally recognized plan. National consensus has not yet been reached about such requests, nor has there been any agreement reached as to how to include victims ‘from the other side’ into the general collective memory and into the content of public monuments. Occupied with such political discussion the authorities have (in some cases perhaps intentionally) forgotten to take care of the existing monuments. But it should be stressed that monuments to the National War of Liberation in Slovenia survived relatively unscathed in comparison to other East European countries. Many of them are neglected but only some of them have been seriously threatened; violent public demolitions which took place in other East European countries (ibid: 37) did not occur in Slovenia. Even the statue of Josip Broz Tito in the centre of Velenje and a huge object with bronze statues which was erected in August 1945 in the castle park in Murska Sobota by the Russian army remain untouched; the citizens see both monuments as a kind of identifying point in the town, but without nostalgia or sentimentality. It is much the same with the monument in the very centre of Maribor, created by Slavko Tihec in 1975, and recognized as one of the artistically best examples of the kind (cf. Kolar Sluga 2004). The authorities have suggested removing it several times, but the monument is still located on the site determined by the sculptor and the architect. Although planned demolitions of monuments are rare in Slovenia, the fate of the war monuments is as yet undecided. The ongoing political discussion, which seems to be far from over,

209

210

M ARJETA C IGLENEČKI

disregards their artistic value. If all the levels of the artists’ message are not recognized and understood, a reasonable discussion as to what and how to preserve them cannot be expected. Two cases – a bronze statue of the hero Jože Lacko in the centre of Ptuj and an obelisk in Mostje in the vicinity of Ptuj – can help us in fully appreciating the problem. To understand the meaning of both monuments we have to know part of the history of the town of Ptuj and its surroundings. As was the case in other southern Styrian towns, the citizens of Ptuj were inclined to Nazi politics in the late 1930s. The communists, who were strictly Slovenes, organized a party in 1920. The most prominent Slovene figure in local politics was Jože Lacko (1894-1942), a peasant. He was not a member of the communist party but was definitely a sympathizer and a defender of the rights of the lower social classes. In summer 1941 he joined the communists, who began to organize the resistance and took on the leadership of the District Liberation Front in October 1941. In April 1942 a small company of ten partisans was established and named Slovenjegoriška četa (The Slovenske gorice company). Jože Lacko joined them only a day before the decisive battle. On August 8, 1942 the company was resting in a wood in Mostje not far from Ptuj. Their position was betrayed, the German troops attacked them and after two hours of shooting four partisans had been killed, the fifth one, who was injured, died the next day; two partisans surrendered and three, one of whom was Jože Lacko, managed to escape. Lacko was hidden on a farm in the vicinity but was betrayed again and captured by the Gestapo. After being tortured dreadfully and even paraded on the streets so that the citizens of Ptuj could humiliate him, he died in prison on August 18. After the battle at Mostje the Germans punished the supporters of the resistance; 45 hostages were shot, the relatives of the partisans were sent to concentration camps and their children were transported to youth camps; those children who were recognized as being of suitable race were adopted by German families as ‘stolen children’. After August 1942 the resistance in the surroundings of Ptuj died out and it was not until spring 1943 that new activities began (Mavrič Žižek 2005: 66-68) The battle in Mostje and its horrible consequences is still considered to be a decisive event in the 1941-1945 history of the Ptuj region. The erection of a monument in honour of the victims was therefore expected soon after 1945. Before 1979 four monuments were built in memory of the battle, the combatants of the defeated partisan company and to Jože Lacko. In 1956 the bodies of the partisans were exhumed and buried in the very centre of the old town graveyard. The surface of the grave was paved with stone and an obelisk with inscriptions on the pedestal and a red five-point star on the top was erected in the centre. In 1950 the Ptuj Alliance of the Combatants of the National War of Liberation asked the renowned architect Jože Plečnik (1872-1957) to make plans for a monument. Plečnik suggested a huge mausoleum on top of the hill opposite Ptuj castle. But Plečnik’s plan was much too large scale and the commissioners were forced to look for a simpler solution. In 1951 Jože Lacko was proclaimed a national hero

M ONUMENTS TO THE N ATIONAL W AR OF L IBERATION IN S LOVENIA

and the decision was made to commission a bronze statue of him. The commission was entrusted to the much respected sculptor Jakob Savinšek (1922-1961) in 1952. The first sketch was based on the photograph showing Jože Lacko during his torture (ill. 1).

Ill. 1: Jože Lacko tortured, August 1942 The Gestapo forced Lacko to stand on the street in the centre of Ptuj for several hours with a piece of cardboard hung on his chest with the inscription: Ich bin der Mörder und Banditenführer J. Latzko. The face of the captive is swollen and a band over his forehead covers his bleeding wounds – the photo was repeatedly published to serve as an accusation against the Gestapo and its cruelty. The similarity of Lacko’s image to representations of tortured Christ is obvious; the image is extremely powerful and still affects us deeply to this day. The year 1952 was crucial for Savinšek’s oeuvre as he was no longer satisfied with the more or less realistic execution of his figurative statues. In the case of the monument to Jože Lacko he realised that the recognizable details of the character rendered the statue too narrative. It took him three years to form a new stylistic approach. The main features of the figure of the hero from 1955 are still recognizable but somewhat stylized. The lower part of the body gives an impression of stability and immovable strength, the upper part on the contrary looks vertiginous and not at all stable. Savinšek formed

211

212

M ARJETA C IGLENEČKI

an image of a rebellious peasant which was defined by the inscription on the pedestal, but both the general appeal of the image and its timelessness are obvious. The pathetic gesture of the hands symbolizes rebellious strength as well as fatal torment (Čopič 1994: 27). The statue of Jože Lacko was supposed to be positioned in front of the local cultural centre, which was still very much in the planning stages in 1955 when Savinšek finished his work. So the architect Branko Kocmut and the sculptor tried to find an appropriate site for the monument; finally they chose the most eminent old square in the very centre of the town. Slovenski trg (Slovene square) is of an irregular form and slopes towards the south and the east. It is surrounded by the old town hall, St George’s church, the theatre and other old buildings. Opposite the town hall there is a Roman gravestone from the 2nd century which was used as a pillory during medieval times. Slightly lower down Kocmut built a stone pedestal and put a bronze statue of Jože Lacko on it. The installing of the monument in the vicinity of the old relicts of the Roman and medieval town was considered to be a daring but ultimately very successful move; the experts highly appreciated the dynamic and expressive element in the core of the ancient settlement (Vrišer 1975: 202; Čopič 1994: 27-28). The dark figure of the national hero acted as a contrast to the white Roman gravestone. The monument became a beloved motif for photographers; photos taken from beneath emphasized the expressiveness of the statue (ill. 2).

Ill. 2: Jože Lacko monument in the centre of Ptuj, before 1992 The monument became an inseparable part of the town centre and the residents of Ptuj adopted a humorous, even playful attitude to the unnatural pose of the figure. But the feeling that the site was purely

M ONUMENTS TO THE N ATIONAL W AR OF L IBERATION IN S LOVENIA

temporary remained. Various reasons for removing the statue appeared. In 1972 a new shopping centre was built and a new square constructed; the director of the store suggested transferring the statue of Jože Lacko to the new square in order to ennoble the “new dynamic centre which will be a meeting place for many” (Zgodovinski arhiv Ptuj 1974). Fortunately, his idea of how to obtain a sculptural decoration for his store without spending any money failed. In 1987, the first ideology-led discussions about removing the monument took place. The suggestion was discussed in political circles; warnings about urban and artistic values (Balažic/ Ciglenečki 1987: 5) were sharply rejected. In February 1992 the town authorities gathered all the necessary opinions and permission, including the positive opinion of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage and transported the monument to the old town graveyard on October 22, 1992 (ill. 3).

Ill. 3: Removing Jože Lacko monument, October 22nd 1992 In the ensuing months a number of articles were published with indignant protestations; the respected architect Braco Mušič, responsible for the preservation of monuments at the Alliance of Combatants of the National War of Liberation, warned the authorities, the local Alliance of Combatants, local architects and the Institute for Protection of Cultural Heritage that an unforgivable mistake had been made (Mušič 1993a: 23; Mušič 1993b). When it was transferred to the graveyard, the monument lost the surroundings which had so suited it previously – it was designed to be part of the everyday bustle of town life, now it was pushed into the seclusion of the silent site (ill. 4).

213

214

M ARJETA C IGLENEČKI

Ill. 4: Jože Lacko monument on the Ptuj old graveyard In 1959 another monument was erected to glorify the battle at Mostje. It was Branko Kocmut, the architect, who planned the arrangement of the site. The partisans lost their lives in a small wood not far from the road which leads from Ptuj to Juršinci. The architect decided to leave the woods untouched in their natural state; it is a most impressive site not far from the river Pesnica and surrounded by fields. Branko Kocmut erected an obelisk just by the road on the very place where the German soldiers took up their shooting positions on August 8, 1942 (ill. 5).

Ill. 5: Obelisk in Mostje, 2004

M ONUMENTS TO THE N ATIONAL W AR OF L IBERATION IN S LOVENIA

Beside an old oak he plastered a small piece of ground in the form of a triangle. The obelisk, constructed of seven pieces of grey stone, has a triangular profile. It is about 7 m high and of a dynamic shape: the vertical widens slightly towards the centre. A stone plaque with a simple inscription (FIRST COMPANY OF SLOVENSKE GORICE) is fastened on the front of the obelisk at eye level. Another part of the inscription is cut directly into the stone slightly lower down (PLACE OF IST LAST BATTLE 8. 8. 1942), while an oblong shaped hole has been bored at the height of one meter. We have to kneel to peep through the hole; then the wood, where the partisans met their death, appears very clearly in front of us (ill. 6).

Ill. 6: Obelisk in Mostje, detail Our position mimics the position of a German soldier looking over the bead of his gun. An unpleasant feeling comes over the spectator; he does not need to know all the details of the event to understand that something tragic happened on the site. Every year around April 27, a march would be organized from Ptuj to Mostje. Hundreds of pupils and representatives of different organizations and societies walked to the site to glorify the memory of the battle. The course of the fight has been discussed on numerous occasions in the past, but the ingenious scheme of the monument was not recognized until 2005 (Ciglenečki 2005: 153-154). It was 1979 when another monument was erected just at the border of the wood beside the river Pesnica, just a few meters away from the site where the partisans were shot in 1942. The organizers of the annual memorial events in Mostje were repeatedly criticized for a lack of sensitivity. On the site where men lay dying in August 1942, noisy commemorations took place in the following years; this inappropriate behavior was remarked upon and roundly criticized. In 1959 Branko Kocmut planned an obelisk by the road in order to keep visitors away from the site of the tragedy, which he felt should maintain a state of silent and solemn solitude; the

215

216

M ARJETA C IGLENEČKI

new monument from 1979 brought the crowds and the tumult close to the scene of the tragedy. Besides, the new monument, which is positioned on a raised platform, is of low artistic quality. Branko Zorec, a dilettante sculptor, convinced the commissioners with a plan for a bloc of concrete with stylized heads in relief on the front of the monument. The neglect of the obelisk in Mostje began in the late 1970s and is rooted in a poor understanding of the values of the monument. Recently, Kocmut’s obelisk has also come under threat from the increase in traffic. In 2009 old age caused the oak to fall; the obelisk lost an important neighbour. In the Ptuj region the number of monuments to the National War of Liberation is as high as anywhere else in Slovenia although the resistance in the region was not particularly strong for a number of rather specific reasons. It is perhaps coincidental that two monuments of the highest artistic quality were erected in the 1950s in Ptuj and nearby Mostje. The bronze statue of Jože Lacko was immediately recognized by experts to be of key importance in Jakob Savinšek’s oeuvre and to be one of the best monuments to the National War of Liberation in Slovenia as a whole. However, even the protests of eminent figures and the experts’ high opinion of the monument could not protect it from being removed to a less than suitable location; the ideological arguments were simply too strong. The monument is not neglected but it is somehow cut off from everyday life and from being looked at on a daily basis by the citizens of Ptuj. The obelisk in Mostje has never been recognized as a piece of art; no one protested when a new monument was erected nearby. But there should be no more doubt: Branko Kocmut’s obelisk is of the highest artistic quality, yet it is also one of the most endangered monuments in Slovenia. It is not ideology which brought about such a situation but a lack of understanding of the subtle message of the masterpiece.

R EFERENCES Balažic, Janez/Ciglenečki, Marjeta (1987): “Prestavitev Lackovega spomenika – da ali ne? (Should Lacko’s Monument Be Removed – Yes or No?)” In: Tednik October 22, pp. 5. Bernik, Stane (1992): “Arhitektonski spomeniki v Sloveniji. (Architectural monuments in Slovenia.)” In: Pogledi na slovensko arhitekturo in oblikovanje. (Perspectives of Slovene Architecture and Design.), Ljubljana: Park. Bredekamp, Horst (2004): “Bildakte als Zeugnis und Urteil.” In: Monika Flacke (ed.), Mythen der Nationen. 1945 – Arena der Erinnerung, (Begleitbände zur Ausstellung), Band I, Berlin: Deutsches Historisches Museum, pp. 29-66. Ciglenečki, Marjeta (2005): “Umetnostnozgodovinski pogled na spominska obeležja 20. stoletja na ptujskem območju. (An arthistorical perspective of the memorials in the Ptuj region.)” In: Ljubica Šuligoj (ed.), Slovenstvo na Ptujskem v 20. stoletju. (Being Slovene in

M ONUMENTS TO THE N ATIONAL W AR OF L IBERATION IN S LOVENIA

Ptuj Region in the 20th Century.), Ptuj: Območno združenje borcev in udeležencev NOB, pp. 146-159. Čopič, Špelca (1967): “Povojna spomeniška plastika. (Memorial sculpture after World War II.)” In: Sinteza 7, pp. 16-30. Čopič, Špelca/Prelovšek, Damjan/Žitko, Sonja (1991): Ljubljansko kiparstvo na prostem. (Open air sculpture in Ljubljana.), Ljubljana: Državna založba Slovenije. Čopič, Špelca (1994): “Kiparstvo na prostem (Sculpture in the open air.)” In: Sonja Klemenc (ed.), Jakob Savinšek 1922-1961, exhibition catalogue, Ljubljana: Moderna galerija, pp. 25-32. Čopič, Špelca (2000): Javni spomeniki v slovenskem kiparstvu prve polovice 20. stoletja (Public Monuments in Slovene Sculpture in the first half of the 20th Century), Ljubljana: Moderna galerija. Erll, Astrid (2005): Kollektives Gedächtnis und Erinnerungskulturen, Stuttgart and Weimar: Verlag J.B. Metzler. François, Etienne (2004): “Meistererzählungen und Dammbrüche: Die Erinnerung an den zweiten Weltkrieg zwischen Nationalisierung und Universalisierung.” In: Monika Flacke (ed.), Mythen der Nationen. 1945 – Arena der Erinnerungen (exhibition catalogue) Band I., Berlin: Deutsches Historisches Museum, pp.13-28. Kolar Sluga, Breda, ed. (2004): Slavko Tihec, exhibition catalogue, Maribor: Umetnostna galerija. Mavrič Žižek, Irena (2005): “Druga svetovna vojna na Ptujskem. (World War II in Ptuj Region.)” In: Ljubica Šuligoj (ed.), Slovenstvo na Ptujskem v 20. stoletju. (Being Slovene in Ptuj Region in the 20th Century.), Ptuj: Območno združenje borcev in udeležencev NOB, pp. 48-77. Mušič, Braco (1993a): “Brisanje preteklosti: Odstranjevanje spomenikov. (Cancellation of the past. Removing of monuments.)” In: Delo January 22, pp. 23. Mušič, Braco (1993b): “Nad Lackovim spomenikom na Ptuju se je zgodilo nasilje. (Violence happened to the Lacko’s monument in Ptuj.)” In: Tednik February 4, s.p. Pahor, Boris (1975): Edvard Kocbek, pričevalec našega časa (Edvard Kocbek, a witness of our time), Trieste: Zaliv. Ravnikar, Edo (1967): “Če se ozremo nazaj. (If we look back.)” In: Sinteza 7, pp. 113. Vrišer, Sergej (1975): “Znamenja in javni spomeniki v Ptuju. (Pillars and public monuments in Ptuj.)” In: Ptujski zbornik IV, Maribor: Založba Obzorja, pp. 295-303. Zgodovinski arhiv Ptuj (Ptuj Historical Archive), SO Ptuj, year 1974, 14, 63-2/72-1. Žnidaršič, Marjan (2005): “Spominska obeležja narodno-osvobodilnega boja. (Memorial Symbols to the National War of Liberation.).” In: Ljubica Šuligoj (ed.), Slovenstvo na Ptujskem v 20. stoletju (Being Slovene in Ptuj Region in the 20th Century), Ptuj: Območno združenje borcev in udeležencev NOB, pp. 138-145.

