First Blog Post

I grew up in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, a small eastern European country, about four years after being bombed by NATO. The reasoning behind the bombing is not a topic I will be discussing right now; however, I will explain how it created a growing hatred for Western states and media in my country. Regardless of political agenda, what you learned there was a very conflicting mindset growing up. My country is no stranger to hating and loving a culture, as much of our relationship with other states is like this. However, the strong hatred curated by the government onto the people is deeply uneducated, as the history and facts presented to the people have been skewed and cherry-picked. Any positive mention of the West gets shut down with nationalistic anti-Western propaganda. Growing up, I never realized the amount of political information surrounding me. While indulging in Western culture, the media also critiqued it, and the streets of my city were covered in anti-USA and anti-NATO signs. For a couple of years, they even had pictures of Serbian dead bodies supposedly killed by the States all over our main roads. So, regardless of the actual politics, most people knew they were supposed to hate America and its Allies. The history taught constantly conflicts and changes to suit the government’s agenda, and anybody who opposes that is effectively silenced. However, if you are ever exposed to anything other than the information the government gives you, which has now become more accessible due to technology, you realize that things aren’t as black and white as they have been presented to you. There is great importance in unlearning some deeply subconscious beliefs ingrained in your brain and being open to other perspectives.
My sub-region of concentration is the Jordan Valley, which includes Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Israel. All these countries contain long and fascinating histories; however, one thing they all have in common is their turbulent relationship with their neighbors and governments. From the 2011 protests in Jordan to the conflict in Syria, people from these countries face a similar relationship with the government as those from my country. The restriction of the media and the insecurity, while slightly more significant than the one in my country, invokes similar feelings of uncertainty and internal conflict.






4 responses to “First Blog Post”

  1. Noah Boyd Avatar
    Noah Boyd

    Getting to see the similarities between your home and your region was interesting. This blog makes it very clear how western civilization has conflicted with a number of other countries and regions.

  2. Ed Webb Avatar
    Ed Webb

    I think your experiences will be eye-opening for your fellow students.

    There is significant variation among the states of the region you are studying—plus the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT)—when it comes to censorship and propaganda. Syria is extreme in these domains, at least in government-controlled areas, while Israel has a generally pluralistic media environment, even while some censorship and quite a lot of propaganda are present. Jordan, Lebanon, and the OPT fall between these two.

  3. Jack Fechter Avatar
    Jack Fechter

    I think your perspective around Anti-Western sentiment is very interesting especially when comparing it to a region like the Middle East that shares similar feelings about the West. As an American, I am surrounded constantly by ideas of Pro-American/Pro-Western ideology and culture and to hear someone’s perspective being from a nation that shares the opposite ideas around the West is very informing. I am curious on how the ideas around Anti-Western sentiment in Serbia are similar or different to those expressed in the Jordan Valley and if those views are as strongly enforced by the governments of those nations or if there is more of a general animosity against the West from the people?

  4. Georgia Mugisha Avatar

    I completely agree with you when you say political and inter-state relations aren’t as black and white as they may seem, and I think you’re right about not blindly believing whatever narratives we may be being fed. I loved learning more about your experience growing up in Serbia!

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