News You Really Need To See: “In Sarajevo, Divisions That Drove Assassin Have Yet to Heal”

“In Sarajevo, Divisions That Drove Assassin Have Yet to Heal”

The New York Times, June 28, 2014, p.A12

“A century later, Bosnia’s Serbs, Muslims and Croats remain deeply divided in their attitudes toward Princip.  Many Serbs view him as a heroic fighter against Austro-Hungarian rule — on behalf of Serbs first, but also, they say, on behalf of Croats and Muslims — and thus as an early standard-bearer for the South Slav kingdom of Yugoslavia, which emerged from the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 and disintegrated amid the resurgent nationalist and sectarian passions of the 1990s.  Among the largely Catholic Croats and some Bosnian Muslims, many of whom looked to the authorities in Vienna at the time of the assassination for protection against Balkan domination by the mainly Orthodox Serbs, it is more common to condemn Princip as an anarchist or terrorist, as the Sarajevo court did when it sentenced him to 20 years’ imprisonment.  He died of tuberculosis, proud and unrepentant, in a Hungarian prison in 1918.  So it is small wonder that the centenary has revived the passions that made Bosnia a hotbed of violence in both world wars and again in the 1990s. … As a result of the political tug of war, commemorations of the assassination, like so much else in Bosnia, have been divided along sectarian lines.  Serb hard-liners have chosen to boycott events financed by the European Union in favor of their own ceremonies, complete with new statues and mosaics of Princip and speeches and banquets in his honor.”

Quickie Analysis:  “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.”  100 years later, there is still plenty of dispute in the Balkans as to which category Gavrilo Princip fell into.

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