Nationalist agenda exploits war-time memories

This month, the Image of War Museum will open in the Croatian capital of Zagreb with the goal of showing the horrors of armed conflicts as captured by professional photographers and ordinary citizens. 

Lidija Pisker
Lidija Pisker NewsMavens, Balkans
Nationalist agenda exploits war-time memories - NewsMavens
T-34-85 tank in Karlovac destroyed by croatian troops, Croatia near the cease-fire line. Ken Mayer

Why this story matters:

"Preserve the past, influence the present and change the future" is the motto of the Croatian Image of War Museum.

It's a cliche but -- I get it. Having lived through the Bosnian war, I myself get frustrated by ignorance of my fellow Western Europeans about what I've been through during my adolescence, while they were partying, traveling and enjoying their youth.

But are the constant reminders of conflicts in former Yugoslavia really the only way to look into the future? 

Croatia already has War Museums in Dubrovnik and Karlovac and some other cities announced they will make their own. Shouldn't those efforts already be enough to "preserve the past and influence the future"?

Or do we need even more of them -- for nationalist parties to preserve the anger and influence the elections?

In Bosnia, several war museums have opened in the last couple of years: the Genocide Museum and Museum of War Childhood in Sarajevo, and the Museum of Victims of the War and Genocide in Mostar.

At the same time, some of the most important national cultural institutions -- such as the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which keeps some of the most important pieces of Bosnian heritage -- struggle to survive

Do we really have to remember so often the terrible things around us, instead of the positive things we can celebrate? If our future will be shaped by projects like these -- it doesn't so look bright to me. 

Details from the story:

  • The Image of War Museum is the brainchild of Croatian lawyer Danilo Gregović. According to the museum's website, the project aims to function as a response to the trivialization of armed conflicts that have tragic consequences on the lives of individuals and their societies around the world. 
  • More than 50,000 Croatian Kunas (around 7,000 euros) has been collected for the costs of the inaugural exhibition during the 15-day-long online crowdfunding campaign entitled “War belongs to a museum”. 
  • Images of the Croatian 1991-1995 conflict will be exhibited at the opening of the Museum. 
  • Organizers say it is the first ever Croatian museum funded through a crowdfunding campaign. 
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