“The society which has abolished every kind of adventure makes its own abolition the only possible adventure.” Paris, May 1968

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Ratko Mladic. The unacceptable face of humanity.

The arrest and possible extradition of Ratko Mladic has caused a media revisiting of the break up of Yugoslavia and the dreadful bloodletting of the 90s. At the time I struggled to make sense of what was going on in the region. I tried to figure out what it was that could bring the "South Slavs" to want to wreak such unspeakable horror on each other. One mystery was why the inhabitants of Bosnia-Herzegovina were always known as Serb, Croat or Muslim; rather like referring to the British as English, Scottish or Methodist. But the real mystery was how the legacy of competing empires and religions could so distort the collective humanity of so many. I don't think that I am any closer to understanding any of this but I am convinced that people like Mladic are the subject of a deviant psyche and that once they have gathered enough followers around them they can bring untold misery to the rest of us. If there is a fault line in society such people are capable of driving in the steel wedge of fear and violence until they tear people apart from each other.
It would sound like the worst kind of trite leftist rhetoric to say that we need to recognize each other as members of a class rather than a religious, ethnic or national group; but it's true none the less. Not class in the crude economic or cultural sense, but rather the two classes of those who control - and those who are controlled.
I hope that Ratko Mladic is extradited, stands trial and spends the rest of his life under lock and key. Not just as retribution for the countless lives that he ruined but also that we may better understand how such deviant and essentially shallow individuals achieve power on the backs of the foolish and the timid.

1 comment:

Gitane said...

May I suggest "Stratagems and Spoils" by fg Bailey. Social anthropology has done much to bring some clarification to the western understanding of class and the far older and globally more accepted( but not discussed) experience of tribe. Just follow the money.