2006-06-17

"I didn't mean it that way"

I will spare the readers of East Ethnia the details of the tedious controversy -- interestingly enough, a mostly German debate that seems to have very little resonance in Serbia itself -- surrounding Peter Handke's statements about Serbia, the genocide in Bosnia (and especially Srebrenica), and the role of late President Milosevic. An excellent resource for the whole thing is Caroline Fetscher's blog, which is required reading anyway. (Should you still thirst for yet more and read German, today's Neue Zürcher Zeitung carries a long interview with Handke.) I will equally refrain from commenting on Noam Chomsky's recent interview with the New Statesman.

[I cannot bring myself, however, to refrain from quoting the interview's highlight: "The worst crime was Srebrenica but, unfortunately for the International Tribunal, there was an intensive investigation by the Dutch government, which was primarily responsible - their troops were there - and what they concluded was that not only did Milosevic not order it, but he had no knowledge of it. And he was horrified when he heard about it." If anyone can figure out what he's talking about, please let me know.]

Rather, the point I'd like to make is this: how come two people who have been professionally working with words for several decades and who have received numerous awards for that work don't seem to be able of any unambiguous statement when it comes to the question of war crimes and genocide in former Yugoslavia? Of course, Chomsky is equally obfuscating on a range of other issues, and his extreme negligence -- some might say, willful manipulation -- when handling sources and quotes is legendary. Indeed, the fallout from Chomsky's infamous interview with the Guardian's Emma Brockes (centering on the use of quotation marks and similar), and Handke's current troubles after he spoke at Milosevic's funeral all seem to stem from the same spectacular inability to simply and clearly state what they are trying to say. Pretty remarkable for two guys who make a living dealing with words, don't you think?

16 comments:

cãorafeiro said...

yes, it shocks me and disgusts me.

I can only conclude that the actual adherence of noam chomsky to the values of human dignity are not authentic, and that he just criticises the US power over the world becaus that is how he makes a living.

In Serbia, I met peolpe that had risked their safety and even their lives for defending their democratic ideas. I also met women whose children, husbands, fathers got killed because they happened to be muslims. Those are peolple that Chomsky offends with his relativisation of Srebrenica. Because for him and for peolple like him all that matters is to gather pseudo-evidences that the international sistem is evil, and that it only serves the imperialistic desires of the american rulers. So, the agressors and the victims of the wars in jugoslavia are not real people for them, but mere chess pieces.

they love milosevic because they bought his rethoric of the serbs being the victims and the heroic resistents of imperialism.

basic anti-americanism.

chomsky did get known for his academic work, amoung the community og scollars, but what made him known to the average citizen, to the international public opinion was his political positions, so, maybe vanity got into his head...

J said...

SREBRENICA, Bosnia: Nasir Oric's war trophies don't line the wall of his comfortable apartment-- one of the few with electricity in this besieged Muslim enclave stuck in the forbidding mountains of eastern Bosnia. They're on a videocassette tape: burned Serb houses and headless Serb men, their bodies crumpled in a pathetic heap.

"We had to use cold weapons that night," Oric explains as scenes of dead men sliced by knives roll over his 21-inch Sony. "This is the house of a Serb named Ratso," he offers as the camera cuts to a burned-out ruin. "He killed two of my men, so we torched it. Tough luck."


“Weapons, Cash and Chaos Lend Clout”to Srebrenica's Tough Guy
By John Pomfret,
Washington Post Foreign Service

The Washington Post, February 16, 1994


http://www.srebrenica-report.com/Oric.htm

T K Vogel said...

Thanks, J, for the excerpt from the Washington Post. Now, could you please spell out what this has to do with my post, or with Pedro's comment?

J said...

Pedro never mentioned meeting with any Serb victims of Naser Oric's and the Muslim forces around Srebrenica, nor the Serb detainees who were constantly beaten in Srebrenica prisons during the war and who witnessed others dying from that.

