chapter  14
16 Pages

Past Continues

The Instrumentalisation of History in the Countries of Former Yugoslavia
WithMaja Nenadović, Mario Mažić

In the countries of former Yugoslavia, contested or unprocessed historical narratives continue to be the polarising factor among different groups. The contradictory narratives do not only refer to the 1990s and the conflict(s) of breakup of Yugoslavia but also to the Second World War and the never resolved topic of some groups’ cooperation with the Nazis or the post-war communist reprisals against domestic collaborators. This history and the current revision and revival of these narratives constitute an ever-present source of contention, political skirmishes and a rise in right-wing extremism. This essay will draw inspiration from the civic project ‘The Past Continues – Shared Narratives?’ that will start in the spring of 2018, gathering 120 young people from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia, in joint exploration of the contested histories and their polarising effects. In the process of de/constructing these contradictory historical narratives, the participants interviewed contemporary witnesses of war, analysed political elites’ instrumentalisation of history and attempted to arrive at a fact-based, single narrative of key contested historical events.