[Marxism] My web letter to the Nation on an article about Karadzic

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Jul 31 10:44:54 MDT 2008

No Ordinary Criminal
By Slavenka Drakulic

July 22, 2008

Let's admit it, Radovan Karadzic, arrested for war crimes, after twelve 
years on the run, is different. For one, he looks different from all the 
other criminals--the stocky, greasy Balkan politicians; the pudgy 
unshaven generals; the foxy-eyed thugs, the taxi drivers turned secret 
policemen. Karadzic is a tall, well-built man with a strong chin and 
large eyes. His wild, graying mane makes him look more like a rock star 
than a politician. One could easily imagine him onstage, microphone in 
hand. In fact, he often appeared that way--although not in the capacity 
of a rock star. He had a personal flair, a certain charisma. Now, 
looking at the latest, rather ridiculous photos of the bearded old man 
who was taken into custody, it is hard to believe all that.

His life story is surely material for a movie--a guy born in a tiny 
Montenegrin village who made it to the city of Sarajevo, to a 
university, to fame as a poet and, finally, to President of the 
Republika Srpska--and fame as one of the world's most wanted war 
criminals. Combining the traditional characters of hajduk (robber) and 
guslar (poet), Karadzic was known to recite epic verses while 
accompanying himself on a stringed instrument. But all his intellectual 
achievements were insufficient: what he wanted was power. Karadzic 
became a war criminal out of sheer vanity. Vanity itself is not a crime, 
unless it pushes you in the position where you can--and indeed, you 
do--order the extermination of almost 8,000 Muslim men in Srebrenica in 
1995, to mention only one of his offenses against humanity.




I am sure that Karadzic will get the maximum sentence in accord with the 
ICTY's adherence to a paraphrase of Orwell's observation that "some men 
are more unequal than others."

In March of this year, Naser Oric, the former Bosnian military chief, 
was acquitted of all charges by the ICTY, including direct involvement 
in the killings and responsibility for the "wanton destruction" of Serb 
homes and property.

A month later Kosovo's former Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj was 
acquitted of all charges by The Hague. He and two former commanders of 
the Kosovo Liberation Army had been charged with murdering, raping, 
torturing and persecuting Serbs and their perceived collaborators in 1998.

With the continuing demonization of the Serbs in The Nation, one wonders 
why Christopher Hitchens felt motivated to leave. Maybe with the growing 
consensus between the Democrats and the Republicans over the need to 
stay in Iraq, he will return.

Louis Proyect
New York, NY

More information about the Marxism mailing list