While memories of Albanian and Turkish hospitality to Bosniak refugees in Macedonia in 1992 live on locally, few outside the region know the remarkable story of one community’s sacrifice, driven by a special and singularly deep commitment to the protection of others.
The chief international institution in Bosnia and Herzegovina has intervened with changes to the country’s elections laws to further cement the ability of the nationalist oligarchy, those most responsible for the country’s catastrophic socioeconomic conditions, to rule and plunder.
Balkanist thinking encourages Western policymakers to view conflicts in eastern and southeastern Europe in terms of “warring tribes,” “rival nationalisms” or “ancient ethnic hatreds” that need to be managed, balanced and neutralized. By projecting such negative stereotypes onto these lands and their peoples, it encourages the very conflicts Western policymakers are supposed to be resolving.
For decades, the West has pioneered “stabilocracy” in the Balkans, a pernicious brand of diplomacy that prefers agreement to reform. That diplomacy was exported to their relations with Kremlin — with the extreme, bloody conclusion being the war in Ukraine.
Because many people’s lives depend on overcoming such persistent and deeply entrenched supremacist ideologies that are visible around the world, this moment to learn should not be(come) a wasted opportunity. Clarifying the connection between racialization and dehumanization and acknowledging different manifestations of such oppressive processes in more than one geographic context is essential to understand these intricate relationships.