Slavenka Drakulić

    is a Croatian writer and journalist. She graduated in comparative literature and sociology from the University of Zagreb. From 1982 to 1992 she was a staff writer for the Start bi-weekly newspaper and news weekly Danas (both in Zagreb), an a writer for the weekly Feral Tribune. She emigrated from Croatia in the early 1990s for political reasons, and is currently based in Stockholm, Vienna and Zagreb. Her books include How We Survived Communism and Even Laughed; Balkan Express: Fragments from the other Side of the War; Cafe Europa: Life After Communism; They Would Never Hurt a Fly: War Criminals on Trial in the Hague; Two Underdogs and a Cat and A Guided Tour Through the Museum of Communism. “I have the feeling that no lesson was learned from the wars in ex- Yugoslavia. Not even enough to recognize the signs and dangers of nationalisms raising their heads everywhere, now even within the EU. Even after the wars and the suffering, nationalism still rules the lives of many people in the Western Balkans. Instead of being immunised by war, the disease has spread even further. Yes, because there is no reconciliation as yet. There are two ways to deal with the wars: the Spanish way and the German way. The Spanish way is – or was – to let the past sleep in peace, not to evoke the evil spirit of nationalism and fascism. The German way is to confront the fascist past head-on, in order to be able to move forward without a burden. We in the now newly-established former states, especially Serbia and Croatia, are not capable of discussing WWII, much less the recent wars. There are historical reasons for that. We only learned the Communist Party interpretation of history, rather than facts. But maybe it is about time to change that. My experience tells me that the principal obstacle to war is a psychological one. You cannot go out and just start killing your neighbours, Spaniards or Catalans, because you would be considered a madman. You need justification for the act of killing; you have to be convinced that you are doing the right thing, that you are defending yourself from the evil enemy who wants to harm you. Your virus of nationalism is awakening, but you still need to build up psychological justification for real conflict, to persuade and contaminate people, to justify conflict. People need to be willing to kill and die for ‘obvious’ aims – only then you can make war. This, fortunately, takes time. Therefore, let us hope that there are opportunities to avoid a fatal conflict in Spain.”
    Photo: Boris Kovačev/CROPIX

  • As If I Am Not There

    Juanita Wilson‘s powerful, disquieting drama records the
    atrocities committed in the course of the war in former Yugoslavia. The
    film’s first screening in Slovakia, as part of Central European Forum
    2011, will be presented by Slavenka Drakulić, on whose novel ’S‘ the
    film is based.

  • (Slovensky) Ako zostať slobodní?

    (Slovensky) Milí čitatelia, po roku pre Vás opäť pripravujeme v Bratislave Stredoeurópske fórum. Na to minuloročné spomína a na tohtoročné vás pozýva Slavenka Drakulić.