Peter Handke's message is in part about Serb victims being mostly ignored by the mainstream media while there is constant hype about the non-Serbs. One asks why Pedro never spoke with Serbs victims from Srebrenica? I guess because it isn't politically correct? That's why Peter Handke is being abused because he isn't solely whining about the politically correct victims when he speaks of the war there.

I don't know if you've looked at the pictures or read any autopsy reports but the Srebrenica Muslims did a great deal of mutilations of the Serbs - including burning them and some roasting alive. And they were native Muslims and not the Mujahideen operating from Srebrenica. It's been stated that there was no Mujahideen there so all that severe torture, mutilation of people alive, dying and dead was done by the Muslim men.

T K Vogel said...

J, you're of course welcome to present your reading of events here, but I'd just like to point out that my post was concerned with the remarkable fact that two professional word-wielders seem to produce serial misunderstandings whenever they talk about Bosnia, and especially Srebrenica. I'm not disputing Naser Oric's crimes, which after all are pretty well documented and for which he now has to answer before the ICTY. But I'm disturbed by the fact that both Handke and Chomsky seem to be much more preoccupied with what they call biased reporting than with the facts, and that they indisputably try to relativize what happened at Srebrenica and all the other places were the Serbs drove out and killed non-Serbs. (Handke did say in the interview in Saturday's Neue Zürcher Zeitung that Kravica could not "justify what happened after Srebrenica was taken" -- funny how he always uses passive voice for these things -- but of course goes on to do precisely that, by pointing out that it was "revenge" rather than organized genocide.)

cãorafeiro said...

J:

as a matter of fact, I did not speak to serbain victims in Bosnia, but I did meet serbian victims in Kosovo: people whose houses were burned by albanians, and who had friens killed.

It surprised me that those innocent victims don't hate the albanian people. On the contrary, they are working to cut the weel of violence and they reject that hate speech like that tries to legitimize violence as a response to past violence or injustices.

People like the Mothers from Srebrenica, or like those serbian refugees from kosovo give me hope, for they have endured extreme experiences, but didn't let themselves be dominated by hate.

To seek justice and truth is very diferent than to seek revenge.

by invoking the serbian victims, you want to relativise the bosnian victims. I refuse that strategy. You are not only disrespecting the memory of the bosnian victims, you are also prostituting the serbian victims in order to present serbian agression as somthing that is acceptable.

in case you don't know, we are talking about real people.

Owen said...

"the Dutch government, which was primarily responsible"

That seems a fairly unambiguous statement. It also suggests that the great linguist doesn't understand the meaning of the word "primarily".

J said...

but I did meet serbian victims in Kosovo: people whose houses were burned by albanians, and who had friens killed.

It surprised me that those innocent victims don't hate the albanian people. On the contrary, they are working to cut the weel of violence and they reject that hate speech like that tries to legitimize violence as a response to past violence or injustices.


Are those Serbs living safely back in Kosovo? I bet not. So how can you say they cut the wheel of violence. Serbs are still being attacked and threatened in Kosovo. The Albanians have recently cut the water and electricity to some and they've vandalized a church.

If they can't go back home safely then they haven't stopped any violence at all.

How many of those Mothers of Srebrenica had sons who were in the Bosnian Muslim army and responsible for attacks on Serb homes and villages? How many of the sons died in battle and skirmishes? Fact is the army was arriving to Tuzla and other Bosnian government held territory ARMED.

J said...

And remember that the only Dutch soldier killed in Srebrenica during the fall was killed by a Bosnian Muslim soldier who threw a grenade at his vehicle.

pedro silva said...

To T.K vogel and the "one" that calls himself "j":

The person here,on this blog(east ethnia) who signs "cãorafeiro" is a portuguese person who has a blog( with me), which is fairly easy to see that by clicking upon her nick name.
On the original blog where "cãorafeiro" cames (the same way as me ) there is another person: me ,Pedro Silva.
Therefore there are two diferent persons in that blog.
"Cãorafeiro" and Pedro silva.
Pedro silva is really my namne - personal name- i created the blog " armadilhaparaursosconformistas" with "cãorafeiro" - a different person.
Due to the fact that "cãorafeiro" is working on is master thesis on serbia - rarely posts anything on the "armadilha".
Therefore there is a "ratio" of posts around 5 to 1 or more. In my behalf...so a lot came with my name, and usually none about serbia
,mostly are about portuguese political happenings( vey comic...) and other subjects that we ,both, regard as interesting.
Of course that ,since probably no one here understands portugueses ,the veriication of this is dificult.
Take my word for it - or not.

