The recent wars in the Balkans, Africa, and the Middle East have forced many scholars to ask themselves about the cyclical nature of history, about the roots and interconnectedness of nationalism and genocide. Many people were shocked that such a tragedy could occur in Europe again in this century. But, as one of our interview subjects, Bosnian writer Aleksander Hemon, suggests, "Europe is the perfect place" for such a moment to repeat itself, because Europe is the "cradle of nation-states."
Now that the war in Bosnia has been over for more than a decade, the time has come to evaluate the rebuilding process and to ask the questions of 'How can we prevent such a war from happening again?' And specifically we ask, 'What is the international community doing to Bosnia's political, economic, and social scenes to insure the stability of a new nation?'
Billions of international aid dollars have poured into Bosnia, following the overwhelming destruction and genocide that occurred throughout the first half of the 1990s. Along with those dollars came a small army of well-paid international workers who are responsible for rebuilding homes, returning refugees, democratizing the media, overseeing elections, rewriting the code of law, improving gender relations, and privatizing the economy. In Sarajevo alone international workers account for 10% of the population of the city and over 40% of the current economic activity.
In short, internationals working through various agencies are involved in a massive and somewhat utopian project to rebuild a country, using the economic and political philosophies of the democratic and capitalistic West. These decisions are made sometimes with, but often without the cooperation of local Bosnians, and the isolation of the international community at times suggests just another form of colonialism.
Synopsis of the project.
Description of the project.
Photo Gallery of images seen in the film.
References for further reading on the subject.