Originally Posted by Time Violation
The "why" usually generates infinite number of pages whether in books, press, magazines, forums etc. The shortest and most basic explanation (in my opinion of course) is vicious circle. Both official and unofficial history was teaching a lot of generations that the Serbs suffered 500+ years under Turks, i.e. Muslims, and also that hundreds of thousands died in Croatian Nazi death camps; the WW2 wasn't that long ago and still many people had their relatives/parents/friends lost there, so when the civil war happened, a number of people thought it was finally "payback time" and "an eye for an eye".
Of course, violence generates more violence which generates more violence and so on. When it all ended, then on all sides it was mostly all about who started it first, who was more guilty, whose losses were higher, who were the good guys and who are the bad guys, everybody pointing fingers to the other side and more-less that still goes on. The all-present myopia and failure to see the bigger picture, is unfortunately not something easily curable.
"so when the civil war happened, a number of people thought it was finally "payback time" and "an eye for an eye".
You almost have it. But, war is not just about revenge. You have not mentioned one of the most powerful motivators according to Maslow's hierarchy of needs: the need for security, safety. I don't want to assign blame to any of the people living there, but all of them desire to live in safety. Generally though, you are headed in the right direction with your "circle of violence" analogy (something which is not limited to that part of the world). We can look at the problems in the middle east. We can look at the harmful effects of dispossessing the american natives, of enslaving millions of africans, of government testing of smallpox on those same people, of the economic plundering of the middle class going on right now.
I mentioned earlier that I am more lenient towards people who fight for their own homes than for imperialists. The west, whether it was britian, spain, the dutch in south africa etc, have more sins to account for than the people of the balkans. Caesar asked how some can defend the actions of certain parties during the balkan wars. What I want to know is how can millions of people living in the west still cherish the sins of their forebears?
For example, how can the imperialist doctrine of "manifest destiny" still be popular with millions of americans? The idea that God chose the pilgrims to come to the new world to dispossess the native "savages" and go on a centuries long "crusade" of genocide to exterminate them, and break every treaty in the process. We had an entire year of american history/literature at university trying to solve the concept of "manifest destiny." We still see imperialistic war being raged around the world. Why is that? It boggles the mind regarding the evil that is in the hearts of men, ALL men.
I'm not picking on the americans or anyone else. But you need to tackle the greater sins of superpowers at the same time, instead of picking on a small region in europe, on a people who's problems are limited to where they live. I'm confident that one day we will solve our problems there and we don't need to be singled out unfairly.
Let him who is without sin cast the first stone...