Posts Tagged ‘Yugoslavia’

‘As if you were eating a stone’

27 May 2009

By Kevin O’Sullivan

Wojciech Tochman, Like Eating a Stone: Surviving the Past in Bosnia (London: Portobello Books, 2009. Pp 175. £7.99 paperback).

Wojciech Tochman, Like Eating A Stone

B – That means the clothes have a matching set of bones, a skull and teeth. There is an entire Body. BP – There is no complete set, but there are some bones. Body Parts. – Clothing only, maybe some objects (Artefacts). No bones.’

I once asked students in a European history class if they could tell me what had happened in Srebrenica in the 1990s. Blank faces, until one student interrupted to tell me that I was probably thinking of the Second World War. I nearly fell from my chair. With Kosovo celebrating the first anniversary of its declaration of independence (and all its attendant difficulties) this year, Montenegro establishing itself as a state, Croatia continuing its path towards EU membership, and Slovenia cementing its role at the heart of Europe, had today’s generation of students already forgotten what had happened just over a decade earlier, when the Balkans dominated news headlines and images of Muslim men, little more than skin and bone, stared out from behind the fences of Omarska concentration camp into Western living rooms?

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