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Diana Vonnak

Diana Vonnak

Monday, 23 February 2015 00:00

Good Reads – Conflicted about conflicts

In this Good Reads issue, E&M’s Diána Vonnák shares with you some articles that got her thinking about our continent. Follow her to discover the multiple ways descendants of victims and perpetrators deal with genocide as well as inside some bits of Bosnian literature about the human facets of the war. And make sure you read it till the end, because there you can find an interesting article analysing Maidan and its revolutionary potential, all framed in a personal way.

 

 

1dianav

Diána Vonnák, managing editor

 

When Bosnia was at war: self-appointed humanitarians in Sarajevo

 

Recently I had a chance to visit Sarajevo, this incredible city still somewhat scarred by the horrors of an inhumane siege and yet full of the mundane signs of moving on: the smell of coffee, strolling tourists and lazy stray dogs. Those bloody years in the ´90s were my only childhood exposure to the fact that war could happen so close, and ever since it proved to be a returning theme, as I would assume it has for many of my generation. It came as a coincidence, then, that in the recent issue of Asymptote Magazine I came across a letter exchange between Miljenko Jergović and Semezdin Mehmedinović

Both of them being in the forefront of Bosnian literature they try to get closer to one of the iconic interactions the Anglophone world knows about the war: Susan Sontag's visits and her solidarity with Bosnian people. Jergović recalls Sontag’s visit to his mother, in search for an ‘ordinary resident’ who could give an honest angle to her understanding of the war. Throwing away and thus wasting barely lit up cigarettes by the dozen in the middle of a war-torn city, Sontag acted as an emblem of failed self-appointed humanitarians: she was incapable of turning the war, the object of her amusement and horror, back to what it was - a challenge of empathy where stepping in requires real silence on your side and a readiness to let others’ lives creep into the place of yours.

With individual selections from our editors, Good Reads provides a regular run-down of best and most thought-provoking European journalism available online. This week, Diána Vonnák shares some intriguing thoughts on illegal immigration to the EU, fashion and the public role of intellectuals.

Diána, Managing editor

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Fortress Europe

Lampedusa did not change EU policies regarding asylum seekers and refugees and neither have similar subsequent, almost daily tragedies. Foreign policy has been a consistently hot topic for months, yet Syria, IS and the troubles in West Africa have clouded our public awareness of the unquestionable need of thousands to get out of miseries beyond imagination.

We had a Lampedusa-related pick from Veronica in the last edition of Good Reads, but I could not resist starting my list with another take on Fortress Europe. There are two aspects of this recent Spiegel Online article that make it stand out from the majority of similar advocacy pieces: its insights into the work of Frontex (the organisation that patrols EU borders) and the geographical scope, including the Hungarian-Serbian frontier and the border between Greece and Turkey.

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