Monday, July 21, 2008

Jubilation as a war criminal is captured

Around midnight tonight 7/21 breaking news came in that Sarajevans said they never expected to hear: Radovan Karadzic, the Butcher of Bosnia, has been arrested.

He was the leader of the Bosnian Serbs who laid siege to Sarajevo for four years killed 10,000 people and who massacred 8,000 Muslim boys and men in Srebrenica. He was arrested on a bus in Belgrade by special force police and is en route to The Hague for trial as a genocidal mastermind after some 12 years on the run. His capture was set as a condition for Serbia's entrance into the European Union, but he and Ratko Mladic, the head of Bosnian Serb military forces, are regarded as heroes in parts of this world and have probably enjoy protection from the military and some citizens. What may be making a difference now is a change in government in Serbia. The new leadership is more pro-Europe than in the past and so possibly less willing to let Karadzic, a poet and physician as well
as radical politician, hide out in monasteries in Montenegro or caves in remote parts of Bosnia.

I was reading in bed with TV and computer off when the news broke, but Lara, my upstairs neighbor who did her Ph.D. thesis and is writing a book about Srebrenica woke me to tell me. The city erupted in firecrackers, car horn honking and gunshots. It was like Bosnia had won the world football championship. And then this drenching rain with lightning and thunder began -- like some kind of Biblical cleansing.

Boris Mrkela shot photos tonight of happy Sarajevans. Lara took the bottom photo yesterday in the city. The woman is walking in front of graffiti that says, "Don't forget Srebrenica."

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