E Pluribus... Ummm...

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Even to a Briton, it can sound like something one might find in the Dictionary of Imaginary Places:

[Bosnia-Hercegovina] has three separate flags, three separate anthems, even two separate alphabets. The state anthem is only a melody—no one can agree to the words.
The fact that there are 13 separate ministries of education shows how fragmented, and vast, the political structure is.

Which, in a report to the effect that the country’s museums and other cultural institutions ‘face imminent closure due to political wrangling over which government department should finance them’, raises the question: what is the nature of this national heritage? Does it make much sense to talk about a single national heritage; and if it does, must that not be a heritage of outright disunity?

National Museum Director Adnan Busuladzic believes the country’s history doesn’t have to be a problem. “We care about the heritage of all the people of Bosnia-Hercegovina: Serb, Bosniak, Croatian, Jewish, Gypsy. Our history is mixed, our society is mixed. We have a problem with politics, but not history—history is OK.”

So national heritage fades into ethnic heritage, and history, apparently, is depoliticised. This might be the regime least inclined towards the exploitation of heritage for its own ends which James Cuno criticises; but I doubt the material upshot is quite what he had in mind.

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