36 Pages

Nationalist Discourse in the Former Yugoslavia

Although it may seem that nationalism does not have a gender, this is not entirely true. Even the most recent example, the war in the former Yugoslavia, shows it clearly, although it has been evident many times before in history. The problem of rape in this war can be seen as a paradigm since all three warring sides basically agree that the nation has been raped. Of course, each side has its own nation in mind, but when we look at the words of the publicly declared strategy of the Serbian warlords, that rape is a strategy of humiliation and contamination of the nation. It is clear that the nation is a female body or a woman. Women are not considered as "only women" but as the personification of and symbol for the nation. When this is the case, women are not human beings or individuals. Male discourse denotes women as a group imbued with (imagined) characteristics similar to those of the nation. Phrases such as "mother nation" or "mother homeland" are examples of this point of view.