Digital Narrative: Crimes against Croats in Vojvodina

Digital Narrative: Crimes against Croats in Vojvodina

Digitalni-narativ-slika-enThe Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) published its fifth digital narrative, “Crimes against Croats in Vojvodina”. The narrative is created on the basis of an Dossier, which HLC publicly presented in January 2019.

In the period 1991-1995, in the territory of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, there was a campaign of pressure and intimidation directed against the Croatian population, with the aim to force them to leave their homes, and Serbia as well. The campaign, the intensity of which varied, reaching its highest peaks in the second half of 1991, from spring to autumn 1992, and in the summer of 1995, resulted in the expulsion of several tens of thousands of Croats from Vojvodina. Violence against Croats in Vojvodina included attacks on their private property and religious buildings, as well as threats, physical attacks and murders.

During the 1990s, the Humanitarian Law Center continuously collected statements and reported on the pressures to which the Croatian population in Serbia was exposed. Part of that archive has now been made available to the public.

The digital narrative is available at the following link.

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Memory Politics of the 1990s Wars in Serbia: Historical Revisionism and Challenges of Memory Activism

Memory Politics of the 1990s Wars in Serbia: Historical Revisionism and Challenges of Memory Activism

politike-secanja-enSince 2012, when the Serbian Progressive Party came to power, the wars of the 1990s became the focal point of the official memory politics and crucial for the political legitimacy of the SNS government. The populist discourse of the return of the national pride is central to state-sponsored memory work, arguing that the previous governments and international community coerced the Serbian nation to feel ashamed about its heroes and victims of the 1990s wars. The current regime uses the fact that the previous governments did not focus on the 1990s in their memory politics as a demarcation line and source of legitimacy. Because of the SNS and their political allies, the Serbian people are finally allowed and able, as the dominant narrative claims, to remember their heroes and victims with pride. The government builds its political legitimacy on its commitment to the industry of memory, which involves large-scale commemorations, usage of media technologies, cultural production and new ways of disseminating the dominant narratives.

This paper analyses the memory politics of the 1990s wars and outlines the problem of historical revisionism in contemporary Serbia from the overthrow of Slobodan Milošević until today. The first section of the paper offers an overview of the memory of the 1990s wars during the first decade after the fall of Milošević. The expectations from the democratic changes quickly turned into disappointment as the new state authorities showed the lack of willingness to confront the questions of guilt and responsibility of Serbia and its forces during the 1990s wars. Various patterns of denial and relativisations are analysed. The central part of the paper focuses on the period since 2012 and populist state-sponsored memory politics. To facilitate a better understanding of the war narratives, commemorative practices and the emergence of the 1990s wars in official memory politics, the paper explains the main characteristics of populist memory politics. The paper proceeds to analyse the interpretation of the 1990s as liberation wars, the national program of commemorations and the industry of memory, focusing mainly on Operation Storm, the Kosovo war and NATO bombing of Yugoslavia as the focal points of official memory politics. The final section concludes with a brief outlook on memory activism and its challenges in facing the industry of memory from above.

The paper “Memory Politics of the 1990s Wars in Serbia: Historical Revisionism and Challenges of Memory Activism” is available here.

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