April 2000- The Balkans in general and Macedonia in particular have been characterized by widespread multi-lingualism. Ironically, while the term Balkanization has come to mean "fragmentation," the linguistic term Balkanism refers to shared grammatical and lexical features which originated through intense multi-lingual contact. Such contact could only have arisen under conditions of predominantly peaceful coexistence. Yet, although language served as a group marker, religion was a more important source of identity in Ottoman Turkey where it constituted the basis of an individual's millet ('nationality').
Fidelity to traditional values has generated a peculiar approach to politics as such throughout Eastern Europe. The author found in Poland that the criteria people used to judge political excellence, or political leadership, had little to do with programs and performance, and almost everything to do with morals and ethics. Poles tended to judge leaders not by whether they were or were likely to be effective at moving the country in a given direction, but by whether they were good or bad men: decent or indecent, strong or weak, kind or brutal, loyal or disloyal. The author's conclusion was that this moralization of politics made swinstwo--swinishness--the primary category for political condemnation. This paper then analyzes this phenomenon throughout the region as a whole.
February 2005 - Two recent trips to the region, to Sofia in October and to Belgrade in January, inform these observations. Beyond simply reporting on the latest in my long series of visits to both cities, I welcome the chance to call attention to Southeastern Europe at a time when American interest is flagging. Since 9/11 and the occupation of Iraq, the Middle East has understandably moved to the forefront of policy-relevant regions. But that priority does not justify neglecting Southeastern Europe. Its problems may be "forgotten but not fixed," as Edward Joseph put it in "Back to the Balkans," Foreign Affairs (Jan.-Feb. 2005).
337. Language Politics and Language Policies in the Contemporary Western Balkans: Infinitives, Turkisms and EUrolinguisticsJul 07, 2011
April 2007 - Although the Western Balkans today is generally construed as Albania and former Yugoslavia, from the point of view of Balkan linguistics, Greece is also in this region. Here I shall examine some recent policy and political developments through the prisms of linguistics and of language ideology, i.e., the ways people think about language. Because language is both act and artifact—it exists in documents and the minds of speakers but at the same time it is constituted by everyday practices—the intersections of linguistics and politics are complex. This is true in Western Europe no less than in the Western Balkans, as can be seen, for example, in official French persecution of regional languages from 1794 to 1951, the 1972 statement of Georges Pompidou, then President of France, that there was no place for regional languages in France, the exclusion of Breton schools from French public funding in 2002 (Mercator-Education: Breton, 2003), the recent contretemps over the use of Occitanian in examinations ("L'occitan interdit en Ile de France?" Communique: Federacion dels Ensenhaires de Lengua e Cutlura d'Oc, 31 October 2006), etc. It can even be argued that EU ideologies of inclusiveness are being reflected in certain types of linguistic research that peripheralize the Balkans. In order to provide the necessary context for the following discussion, I will give a brief outline of some basics of Balkan linguistics.
247. Romania's Return to its Western Identity: Internal Reforms and International Security ContributionJul 07, 2011
February 2002- Geographically, Romania lays in Central Europe, equidistant between the Atlantic and Urals Mountains. Our Latin language and cultural heritage - connected to the Mediterranean civilization, with ancient Greece and Rome - are part of Europe. Our political and intellectual elite, educated in the 19th and early 20th centuries in Paris, Berlin, Vienna or Rome, always defined their identity with reference to the values, ideas and developments of Western Europe.
In their literature, culture and early twentieth-century politics, the Czech people have a history of emphasizing moral virtue, tolerance, and respect for human dignity and freedom. Sadly, there is a growing chasm in Czech society between pre-revolution aspirations and post-revolution reality. The Czech Republic is infected with the destructive kind of nationalism found in other parts of East Central Europe, and now is characterized by a xenophobic citizenship law and violence against Roma. Will the Czechs ultimately honor their legacy of liberal humanism? The answer will speak volumes on the compatibility of nationalism and constitutional liberalism in the heart of the European continent.
September 1999 - "The Balkans create more history then they can endure. Unfortunately," Ambassador Acevska asserts, "this is true." The region's long history of uprising and violence dates back to the 15th century and is rooted in a tradition of cultural, religious and territorial misunderstanding and mistrust. To date, the region's most immediate and ominous threat is that of border changes. Ambassador Acevska views this as a direct threat to the international security of the entire European continent.
In April 1992, the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) was deployed to Croatia with a 12-month term and a mission to demilitarize and protect "the continuing functioning, on an interim basis, of the existing local authorities and police, under United Nations supervision, pending the achievement of an overall political solution to the crisis." More than ten years, thousands of peacekeepers, and hundreds of millions of dollars later, the former states of Yugoslavia are arguably as far from a political solution as they ever were. In a recent meeting sponsored by the East European Studies Program, two Balkans experts, A. Ross Johnson and Misha Glenny assessed the past ten years of peacekeeping in Southeastern Europe and offered alternative strategies for the future.
February 1997 - The Yugoslav crisis demonstrates the importance of concerted international action to prevent or resolve conflicts before they turn violent. The community of democratic states, working through multilateral institutions, might prevent the outbreak of similar crises elsewhere by adopting a strategy of "preventive engagement" to promote the democratic development of new governments. Elements of such a strategy are already in place in Macedonia, where international actors are attempting to resolve the tensions between the Albanian and Macedonian ethnic communities.
September 2000 - Milosevic has gradually been losing credibility over the past few years and these recent elections signify the beginning of the end for him. According to Cerovic, Milosevic's cronies will most likely turn their support towards the victorious presidential candidate of the democratic opposition, Vojislav Kostunica. Election results tallied by the opposition indicate an overwhelming 55% support for Kostunica. By contrast, election votes counted by the regime's Federal Election Commission gave Kostunica only 48% - short of the 50% +1 margin needed to forgo a second round. Cerovic believes that only by seizing the moment and defying the government's call for a second round of elections can the united opposition continue to exert additional pressure on Milosevic and further weaken his grip on power.