Bosnian nationalism

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The flag of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in use from 1992 to 1998. This is a common symbol of Bosnianhood and represents the national symbol of Bosniaks, based on the historic coat of arms of Bosnian King Tvrtko I

Bosnian nationalism, known as Bosnianhood/Bosnianism/Bosniandom (Bosanstvo) or Bosniakhood/Bosniakism/Bosniakdom (Bošnjaštvo), refers to the nationalism or patriotism of Bosnians or Bosniaks and the culture of Bosnia and Herzegovina.[1] It has existed in a variety of forms, including one form that promotes a Bosnian identity that includes Bosniaks, Croats, and Serbs within it, and another version that views Bosnia and Herzegovina as the homeland of Bosniaks.[2]

History

The concept of a Bosniak identity that includes all religions presented in Bosnia and Herzegovina can be traced back to medieval Kingdom of Bosnia and Ottoman Empire. It was also favoured by the Austro-Hungarian administration of Benjamin Kallay that promoted a multiconfessional Bosniak identity encompassing Muslims and Christians as a means to strengthen the territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina which was coming under threat from neighbouring Croat and Serb irredentism.[2] However, early efforts in the late 19th to early 20th century to expand the Bosnian identity beyond Muslims to the Catholics and Orthodox Christians failed and primarily became a nationalism of the Bosnian Muslims.[2][3]

In an article of the journal Bošnjak ("The Bosniak"), Bosniak author and mayor of Sarajevo Mehmed-beg Kapetanović declared that Bosnian Muslims were neither Croats nor Serbs but a distinct, though related, people:[4]

Whereas the Croats argue that the Orthodox are our greatest enemies and that Serbdom is the same as Orthodoxy, the Serbs wear themselves out calling our attention to some bogus history, by which they have Serbianized the whole world. We shall never deny that we belong to the South Slav family; but we shall remain Bosniaks, like our forefathers, and nothing else.[5]

— Mehmed-beg Kapetanović, 1891

Bosnian Cyrillic inscriptions on the Stećak of Grdeša, the oldest one found.

Upon the founding of Yugoslavia in 1918, Yugoslav unitarists claimed that there was only one single Yugoslav nation and that the Croats, Serbs, and Slovenes were recognized as the "tribes" of the Yugoslavs, this excluded recognition of Bosniaks as a distinct people of Yugoslavia and provoked frustration amongst Bosniaks.[2] In response to a lack of recognition, the Yugoslav Muslim Organization (JMO) was founded in 1919 with support of most Bosniaks and other Slavic Muslims in entire region, including the Muslim intelligentsia and social elite, that sought to defend Bosniak and Muslim identity - including religious, social, and economic rights within Bosnia and Herzegovina.[2] The JMO took part in government briefly in 1928 and then longer from 1935 to 1938 in which it participated in government with the goal of preserving the territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina in opposition to plans to create an autonomous Croatia that held territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina.[2] The JMO's efforts to prevent the partition of Bosnia and Herzegovina failed and the Banate of Croatia was created in 1939.[6]

Husein Kapetan Gradaščević, also known as "Zmaj od Bosne" (Dragon of Bosnia) is one of the most important Bosniak national heroes.

Bosniak nationalism received a severe setback during World War II when Yugoslavia was invaded by the Axis Powers and Bosnia and Herzegovina was annexed by the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) that regarded the Bosniaks as "Muslim Croats".[6] By late 1941, much of the Bosniak elite openly criticized the NDH regime for its policy toward its minorities, and demanded autonomy for Bosnia and Herzegovina.[6]

With the creation of communist Yugoslavia in 1945, Bosnia and Herzegovina was restored as a territorial entity and as one of the six constituent republics of the federal state of Yugoslavia.[6] To resolve the Serb-Croat dispute over Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Yugoslav government in 1971 recognized Bosnian Muslims as a nationality.[6]

Bosniak nationalism rose in strength since the 1980s, especially following Alija Izetbegović's publishing of the Islamic Declaration that called for an Islamic renewal amongst Bosniaks, Izetbegović was arrested by Yugoslav state authorities in 1983 on allegations that he was promoting a purely Muslim Bosnia, and served five years in prison.[6] In 1990, Izetbegović and others founded the Party of Democratic Action, that became the main Bosniak party in the Bosnian parliament.[6] The eruption of the Bosnian War from 1992 to 1995 strengthened Bosnian Muslim identity.[6] In 1993, "Bosniak" was officially revived as the ethnic or national designation to replace "Muslim by nationality" employed by the Yugoslav authorities.[6] In general Bosniak nationalism in the past and present has largely been based upon a focus to preserve Bosnia and Herzegovina's territorial integrity and to preserve Bosniaks' national rights.[6]

References

  1. ^ Jack David Eller. From culture to ethnicity to conflict: an anthropological perspective on international ethnic conflict. University of Michigan Press, 1999. Pp. 262.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Motyl 2001, pp. 56.
  3. ^ Jack David Eller. From culture to ethnicity to conflict: an anthropological perspective on international ethnic conflict. University of Michigan Press, 1999. Pp. 262.
  4. ^ Jack David Eller. From culture to ethnicity to conflict: an anthropological perspective on international ethnic conflict. University of Michigan Press, 1999. Pp. 263.
  5. ^ Jack David Eller. From culture to ethnicity to conflict: an anthropological perspective on international ethnic conflict. University of Michigan Press, 1999. Pp. 263.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Motyl 2001, pp. 57.

Bibliography

See also