The Bridge Betrayed

Comparative Studies in Religion and Society

Book 11
Univ of California Press
Free sample

The recent atrocities in Bosnia-Herzegovina have stunned people throughout the world. With Holocaust memories still painfully vivid, a question haunts us: how is this savagery possible? Michael A. Sells answers by demonstrating that the Bosnian conflict is not simply a civil war or a feud of age-old adversaries. It is, he says, a systematic campaign of genocide and a Christian holy war spurred by religious mythologies.

This passionate yet reasoned book examines how religious stereotyping—in popular and official discourse—has fueled Serbian and Croatian ethnic hatreds. Sells, who is himself Serbian American, traces the cultural logic of genocide to the manipulation by Serb nationalists of the symbolism of Christ's death, in which Muslims are "Christ-killers" and Judases who must be mercilessly destroyed. He shows how "Christoslavic" religious nationalism became a central part of Croat and Serbian politics, pointing out that intellectuals and clergy were key instruments in assimilating extreme religious and political ideas.

Sells also elucidates the ways that Western policy makers have rewarded the perpetrators of the genocide and punished the victims. He concludes with a discussion of how the multireligious nature of Bosnian society has been a bridge between Christendom and Islam, symbolized by the now-destroyed bridge at Mostar. Drawing on historical documents, unpublished United Nations reports, articles from Serbian and Bosnian media, personal contacts in the region, and Internet postings, Sells reveals the central role played by religious mythology in the Bosnian tragedy. In addition, he makes clear how much is at stake for the entire world in the struggle to preserve Bosnia's existence as a multireligious society.
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About the author

Michael A. Sells is Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Religion at Haverford College. He is the author of several books on religion, including Mystical Languages of Unsaying (1994).

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Additional Information

Publisher
Univ of California Press
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Published on
Oct 27, 1996
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Pages
260
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ISBN
9780520922099
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Language
English
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Genres
Religion / Christianity / General
Religion / Islam / General
Religion / Judaism / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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American society has changed dramatically since A Culture of Conspiracy was first published in 2001. In this revised and expanded edition, Michael Barkun delves deeper into America's conspiracy sub-culture, exploring the rise of 9/11 conspiracy theories, the "birther" controversy surrounding Barack Obama's American citizenship, and how the conspiracy landscape has changed with the rise of the Internet and other new media.

What do UFO believers, Christian millennialists, and right-wing conspiracy theorists have in common? According to Michael Barkun in this fascinating yet disturbing book, quite a lot. It is well known that some Americans are obsessed with conspiracies. The Kennedy assassination, the Oklahoma City bombing, and the 2001 terrorist attacks have all generated elaborate stories of hidden plots. What is far less known is the extent to which conspiracist worldviews have recently become linked in strange and unpredictable ways with other "fringe" notions such as a belief in UFOs, Nostradamus, and the Illuminati. Unraveling the extraordinary genealogies and permutations of these increasingly widespread ideas, Barkun shows how this web of urban legends has spread among subcultures on the Internet and through mass media, how a new style of conspiracy thinking has recently arisen, and how this phenomenon relates to larger changes in American culture. This book, written by a leading expert on the subject, is the most comprehensive and authoritative examination of contemporary American conspiracism to date.

Barkun discusses a range of material-involving inner-earth caves, government black helicopters, alien abductions, secret New World Order cabals, and much more-that few realize exists in our culture. Looking closely at the manifestations of these ideas in a wide range of literature and source material from religious and political literature, to New Age and UFO publications, to popular culture phenomena such as The X-Files, and to websites, radio programs, and more, Barkun finds that America is in the throes of an unrivaled period of millenarian activity. His book underscores the importance of understanding why this phenomenon is now spreading into more mainstream segments of American culture.

