Mladic the genocide: a moment of silence for the Balkans' lost lives, honor and credibility


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/11/23/where-is-the-goodness.html

Charles Manson, world-famous cult leader and serial killer, died this week in a prison in California, after a life sentence. Ratko Mladic, Balkan war criminal, just received a life sentence in The Hague yesterday.


#2

Good. And I look forward to reading his obit here.


#3

Roger That!


#4

Serbia is one of those countries that perhaps have too much history, like Northern Ireland. Serbia wasn’t entirely the cause of WW1, but it was the detonator that set off the high explosive distributed around European chancelleries. Like those other ethnic flashpoints Northern Ireland and Israel, there seems to be a lot of construction of exculpatory narratives and selective interpretation of history.
I suspect it would be wrong to describe Mladic as typical of Serbian nationalist politicians but he has plenty of predecessors, even if their activities were more externally directed. Manson, if I remember correctly, suggested that he was just a representative of the normalisation of violence in the US. Mladic could be seen as a similar figure on a much larger canvas for the Balkans. It’s possible that the strains of the insane decision of the British Government to leave the EU could result in the eruption of violence in NI again; one could easily imagine the DUP trying to frighten out Catholics by sectarian violence as they did from 1972-1992.

But how do you give a prison sentence to an entire culture?


#5

I’m going to put my hand up and say that I remain woefully ignorant about what happened to Yugoslavia. I guess I wasn’t paying enough attention in the nineties for whatever reason, and what I did hear seemed bewilderingly complicated. Anyway, can anyone recommend good introductory books on the subject?


#6

Do you know what pisses me off to no end?

There are actual Bosnian genocide deniers out there!

The incidents are only about 20+ years old and we have people pretending they never happened. Despite a ton of evidence and years of it being examined in war crimes trials.

They are taking the same tactics as the Holocaust denier POS but applying them here. Same lying and trolling.

Gahhhhhhhh!!!


#7

Try this one
https://www.amazon.com/My-War-Gone-Miss-So/dp/0140298541

Also the HBO Movie Shot through the Heart (full movie is on Youtube)


#8

The area I live in ended up being home to a lot of families who fled from the civil war, not as a matter of policy, just standard chain migration stuff. It really changed the way I watched the news as a child. I saw kids getting in schoolyard fights over things that were happening an ocean away. But more than that what stuck with me were a few airshows. Cleveland has a big airshow each year. It’s the usual stuff, Blue Angels doing tricks and the like. I watched people I knew dive and hide in pure absolute terror, because the sound of military jets wasn’t the sound of the start of summer, but a risk of death. It served as a life long reminder that wherever over-there is, that they are people just the same as you.


#9

Northern Ireland’s troubles are fresh, wet paint compared to Serbia, where there are festering grudges that go back to the thirteenth century.


#10

And @bobtato, a great film made by former Yugoslavs is No Man’s Land:

Starts out as something of a comedy and becomes something much darker.

For this particular stuff, I’d highly recommend Joe Sacco’s comic Safe Area Gorazde:

Sarajevo Blues is a great primary source account of the war, through poetry, etc:

The War Started at Maksimir is a good analysis of hate speech prior to the war:

https://books.google.com/books/about/The_war_started_at_Maksimir.html?id=E_xkAAAAMAAJ

Eric gordy’s The Culture of Power in Serbia is also a good look at how the Serb nationalists shaped the country prior to and during the war:

I’ve heard good things about the movie that Angelina Jolie did about the war, but haven’t seen it yet, In the land of Blood and Honey:

The problem with much of the historiography is that much of it is written from competing points of view of national histories and it’s hard to wade through all the ideology to find the truth of what happened. You got to try avoid those essentialist narratives and look for stuff that actually digs into the internal and outside forces that were shaping events on the ground.


#11

No. It goes back to the 19th, when nationalist began to craft competing national narratives based on historical events like the battle of Kosovo Polje.

[ETA - a link]

https://books.google.com/books/about/Making_a_Nation_Breaking_a_Nation.html?id=cnISZNM6X6EC


#12

Ethno-religious nationalism leading to ethnic cleansing and acts of genocide. Happened in Palestine . Happening in Myanmar and Yemen right now. Will continue happening judging by the lukewarm reaction of the international community.


#13

I was just about to post that myself. :slightly_smiling_face:


#14

Some background:


#15

Actually conflict in Northern Ireland dates back to at least the 5th century CE (as evinced in the Tain bo Cuailnge) and had a fresh stimulus starting in the early 17th century. The present boundaries of NI have their origins in the ancient Kingdom of Armagh.

Edit - for Americans, look at the map and remember that until the 18th century (19th in many places) the main form of transport was by sea.
Northern Ireland is separated from Scotland only by a narrow channel. The result is that for many years there were close links between Scotland and NI. Although the settlements under King James (now where else have we heard of settlements causing conflict?) were a specific event in history, for over a thousand years before that there was periodic conflict between Armagh and the other Irish kingdoms, with frequent involvement from Scotland.
The Troubles didn’t begin in 1972. They probably began before Queen Medb and Ailill had a dispute over who had the biggest assets, and she decided to steal a bull from Armagh.


#16

Here’s a reasonable place to start too:

http://www.icty.org/en/about

with access to more court documents, witness evidence transcripts, footage of proceedings etc. than you can shake a stick at here:

http://icr.icty.org/


#17

Serbia has too much history… of invading its neighbors and committing atrocities, then portraying itself as a victim. Jasmina Tesanovic is in the minority that acknowledges Serbia’s crimes.


#18

Short version: Serbs started four wars in a decade, killed 100,000 innocent civilians and displaced two million in Bosnia (92-95, including the genocide in Srebrenica), and killed 10,000 innocent civilians and displaced one million in Kosovo (98-99), raping and looting massively in both places. All of the former Yugoslav republic split from Serbia, because nobody likes a murderous thug. And yet, most Serbs think of themselves as victims.


#19

That’s exactly right. The same message is conveyed in these books:

https://www.amazon.com/Serbias-Secret-War-Propaganda-History/dp/0890967601

https://www.amazon.com/Kosovo-Short-History-Noel-Malcolm/dp/0060977752


#20

Serbia’s Secret War is a great book.