From blood feuds in Bosnia, to guerrilla fighting in Kurdistan, to nationalist movements in Quebec and Germany, this study examines how ethnic pride has been transformed into racial hatred, ethnic cleansing, and nationalistic extremism
Modern nationalism is a language of the blood: a call to arms that can end in the horror of ethnic cleansing. But it is also a language of belonging: a call to come home. In Blood and Belonging, Michael Ignatieff explores both sides of nationalism in a personal odyssey that begins in the nightmare of former Yugoslavia and ends with his return to his adopted homeland, Great Britain's disunited kingdom.In the devastated cities and towns on either side of the Highway of Brotherhood and Unity that links Zagreb and Belgrade, Ignatieff asks how ethnic pride turned into ethnic cleansing. In a journey between Frankfurt and Leipzig, he asks whether the nation that disgraced modern nationalism can lay to rest the ghosts of its past. And in Ukraine, he asks how a new nation can dig itself out of the ruins of the Soviet empire.In Quebec, Ignatieff returns to his own roots as a Canadian and asks why a nation like Quebec, which is already a master in its own house, believes it needs a state of its own - particularly given the claims of Indian First Nations within that province. In the mountains of Kurdistan, the world's largest stateless people - the Kurds - are fighting the Turks, the Iraqis, and themselves to establish their own nation-state. When, Ignatieff asks, does national oppression justify armed struggle? In the final journey of the book, he visits Northern Ireland, where twenty-five years of strife have exposed the fault lines and fissures of a British national identity at the breaking point.Blood and Belonging is a profound and searching exploration of one of the most complex and volatile issues of our time.