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An act of revenge
by Thanos Kalamidas
2008-02-01 07:02:14
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Has anybody thought how the German people would have felt if in the beginning of the European Community they weren’t welcome because a group of Nazi officials had escaped to South America? How would these people have felt if they were blamed because these war criminals – and the number is big with some still wanted – managed to escape the Nuremberg International War Court? Well, this is exactly what the EU is doing to the Serbian people nowadays. Why is a nation punished for the crimes of the few?

I have often written from here about the Serbian people and I have often written that the taste of a civil war is very bitter for both sides - well, both sides in a civil war are often members of the same family. These people, apart from their religious differences for nearly half a century, had a common enemy that put aside any other differences. These people lived through a schizophrenic regime that one moment was letting them enjoy some freedom by trying to escape from the Soviet influence and the very next moment was imprisoning anybody who had anything to say against its historic leader. It was a country that sunk into the financial indigence and with the end of that regime fell into the hands of another schizophrenic twist; the regime of an ego-maniac nationalist.

And then came the civil war and the bombardment of Yugoslavia. There is nothing worse in a civil war; most European countries have the experience of what it means. It's far worse than any other war because in a personal war everything becomes personal, hate and old vendettas float to the surface, leading to a series of atrocities from all sides. I insist on that, in a civil war extreme crimes happen from all sides and unfortunately time doesn’t bring any fast healing.

I live in Finland and memories of one of the bloodiest civil wars that happened in the beginning of the 20th century are still strong and alive. I grew up in a country that saw a civil war just after the end of WWII and feelings are still bitter today; there are people alive with memories that hurt and unfortunately there are still people who do not want to forgive and forget. This is a story that has been over for sixty years, yet the EU, with the Dutch government leading, expects these people to forgive and forget in a fortnight and punish them for the crimes others committed.

I’m really sorry but I find this hard to accept that this is how the democratic and forgiving EU works and I’m sorry if the leaders of this union think that they are going to change things with legislation. The excuse used from the EU is what The Hague International Court says often that the Serbian government is hiding these people and in extent that whole villages and towns in Serbia are part of this conspiracy to keep these few away from international justice. So bomb Brazil!

Most of the Nazis that escaped justice after WWII escaped to Brazil and there is very little doubt that if there are some of them still alive most likely they still live in Brazil. These people were responsible for the darkest moments of international history and their crimes are the worst human nature could ever excuse. Leading millions to the gas chambers, letting millions of innocents to starve to death and trying to exterminate a whole nation; how worse can it be? The majority of the guilty were Germans, but nobody ever dared to blame the whole German nation for the crimes of the Nazi gang.

I keep returning to Germany and the Nazis because I cannot imagine anything worse than what the Nazis did and that’s a fact. However, we are now doing to the Serbs what we didn't do then - we are crucifying them for the crimes of the few. The Serbian people were the ones who pushed Milosevic and his gang out of power if anybody remembers; it was not the American bombs. The only thing the American bombs with their enriched plutonium and radiation did was to poison the Serbian land and most likely a few generations to come but they didn’t force Milosevic out of his palace. The Serbian people did that and the very same Serbian people gave Milosevic to the international court, so why are they punished?

Is it revenge? Revenge because Milosevic died before the verdict? I will never forget the bitter face of the international prosecutor at the time Carla Del Ponte when she announced his death adding that he …escaped punishment! Did she want to see him crucified with blood coming out of his body? Isn’t it this the line that makes it personal, isn’t it that what was she suppose to prosecute and punish? The Serbian people deserve a better future and unfortunately the EU and Dutch government this moment hold them away from this future punishing them for the crimes of the few and because they didn’t manage to punish Milosevic, an act of revenge!

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Emanuel Paparella2008-02-01 12:12:54
John Wayne, that most patriotic of Americans, was once asked if he ever felt any shame for making so many movies where Native-Americans are portrayed as savages and exterminated. He replied that he never killed any Native-Americans; his grandfather might have but he was not about to go a guilt trip because in America the sins of the fathers are not visited upon their children. It all sounds plausible and logical, except that the same John Wayne never lost an opportunity to take full credit for all the good that the American flag stands for, and rightly so. What he conveniently overlooked is that there is such a thing as collective responsibility. When one and honors a flag and proudly parades it, one ought not to be selective and just embrace the good that it stands for; one ought to also acknowledge the faults and the evil and then, exactly because one loves one’s country, one ought to try to correct and redeem that evil in as much as it continues to affect the children and grandchildren of those to whom it was done.

Sand2008-02-02 08:01:33
This is an extremely difficult area as nations frequently employ policies which, under various viewpoints, can be termed criminal and inhumane. In the case of Nazi Germany a large number of German citizens endorsed and enthusiastically participated in the illogical and horrible persecution of minorities and a small number of Germans actively objected to and deterred these policies. Lumping innocent and guilty individuals together is eminently unfair. Humanity is in a quandary as to how to handle this misbehavior since it simply is not practical to incarcerate the large number of people acting criminally. The normal procedures of dealing with criminals are basically illogical and, to a large degree, are driven by revenge which is unproductive in dealing with whole populations. War in general and specifically the Israeli Arab situation is a prime example of how poorly revenge functions as a social instrument. Currently a large number of Latin Americans are illegal immigrants numbering in the millions and policies to expel them and punish them are totally impractical. The aim of social regulation should be to promulgate social decency and productivity. It is not a matter of forgiveness but rather a pragmatic acceptance that humanity en masse is a social material that can be provoked into proper behavior by the proper policies.

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