Thursday, January 09, 2014

"From Enemy Territory" by Mladen Vuksanovic [7]

So It Was Foreseeable: Afterword by Roman Arens and Christiane Schlotzer-Scotland

This brief afterword first establishes a fact which Bosnian revisionists have been trying to deny ever since the war first broke out--that the bloodshed in the Bosnian war was the product of deliberate planning. This diary is an eyewitness account of the early stages of the genocidal war which would engulf the country. Vuksanovic's diary stands as a witness to the ground-level implementation of a well-planned, if morally bankrupt, dismantling of a multinational society in the service of fascism.

"Power interests were the aim, ethnically grounded hysteria was the motor leading to this aim."

This basic point--that "ethnic hatred" was a tool of those who caused the war rather than the cause itself, is the central fact one must grasp in order to understand the war in Bosnia. And all the prevarication and dissembling in the world cannot match the clarity and directness of this document.

The afterword ends with a brief explanation of how the diary came to be translated (into German) and published--a chance encounter between Vuksanovic and a publisher named Nenad Popovic, who was also involved with the German organization Journalists help Journalists. Given how often Vuksanovic railed against his former colleagues in the field who turned to nationalistic propagandizing and lying, this connection is especially apt.

In the end, there isn't much else for me to say about this book. It is intensely moving and unforgettable. It deserves to be better known; a lonely and desperate witness to evil by a man who refused to surrender his moral sense to the tidal wave of madness and hate that destroyed the town he loved and the country it was in.

1 comment:

Owen said...

Thanks, Kirk. Your summary has given us a brief glimpse of what it must have been like in Pale during a period when time must have felt as though it was moving forward at a snail's pace. You've communicated very forcefully the impact of this account of a slow-motion landslide carrying away the fabric of an ordinary family's everyday life.