Thursday, December 17, 2009

Bits and pieces, Yugonostalgia

I've been a bit lazy with blogging, but two stories recently have caught my attention (I'm going to do a cut and paste job here):

Balkan train rolls again in landscape of memory

Creaking and swaying through a landscape of bitter memories, the once beloved Belgrade-Sarajevo train goes back on the rails this weekend, nearly 18 years after war stopped it in its tracks...A magnet for day trippers and lovers, it was a place where Yugoslavia's state motto of "brotherhood and unity" came alive.

Ljilja Kraus, a Belgrade teacher in her 40s, said she used to take the train four to five times a year in the 1980s. "I had friends there, I used to see when the next train is going, call up my friends and just hop on," she said. "A train journey is something special, you can walk around, meet people, let the sounds of the engine lull you to sleep. It's a kind of intimacy that only exists on a train."

"There was that special bond between Sarajevo and Belgrade not only because of the same language, but because of the same mentality," she said.

And in other news, Tito's grandson has been elected chairman of new Serbian communist party.

"Josip Broz, a grandson of the former Yugoslavian communist leader Josip Broz Tito, has been elected chairman of a newly-formed Communist Party of Serbia, local media reported.

Broz said the new Communist Party would be a modern leftist party and support Serbia's integration in the European Union.

He said that the program of the party would inherit the experience of its predecessors but would take into account modern realities.

"We accept everything that was good and reject everything that was bad," Broz said.

"For instance, our party will respect the freedom of religion in contrast with the former Communist party whose members had to be atheists," the politician added.

No doubt about it, these stories brought back a certain sense of Yugonostalgia. Sure, they're not much-a train running between two cities is hardly a cause for celebration. Likewise, a name doesn't equate a good political group. But us humans are symbolic creatures and the symbolism of it all put a bittersweet smile on my face.

I then attended a wedding over the weekend when the topic of Tito's grandson came up. It seemed like I wasn't the only one there feeling Yugonostalgic. I know that many of us, especially children of mixed marriages, felt as if they'd lost their identity in the war. A few still refer to themselves as Yugoslavian. It might seem silly, since its been nearly 20 years since the existence of such an identity, but if you ask me what I am I will tell you: I am bosnian, I am half muslim half serbian, but above all of that-I am Yugoslavian.





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P.S On another totally unrelated note, I'd almost forgotten how much I enjoy our weddings. Nothing beats dancing, drinking and singing your lungs out to old Yugoslav anthems. I've been walking around humming "Bolje biti pijan nego star..vino ne zna da smo nekad bili sretni par.." to myself for the past few days.

P.P.S On a more related note, I found a good article on the emergence of Yugonostaliga in the balkans and abroad. Its worth a read.

7 comments:

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

Did you see the Economists article on the Yugosphere? Similar type of sentiment, but said that the Yugosphere is developing economic ties (Merkator etc) and still has very strong cultural ones... I can't find it now to provide you with the link though, sorry!

Dancing to Lambada said...

Hey FM,
I haven't read it yet but I'll try search for it..Its always good hearing things like that :)

History Punk said...

You're coming back right?

Dancing to Lambada said...

Hey History Punk, its been a while. I had a few things going on so I stopped blogging but im back now :)

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