The Balkans beyond conventional representations: “Bosnia in Limbo”

Le 2 mai 2018 à 19h30

To this day, almost all narratives on Bosnia focus on the 1990s and we know very little of Bosnia today: a society shaped by the past, yes, but also exposed to shifting 21st century dynamics. A society haunted not only by war tragedies but also by a long-standing and long overlooked social crisis. “Bosnia in limbo” by Borja Lasheras provides a somewhat different picture of Bosnia, twenty years after the war. Largely based on the author’s experience in the field, it is to some extent an account of rural Bosnia, in particular of the Drina River Valley, which bore the brunt of the ethnic cleansing in the 1990s. Yet, and starting off from that isolated region of open wounds, the book aims to overall provide a portrait of modern Bosnia as such, while also looking critically at the workings of the international community and European diplomacy. With its landscape of activists, Western diplomats, and an underground world in Sarajevo for LGBT and youths, Bosnia is a country of so far failed Springs and leaders who go on with their bad governance. Meanwhile the “Europe” towards which Bosnia theoretically moves, drifting between a poor understanding of the country, a fear of conflict that acts as its Achilles’ heel, as well as lack of genuine interest, seems unable to really change things. In a way, therefore, a country in limbo.

Presentation with the Author and Toby Vogel.