Friday, 11 July 2008


There exists that constituency of people for whom the advent of July is less an occasion to relish summer than to cast the mind’s eye back to what Judge Fouad Riyad at the war crimes tribunal in The Hague called some of the ‘darkest pages in human history’- the bloodiest massacre on European soil since the Holocaust, at Srebrenica.

...The principle victim people of this war, the Bosniak Muslims, are forever being asked by the ‘Internationals’ - as they call the pompous, ill-informed colonial career stratum that oversees them - to ‘reconcile’, to move on. Of course this is to be hoped for in the long run, for reconciliation is a premise for peace. But Bosnia does not live in peace; it exists in an absence of war. For there is another word in the English language, a harsher word than ‘reconciliation’: Reckoning. Reckoning summons the perpetrator more than the victim. Reckoning entails coming to terms with what happened and why, staring oneself in the mirror. It demands apology, commemoration, reparations and amends. Only once reckoning has been achieved is reconciliation possible, and thence peace.
(Ed Vulliamy)

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