Developed through a series of encounters with a Bosnian Serb soldier Stojan Sokolović, this book is a meditation on the possibilities and limitations of responding to the extreme violence of the Bosnian war. It explores the ethics of confronting the war criminal and investigates the possibility of responsibility not just to victims of war and war crimes, but also to the perpetrators of violence. The book explains how Stojan Sokolović attenuated the author to the fact that he was responsible, to everyone, all the time, and for everything. It exposes the complexity of the categories of good and evil. Silence is also the herald of violence, or its co-conspirator. The author and Stojan Sokolović were trapped in violence, discursive and material, and discursive that leads to material, and material that emanates from and leads back to discursive. Two years after beginning his research into identity and the politics of conflict in Bosnia and Kosovo, the author got the opportunity to visit the region presented itself. According to the vast majority of the literature of the 1990s on Bosnia, it was clear that the biggest problem with nationalist violence and intolerance was to be found in Republika Srpska. The book is the author's discourse on a variety of experiences, including those of ethics, politics, disasters, technologies, fieldwork, adventure tourism, and dilemmas.
Stojan Sokolović has attenuated the author to the fact that he was responsible, to everyone, all the time, and for everything. Stojan Sokolović fundamentally compromised the foundational moment of author's faith in the discipline in which he has trained and from which he claim to speak. Stojan Sokolović lead the author to speak of war or death or peace operations or democratization or privatization or post-conflict environments or the political economy of insecurity in the maze of uncertainty. Stojan Sokolović does not relegate the author into fearful silence, for even silence is a potential form of violence. Silence is also the herald of violence, or its co-conspirator. The awareness that there is no pure non-violence is the vocative call which summons author to be responsible for his decisions, for the words he choose and the stances he took.
The author began researching the wars of secession in Yugoslavia in fulfillment of a promise that two undergraduate Serbian political science students extracted from him in a cafe at York University in Toronto in 1997. The author's academic and personal relationships and research background mediated and identified the salient points associated with identity and responsibility in Bosnia. Emmanuel Levinas, the move from the ethical to the political is a totalizing one wherein the universal must be expressed. It is this ethos that David Campbell identifies as being imperative to an understanding of the war in Bosnia. In Fyodor Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamozov, Ivan argues bitterly that there can be no justification for the disaster that befalls the innocent. For John Caputo, the imperative to obligation takes place outside of any properly ethical ontological order.
John Hutnyk argues that travel both embraces and constitutes a multitude of technologies that are deployed to make sense of the experiences that are the central purpose of travelling. The technology of the gaze allows for both the representation and the disciplining of the object of study, which is presented as lacking the agency required to articulate alternative, contradictory representations. The similarity between fieldwork and tourism is perhaps most significant in the case of 'independent' or 'adventure' tourists. Adventure tourists are also eager to get to Afghanistan. 'The main reason to go is the bragging rights', says one traveller. 'Mostly it's just cool to be in a place called "Kandahar". In Canada, the Department of National Defence's (DND) Security and Defence Forum offers annual 'field excursions' to sites of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) occupation. Tourism invokes the desire for difference because tourism is a quest for the extraordinary.
The power to designate people, places, and events as mattering, or as mattering in a certain way or, by omission, as not mattering at all, is grounded in the practices of representation. Representation relies on witnesses; it relies on naming, signifying, and (re)producing events in value-laden ways. The realm of representation is deeply bound in trust, and in its lack. Representation supposes that behind the sign dwells a coherent reality to which the sign attests; it supposes that the dioramic men at Victory Park represent the battles whose names are emblazoned on the descriptive, commemorative plaques. Beneath the spire in Victory Park there is an underground museum with dioramic re-enactments of battle scenes. In the staging of the battle scene, events disappear behind their representations; they melt into simulation.
Rafael Nieto-Navia explained that, before reaching a verdict, he had expected 'the Trial Chamber to confirm whether such an offence existed as a form of liability under international customary law, attracting individual criminal responsibility under that body of law. The simple suggestion is that ethics has been permanently suspended in favour of obligation, of obligation without ethics, of responsibility without reason, of justice without law. The recognition that there is a fundamental lack of clarity in the space between victim and perpetrator leads to an appreciation of the inadequacy of both ethics and the legal frameworks which are said to embody them. For Soren Kierkegaard, the law must be suspended so that faith can enter in. There is no faith under the law or within the teleology of the ethical.
Simon Wiesenthal's silence not only serves as its own indictment against the Nazi genocide, but it is the only possible way he can respond ethically to acknowledge the family burned alive at Dnepropetrovsk. In May 2003, Dragan Obrenovic signed a confession at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) detailing the measure of his responsibility for the commission of war crimes in Srebrenica in 1995. Silence and denial protect one for a time from having to address one's actions, from having to address the suffering that one has caused, from having to address the damage one has done in the destruction of the Other. The perpetrator becomes Other. As the perpetrator attempts to silence the victim, so the system of corporal punishment seeks to silence the perpetrator, or to determine beforehand what Emmanuel Levinas will say.
Storytelling is about securitizing; it is about securitising narratives and enshrouding them in a protective layer of reproduction so that their salience, relevance, and accuracy cannot be questioned. The witness, Jacques Derrida notes, is committed to telling the same story in the same ways each and every time. Insofar as anyone survives to witness the account of Srebrenica as a genocide, Derrida must be prepared to repeat in the same ways, and on command, the narrative account of what he suffered and saw. In his Talmudic lecture on the cities of refuge, Emmanuel Levinas takes up the theme of sanctuary for the manslayer. Levinas's missive on the cities of refuge provides a way of understanding human connectivity as one of vigilance. The relationship here is not synchronous, but diachronous; it is not a relationship of binary opposites arrayed simultaneously along an axis of space and time.
This chapter is about a letter from the author to Stojan Sokolović who is an existing pseudonymic individual whom the author had interviewed indirectly through various sources. The letter describes about their wanderings through Knez Mihajlova after the last war ended and their discussions on the loss of Kosovo and the damages cost. It discusses the way of world where profit is gained from another's loss. The letter describes in-depth about what kind of person Sokolovic is and the attacks on buildings with Siberian flags hung through laundry. It also describes about the train ride while speaking about where Sokolovic lived; how the author shared her thoughts, words, faith, prayers and admonitions; their dissymmetry of friendship they had formed with no similarities between them.