Dear readers. The special issue of the Spaces of Identity on War Criminality is available on line (at the web address provided below).
This issue takes us on a journey from WWII Ukraine, across the bloodied landscape of the former Yugoslavia to the seemingly distant but televisually close land of the Chechens. It is also a journey through time: from the camps in which victims’ last breaths slipped away at the point of a soldier’s bayonet to the eerie silence of a hi-tech war room in a desert.
We are enormously pleased to have John-Paul Himka’s article appear in this issue. Doubly so because of the topic he chose to address: the unwillingness of the Ukrainian diaspora to acknowledge crimes committed during WWII. While the issue of any given diaspora and its selective memories of the past is inherently sensitive and politically charged, we are glad that such a black box is now open.
James Sadkovich’s contribution also tackles a sensitive theme: the politically motivated misrepresentation of the past in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Sadkovich successfully and forcefully dismantles the myth of Bosnia always being a multicultural paradise, thus, countering the claims of modern-day transitilogists and ‘grantoid’ organizations in the region. His article also sheds a new light on the manner in which the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia could be analyzed.
Srdja Pavlovic’s contribution also addresses the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia. More specifically, it analyzes the 1991 siege of the Croatian city of Dubrovnik and raises the question of personalization of responsibility for crimes committed as the necessary point of departure in the process of reconciliation in the former Yugoslavia.
W. Andy Knight & Tanya Narozhna present a powerful account and analysis of war-torn Chechnya and the ruthless way this war has been waged by the Russian government. By highlighting issues of extra-judicial executions, forced disappearances, murder, rape and torture, their article emphasizes grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and of other horrendous violations of international humanitarian law.
Lise Hogan and William Anselmi graciously accepted our invitation to reflect more philosophically on war. Their series of “interventions” address war as part of our common imaginary and the way language and image help dehumanize and sanitize it for the general public.
Pages of our journal will be open to your comments and reactions.
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