Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Borojevic interview with Johnstone is prefaced with a two-paragraph introduction that rather artlessly combines strands of typical conspiracy-mongering (facts stripped of context, handled with a deliberate disregard for balance and a sense of proportion) with the coarser practice of blatantly lying.

Borojevic refers to the lawsuit filed in the International Court of Justice by the government of Bosnia and Hercegovina against the government of Serbia on charges of genocide. This lawsuit dates from the actual war (it was, obviously, originally filed against the "rump" Yugoslavia), and certainly is worth some discussion. If Borojevic and Johnstone were interested in a serious discussion about the jurisdiction of the ICJ, the precedent of one state suing another, or even the wisdom of Bosnia seeking reparations while reconciliation is still far from assured, then this might have been an interesting, provocative, or at least worthwhile article.

Instead, it is a tedious mix of pedantic legality, clumsy semantics, and moral relativism gone berzerk. For hardline Serb nationalists, ultra-right nationalists looking for validation, and neo-Stalinists in search of fellow travelers, Johnstone offers an escape from reality into a foggy moral twilight where the sharp contours of state responsibility for genocide become fuzzy and ultimately imperceptable. Follow Johnstone down her predestined road of 'intellectual discovery' and you will gladly lose yourself in the tangled shrubs of historical justification, collective guilt, and knee-jerk anti-Western ideology. All the time blissfully ignorant that you are still lost deep in the forest.

Pardon the rather tortured metaphor. It's very difficult to describe the logic at work here--an ideology that remains doggedly faithful to its own reference points while heroically ignoring the mass of factual data and information towering all around you. I don't know how she does it with a straight face; I sure as hell don't understand why.

I promise to actually begin discussing the text of the interview in the next post. I needed to vent a little before diving in to the closeted, airless intellectual world Diane Johnstone lives in. I hope to illustrate this in the next few entries.


Katja R. said...

Well D'UH Serbianna what do you expect? I only look at that site for the pictures!

Kirk Johnson said...

Oh I know exactly what the site is about. But just because any sane person knows that it's a joke doesn't mean it shouldn't be called out publicly.

Diane Johnstone is, sadly, still considered a legit journalist in some circles. I have a friend who was not aware that General MacKenzie was in SerbNet's pay--people like us can't let lies like this go unchallenged, even when we think the truth should be obvious.

Owen said...

Yes, Kirk, people still quote MacKenzie and Michael Rose as if they were unbiased sources.

Katja R. said...

I have a very poor view of General Rose, I don't think much of McKenzie either. I did not know that MacKenzie was in SerbNet's pay but the information isn't a surprise! Where did you find this out?