Now i was warned that here - another person (t.k vogel??), thinks that "cãorafeiro" and Pedro silva are the same person.
With 2 different ncknames - wrong idea.

So, mr T.K vogel, just call "cao " or "rafeiro" and not Pedro silva.

Whe get all that confusion all the time, even in portguese blogs and frankly is starting to annoy me.(and rafeiro as well...).
By the way: "Cão rafeiro"means something like "astray dog" or "mutt" or "dog with no breed or pedigree...

Pedro silva means pedro silva.
and " armadilha para ursos conformistas "means "trap for conformist bears".
In portugal there are a lot of conformist bears with only two legs and arms ,so the "mutt "and i decided to create an intelectual entrappement to the native morons of our country.
It´s our own "evil cave of thought to catch idiots and to twist them with lots of cruelty."
In portugal they sprung heavily...

So t.k vogel, don´t make me think that in east ethnia they also sprung heavily.
Don´t confuse the 2 names...

Sorry for the long comment and for the deviation of subject, but, there are really two persons, and one is "cãorafeiro" and the other is me.

cãorafeiro said...

j, your rethoric supports the eye for an eye logic which I don't support.

I can understand that cinics don't understand that some people can resist hate even when they have been subjected to extreme violence.

not all victims become killers. not all victims support revenge.

I have never been a victim, so I cannot know how I would react to violence and injustice. I live in a place where there is peace and where conflicts can be solved in a courtroom. But I still admire those people that live surronded by violence and refuse to surrender to violence.

but that is something cinics will never understand.

T K Vogel said...

Apologies to Pedro for mixing him up with his co-blogger. Just think what would happen if people started mistaking me for Eric... The mistake would have been easy to avoid if I had actually clicked through your blog instead of simply relying on your -- or "Cãorafeiro's" -- profile page, which only lists "Pedro Silva" as a team member. Sorry!

WARchild said...

Two things:

1) Chomsky seemes to me to be the symbol of the sad state of the American liberal intellectual. I saw a face-off with his colleague and ethnic kin Dershowitz on Palestine. The level of discussion was at the level one would expect from petty Balkan politicians.

2) I don't know who's learning from who but the points Chomsky and Handke make have a lot in common with the response that common Serbs have had in the later years when presented with the evidence: all sides are guilty, therefore let's forget about it and move on.
Has there been serious reasearch on Serb guilt? How is it different among Serbs from Serbia, RS, and Krajina?

J said...

“by invoking the serbian victims, you want to relativise the bosnian victims. I refuse that strategy. You are not only disrespecting the memory of the bosnian victims, you are also prostituting the serbian victims in order to present serbian agression as somthing that is acceptable.”

No, I am not. Serbs were being ethnically cleansed and killed from the very beginning of the Bosnian war by Muslims and Croats, and, in many places where there were no longer any Serbs, they fought each other – Mostar, Vitez, Gornji Vakuf, Stolac, Capljina, etc.

You are propaganda prostitute using not one iota of independent thinking – only lockstep repetition of international bullocks.

“j, your rethoric supports the eye for an eye logic which I don't support.”

No, again you did not understand me. I asked how you show there’s any break in the wheel of violence if those Serbs cannot go safely back home. Even if they don’t hate, the Albanians are still hating and killing.

For example, just yesterday a 68-year-old Serb returnee to Kosovo has been killed – shot in the neck!

http://calibre.mworld.com/m/m.w?lp=GetStory&id=201387831

Serb returnee killed in central Kosovo

Released : Tuesday, June 20, 2006 2:54 PM

PRISTINA, Serbia-A Serb returnee was found shot dead inside his house in a central Kosovo town Tuesday, police and Serb officials said.

