Balkans

Municipal polls show some change

Above: Irma Baralija and her party Naša Stranka ("Our Party") have won a commitment to hold municipal elections in the divided Croat-Bosniak city of Mostar. They oppose communalism. But they are also avowed neoliberals. As mentioned in Solidarity 572, the BiH municipal elections of 15 November showed some changes from previous voting patterns. Now, with the exception of Mostar (elections on 20 December), all results are in and more details can be added. There were elections for mayors and assemblies in 143 municipalities (the municipality is the smallest local government unit in BiH). A total...

Bosnia-Herzegovina: 25 years after Dayton

There is a film nowadays rarely seen which was once, perhaps surprisingly, the most popular foreign film ever shown in China: Walter Defends Sarajevo (directed by Hajruin Krvavac in 1972) is a Yugoslav film, set in the Second World War, telling the story of the Nazis’ attempts to eliminate the mysterious Walter – based on a real person – who is the leader of the Sarajevo Partisans and a master at disguise and intrigue.

Losses for communalists in Bosnia

Municipal elections in Bosnia-Hercegovina, delayed because of Covid-19, took place on 14-15 November, and the earliest indications are that the parties based on ethnic groupings have fared badly amongst voter concerns over widespread corruption and what is seen by many as a disastrous response to the epidemic. In Sarajevo, the SDA (Party of Democratic Action, the party claiming to represent Bosnian Muslims) lost out in three of four voting districts and in Banja Luka, opposition parties made important gains. The HDZBiH (Croat Democratic Union of Bosnia-Hercegovina, the party claiming to...

Kino Eye

Kino Eye is a new column which will offer suggestions for film or TV viewing which are related to articles in Solidarity. The term "Kino Eye" is borrowed from the early Soviet documentary filmmaker Dziga Vertov, whose best-known film is Man with a Movie Camera (1929). Suggestions for viewing from readers are welcome. In Solidarity 562 I recommended two interesting, and very different, films from Bosnia, Walter Defends Sarajevo and Grbavica. Although not about Sarajevo, another film from that region also worth seeing is Tito and Me (Goran Marković, 1992), the comic story of a chubby young...

Video: Remembering the Bosnian War, with Sarah Correia and Martin Thomas

Audio and video Introductory speeches from a meeting of the same name, which outline the complex events that led up to the war, left responses and legacies of the war. Sarah Correia is a researcher at LSE, researching memories of the Bosnian war. Martin Thomas talks about the response of much of the left at the time. December 2020 marks 15 years since the end of the Bosnian war. In 1992 after Bosnia and Herzegovina declared independence, a Serb-backed military assault took place, bringing ethnic cleansing, rape and destruction of mosques. Under the banner of “peace” and opposing Western intervention many on the left sided with, or failed to oppose, the Serb nationalists. Workers' Liberty argued an international arms embargo should be lifted so that the Bosnians could defend themselves. This meeting will outline the complex events that led up to the war, the left responses and the legacies of that war.

The Bosnian war, 25 years later

Sarah Correia is a researcher into society and history in Bosnia. She talked with Martin Thomas from Solidarity. Why did war erupt in Bosnia in 1992, between the Bosnian government on one side and Serb militias and the Serbian-dominated federal army on the other? We thought we should side with Bosnia against what we saw as Serbian imperialism, but much of the left refused to take sides in the Bosnian war of 1992-95, or backed the Serb forces. It was a time of profound changes to the international system. And, from the 19th century onwards, shifts in the international system had been very much...

The left and Bosnia

The wars in Croatia (1991-5), Bosnia (1992-5), and Kosova (1999), all part of the break-up of Yugoslavia, were among the first wars of the new era following the fall of Stalinism in Eastern Europe (1989) and the USSR (1991). And the different attitudes then of different trends on the left were among the first markers of how the left would differentiate in the new era. Workers’ Liberty backed the peoples of Croatia, Bosnia, and Kosova in their struggle for self-determination against what we saw as Serbian proto-imperialism, quasi-imperialism, or sub-imperialism. Leading figures of the...

Learn from Bosnia

July 11 1995 was the beginning of the Srebrenica massacre, the worst atrocity committed by Serb nationalists during their wars to dominate the other peoples of former Yugoslavia. In a few days over 8,000 Bosnian Muslims men and boys were murdered. It was by far the largest mass killing in Europe since the 1940s. There were crimes committed on all sides during the wars in former Yugoslavia, but it was nowhere near symmetrical. Serbia, in control of the bulk of Yugoslavia’s military machine, and Serb nationalist militias attempted to deny the other nations of the former federation self...

Momentum Renewal and Islamophobia

For all its rhetoric about working-class politics, the conservative-left and Stalinist faction in Momentum’s national coordinating group election, Momentum Renewal, has had little to say about the huge crises confronting the working class in the real world. Despite having a large network of supporters, including many people working full-time for Labour politicians, unions and the like, its blog has had only three posts. Momentum Renewal’s candidates and organisers have, however, found plenty of time to spend attacking Workers’ Liberty – which sometimes seems to be virtually the main focus of...

The hijab and the Saudi factor

Sadia Hameed is a spokesperson for the Council of ex-Muslims in Britain, and a director of Gloucestershire Sisters, a women's organisation working in minority communities, particularly around tackling harmful traditional practices. She was interviewed by Sacha Ismail for Solidarity. See here for wider debate in Solidarity on the ban of the hijab in schools. We need to question the idea of multiculturalism. Diversity of culture is a great thing, but harmful ideas and practices need to be challenged and criticised. Multiculturalism should be about taking the wonderful parts of all cultures and...

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