What We Talk About When We Talk About War

by Marci Janas '91

"Like Raskolnikov, history returns to the scene of its crime."
--Yevgeny Yevtushenko The Guardian(London), April 29, 1999

In May, Oberlin held a teach-in on the war in Yugoslavia. Initiated by students, the day-long event began with a plenary session that featured Assistant Professor of Sociology Veljko Vujacic, a specialist in the study of ethnicity and nationalism who grew up in Greece and Belgrade; Elez Biberaj, chief of the Albanian desk of the Voice of America in Washington, D.C., and author of several books on Albania; and Greg Coleridge '81, a longtime community organizer who works with the American Friends Service Committee on issues of economic and environmental justice and peace. President Nancy S. Dye gave introductory remarks. Two discussion groups followed. One dealt with critical perspectives on the war and emerging protest activities; the other addressed the broader aspects of American foreign policy guiding the NATO bomb-ings and some alternative ways of examining those policies. The teach-in concluded with an opportunity for students and other participants to speak out on the issues. The following excerpts from the plenary session provide a window on the information and varying perspectives proffered throughout the day.

A full transcript of the plenary session is available here.

Editors note: At press time NATO had ended airstrikes against Yugoslavia after Serb forces began withdrawing from Kosovo as part of a peace deal signed by Serbian and Western generals.

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