217

Between Controversy and Reflection Memory of Marxist historiography in Croatia after 1990 Branimir Janković (Zagreb)

Historiography has become the field of study that has provided a common link for the different disciplines involved in investigating phenomena of memory by embarking on the research of various ‘places of memory’ such as museums, cemeteries, ceremonies, commemorations, holidays, monuments, archives, photos, literature, newspapers, textbooks, etc. (Nora 2006). However, as historiography itself is an important place of memory (and also a medium as well as a genre), scholars have begun to explore its connections with phenomena of memory, especially its role in shaping the cultural memory, the national memory, as well as the memory of traumatic armed conflicts in the 20th century and their victims. Memory of the communist past has been a subject of particularly extensive research, resulting in a large body of literature on these issues (cf. Brunnbauer/Troebst 2007; Todorova 2010). Accordingly, the focus of my paper will be on the memory of Marxist historiography and Marxism in Croatian historiography after changes in 1990 and comparing them with other countries of Eastern and Southeastern Europe (cf. Brunnbauer 2004; Antohi/Trencsényi/Apor 2007). The memory of Marxist historiography and Marxism in Croatian historiography from the period of the socialist Yugoslavia is not specific only to Croatia. It is a common experience of historiographies in exYugoslav republics, and Eastern and Southeastern Europe, as well as a more or less common transnational experience associated with a broader memory of Marxism and socialism/communism in these societies, characterized by the range between “amnesia and nostalgia” (Brunnbauer/ Troebst 2007). In Croatia it was the previous development of Croatian historiography in socialist Yugoslavia that determined the relationship of historians and historiography to these aspects. This is due to the fact that, after the Second World War, historiography in Yugoslavia was given an important role in shaping the official memory of the National Liberation Struggle and its victims, the agency of the Communist Party, the progress

220

B RANIMIR J ANKOVIĆ

of the socialist revolution and its achievements, as well as the history of the origins and development of the workers’ movement. This memory was framed with the demands of the construction of socialist society, the realization of ‘brotherhood and unity’, the application of Marxism, etc. However, despite the officially proclaimed desirable forms of cultural memory, in terms of “mediation of remembrance”, those general prescripts were implemented quite differently on the local level, as Heike Karge has shown (2009). Karge illustrates this point with examples of “practices of erecting local war monuments” after the Second World War in various local communities of Yugoslavia (ibid.: 49). Since these monuments generally limited themselves to marking a death and expressing mourning, “the message of ‘brotherhood and unity’ was too often missing on the local memorials” (ibid: 53), as well as the notion of the “socialist revolution”. Karge concludes “that the memory of the Second World War in Yugoslavia was not simply ‘frozen’” (ibid: 53). Her research can remind us to be cautious when considering the issue of mediation of various socialist prescripts, such as the implementation of Marxism in Croatian historiography in socialist Yugoslavia. While it is true to say that after the fall of socialist Yugoslavia Croatian historiography reacted to the previous official demands on historiography, it was also assigned a new role in Croatia. Initially, it began discussing topics which had been suppressed or restricted as sensitive topics touching on the ideological legitimacy of the socialist regime. However, an outburst of nationalism and the war in Yugoslavia in the 1990s resulted in a new role of Croatian historiography marked by a predominance of strong revisionist and nationalist aspects. Croatian historiography was expected to feature the nation and statehood, so it maintained the same level of ideologization as it had before, during socialist Yugoslavia (Iveljić 2004: 32). The official historiography in Croatia proscribed the Yugoslav ideology in Croatian history of the 19th and 20th century, and showed a tendency of wanting to disassociate itself from the Balkans (ibid: 33-34; cf. Iveljić 2002; Budak 2004). Moreover, it completely discarded topics such as the workers’ movement (as well as labour history in general), social democracy, and everything connected with or containing signs of Marxism. Memories of the socialist past of Croatian historiography are intertwined with memories of socialism/communism as a system, with the measure of ideologization and repressiveness of the regime, and with Marxism as the dominant paradigm in which science in socialist Yugoslavia was more or less supposed to accommodate itself. The issue of Marxism in Croatian historiography was, however, never the subject of any detailed discussion. That issue is, of course, connected with an application of socialist realism in literature, arts, film, and of historical materialism in philosophy and historiography. But turning these official prescripts into a socio-political reality was something that, in socialist Yugoslavia, was neither easy nor obvious. This has led many scholars to wonder whether

B ET WEEN C ONTROVERSY AND R EFLECTION

socialist realism in literature or historical materialism in historiography had been realized at all or what kind of Marxism it was. With the fall of socialism and the dissolution of Yugoslavia, various practices of remembrance of the socialist past combined in the 1990s the memories of Croatian historiography in socialist Yugoslavia with those belonging to Marxist historiography. For the purpose of this text, we can stress two major discourses concerning this issue after 1990. On one side there are historians who have strongly attacked Croatian historiography from the period of socialist Yugoslavia, mostly on the grounds of its ideologization. A number of these historians, incidentally not the most prominent figures in Croatian historiography, had been victims of repressive measures under the socialist regime, or claimed to have been. On the other side there are the leading Croatian historians, who rarely discussed these issues, but rather attempted to appreciate the achievements of Croatian historiography during socialist Yugoslavia. A major conference held in Zagreb in 2002 can serve to characterize the first group of historians. It carried the title “Hrvatska historiografija XX. stoljeća: između znanstvenih paradigmi i ideoloških zahtjeva” [Croatian historiography in the 20th century: between scientific paradigm and ideological demands]. At that conference many historians emphasized the ideologization of Croatian historiography during socialism. They enumerated undoubtedly repressive measures, such as the proscription of certain books, to argue their point, but then applied them indiscriminately as a label to Croatian historiography for the entire period of socialist Yugoslavia (cf. Lipovčan/Dobrovšak 2005). While criticizing that historiography in that time did not devote sufficient attention to the Croatian nation, they failed to problematize the notion of dealing with their own nation in historical writing. Implying that Yugoslavia was a continuous dictatorship without periods of liberalization and changes, or periods of weakening control, they argued that historiography in that time was ideologized, but rejected any assumptions that they themselves might also have been ideologized in some ways when writing their texts. A lack of a balanced approach to the subject becomes evident when they emphasized that researchers of all historical periods had been under ideological pressure, ignoring the fact that it was exterted mostly on historians who researched 20th century history (particularly the topics which were important for a legitimacy of the regime), and less so on those dealing with the history of the 19th century, while research on earlier periods remained for the most part free of ideological pressure. Furthermore, they made no attempt to examine the position of Marxism in historiography and its theoretical, methodological, and thematic realization in Croatian historiography, choosing to limit themselves to applying the label of ideologization to Croatian historiography in socialism. It should be noted that these evaluations were made by historians who, at least in some cases, were at that time in important professional positions, which increased the consequences of their views on historiography. For example, they focused

221

222

B RANIMIR J ANKOVIĆ

their efforts of struggling with the ‘Marxist legacy’ on editing school textbooks (cf. Posavec 1997), which are, beside historiography, another important medium and place of memory in the area of historical writing. In this process, attacks on Marxism from politicians and media also played an important role. The second type of discourse is represented by historians who – on the rare occasions they talked about it – attempted to evaluate the accomplishments of Croatian historiography in the period of 1945-1990 and who, after 1990, did not impregnate their work with nationalism. They argued that Croatian historiography in the period of socialist Yugoslavia has also achieved some important results. In addition, they stressed the need to differentiate between ideologized historians and those who were not ideologized. In contrast to historians who emphasized the ideologization of Croatian historiography without concern for methodological issues, they briefly summarized how Marxism contributed to Croatian historiography by finally starting to research economic and social history. They also pointed out that Marxism has influenced leading historiographies such as English and French historiography. The presentation of historian Miroslav Bertoša at the aforementioned conference is interesting because, unlike others, he stressed that he related his personal experience and his own fragmented memories without trying to generalize them for the entire Croatian historiography. He went on to say that he was aware of the limitations that this implied, but he believed that personal experiences of historians are important and that historians should be encouraged to write and publish their memoirs (Bertoša 2005). In 2007 Bertoša released part of his own memoirs in the book Kruh, mašta i mast: prizori i memorabilije o staroj Puli (1947-1957) [Bread, imagination, and fat: scenes and memorabilia of the old Pula], but since they focus on his childhood they make no reference to historiography and the presence of historical materialism and Marxism in it, although they certainly represent interesting recollections of life in socialist Yugoslavia. However, Croatian historians usually do not write their own memoirs, so we lack material for a whole range of possible issues. Another rare example of published memoirs are those of Miroslav Brandt from 1996, entitled Život sa suvremenicima: političke uspomene i svjetonazor [Living with contemporaries: political memoirs and worldview]. Brandt was a member of the Communist Party and in 1948 the author of a review which praised Stalin’s work on historical materialism. However, with the shift from socialist to nationalist topics in the public debate of the 1990s Brandt’s book presented a critical appraisal of socialism and framed it in a narrative that attempted to show that throughout his life he had supported the national liberation of the Croats. The memoirs of historian and politician Dušan Bilandžić Povijest izbliza: memoarski zapisi 1945-2005 [History in close up: memoirs] (2006) mostly revolve around conversations with politicians and do not say anything about Marxism. From these examples of memoirs we

B ET WEEN C ONTROVERSY AND R EFLECTION

can conclude that there is a lack of reflection of Marxism in Croatian historiography. It should be noted – with reference to the aforementioned conference – that those historians who suffered under state repression during the period of socialist Yugoslavia not only have every right to draw attention to their particular cases, but their stories must also be taken into account when we talk about Croatian historiography in the time of socialism. It is, however, another question how to deal with these cases, especially when certain historians want to disseminate their own stories as a label for Croatian historiography in general. One historian has one kind of experience, other historians another, so we have to be careful how to put these experiences, memories, and scientific analyses of Croatian historiography from socialist Yugoslavia into the context of today’s public opinion and academic publications. In a way, this text also presents my own memory of Marxism and Marxist historiography. Therefore, with regard to that memory and the context of Croatia, Hobsbawm’s words that historians are the “professional remembrancers of what their fellow-citizens wish to forget” (Todorova 2010: 15) seem well suited. A lack of pre-war Marxist tradition, the imposition of Marxism by the communist authorities, repression, attacks from the public, and limited intellectual and political culture that erupted in Croatia at the beginning of 1990s – all that influenced an official rejection of Marxism as an approach, and of Marx as a thinker in Croatia after the fall of communism and the dissolution of Yugoslavia. We can ask ourselves whether now, in 2012, and after all these processes in the 1990s, has come the time for a balanced dealing with the socialist past. It seems that today in Croatia – 20 years after the fall of communism – we can observe more and more varied practices which examine the socialist past. These are, for example, the movie exhibitions and round tables in Zagreb at the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 2009, then the exhibition “A Pair of Left Shoes – Reality Check in Eastern Europe” (Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb, 04/16/2010 – 05/27/2010) which dealt, among other things, with the memories of different authors from Southeastern and Eastern Europe of the socialist/ communist past, as well as the “Subversive Film Festival” in Zagreb (May 2010) which showed more than one hundred films from the period of the socialist Yugoslavia, the communist countries in Eastern Europe and Latin America, and held two conferences on socialism. At the exhibition “A Pair of Left Shoes – Reality Check in Eastern Europe” mentioned above, Czech artist Kateřina Šedá, in her work ‘It Doesn’t Matter’ (2005: 7), which consisted of hundreds of drawings of various tools, presents the artist’s grandmother’s memories from the time of socialism. Her 76-year-old grandmother worked with tools in the shop and her drawings served as a proof of her outstanding recollection of a large number of different tools used in the shop, together with their prices. However, when evaluating the various aspects of Croatian historiography during socialism we cannot

223

224

B RANIMIR J ANKOVIĆ

always expect a reconstruction as extensive as that shown in Šedá’s work, but we have to take into account as many aspects as possible. What makes Croatian historiography in socialist Yugoslavia and the contribution of Marxism to it so significant is that it encouraged the study of economic and social history as well as the research of historical aspects that previous historical inquiries had overlooked. In assessing the possibilities of Marxist historiography we should take into account the high regard that some Marxist scholarly work in European and world historiography enjoy, especially that of historians such as E. Hobsbawm and E. Thompson. Furthermore, the Marxist interest in a material culture is present in different historical approaches, while its interest in the issues of socio-economic oppression has influenced propulsive approaches such as postcolonial history and oral history. The relevance of Marxist historiography within other approaches, the significance that the writings of Marx (whose tenets can, of course, be discussed) have for the social sciences and the importance of Marxism as a theory that many notable intellectuals have written about is obvious. The stimulating pluralism of contemporary historical writings has encouraged historians to draw inspiration from some aspects or ideas of Marxism (for instance the notion of oppression) and to attempt to connect them with other approaches or to formulate different research questions in order to provide a fresh perspective to historical work. A particularly important task for current Croatian historiography would, in my opinion, be to revive research of subjects such as labour history that have completely disappeared from Croatian historiography – but now employing modern approaches and avoiding the mistakes and weaknesses of the older Marxist historiography in socialist Yugoslavia. The total absence of these topics is also a reflection of a certain kind of memory of the socialist past in Croatia. An expression of this dynamic trajectory of memory of Marxism in Croatia is the fact that we can observe an increasing number of young people in today’s Croatia reading Marx without preconceived attitudes and assumptions, unlike their older colleagues who lived in socialist Yugoslavia. For example, in the period of the student blockades in 2009 and 2010 in Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria and Germany, students in their demand for free education called for a criticism of neoliberal capitalism and showed sensibility for workers’ issues invoking Marx and other authors of Marxist orientation. One can conclude that memory of Marxism and Marxist historiography (and socialism) both in Croatia and in other parts of former Yugoslavia, and – as a part of a transnational experience – in Southeastern Europe, is changing and we can assume that it will continue to change. In conclusion, I wish to employ Renate Lachmann’s metaphor of the palimpsest, of writing new texts on the surface of culture: Although we scratched the previous signs, scratching them has not erased them, so the older characters coexist with the newer and most recent ones (Lachmann 2002: 223). In this sense, despite the calls of some historians to reject and

B ET WEEN C ONTROVERSY AND R EFLECTION

do away with Marxist phrases and sediments, the 1990s in Croatia did not succeed in erasing the presence of Marxism as a part of Croatian culture, history and historiography.

