His country breaks up.
The term ‘Balkanization’ describes “ethnic conflict within multiethnic states“, the Encyclopedia Britannica informs us, whereafter that restive multiracial country separates into ethnically HOMOGENEOUS countries that are each hostile to the other.
Tito’s long shadow over Yugoslavia
Multiethnic Yugoslavia, which disintegrated in the early 1990s, is the model for Balkanization. Bosnia for Bosniaks, Croatia for Croats, Serbia for Serbs, Slovenia for Slovenes … These are among today’s independent sovereign nations that made up the former Yugoslavia located in the Balkans region of southeastern Europe.
With an iron fist, President Tito ruled Yugoslavia as a communist federation after deposing the king and ending the monarchy in November 1945.
The Yugoslav strongman was the glue preventing his diverse country breaking apart. He was in power some 35 years from World War Two right up to 1980. But after Tito’s death at age 88, the countdown to the inevitable fracturing of his country began.
Land of the Slavs
Yugoslavia means the land of the southern Slavs.
Russians and Ukrainians are Slavs too, in the north. Russia and Ukraine became independent republics after the breakup of USSR in 1991. Among western Slavs are the Czechs and the Slovaks. In 1993, Czechoslovakia too divided itself into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. They’re certainly divisive.
Until today, the process of Balkanization is still not yet done. Montenegro and Serbia had spilt from each other in 2006 while Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008.
The population of Kosovo is 96 percent Muslim and its majority ethnic is Albanian. Most recently a few days ago, Kosovo is talking to Serbia about redrawing their borders along ethnic lines (see Aug 16 RFE report).
BELOW: Retak menanti belah, only a matter of time
Depending on one old man to hold it together
Yugoslavia cracked like an egg in 1991 about a decade after its 88-year-old dictator Tito’s death. Malaysians will remember Muslims fleeing from Bosnia during the 1992–95 armed conflict started by the Christian Serbs.
Elsewhere around the world, Muslims in Mindanao want to secede from Christian Philippines; Muslims in Pattani from Buddhist Thailand; Muslims in Kashmir from Hindu India.
For a list of race-religion conflicts like the Rohingya and Uighur as well as other insurgencies and separatist movements, refer my yesterday post.
Tito was a pillar of authoritarianism. Without his dictatorial fiat gripping Yugoslavia like a vise, its different ethnicities and religions soon went their own separate way.