Bloodlines: From Ethnic Pride to Ethnic Terrorism

Bloodlines: From Ethnic Pride to Ethnic Terrorism

Bloodlines: From Ethnic Pride to Ethnic Terrorism

Bloodlines: From Ethnic Pride to Ethnic Terrorism


In the wake of recent conflicts in Russia and the former Yugoslavia, ethnic terrorism and ethnic cleansing have become household words. Yet we are at a loss to find solutions to such struggles. In Bloodlines, Vamik Volkan, a world-renowned psychiatrist specializing in international relations, explores ethnic violence by examining history and diplomacy through a psychoanalytic lens.

The result is a work that lays the foundation for understanding the differences between ethnic groups as well as the common ground they share. Timely, brilliant, and gripping, Bloodlines gives fascinating insights into how personal identity intertwines with nationality, and why hatred of others' becomes a part of our sense of self.


The Berlin Wall did not fall. It was dismantled, jubilantly, piece by piece, brick by stone, beginning on November 9, 1989. Parts of the wall were taken as souvenirs by those who were tearing it down--some appeared in Western stores as mementos of a presumably dead cold war. Other rubble was probably ground into the dirt, trampled to dust by those who were frenetically tearing apart this symbol of separation or perhaps later by people who simply walked that way, day after day, and thought nothing of it.

The wall was not only a physical divider, but also a concrete symbol of a psychological border between Western democracies and the Soviet-dominated communist world. Just as that wall was not a single, smooth piece of concrete, but built of many bricks and stones, the world it represented was in reality an amalgam of many pieces, a substantial number of individual nations and ethnic groups with histories and heritages all their own.

No matter what happened to the cement of communist ideology and bureaucratic power that had kept them together for the better part of the twentieth century, these separate and distinct nations and ethnic groups would remain intact. The Soviet Union was not, after all, the first empire to subsume many of these entities and later cease to exist. Around the world, in previous periods of great change and the dis-

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