Despite the end of the war in Bosnia, nationalism continues to be an influential force among the religions in the former Yugoslavia, reports the New York Times (July 20).
During the beginning of the conflict, nationalism “came from the top down,” as leaders generated nationalistic fervor among the Croats, Serbs and Bosnians. After four years of war and propaganda, nationalism and ethnic hatred has “finally seeped down into the public’s consciousness,” writes Chris Hedges. Most acts of reconciliation and tolerance now come from individuals rather than the institutions charged with providing such a moral voice.
“The Serbian Orthodox Church, which remains closely linked to the Bosnian Serb leadership, recently held a conference in Belgrade on the “genocide” against Serbs in the war. Although perhaps 90 percent of all victims in the war were Muslim and Croat, they were not mentioned.”
Hedges adds that the “Catholic church in Croatia has never denounced the egregious crimes committed by Croats against the Serb minority in this war. And Islamic leaders in Sarajevo have also readily given their blessing to the state.”