Fear is justified: War in Croatia as the final stage – homogenisation and separation among nationals groups in Bosnia and Herzegovina
How did the war in Croatia influence the finalization of homogenization and division processes in Bosnia and Herzegovina?
Clarification of workshop
Basic idea of the workshop is to process, based on reports from battlefields in Croatia (here concretely from Hrvatska Kostajnica) and press reports of ‘sides in conflict’ and in Bosnia and Herzegovina, through multi-perspective and active work of students, the issue of impact of the war in Croatia to finalization of processes of homogenization and divisions in Bosnia and Herzegovina and wider Yugoslav context. We took, as an example, reports of republic TV stations and influential newspapers that were watched and read in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Particular focus is on disclosing the used model of ‘proving’ that history ‘repeating’ (suffering of own group and historical hostility of other(s)). In doing that there is a major connection made with the WWII and ‘undefined in time’ historical right to the territory and just fight of one’s own group. Though it is difficult to ‘measure’ that impact of war in Croatia on particular national groups in BiH as a whole or in particular regions, events that followed are a proof of strong and probably decisive influence of war on the finalization of processes of national homogenizations and divisions. Daily presentations of war scenes, killing of civilians, devastation and destruction of homes, burning and other war atrocities, undoubtedly increased fears with common people in Bosnia and Hercegovina, which was used to end the aforementioned process.
By analyzing the sources students are supposed to recognize the general model and define arguments that were used to finalize the process of homogenization of particular national groups and deepening the divisions. The ultimate goal of the workshop and activities is that students recognize the ways of a single-sided media reporting and manipulating with information in such reporting, thus becoming aware of the dangers of non-critical accepting of media reporting.
Way of work
Step 1: Teacher gives students instructions about how to work. In the introduction the teacher explains the terminology of the sources and perception of terms and symbols from the WWII that are used in the sources: Ustasha, Chetnik, sahovnica, kokarda, red star, skull.
Step 2: Teacher divides students into three groups to analyze sources using the supplied questions.
Step 3: Each group has a task to look at and analyze sources (video sources and textual sources), based on supplied questions.
Group 1: focuses on materials that relate to reporting of Croatian media during war. Students should particularly focus on the use of terminology and symbolism in those
Group 2: analyze sources about Serbian and Monetenegrin media reports in the war and the use of terminology and symbolism in those reports
Group 3: analyze sources on reports of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Yugoslav media (YUTEL) about the war in Croatia, use of terminology and symbolism in those reports.
Step 4: students present their conclusions, and with moderation of the teacher they analyze presented source analyses and answers. Presented arguments and conclusions are being compared and based on that, through questions in final discussion, students try to answer the key question: How did the war in Croatia influence the finalization of homogenization and division processes in Bosnia and Herzegovina?
Step 5: With the help from the teacher, students should make a common report on the event in question, using the facts appearing in all variations of reporting, and to answer the questionfor final discussion: What is the danger of non-critical accepting of media reporting?
Questions for group work with sources and final discussion
1. What do the field reporters particularly focus on?
2. Is the focus only on their group, or they start from the position of universal human values?
3. Are there similarities in reporting?
4. To what extent could the war in the neighborhood be used for finalization of homogenization and division processes?
Through this procedure students will be able to independently get acquainted with the sources, exchange opinions and their own conclusions, and select a rapporteour. The workshop is implemented in a block-class of 90 minutes. In case the workshop is being implemented during a single, 45 minute class, students should be given 2 textual sources and continue as described above.