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Belgrade has in the last years stoically accepted the attacks from various provincial intellectuals who deliberately forget that nations and cities are not guilty, writes publisher Natasha Markovic. “Someone who doesn’t know cannot be held responsible.”

If all Serbs are to blame for what one Serb did, how are we to treat ‘tough but fair’ Europe, which, according to Slavenka Drakulic, rightly punishes Serbian students for the politics of their parents’ contemporaries?” asks playwright and slam poet Milena Bogavac.

Not all Serbs are the same, writes painter and actor Uros Djuric. Slavenka Drakulic uncritically reduces the problem to one self-explanatory category and is an example of a “culturally racist matrix”.

The fact that Slavenka Drakulic has agitated the local public, proves only that the conspiracy of silence is widely accepted, writes translator and essayist Mirjana Miocinovic, defending Drakulic against her critics.

Well-known journalist Danica Vucenic asks herself how she should bring up her daughter. “Not only what I’ll tell her, but if I’m going to teach her to bravely ask questions one day. I’m not sure that the generation Slavenka Drakulic talks about is ready for that.”

A recent exhibition at the British Library entitled Taking Liberties – on the struggle for freedom and rights throughout 900 years of British history – was impressive, writes Peter Linebaugh. But, he wonders, is it possible to discuss liberty while excluding the question of equality?

Literary perspectives: Croatia

Post-traumatic stress disorder

While the stars of Croatian “women’s literature” continue to forge their own styles, a new generation of post-feminist writers has emerged in the crossover between literature and journalism. One theme common to much new Croatian writing is the postwar experience, with authors using marginal characters to explore existentialist tensions between individual and society. Yet what really makes contemporary Croatian writing interesting is the variety of individual literary approaches, writes Andrea Zlatar.

Daniel Daianu, Romanian MEP and former chief economist of the Romanian Central Bank, criticizes neoliberal development policies that are too general, unqualified, and divorced from “concrete local conditions”. Instead, he pleads for market reforms that, while stimulating growth in poorer countries, are implemented “pragmatically”.

US financial experts are talking of cataclysm and anarchy, but what really worries them is nationalization, writes George Blecher. Meanwhile, at street-level, the crisis is having some unusual effects.

The lack of comprehension for historical as well as present day events on the Balkans has to do with the very different character of master narratives in east and west. If only the West would “try to create a context, to adjust its horizon of expectation” to the Balkans’ stories, and not vice versa, writes Goran Stefanovski.

When it comes to representing children, art and law are on a collision course, writes Anne Higonnet, and photographers are in the dock.

The market takes all

Czech Republic: Playing the game of media trumps

The most notable feature of the post-1989 media in the Czech Republic is the triumph of the market. So convincingly have economic imperatives taken over from editorial priorities, that even the quality press has been affected by “tabloidization”. Ideological domination has been replaced by the more sophisticated strategies of the market, regrets Jaromir Volek.

We took its light for granted

In memoriam: Feral Tribune (1993-2008)

A former contributor to the Croatian weekly Feral Tribune writes that the paper was left to die by those who should have taken better care of it: its readers and all who cared for its lone, free, critical voice.

Between a rock and a very hard case

The Bulgarian media fends off a criminalized state

Caught between murderous attacks by the mafia and the vacillations of the state, the Bulgarian media discovers its government has less regard for journalists than for members of the criminal underworld. In response, the media has in recent years been developing an effective system of self-regulation, writes Svetoslav Terziev.

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