Independence and The Fate of the Minorities – Zlatibor 2007

Round table in Zlatibor, Scholars Initiative report.

1. December 2007.


PDF Documents Download pdf documents:

Independence and The Fate of the Minorities (independence_and_the_fate_of_minorities.pdf)
Nezavisnost i nada manjina (nezavisnost_i_nada_manjina.pdf)
Neovisnost i nada manjina (neovisnost_i_nada_manjina.pdf)


Round Table Discussion

On December 1, 2007, the report of the Scholars` Initiative Team 3, “Independence and the Fate of Minorities”, was discussed at the Round Table at Zlatibor (Serbia) by scholars from Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia. The Scholars` Initiative project deals with various controversies relating the dissolution of Yugoslavia, in the fields of history, political science and sociology. The Round Table discussion was organized by the Center for History, Democracy and Reconciliation (CHDR). At this meeting, the CHDR also presented its first publication, “War and the Minorities”, consisting of two parts: “War in Croatia 1991-1995” and “Independence and the Fate of Minorities 1991-1992”. The former was already discussed at the Round Table at Zagreb, in October 2007, whereas the latter was discussed on this occasion.

Twelve scholars participated at the Round Table discussion: Ranka Gašić, Ph. D. (Serbia) Janko Veselinović, Ph.D. (Serbia) Darko Gavrilović, Ph.D. (Serbia) Ljubiša Despotović, Ph.D (Serbia) Lazar Žolt, Ph.D. (Serbia) Nebojša Petrović (Serbia) Boris Kršev, Ph.D, (Serbia) Vjeran Pavlaković, Ph.D, (Croatia) Vesna Ivanović, M.A, (Croatia), Ivan Balta, Ph.D. (Croatia), Edin Radušić, M.A. (Bosnia), and Elma Hasimbegović, M.A. (Bosnia).

The participants almost unanimously gave a negative review on the report. It has been argued that the review did not meet the requirements of a scholarly work in terms of sturcture, methodology and presentation, and that the title also did not correspond to the contents of the report. The selection of sources was also criticised, as well as the inappropriatly long elaboration on the ideas and work of Alija Izetbegović. It has been pointed out that some vital issues have not been tackled, such as the way in which the consitutive peoples were turned into minorities, and the status of the Bosniaks. The terms in the title of the report, such as «minorities» and «fate» were also disputed, as well as the fact that the «Yugoslavs» (those who declared themselves in such a way) were totally left out of cosideration in the report. Nevertheless, some positive aspects have also been pointed out: it has been argued that the role of the international factor has been treated objectively, and that some arguments in the report can be useful for research in the future.

The participants of the Round Table argued that this subject required tackling the issues of circumstances preceding the dissolution, in terms of «how it all came about». When the history of western Balkans is concerned, it has been argued that the fear of becoming a minority should have been explained 1. by the Ottoman heritage (especially when the relation between the Serbs on the one side, and the Muslims and the Albanians on the other is concerned), 2. by the etnhic nationalism that prevails in the Balkans and partly in the Central Europe (as opposed to the west-European concept of the nation-state), and 3. by the older history of the Serbo-Croatian conflict. It has also been pointed out that the full explanation of the economic and political factors of the former Yugoslavia is required, especially those relating to the nature of Yugoslav federation, and the «party-state», which was later proved to be fundamental in the events of the early 1990s. The loss of its status within the bipolar world was also argued to be one of the crucial factors not only in the dissolution of Yugoslavia, but also in the way in which this problem was treated by the international community.

Furthermore, several other approaches to the subject were suggested. When history is concerned, the proper explanation is required as to reasons why the above-mentioned archaic concepts have not been superseded by modern ones in the socialist era, i.e. why the modern concept of citizenship was not adopted, and why the fall of communism brought about retrograde social ideologies instead of progressive ones, such as liberalism or social democracy. It has also been suggested that the differences in the interpretation of the events should be discussed, such as whether it was a «dissolution» or a «seccession», why the Security Council of the UN treated the crisis at first as an internal conflict, and later on as the international one, or the interpretation of the right of «self-determination». It has been argued that the ideological profile of all the «personae dramatis» of the Yugoslav wars should be made, especially that of Milosevic, which would be instrumental in understanding the position of Serbia in those events. The question of religion, especially of Islam, was also raised as a significant one. Finally, the combination of histocal and legal aspects has been suggested as by far the best approach to this subject.

Finally, it has been agreed on several possible approaches to the issue of ethnic minorities that should be taken in the future: 1) relation between ethnic minorities and refugees, 2) the problem of turning a constitutive people into a minority (the example of the Serbs in Croatia), 3) relation between minority and majority in the entities of BiH, 4) the attitude of Serbian minority towards the Albanian immigrants in Kosovo, and the attitude of Albanians towards the Serbs who became a minority, 5) consequences of the massive influx of refugees that led to lowering the percentage of ethnic minorities within the total population of their country, 6) political rights of the minorities, 7) unemployment of the minority groups, 8) isolation of the ethnic groups and the consequent increase of rightist ideologies.

