Notes on nationalism — Bosnia, Somalia and Delta Force
Before I moved from Bosnia to Sweden in 2003, I played the PC game “Delta Force — Black Hawk Down” based on the movie with the same name and the UN operations in Somalia as in 1993 during the civil wartime.
Once, as I was playing the game, I got curious more about the historical context and what happened in Somalia during the early 1990s. This curiosity was partly based on reading via the Internet that the war in Somalia was taking place at the same time as the war in Bosnia and other parts of ex-Yugoslavia. I asked my father if he knew anything about the war in Somalia. He told me that it was a war based on fighting and disagreements between clans and that in comparison to Bosnia, “we did not have clans, but we had SDS, SDA, and HDZ”.
The mentioned abbreviations are from the names of the main nationalist parties in Bosnia that were in power after the first democratic elections in 1990, where SDS is connected to Serb, SDA to Bosnias, and HDZ to Croat ethnic communities. These parties, which to different degrees were responsible for the war, destruction, and other horrible development, are still part of the modern political life in Bosnia and enjoying a lot of support.
There are many conclusions and insights that can be drawn from Bosnia and Somalia when it comes to human behaviors regarding identification, organization, and governance. America as a federation and a political nation is better organized, functioning, and developed compared to Bosnia and Somalia that are seen among the world’s most disorganized, divided, and dysfunctional societies. Ethnic nationalism is often more discriminatory, destructive, and dividing than compared to civic nationalism. Nations are in principle better functioning and more efficient than clans when it comes to the individual, institutions, and invested resources.
At the same time, nations can behave as clans on the global stage since we are still living in a world without global citizenship, the rule of law, and an integrated market economy. This is also because nationalism, regardless of form and prefix, simply cannot create solidarity, unification, and empathy between humans globally.
There is still a lot of distrust and divisions between India and China, the EU and Russia, USA and South American nations. At this moment, nations are spending large amounts of money on nuclear weapons, military, surveillance, polluting industries, border obstacles, and other dangerous and horrible aspects for human security, the planet, and democracy.
One “funny” thing regarding human affections and inner understandings is that “Americanized” games were quite popular among teens and young males in Bosnia after the war despite all of the anti-American and anti-West attitudes and behaviors in parts of Bosnia with the Serb majority population. Not even the Kosovo War and NATO bombings of Serbia prevented the popularity of games as Delta Force, Soldier of Fortune, and Medal of Honour.
P.S: Delta Force had some action in Bosnia after the war in operations aiming to arrest suspected war criminals.