The myth factory: Political myths in the former Yugoslavia and its successor states

Members of the "Factory of Myths: Political Myths in the Area of ​​the Former Yugoslavia and Successor States" team, which is part of the "Meeting the Past - Searching for the Future" project, met in The Hague from 22 until the 26th February 2010 in order to work on writing a joint narrative related to the mentioned topic.

Political myths in the territory of the former Yugoslavia and the successor state

The project “Factory of myths: Political myths in the territory of the former Yugoslavia and the successor state” is part of the larger project “Meeting the past – searching for the future”. The goal of the project is to contribute to the deconstruction of political myths in the countries of the former Yugoslavia. Political myths have contributed to civil wars, conflicts and long-term instability in the region.

Scientists believe that each of the nations in the former Yugoslavia imagined themselves the way they wanted, using the past according to the goals of their own political elites. Part of the state-building myths referred to neighbors as enemies and causes of all problems. Currently, the biggest problem of instability is the myths used to “interpret” the history of World War II and the wars of the 1990s. These myths try to turn winners into losers and losers into winners. They justify the wars in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia in 1991-1995 as liberating, just and defensive. At the same time, they deny, exaggerate or celebrate war crimes and criminals depending on their affiliation to the warring parties.

Unlike political myths, scientific projects and verdicts of the UN war crimes tribunal point to the simple fact that it was a tragedy of the people, ethnic cleansing and looting of wealth. Therefore, myths that deny this reality must not be tolerated.

Political leaders should issue public apologies for genocidal crimes committed in the name of ideologies. All parties involved in wars must come to terms with the fact that they bear their share of responsibility. All the key actors in the wars need to come to terms with the fact that although the blame is not evenly distributed, each side bears its share of responsibility.

The successor countries of the former Yugoslavia, involved in the 1991-1995 war that caused the greatest destruction, need a political culture of a liberal-democratic secular society freed from mythical interpretations of history and sectarian mentality.

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