R EFERENCES Antohi, Sorin/Trencsényi, Balázs/Apor, Péter, eds. (2007): Narratives Unbound: Historical Studies in Post-Communist Eastern Europe, Budapest and New York: Central European University Press. Bertoša, Miroslav (2005): “Doba kliofobije: ideološke opsjene i osobna iskustva. Neke uspomene na historiografiju druge polovice prošlog stoljeća.” In: Srećko Lipovčan/Ljiljana Dobrovšak (eds.), Hrvatska historiografija XX. stoljeća: između znanstvenih paradigmi i ideoloških zahtjeva, Zagreb: Institut društvenih znanosti Ivo Pilar, pp. 99-109. Brunnbauer, Ulf, ed. (2004): (Re)Writing History: Historiography in Southeast Europe after Socialism, Münster: LIT Verlag. Brunnbauer, Ulf/Troebst, Stefan, eds. (2007): Zwischen Amnesie und Nostalgie. Die Erinnerung an den Kommunismus in Südosteuropa, Cologne – Weimar – Vienna: Böhlau. Budak, Neven (2004): “Post-socialist Historiography in Croatia since 1990.” In: Ulf Brunnbauer (ed.), Rewriting History: Historiography in Southeast Europe after Socialism, Münster: LIT Verlag, pp. 128-164. Iveljić, Iskra (2002): “Die zersplitterte Ökumene der HistorikerInnen. Historiographie in Kroatien in den 1990er Jahren.” In: Alojz Ivanišević/ Andreas Kappeler/Walter Lukan/Arnold Suppan (eds.), Klio ohne Fesseln? Historiographie im östlichen Europa nach dem Zusammenbruch des Kommunismus, Vienna: Lang, pp. 363-380. Iveljić, Iskra (2004): “Hrvatska historiografija o 19. stoljeću nakon raspada Jugoslavije.” In: Prispevki za novejšo zgodovino XLIV/2, pp. 29-44. Karge, Heike (2009): “Mediated remembrance. Local practices of remembering the Second World War in Tito´s Yugoslavia.” In: European Review of History 16, pp. 49-62. Lachmann, Renate (2002): Phantasia/Memoria/Rhetorica, Zagreb: Matica hrvatska. Lipovčan, Srećko/Dobrovšak, Ljiljana, eds. (2005): Hrvatska historiografija XX. stoljeća: između znanstvenih paradigmi i ideoloških zahtjeva, Zagreb: Institut društvenih znanosti Ivo Pilar. Nora, Pierre (2006): “Između Pamćenja i Historije. Problematika mjestâ.” In: Maja Brkljačić/Sandra Prlenda (eds.), Kultura pamćenja i historija, Zagreb: Golden marketing-Tehnička knjiga, pp. 21-44. Posavec, Vladimir (1997): “Povjesničari i ‘povjesničari’.” In: Radovi Zavoda za hrvatsku povijest Filozofskog fakulteta Sveučilišta u Zagrebu 30, pp. 308-317. Todorova, Maria, ed. (2010): Remembering Communism: Genres of Representations, New York: Social Science Research Council.

225

T V and the End of Grammar-based Politics: Tuđman and Izetbegović Jurij Murašov (Konstanz)

I. THE COOL T V IMAGE AND THE TR ADITION OF GR AMMAR Already in the 1950s, American research showed that the TV image produced by cathode rays differs essentially from the photographic and film images. Permanently composing and decomposing via pictorial elements the TV image simulates haptic impressions and disposes the viewer to a synesthetically active perception and communication. In such a way, TV images imitate verbal, face-to-face communication – in contrast to writing, radio, and film, which are based on a sharp separation between the various human senses, especially between the eye and the ear. Not by its content but by the structure of images, TV forces an involvement of the viewer’s entire personality in a (simulated) real time communication. Marshall McLuhan (1964: 308-337) describes this type of media as cool media – a concept taken from Claude Levi-Strauss (1962) and focussing on the degree of evolutionary dynamics and contingency different media have. The cool media produce a form of communication, by which the participants are bound and actually caught in the present time, in a presence, which suppresses moments of differentiation, of abstraction and reflection. In this concern the TV medium opposes to the so-called hot media of literacy, writing and typography, which – contrary to the TV communication – are based on the separation of the human senses and on differentiation and abstraction. In this sense, literacy always appears as a medium which produces an analytical approach towards the categories of time, separating past, presence and future. My thesis on the desintegration process, the different ways of searching national, ethnic, religious and especially political identity and dealing with memory in the Yugoslav regions is based on this systemic opposition of cool and hot media. The thesis is that the expanding TV communication during the 60s has two interrelated effects: First, one can observe that, in line with increasing TV communication, the attitude towards language

228

J URIJ M URAŠOV

shifted from a grammar-based and analytical attitude towards an idiomatic and speech act orientated handling of language. In Saussure’s terms one can say: the pragmatic attitude towards language shifted from langue to parole. The second effect concerns the concept of politics: closely related to the language shift, the concept of politics is transformed from an abstract and grammar-based concept of policy-making and an administrative and juridical state construction to performative and verbal forms of affirmation of community. This interrelationship of grammar and policy-making becomes evident in a historical perspective, when we look back to the nineteenth century, when the idea of a Yugoslav state emerged and was promoted as a philological project by Franc Miklošič and leading Serbian and Croatian writers and philologists by the contract of Vienna of 1850 (Zabrah 2008, 112ff.; Greenberg 2004; 24ff.). In this contract the structural similarities of grammar between the various Croatian and Serbian idioms and the linguistic similarities with the Slovenian language are taken as a model for the idea, and as a historical promise, of a Yugoslav state. In terms of writing and typography, the grammatical structure of the Yugoslav languages (the conception of the Illyric languages) generated the idea of the Yugoslav political entity as a juridical form. It seems to me, that despite changing times and ideologies one can trace this conception of a juridical and grammar-based idea of statehood in the first Yugoslavian State of 1918 and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia of 1929, and also in the founding of socialist Yugoslavia remaining constitutional until the last Language Agreement of 1954 confirmed in Novi Sad, when the written-language norms for the Yugoslavian State were formulated for the last time (Okuka 1998: 78). The striking thing now is that the end of this grammar-based idea of a Yugoslav state coincided exactly with the rise of TV as a mass medium in the second half of the 1950s, reaching a first peak at the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s. From 1963 to 1971 the number of registrated TVs increased by 1000 % to an amount of about 2 millions TV sets (Yugoslav Survey 1984: 90 f.). Like in other European regions and language cultures, this expansion of the TV is tied to a boom in oral idioms and the rise of the prestige of regional dialects (Biere/Hoberg 1996). Examples for this phenomenon are (among others) the rise of dialect literature in the German region of Bavaria or in various regions in Switzerland. Whereas in Bavaria or Switzerland this shift from langue to parole had no deep structural consequences for the concept of politics, the contrary was the case in the Yugoslav regions, where it subverted the grammatically-philologically based idea of statehood and politics in favour of performative acts of affective confirmations of communitarity, and where now a new type of actor began to appear on the political stage. In the following I would like to focus briefly on two such actors and their political concepts: on Franjo Tuđman and on Alija Izetbegović and I want to show how their very different ideological concepts are similar

TV AND THE E ND OF G RAMMAR - BASED P OLITICS

concerning their handling of the pragmatic difference of langue and performative parole.

II. TUĐMAN ’S POLITICS OF THE “GRE AT ” DEED To understand Tuđman’s idea of politics, his book Great Ideas and Small Nations (Velike ideje i mali narodi) of 1969 is highly illuminating. In this text, Tuđman brings together a large amount of historical material from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, in order to distil a historical narrative according to which all great ideas – the various nationalisms, pan-Slavism, European liberalism, the capitalism as well as the socialism – represent abstract concepts serving to establish inhumane orders of power. The smaller the nation, the more strongly the alienating violence of these concepts makes itself manifest. What is commonly understood as the story of the progress of civilization in Tuđman’s argumentation turns out to be a narrative of the suffering and even sacrifice of small nations. What is central to this historical schema is that the term of ‘small nations’ permanently concretized by references to Croatia and other European linguistic minorities, is nowhere conceptually explained. Rather, it functions as a counter-concept to the great, abstract ideas, in order to point out an originary experience of community that cannot be rationally understood but only emotionally or even affectionately experienced. Tuđman’s comprehensive historical work functions as a performative enterprise of intensification, where in expanding narrative loops, the story of the violence of great ideas injects pathos into the semantics of the term ‘small nation’ denoting, as indicated, a sphere of the non-understandable. This affective investment of the term ‘small nations’ is the vehicle for the pragmatics of the text to break the bonds of alien abstractions and thus enter the space of history. By its affective character and as a speech act (Austin 1962) Tuđman’s text is calling upon the small idiomatic-Croatian linguistic community to enter history by a “great” deed, – a great deed, that appears released from all memory and location in an apparently guilt-free space of the collective consensus. This concept of the great deed is repeated and made even more radical in Tuđman’s text Bespuća povjesne zbiljnosti from 1989 (published in English as Wastelands of Historical Truth). Operating with statistic material about victims of massacres committed by different Serbian, Croatian, national fascist and socialist groups during the Second World War, Tuđman tries to neutralize and to eliminate all questions of guilt in order to release Croatian politics of the great deed from all historical memory and to reinstall Croatian policy-making in a quasi innocent space of a collective agreement beyond all ethics.

229

230

J URIJ M URAŠOV

III. I ZE TBEGOVIĆ ’S POLITICISED I SL AM Although the political thinking of Alija Izetbegović is not foremost based on an ethos of national language but is religiously motivated, it displays highly striking structural analogies with Tuđman’s concept. In the late 1960s, a time when Tito-Yugoslavian etatism was increasingly questioned from various national, religious, and praxis-oriented, philosophical perspectives, Izetbegović formulated his political credo in his Islamic Declaration (Islamska deklaracija). Similarly to Tuđman argumentation concerning Croatia, Izetbegović diagnosed an inner rift characterizing the community of the Bosnian Moslems. Even more emphatically than Tuđman did, he lamented and criticized human self-alienation through abstract-legal state institutions, but now in the framework of the Islamic religion. While in Tuđman’s case it is the abstract pressure of great ideas that alienates small nations as linguistic minorities from themselves, in Izetbegović’s case an abstract legal and constitutional system displays the depravity of a cultural community: The European believes that the society is ordered by the rule of laws. Since Plato’s “Republic”, and the various utopian ideas which followed, up to the most recent – Marxism – the European spirit has been searching for one schema, one pattern. Which, by simply altering the relationships between people or groups, would give birth to the ideal society […]. A multiplicity of laws [...] is usually a sure sign that something is rotten in a society […]. (Izetbegović 1990: 27)

Similar to Tuđman’s concept, in which the Croatian ethos functions as an internal principle of political collective agreement, that can only be experienced by spoken Croatian vernacular, Izetbegović is now referring to an inner, spiritual religious experience as the beginning of a social and political formation of community: In contrast to a society, as an abstract community with external relationships among its members, the Jama’a is an internal, tangible community, founded on spiritual membership, where contact between people is maintained by direct, personal acquaintance. (Izetbegović 1990: 33)

The Islamic Declaration is a text situating itself at a temporal turning point and calling for enactment of the political deed – already participating in such a new practice by its declamatory and performative tenor: It is intended for Muslims who know where they belong and whose hearts clearly tell them which side they stand on. For such as these, the Declaration is a call to understand the inevitable consequences of that to which their love and allegiance bind them. The entire Muslim world is in a state of ferment and change.

TV AND THE E ND OF G RAMMAR - BASED P OLITICS Whatever form it eventually takes when the initial effects of these changes are felt, one thing is certain […]: the age of passivity and stagnation has gone forever. (Izetbegović 1990: 3)

Considered in terms of textual pragmatics, Izetbegović’s Islamic Declaration shares its performative push into political praxis with Tuđman’s graphomanic historical elaborations and even with the neo-Marxist, Croatian, and Serbian philosophies of praxis, who tried to oppose the official Yugo-Marxist dogma by referring to Marx’s tenth thesis on Feuerbach: that it is time to overcome the philosophical interpretation of the world by changing it (Murašov 2008). All three of the above-described moments – the disqualification of conceptual-formal abstraction as self-alienation, inwardly experienced, heard, or felt affiliation as a source of politics and finally the performative character of text and discourse – point to an understanding of politics, which beyond any grammar does not follow the abstracting logic of book culture and which generates its matrix out of the mass-mediated situativeoral idioms of the “cool” TV culture.

R EFERENCES Austin, John L. (1962): How to Do Things with Words, London: Oxford University Press. Biere, Bernd Ulrich/Hoberg, Rudolf, eds. (1996): Mündlichkeit und Schriftlichkeit im Fernsehen, Tübingen: Narr. Greenberg, Robert David (2004): Language and Identity in the Balkans. Serbo-Croatian and its disintegration, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Izetbegović, Alija (1993), Die islamische Ordnung (Islamska deklaracija, Sarajevo 1990), Berlin: Edition Neue Wege. Yugoslav Survey XXXV, No. 2 May 1984: 90 f. Levi-Strauss, Claude (1962): La pensée sauvage, Paris: Plon. McLuhan, Marshall (1964): Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, New York et al.: McGraw-Hill. Murašov, Jurij (2008): “Im Bann des sprachlichen Idioms. Praxisphilosophie und Medientheorie.” In: Osteuropa 1968. Das Enzym der Freiheit. 1968 und das halbierte Bewusstsein.), 58 Heft 7, pp. 119-128. Okuka, Miloš (1998): Eine Sprache viele Erben. Sprachpolitik als Nationalisierungsinstrument in Ex-Jugoslawien, Klagenfurt et al.: Wieser. Tuđman, Franjo (1969): Velike ideje i mali narodi, Zagreb: Matica hrvatska. Tuđman, Franjo (1989): Bespuća Povjesne Zbiljnosti, Zagreb: Matica hrvatska. Zabrah, Dareg (2008): Das Bosnische auf dem Weg zur Standardsprache. Eine synchrone und diachrone Analyse der Sprachsituation in Bosnien und Herzegowina, Saarbrücken: VDM Verlag.

