Bosnia the Good
Tolerance and Tradition
Rusmir Mahmutcehajic, Professor at the University
of Sarajevo. He was Vice Premier of the government of
Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1991/1992
"Bosnia the Good is an appeal both
for the survival of Bosnia and for a historic opening
of religions to one another. The book combines the symbolic
retrieval of heritage with a vision of an Islam that
would open onto and embrace (while not absorbing) the
religious other. It exposes the depth of the difficulties
facing Bosnia because of its diversity, even as it argues
for seeing this apparent curse as Bosnia's deepest promise.
It is a book of interest not only for the study of Bosnia
but for the engagement of similar issues of religion,
society, and violence now facing much of the world."
- Slavic Review
"a tour de force of intellectual depth
and philosophical articulation... The author's mastery
of the traditional point of view on the transcendent
of sacred forms enables him to develop a mode of analysis
completely different from the ordinary political and
socio-economic explanations... What Mahmutcehajic has
to say about the Bosnian conflict and the framework
within which he proposes to analyze it have tremendous
implications for the present state and future of Bosnia
and the Balkans." - Sophia
Bosnia the Good is an indictment of the partition
of Bosnia, formalized in 1995 by the Dayton Accord.
This unequalled volume is a plea from one of Bosnia-Herzegovina's
most prominent dissidents appealing for Bosnia's communities
to reject ethnic segregation and restore mutual trust.
The author argues for the history and reality of a
Bosnia-Herzegovina based upon a model of 'unity in diversity'.
He shows that ethnic and religious cultures co-existed
in Bosnia for centuries and that Croatian and Serbian
leaders determined to enact their own nationalist programs
are to be blamed for the conflicts that devastated a
nation. He points out the decisive moment when the international
community accepted the Serb/ Croat argument that ancient
ethnic hatreds were endemic to Bosnia and that ethnic
segregation became not only acceptable but desirable.
He examines the reasons why Western liberal democracies
have regarded with sympathy the struggles of Serbia
and Croatia for national recognition, while viewing
Bosnia's multicultural society with suspicion.
Bosnia the Good confronts the religious dimension
of the Bosnian dilemmas from the perspective of a Bosniak
committed to inter-religious dialogue. The author argues
that the only way Bosnia will reclaim its unique civilization
is more than simple tolerance among Serbs, Croats and
Bosnians. They have to recognize that Judaism, Christianity
and Islam all share the same deity and it is this common
transcendent perspective that should open the door to
the acceptance and celebration of religious diversity.
Bosnia is at present divided and shaken to its foundations,
but the author argues it could become a model for European
progress. The greatest danger is for Bosnia to be declared
just another ethnoreligious entity, in this case a 'Muslim
State' ghettoized inside Europe. If protected and allowed
to develop however, the author explains how Bosnia could
find a place in a new European order.
ISBN 978-963-9116-86-3 cloth $27.95 / €24.95 /
ISBN 978-963-9116-87-0 paperback $21.95 / €18.95