Recently Ratko Mladic, the Serbian general, responsible for leading its genocidal campaign against the Bosnian Muslims was captured by the intelligence members of the Serbian government. It is difficult to imagine that Ratko, the Serbian Killer Rat, would have dodged arrest for this long, almost 16 years, without cooperation from the Serbian government and its supporters within the Serbian enclaves of Bosnia. Before his arrest, he was not in any disguise. But where is the outrage about Serbian duplicity, its protection -- all these years for one of the worst mass murderers of our time? Ratko is treated like a celebrity and a star in Serbia. What a shame for Serbia and the Bosnian Serbs!
In her recently published article in the NY Times, Natasha Kandic, a human rights activist from Belgrade, writes:
"But I am not so sure that Serbia has given up on Mr. Mladic and his fellow generals, who prosecuted a genocidal war in Bosnia. The sympathy that state officials and the news media expressed for Mr. Mladic last week is yet another mark of shame on all of us. The deputy prosecutor offered him strawberries. His wish to be visited by the health minister and the president of Parliament was granted, as was his request to visit his daughter’s grave. The Serbian public was constantly updated on his diet in jail, and we all learned that Mr. Mladic flew to The Hague in the suit he’d worn at his son’s wedding. He was treated as a star.
Such adulation of murderers is dangerous in a region where the wounds of war have not yet healed. Nationalism is still strong in Bosnia, Croatia, Kosovo and Montenegro, and sometimes even stronger than it was during the wars that tore Yugoslavia apart in the 1990s...
In the eyes of the Bosnian political establishment and victims’ families, justice for the victims of genocide and ethnic cleansing will be served only if Serbia and Bosnian Serb leaders acknowledge their role in the genocide. Yet Bosnian Serb leaders still deny it took place and demand that more Bosnian Muslim leaders face war crimes trials, too...
And in Montenegro, a court ruled that the policemen who handed over Muslim refugees to Bosnian Serb forces in May 1992 weren’t guilty of a war crime — a slap in the face to victims’ families.
The region desperately needs an honest debate about the past. It is the only way to recognize all victims and to stop the lies we tell about ourselves and about others."
Will the Serbians ever have the moral courage it takes to wash away the stain of the past once and for all?