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Balkan Idols: Religion and Nationalism in Yugoslav States by Vjekoslav Perica

By Vjekoslav Perica

Reporting from the heartland of Yugoslavia within the Seventies, Washington submit correspondent Dusko Doder defined "a panorama of Gothic spires, Islamic mosques, and Byzantine domes." 1 / 4 century later, this panorama lay in ruins. as well as claiming tens of hundreds of thousands of lives, the previous Yugoslavia's 4 wars ravaged over 1000 spiritual constructions, many purposefully destroyed via Serbs, Albanians, and Croats alike, supplying an apt architectural metaphor for the region's fresh historical past. infrequently has the human impulse towards monocausality--the want for a unmarried explanation--been in larger proof than in Western makes an attempt to make experience of the country's bloody dissolution. From Robert Kaplan's arguable Balkan Ghosts, which pointed out entrenched ethnic hatreds because the motive force at the back of Yugoslavia's loss of life to NATO's dogged pursuit and arrest of Slobodan Milosevic, the search for simple solutions has often served to imprecise the Balkans' complicated background. probably such a lot unusually, no booklet has targeted explicitly at the function faith has performed within the conflicts that proceed to torment southeastern Europe. according to a variety of South Slav assets and formerly unpublished, usually personal records from communist country documents, in addition to at the author's personal on-the-ground event, Balkan Idols explores the political function and impression of Serbian Orthodox, Croatian Catholic, and Yugoslav Muslim non secular corporations over the process the final century. Vjekoslav Perica emphatically rejects the thought "clash of civilizations" has performed a valuable position in fomenting aggression. He unearths no compelling proof of an upsurge in non secular fervor one of the basic inhabitants. quite, he concludes, the first spiritual avid gamers within the conflicts were activist clergy. This activism, Perica argues, allowed the clergy to imagine political energy with no the responsibility confronted by way of democratically-elected officers. What emerges from Perica's account is a deeply nuanced figuring out of the historical past and afflicted way forward for considered one of Europes so much risky areas.

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Additional resources for Balkan Idols: Religion and Nationalism in Yugoslav States (Religion and Global Politics)

Sample text

Regarding the phenomenon of the nation-state: it consists of territories with borders, peoples, armies, and bureaucracies, but that is not enough: the nation-state cannot exist without an adequate system of public patriotic worship, symbol, myth, and ritual. Nation-states require of their citizens not only that they be governed and they govern but also that they love their “country” and be prepared to kill, die, and lie for it. As in the case of religion, an individual or group’s disrespect of this requirement calls for some kind of excommunication, punishment, and sometimes even death.

Thus, for example, the administration in Croatia did not obstruct the foundation of the Church of Jesus Christ of LatterDay Saints in 1974 in Zadar. Upon his return from Utah, the basketball star    Kresˇimir C´osic´ organized church life and a base for missionary work in Eastern Europe and obtained a place of worship, thus making possible the first established community of this rapidly expanding American church in the communist world. , the Transcendental Meditation movement and several gurus and swamis operating in the East and West) were also allowed to establish themselves without restrictions.

Stepinac began to abhor the ecumenical Yugoslavism invented in the nineteenth century by the Croat-Austrian Bishop Strossmayer. After the Serbian Church’s “rebellion” of 1937, the Vatican was angered, too. ”11 Finally, the royal dictatorship of 1929 and growing Serbian nationalism of the 1930s played into the hands of Croatian nationalist extremists. The crisis was simmering after the 1928 shooting by the Serb deputy at Croat deputies in the Belgrade parliament. The Croat radical nationalist Ustasˇa (plural: Ustasˇe) movement was founded and carried out terrorist activities (King Alexander I was assassinated in 1934).

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