Could the US, should the US, have prevented the break up of Yugoslavia? The author examines the dire consequences of the rapid economic reforms demanded by the West and asks where responsibility lies when external pressures destroy a nation and lead to national meltdown. Bosnia and Beyond: The "Quiet" Revolution that wouldn't go quietly is, in part, the story of how the West destroyed a country through the imposition of economic and political reform. Promoted as a way to modernize Yugoslavia and bring it into the mainstream, the program was in fact meant to bring down the Communist government in a "quiet revolution" of the type that was envisaged for other former Soviet bloc countries. Showing how Western plans for the liberalization of the country resulted in ethnic polarization and the election of ethno-nationalist leaders, the book then goes on to describe the events of the war. The struggle of the republics for independence was yet another proxy war, which the West encouraged in order to chastise Milosevic and nudge him into becoming the man that they wanted him to be. While no formal plan has surfaced to show that the whole thing was engineered to provide a base for US/NATO troops, on the other hand, the situation was so egregious that intervention was highly sought and that the West had an obligation to clean up its mess, which it finally did. Many have been emotionally manipulated into being grateful for NATO intervention, and then it was quite convenient that a NATO base existed. But how does one say that intervention was needful, and then point the finger at the intervening forces? One can claim that Germany, Austria and the Vatican were in favor of Croatian and Sloveniansecession and the US came late to the game to demand Bosnian independence. It can also be claimed that Britain and France did not stand in the way of Serbian secession within Bosnia and Croatia but rather promoted their goals. Yugoslavia was a case of secession within secession, raising the question of who was supported by whom in either case Bosnia is a case study similar to the other color revolutions. If a small number of people are manipulated into taking to the streets and are given almighty support from the outside, against their legitimate government - then 200 today brings 2,000 tomorrow and the targeted government sits paralyzed and watches the takeover. Only that in Bosnia it fought back. * Jeanne Haskin studied international relations at Central Connecticut State University of New Britain and political science and international diplomacy at Yale University, with a focus on conflict and crisis management in warring situations. Bosnia and Beyond: The "Quiet" Revolution that wouldn't go quietly is her second book. The Tragic State of the Congo: From Decolonization to Dictatorship was published in 2005 by Algora Publishing.
What if our beliefs were not what divided us, but what pulled us together In Have a Little Faith, Mitch Albom offers a beautifully written story of a remarkable eight-year journey between two worlds--two men, two faiths, two communities--that will inspire readers everywhere. Albom's first nonfiction book since Tuesdays with Morrie, Have a Little Faith begins with an unusual request: an eighty-two-year-old rabbi from Albom's old hometown asks him to deliver his eulogy. Feeling unworthy, Albom insists on understanding the man better, which throws him back into a world of faith he'd left years ago. Meanwhile, closer to his current home, Albom becomes involved with a Detroit pastor--a reformed drug dealer and convict--who preaches to the poor and homeless in a decaying church with a hole in its roof. Moving between their worlds, Christian and Jewish, African-American and white, impoverished and well-to-do, Albom observes how these very different men employ faith similarly in fighting for survival: the older, suburban rabbi embracing it as death approaches; the younger, inner-city pastor relying on it to keep himself and his church afloat. As America struggles with hard times and people turn more to their beliefs, Albom and the two men of God explore issues that perplex modern man: how to endure when difficult things happen; what heaven is; intermarriage; forgiveness; doubting God; and the importance of faith in trying times. Although the texts, prayers, and histories are different, Albom begins to recognize a striking unity between the two worlds--and indeed, between beliefs everywhere. In the end, as the rabbi nears death and a harsh winter threatens the pastor's wobbly church, Albom sadly fulfills the rabbi's last request and writes the eulogy. And he finally understands what both men had been teaching all along: the profound comfort of believing in something bigger than yourself. Have a Little Faith is a book about a life's purpose; about losing belief and finding it again; about the divine spark inside us all. It is one man's journey, but it is everyone's story. Ten percent of the profits from this book will go to charity, including The Hole In The Roof Foundation, which helps refurbish places of worship that aid the homeless.
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