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Magical Lands

By Evan Kleiman

    A breath of fresh air, a port very quaint, so charming, yet a city that has undergone a great deal of devastation from the ugliness of war and battles over territory. Its history paints a tragic story, but Dubrovnik today looks untouched and precious. What I could make sense of was why so many neighboring countries wanted to acquire this magical land. Its natural beauty and very strong European influence almost makes it feel like one big movie set. It was so clean, so beautiful and so untouched that it didn’t even feel like an inhabited city. Large footprints come and go. Dubrovnik, Croatia, its city walls are fragile yet powerful, its gentle and endearing presence challenges my quest for piecing together the historical significance of Croatia and Dubrovnik and how the city turned into the place it is today. Its economy flourishes from this rather constant influx of tourists.

In the chapter "Poetics of Resistance" from Fear, Death, and Resistance, the writing takes me the reader on a thoughtful path in considering the complexity of describing the devastation of war and all that is encompassed by it. One of the more meaningful lines expresses the authors' views, “Scientific language often seemed too cold and selective for this difficult and chaotic reality...” and “there is a certain thread, morally questionable, almost dubious in the incentive for the culturological  'scientification of the war'." The consequences of the war were still fresh in the psyche and morale of the people, as seemed apparent through the interactions that felt much less open, rather more closed and protected. This perception of the people could have also had to do with their exhaustion of tourism.

    Although there was still a great deal of a vernacular influence in Dubrovnik, post-war reconstruction resembled many different European influences and foreign ownership as a result of the affordability of the land, post-war vulnerability and wealthier entrepreneurs in Europe who took advantage of the opportunity to own land. Thus aside from the old city, a great deal of Dubrovnik displayed a mixture of transnational influence. 

    The aspect of Dubrovnik that was most refreshing to me was that it has not yet been tainted by globalization, a great deal of the economy was locally driven, which allowed me to compare more deeply the role that global cities play in the world, and the importance of differentiating between the vernacular and the transnational. In their process of acquiring membership in the EU it seems highly probable that more and more transnational aspects will surface and take strong presence in Dubrovnik, Croatia. It almost seems that they go hand in hand.

(“The necessity to think and speak a language
which in wartime is totally useless and senseless…)

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