Nationalism: When the Center Does Not Hold

When the Center Does Not Hold

Independence! Self-determination! Freedom! As the Soviet Union's many ethnic and religious groups take up these rallying cries with increasing conviction, it is easy to forget the dark side of nationalism. The first reaction to the disintegration of the menacing Soviet monolith may be euphoria, but all too often, as demonstrated by other countries where ethnic rivalries have shattered national integrity, bloodshed soon follows. In Yugoslavia fierce fighting has killed more than 300 people since Croatia declared independence on June 25. In Sri Lanka an eight-year war between Tamil guerrillas and the Sinhalese majority has left 18,000 dead and countless numbers homeless...

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