The 68 year-old Serb, identified as Dragan Popovic, was discovered by police after the officers received a report of a body found in a house in the town of Klina, 50 kilometers (30 miles) west of Kosovo's capital, Pristina, Kosovo's police said in a statement.

Police and Serbian sources told the Associated Press that Popovic was shot in the neck and discovered dead by his neighbor early Tuesday in his house.

He was last seen late Monday returning to his home from a shop.

Nothing was touched in the house, the Serb officials said.

An investigating team from the main police headquarters, consisting of local and U.N. police officers, were dispatched to the scene to conduct an investigation. Police have no suspects and have not yet established a motive for the apparent killing.

Several Serbs have returned to Klina recently, after fleeing the aftermath of the province's 1998-1999 war fearing attacks by ethnic Albanian extremists seeking to revenge for thousands of dead following Serb forces crackdown in Kosovo.

Though Kosovo's leadership has invited Serbs to come back to their original homes in the province, some ethnic Albanians remain hostile to their return.

Separately, vandals damaged sixteen graveside monuments in the Serb village of Staro Gracko, 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of the province's capital, Pristina, police said.

A Serb government-run center in Kosovo, quoting local Serb representatives, said a group got into the cemetery early Tuesday and vandalized the monuments, leaving behind broken crosses, benches and pots for flowers and candles...

-----

Is that an example of hate and violence stopping? NO! You and your ilk have done no good except promote ethnically pure state-lets, and in a very biased anti-Serb, pro-separatist non-Serb way.

“I can understand that cinics don't understand that some people can resist hate even when they have been subjected to extreme violence.”

It’s spelled cynics not ‘cinics’. You don’t understand much, so why are you meddling in the Balkans?

”not all victims become killers. not all victims support revenge.”
I never said that nor do I believe that. Stop putting words in my mouth and you simply do not understand me.

”but that is something cinics will never understand.”

You do not understand what is happening in the Balkans. There was covert and overt support pre-war to support separatism and break up Yugoslavia along old ethnic fault lines/problems to have smaller, ethnically pure (or ethnically separated) state-lets easier to manage by the international community, to buy up the resources and any remaining profitable industry at fire sale prices, exploit cheap labor, etc. Also to expand U.S./NATO bases, power and control.

pedro silva said...

T.K vogel:

"""The mistake would have been easy to avoid if I had actually clicked through your blog instead of simply relying on your -- or "Cãorafeiro's" -- profile page, which only lists "Pedro Silva" as a team member. Sorry"""

Dear TK;that only happened because you had a momentary lapse of conformism.
And you were afraid to enter the "coven" of "armadilha".
But no fear: with the dialogues to be held in the near future with the "cãorafeiro" , those momentary lapses, soon will fade away and became nothing but a small memory...

Myself ,i´m going to return to the "coven" armadilha.
Some of us(ME) do actually have to"keep feeding" the blog, while others( cãorafeiro) came to east ethnia ,leaving some of us(me) alone fighting against portuguese bears of two arms and legs.
Disgusting.

That´s a very unsportful manner of beeing, and i do consider going on strike.
Or worse, hanging out here.

But since that you have your "quota" of lunatics and resident one´s, so you don´t deserve this kind of punishment.
You have "cãorafeiro" already :::)

And have a very nice day.

J said...

He is a man with heart an compassion, unlike those who nitpick over trivial and have done nothing and spent nothing to help ease intense suffering from lack of basic living conditions, and due to war - especially that which is ongoing. Many just observe and criticize Balkans people like they are zoo animals and ignore continual YEARS LONG suffering if it is sanctioned by the international community.

HANDKE WISHES PRIZE MONEY TO GO TO KOSOVO SERBS

22.6.2006 17:59 BERLIN, (Tanjug) - Austrian author Peter Handke has urged that money he might possibly get from the Heinrich Heine Prize, which is worth 50,000 euros and which he has turned down, should be sent to Serbs in Kosovo, initiators of an alternate Heinrich Heine Prize based in Berlin said on Thursday.