2013

Rock the Regime

In Bratislava, as the Velvet Revolution unfolded in November 1989, musicians played a key role in the Czechoslovak opposition movement. Yes, they participated in the demonstrations and spoke out against the communist authorities. But their main contribution was more prosaic: amps. The dissident community, which had been silenced for decades, needed to get their voices… Continue reading Rock the Regime

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2012

The Oracle of Belgrade

When I sat down with Sonja Licht in Belgrade in 1990, it was like visiting the Oracle at Delphi. And her predictions of the future were not bright at all. I’d met Sonja earlier that year through the Helsinki Citizens Assembly (HCA), which she would eventually co-chair with British activist and academic Mary Kaldor.  HCA was… Continue reading The Oracle of Belgrade

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Serbia’s Future: Back to the Past?

The war in Yugoslavia began as a conflict over state structure. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the nationalist movements in the republics championed greater autonomy only to be suppressed in turn by Tito, who then went on to incorporate many of their demands in the 1974 Yugoslav constitution. In 1989, Slobodan Milosevic signaled… Continue reading Serbia’s Future: Back to the Past?

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Lucid Dreaming in Pancevo

Pancevo is a small Serbian city located just northeast of Belgrade. It has some lovely Habsburg architecture. There’s a thriving arts scene and a growing Chinese community. But this city of about 73,000 people is perhaps best known for the damage it sustained during the NATO bombing in 1999, when an industrial park containing an… Continue reading Lucid Dreaming in Pancevo

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What’s Not at the Museum of Broken Relationships

You can find a Newsweek cover depicting President Barack Obama with the caption, “I really wanted it to work out.” There is also a portrait of Ivo Sanader, the former Croatian prime minister. The accompanying note from Kasum Cana, the president of the Croatian Roma Forum, explains that his “emotional relationship” with Sanader failed because… Continue reading What’s Not at the Museum of Broken Relationships

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