Digital platform “Wake up Europe!”
100 stories about international solidarity in difficult times – Messages from Bosnia and Herzegovina 1992 – 1995
The digital platform “Wake up Europe!” gathers 100 stories about initiatives and groups that were part of international solidarity efforts in Europe with citizens of Sarajevo and Bosnia and Herzegovina during the 1992-1995 war. Western governments took a passive or neutral stance towards the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and for the majority in Europe, the war remained mainly a TV event. At the same time, however, there were many citizens, artists, intellectuals, journalists, parliamentarians, cities, informal groups and NGOs across Europe who decided not to remain bystanders and who were often very critical of their own governments. It was a very heterogeneous mobilisation, a mix of humanitarian and civic engagement, often in response to and in close interaction with those in Sarajevo and Bosnia and Herzegovina who were involved in the civic, cultural and intellectual defence of the Bosnian way of life and of their country, and who were calling on the outside world to abandon its passivity, summarized in the slogan “Wake up Europe!”. With the selected 100 stories, we want to offer a kaleidoscope illustrating different dimensions of these solidarity efforts: We show examples from different countries, from different fields of activity (e.g. humanitarian convoys, help for refugees, demonstrations, cultural activities), involving different target groups (e.g. youth, women, trade unions, civic groups) and different topics which were emphasized and discussed, for example the memory of World War II and the question of military support for BiH.
This digital platform is based on research conducted in connection with the exhibition „Wake up Europe! Support and Solidarity Mobilisations for Bosnia and Herzegovina and its Citizens during the 1992-1995 War” which was organised by the History Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo in 2021, in cooperation with Memory Lab, and with the support of the French Institute in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Goethe Institute Bosnia and Herzegovina.
On the 30th anniversary of the siege of Sarajevo, the History Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina has created the digital platform “Wake up Europe” with examples of international support and solidarity from the 1990s, not only to provide knowledge about a little-known dimension of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also to raise the question of solidarity today. We hope that the experiences from the recent past can also stimulate reflection on the possibilities and meaning of solidarity in current war and crisis situations, especially in light of the war in Ukraine.
This digital platform is funded by the International Relief Fund for Organisations in Culture and Education 2021 of the German Federal Foreign Office, the Goethe Institut and other partners : www.goethe.de/relieffund
Nicolas Moll, born in 1965 in Brussels, holds a PhD in Contemporary History from the University of Freiburg (Germany), and is living in Sarajevo since 2007. He is working as independent historian and as intercultural trainer and is coordinator of „Memory Lab – Trans-European Exchange Platform on History and Remembrance“ (http://www.memorylab-europe.eu ). His research interests include post-war societies, memory studies, and international solidarity movements in Europe, with a special focus on the post-Yugoslav space. He was researcher within the “Wake up Europe!” exhibition team and published in 2021 “Solidarity is more than a slogan – International Workers Aid during and after the 1992-1995-war in Bosnia and Herzegovina”. He is currently preparing a comprehensive study on the European dimensions of the solidarity mobilisations with Bosnia and Herzegovina during the 1992-1995-war. More info: http://www.nicolasmoll.eu/
Dina Memić, born in 1984, is a historian and curator from Sarajevo. She studied and graduated from the History Department of the Faculty of Philosophy in Sarajevo. She started her professional museum career at the Heritage Museum in Konjic. Later, she was a curator at the Tunnel of Hope Museum in Sarajevo where she was dealing with the phenomenons of the siege of Sarajevo and their musealization. Today, she is the curator at the History Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina and contributes to the development and strengthening of the museum’s potential through her work in the Archives Collection and the Documentation Center. Her research interests are narratives and a culture of remembrance in contemporary social and museological flows and practices. She is the author of permanent and thematic exhibitions that address various issues and aspects of memory culture. In 2021, she was she was in the curatorial team for the “Wake up Europe!” exhibition.
Elma Hašimbegovic is a historian and museum professional born in Sarajevo in 1977. She studied history at the Faculty of Philosophy in Sarajevo and obtained an MA and MPhil in Medieval Studies at the Central European University in Budapest. Since 2001, she has worked at the Historical Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a curator and has participated in the development of various museum programs and projects, including the permanent exhibition on the Siege of Sarajevo (2002-2003). She has been the Museum Director since 2013, developing and implementing new strategies and policies for the institution, actively promoting the museum as a place of historical research, education and constructive dialogue and as a space open to all. She is editor-in-chief of the museum magazine and other museum publications. In 2021, she was in the curatorial team for the “Wake up Europe!” exhibition.