231

The Iron Curtain in the Memory of the Serbian Newsprint Media Ana Milojević/Aleksandra Ugrinić (Belgrade)

In the era of mass media most of our experience is intermediate, and all but recent history or, to be stricter, only events close enough to us for direct sensing, do we acknowledge directly. Moreover, even events close to us in time and space, we see only in limited ways. In fact, for most of what we learn, we find ourselves at the ‘end’ of a very long processing chain. Our historical facts have gone through many more than just primary and secondary sources, as well as our news facts, which are the most common and dominant form of informing and tool for orientation in the modern world. In these relay chains, some people have greater power of modifying and interpreting our reality. The institutions, agencies and especially journalists make the filters or lenses through which we see and comprehend our world. That is why the study of messages and conditions under which they are produced, processed and distributed, as well as the study of what various recipients do with them, is crucial to understanding our current and historical social phenomena. Most of our recent history (last 50 years) has been recorded and represented by the mass media. Those recordings and representations are not just historical facts and documentary material, but also indicators of media freedom, journalistic standards which tell us a lot about the nature of political regimes, or state of different societies as well. The fall of the Berlin wall (FBW) is very interesting to investigate in both of these senses. It was a breaking point in recent history, an event that marked a clash of two worlds (East and West), two major ideologies and two ruling political systems, but also an event that received extensive global media coverage. This event was observed through a wide prism of the print media in Serbia, not only as an important historical event but also as a framework through which we can judge the state of media and society at that time. Daily newspapers were selected for content analysis because they are a relevant indicator of continuous monitoring of current events. The analysis covers two periods, 1989, the year when the historic event took place, as

234

A NA M ILOJEVIĆ /A LEKSANDRA U GRINIĆ

well as ten years after the collapse of the Berlin Wall (BW). This period in the history of the former Yugoslavia belongs to the era of self-governing socialism. Serbia was ruled by strict control of the press which demanded absolute obedience and loyalty of the journalists to the ruling ideas. In the spring of 1988 the new political leadership of Serbia had under its control all political press and other media, except for federal publications. Among federal papers most problematic was Borba, which for several years resisted the main course, while other media, burdened with financial difficulties, willingly submitted to the control of the new Serbian political leadership (Bjelica/Jevtović 2006: 410, 415). The destructive influence on the media in the 1980s resulted in the increase of tension and the demand for more room for objective and critical journalism. However, in the circumstances of the still-existing ideologically and politically controlled social environment, these efforts resulted in exposing the affairs of unprincipled behavior of the ruling ranks, but preferably among ranks from other republics (Veljanovski 2005: 255). The media system of Serbia during the ten years after the FBW, was like society undergoing a period of transition, the democratic and professional transformation of the media system. Democratic transformation involves a change of media regulation – the abolition of restrictive laws passed during the Milosevic era. Professional changes in behavior of media professionals include the adoption of standards of objective reporting, and the adoption of ethical and professional codes. This meant the freedom to establish newspapers without permission and the distancing of the media from the influence of government, politics and other power centers, the introduction of the model of the dual role of property and establishment of a free media market (Veljanovski 2009: 32). However, because of the strict control of the press in Serbia until the 1990s, political pluralism did not induce journalistic pluralism. Newsrooms continued to affirm the ruling party and to write homogeneously on all important social issues and cleavages. Theoretically there is full freedom of speech and press, but the practice has shown that the media were controlled by the state and its trusted minions (Veljanovski 2005: 256). The first research hypothesis: one-party regime and strict control of the media brings on neutral, nonanalytical and uniform coverage of all topics, even on deliberative events such as the fall of the BW. Within it, a uniform approach among different print media is expected, and little or no difference in the interpretation of events. Another open research question is: Are there, and if so what are, the differences in treating the subject ten years later, after the democratization of society and the media system? What was the extent of coverage of different media of the event, and secondly, in what way did the media report it, and how did they ‘see’ the future repercussions of the November events in Berlin. The analysis was aimed at establishing the basic characteristics of the media image of the wall’s collapse in three ways: 1. Representation of the event (number of articles, the space occupied by text on the page, position

T HE I RON C URTAIN IN THE M EMORY OF THE S ERBIAN N EWSPRINT M EDIA

on the agenda of the studied media – measured by the page where the text appeared, size of headline), 2. Professional characteristics of reporting (authoring, genres, the placement of articles in different sections, the use of photographs), 3. Thematic analysis (the way the event is thematized in the Serbian press, what the focus of the articles was and which sources interpreted the event) For the purposes of proving the hypothesis, a quantitative content analysis of print media was used, while the analytical apparatus was specially designed for this study. Analysis of the press included the three daily newspapers Politika, Večernje novosti i Borba, as well as weekly NIN. According to official statistics, in Serbia in 1989, 1,447 newspapers and magazines were printed of which 14 were daily newspapers, and of these, nine were informative-political. Due to the nature of events only media with informative-political orientation were referenced. Politika was chosen as the oldest and one of the most respected dailies in Serbia. Večernje novosti is also a paper with a long tradition (founded in 1953), and a “daily with the largest circulation (266,282) in the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia” (Front page of daily Večernje Novosti November 15, 1989). Daily Borba had special importance for our research because it was the voice of the communist Party whose collapse the events in Berlin were announcing. The weekly NIN is known for opposing the editorial policy imposed by the Party committees and as the voice outside of the ideological regime. NIN is analyzed with the expectation that this paper will have a more comprehensive approach to the subject, a deeper analysis and a serious interpretation of events. As selection criteria, other than influence and circulation, continuity was also important as it allowed comparison of data. Continuity implies that the selected media existed in 1989 and 1999. The research period covers the week before and one week after the fall of the wall (November 9, 1989) and the same period in 1999. The entire content of newspapers was reviewed, apart from the advertisements and sports. The unit of analysis was a ‘text’ which is defined as a journalistic text which comprises a graphic and informative whole (regardless of length, genre, method of processing, or theme) with all its parts (headlines, illustrations) (Milivojević 2003: 26). Defined in that way, text is clearly visible on the pages of newspapers. Berelson (1952) suggested that content analysis is a research technique for objective, systematic and quantitative description of manifested content of communication. Methods of content analysis are seen as “unobtrusive measures”, because the ones which produce the content are not aware that they are, or will be, observed analytically. In this respect, content analytical data are in a way ‘harder’ data than any other data collected with questionnaires or personal interviews, and they generally stand still for the researcher. Furthermore, the results of this method allow connections between features of the analyzed text and the context in which the text was made as well as the conclusions about journalistic

235

A NA M ILOJEVIĆ /A LEKSANDRA U GRINIĆ

practice. The aforementioned characteristics of this method are suitable for the implementation of research objectives and testing of hypotheses. The study presents the results of content analysis of 161 texts, of which 135 were printed during 1989 and only 26 texts in 1999. In 1989, more than nine texts were printed per day (on average), while in 1999, the intensity quite expectedly was much smaller – only 1.85 texts on average. The majority of texts (27) were published on the November 11, 1989 (two days after the fall of the wall). Graph 1: The intensity of reporting (real numbers) 



 

  

























 



















































 





















236



The main intention of this paper is to reveal what treatment the FBW had in the press of ‘Greater’ Yugoslavia (SFRY) in 1989 and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) in 1999. A special focus is the interpretation of this event in the context of the political situation in our country. Since the topic of research is a specific historical event, the dynamics of reporting followed the dynamics of the events. In 1989, the number of articles was five times higher than in 1999. The event had equally significant publicity in all analyzed media – Politika and Večernje Novosti published 41 articles and Borba published 40. Readers, therefore, had the opportunity to be informed regularly about the most important events on the streets of Berlin, but with little or no references to the internal situation in our country. Events such as this, with far-reaching consequences, deserve equal media attention at the time of and after the event. Data on the intensity indicate that the event was treated like any other natural disaster, and not as a social phenomenon with a domino effect on the entire international order.

T HE I RON C URTAIN IN THE M EMORY OF THE S ERBIAN N EWSPRINT M EDIA

Graph 2: Distribution of texts (real numbers)   







 

 

   





 





 %RUED

1,1

3ROLWLND

9HþHUQMHQRYRVWL

The significance of events is reflected not only by the number of published texts, but also by the space they occupied in the media. A quarter of the total number of texts were extra large and large texts. Together with the texts of medium size (38 percent) it constituted two thirds of the total. So, coverage of the event was extensive. Considering that the headlines are the first visual element through which journalists give meaning to a particular topic, the FBW justified the ‘momentous’ event with great publicity. 103 texts (8 of which were the only one on the page, 53 which were dominant on the page and 42 accompanying texts of medium and large size) are almost two times higher than the number of texts with less visible headlines. Table 1: Size of the headlines (real numbers) Size of headlines

Print media Borba

Only headline on the page

NIN

Politika

5

3

Večernje Novosti

Dominant headline on the page

13

8

21

15

Accompanying, headline proportional to text size

31

4

31

30

237

238

A NA M ILOJEVIĆ /A LEKSANDRA U GRINIĆ

Besides the headlines, the position of the text also points out the manner in which editors approached this event – 60 texts had a dominant position on the starting pages, of which 15 headlines were on the front, 19 on the second page and 26 on the third page. At the time of the study, the right side rule was in effect (the position for hard news information) and the FBW in 64 texts was given increased importance by placement on the third, fifth, seventh and ninth pages. In terms of authorship, the majority of articles (71 per cent) were signed by journalists. Politika had a special correspondent, both from Berlin, and Bonn and their news reports always occurred in parallel. This certainly indicates a balanced approach to the event, but also the desire ‘not to step out’ of the defined framework of political correctness. Only 13 texts remained unsigned (in Borba three, one in the Politika and nine in Večernje Novosti) while 25 were reprinted from the agency Tanjug. Reporters presented the exciting atmosphere from the streets of Berlin. The treatment of the FBW can also be seen through the genre’s representation which assumes a different approach by various media with different profiles and editorial policies. Almost 40 per cent is created within the basic factography genre – news, while one fifth of the total media were news reports. We see, therefore, that almost two thirds of media images are created within the factographic forms despite the fact that most of the editors had reporters on site. It is obvious that the editorial policy emphasized the factographical way of reporting without presenting values, and for evocative symbols they used descriptions of the atmosphere and emotional reactions of the Berlin citizens. Thus every fourth text belongs to what we characterized as a news report with comments and only NIN had all journalistic genres. Interviews had appeared only in NIN, six times in all. There were five commentaries – Borba and Večernje Novosti published one each, while NIN published three. Politika offset the lack of analysis with running 23 feuilletons continuously in 1999. Our analysis included nine sequels. This treatment is consistent with the standpoint of Draga Božinović (2005) who calls journalism in Serbia in the 1990s ‘the years of Sony journalism’, referring to the practice of journalists of recording events and social problems of the time without critical examination. Characteristic of the entire generation of journalists is that they continued with the manner of reporting that was fixed by the communist party: the event was described in chronological order, official statements were noted, questions were not asked, the involvement of journalists was minimal. A journalist, at most, served as recorder or microphone holder. Also, the assumption of different approaches of various newsrooms was correct. The media treatments seemed as if they came from one great newsroom with one chief editor at the helm. The editorial policy of all print media appeared to have been orchestrated from a single center.

T HE I RON C URTAIN IN THE M EMORY OF THE S ERBIAN N EWSPRINT M EDIA

Table 2: Genres

Print media

Genre

Borba

44 News

20

News report

12

News report with comments

11

Commentary

1

NIN

17 News

3

News report with comments

1

Interview

6

Commentary

3

Article

4

Politika

55 News

21

News report

10

News report with comments

15

Feuilleton

9

Večernje novosti

Total

Number of units

45 News

18

News report

13

News report with comments

13

Commentary

1

 

161

The FBW is usually presented in two sections: international politics and News of the Day, a total of 38 per cent. Announcement and text on the front page had Politika and Borba, while Večernje Novosti had the headline on the front page with a continuation on another page 11 times. Borba and Večernje Novosti underlined the importance of the event using different techniques: Borba over the four days had a special section “Reaction to the Berlin events”

239

240

A NA M ILOJEVIĆ /A LEKSANDRA U GRINIĆ

while Večernje Novosti visually isolated the topic – on four ‘illustrated’ middle pages on which with the short titles appeared 12 photographs. Table 3: Unit placement (real numbers) News section

Number of units

International politics

47

News section not specified

44

Special news section made especially for event

16

Headline and text on front page

15

News of the day section

14

Only headline on front page

11

Feuilleton

11

‘Illustrated’

3

The fact that as much as 45 percent of texts were accompanied by a photograph suggests how important the event was for the media. If we take into account that most of the photos are of events, not personalities, it is clear that the reporter method in coverage was dominant. Moreover, this suggests that the editorial found images to be a valuable means of expression. Graph 3: Visual elements

T HE I RON C URTAIN IN THE M EMORY OF THE S ERBIAN N EWSPRINT M EDIA

This brings us to the ‘average text’ about the FBW: the text is of medium size, with ‘supporting’ headline, genre – news report. The event which has radically changed political circumstances in the world reached a high position on the media agenda in our country. This confirms the frequent appearance on the front page as well as the placement on the hard pages in newspapers, with frequent additional visual elements and the dominant headlines. However, the vast media attention is not an indicator of professional, interpretative approach to the subject. Genre proves that Serbian journalists did not interpret the events, but merely reported the facts and broadcasted information from the German media. The print media, in their reporting on the FBW, covered developments through eleven different themes. The event is mainly processed in chronological order with minimal disclosure of journalistic judgments. As a dominant theme framework, the media singled out the reaction to the FBW – 41 texts which represents one fifth of the media coverage. To such a trend Politika greatly contributed with its reporting (39 per cent of the total number of texts on this subject). Borba followed with 29 per cent and Večernje Novosti respectively with 24 per cent. While covering this topic, almost equal space is given to the reactions of the East and West (19 vs. 17 articles). It is obvious that the existence of balance, according to the non-aligned position of SFRY in international politics, was taken into account by the editors. Indicative is the finding that Belgrade hardly had an official reaction. Only two published texts present the short news and within them are given the official statement of the Federal Secretariat for Foreign Affairs. After different reactions following the FBW, the media concentrated their coverage on two topics that are closely correlated with the specific event – the analysis of the situation in East Germany (25 texts) and the events leading up to the November 9, 1989. The chronological approach was especially present in NIN and Politika in 1999 when the tenth anniversary of the event was marked. Although 1999 was one of the hardest years in the recent history of Serbia (the NATO bombing, the complex economic and social situation), we cannot say that the 10 year anniversary of the FBW went unnoticed. In addition to retrospectives on major events that were presented by journalists from NIN and Politika, there were nine articles specifically about the celebration in Berlin.

