Sunday, October 08, 2006

"Fools' Crusade" Chapter Two [8]


Johnstone, having claimed that the reports of concentration camps in Bosnia were fabricated in order to garner Jewish-American support for Muslim Bosnia and formerly fascist Croatia (oh yes, she really believes this), now goes on to claim that reports of mass rape in Bosnia were likewise fabricated in order to enlist Western feminist support.

The problem, as Johnstone sees it, is that feminists have succeeded too well in sensitizing people to rape; we are, apparantly, too willing to believe accusations of rape. Once again, Johnstone is standing up for those courageous souls willing to look rape victims in the eye and say "Prove it."

The level of sensitivity she displays in this section can best be illustrated by this quote from the third paragraph:

"Women are raped every day in peacetime in the most "advanced" societies. There is no reason to doubt that in wartime, especially during civil war, rape is even more common.

It is nearly impossible for a sane, decent person to understand what it is she might be getting at here. What is her point? "Rape happens"? And what does "there is no reason to doubt" supposed to mean? Is there ANY reason to doubt? At all? I simply cannot conceive of a good reason to write the above two sentences. There is simply no good reason to make such a 'point.'

Having callously dragged this agonizing subject down to the base level of 'bad things happen' she goes on to elaborate on what it means to be "skeptical" in the world of Diana Johnstone:

But aside from the matter of believing or doubting the word of the women themselves, in wartime there is the additional problem of whether or not to believe allegations made in the context of war propaganda."

It is no longer enough that reporters and activists attempt to be clear-headed and in command of as much information as possible; we must now be actively disbelievers. Johnstone, who is very concerned about the feelings of 'the Serbs' as a group is clinically immune to any feelings of empathy for individual women. Perhaps Johnstone merely wants matters of justice decided by Napoleanic Code, where all are guilty--or fabricators of anti-Serb propaganda--until proven innocent.

For all her bombast, however, Johnstone's entire argument rests on a single example--that of Jadranka Cigelj, interviewed by Roy Gutman. She analyzes this case to excrutiating detail, while ignoring the other evidence of mass rape in Bosnia--namely, thousands of known rape victims, along with testimony from the Tribunal. Need I mention that her source of information on Gutman's alleged duplicity comes from "Living Marxism" affiliated pseudo-journalist Thomas Deichmann?

After working through her latest anti-journalist hissy fit (yes, I realize "anti-journalist" is ridiculous, but so is "anti-Serb" in the context she uses it; fair play and all that), this opening section of part 3 [note to self: I must get my terminology straight!] peters out with a lame attempt to portray the press as having been on a wild goose chase for 'authentic rape victims.' Does Johnstone bother talking to, or reading interviews with, any actual rape victims in Bosnia? I think you know the answer to that question.

1 comment:

Owen said...

Just in case Johnstone hadn't read Mazowiecki's report E/CN.4/1993/50 of 10 Feb 1993 - would that have been nearly ten years before her book?


D. Investigation of widespread occurrence of rape

82. An alarming number of allegations of the widespread occurrence of rape have been made, particularly in the context of the confict in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was repeatedly stated that rape was being used as an instrument of ethnic cleansing. Many documents have been received by the Special Rapporteur in this connection. Wide-ranging estimates of the total number of rape victims had been made.

83. Gravely concerned at the nature of these reports, the Special Rapporteur decided to send an international team of medical experts to investigate the allegations and report to him on their findings. The report of the medical experts who visited the former Yugoslavia from 12 to 23 January 1993 is attached, in extenso, as annex II. The Special Rapporteur strongly endorses the observations, conclusions and recommendations of the team of experts.

84. In particular, the Special Rapporteur would like to emphasize the following from among their conclusions:

"Rape of women, including minors, has occurred on a large scale. While the team of experts has found victims among all ethnic groups involved in the conflict, the majority of rapes that they [the team of experts] have documented had been committed by Serb forces against Muslim women from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

"The team of experts is not aware of any attempts by those in positions of power, either military or political, to stop the rapes.

"There is clear evidence that Croat, Muslim and Serb women have been detained for extended periods of time and repeatedly raped.

"In Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Croatia, rape has been used as an instrument of ethnic cleansing."

85. Rape is an abuse of power and control in which the rapist seeks to humiliate, shame, degrade and terrify the victim. In all his reports, the Special Rapporteur has emphasized the variety of methods which are used to achieve ethnic cleansing. Rape is one of these methods, as has been stated from the outset. In this context, rape has been used not only as an attack on the individual victim, but is intended to humiliate, shame, degrade and terrify the entire ethnic group. There are reliable reports of public rapes, for example, in front of a whole village, designed to terrorize the population and force ethnic groups to flee.