Civil Wars: From L.A. to Bosnia

Civil Wars: From L.A. to Bosnia

Hans Magnus Enzensberger

Language: English

Pages: 144

ISBN: 156584209X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


In Civil Wars, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Germany’s most astute literary and political critic, chronicles the global changes taking place as the result of evolving notions of nationalism, loyalty, and community. Enzensberger sees similar forces at work around the world, from America’s racial uprisings in Los Angeles to the outright carnage in the former Yugoslavia. He argues that previous approaches to class or generational conflict have failed us, and that we are now confronted with an “autism of violence”: a tendency toward self-destruction and collective madness.

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for the rest of time. The name of this stone is peace. 71 EUROPE IN RUINS A few days before I left Luanda, I was taken by American friends to dine in a black-market restaurant. We ate at outside tables in a little enclosure on the street. The clientele all looked more or less as if they were black-m arket profiteers themselves. We were sitting right next to the rail that fenced us in from the street, and I had my back to this, so that, absorbed in conversation, I did not notice at first

identification on to themselves. That is a difficult opera­ tion psychologically, for powerful feelings which once inspired smaller associations have to be mobilized on behalf of modern state formations. It is rarely achieved without historical legends. If necessary, proof of a glorious past is forged, venerable traditions simply invented. The abstract idea of the nation, however, could only acquire an independent life where the state was able to develop organically out of more ancient

the new country, leaving the poor, the indo­ lent, the weak and crippled at hom e,’ wrote Mayo Smith. ‘It is maintained that such emigration institutes a process of selection which is not favourable to the home country.’ This thesis is persuasive. The brain drain, a kind of demographic flight of capital, has had devastating effects on countries such as China, India and the former Soviet Union. It was of considerable importance in the collapse of East Germany. A large proportion of the Iranian

intel­ ligentsia has emigrated in recent decades. The number of doctors from the T hird W orld working in W estern Europe exceeds the number of aid workers who are sent to Asia, Africa and Latin America— where there is a shortage of trained doctors everywhere— from the states of the European Community. T he better qualified the im m igrants, the fewer 120 T he G rea t M ig r a t io n reservations they encounter. The Indian astrophysicist, the star Chinese architect, the Black African Nobel

volume were originally published in G erm any by Suhrkam p Verlag, © Suhrkam p Verlag Frankfurt am M ain 1993. All rights reserved. N o part o f this book may be reproduced in any form w ithout w ritten permission from the publisher and author. Published in the United States by The N ew Press, N ew York D istributed by W. W. N orton & Company, Inc., 500 Fifth Avenue, N ew York, N Y 10110 ISBN 1-56584-208-1 LC 94-67608 Established in 1990 as a major alternative to the large, commercial publishing

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