Vredne ruke, kratak dan

Greetings to East Ethnians around the world from lovely Bismarck, North Dakota, retirement home of the Iron Chancellor. While I would not usually interrupt our family journey, this news item seems quite interesting. Ljiljana Karadžić has made a public statement asking her husband Radovan, subject of an indictment for genocide, to surrender. As she told AP's reporter Radul Radovanović, "Our family is under pressure from all sides, our lives and existence are threatened. We live in an atmosphere of constant worry, pain and suffering. So I have had to decide between loyalty to you and loyalty to my children and grandchildren. And I have decided."

It is anybody's guess whether the statement is a sincere assessment of the situation, an impulsive act about to be retracted, or a publicity stunt. But it might not be much of a reach to say that a lot of people are making decisions like the Kardžić family, between an individual indicted for high crimes and the real responsibilities they face.


Charismatic leaders

The death in a copter crash of John Garang, Sudan's new Vice-President and former rebel leader, just weeks after his inauguration deals a severe blow to the peace process there. The central government will feel it has nobody to talk to in the South, while a struggle for succession might tear the fractious ex-rebel movement apart. It is stunning that a man who spent two decades in the bush fighting a vicious government should die in an accident just weeks after being installed, and many will ask whether this was indeed an accident.

But what this also highlights is the problem of any organization functioning as a one-man show, be it a rebel movement, a political party, or a business: once he's gone -- and it usually is a him -- there's no mechanism for succession and no auto-pilot option while succession is being figured out. In the case of the late Yasir Arafat, able (and less able) men were waiting in the wings and took over as soon as he had disappeared. It remains to be seen whether Garang's group can come up with similar men; it is to be hoped for the sake of Sudan.