Jean-Pierre Pagé (dir.)
This text aims to examine a particularly difficult phenomenon to study — slaughter —, although it is at the center of many wars today and yesterday. Slaughter is defined as a generally collective form of action that aims to destroy non-combatants, usually civilians. Slaughter is viewed as an extremely violent, both rational and irrational practice growing out of an imaginary construct pertaining to someone to be destroyed, whom the torturer perceives as a complete enemy.
The aspiration of this text is to show the relevance of exploring slaughter from a comparative standpoint. It will go beyond the mere case study, or rather it will put the best of these studies (on ex-Yugoslavia, Rwanda, etc.) into perspective.
To better understand the process by which the slaughter is put into action, two main directions guide the analysis:
- historic depth: it is in fact difficult to attempt to understand the slaughters that took place in 1990 without taking into account occurrences in the 20th century, including those termed "genocides."
- transdisciplinary overture: slaughter as a phenomenon is so complex in itself that it requires the eye of the sociologist, anthropologist and psychologist, as can be seen in the following pages.
The end of communism in Yugoslavia ended up with the break up of the country and war. But the new states that broke off from the federation are themselves (except for Slovenia) multi-ethnic. How will they manage this problem? This question, even if at first it is posed in terms of minorities rights, raises a problem of democracy in general. The basic principles of the organization of democracy in the "national" state prevent a full affirmation of the members of minorities as citizens, defined first, and sometimes almost exclusively, as members nf their nation. Is there another mode of belonging to the state, a more effective participation in decision making? These are crucial questions of democracy that are raised (secularism in the widest sense, decentralization); another one is the role of the ethnic criterion in the political organization and the possible perversions that it induces (Bosnia-Herzgovina).
The violent disintegration of Yugoslavia has fundamentally shaken the Balkans. The disappearance of the Yugoslav federation - previously a pillar of stability in the region - and the quest for external allies amongst the protagonists in the present conflict have dramatically modified the regional framework. This structure itself had already undergone profound change due to the collapse of the pre-existing communist regimes. In this paper Radovan Vukadinovic examines the regional actors by analysing their fears, their short and long term interests and the development of their external relations. In the last part of the paper he attempts to provide a sketch of a new balance of power in a still blurred political landscape. He points out the defects of a model too rigidly based on the past: that of a Mittel European, "Catholic" alliance, in opposition to an "Orthodox" one. Instead the author detects two smaller coalitions emerging: on the one hand that of Greece, Rumania and Serbia and on the other, that of Turkey, Bulgaria and Albania.