Looking for Bosnia

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.

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The retreat of the Serbian army and civilians in 1915–16

. Furthermore, in September and October 1913 large-scale fighting erupted at the SerbAlbanian demarcation line when armed groups from Albania attacked the Serbs, in some cases with the assistance of the local Albanian population. Serbian troops succeeded in re-establishing control by means of harsh repression.10 It is hardly surprising that two years later fears resurfaced that Serbian authority over Kosovo and Macedonia would again be challenged. Kosovo In early November 1915, around 300,000 Serbian soldiers and between 50,000 and 60,000 refugees gathered in Kosovo. This

in Europe on the move

during the great retreat and gave Flora Sandes a vocation in the Serbian army. It drove Elsie Inglis to accompany her Serbian soldiers to Russia when she already knew she was suffering from cancer, and then to refuse to leave without them as revolution engulfed the state. After her service in Russia was cut short by revolution, Ellie Rendel was determined to finish the war with the SWH. She arrived in Serbia in October 1918 as the end of the war drew closer. She noted in a letter home: It was a very interesting drive [to the Front]. The German and Bulgarian soldiers

in British women of the Eastern Front
Russia, 1916–17

civilian refugees accompanied the soldiers. They brought with them another unwelcome guest: typhus. In early 1916 those suffering from typhus were moved to the island of Vido. Duson T.  Batakovic states that ‘At least 7,000 Serbian soldiers died in Vido, of whom the majority were buried in the Ionian Sea which later became known among Serbs as a “blue tomb”.’17 SWH doctor Mary McNeil, visiting Corfu after the war, noted that 20,000 Serbs were buried there.18 There was an urgent need to get the Serbian army back into the field. While some were slowly moved to Salonika in

in British women of the Eastern Front

sense of fear. The Serbian soldiers are portrayed as a set of amiable roughnecks, and Sandes’s writing sanitises the realities of war. Eventually, Sandes enlisted as a soldier in the Serbian army and rose to the rank of sergeant. Upon returning home to England, she found it almost impossible to tolerate wearing women’s clothes and assimilated only with difficulty back into civilian life.42 And yet an unconscious – and entirely instinctive – sense of herself as a woman who ought to be protected comes through in her writing. Another woman who projected a heroic

in Nurse Writers of the Great War
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The road east

part of the artistic foundation upon which Serbian nationalistic culture was built. The best known of these poems, ‘The Downfall of the Serbian Empire’, by the nineteenth-century poet Vuk Karadzic (1787–1864), which tells of Lazar’s fateful choice, was still being recited by the Serbian soldiers of Mabel St Clair Stobart’s flying column in 1915, and by West’s Serbian guides in 1937. It tells the story that the prophet Elijah visited Lazar on the day of the battle, in the form of a grey hawk, the same grey falcon of West’s title. Elijah offers Lazar a choice. Tsar

in British women of the Eastern Front
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Spanish alienation in a foreign landscape

.indd 150 14/11/08 19:58:30 Guerreros 151 camp. After a quick cut to the corridor outside and the Serb soldiers idling, we cut back to see Vidal sitting alone. There is no plastic bag but he is struggling to breathe as if there were one, panicking, hitting out at the air. He begins to fling himself at his prison walls until one gives way in an unlikely fashion and sets him free. By immersing himself in the Kosovan continuum of violence, then, Vidal becomes victim as well as perpetrator, and hard to distinguish from the people he is there to protect. Vidal comes to

in Daniel Calparsoro
Questioning gender roles

in search of them. She ends up in a maternity ward where she spends the night, holding a sick baby who, as we soon learn, has been abandoned by its Croatian mother since it was the result of a rape by Serbian soldiers. The most striking element though is the direct allusion to mothers as Madonnas. This is not new in Serreau’s films as she has often used discreet references to paintings of Madonna-like figures, sometimes subverting them through a subtle gender reversal. Thus the opening sequence in Trois hommes et un

in Coline Serreau
The Serbian retreat, 1915

Stobart knows they will escape and she believes she knows why. Stobart believes it is because of these women, who go about their everyday business so serenely in the face of the enemy guns, because they will continue to do so for the next two months, carrying with them the Serbian soldiers attached to the unit, ensuring that they are the only 140 British women of the Eastern Front military column in the retreat who do not lose a single man to death or desertion. Stobart believes that these women bring alternative skills to the front line, by playing out the roles

in British women of the Eastern Front
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expected that such conventional models would hold little appeal, and would consequentially be of minimal relevance in 1914. Yet the cultural prejudices that commonly underpinned ideas of the Union sacrée or Burgfriedenspolitik were widely shared by anarchists on both sides of the interventionist debate. Anarchists including Kropotkin readily adopted the kind of idioms that were regularly exploited in war propaganda to, for example, laud Belgian troops equipped with ‘the doggedness of the English type’ or depict the Serb soldier as a ‘hero, a born fighter, 6 Anarchism

in Anarchism, 1914–18