Letter to my daughter about Yugoslavia

By Johan Galtung

23 February 1994

To: Irene

From: Papi

Re: Yugoslavia

[1]  The Serbs want safety for all Serbs.  They have Serbia, but very many Serbs live outside, in Croatia and in Bosnia-Hercegovina.  They have created autonomous republics for the latter two, the Serbian Republic of Krajina in Croatia, and the Serbian Republic of Bosnia. It is not clear whether they have as a goal that these two should become parts of Serbia, or independent countries, or be together with Serbia in a federation.  I think they want the federation.

The Croats want expansion of Croatia into Bosnia-H as a part of Croatia, also to compensate for what they know they will have to give up to the Serbs. And there are 20% Croats in Bosnia-H. So Zagreb forces are fighting in Bosnia-H whereas the Serbs fighting in Bosnia-H are mainly from their 31% of Bosnia.

The Muslims, or at least the leader, Izetbegovic, the president, want Bosnia-H as a Muslim republic, the first in Europe.  He is a Muslim fundamentalist, a “Khomeini before Khomeini”, already writing an Islamic declaration in 1970. His problem is that Muslims are only 44% so more than 50% do not want to live in such a country.  The West, meaning first of all Germany, then the European Union, then the US, then the rest, made not only a mistake but a crime recognizing Bosnia-H as a country, which it is not as most of them do not want to live there. The Muslims would be the major part, and they want Muslim law, and Muslims as first class citizens.  As a result of this crime 200.000 people have died since recognition as of 6 April 1992.  The war started the same day. Hatred is endless.

So, the only possibility right now is to split along ethnic lines, having UN protection of some enclaves and transit routes.  But what I argue is that these parts could still retain a confederation meaning a loose federation, with open borders and travel and lots of economic cooperation, but without common army, foreign policy and common currency and central banks.

[2]  The tunnel?  Bosnia-H was poor and Tito wanted to develop it, so he gave them the war industry.  Most of it is underground in caves and tunnels, and they are fighting to control that.  Very many mountains, ideal for hiding, and for long lasting ground war.

[3], [4]  Europe was divided in three parts religiously in the eleventh century, and still is: Catholic versus Orthodox in 1054, the Schism; Christians versus Muslims in 1095 (the beginning of the Crusades that lasted till 1291). Both dividing lines pass through  Sarajevo, through Bosnia-H, through Yugoslavia, and through Europe as a whole.

What I have been warning about since it all started was that what happens in Yugoslavia may activate these old dividing lines elsewhere, and ultimately bring the European Union, mainly Catholic against a Russian, Slavic-Orthodox Union of Russia, Belarus, Ukraina except for the Catholic part and the countries that cooperate with Turkey (the six republics of Soviet Union; Uzbekhistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaidzhan, Turkmenistan, Kirgizia speak Turkish languages, only Tadzhikistan does not, but they speak Farsi like Iran).

Add to that Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan and you have the Economic Co-operation Organization from 1992, with 300 million and 7 millon square kilometers. Ominous, indeed!

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