Aleksandar Jokic
Portland State University
The paper explores how language underscores our appreciation forinternational activism. An account of the tension between activismand international activism, especially in the context of thedeclarative and ``true'' character of the terms is offered. Thisis achieved through examining ``word games'' pertaining to theBalkan crisis with such expressions as ``democratic revolution'',``Serbian nationalism'', ``revenge killing'', and ``reverse ethniccleansing.'' The analysis points to a non-descriptive attitudinalcharacter of such phrases. Consequently, two defensive strategiesare suggested for international activists. First, they should getinformed on the history of the region as much as possible, becomingavid students of recent and more historically removed events ofimportance. And second, they must make sure they do not fall preyto the on-going word games that can obscure their overall goal andpurpose. Hence, the need to develop a proper ethics of internationalactivism, which we would be unable to do if we were to ignoremassive opportunity for manipulation residing in the attitude thathumanitarian workers are modern day saints. International law,whatever its final shape, must also take into account findingsdetailed here. All of this is linked to (international) activismand the double-edged sword it embodies: peace initiatives yetforeign invasions
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DOI 10.1023/a:1015007026687
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