to know more. How could I understand my
father and his all too violent concern for me if I did not know more of
his father? It was not difficult to trace him, the missing grandfather.
Absurd in a way, since we seem to spend all our lives trying to
piece together traces of people we are close to in the hope of finding
out who they – and we – are. Searches of the Register of Deaths
in Somerset House showed that he had died when I was twelve. I
managed to trace more of the familyhistory – motivated now by all
the questions I had failed to ask as a child, I combed the
, then we have the potential
to resist interpellation’s colonising move.
The monotheistic god’s-eye view becomes difficult to sustain in the
face of the vagaries and specificities of our own lives and their various
demands and engagements. We are not separate, objective academics,
gazing down at the planet and attempting to save it, but fragile, mortal
beings who are part and parcel of the ecosystem, as well as of the
geopolitical and familyhistories into which we are born.
And yet, it is very tempting to think otherwise. It is hard, especially
for someone authorised
Potentials of disorder in the Caucasus and Yugoslavia
. (1997) The Population of Georgia (Tbilisi).
Rothchild, D. (1986), ‘Inter-ethnic conﬂict and policy analysis in Africa’, Ethnic and Racial
Studies, 9:1 (January), 66–86.
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Political Order. Conﬂict and State Building (London and New York).
Tishkov, V. (1997), Ethnicity, Nationalism and Conﬂict in and after the Soviet Union. The Mind
Todorova, M. (1990), ‘Myth-making in European familyhistory: the zadruga reconsidered’, East European Politics and Societies, 4:1, 30
neighbours; and because we don’t want the twenty-first
century to be dominated by the dark marriage of modern weapons
and ancient ethnic, racial and religious hatred. We cannot
simply watch as hundreds of thousands of people are brutalised,
murdered, raped, forced from their homes, their familyhistories
erased – all in the name of ethnic pride and