Thursday, May 26, 2011


I received an email from a student yesterday informing me that authorities in Serbia have today arrested Ratko Mladić, the Bosnian Serb military leader who’s been on the lam for over fifteen years.  I wrote about him on this blog about a week ago, as I’ve been interested in the topic of Bosnia for years now.  More recently I featured Mladić and the evil tragedy of Srebrenica in one of my class sessions.  As it turns out, the fugitive was indeed in Serbia, about fifty miles north of Belgrade according to my Google Maps skills.  In the photo that’s been released he’s definitely aged; worry of capture, a couple of strokes, and lack of proper medical care have no doubt taken their toll.  Perhaps his ill-health is the ultimate hero in the story of his “capture.”  Maybe his wife and son Darko figured he’d be better off in custody with hospitalization than on the run without it.

Serbian President Boris Tadić claims he had no idea that perhaps the most wanted man in Europe was living in comfort next to the capital.  Sound familiar?  The Pakistanis knew nothing of Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts for the last five years, residing as he did in a large compound next to a major military base?  As President Reagan once quipped in a discussion of Soviet posturing, we in America have an agrarian term for such a notion.  As I wrote last week regarding the family’s recent claim that Mladić is already dead, I say the same thing about the Serbian government’s claim of ignorance: b__s__.  (By the way, that stands for “bullshit,” but I didn’t want to print such a foul word).  I’m no conspiracy theorist and I certainly can’t prove my assertion, but surely the Serbs could have delivered him up years ago if they had wanted to.  I’m sure Tadić and the Interior Ministry were torn, not wanting to arrest a local hero yet desiring to start the process of admission into the EU (which was conditioned on the fugitive’s capture).  I personally don’t think Serbia, a government that masterminded such destruction throughout the Balkans only fifteen years ago, should be admitted in the near future, certainly not before the Republic of Turkey, notwithstanding the latter country’s similar issues with a dark past.