Tuesday, February 20, 2007

"Fools' Crusade" Chapter Four [6]

CHAPTER FOUR: THE MAKING OF EMPIRES


THE RETURN OF THE VERTRIBENE

A short section which can be easily summed up--after World War II ended (my--that was quick!) ethnic Germans were expelled from countries throughout Eastern Europe. These millions of expelled Germans formed a sizable, and motivated, political bloc within post-WWII Germany.

Leaving that at that, Johnstone then quotes Vertirbener (the term translates as "driven out" and refers to these expelled Germans) Rupert Neudeck, who openly sympathized with Muslim rape victims on an emotional level, since he remembered the mass rapes that German women suffered during the advance of the Red Army during the war. Rather than empathizing with him, or at least allowing that the man had his reasons for his strong feelings, Johnstone cooly opines that his judgement was distorted, even as the emotional nature of his appeal increased their impact.

Johnstone believes that the vertriebene like Neudeck deliberately and systematically transposed German memories of Red Army mass rapes with Serbian atrocities in Bosnia. In other words, she psychoanalyzes the German publics collective reaction to the news coming from the former Yugoslavia.

She conclude with the implication that the very notion of "ethnic cleansing" was a German construct imposed on the situation by way of transferring German guilt about World War II into self-righteous indignation at the atrocities suffered by German women at the hands of barbaric Slavic aggressors.

And that is how this bizarre little section ends.

9 comments:

Owen said...

Kirk, I went back to try and find your review of how she dealt with the rape camp allegations but couldn't find it - can you remind me?

Kirk Johnson said...

I'll have to look. When I've finished with my initial review, I'm planning on editing it and putting it together as a proper document--perhaps on an actual website.

In the meantime--I'll have to look for it. I can't remember off the topo of my head where it was. Chapter Three, or maybe Two.

I've been saving the whole thing, chapter by chapter, as a Word file. It's easier to read that way, although of course it's not indexed yet. Would you like me to send you those files?

Shaina said...

Posts from October 8th-11th deal with the rape camps and Johnstone's response.

(the search bar at the top of the blog comes in handy sometimes! ) ;-)

Kirk Johnson said...

Thanks Shaina!

Owen said...

Thanks, Shaina, it helps to be able to use the brain, not just carry it around!

Owen said...

Yes, having gone back and seen how unwilling she was to take on board the the rape camps issue makes it easier to see how she manages to intellectualise sympathy for the real rape victims into some sort of displacement syndrome.

One thing that struck me in relation to her reference to Dr Ljubiha Toholj, the Serbian spokesperson who claimed nearly all the Serb women in Northern Bosnia had been raped is that she had actually had enough time to come with some opinion as to how accurate that claim us. But unless you've been wilfully censoring her she'd simply not checked the claim out in ten years. She'd had plemty of time to work out whether that was a comment that warranted inclusion and if so whether the allegation was substantiated.

The copyright date of Fools' Crusade is the same as the publication of the NIOD report on Srebrenica. The NIOD report's reference to Dr Tineke Cleiren implies that she accepted the existence of the rape camps. You quote Johnstone as saying that "...Dutch criminologist Tineke Christine Cleiren stressed that the "reliability and the credibility of reports and testimonies could not be verified." It seems unlikely that Dr Cleiren's views were obtained by NIOD under conditions of secrecy.

Regardless of what her thesis is Johnstone just seems unwilling to engage with reality, test it out and discard the elements that would reveal her lack of interest end effort.

Kirk Johnson said...

Exactly Owen. Whenever it suits her purposes, Johnstone ignores any new information that has come to light since the mid 1990s. Her willful ignorance is a recurring theme throughout the book.

Anonymous said...

Diana Johnstone has really hit a nerve for you to spend all this blog space on her. Good.

Kirk Johnson said...

"Really hit a nerve"? Not exactly. I could bother explaining the issue to you, but since I have little if any respect for any of the people who make snarky, ignorant comments as "anonymous" I think I'll save myself the wasted effort. It would most likely go over your head.