The Bridge Betrayed: Religion and Genocide in Bosnia by Michael A. Sells demonstrates that the Bosnian conflict is not simply a civil war or a feud of age-old adversaries. It is, he says, a systematic campaign of genocide and a Christian holy war spurred by religious mythologies. This passionate yet reasoned book examines how religious stereotyping--in popular and official discourse--has fueled Serbian and Croatian ethnic hatreds. Sells, who is himself Serbian American, traces the cultural logic of genocide to the manipulation by Serb nationalists of the symbolism of Christ's death, in which Muslims are "Christ-killers" and Judases who must be mercilessly destroyed. He shows how "Christoslavic" religious nationalism became a central part of Croat and Serbian politics, pointing out that intellectuals and clergy were key instruments in assimilating extreme religious and political ideas. Sells also elucidates the ways that Western policymakers have rewarded the perpetrators of the genocide and punished the victims. He concludes with a discussion of how the multireligious nature of Bosnian society has been a bridge between Christendom and Islam, symbolized by the now-destroyed bridge at Mostar. Drawing on historical documents, unpublished United Nations reports, articles from Serbian and Bosnian media, personal contacts in the region, and Internet postings, Sells reveals the central role played by religious mythology in the Bosnian tragedy.
Call Number: DR1313.7.A85 S45 1998