Reflections on the prospects of peace for Yugoslavia

By Johan Galtung

Yugoslavia Conference, OIFF, Stadtschlaining, 13-17 November 1991

1.  Conflict genesis; conflict processes, conflict perception

To see bombs fall on Dubrovnik and the presidential palace in Zagreb, to see Vukovar and Osijek in ruins, is to see ourselves as the Europeans we are: aggressive, unable to handle conflict in a mature manner, destroying some of the best in ourselves. For one who lived over a period of four years (1973-1977) in Dubrovnik as the first Director-General of the Inter-University Centre this holds no surprise.  The tension was there all the time.  The emotions are centuries deep.  But that in no way diminishes the tragedy, and does not explain why Yugoslavia had a generation of relative peace.

There were many reasons: the function of Italian fascism, and particularly of German Nazism as common enemy strong enough to bridge the many gaps, of which the Serb-Croat gap may be the broadest; the charismatic leadership of Tito the Croat; the myth, and reality, of the partizan movement as all-Yugoslav in spite of the strong Croat leanings toward Italy-Hungary and Austria-Germany. The idea of building a New Man through a Third Way socialism, including samo upravljenje, the self-management which in principle was a gigantic decentralization effort, decreasingly credible, was also used to transcend these gaps.  So was nonalignment as foreign policy, building links to all countries. [Read more…]

After Yugoslavia – What?

By Marta Henricson-Cullberg
Carl Ulrik Schierup
Sören Sommelius
Jan Oberg

TFF Report October 1991 that marked the beginning of this project

Some passengers and crew have been asked to leave, some are leaving on their own. Others are not permitted or cannot leave for a variety of reasons.
There is chaos and shouting on board; the old captain having disappeared many are peddling for his job.
There are those who want to continue with a new captain
and repair the ship as best they can. Some want to set a new course – but how in this situation?
Others say so, but have just changed their uniforms.
Some tear open the weapons-filled cargo and arm themselves before dawn.
In the first class restaurant the guests enjoy the delicious food and wine – unaware, it seems, that storm is rising.
Passengers who used to enjoy the sun on deck seek protection in their cabins.
Mutilated and dead bodies are mysteriously found in the mornings. Not even friends and families aboard trust each other anymore.
The good old ship “Yugoslavia” is going down, slowly but surely.
Those around it are so perplexed that their rescue attempts could well
make the situation worse.
Indeed, something must be done…

We dedicate this report to
the peoples of Yugoslavia –
past, present and future
and to those who,
unnecessarily, we believe,
have already died.


Dear Reader

This is the report of a TFF conflict-mitigation mission to Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia in September 1991. Based on an analysis of numerous interviews with very different people, we present some answers to the questions: What must be done now? How can the first steps be taken towards building confidence and peace? [Read more…]