Near Eastern and Jewish Studies
DepartmentBrandeis UniversitySeptember, 2000
Recent events in Bosnia, Kossovo, Cyprus and elsewhere have suggested to students ofinterethnic relations that the application of the principle of self-determination may have reachedits practical limits. It is obvious that it is impossible to satisfy the desire for self rule of everysingle identity group without causing massive dislocation and violence. Consequently, the onlyrational alternative is to look for means of interethnic coexistence.1The phrase "the burden ofhistory" is sometimes used to explain the role that the past has played in complicating today'spolitical realities and contributing to interethnic strife. While this is indeed so, history can alsoprovide some useful guidelines for managing interethnic coexistence.