Serbian War Crimes: Mladic arrest not the end of the story

Nothing in the Balkans is ever as it seems. Within every angle are shadows and shadows upon shadows. Two things are always for certain, the Serbs will be intransigent to a sport, and the West never quite gets their historic meddling right. Both play the other for the fool, and both are almost always proved correct.

A bit of background on the good General Mladic I think is put better from my Book, Everything for Love, about my travels in the Balkans during the break up:

“Ratko Mladich, hunted by the world for the slaughter of seven thousand men and Boys in Srebrenica, became a fugitive exile from the land he and his army coveted. Mladich grew into a soldier in a nation that threw off the Nazi occupation. He rose through the ranks of the Yugoslav National Army hoping for the glory of his forefathers. When that time came he fought battles not against a seasoned adversary, pitting wit and boldness and strategy against a worthy opponent, instead his army vanquished old men and boys without guns, murdered old women and forced desperate villagers from their homes and looted them. He lives in Belgrade, protected by paid thugs.”

Like Karadzic, he fled from the courage of his pretend convictions. There was no defiant stand to defend the indiscriminate shelling of Tuzla, Sarajevo and Gorazde, or the sniping of civilians or the execution of the 7500 men and boys now being unearthed from mass graves around Srebrenica. These weren’t the acts to protect Serbian nationhood, but criminal acts hiding the transfer of territory and wealth through the perverse prism of manufactured ethnic animosity. Instead Mladic hid behind enablers and Serbian thugs under an assumed identity. Hardly the actions of even a self-respecting zealot, but rather a criminal who knew in the end his assertions of Serbdom were facades to a crime.

But the longest legacy of all this is that the Serbian people, as complicit in those crimes as the men who fired the weapons at civilians, have reached no catharsis about those terrible acts perpetrated in their name. They believed the nationalist’s hatred and drew siege lines around reason and human decency, blinding themselves to morality in believing they were the ultimate victims.

Mladic’s arrest, like Karadzic’s, were not sudden awakenings to the cause of human rights and an understanding of the brutality inflicted upon innocents in Croatia and Bosnia and Kosovo. They were bargaining chips for reconciliation with the rest of Europe. In that way this is a cynical act that the victims of their crimes-the survivors should not find justice in. Justice may come to the man, but the Serbs would happily sweep the years of war into the dustbin of history to be forgotten, erased from their own conscience. Would we have accepted that from the Germans over the Holocaust, or the Japanese after Nanking?

To my Serbian friends, it is not about Serbia’s soul only. It is about the soul of humanity, that each time we bury the past it returns with a vengeance, and that the only way to move forward from the tragedies and crimes of our collective pasts are to confront them resolutely and humbly, where them as a scar and never forget. Only then will “Never Again,” actually mean anything.

About 900poundgorilla

W.C. Turck is a Chicago playwright and the author of four widely acclaimed books.His latest is "The Last Man," a prophetic novel of a world ruled by a single corporation. His first novel, "Broken: One Soldier's Unexpected Journey Home," was reccommended by the National Association of Mental Health Institutes. His 2009 Memoir, "Everything for Love" chronicled the genocide in Bosnia and the siege of Sarajevo. His third book "Burn Down the Sky" is published exclusively on Amazon Kindle. It was in Sarajevo at the height of the siege where he met and married his wife, writer and Artist Ana Turck. FOX NEWS, ABC, CBS News, the Chicago Tribune and The Joliet Herald covered their reunion after the war. He helped organized relief into Rwanda during the 1994 genocide. Turck has been a guest on WMAQ-TV, WLS in Chicago, WCPT, WBBM radio, National Public Radio, Best Of the Left and the Thom Hartmann show. He has spoken frequently on Human Rights, Genocide and Nationalism. In 2011, his play in support of the Occupy Movement, "Occupy My Heart-a revolutionary Christmas Carol" recieved national media attention and filled theaters to capacity across Chicago. He remains an activist to the cause of human rights and international peace. View all posts by 900poundgorilla

2 responses to “Serbian War Crimes: Mladic arrest not the end of the story

  • julia sullivan

    An powerful essay bringing a clear concise picture of his crimes and their affect and legacy on the people of the region. It is sad to think it took 16 years to capture a man who was not that well hidden because Serbia just wants to win favor with other countries and not because he deserves to be punished.

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