Friday, October 13, 2006

"Fools' Crusade" Chapter Two [15]


Johnstone won't let go of the collective-guilt accusation. You really have to hand it to her--this level of self-delusion is hard to keep up for any length of time.

"Collective guilt can imply collective innocence. Whitewashed by the indictment of their Serbian counterparts and convinced that the Tribunal was on their side, the Bosnian Muslim leaders were encouraged to seek not compromise but institutionalized vengeance."

What "compromise" is she thinking of here? Her version of events in Bosnia is so warped it's nearly impossible to address the "issues" she brings up; after awhile the temptation to just let things slide gets hard to resist. But this I cannot ignore--what compromise could the Bosnian government have made?

Furthermore, what sort of "institutionalized vengeance" is she visualizing here? Fortunately, she does clear this confusion up:

"The Muslims' insistence that "there can be no real peace until Karadzic is sent to The Hague" was a demand for vengeance and exoneration, not for peace."

While calling on the victims of ethnic cleansing to compromise, Johnstone is outraged at calls to indict, try, and convict a primary architect of ethnic cleansing. This, to her mind, is "vengeance." She wants peace without a shred of justice; it's a muddled moral universe she inhabits.

She quotes Richard Goldstone, the first Chief Prosecutor, by way of bolstering her bizarre thesis. He stated, forcefully, that "The victims of the Yugoslav war want legal vengeance," and "For us the victims are the most important." He goes on to explain that there is a difference between the work of the tribunal of the South African Truth Commission--which he was also involved with--by the "big difference between apartheid and genocide in the extent of the crime."

From these quotes, she derives this rather surprising conclusion:

"This surprising comparison reveals that Goldstone, for all his talk of establishing individual responsibility, had prejudged the Bosnia conflict in terms of group guilt and group victims. In the mind, the Muslims were victims of "genocide," all of them, and as "victims" had the right to demand justice."

I'm not sure where she gets this--he referred to 'victims' plural and there has never been a single indictment that I'm aware of against "the Serbs," unless Johnstone knows something I don't.

1 comment:

Owen said...

Ms Johnstone clearly rejects the notion that international legal institutions should become involved in what she regards as national affairs so I wonder whether, with her characteristic deft grasp of the importance of contextuality, she is actually arguing that it would be more appropriate for Karadzic to be tried by his peers in Sarajevo rather than at The Hague? Or should it be in Banja Luka? Or is it the courts of Belgrade she thinks should have jurisdiction? Or is it that to avoid all this confusion the solution she's advocating is for the poet and philosopher to be allowed to go into peaceful retirement in Pale, saving the general public from further moral degradation?