Okrugli sto Centra za istoriju, demokratiju i pomirenje

Na Zlatiboru je 1. 12. 2007. održan okrugli sto pod nazivom „Nezavisnost i sudbina manjina 1991 – 1992“ u organizaciji Centra za istoriju, demokratiju i pomirenje (CHDR). Namera je bila da se pozvani naučnici iz Srbije, Hrvatske i Bosne i Hercegovine kritički osvrnu na izveštaj „Nezavisnost i sudbina manjina 1991 – 1992“ koji je sastavni deo međunarodnog projekta Inicijativa naučnika. Ovaj veliki projekt bavi se istorijskim, politikološkim i sociološkim kontroverzama vezanim za raspad Jugoslavije. Na okuglom stolu predstavljena je i prva objavljena knjiga ovog projekta pod naslovom „Rat i manjine“ u izdanju CHDR-a, a koja je sastavljena iz dva dela „Rat u Hrvatskoj, 1991 – 1995“ i „Nezavisnost i sudbina manjina, 1991 – 1992“. Povodom prvog izveštaja bio je organizovan okrugli sto u Zagrebu u oktobru 2007. Na Okruglom stolu na Zlatiboru diskutovalo se o drugom tekstu.

U diskusiju su učestvovali: dr Ranka Gašić (Srbija), dr Janko Veselinović (Srbija), dr Darko Gavrilović (Srbija), dr Ljubiša Despotović (Srbija) dr Lazar Žolt (Srbija), Nebojša Petrović (Srbija) dr Boris Kršev (Srbija), dr Vjeran Pavlaković, (Hrvatska) mr Vesna Ivanović (Hrvatska), dr Ivan Balta (Hrvatska), mr Edin Radušić, (BiH), i mr Elma Hasimbegović (BiH).

Tokom diskusije na Okruglom stolu ispoljen je gotovo jednoglasan stav u pogledu kritičkih primedbi. Konstatovano je da izveštaj ne odgovara strukturi naučnog teksta u pogledu strukture, metodologije i stila, da nije naučno validan, te da naslov ne odgovara sadržaju. Kritika se odnosila na izvore koji su u tekstu korišćeni, na nesrazmerno i neumesno tretiranje političkog lika i dela Alije Izetbegovića, kao i na nedostatak odgovora na neka bitna pitanja, npr. kada su konstitutivni narodi postali manjina i koji je bio status Bošnjaka. Date su primedbe na naslov (termin manjine i termin sudbina), na izostanak pomena Jugoslovena kao manjine. Takođe, istaknute su i neke pozitivne strane izveštaja: dobar pokušaj uravnoteženog tretiranja uloge međunarodne zajednice, i mogućnost da neke teze budu od pomoći u daljim sličnim naporima.

Učesnici u raspravi su istakli da ovaj problem zahteva razmatranje predistorije izbijanja sukoba i nekih istorijskih okonosti koje su mu prethodile. Kada je reč o starijoj istoriji zemalja zapadnog Balkana, sugerisano je da bi trebalo objasniti istorijske korene straha od manjinskog statusa, kao što je otomansko nasleđe (posebno kada je reč o odnosima Srba sa jedne i Muslimana i Albanaca sa druge strane), etnički koncept nacije koji na Balkanu i u srednjoj Evropi preovladava, nasuprot političkom konceptu nacije koji dominira u zapadnoj Evropi, kao i stariju istoriju srpsko-hrvatskih odnosa. Takođe, istaknuto je da bi bilo potrebno objasniti sistemske činioce bivše SFRJ, ekonomske, političke i one koje se odnose na karakter federacije, a koji su indukovali događaje sa početka 90tih godina. Jugoslaviju je trebalo objasniti kao partijsku državu, a na međunarodnom planu istaći gubitak njenog značaja u bipolarnom svetu kao jedan od činilaca koji objašnjava držanje tzv. međunarodne zajednice.

Dalje, sugerisano je da bi pristup ovoj temi trebalo dopuniti sa još nekih aspekata. Kada je reč o istorijskom pristupu, istaknuto je da je trebalo objasniti zašto u periodu socijalizma nisu prevaziđeni koncepti iz prošlosti, zašto se nije razvio moderan koncept građanina, te zašto je po padu komunizma došlo do retrogradnih procesa, umesto da se ponudi pozitivna alternativa u vidu npr. liberalizma ili socijaldemokratije. Sugerisano je takođe da se trebalo osvrnuti na razlike u tumačenju raspada: da li je raspad ili secesija, zašto rezolucija SB tretira krizu prvo kao interni sukob a od 91 kao međudržavni, i pitanje o pravu na samoopredeljenje. Dat je predlog da se uradi ozbiljan ideološki profil svih aktera jugoslovenskih ratova, posebno Slobodana Miloševića, što bi doprinelo rasvetljavanju političke pozicije Srbije u ovim događajima. Postavljeno je pitanje religijske problematike posebno u vezi sa islamom. Konačno, spajanje istorijskog i pravnog aspekta predloženo je kao najbolji pristup ovoj problematici.

Na kraju, dati su i konkretni predlozi kako izučavati položaj nacionalnih manjina. Istaknuto je nekoliko problema u vezi sa ovim na koje posebno treba obratiti pažnju: odnos nacionalnih manjina i izbeglih lica, problem konstituitivnog naroda koji postaje nacionalna manjina (primer Srba u Hrvatskoj), odnos manjina i većine u entitetima u B i H, odnos srpske manjine prema doseljenim Albancima na Kosovu, kao i odnos Albanaca prema Srbima koji su postali manjina, posledice izbeglištva koje su dovele do smanjenja postotka nacionalnih manjina u ukupnom broju stanovništva države u kojoj žive, pitanje političkih prava manjina, problem nezaposlenosti, izolovanosti etničkih grupa i jačanje desničarskih ideja u vezi sa tim.