Academic journal article Military Review

HOMELAND CALLING: Exile Patriotism and the Balkan Wars

Academic journal article Military Review

HOMELAND CALLING: Exile Patriotism and the Balkan Wars

Article excerpt

HOMELAND CALLING: ExUe Patriotism and the Balkan Wars, Paul Hockenos, Cornell University Press, Ithica, NY, 2003, 320 pages, $27.95.

With Homeland Calling: Exile Patriotism and the Balkan Wars, Paul Hockenos focuses critical attention on the role the Balkan diaspora played in fomenting and fighting the wars in Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

Diaspora patriotism was at the heart of Croatian leader Franjo Tudjman's decisionmaking throughout the late 1980s as he prepared his republic for a separatist war. While he faced bleak times at home, a network of Croatian émigrés in Canada, America, and Australia nursed the bright vision of a "thousand-year-old dream" of independence-one they would eventually turn into Tudjman's war plan. Hockenos admirably describes Gojko Susak as the key personality in this process. A Croatian-Canadian pizza maker, Susak launched himself into a brief, stellar wartime career as Tudjman's chief weapons buyer, largely on the strength of the diaspora support network he mobilized at Croatia's critical moment.

Hockenos's story of the Serbian diaspora's involvement in the Yugoslav breakup wars is a tragi-comedy of errors. With the full backing of Serbia's institutional apparatus, most notably the "Serbianized" Yugoslav People's Army, Serb separatists in Bosnia and nationalists in Kosovo needed little in the way of war support.

Nonetheless, certain memorable diaspora figures stepped forward to try to persuade the world of the justness of Serbia's military causes in the 1990s. New York's City University history professor Radmila Milentijevic left her job and home in 1989 to attend Milosevic's infamous rally at Kosovo and ended up his minister of information-the chief apologist of Serbia's war policies. Milentijevic led the propaganda machine that claimed that Serb forces did not commit atrocities in Bosnia and, later, that they had done so only in response to worse atrocities committed against Serbs. Milentijevic eventually became an object of ridicule even among Serbs for her slavish loyalty to Milosevic.

Hockeno's exploration of the Albanian diaspora's influence on Kosovo is the most far reaching and impressive of the discussions in Homeland Calling, perhaps because the Albanians were most successful of all the region's émigré communities in advancing nationalist agendas. The Albanian diaspora maintained a shadow government of Kosovo for 10 years, formed a proactive lobby in America, raised hundreds of millions of dollars, and built an army from scratch whose guerrilla accomplishments led to NATO's 1999 intervention and the ouster of Serbian forces from Kosovo. …

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