241

242

A NA M ILOJEVIĆ /A LEKSANDRA U GRINIĆ

Table 4: Theme analysis (real numbers) Theme

Number of units

Reactions to the FBW

41

Analysis of the situation in Eastern Germany

25

Events that lead up to the fall

19

Falling of the BW

17

Chronological description of the FBW

15

Eastern and Western Germany relations

15

Reunification of Germany

12

Ten years anniversary of the fall

9

Analysis of the situation in Western Germany

4

Yugoslav reaction to the FBW

2

Unspecified themes

2

That extensive coverage of an event does not necessarily mean a critical approach. The topics were in 52 per cent dealt with an informative and factual manner, while 40 per cent represent a form of interpretation of the events. A critical approach is present in only six texts, of which five are in NIN, and one in Politika. Although one could expect that 1999 was the year that presented an ideal opportunity to perform an extensive analysis and critical review of the historical events that have affected this part of the world, this did not happen. Moreover, what is also missing is the assessment of the importance of this event on political events, both in SFRY and in FRY. However, two articles (“Germany above all” – NIN” and “A complete surprise” – which was initiated by the feuilleton in Politika) opened the second question – the question of the role of Germany in the disintegration of Yugoslavia which was from the perspective of the then ruling regime a ‘seductive’ political issue. Focus was predominantly from the East German perspective – 42 per cent. Then attention was focused on Western countries (24 per cent) while the other East European countries were the focus of 16 per cent of texts. Therefore, the event is predominantly viewed from the perspective of the Eastern bloc countries, and even the print used special frameworks that have alluded to such a predisposition. For example, NIN placed the FBW under the headline “Socialism on trial.” Večernje Novosti unified the eighth and the ninth page on the November 14, 1989, under the title “Abrupt changes in the countries of real socialism [...] after the FBW.” Expanding the theme of the FBW to the inter-party changes in other socialist countries

T HE I RON C URTAIN IN THE M EMORY OF THE S ERBIAN N EWSPRINT M EDIA

has been observed in Borba. Specifically, under a separate section that was opened on November 13, 1989 “to respond to events in Berlin” under which was 10 articles from Sofia, Bucharest, Prague and other major cities of the ex-socialist countries that concerned solely the internal issues of their socialist parties. The demolition of the wall irreversibly changed political circumstances, especially in socialist societies. Particular emphasis on the above mentioned framework represents an attempt by the journalists (who do not work in free media systems) to compensate for the lack of treatment that is necessary for the interpretation of this theme. The media scene of both analyzed periods is characterized by: poor non-democratic laws, repressive attitude towards the independent media, prevention of the free flow of information, prevention of the development of the media market, a paternalistic attitude towards the regime’s media with direct political influence, favoritism of similarly-minded media workers and banning others (Veljanovski 2005: 257). Analysis of the thematic framework confirms the initial hypothesis that journalists in such a media system foster factographical, strictly neutral, non-engaging reporting. After reviewing the themes that dominated the news reports, it can be concluded that the most important (controversial) questions were largely avoided, as was the giving of ‘negative’ forecasts. This was achieved (despite the intensity of coverage and the high position on the media agenda) by displacing topics from the Serbian internal and foreign policy framework. All themes are related only to the situation in East Germany, the event itself, the impact on other countries of the socialist system, as well as the unification of Germany. Table 5: Sources for the stories (real numbers) Sources consulted

Number of units

Foreign officials

83

Foreign officials and foreign media

28

Foreign media

12

Citizens

9

Political party representatives

7

Archive, public papers

7

Foreign officials and citizens

5

Experts

5

Public figures

3

Domestic officials

2

243

244

A NA M ILOJEVIĆ /A LEKSANDRA U GRINIĆ

*Through the category representatives of political parties the new opposition movement in East Germany were analyzed (New Forum, the Liberal Democratic Party) This conclusion is confirmed by inspection of the sources consulted. In most texts, the sources that appear are foreign officials, in more than half of published articles. What was also observed was the distinctive way of reporting that was used by the special correspondents in Berlin and Bonn. They were presenting German press reports but not stating that the material was ‘lifted’ but instead presenting it in such a way that one gets the impression that they themselves had aquired the information. NIN avoided opening the topic critically in its own newsroom (during 1989) through publishing analytical articles of foreign newspapers such as La Stampa, Europea, Repubblica and Le Monde. What is unexpected, but ‘political easily explainable’ was the negligible reaction from Belgrade. The ruling political environment or the media led to the fact that none of the local officials gave a press release, or a comment on events. The FBW and the reunification of Germany could hardly have resulted in an indifferent chronicler of the then political (and not just political) developments in Europe. Although these changes did not have the characteristic of revolution, the significance of the event for a redefinition of the political system in the world was transferred (through ‘soft’ socialist ‘lulling’) to Yugoslavia, which that year was still regarded as a respectable country. The FBW had an impact on the media who ‘had to’ adapt their agenda to the news arriving from Berlin. Media coverage of this event brought us two important conclusions, at first sight paradoxical, especially when we talk about 1989. Specifically, on the one hand, the destruction of the BW was headline in all media included in this study (that year on average almost 10 texts a day) but reports on the event had no direct connection with the circumstances in Yugoslavia. The best indicator in favor of this thesis arises from the fact that the official Belgrade presents only two reactions to the events in Berlin – and they were in the impersonal form of a press release. Editorials often used foreign sources and the media did not mention the possible repercussions on the political climate in Yugoslavia. Ten years later, FRY was burdened by political and social problems, and the anniversary was greeted in very different circumstances. The media did not ignore this event, but the decade-long distance did not lead to a more critical review of the FBW, except for a few, politically connotative messages about ‘the impact of Germany on the break’ of the SFRY. Media coverage, although very detailed and extensive, was politically correct, balanced and neutral and media were focused on the reaction of other countries, foremost those of the Eastern bloc. The reasons for such findings should be sought in the nature of the current political system, in the lack of media pluralism and in the inability of the leaders of SFRY to predict the far-reaching significance of this event.

T HE I RON C URTAIN IN THE M EMORY OF THE S ERBIAN N EWSPRINT M EDIA

R EFERENCES Berelson, B. (1952): Content Analysis in Communication Research, Glancoe, Illinois: Free Press. Berger, A.A. (1998): Media research techniques, London: Sage. Bjelica. M./Jevtović, Z. (2006): History of journalism, Belgrade: Megatrend University of Applied Sciences. Bozinovic, D. (2005): “U traženju prave mere.” In: R. Udovicic (ed.), Medijska spoticanja u vremenu tranzicije, Sarajevo: Media Plan Institute, pp. 72-82. Budd, W.R./Thorp, K.R./Donohew, L. (1967): Content Analysis of Communications, New York: Macmillan Company. McCombs, M/Shaw, D. (1972): “The agenda setting function of mass media.” In: Public Opinion Quarterly 36, pp. 176-187. Milivojević, S. (2003): Media Monitoring Manual, London: Media Diversity Institute and Belgrade: Samizdat B92. Spajić, T. (2005): “Hranjenje incidentima.” In: R. Udovičić, (ed.), Medijska spoticanja u vremenu tranzicije, Sarajevo: Media Plan Institute, pp. 225237. Veljanovski, R. (2005): “Osujećena medijska tranzicija.” In: S. Mihajlović (ed.), Five years of transition in Serbia, Belgrade: Friedrich Ebert, pp. 254-270. Veljanovski, R. (2009): Media system of Serbia, Belgrade: Čigoja štampa.

245

Media and War in Ex-Yugoslavia Miroljub Radojković (Belgrade)

I. W AR FOR M EDIA During the period before 1990 the citizens of former Yugoslavia were denied the right to possess private mass media. The right to communicate, in line with socialist ideology, was considered to be a collective rather than an individual freedom. The mass media system was extremely decentralized, with each federal unit (six republics and two autonomous provinces) allowed to develop and maintain its own press and broadcasting media. Hence, the media were controlled by federal units and geared to respective audiences there. Eight major broadcasting networks covered the federal units in the form of social property, named after the capital cities (RTV Belgrade, RTV Zagreb, etc). The broadcasting system consisted of 214 local radio as well as some 20 local television stations. The newspapers comprised 27 dailies, some 60 local papers, and more than 600 factory press outlets. In terms of contents and audiences, mass media were intermixed like the nations of ex-Yugoslavia. The process of gradual political disintegration of the SFRY was succeeded by the fragmentation of the former, common information space. The new political masters in the ex-federal units, legitimized through the first-ever multi-party elections, were able to confine their citizens into eight isolated reserves and thus to mobilize popular support which, as a rule, took the shape of new nationalist political elites. The only exceptional tool for disseminating information across emerging isolated audiences was the broadcasting station Yutel, which was established under the auspice of the last federal government. It was founded in 1990. This station started operation by leasing necessary equipment and frequencies belonging to the federal Army (JNA), which were able to disseminate a signal all over the country. But realizing that the station did not exclusively air the desired official positions, the Army soon withdrew the frequencies. Yutel moved from Belgrade to Sarajevo, the only capital prepared to lease broadcasting facilities to it on a commercial basis. After the move, the station signed an agreement with major broadcasting

248

M IROLJUB R ADOJKOVIĆ

stations in other republics to rebroadcast its programs. During the next four months Yutel was available in all parts of ex-Yugoslavia except in Kosovo. But, it was too late to resist the fast growth of nationalist audiences and political actors in the former federal units. The Yutel programs were therefore rebroadcast at times of the day that were unsuitable for reaching any significant audiences (late at night) and were completely marginalized in this way. One after the other, ruling parties in the new emerging states refused to grant provisional licenses and finally stopped the dissemination of Yutel programs altogether. After just five months of operation the station closed down in 1991. If the media had not been restricted in the way explained so far, there would have been no need for people to fight for press freedom, no need to fight for transmission masts in order to receive signals from other parts of their former – common – state, and no need to smuggle newspapers across the suddenly established state borders. In addition, telephone lines were cut, Internet lines did not function (in Serbia not until 1996) and the free movement of people was seriously obstructed by the introduction of visas and severe administrative obstacles. In short, as in the case of other newly established states, most influential media in Serbia were easily taken over by authoritarian, nationalist political power. As the events following the break-up of former Yugoslavia showed, after the demise of the one-party state, the media in all parts of the former common country hindered rather than advanced processes of democratization. Thanks to the fact that media used to be ‘social property’ in former Yugoslavia, it was quite easy for the new, political masters to bring them under their control in the form of state enterprises. The same scenario took place in all federal units. This was particularly successful in Serbia, where the most important media reverted into state ownership, such as the nationwide broadcasting network Radio-Televizija Beograd (cf. The Broadcasting Act of 1991). Serbia regained political control over its two autonomous provinces: Vojvodina and Kosovo and Metohija. Through the Broadcasting Act of 1991 the main radio and television stations in these provinces lost their independence and all three stations (in Belgrade, Novi Sad and Priština) were unified as RTS (Radio-television of Serbia). The former provinces’ entities became regional studios of RTS put under centralized editorial control. For pragmatic political reasons, RTS was redefined as the watchdog of “national and state interest” and came under the strict control of the Milosević government. Other media were warned not to voice alternative political views. As early as in March 1991, in order to prevent live broadcast of a big opposition demonstration in Belgrade, the public prosecutor closed down transmission of B92 Radio and Studio B television that had provided an alternative representation of the mass protest. RTS had the best infrastructure (terrestrial) and the largest number of broadcasting frequencies at its disposal. Its infrastructure was not used as a common carrier serving public interest, offering to the public a variety of

M EDIA AND W AR IN E X -Y UGOSL AVIA

information. That is why the fight for democratization in the 90s had one pivotal goal: to break down the monopoly of the state and government over the national TV and radio network. Their monopoly existed in all aspects: technical, financial, programming and personnel. Allocation of frequencies was in the hands of the government. RTS had the right to hold in reserve large number of frequencies, having at the same time the privilege of lending or denying their use to other broadcasters. If new emitters were obedient to the regime, technical resources were at their disposal, and vice versa. Some of the currently biggest, private broadcasting media became market leaders thanks to their privileged treatment, in terms of frequency allocation, coverage and so on, during the time of the authoritarian regime. Use of frequency and technical facilities to broadcast was a reward for their hesitation to interfere in political issues, for broadcasting no news and expressing favorable attitudes towards the ‘liberation’ of Serbs living in other republics. An exceptional case was the emergence of B92, established in 1989, as the first independent radio station based on a former student radio program in Belgrade. It was supported from the very outset by the urban population, students and international media foundations. Its lack of frequency license was tolerated, but was always used as a pretext to exert threats of closure in days of crisis or turmoil of the regime. B92 radio was facing closure in 1993, but domestic and international protests prevented the acting government from going through with its plans. The next attack occurred in 1996, when the Telecommunications Authority ordered B92 to terminate broadcasting for the same reason – lack of licensed frequency. International protest, orchestrated by many states and international organizations, forged an agreement with RTS allowing B92 to use its transmitters. The biggest newspapers, especially the dailies “Politika”, “Borba” and “Večenje novosti”, after unsuccessful attempts to be privatized internally, were subjugated by means of the government or state owned companies and banks taking over their capital shares. In this way, they were easily incorporated into the propaganda machine. Interestingly enough, “Politika” and “Večernje novosti” are partly owned by the state – 51 per cent and 17 per cent respectively – even today (2010). It took a rather long time before new, opposition or alternative dailies appeared like “Dnevni telegraf” in 1996, or “Blic” and “Danas” in 1997. Despite the fact that the daily “Blic” was the first example of foreign investment in Serbian media – the paper was founded by an Austrian entrepreneur – it was not able to resist regime pressure against independent editorial policy. Some of the most painful abuses have been accomplished by extralegal means of production constraints. Like all other newspapers, “Blic” suffered a lack of paper and printing facilities, motor oil and truck vehicles needed to distribute papers throughout the country. The mentioned and other resources necessary for printed press functioning used to be strictly controlled and allocated by the government. Finally, “Blic” joined the orchestra of Milosevic’s supporters. Hence, it was the reason for more

249

250

M IROLJUB R ADOJKOVIĆ

than 40 journalists and deputy editors-in-chief to walk out. In this way the new daily newspaper “Glas javnosti” was born in 1997. In order to avoid governmental pressures in form of high money fines and seizure of properties, alternative dailies used to register their offices outside Serbia (in Monte Negro). Dissemination of opposition newspapers was, because of reasons explained above, restricted to Belgrade and a few of the biggest cities reaching only a tiny minority of citizens. The newspapers’ average circulation dropped from above one million in 1990, to barely 300,000 copies in 1993 per day. Ordinary citizens were therefore exposed to the flood of nationalistic propaganda and manipulation in form of semi-truths, negative stereotypes of national or ethnic groups of ‘others’ and so-called ‘hate speech’. Hand in hand with political destruction and isolation that was the result of the crack-down of the former Yugoslavian state, culture and languages followed the same negative trends.

