Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Pathetic Plavsic

In 1990, Biljana Plavsic was elected into the 7-member Presidency of what was then still the Socialist Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, part of the Yugoslav federation. She was still in her home in downtown Sarajevo when war broke out in April 1992 (so much for the whole "conspiracy of Serbian aggressors" theory); I remember watching the footage of her being evacuated from the city in an armored car.

In 1996, Plavsic allied with Bosnia's NATO overlords in an effort to destroy the power base of her former political party. She also helped the "reforms" that had started to modify the Dayton peace agreement from its original form into the "living document" it is now. Plavsic and her Prime Minister, Milorad Dodik, were seen as American puppets, and lost the 1998 elections due to a backlash from their excessive servility. (Dodik is now being attacked as "nationalist" by those very same Americans that ran him a decade ago, just because he's refusing to dismantle the Serb Republic and lead his people meekly into a Muslim-dominated centralized state.)

Having outlived her usefulness in Bosnian politics, Plavsic could do one more thing for the Empire, though. In 2000, she was accused of war crimes by the Hague Inquisition. She turned herself in, and in 2002 agreed to plead guilty.

Googling the news from back then, I found this description by Australian radio's Michael Brissenden that's pretty typical of the Western media coverage of Bosnia, Plavsic, and the Serbs in general:

She was one of those most driven by the racist dream of an ethnically pure Serb nation. Many who covered the war remember her as one of the true ideologues.

She spoke often and with considerable passion to the international media. She advocated the division of the Bosnian state and the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo, along ethnic lines and by her own admission, she was part of a political leadership that collaborated closely with the former Yugoslav leader, Slobodan Milosevic in the conception and execution of the objective of ethnic separation by force.

Now she's the first senior Serb leader to admit guilt for the crimes and atrocities committed in Bosnia and she's told the final hearing of her trial that the leadership of which she was a part led an effort that victimised countless innocent people.

There was never a "racist dream of an ethnically pure Serbian nation" - except in the sick minds of Serbophobes. If this were true, how does one explain the fact that Serbia is the most ethnically diverse part of the former Yugoslavia today, and all those poor victimized "democracies" such as Croatia, Slovenia, "Independent state of Kosovo" and parts of Bosnia dominated by the Muslims are over 90% ethnically homogeneous? Besides, the Bosnian Serb leadership did not take orders from Milosevic; Richard Holbrooke went through a lot of trouble to force Milosevic to negotiate on behalf of the Bosnian Serbs, because Washington found them unwilling to bend to its will. And Plavsic was rather inconsequential in wartime Serb politics; it was the media and the Inquisition that declared her an ideologue and a policymaker, because for the whole setup to be effective, they needed her to be.

Plavsic's miserable attempt to save her own skin by damning her people failed. At age 72, Plavsic was sentenced to 11 years in prison and sent to Sweden. Her "confession" had some limited propaganda value at the time, but she later lapsed into oblivion. Bitter at the Inquisition, she refused to testify in any other trials, and was left to rot in the Swedish lockup.

Now she has given an interview to a Swedish magazine, saying she wanted to retract her confession, and that it was just an effort to save her skin. Ironically, even this is being used to further anti-Serb propaganda, providing yet another occasion for old tropes about systematic killings of non-Serbs and genocide. The magazine even makes the absurd allegation that Plavsic "has been accused of playing a key role in the massacre at Srebrenica in 1995, where at least 8000 Muslims were killed."

As a Christian, I believe in redemption of just about everyone. Even those who shamefully betray their people to say their own skin (and don't even manage to do that, because the Empire went back on its word. Shocked? Just ask the American Indians). But it would be a lot easier to pity Plavsic were it not for the example of Slobodan Milosevic.

Whatever one may think of his conduct while in power, once he was rendered to the Inquisition in 2001, Milosevic fought tooth and nail - not to save himself, because the outcome of his show trial was a foregone conclusion, but to defend his country and his people from accusations of war crimes, atrocities and genocide. The Inquisition was used to breaking its victims easily; Milosevic not only refused to bend, he destroyed their case in court. When everyone else lawyered up and bargained for the most lenient sentence, Milosevic actually fought back and challenged the Inquisition to prove their case. Which they manifestly could not.

The contrast between Milosevic and Plavsic is just overwhelming.

Biljana Plavsic is now 79, well beyond the average Bosnian's life expectancy. Perhaps she believes in God, and hopes He will forgive her for the things she has said and done in life. He might. Her people? Don't bet on it.

1 comment:

david montoute said...

The deal she cut to save herself and incriminate the former Belgrade leadership was obvious to everyone, long before it came out in public. I couldn't agree more - this woman is practically the very antithesis of Milosevic.

A great post Nebojsa, as always!