4712P BOSNIA-PT/bp.qxd 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 2 3 4111 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 35 6 7 8 9 40111 1 2111 6/12/06 15:04 Page 139 8 Letter to Stojan Sokolović I have thought for a long time, and I’m always followed by this same thought – guilt. I find it very hard to say this truth. I am to blame for everything I did at that time. I am trying to erase all this and to be what I was not at that time. I am also to blame for what I did not do, for not trying to protect those prisoners . . . I ask myself again and again, What could I

in The ethics of researching war
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.

4712P BOSNIA-PT/bp.qxd 6/12/06 15:04 Page 1 1111 1 An accusation in the course of fieldwork Before one is guilty, one is already uniquely and irreplaceably in a position of shame in regard to those about whom one is to write.1 I am building my career on the loss of a man named Stojan Sokolović (and on the loss of many millions of others, who may or may not resemble him). And one night, he told me: ‘You write about violence – you say that fear is a violence – that the things that cause fear and insecurity are violences. But you do not know how that fear

in The ethics of researching war
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commonality among those of us who have nothing else in common is precisely that vulnerability – that exposure to the Other for which and for whom we are responsible to answer, but through the very strictures placed upon the possibility of answering, we cannot answer. In this way, we are always more and less and other than what we think and do and are. My relationship with Stojan Sokolović was always about more and less and other than the text in which he now appears, however opaquely, however unjustly, however violently, however painfully. It was 129 4712P BOSNIA

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responsibility is interested in advance in whatever happens to the name in the event of pseudonymity, metonymy, homonymy, in the matter of what constitutes a real name. Sometimes one says or wishes it more effectively, more authentically, in the secret name by which one calls oneself, that one gives oneself or affects to give oneself, the name that is more naming and named in the pseudonym than in the official legality of the public patronym.’16 Stojan Sokolović gave me another name. I speak from it only to him. With this other name, I speak Serbian.17 I speak it poorly, but

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myself into that space – that politically bankrupt and ethically empty space. Trinh Minh-ha proceeds with the painful awareness that her writing – the luxury within which her ability to write unfolds – is always made possible by another woman’s labour. 26 My writing was made possible by my estimation of Stojan Sokolović’s moral bankruptcy, and that is a price that he subsequently pays. This is why the law is not enough – it stretches too thin to accommodate what it claims to represent and in many cases leaves its Others (and thus its Selves) painfully exposed to

in The ethics of researching war
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, summoning me, the other presents him or herself not as something identifiable, but as other.’22 This is the impossible space between expression and interpretation, marked on the face – in the trace – of the Other. The face of Stojan Sokolović. The face of the priest at Gračanica. The face of Holger Herwig. The ‘I’ who gazes in from the comfort of my office at the seemingly endless signs and signifiers of the former Yugoslavia makes just such a representation. There is little interest in the reception our representation receives on behalf of the represented. Did

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4712P BOSNIA-PT/bp.qxd 6/12/06 15:04 Page 37 3 Being there The camera makes everyone a tourist in other people’s reality, and eventually in one’s own.1 The last time I was in Belgrade, Stojan Sokolović brought me to the park where Ivan Stambolić disappeared. After the ousting of Milošević in 2000, members of the new Koštunica government admitted that Stambolić had been dragged away from the park on his daily jog and murdered. His crime had been to say that he had made a mistake in assisting Milošević’s rise to power in the late 1980s. It happened

in The ethics of researching war

prevents me from assimilating, from appropriating and incorporating the statements of Stojan Sokolović. Yet, that facing, while contesting any possibility of affinity between us, nevertheless simultaneously binds me without recourse – without the possibility of abdicating my responsibility. For Levinas, ‘[t]here is a paradox in responsibility, in that I am obliged without this obligation having begun in me, as though an order slipped into my consciousness like a thief, smuggled itself in, like an effect of one of Plato’s wandering causes. But this is impossible in a

in The ethics of researching war