This summer's atrocity film festival

In these last few days of my stay in Belgrade, I haven't had the time or energy to post what I have been thinking about the latest atrocity videos, showing crimes against the civilian population during the course of the "Oluja" operation in 1995. But I did have a chat on the subject today with Dragan Štavljanin of RFE/RL.

This will be my last post for a few days. I am supposed to return to Boston (through London, thanks to my brilliant planning) tomorrow, and then I'll be off for a few days, after which I hope to be back with a shiny new computer.


Summer reading: The East Ethnia mini book review

At the end of the week it is goodbye to Belgrade once again, and back to work. I will have a brief period of computerlessness, and so no posting (ha! see if you notice the difference!). But my charming employer has agreed to replace my rahmetli laptop, so this should be just a matter of time, the shorter the better.

In the meantime, a selection of a few of the more interesting books I have acquired and read during my glamorous summer vacation.
  • Slobodan Antonić, Nacija u strujama prošlosti -- This is a fellow who gets a lot of publicity, partly because at one point he did some interesting research, and partly because local media need an intellectual who is sympathetic to the right wing of DSS for the sake of "balance." But sorry, this book is just a compilation of polemical magazine columns.
  • Jovan Bajford, Teorija zavere -- The author marks the spring of 1999 as the time when all sorts of otherworldly discourses from the margins of the church, the military, and the hangers-on from the distant past became respectable enough to get wide play in big-circulation media. Foteljaši say the darnedest things.
  • Aleksandar Bošković, Etnologija skakodnevnog života -- Not really an ethnology of everyday life, more a series of essays written over a period of several years for magazines and newspapers. Some of them are interesting.
  • Boris Dežulović, Jebo sad hiljadu dinara -- Quickly reached the top of my list of favorite antiwar comic novels. A Muslim unit disguised as a Croatian unit for a "special mission" reaches a standoff with a Croatian unit disguised as a Muslim unit for a "special mission."
  • Jens/Martin Eriksen and Frederik Stjernfelt, Anatomija mržnje -- A couple of Danish journalists take a trip and do several interviews. Some of them are good. They also do some analysis, some of which is good.
  • Todor Kuljić, Kultura sećanja -- A good theoretical and historical overview of problems associated with the politics of public memory. If the book were as strong on empirical detail as it is on quotations from Nietzsche, it would be a great study.
  • Nebojša Popović and Kosta Nikolić. Vojislav Koštunica, jedna karijera -- This is a bit of a hatchet job by two historians who have taken the effort to dig up every compromising thing Mr Koštunica has ever done or said. Maybe good as a primary reference source, for someone who wants to sift the wheat from the chaff. Highlight: The essay by Danica Drašković on how Voja is not a proper ravnogorac.
  • Marko Vidojković, Kandže -- This novel about the student protests of 1996-1997 came highly recommended to me by several people. After reading it, I cannot figure out why. A random mixture of objectless cynicism and adolescent male fantasy.
  • Helena Zdravković, Politika žrtve na Kosovu -- Go straight to the empirical material, which begins about two thirds of the way into the book, and you will find some interesting interviews and discourse analysis on ways in which Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo perceive one another.
There are a few other titles in my bag that I have not got to reading yet. Of the ones I have, some are good and some are not so good. For the most part, I am surprised at the thin selection of new titles in bookshops. Maybe publishing is weaker than it used to be, or maybe distribution is as weak as ever.