The North Star Project, 2013 Summer Report Number Twenty-Six, The Hague, The Netherlands — United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

The North Star Project, 2013 Summer Report Number Twenty-Six, The Hague, The Netherlands — United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

By Ethan Scrivner, The Hague, The Netherlands — United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia Report #4

This week is the last before the ICTY goes on recess for the summer, during which time everything apparently all but shuts down. I have just finished a project and anticipate being able to take some time as things wind down for the summer to read through some of the Judgments and get a better grasp on both the application of the Statute of the ICTY and the legal reasoning behind several of the recent, controversial acquittals. I am also going to use the time to look through some of the materials produced through the Outreach office of the ICTY. These materials, whether produced by Outreach or gathered by the Outreach office from those living in the former Yugoslavia, are very interesting because they act as a sort of gauge that reflects how the work of the Tribunal is being received in the region and the interaction between this institution and those who live in the Balkans. Some of the materials which come from the region also give a fascinating insight into the collective construction of memory in the former Yugoslavia. At a children’s festival in Sarajevo several weeks ago, the Outreach field office located in Bosnia and Herzegovina asked children to make drawings which reflected what they thought about the conflict and the work of the ICTY in general. What I found most striking were some of the fairly graphic, detailed drawings of war and destruction that were made by children who were not born until a decade after the conflict ended. This seems to suggest a strong potential for persistence of memory of events in the region. Whether this is “good” or “bad”-likely to lead to reconciliation or further discord-is not something easily determined. One of the drawings of a burning village has a caption at the bottom which translates roughly as “so it will not happen again,” essentially analogous to the phrase “never again” often associated with the Holocaust. It remains to be seen what place the work of the ICTY will have in the establishment of long-term coexistence and rule of law in the Balkans region.

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The North Star Project: Collaboration between The Middle Ground Journal Student Interns, The College of St. Scholastica, and North Star Academy 8th Grade Global Studies Classes, 2013-2014 School Year Summer Reports.

Under the leadership of our North Star host teachers and student interns, The North Star Project has flourished for two years. For a brief summary, please see a recent article in the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

This summer we will re-tool and re-design the collaborative program, drawing on the experience of our veteran student interns, ideas from our host teachers, and new projects provided by our incoming student interns. This summer The Middle Ground Journal will share brief dispatches from our North Star Project student interns, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. As of the time of this report we have confirmed student interns who will be reporting from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, northeastern China, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing presentations on theatrical representations of historical trauma, historical memory, the price individuals pay during tragic global conflicts, and different perceptions of current events from around the world. We will post their brief dispatches here throughout the summer, and report on their interactions with the North Star students and teachers throughout the school year.

Hong-Ming Liang, Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal, The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN, USA, June, 2013

(c) 2013 The Middle Ground Journal, Number 6, Spring, 2013. See Submission Guidelines page for the journal’s not-for-profit educational open-access policy.


Filed under North Star Student Editors, Professor Hong-Ming Liang

9 responses to “The North Star Project, 2013 Summer Report Number Twenty-Six, The Hague, The Netherlands — United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

  1. Jonia G.

    I think it is interesting to get the perspective of peoples through various means and seeing it through drawings is impactful. I am curious at the age range of children who created the drawings and to what they thought as they drew them. This was an interesting read and glimpse into the thoughts of people; thank you for sharing.

  2. Mindy Aubin

    I think it’s very interesting to hear about those young children who drew the pictures. I too would like to know what was going on in their heads while drawing. It would cool to interview those kids and see what they were really thinking. Sounds like a cool project, thanks for sharing.

  3. Daniela Rojas

    It is shocking to see how even if those images they drew were something they didn’t experience by first hand, how they still had a big reaction to it. As same as other people have replied I am also interesting in knowing what was going through their minds when they were making the drawings and also what have they learn from their parents and community, why is it still so present in their minds?

  4. The concept of collective memory has just been introduced to me this semester, but it is something I want to explore further. What forces are at work in establishing a collective memory? How do images of events, people, etc. change?

    Although this is distanced a bit from the article, I find the change in perception of U.S. presidents quite interesting. They might leave the office hated, but overtime, they become loved. Their days in the presidency are romanticized.

  5. Mackenzie Sherrill

    This article was very interesting simply by being able to see the drawings the children were asked to make. It makes me wonder how the wars of the past still impact their families currently since it seems to still be present in their thoughts and ideas. I believe it must have to do with a certain degree to which their own ancestors were affected by the hard times of the past.

  6. Kyle Hellmann

    This is the first article I have read like this in awhile, and it really got me thinking about how much social influences affect children in these ways. This correlates with my learning of a national narrative, and how influencing children at a young age cause them to form their own narrative before they themselves get a chance do so, when they get older and are able to make decisions for themselves.

  7. Samantha Roettger

    This is a very thought provoking article. I like that you stated that the graphic drawings of war done by children are not necessarily either bad or good. It all depends on if the events and effects of war should or should not be remembered. In my opinion, I think it is good that children understand what has happened in the past and that they do not want it to happen again or be forgotten. I really enjoyed this article. Well done!

  8. Morgan Young

    It is interesting how the children drew their pictures so vividly and detailed, without having experienced the trauma of war. Depending on the situation, the unfortunate or fortunate part of young children is that they are very easy to mold. In this case, it could be a good or bad thing, but at least when they grow up some more they can research and learn for themselves!

  9. Matt Breeze

    I think it is interesting that the children who were not born until long after the war have these types of pictures in their minds of the conflict. This type of historical memory is interesting. Parents pass it on to children and so forth and in that way the emotions and struggles can last much longer than the conflict itself. Hopefully this will help lead to long term peace in the region, as you said they use phrases like never again to describe the situation. Thank you for this view into the lives of those who still are copping with that war.

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