Sunday, October 22, 2006

"Fools' Crusade" Chapter Two [25]


The fourth, and final, factor Johnstone claims underlines the case against Karadzic is his complicity/responsibility for the massacre at Srebrenica. And she proceeds to devote seven full pages to refuting any responsibility for whatever happened at Srebrenica; which, she assures the reader, was nothing. Or at least nothing very bad. Or at least nothing approaching a war crime. Or at least nothing resembling genocide. And anyway, the Muslims did it, too.

You get the picture.

She begins thusly:

"However, for public opinion, all of this seems like quibbling. The case against Karadzic, and indeed against "the Serbs" [note: she puts "the Serbs" in quotes herself at this point, as if it were the international community, not Serbian nationalists and their allies, who insist on filtering all dialogue through the collectivist prism.] "in general, can be reduced to a single words: "Srebrenica." The difficulty in knowing the truth about Srebrenica began with the fact that before any solid information was available, Srebrenica had already become an important symbol and overwhelming political weapon."

The Western world has always been arbitrary in offering sympathy, attention, and identification with, oppressed, suffering, or persecuted peoples outside of its own geographic/cultural/social/political spheres. Oppressive foreign regimes, more often than not, can buy favor from the United States and other Western nations by adopting an accomodating foreign policy, or favorable economic and trade arrangements. Some atrocities in non-Western countries receive extensive media coverage and serious consideration, if nothing else, by the United Nations or other international bodies. Other ongoing wars, famines, oppressive regimes, and even genocides go unnoticed and ignored.

There isn't a double-standard; there are many. Realpolitik, not enlightened humanitarianism, has been the standard--at least when the standard hasn't been hostile intervention, destablilzation, and outright imperialism.

And yet, unless one want so to dismiss any possibility of change, we must start somewhere. If the citizens of the world are ever to overcome any of the bigotries and divisions which divide us and begin to work towards a truly just, global peace, we must start somewhere. The journey to a better world begins with a single step. The decision to finally draw a line somewhere would almost certainly be arbitrary, and influenced by less-than-idealistic considerations--but what of it? If we are to challenge injustice everywhere, mustn't we begin somewhere?

Johnstone wants the reader to believe that the attention paid to the Bosnian war by the same Western world that turned a blind eye to the Turkish oppression of the Kurds and barely bothered to pay attention to the brutal genocide in Rwanda is somehow tainted by that bias. Other Balkan genocide deniers take the same line. She is not arguing that the West paid too little attention to the Kurds and the Tutsis; she is arguing that it paid too much attention. That difference explains her callousness towards the victims of Srebrenica and her indifference towards any evidence that contradicts her painstakingly elaborated fantasies.


She concludes this introductory paragraph with the following, predictably dishonest comments:

"Uncertainty has persisted concerning the actual number of people killed, the circumstances and motives involved, and the political significance of the real or assumed killing that took place."

The "uncertainty" is all hers and her allies.

"In trying to understand what happened at Srebrenica, a number of factors should be taken into account."

And now she proceeds to share these disingenuously crafted "uncertainties" with the rest of us.

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