The Bosnian War: A Critical Analysis

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As with many conflicts, the Bosnia War was quickly internationally politicized. The politicization of humanitarian efforts is an enduring consequence for any organization working within a conflict zone. As the conflict raged on, humanitarianism and the responsibility to protect human life quickly became an issue at the forefront for many. According to one senior UNHCR official at the time, “Every time the question of settling the conflict came up, the donors responded by saying that they were going to give more money to the humanitarian effort” (Young, 2001, p 788). In a show of political will, the only actions that the international community was able to take, that was not explicitly violent, was the increase in donations of humanitarian…show more content…
A large part of the how humanitarianism, and humanitarian intervention specifically, is understood is largely based on the media portrayal and public discourse. Particularly in a conflict raging on as far away and as complex as the Bosnian War, the public relies on the media to outline what is going on. As Gregory Kent (2003) argues, state actors along with humanitarian agencies have a significant role in the development of media narratives and the subsequent responses by politicians. Kent also states that the perception of the seriousness of the Bosnian War had serious implications for what policy decisions were made. In the case of Great Britain, the “problem” of the Bosnian War was defined as one without solution and therefore made it one of little concern. Whereas clearly defining the conflict as aggression, genocide or ethnic cleansing may have prompted quicker responses (Kent, 2003, p 6).When media coverage increases, there is a greater likelihood for the public to place pressure their government to take action. It was the pressure placed on governments such as the United States, partly as a result of media portrayals of dying women and children, which finally resulted in action being…show more content…
The Balkan region can be understood as a deeply patriarchal society. As war raged on, rape was used as a tactic to “emasculate, terrorize, and weaken states.” Rape as a military tactic was written into state policy and attempted to give it a sense of legitimacy. In this sense, women’s bodies were considered an extension of the territorial disputes. Much of the Western world remained oblivious to the use of gender-based violence in Bosnia and would remain largely ignored while the conflict raged for
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