Yugoslavia (Part 1)

Jim Jaszewski jjazz at freenet.hamilton.on.ca
Sat Aug 12 06:23:36 MDT 1995

On Thu, 10 Aug 1995, Tom Condit wrote:

> The Serbo-Croatian speakers have
> been historically divided into three main groups: Serbs
> (including Montenegrins), Croats and "Muslims".  The name of the
> latter group gives you a clue as to the nature of the first two.
> "Serbs" are those who are historically Orthodox Christians and
> write in the Cyrillic alphabet, Croats are historically Roman
> Catholics and write in the Latin alphabet, and Muslims are, well,
> Muslims.  A few of them write in the Arabic alphabet but mostly
> not. You can mainly tell the three groups apart by their names
> (but not always) and, unfortunately, by their official identity
> cards issued by the now defunct Yugoslavian government.

	May I just add here, that as far as I understand it, Srbs and
Hrvats (Croats) speak basically the same language, because they're
basically the same people (they're even related to the Poles!).  To add to
the confusion, so are the `Muslims'! (I'm sure many Srbs and Hrvats would
object, but their objection seems to be based on ignorance of their own
history and knee-jerk nationalism.  I hear the same objections from
Ukrainians vs. Russians, etc., and I believe Tom mentioned the example of
Portuguese and Castillians...)

	I'm hazy on when the split between the first two came about --
whether it occurred during the struggles between the Holy Roman Empire and
the Byzantines, or later, but fundamentally, the split is one of a people
divided by two competing spheres of influence: the `catholic' germanic
empire in the west vs. the `orthodox' greek Byzantium in the east. Later,
the Turks took the Balkans from the Byzantine and Srb kingdoms, and for
many centuries dominated the orthodox Srbs, while the Hrvats were isolated
from their `kin'.  During Ottoman occupation, many Srbs (hrvats?) were
converted to Islam -- mostly due, I believe, to benefits such as not
having to send a son to become one of the Sultan's Janissaries...

	So, Bosnian `Muslims' are simply(?) slavs whose forebears
converted to Islam under the Turks -- and Hrvats and Srbs should be
acknowledging their brotherhood -- not their differences...


   Jim Jaszewski   <jjazz at freenet.hamilton.on.ca>
   WWW homepage:   <http://www.freenet.hamilton.on.ca/~ab975/Profile.html>

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