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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 27-May-2011
27-May-11 News -- Europe cheers the capture of Ratko Mladic, the butcher of Srebrenica

Web Log - May, 2011

27-May-11 News -- Europe cheers the capture of Ratko Mladic, the butcher of Srebrenica

The politics of European Union membership for Serbia

Europe cheers the capture of Ratko Mladic, the butcher of Srebrenica

Even though 16 years have passed since the end of the Bosnian war, many Serbs still consider Ratko Mladic to be a war hero who saved Serb lives during the Bosnian war that ended in 1995. Hundreds of protesters clashed with police in Novi Sad, according to B92 (Serbia), as well as in other cities, to protest Thursday's arrest of Mladic. Elsewhere protesters chanted "Rise up Serb" and "The wing may be broken but the fight will be remembered," according to AP.

However, outside of Serbia, Mladic is considered to be a war criminal for the atrocities he committed in the massacre at Srebrenica, considered by many to be the worst war crime since the Holocaust of World War II. The Europeans are cheering his capture as much as Americans cheered the killing of Osama bin Laden.

For the most part, the East European crisis wars have been between two great civilizations: The Orthodox Christian civilization and the Muslim civilization. These wars have been fought not only in the Balkans, but also farther east in the Crimea and in the Caucasus. In the Balkans, there is a third great civilization, the Western Christians, represented by largely Roman Catholic Croatia.

World War I was triggered when a Serb high school student assassinated Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28, 1914 in Sarajevo. The spreading war led to the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, and the destruction of the Ottoman Empire.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, the next Balkans war began pretty much right on time -- in 1992, just 78 years after the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, and 70 years after the final collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

The Siege of Sarajevo was directed by Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic, and was executed by his two generals, Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic. Milosevic was captured in 2001, and died in his cell in 2006. Karadzic was captured in 2008, and is still being tried in The Hague on genocide charges.

The Orthodox Christian Serbs completely blockaded the city of Sarajevo, allowing no one to get out, or any supplies to get in. They then shelled the Muslim civilians in the city, and Serb soldiers went from one neighborhood to another committing horrendous atrocities.

In her book, World on Fire, here's how author Amy Chua describes the Bosnian war: "In the Serbian concentration camps of the early 1990s, the women prisoners were raped over and over, many times a day, often with broken bottles, often together with their daughters. The men, if they were lucky, were beaten to death as their Serbian guards sang national anthems; if they were not so fortunate, they were castrated or, at gunpoint, forced to castrate their fellow prisoners, sometimes with their own teeth. In all, thousands were tortured and executed."

The Srebrenica massacre.

The Bosnian War climaxed in 1995 when tens of thousands of Bosnian Muslims had taken refuge in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica, supposedly a "United Nations Safe Area." The Serbs massacred thousands of Muslim men in what has become known as the Srebrenica massacre. (See "Srebrenica massacre: Survivors commemorate."

In July, 1995, the Bosnian Serb army claimed that the Muslim army was hiding out in Srebrenica, and began shelling the town. The Serbs distributed candy to the children as a trick to separate the men from the women and children. 23,000 women and children were bussed away, while the men were held in trucks and warehouses. By the time it was over, 7,000-8,000 men were massacred. 100,000 were killed during the entire war.

Mladic faces 15 counts, including genocide, crimes against humanity and violation of the laws of war in Bosnia-Hercegovina between April 1992 and July 1995, according to BBC.

What has particularly infuriated Mladic's supporters is that Serbian President Boris Tadic cooperated in the capture of Mladic, and did so for purely political reasons -- to satisfy the demands of Brussels for Serbia to join the European Union.

Thus, French President Nicolas Sarkozy is quoted by the Guardian as saying, "[It's] a very courageous decision by the Serbian president. It's one more step towards Serbia's integration one day into the European Union."

President Tadic may be a hero to European officials, but to many in Serbia itself, he's comparable to the "Ustashas" - the Croat Nazis who sided with Hitler and betrayed the Serbs in World War II.

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 27-May-11 News -- Europe cheers the capture of Ratko Mladic, the butcher of Srebrenica thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (27-May-2011) Permanent Link
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