II. W AR INSIDE THE MEDIA The war inside the media had been extremely successfully regarding Kosovo and Metohija, because of the attempt of the Albanian national minority to form an illegitimate Republic of Kosovo and a parallel government. The Serbian government dissolved the Albanian publishing company “Rilindija” and transformed it into a new state-owned company (“Panorama”). After introduction of martial law in Kosovo and Metohija 1300 out of 1800 Albanian journalists were fired or boycotted the new employer. At the same time the amount of radio and television programs in Albanian language was drastically reduced. After 1992 there were 3 hours of TV program and 16 hours of radio program per day – only one half of what there was before. Even worse, this program in Albanian was only a translation of official propaganda from Serbian information sources (cf. Radojković 1996). Local media were also cleansed of disobedient journalists. In the year 1993 some 3000 journalists were fired from state controlled broadcasting media and newspapers. Hand in hand with the escalation of the civil war in Bosnia in 1993, internal differentiation among RTS staff became stronger. In line with the political decision that there must be a “cleansing of undisciplined and party-trained journalists” not fighting for “national goals”, 200 experienced journalists were fired. Ostensibly because of necessary rationalizations due to UN economic sanctions (introduced in 1992) an additional 1000 employees of the RTS television and radio station were given paid leave or removed permanently. As a consequence, many journalists fled abroad. After its victory in the war inside the media the regime was able to dictate and control a great deal of mediated ‘symbolic production of reality’. Still, to a large extent media and journalists

M EDIA AND W AR IN E X -Y UGOSL AVIA [...] either volunteered for nationalist service (through conviction) or were pressganged (by economic pressure, fear for professional isolation, reprisals, or ingrained habits of obedience). Journalists who opposed the government faced marginalization or, in government-controlled media, demotion and sacking, while others departed in the face of government pressure. (Thompson 1999: 52)

Thomson’s observation about journalist’s “ingrained habit of obedience” makes sense. In the days before the disintegration of Yugoslavia many citizens were abandoning the ruling party – League of Communists – whereas 80 per cent of journalists stayed in, manifesting their loyalty to the “avant-garde of the working class”. Thus, for many of them it was not unbearable to convert loyalty from the old to the new political master, and they did. Journalists were simply acting in the way which sociologists call “use of free ticket”. That is, not to be wholeheartedly involved in group efforts, but expecting to share the benefit, if it is achieved. As far as the financial aspect is concerned there was a clear difference between the state and private, national and local media. The latter neither had a right to collect subscription, nor had sufficient revenues from the commercials due to the impoverished economy. In many cases, state enterprises did not advertise in press and broadcasting media that pursued an oppositional editorial policy. Therefore, coalition of opposition parties called “Zajedno” (“Together”) asked citizens in 1996 to boycott payment of subscription fees for RTS. On the other hand, it was the clear strategy of the government to ruin local opposition media economically by tolerating the flourishing of new broadcasting media that filled the ether, and in many cases were established by local authorities or individuals belonging to ruling party and its allies. The government insisted on primacy of RTS by preventing newly emerging independent broadcasters from enlarging their audiences. In this way, “[…] another mode of indirect control, (was) the broad public consensus that ‘the national question’ was the only all-important issue for Serbs […] The media played the essential role in forging this consensus, which in turn was the foundation of the SPS’s election successes in 1990, 1992 and 1993.” (Thompson 1999: 107) Governmental influence was exercised overtly during all election campaigns until 1996, when opposition parties won local elections in 44 major cities for the first time. However, the resistance of opposition media was still too weak. Milosevic’s regime was continuously favored by the obedient, biggest media among which the daily “Politika” and RTS played the crucial role. Despite of this, there was a gradual decrease of their reputation and the audience’s confidence. The turning point occurred in 1996 when several thousands of Belgrade’s citizens marched in front of these propaganda mouthpieces, throwing eggs on their buildings and blowing whistles in protest against systematic lies and disinformation. Because even this event was ignored in the RTS news bulletin, people continued to protest by disturbing RTS prime-time news by banging pots, ringing bells and playing loud music

251

252

M IROLJUB R ADOJKOVIĆ

from their flats and balconies. The media in question have never been able to regain confidence and popularity among the Serbian citizens, until the political upheaval in October 2000. After the victory of the opposition parties at local elections in 44 Serbian cities in 1996, B-92 station networked 28 local, pro-opposition broadcasting stations into ANEM (Asocijacija nezavisnih elektronskih medija) launched in 1997. In order to circumvent a governmental blockade of terrestrial frequencies, members of ANEM network were connected by satellite lines. Foreign international media and non-governmental organizations helped this endeavor. That was the time when the monopoly of governmentally controlled broadcasting was finally broken. Alternative broadcasting and newspaper media, growing from the local level up, pulled the citizens of Serbia out of ‘information darkness’ which was spread by partisan, propagandistic representation of a distorted picture of social reality. With the gradual loss of monopoly over information resources the level of legal oppression on the media increased. The main instrument to assert repressive censorship was the Act on Public Information enacted in 1998. Its application in practice, with the help of obedient litigation courts, was the last attempt of a weakening regime to subjugate the media and journalists in Serbia. It resulted in some 3, 5 million DM equivalent of fines imposed over media and their owners, imprisonments and in two cases still unsolved killings of journalists (cf. Radojkovi ć 1988).

State broadcasting media, performing the role of a propaganda machine, were finally destroyed during NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999. Terrestrial broadcasting infrastructure lost 17 from altogether 19 masts; 25 transmitters of RTS and 11 belonging to other, local broadcasting stations were levelled down additionally. Entire buildings of RTV Priština and Novi Sad were destroyed by air strikes, and the main building of TV Belgrade was hit by a NATO missile, killing 16 people of the technical staff that happened to be on duty.

III. W AR BY MEDIA Interestingly enough, the vulnerabilty of the media to easy subjugation in favor of nationalist goals was possible not only because of changes in the ownership structure, as explained in the first part of this paper, but because of their subtle, pre-war editorial policy as well. Under the surface of the official ‘brotherhood and unity’, the holy values of the Yugoslav nations, careful researchers were able to detect nationalist shoots. This becomes clear in a comment made by one of the first students of Yugoslav mass media from the West, as early as in 1977: “In this country’s multinational setting, content is selected with ethnic priorities in mind: this fosters

M EDIA AND W AR IN E X -Y UGOSL AVIA

hermetic points of view which could be potentially destructive to federal unity [...]” (Robinson 1977: 42) During the last decade of the 20th century, nationalist leadership pushed Serbia to the brink of exclusion from Europe. At the same time, Serbian citizens were politically isolated by the international community, living in a ‘ghetto society’ (especially after the imposition of international sanctions against Serbia in 1992). People were prevented from freedom of movement and from intercultural communication with the rest of the world and their immediate environment. The official propaganda of the authoritarian regime abused this fate to create a conviction of “international plot” being performed against Serbian nation. At the beginning of the civil war, the main “enemy” was quite naturally the independent Croatian state. In 1993, a content analysis of the RTS prime time news bulletin, during two weeks in November, confirms the gradual process of extension of the ‘enemy’. From 139 utterances, in which somebody was designated as ‘enemy’, 60 referred to various actors belonging to the international community and 79 to actors belonging to the former Yugoslavian space […] Most frequently Muslims from Bosnia and Herzegovina were blamed in this way (36 cases), followed by Croats in Croatia (36 cases) and Croats in Herzegovina (7 cases) […] The remaining two groups of ‘enemies’ (13 and 9 examples respectively) were opposition (in a broad sense) and Albanians from Kosovo and Metohija. (Skopljanac-Bruner 1999: 368-369)

The list of ‘enemies’ was changing continuously, depending on their ‘utility’ for production of xenophobia that in turn was homogenizing the nation and supplying the authoritarian regime with election support. On the other hand, there was a strategy of silence regarding political opponents. Alongside with the principle that ‘what is not reported by the media does not exist’ the few remaining anti-war actions and voices were stifled. The information blockade was hampering efforts of small groups, generally those of intellectuals and non-governmental organizations, to invite people into intercultural communication with surrounding ‘Others’ and the European community of states. Only one public discourse, the one of Milosević’s regime, completely dominated the public sphere. It was clear from the very beginning, right after the March opposition demonstrations in 1991. The official discourse called protesters and their leaders “paid traitors of their own people”, “traitors sowing seeds of Serbian division”, “Chetnik hordes from SPO”, one headline even read “It was Shiptars and Croats who demonstrated” (newspaper “Politika ekspres” Thompson 1999: 69)! Another common feature of the abuse of the media and mass culture in Serbia during the nineties was the magical revitalization of ethnic myths. In propaganda words: “a crucial moment in history has come”. Media were allocated the role of the tools for growth of national pride

253

254

M IROLJUB R ADOJKOVIĆ

in order to celebrate uniformity in the public discourse and in people’s minds. The elements of these myths were constituent parts of the ‘ruling language’ which was to restrain the untamable ‘I’ into an immovable ‘We’. The method applied most often was to employ journalists of confidence, propagandistic forerunners, using the form of ‘commentaries’ that adjusted background and framing news reporting in favor of ‘politically correct’ mythology in public communication. In a massive way similar processes were taking place throughout the whole ‘consciousness industry’. The products of mass culture were widely accepted, since it used popular folk music, documentary video contents, cartoons, movies, etc. These products were recycling traditional myths and historical events in favor of actual political goals (cf. Čolović 1993). Selection was very simple. Only useful mythological passages were revived – the more in line with national pride and glory, the better. Only ‘new heroes’ of national liberation and protection of Serbs outside Serbia became ‘stars’ in popular music, stories and movies. This is the reason why public communication highlighting ‘Us’ and ‘Others’ continued to be more and more radicalized. There was no hesitation to spread hate speech, stereotypes, lies and prejudices. Even if the symbolically constructed ‘We’ lacked authority it did not matter. There was always another – political authority – at hand to replace the lacking one. In the end, the clash of ethnic groups and their cultures escalated into an armed, violent clash, one of civil war. According to testimonies of many journalists, the war of words had broken out before serious armed conflict had really begun. Step by step, not in Serbia exclusively, media were involved in the warmongering business as their most important function. With the progression of the civil war, information from other republics dried up completely. Political threats exposed journalists to self-censorship and ethical cross pressures. As described above, Serbia’s most popular and widely circulated media – used as propaganda loudspeakers – strictly followed political orders as far as editorial policy was concerned. Under such circumstances it was possible to keep silent about the Sarajevo bombardment for two months; Serbs were only defending fellow countrymen and their ‘native soil’; the army was separating attacking enemy extremists and unarmed Serbian inhabitants; the international community was taking part in a plot initiated by theVatican, the USA and the EU (and others, whenever needed) in order to ‘satanize’ Serbs; war atrocities were assigned always to other parties… When a story cannot be ignored or re-edited, perhaps because foreign coverage has been so vociferous that a response is necessary, RTS had three basic damage-limitation tactics […] A denial can be issued, usually without citing the report contention, so viewers hear the denial of guilt simultaneously with, or even a fraction before, the accusation. The effect of the story can be preempted by careful preparation and presentation. The story can be smothered or

M EDIA AND W AR IN E X -Y UGOSL AVIA spoiled by moving it to the end of the program or by running a mirror-image story on the same subject. (Thompson 1999: 92)

In 1995 the Serbian nationalist political elite got into conflict with Serbia’s political leaders both in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. Milosević’s regime grabbed the opportunity to pretend playing a constructive, peace solution oriented role there in the hope of surviving increasing internal and external pressures. Even such a radical switch in official politics was not a big deal for the politically obedient media to follow. They simply once again redressed their editorial policies, vocabularies and images of ‘enemies’ to accommodate the new political strategy. The peak of propaganda goal switch-around was the presentation of the Dayton Peace Agreement as the victory of Milosević’s “peace-seeking policy”. However, his regime was already seriously undermined by empowered opposition parties and germinating civil society institutions and movements in Serbia. In addition, the new challenge in the shape of Albanian separatism in Kosovo and Metohija emerged. The Albanian majority in the province put forward the demand to secede from Serbia. The authoritarian regime was neither able to resolve the problem by peaceful means nor by force. On the other hand, the challenging party was not ready to accept any other solution except an ‘independent state’, as unsuccessful negotiations in Rambouillet showed. Deployment of police and army forces against armed Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija was unsuccessful. Quite the contrary, it brought about increased armed conflicts that caused new human losses and produced new lines of refugees escaping from conflict areas. A new war started demanding once again extensive use of fierce propaganda, this time against Kosovo Albanians. The two main topics in the public discourse were now the ‘Albanian terrorist separatism’ and the ‘fight to preserve Kosovo as an integral part of the Serbian nation’. But, it was the last battle for survival of the nationalist political project of ‘Great Serbia’ and its dividends in form of political domination of one party, one leader and their allies for one decade. Thus, oppression against the media and journalists was again extremely high. “Never have the attacks been more persistent or dangerous than in period since September 1998. Any medium that queried the official line on Kosovo – that Yugoslavia (FRY, made of Serbia and Monte Negro only, M.R.) was fighting ‘Albanian terrorist separatism’, and that Kosovo was an internal affair of Serbia – became liable to suppression”. (Thompson 1999: 116). The basis for harrassment of the media and journalists was the very restrictive Act on Public Information enacted in 1988 by the coalition government of Socialist Party and Serbian Radical Party. As the review in this paper illuminates, the media and journalists have been deeply involved in the civil war on ex-Yugoslavian soil. They were not able to safeguard their independence and critical distance towards new, generally nationalist political masters. It happened because the media and journalists lost two other wars, those for and inside the media. The deep

255

256

M IROLJUB R ADOJKOVIĆ

wounds caused in this way are not entirely healed. Their remnants can be traced to this very day. It is a specific historical memory which this article elaborates. At the same time, it is unavoidably an integral part of the common European history. The aim of writing this was to come to terms with our own past, acknowledging each other’s conflicting memories. Still, the question remains: to what extent could the media and journalists be blamed for armed conflicts, deaths and great sufferings of peoples? If one wants to single out the media and journalists as the main culprits for the violent disintegration of ex-Yugoslavia, the obsolete stimulusresponse theory of media effects must be applied. Such an explanation would be untrue. In the words of the one of the most enthusiastic researchers of this topic: “It would be misleading to argue that media made wars happen or were responsible for them. Claims to this effect are mystification […] These claims overlook the great difference between saying on one hand that media made war happen, and on the other hand that they were indispensable in building and maintaining conditions in which war was possible.” (Thompson 1999: 292) On the other hand, in line with classic liberal tradition, the media and journalists could even be excused. As Lord Erskine, defending the publishing of the book “Rights of Man” and its author Thomas Paine in front of the court, said: “Civil disputes conducted in ink would not end in bloody civil war. On the contrary, rapacious governments are the prime cause of civil disorder […]” (Keane 1991: 4) Hence, it is first and foremost non-democratic, nationalist governments in all conflict areas of ex-Yugoslavia that are to be blamed for ending their disputes in bloody civil war. However, media and journalists are also not innocent. They are guilty of underpinning instead of restraining such martial regimes; guilty of complete erosion of professional ethics that allowed the recruitment of popular support for rapacious governments by use of disinformation, manipulation, hostile stereotypes, incitement to war, etc. Because of this, the public was not able to inform itself about the motives and intentions of its leaders. It has been kept blindfolded and disoriented. The media and the journalists are guilty of facilitating instead of preventing the violent disintegration of the former Yugoslav state. In summary, in the opinion of the author, media and journalists are both culprits and victims of the civil war in former Yugoslavia. It cannot be said that the media have forged this historical event. Rather, they have played the role of the ferment in the field, unfortunately the real battlefield.

