Within the conglomeration of different histories and contemporary political and social solutions for the Balkans, there exist exceptional examples of nonviolence. Sources such as folk-fables demonstrate periods of harmony and peaceful initiatives that are registered and analyzed before, during, and after wars in order to create the conditions necessary for nonkilling societies. These examples provide inspiration and motivation for the evolving emancipation of the human spirit.
In addition to specifying and analyzing wars that occur within and between peoples, history, literature, and science offer examples either of aggressive patriotism, nationalism, violence, killing, military putsches, armed revolutions etc.; or examples of cooperation, peace, happiness, brotherhood, and nonviolent ways of resolving conflict etc.
Sometimes leaders have a clear sense of the interests of the peaceful masses of their people and guide societies toward times of happiness and well-being. For instance, from the 10th century until the end of the 15th century in the central Balkan area, some of the monarchs, either publicly or secretly, followed the teachings of the Bogumils, a Pataren Christian sect in central Balkan who offered society nonviolent approaches to living, considered all people as brothers and sisters, and practiced “rational” relations with God. In the second half of the twentieth century, news media (in the region of what is presently known as the central Balkans) held mass meetings with people of varying cultures, ethnicities and religions, in hopes of obtaining cooperation amongst them and developing long-term friendships.
During the last wave of the Balkan wars there were many instances of anti-war initiatives by individuals as well as by organized groups. There were brilliant examples of cooperation amongst people from warring ethnicities as well as efforts to prevent the extermination of individuals, groups and sometimes entire communities. Never should we forget the great examples of heroism by members of Drvar’s Bosnian Serb military police. They prevented the mass killing of approximately two thousand Bosnian Muslims exiled from the town of Bosanski Petrovac by members of the Bosnian Serb army – their own comrades in arms!
Today in the Balkans there are many individuals, groups, and organizations that share a major goal of creating conditions for a nonviolent future and building nonviolent and nonkilling societies. Their efforts range from ideas, to successful efforts to build elements of emancipation and paths of nonviolence and nonkilling, to educational programs and legislation etc.
In this specific region of the world, not long after the cataclysm and revolutionary social changes of the most recent Balkan war, there have been significant examples of human willingness to evolve, to increase mental capacities for the emancipation of the human spirit and thereby create societies in which the philosophy of life would be based on one of the fundamental human principles for interpersonal relations: A person has the right not to be killed and the obligation not to kill.
Participation in this online Discussion is open to all. Our goal is to elicit as many ideas and proposals as possible. We need specialist work with regard to the activities and changes necessary for peoples to follow the path of emancipation of the human intellect toward a killing-free global society. We seek, in particular, the contribution of scholars from disciplines such as history, political science, philosophy, psychology, sociology, pedagogy, law, theology, the arts and literature… We seek as well the contribution of those involved in the praxis of cultural organizations, secular humanitarian work, and socially engaged religions.
During the Discussion, you can post articles or complete learned works here. We would be grateful if all participants in this Discussion would inform/remind us of book titles and other references to specific works relevant to this theme, published in the Balkans or anywhere in the entire world, so that these could be used in the activities of the Center for Global Nonkilling (www.nonkilling.org) and its associated Nonkilling Balkans Forum (www.nonkillingbalkans.org).