Cornell University Press, 2003
Many commentators have tried to analyze the bloody conflicts that tore Yugoslavia apart. But in all these attempts to make sense of the wars and ethnic violence, one crucial factor has been overlooked—the decisive role played by exile groups and émigré communities in fanning the flames of nationalism and territorial ambition. Based in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, and South America, these groups helped provide the ideologies, the leadership, the money, and in many cases, the military hardware that fueled the violent conflicts. Atypical were the dissenting voices who drew upon their experiences in Western democracies to stem the tide of war.
In spite of the diasporas’ power and influence, however, their story has never before been told, partly because it is so difficult, even dangerous to unravel. Paul Hockenos, a Berlin-based American journalist and political analyst, has traveled through several continents and interviewed scores of key figures, many of whom had never previously talked about their activities. Hockenos investigates the borderless international networks that diaspora organizations rely on to export political agendas back to their native homelands—agendas that at times blatantly undermined the foreign policy objectives of their adopted countries.
Hockenos tells an extraordinary story, with elements of farce as well as tragedy, a story of single-minded obsession and double-dealing, of high aspirations and low cunning. The figures he profiles include individuals as disparate as a Canadian pizza baker and an Albanian urologist who played instrumental roles in the conflicts, as well as other men and women who rose boldly to the occasion when their homelands called out for help.
Table of Contents (pdf download)
Review excerpts and praise
“Although the Balkan wars of the 1990s were homegrown, diasporas from Australia to North America played more than a cameo role. Hockenos is the first person with enough curiosity and drive to unravel systematically the connections between the Croat, Serb, and Albanian emigre populations and Franjo Tudjman, Slobodan Milosevic, and others who presided over the Balkan calamity.” Robert Legvold, Foreign Affairs, March/April 2004
There is simply no way to understand how the different wars in the Balkans erupted during the 1990s without knowing the role played by the different exile and diaspora communities. Paul Hockenos has done truly pioneering work in describing this crucial aspect of the Balkans issues. No one has done it before, and no one is likely to do it better in the future. Carl Bildt, former UN Special Envoy for the Balkans and former High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Homeland Calling uncovers a world that went mostly unreported during the decade-long violent disintegration of former Yugoslavia but whose activities played a crucial and decisive role in the outcome of the wars. This book should be read by anyone interested in the wars for the spoils of Yugoslavia. Laura Silber, coauthor of Yugoslavia: Death of a Nation
Paul Hockenos has delved into the murky work of expatriate activism, revealing for the first time a critical factor in the Balkan wars of the1990s and populating a familiar story with colorful new characters. Homeland Calling is a valuable contribution and an enjoyable read. Anthony Borden, Executive Director, Institute for War & Peace Reporting
Paul Hockenos’s Homeland Calling is a cautionary tale about what he calls ?long-distance nationalism. With phenomenal reporting and a judicious eye, Hockenos proves that a crude sense of nationalism, nourished in exile, fueled the bloody wars that speckled the Balkans in the 1990s. This is an indispensable book for anyone interested in the Balkan wars, the experience of exile, or the toxin of nationalism. Matthew Rothschild, editor of The Progressive magazine
Paul Hockenos weaves together a fascinating array of stories about migration, exile, and return. Homeland Calling is an extremely important contribution to understanding the violent collapse of former Yugoslavia. No longer are we in the dark about the role of the Balkan diasporas in those conflicts. Gerald Knaus, Director, European Stability Initiative
Paul Hockenos asks how it was possible that some of our next-door neighbors ended up acting as ideologues and the perpetrators of war crimes in the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s. After decades living in the West, many former migrants failed to promote Western values in their homelands, but turned instead to the most radical political ideologies and ethnic fanaticism. Not only does Homeland Calling tell a fascinating story about the involvement of the migrant community in the wars of former Yugoslavia, it also makes us think hard about our own societies in the West. Dejan Jovic, author of Yugoslavia: A State that Withered Away
“For almost twenty years Hockenos has reported extensively on Eastern European life and times, including the bloody breakup of the former Yugoslavia. He also works for a European think tank focused on the future of the Balkans. Homeland Calling . . . documents the impact of exile activists on their homelands of Croatia, Serbia, and Albania. Tracking how the migrants raised large amounts of money for weapons, political campaigns, and the lobbying of Western governments, Hockenos concludes that exile leaders didn’t cause the wars, but they effectively turbocharged them by supporting radically nationalistic policies.” Barbara Melville, Skidmore Scope, Fall 2003
Die Tageszeitung: http://www.taz.de/1/archiv/archiv/?dig=2004/08/07/a0314
NATO Review: www.nato.int/docu/review/2005/issue1/german/book.html
Mediterranean Quarterly: http://muse.jhu.edu/login?uri=/journals/mediterranean_quarterly/v015/15.3schindler.html
Foreign Affairs: http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/59653/robert-legvold/homeland-calling-exile-patriotism-and-the-balkan-wars