R EFERENCES Čolović, Ivan (1993): Bordel ratnika, Belgrade: Biblioteka XXI vek. Keane, John (1991): The Media and Democracy, Cambridge: Polity Press. Radojković, Miroljub (1996): “Mediji nacionalnih manjina izmedju

M EDIA AND W AR IN E X -Y UGOSL AVIA

pozitivne i negativne diskriminacije.” In: Položaj manjina u Saveznoj Republici Jugoslaviji. Belgrade: Srpska akademija nauka i umetnosti, pp. 407-419. Radojković, Miroljub (1998): “Sezona lova na medije.” In: Ljudska prava 3-4, pp. 39-50. Robinson, Gertrude (1977): Tito’s Maverick Media: The Politics of Mass Communication, Chicago: University of Illinois. Skopljanac-Bruner, Nena (1999): “Analiza medijske prezentacije realnosti na Radio-televiziji Srbije”. In: Mediji i rat, Belgrade: Argument, pp. 368-369. Thompson, Mark (1999): Forging War. The media in Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Hercegovina. Luton: University of Luton Press.

257

Using and Misusing Historical Sources in the Media A Case Study of a Document Dunja Melčić (Frankfurt a.M.)

In a piece of art, in a book of fiction, one can use any sort of document and material whatsoever in any sort of manner. If you are a writer of fiction you can use a false document or forge one or distort an authentic record. The only thing of importance is the function of this piece of information or false information in the piece of art itself. The expression ‘function’ could be replaced with ‘the inner truth’. But my paper is not about aesthetics. Nevertheless, it is important to accentuate this difference: the freedom in using means in the arts does not mean ‘anything goes’. But for many reasons and in many ways it often seems to be difficult for the public to discern this difference. I will just mention the most renowned example in our field: Danilo Kiš, and cite Susan Sontag: “His ‘mixed’ literary methods – most fully realized in Hourglass (historical fiction) and A Tomb for Boris Davidovich (fictional history) – gave him exactly the right freedom to advance the cause of both truth and art” (1995: xi ). It is quite easy to agree with this assessment, though, as is probably common knowledge, in the lead times of Yugoslavia, Kiš’s enemies led a long and monstrous campaign against him accusing him of plagiarism and misuse of sources. But I have introduced this comment at the beginning of my paper only for the sake of contrast, as an illustration of the difference. Because in the vast branches of journalism, mass media and public life the ‘anything goes’-principle can indeed comfortably spread, and this tendency has nothing to do with the above-mentioned freedom; it challenges all customs of public discourse, standards of fact-finding and in the case presented below the publishing of thus far unpublished and unedited archive material. Of course, media love publishing secret material of famous or notorious people. But on the long run published data have to be reliable, if their issuance is to be a success; fake stories will generally be exposed, because there is also a need for true facts in the public. Just as the so-called investigative journalism the publishing of confidential or

260

D UNJA M ELČIĆ

till then unknown documents too – minutes, manuscripts or transcripts of meetings etc. – must be trustworthy, in order to function in delivering a content or a message. Therefore there are established mechanisms that give such publications the impression of reliability; if they turn out to be false, you have a scandal and the reputation of all involved is damaged. But there are exceptions to this rule. If there is no interest or need for true facts among the wider public or influential opinion makers, there is nobody to oppose the false, fake or unreliable publication, and there is no scandal. And exactly this is the case with the document presented below. The standards of editing or disclosing a confidential document require at least some information about the source, the shape and the state of the document, how it originated, what its original language was and, if it was translated, who had done it. Usually, one will also find notes by the translator with additional explanations and references to the original. In December 2001 Harper’s Magazine published minutes of two meetings of the Council for Defence and National Security of the Republic of Croatia in an English translation, failing to deliver any of the required information. In the introduction of the publication, titled “Planning Croatia’s Final Solution”, – which is full of false allegations, which I will return to later – it merely said that “the minutes were obtained by Chris Hedges of the New York Times”. There is no information about the minutes as such, about how they originated, who edited them, or about the circumstances in which the un-edited minutes were acquired, which is what happened here; not a word about the translation and above all about the scope of the minutes. This publication creates the impression of presenting the transcript of that meeting, but it turns out that it presents only parts of it without any mention about the method of selection. There is a story of its own about these transcripts from the office of the former Croatian president Franjo Tudjman. I can provide only a very rough account of it: at the very beginning of 2001 the government under Ivica Račan decided to entrust the material from the former President’s office to the Croatian State Archive (HDA). So they have been put under seal for 30 years, but before that there was a major leak of all sorts of documents, some of which were published in a politically manipulative way or were delivered to the Prosecution of the ICTY – some allegedly without normal state control and procedure. Also there was a lot of discussion in the media (cf. Večernji list October 20, 2004), especially concerning the transcripts which were used by the Prosecutor of the ICTY in the indictments against three generals of the Croatian Army who had the command in the operation “Storm” (August 1995). Two issues were especially stirring: the then Croatian president Stipe Mesić was under suspicion of giving to the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) at the ICTY the documents of the most intriguing session of the Council for Defence, that took place four days before the operation “Storm” at the island of Brijuni, and neglecting the stipulated procedure and, secondly, there were claims about this transcript being forged. A short survey of this debate about the

U SING AND M ISUSING H ISTORICAL S OURCES IN THE M EDIA

“Brijuni transcript” can be found in the seminal study about the war in Croatia by Ozren Žunec (2007: 777-780). But a full investigation of the transcript matter still has not been undertaken. So from what has become known from the media, I can sum up: President Tudjman used to have all his meetings recorded as well as all official gatherings, conferences and audiences. Those tape-recordings would be transcribed by many different typists. Most of those minutes seem not to have been under seal after Tudjman’s death; stories how some of them got into unauthorized persons’ hands must be regarded as speculative and lacking any serious corroboration. Anyway, as transcripts had still been leaking, they also got published, since nobody was caring about standards of editing documents. (After the Brijuni transcript had been mentioned at the Milosevic-trial, the Croatian media – Jutarnji list, Večernji list – published the transcript of this meeting, which was unsealed as were all transcripts after they had been delivered to the ICTY (cf. “Stenogrami o podjeli Bosne”). From the historian’s point of view the fundamental problem of such editing is that there is no information about the whole document nor about omissions made – signalled solely by the ellipsis points. So when Harper’s published the document that we shall now deal with in more detail, it had ignored the normal – let alone scholarly or scientific – standards of editing of archive material, but it was not the first to do so. The practice was already en vogue in some Croatian media. To sum up: the source of the minutes published by Harper’s is unknown; they are only fragments of an unknown whole, and it is unclear on what basis the selection of the fragments was made. As will be shown, the general interpretation of the meaning of these minutes is – to say the least – arbitrary.

I.

THE MINUTES OF THE MEE TING FROM S EP TEMBER 12, 1993

The beginning reads as follows: “Gentlemen, it seems that during the last few days we have had a great military success with the Gospić operation”. Ironically, there had been published fragments of the same meeting in the Split weekly political magazine Feral Tribune some two months before under similar pugnacious headings but with a completely different meaning (cf. Feral Tribune September 15, 2001). Wordplay being a speciality of Feral, the title uses “franje ruku” as an alliteration for “pranje ruku”, meaning something like ‘washing hands [in innocence]’, whereas the allusion of Harper’s with “Planning Croatia’s Final Solution” is, of course, to Hitler’s ‘Endlösung’. Under this title Feral published an article by Ivica Đikić with many excerpts from the minutes and an interpretation of the account as insincere and hypocritical; but it did not pretend to be a presentation of the minutes as such.

261

262

D UNJA M ELČIĆ

In Feral’s version the above cited statement matches directly the following sentence (here in my translation): “But, objectively, we drove ourselves into a politically tricky situation”, which is missing in the Harper’s publication. Clearly, this comment by Tudjman wouldn’t fit the headings of ‘Endlösung’, so one can assume, that it was simply taken out. As was in fact also a word in the first cited sentence, meaning in the given context ‘thus’, ‘that being so’, ‘as such’ (‘znači’). It is possible that the unknown translator has misunderstood it or arbitrarily transformed it in a modal construction: … it seems that … But I have to say something about the context of the meeting, which – needless to say –Harper’s did not provide, so as to make the situation understandable. The meeting took place two days after the operation of the Croatian Army (HV) in Lika, in the so-called Medački džep, undertaken on September 9, 1993. This was a short offensive operation (13 hours) of the Croatian Army against the Serb rebel positions in a very small area South of Gospić (according to Ozren Žunec (1999: 96) the operation had taken place between 05.00 and 18.00 on September 9, 1993). It could also be seen as a retaliation for previous Serb attacks. Anyway, the Council for Defence and National Security of the Republic of Croatia met to discuss the current situation. Feral also brought out two fragments of facsimiles of the minutes, one related to the beginning of the session. It made it obvious, that the whole meeting had its proper order: the president declaring the meeting open and asking the commander in chief and the secretary of defence to submit their reports at the beginning; to both of them he said: just short reports, only two minutes each. After they had spoken, Tudjman started his assessment – and here is my translation of those sentences: Gentlemen, in the last few days we have had, that being so, a military success with the Gospić operation. But, objectively, we have driven ourselves into a politically tricky situation. But out of what could be reconstructed from the version published by Feral, there is a rather different piece of information – even apart from bogus infiltration of the false adjective “great”, namely as a great military success in the Harper’s version. The sense that the Harper’s version did not convey is: OK, there was a military success, but at the same time it was a political desaster. And indeed Tudjman continued in this manner, i.e. criticizing the operation from the political point of view. All in all, both versions of this passage seem to correspond; this is of course impossible to clarify without an examination of the whole record in the original, which is not accessible even for scientific research, so there is no point in comparing the wordings of both thus published fragments. There are some indications though that the text is in both versions corrupted in a number of details, but nevertheless it is possible to roughly sum up the conversation that followed. Tudjman is explaining the political trouble, namely, that at the very moment as “the whole world recommends” us “the utmost restraint

U SING AND M ISUSING H ISTORICAL S OURCES IN THE M EDIA

and political accommodation […] we nevertheless let ourselves be drawn […] into this situation”, because there were “their provocations” and he stresses, “it was our decision” too. He goes on to depict the impact of this action on “the Serbs who now have reasons [to think] that Croatia is preparing war to smash the Serbs […]”. He analyzes further the reasons for this decision in some detail, beginning with the assertion: “I must admit, that there is also my responsibility in permitting the Gospić operation”. (My translation from Feral.) I’m not going to deal with the details of his assessment but shall focus on the entries in this section of the minutes published in the Feral’s version but missing in Harper’s. After he has outlined some specifics on which he had not been informed previously, Tudjman– obviously annoyed – points out that in this operation aircrafts too had been employed without his knowledge and that starting airborne assaults means waging war – a statement non-existent in the Harper’s version. Its full wording goes as follows: “And, especially, please, in this operation aircrafts have been used, without my knowledge, and this is clear, if you are the first to employ aircrafts, so you are heading for this, you are waging war and doing the opposite from what is being said and acting against it”. Then again, there are correspondences between Feral’s and Harper’s fragments up to the sentence in which Tudjman says “[…] but comprehend that it would be also in our interest to come to a solution by political means […]”, which is lacking in the American magazine as well as what follows immediately afterwards, where Tudjman is talking about heavy casualties being certain if the path of war were to be continued, and thus clearly signalling that he didn’t want this to happen. Tudjman sums up: “Thus, in this context, when I consider it again, I shouldn’t have allowed it, […] I have made a mistake by allowing the Lika operation.” According to the minutes in both versions there ensued a lively discussion, only that in the Harper’s version Tudjman’s salient pronouncement of his own failure and guilt is missing. During the discussion, several members of the Council insisted that on the long run the war solution would be impossible to avoid, whereas Tudjman was arguing to strive for a political, i.e., peaceful, solution as long as possible. It seems that he was still counting on the international community and its power to exert influence and pressure on Belgrade urging Milosevic to stop supporting and supplying the rebel Serbs in Croatia, who themselves were only “a handful” of Croatian Serbs anyway, that had been completely dependent on this support from Belgrade. And that’s what he said. In what follows we have the key passage: “And, at that moment, when Serbia has been forced to do this [i.e. stop supplying them], we shall solve this problem with Serbs in Croatia; then a handful of this 10, 20 percent shall leave Croatia and then we will have this settled.” This is my translation of that passage from the Feral fragment. Attention should be paid to the words “a handful of this […]”, this stands for the Croatian: “onda će jedna šaka tih 10, 20 posto otići iz Hrvatske”.

