Good People in an Evil Time: Portraits of Complicity and Resistance in the Bosnian War

Overview

In the 1990s Svetlana Broz, granddaughter of former Yugoslav head of state Marshal Tito, volunteered her services as a physician in war-torn Bosnia. She discovered that her patients were not only in need of medical care, but that they urgently had a story to tell, a story suppressed by nationalist politicians and the mainstream media. What Broz heard compelled her to devote herself over the next several years to the collection of firsthand testimonies from the war. These testimonies show that ordinary people can ...
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Overview

In the 1990s Svetlana Broz, granddaughter of former Yugoslav head of state Marshal Tito, volunteered her services as a physician in war-torn Bosnia. She discovered that her patients were not only in need of medical care, but that they urgently had a story to tell, a story suppressed by nationalist politicians and the mainstream media. What Broz heard compelled her to devote herself over the next several years to the collection of firsthand testimonies from the war. These testimonies show that ordinary people can and do resist the murderous ideology of genocide even under the most terrible historical circumstances. We are introduced to Mile Plakalovic, a magnificent humanist, who drove his taxi through the streets of Sarajevo, picking the wounded up off the sidewalk and delivering food and clothing to young and old, even when the bombing was at its worst. We meet Velimir Milosevic, poet, who traveled with an actor and entertained children as they hid in basements to avoid the bombing and gunfire, and we hear the stories of countless others who put themselves in grave danger to help others, regardless of ethnic background.

Faced with a world in which unspeakable crimes not only went unpunished but were rewarded with glory, profit, and power, the Bosnians of all faiths who testify in this book were starkly confronted with the limits and possibilities of their own ethical choices. Here, in their own words they describe how people helped one another across ethnic lines and refused the myths promoted by the engineers of genocide. This book refutes the stereotype of inevitable natural enmities in the Balkans and reveals the responsibility of individual actions and political manipulations for the genocide; it is a searing portrait of the experience of war as well as a provocative study of the possibilities of resistance and solidarity. The testimonies reverberate far beyond the frontiers of the former Yugoslavia. This compelling book is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the reality on the ground of the ethnic conflicts of the late twentieth and the twenty-first centuries.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"For every front line soldier there are dozens, if not hundreds, of ordinary people whose lives are affected by conflict. To most, the mere act of survival is all-consuming. Some commit remarkable acts of heroism and a few place themselves in great danger by reaching out across conflict lines to people in need. The people in this book are ordinary. Their stories are anything but ordinary. In view of this, their testimonies are all the more necessary. That in itself makes this an important book." —Her Majesty Queen Noor, Member of the International Commission for Missing Persons (ICMP)

"Broz has collected stories of those who had refused to put their ethnicity ahead of their humanity...This is a precious testimony." —The Boston Globe

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590511961
  • Publisher: Other Press, LLC
  • Publication date: 9/19/2005
  • Pages: 584
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.15 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr. Svetlana Broz

Dr. Svetlana Broz, cardiologist, is currently Director of the NGO Garden of the Righteous in Sarajevo, the President of the Board of The First Children's Embassy in the World and a member of various NGOs, including the Association of Independent Intellectuals CIRCLE 99. She lives in Sarajevo.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xiii
Introduction: Why Read This Book? xv
Chronology of the Conflict xlv
Preface lix
Translator's Note lxiii
Pronunciation Key lxv
The Testimonies
Can You Count on Your Neighbors? 3
Friends and Strangers 11
Captain Mica 16
If Your Own Won't Take You, I Will 23
Out of the Hell of Mostar 35
A Longing to Paint 38
Death in Another Man's Grave 41
Neighbor, Come Back! 44
A Clean Street 46
Little Moscow 49
A Hospitable Home 59
Big Shepherds with a Lot of Sheep 63
Uncle Marko 78
Sarajevo Together 85
A Sarajevo Mosaic 93
Whatever Happens to You Will Happen to Me 97
Safe in a Muslim's Apartment 101
These Are the Balkans 104
The First Packages 111
We Staged Our Own Kidnapping 114
An Old Hand at the Underground 119
Set Your Mind at Ease 123
A Balkan Spy 129
Save the Child 136
Shelter in a Shop 138
The Fragrance of Lilies 140
Sane Children 144
As Long as I'm Here, Don't Worry 148
Divide Everything in This Package in Halves 153
These Are Just Kids 156
A Flash of Light That Is Shining Still 161
One Good Turn Deserves Another 166
Rape in Grbavica 176
Take with You the People Who Are Yours 180
Tears in the Eyes of a Giant 188
Tuzla, Above the Hatred 191
Please, Mama, Don't Let Them Take Me 194
Brandy for a Grandson's Wedding 206
A Gift from Good People 209
Forgive My People for What They Do 212
Farewell to Mother 219
It Took Courage to Go Home 223
You Reap What You Sow 229
A Humanitarian Aid Wedding 236
Banja Luka, A Tormented Town 239
The Wallet 243
Tricked into Surrendering 246
Who Is After Us and Where Are They Taking Us? 249
Coffee, Behind Bars 255
A Soldier Wept 261
Trust Earned 268
A Passport 274
Through a Mine Field to My Love 282
A Cup of Coffee at Mustafa's 286
And Seven Days Later 291
A Life with Dignity 300
There Would Never Have Been a War 304
Hang Me, Let Him Go 310
Enjoy Your Trip, Ma'am! 312
Your Typical Jewish Name 314
Those Barbarians Took a Part of Us 321
Help for a Wounded "Chetnik" 332
You're No Better Off than Me 334
I'll Do It 336
Like a Sister to Me 342
If Everyone Else Can Wait, So Can I 344
Three Potatoes 351
We Won't Fight Without Him 354
The Ninth Brother 357
I'm Going with You 359
Out of Nowhere, a Feast 368
I Mean to See an End to This Evil 371
A Man and the Writing on the Wall 377
A Promise Kept 382
A School Friend 385
The Tunnel 390
A Last Name Saves the Day 395
Living Side by Side in Tuzla 399
The Man with a Hat on His Chest 403
I Will Not Leave My Town 406
The Most Loyal Comrade-in-Arms 411
You Are a Disgrace to Sarajevo! 416
The Hodja's Hundred German Marks 423
Colonel Risojevic's Protection 428
Touched by Human Kindness 433
I Love You, Grandma, More than Anyone, Anywhere 441
That's Not the Way I Think 451
Kill Them and Kill Me, Too 458
Fadil 466
When Death Stalked the Streets 470
Afterword 474
Appendix I Bosnia-Herzegovina: History, Culture, Ethnicities 481
Appendix II Glossary 491
Appendix III Recommended Readings and Films 513
Editor's Acknowledgments 515
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