Nationalism And Dead Bodies Essay

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In almost every modern nation-state there exists a myth or a fable that tells the history of some idealistic people that the present-day population traces back to their lineage. In Eastern Europe, Croatians, Bosnians, and Serbians have lived side by side for over millennia but still distinguish themselves as 3 separate populations and people. They are struggling with modern nation-state formation because there are a large number of ethnic groups living and overlapping in a small number of countries. After World War II, the Dictator of Yugoslavia, Josip Tito, was able to maintain political control of the territories comprised of Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, Slovenia, Macedonia, Kosovo, and Vojovdina. Each region’s population view themselves as ethnically unique and different from the other territories. After Tito’s death and the collapse of Yugoslavia’s political economy, each region started to separate from the Central Government and form their own new nation-state. Each region used nationalism, “a doctrine invented in Europe at the beginning of the nineteenth century, it pretends to supply a criterion for the determination of the unit of population proper to enjoy a government exclusively its own,” (Kedourie, 1994:1) and ethnicity to justify their secession from Yugoslavia to create new nation-states. Eastern Europeans have a long history of revering their dead ancestors and forming strong beliefs and attachments to the bodies and places of burials. After the numerous deaths during World War II and the Ustasa Concentration Camp in Croatia, the Yugoslav people had a immense number of dead relatives and friends. “With the installation of Tito’s regime, all specific mention of these massacres was suppressed… so neither the souls of these dead nor the minds of those close to them could rest in peace.”(Verdery, 1999: 99) After the fall of Tito’s regime,

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