263

264

D UNJA M ELČIĆ

Turning to Harper’s English version we read: “The moment when Serbia is forced to do this, then we are going to solve the question of Serbs in Croatia. Then that miserable group of some 10 to 20 per cent will leave Croatia and then we shall solve that.” Here I would like to draw attention to the wording “that miserable group” and ask how this expression “miserable” came about. The reader will perhaps sense vaguely what might have happened here: the word “jedna” was – in what ever unknown manner – mistaken for the word “jadna”. Is it just an innocent slip? This seems hard to believe. The tendency in this wording “that miserable group” is too strong and too obvious; even if – only a theoretical assumption – there has been a typing slip in the Feral’s version, and the English version is correct, a neutral translation of “jadna šaka tih 10, 20 posto” would be something like “a poor handful of”. So there are indications of purpose. The subtle differences between my translation and the Harper’s text may give a first clue. But, to make it short: the first translation reflects that Tudjman is speaking hypothetically – what could happen, when …and so on, – whereas in the Harper’s one the verbs are in the indicative; it produces an assertive mode so as to transmit a ‘planning’ tone of the speech. Further scrutiny of this persuasive false translation could well be possible, but for now I shall leave it at that. The passages following this part appear very complicated, even chaotic, and cannot be dealt with adequately without the complete original minutes. But for our purpose the covered pieces might suffice, because our topic is not the analysis of Tudjman’s politics during the war, but that of the media. The presented specimens suffice to permit some conclusions. Presumably, the omissions and mistakes in the presentation of the fragments in Harper’s are not the result of some remiss thoughtlessness. There seems to be some system in it. Parts of Tudjman’s speech in which he appears to be furious with this operation have been purged as well as his explicit confession of personal guilt and failure. On the other hand the passage in which he is in fact soothing and appeasing the war-mongers in his establishment by delivering a hypothetical perspective of peaceful outcome of the conflict has undergone a radical change of sense by flawed interpretation and false wording that suggest planning some kind of elimination of Serbs from Croatia as such. To underline this tendency in reading Harper’s published fragments form another entry (September 19, 1993) tackling the problem of corpses found by UNPROFOR after that deadly operation at Gospić. The matter itself is exceedingly complicated and falls outside the scope and the theme of this paper. Its main question is about the way the media treat and use documents and unedited material. From what has been said so far, we can infer that the Harper’s publication aimed not just at presenting some hitherto unknown documents but pursued a strong purpose which determined the selection of the fragments published.

U SING AND M ISUSING H ISTORICAL S OURCES IN THE M EDIA

II. TECHNIQUES OF IDEOLOGICAL PERSUASION This purpose is made clear by the title “Planning Croatia’s Final Solution” and also by the introductory note that mentions ridiculous numbers of Serb victims – namely “400 [murdered] Serb civilians in the town of Gospić” and “almost 600,000 Serbs” allegedly “driven from the Krajina region”. It conveys its main message by way of a pun: “This manuscript is the first proof that President Franjo Tudjman planned and directed ethnic cleansing and other war crimes”. This phrasing allows a vacillation between the meanings: if it is not a proof as evidence, then take it as a proof in the sense of a first printed copy. Both – the headings and the note – suggest to the public how to read the document, which in fact has proved to be a construction of fragments selected to serve the purpose of backing the assumption. The fundamental studies by Niklas Luhmann on society and communication have helped us to better understand the nature of communication via printed texts; they open – being an interruption of the direct communication – a free space for understanding among unobserved readers. So authoritarian and totalitarian regimes are always seeking a way how to intrude in this free space of communication between the author and the readers and put forward their messages and to control the reactions of recipients. In our case it is not some political regime trying to sway the grasping of the content in a desired manner, but the driving force is ideology, some political interest in an ideological influence on a group of people in a free society. But the essential features of the procedure are very similar, beginning, indeed, with the anonymity of the agent, who is trying to impose a message, in this case, by sending signals to the readers, through misinformation and persuasive headings, how to read the document. An analysis of the role of headings in modern political journalism would certainly be an attractive enterprise. Especially fruitful for such a research would be the mentioned Split weekly, which in fact closed down some two years ago. Headings – provocative, sometimes funny, often overdone or even libellous – were Feral’s most outstanding feature. The publication of the minutes in two volumes under the title “Minutes about the Division of Bosnia” by the well-known editor of the weekly from Split, Predrag Lucić, is a remarkable confirmation of this method: every entry has become the headings that urge the recipients how to read it, namely as a sort of evidence for the thesis postulated with the message in the main title. Feral was not able to publish the minutes we are dealing with for the native and informed public the way Harper’s had. It is clear from the published fragments that the top agenda of that meeting was the assessment of the political impact of the unsound military operation in September 1993 and that the Croatian president was angry because it had jeopardized the peaceful solution of the conflict and in the consequence

265

266

D UNJA M ELČIĆ

put the support of the friendly states at risk. What he was saying was: “we don’t have to wage war against these radical rebel Serbs; the political solution is achievable, if we cooperate with the western friendly states that could force Milosevic to stop supporting them, and then: the most radical of them – 10-20 per cent – will leave the region on their own.” So, since this doesn’t sound very warlike, the author of the Feral article Ivica Đikić put the minutes in the broader but distortedly presented context, interpreting the conclusions and proclamations of the president as insincere and hypocritical. The gist of his comments lay in presenting the (presumptive) actual meaning of ‘what Tudjman and other speakers ‘really’ thought by saying this and that’, which, in fact, is the journalistic speciality of this author elsewhere, too. But it is unnecessary to go into further discussion about this discourse; its main aim is to prove Tudjman’s arguments and proclamations as being false and insincere (because the author ‘knows’ by guessing their ‘real’ meaning – in contrast to the obvious one), whereas the Harper’s publication of the (partially) same fragments suggests, by false translation, tendentious headings and remarks and by crucial omissions, that they amount to prime evidence “that President Franjo Tudjman planned and directed ethnic cleansing and other war crimes”. Whereas Feral is trying to interpret “the remorse” for the action in Lika as false, Harper’s is using purged fragments of the very same minutes to prove allegations of the planned ethnic cleansing. A higher degree of inconsistency is barely possible. Where the magazines are in agreement however is that both treat the then Croatian president as an enemy. So it is almost amusing to see what different paths they have chosen to achieve the aim of their crusade, but concerning the method, it is in both cases just obvious misuse of the historical documents. The minimum standard for printing or quoting of documents is that they should not be forged regardless of their political context and content. Such is required and mostly obeyed by scholars and non-fiction authors even when they are dealing with Hitler. Surely, the editorship of the world’s oldest magazine can’t be unacquainted with this fact.

R EFERENCES Kiš, Danilo (1995): Homo Poeticus: Essays and Interviews, Susan Sontag (ed.), New York: Farrar – Strauss – Giroux. Lovrenović, Ivan (2005): Stenogrami o podjeli Bosne (Vol. 2), Predrag Lucić (ed.), Split and Sarajevo: Kultura i Rasvjeta, Civitas. Žunec, Ozren (1999): “Operacije Bljesak i Oluja.” In: Branka Magaš/Ivo Žanić (eds.), Rat u Hrvatskoj i Bosni i Hercegovini, 1991-1995, Zagreb and Sarajevo: Jesenski i Turk – Dani, pp. 93-110. Žunec, Ozren (2007): Goli život: Socijetalne dimenzije pobune Srba u Hrvatskoj (Vol. 2), Zagreb: Demetra.

On the Contributors Davor Beganović, assistant professor of South Slavic Literatures at the University of Vienna. His main research interests are contemporary literature, theory of memory in relation to cultural studies and theory of literature. Most recent publications: Protiv kanona (Against canon, 2011), Poetika melankolije (Poetics of melancholy, 2009). Tihomir Brajović, associate professor at the Faculty of Philology at the University of Belgrade. His main research interests are the history of contemporary Serbian and Croation literature, poetic theory, literary interpretation and imagology. Most recent publications: Identično različito (Identically Different, 2007), Zaborav i ponavljanje (Oblivion and Iteration, 2009), Kratka istorija preobilja (A Brief History of Over-Abundance, 2009). Marjeta Ciglenečki, associate professor of Art History at the University of Maribor. Her main research interests are Slovenian art from 17th until the 20th century. Recent publications: Vnderschidliche Schlachten, Jägereyen, Fischereyen … (2008), Elsa Oeltjen Kasimir: iz družinske zapuščine (Elsa Oeltjen Kasimir: from family legacy) (2009). Anisa Avdagić, assistant professor of Bosnian Language and Literature at the University of Tuzla. Recent publication: Doing gender: on representation/ construction of women’s identity in novels of Abdurezak Hivzi Bjelevac. Alma Denić Grabić, professor at the Department for Bosnian Language and Literature at the University of Tuzla. Her research interests are contemporary literature, theories of identity, gender and postcolonial theory. Most recent publications: Open Book: Elements of postmodern discourse in the novels “Istočni diwan” and “Šahrijarov prsten” Dževad Karahasan (2005), Bosnia and Herzegovina’s novel to the end of 20th century (2010). Davor Dukić, professor of Croatian Language and Literature at the University of Zagreb. His main research interests are early modern Croatian literature, South Slavic modern cultures and cultural imagology.

268

B ALKAN M EMORIES

Recent publications: Poetike hrvatske epike 18. stoljeća (Poetics of the Croatian Epics in the 18th century, 2002), Sultanova djeca: Predodžbe Turaka u hrvatskoj književnosti ranog novovjekovlja (Children of the Sultan: Images of the Turks in Early Modern Croatian Literature, 2004), Tematološki ogledi (Thematological essays, 2008). Jasna Galjer, professor of Design, Architecture and Visual Culture at the University of Zagreb. Formerly worked as a curator and museum advisor of the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Zagreb, where she managed the collection of design and architecture. Her main research interests are Croatian history of art criticism, design history and architecture of the 20th century. Recent publications: Expo 58 and the Yugoslav pavillion by Vjenceslav Richter (2009), Arsovski (2010). Aleksandar Jakir, professor of Contemporary History at the University of Split. His main research interests are the culture, history and politics of Dalmatia/Croatia/former Yugoslavia and its successor states in the 20th century with emphasis on nation-building and social inclusion theories. Recent publications: Hod s burom. Na Dupcima, po Vruji, u Brelima i okolo (2008), Dalmatien als europäischer Kulturraum, co-editor (2010). Miranda Jakiša, professor of South- and East-Slavic Literatures at the Humboldt University Berlin. Her research interests are Partisan strategies in literature and arts, South Slavic war literature, Emir Kusturica and Postdramatic Theatre and world literature beyond national philology. Most recent publications: Bosnientexte. Ivo Andrić, Meša Selimović, Dževad Karahasan (2009), Jugoslawien-Libanon. Verhandlungen von Zugehörigkeit in den Künsten fragmentierter Kulturen, editor (2012). Branimir Janković, assistant professor at the Department of History at the University of Zagreb and a guest scholar at the Südost-Institut in Regensburg (2010). His main research interests are Croatian/Yugoslav historiography from 1945 onwards. Ana Karaminova, PhD candidate at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena. She studied history and medieval history at the Humboldt University of Berlin. The thesis project is thematically located in the DFG Research Training Group 1412 “Cultural Orientations and Institutional Structural Order in Southeastern Europe” at the University of Jena. Enver Kazaz, professor at the Philosophy Faculty at the University of Sarajevo. His main research interest is South Slavic literature. Recent publications: Morphology palimpsest, An enemy or neighbor in the house, anthology War and stories from around the world, Interior translation, Bosnian story of the 20th century.

O N THE C ONTRIBUTORS

Andrea Lešić-Thomas, professor of literary theory at the University of Sarajevo. Her main research interests are cognitive poetics, memory studies, love stories and vampires. Most recent publication: Bakhtin, Barthes, Structuralism (2011). Nenad Makuljević, associate professor at the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Belgrade. His main research interests are art and nationalism, Balkan visual culture and 19th century art. Most recent publication: Umetnost i nacionalna ideja u XIX veku. Sistem evropske i srpske vizuelne kulture u službi nacije (Art and the National Idea in the 19th century: A system of the European and Serbian visual culture in the service of the nation, 2006), Crkvena umetnost u Kraljevini Srbiji 1882 – 1914 (Church art in the Kingdom of Serbia, 1882-1914, 2007) Dunja Melčić, philosopher from Croatia, has been living in Frankfurt since 1974. Most recent publication: Jugoslawien-Krieg. Handbuch zu Vorgeschichte, Verlaufund Konsequenzen (2007). Ana Milojević, assistant professor at the Journalism and Communication Department at the University of Belgrade. Her main research interests are the transformation of the societal roles of professional communicators in modern society and changes in their professional practice as well as working routines, induced by the development of the new communication technologies. Most recent publications: Profession at the crossroads: Journalism at the threshold of Information society (2011), The readiness of the journalistic community in Serbia for technological changes (2011). Jurij Murašov, professor of Slavic Literature at the University of Konstanz. Main interests are theory of Slavic literature and media. Most recent publications: Das Zeit-Bild im osteuropäischen Film nach 1945 (co-editor Natscha Drubek-Meyer, 2010), Musen der Macht. Medien in der sowjetischen Kultur der 20er und 30er Jahre (co-editor Georg Witte, 2003). Riccardo Nicolosi, senior lecturer in Slavic Literatures at the University of Bonn. His research interests include Russian and Bosnian/Croatian/ Serbian literatures, science and literature, rhetoric and counterfactual fiction. Most recent publications: Rhetorik als kulturelle Praxis. editor. (2008), Degeneration erzählen. Literatur und Wissenschaft im Russland der 1880er und 1890er Jahre (2012). Renata Novak Klemenčič, researcher at the Department of Art History at the University of Ljubljana. Her main research interest is the 15th century art of the Adriatic rim, especially the architectural and stonemasons’ practice in Dubrovnik as well as patronage and artistic exchange in the Adriatic region.

269

270

B ALKAN M EMORIES

Miroljub Radojković, professor of Communication Theories at the Department of Journalism, Faculty of Political Science, University of Belgrade. Most recent publications: Contemporary Information-Communication Systems (co-author B. Stojkovic, 2004, 2009), Basics of Communicology (coauthor T.Djordjevic, 2001, 2006), Media, Communication and Society (coauthor M.Miletic 2005, 2006, 2008), Medium Syndrom (2009). Reana Senjković, research advisor at the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research in Zagreb. Her main research interest is mass culture/ popular culture in Socialist Eastern Europe and Yugoslavia. Most recent publications: Lica drustva, likovi drzave (2002), Izgubljeno u prijenosu: Pop iskustvo soc culture (Lost in translation: Pop art, soz culture, 2008). Bojana Stojanović Pantović, professor of Comparative literature at the University of Novi Sad. Her main research interests are the Expressionistic movement in Serbian, South-Slavonic and European literature, gender studies and contemporary poetry. She works as a critic, poet and translator. Most recent publications: Spans of Modernism (2011), Concise Dictionary of Comparative Terminology in Literature and Culture (2011), editor and coauthor. Aleksandra Ugrinić, assistant professor at the Journalism and Communication Department at the University of Belgrade. Her main research interests are the developments of the radio in new media ecology, transformation of media genres, digitalization and new media. Ivana Živančević-Sekeruš, vice-dean for International Relations and Science at the University of Novi Sad. Most recent publications: Comparing South-Slavic Literatures (2004), How to describe a difference? The Image of the Other in Serbian Literature (2009), South Slavic Literary Miscellanea (2009). Tanja Zimmermann, junior professor of Slavic Literatures at the University of Konstanz. Her main research interests are literature and visual culture in Eastern and South-Eastern Europe from 19th to the 21th century. Most recent publications: Abstraktion und Realismus im Literaturund Kunstdiskurs der russischen Avantgarde (2007), Russland und der Westen im Spiegel des Balkans (habil. 2011, forthcoming).