Friday, July 25, 2008

Self-righteous phonies

Day three of the propaganda orgy following the arrest of Radovan Karadzic saw the publication of Roger Cohen's diatribe in the International Herald Tribune. It wasn't about Karadzic, or Bosnia, but mostly about Roger Cohen.

Look at this turgid prose: "sharp burst of Serbian violence that opened the war and 'cleansed' wide swathes of the country of non-Serbs, many processed through murderous concentration camps. Pits of bones form the bitter harvest of this genocidal Serbian season."

Oh Roger, not even the authors of the "concentration camp" hoax bother to repeat it any more. But no, there you go, ranting about "pits of bones" and "genocidal Serbian season."

He writes about the "stubbornness of love" he learned from an actor who lost his legs; of "fierceness of moral clarity" he learned from a "beautiful" Muslim woman who saw the world in black and white (with her, of course, as white); and the "quietness of courage" from a Muslim paraplegic who insisted he would always be morally better than the Serb who shot him. All these people exist to teach one Roger Cohen how to be an "advocacy journalist," eschewing objectivity for the sake of passionate reporting "from the heart" and being a "single dissenting voice."

Uh, excuse me? Roger Cohen was never a single, dissenting voice, but rather a part of a thundering chorus of career and aspiring journalists, scribblers, stringers, has-been and wannabe celebrities and various others who saw the tragedy of Bosnia as a way to wealth and fame.

So, what did Roger Cohen do to help Nermin Tulic after his injury? Did he perhaps organize a fundraiser to buy him a powered wheelchair? Or did he note how the Muslim authorities in Sarajevo almost kicked Tulic out on the street? No, because he doesn't really care about Nermin Tulic, unless he can use him to make a point.

How do I know about Tulic? Easy. He was my neighbor, barely a block away. I am from Sarajevo, born and raised. My family has lived in the city for generations. I was there during the war, too. Unlike Roger Cohen, I wasn't there as a tourist or adventurer. While he made fame for himself by peddling propaganda for the "Bosniak cause" I would starve and freeze and dodge bullets. And I would remember things.

I remember seeing Muslim artillery dug in around a playground - only to later hear of children who had played there getting killed after Serb guns returned fire. No one reported that.

I saw the Muslim authorities stealing 3/4 of people's food rations, and warehouses filled with aid from the world over that were set aside for black markets (controlled by the government) and the use of government officials, who dined on roasted lamb while the besieged citizens were starving. No one reported that.

I sat in meetings between Muslim officials and UN officers discussing utility repairs, and heard Muslims refuse to open water and gas valves to their own people as that would look bad on CNN. Roger Cohen didn't report that either. None of his colleagues ever did. And they knew damn well about all of this.

So forgive me if I have little respect for Roger Cohen and his colleagues, who dwell on their self-righteousness against "ethnic cleansing" and "genocide" but who really treat the people who suffered in the war as nothing more than props. They declare themselves the conscience of the world, and then manufacture a twisted reality in which murderers, thieves, terrorists and liars are idolized as "fathers of the nation" or "defenders of multicultural democracy." They talk about justice, but then provide alibis for mass murderers. They can't sleep when they think about Bosnia? Could it be that what's left of their conscience won't let them, because some part of them still knows the sheer wrongness of what they have done?

I don't know. But this kind of sanctimonious bullshit from Roger Cohen and other presstitutes who profited on our pain makes me sick. And sure I hope they all meet the kind of justice they proclaim to believe in.


John said...

First hand experiences such as yours are never heard. I have many stories from other Serbian Bosnian refugees who have moved to the US and of course, they are never heard either. Stories of prison camps filled with Serbians being tortured and murdered.

I wish you could write a book of your experiences for posterity.

The whole reguritation of the war iin light of Karazic's arrest is sickening.

Gray Falcon said...

I've considered writing a war memoir for a while now, but I always backed off because I was disgusted with the whole "warsploitation" genre. Still am. But if this propaganda onslaught goes on, I think I may finally decide I have no choice, and that staying silent would be doing the truth a disservice.

M said...

Gray Falcon, I think your book is quite frankly an inevitable way out of this obscene anti-Serb orgy. In your case, it would never be anything like "warsploitation". Rather, it would be a great effort in letting the Serb truth be known.

Finally. Long live the Serbs!!!

A said...

Can I say that for some time now I've found your observations extremely interesting?

My own view is that you "ought" to write your experiences, if only to set the record straight. I don't think the other side are going to stop.

And to try and establish the truth, about "everything", is the only thing that can help, at this point. No sort of healing for any combatants (including the armchair ones across the west) will ever be possible without it.