Through Bosnian Eyes
The Political Memoirs of a Bosnian Serb
Publication Year: 2004
Published by: Purdue University Press
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The war in Bosnia (1992-95) has produced a prodigious number of publications. Journalists were among the first to chronicle the outbreak of Europe's first war-and commission of genocide-since World War II. Most of their accounts were compiled during the fighting in Croatia and Bosnia as they followed in the path of the ...
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Mirko Pejanović is not the kind of Bosnian that most of us have come to know through media reports. Those narratives left us with the sense that every Bosnian is either a victim to be pitied or a war criminal hardened to indifference by unfathomable brutality. Pejanović was neither of these. He formed no paramilitary group, ...
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In early 1990, when this memoir begins, communism was collapsing throughout Eastern Europe. Responding to massive dissatisfaction with single-party rule, communist party leaders agreed to hold multiparty elections. In the Federal Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY), elections were held on different dates in each ...
I On the Eve of Political Pluralism
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Elections for the new President of Bosnia's Socialist Alliance were held in March 1990, just when the organization's electoral process was undergoing alignment with contemporary democratic practice. This meant that several candidates — five including myself — presented their programs at the Conference of the Alliance, while the elections. ...
II Ante Marković's Failure
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When Ante Marković took over the Federal government and started introducing his economic reforms, the standard of living began to rise. Along with purely economic reforms, Marković came up with the idea of forming an association of reformist forces as a distinct political party. This was to be the League of Reformist Forces of Yugoslavia ...
III The Election Coalitions
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The DSS entered into a coalition with the SDP for the election campaign, and together we held pre-election rallies in the majority of Bosnian municipalities.15 I managed to be personally present at rallies in 60 municipalities, and Nijaz Duraković of the SDP visited all 109 municipalities of Bosnia. The preparations were jointly carried out ...
IV The Triumph of the National Parties
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After the results of the elections were announced, a major press conference was held in the Bosnian Parliament. Representatives of all political parties that ran in the parliamentary elections gave statements. Ismet Grbo, then secretary of the DSS, was our representative at this conference. When advising Grbo on his speech, ...
V The Civic Parliament - Protest against the War
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Many ordinary people realized that Parliament was foundering and that the conflicts within it were spiraling out of control. This led to popular revolt. To a great extent this was spontaneous - the idea of a "citizens parliament" grew from the gathering of crowds around the Parliament building.24 A founding committee was set up, ...
VI Secret Mission to Krajišnik
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Every new step taken at this time on behalf of the concept of a peaceful, multiethnic Bosnia was a source of optimism for the people of Sarajevo. They were still living in hope, though shells were already tearing the city apart. There were still ambitions to stop the conflict before the launch of full-scale warfare. One source of hope was the possibility of ...
VII The Presidential Platform and Its Destiny
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The Platform of the Presidency was a document developed in the early days of the war with the aim of providing basic answers to the questions of war and peace: how to safeguard Bosnia's character and integrity, its plural culture, and its democratic growth.34 We needed to establish a unified concept of what kind of Bosnia we were fighting for. ...
VIII The Bosnian Army and Its First Commander, Sefer Halilović
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Units of the Bosnian Army started forming in June 1992, while the Territorial Defense still consisted of police units under the Ministry of the Interior.40 Units formed spontaneously or were organized in Sarajevo and other cities of Bosnia, even where there was total breakdown in communications between Sarajevo and these other places. ...
IX Kecmanović Goes to Belgrade
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One night in June 1992, Nenad Kecmanović was driving home from the Presidency to his flat in Ciglane. Due to the constant shelling, all driving had to be without lights. Near the city center, Kecmanović had an accident in which he suffered an injury to his spine. He subsequently recovered, although still in pain, and started ...
X Herceg-Bosna — A New Political Fact
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On the political scene of Bosnia, during 1992, a new reality appeared which crucially altered current political and military trends: the Croat nation's novel construct known as "Herceg Bosna." 55 Herceg-Bosna was created as not only a political and military but also an economic structure. It produced a great psychological ...
XI The Fate of Serbs in the Cities
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The cities of Bosnia, especially the larger centers such as Sarajevo, Tuzla, Mostar, and Zenica, had substantial Serb populations before the war. In Sarajevo, according to the 1991 census, lived around 150,000 Serbs, and several dozens of thousands who called themselves Yugoslavs but had ethnic Serb origins — the largest single population ...
XII Haris Silajdžić Resigns
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Under the Constitution, the Presidency had the task of naming the members of the government. Additionally, in its wartime role as substituting for the Parliament, it had to confirm all such nominations. In this capacity the Presidency also reviewed and approved the proposed general policies of the government and its various ministers. ...
XIII The Geneva Peace Talks
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The Presidency selected and prepared the delegation that would take part in the Geneva peacetalks. The original Platform on the work of the Presidency in wartime was proposed as the foundation for the delegation's position, augmented by a few suggestions. An expanded session of the Presidency was called, attended by representatives ...
XIV The Vance Owen Peace Plan
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Toward the end of 1992, in the third month of the Geneva negotiations, we in the Bosnian state delegation submitted our proposal for the constitutional organization and internal structure of the Bosnian state. Our suggestion was based on two ideas. First, the Bosnian state should be a community of citizens and nations with a ...
XV The Owen-Stoltenberg Plan for a Union of Three Republics
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Stoltenberg and Owen started a new round of talks in May 1993. Owen made several attempts to explain why the international community, particularly the leading powers, had failed to stand firm behind the Vance-Owen Peace Plan. To a large extent, the United States considered Bosnia and its war to be a European problem, ...
XVI The SGV: Its Foundation, Principles, and Activities
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In June 1992, when Sarajevo was under siege and bombardment, a group of Serbs founded the Forum of Citizens of Serb Nationality of the City of Sarajevo. This was one of the first expressions of the collective wishes of the Serbs who chose to remain in Sarajevo with their Bosniak and Croat neighbors, and who acknowledged ...
XVII Wartime Visits to Moscow and Belgrade
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After the failure of the Owen Stoltenberg Plan for a Union of Three Republics, the US became directly involved in the search for peace. In February and March 1994, American diplomats helped negotiate the Washington Agreement, the first successful phase in the search for a comprehensive peace for Bosnia. The Washington Agreement ...
XVIII Joint Action for Dayton by the SGV and the HNV
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When preparations for the Dayton accords first got under way, between August and September 1995, the foreign ministers of Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia (or rather Yugoslavia) met in Geneva. At this meeting, chaired by the international community and representatives of the US, an understanding was ratified which ...
XIX The Dayton Peace Agreement
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Spring and summer 1995 were the most significant period of preparation for Bosnia's peace: during this time the decisive American initiative was gaining momentum. This initiative had several strategic points. The first aimed at stopping the war, and this was achieved by a combination of diplomatic and military pressures, resulting in ...
XX The Serb National Question in Bosnia
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The SDS proclaimed that Bosnia was a practical impossibility, both as a unified state and as a common way of life. It wanted to carve out a separate state structure to be ultimately unified with Serbia and Montenegro. This conflicted, above all, with the interests of the Bosniak and Croat peoples of Bosnia. These two nations did ...
XXI Constitutional Change
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The Washington Agreement ended hostilities between the Bosniaks and Croats and created a new political entity, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.90 This was a major step forward in securing a broader peace for Bosnia. Coincidentally, the agreement was in the process of being considered for approval ...
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Page Count: 248
Publication Year: 2004
Series Title: Central European Studies
Series Editor Byline: Charles W. Ingrao, Gary B. Cohen, Franz Szabo