Finally the good news that many in the Balcans have been eagerly awaiting, but feared never to hear: Radovan Karadžić has been arrested. And better yet – he appears to have been arrested by Serbian authorities!
Perhaps we will finally gain some insight into why psychiatrist, politician, poet and children’s author Karadžić made the choices that he did. To the International Criminal Tribunal in Den Haag he will answer not just for the many heinous war crimes for which he is said to be responsible, but for using his professional insights to lift such acts to a revolting level of dispiriting thoroughness and evil.
Perhaps we may even gain insight into this simple question: How did he manage to evade capture for a staggering 13 years? Which parties failed to whole-heartedly pursue his arrest? The answers cannot be other than uncomfortable for those concerned.
For those who believe in justice, this is a good day. For families and peoples who have lost so much, may it be a day that brings some long-sought relief and peace.
I'm really fascinated by the whole mystique of this story. I'm also fascinated by the phenomenon of Serbian nationalism, given that these people have suffered persecution sporadically for centures, at the hands of Muslims, Nazis and others. Not that I'm justifying the atrocities carried out in Bosnia during the war for one minute. It's just that there's a whole dynamic at play here which tends to get ignored, stretching back into history and affecting a whole people's psyche over generations.
I also think it's a great story. This trumped up local politician sets up his own pseudo republic, slaughters thousands of people, then hides out for 12 years as a bearded New Age guru in Belgrade, only to be caught on a bus into the suburbs when the new government decides it wants to go mainstream in Europe. Guys like Karadzic unwittingly become cult figures, like Che Guevara or the Nazis who holed up in South America, and while they deserve all that's coming to them, they become kind of mystic folk heroes to their beleagured peoples and nations. The same thing is happening with Osama and they haven't even caught up with him.
[ July 23, 2008, 12:34 PM: Message edited by: Stephen ]