Do You Remember Yugoslavia?
May-June 2013

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Do you remember Yugoslavia?
Capital-Belgrade – controlled by Tito? 

If yes, then you must be over age 40. 
7 countries make up that territory now –
, Serbia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro and Kosovo.

Unlike the “Velvet Divorce” of the Czech and Slovak Republics in 1992, the Balkan Peninsula experienced much violence and bloodshed.

Much is still visible.

There are many lovely areas in the region with wonderful, friendly people. Most of this website is devoted to those.
Now though, my thoughts are about the strife endured by ordinary people during that time.

On this and our other visits to Europe we saw many memorials.  Some were very old like those built in gratitude at the end of a plague.  Some documented the horrors of WWI and WWII.  Those are still within the memory of our oldest generations.

Sadly some memorials are more recent and actually within the memory of my grandchildren. 

This now tranquil site was the scene of bombardment from across the Danube River in the 1990s.


In a church courtyard, these side by side sculptures remember both Christian and Jewish victims with appropriate symbolism.


It’s vital to remember, and memorials help us to do that, but it’s more important to determine how to stop it from happening again.

Sometimes I wonder where the state of political discourse and commentary in our country today may lead us.  This divisiveness is greatly concerning to me.  I’ve often thought that associating ONLY with like minded people and surrounding ourselves ONLY with “people like us” while distancing ourselves from those who are “different” can have serious consequences. 

If we don’t see each other as individuals, we can lump everyone together based on ethnicity, nationality, religion etc.  If we continue such an isolated existence and do not tone down our rhetoric and seek some common ground, given enough time, could we not be “Balkanized” as well?   

After the bombing at the Boston Marathon, the Czech Republic had to put out a press release to inform Americans that they are Czechs not Chechnyans and please stop the hate mail and threats. 

Obviously, we should not ascribe the evil deeds of individuals indiscriminately to anyone who happens to share a common heritage.  It would also help to study geography. 

Note:  Our cruise line took special care to bring onboard even-handed representatives of several countries involved in the violence to talk and take questions.  Our view of history is skewed by our own personal experience and perspective.  Being ignorant of history also increases the likelihood of repeating it.