Monday, March 13, 2006

Balkan Beat Box

Longtime readers of PPA may remember how, over the weekend, I vaguely promised to write something about Slobodan Milosevic. I underestimated just how insanely tired I'd be of the story after three days hearing the phrase "Butcher of the Balkans" ad nauseum, but I've got my latest overnight parole, it's too damned humid (in MARCH!) to set foot outside, so what better things to do?

I don't think there's too much mourning outside of Serbia's nationalist community -- it's pretty indisputable that Slobo was a nasty piece of work. (and I suppose I should put in a disclaimer at this point: friends of mine "in the know" have accused me, probably rightly, of some pro-Croat bias over the years) That said, he's being portrayed (and has been portrayed) as the sole architect of the breakup of Yugoslavia and the subsequent bloodshed.

That's pretty unfair, as even a brief perusal of the simplest online sources will indicate -- Croatia and Slovenia were itching to break off thanks to different economic priorities. Milosevic's intransigence accelerated the process, certainly, and made it more painful, but to hear some of the reports, you'd think he ordered the other republics to break away, then launched random bloodshed.

As for the destruction of the early 1990s, yeah, his role is really indefensible. But, if he was a puppetmaster controlling Serb diaspora in Croatia and Bosnia, the puppets escaped from his hands pretty quickly.

I feel like I've gone over to Milosevic apologist now -- hardly. But there were sleazeballs on all sides of the conflict, and to act as if one man ran the show is simplistic and not helpful. Carla del Ponte has said that had he lived, she would have tried to get Franjo Tudjman in the dock -- though one wonders how that would have played, as a former national leader who was smart enough to make sure he was on the winning side at war's end.

I suppose Slobo and Franjo can debate the point in hell now. Now, the interesting bits going forward are whether Milosevic's death will (as some predict) lead to a rise in Serb nationalism, as we face the (likely) total breakaway of Kosovo, and (possible) final severing of Montenegro. Interesting times and I do hope it all stays sane.

* * *

As stated, it's humid and gloomy here today, perfect for a day off. Thanks, world -- it was pure paradise while I was working, now that I can enjoy it, I feel like I'm wearing a wool bear suit everywhere I go. Thanks, though, to no sleep, I managed to spend a pleasant interlude in the park with friends yesterday, staring at the sky and loudly bemoaning the fact that I have a job.

Went home with hockey in mind, but was too late to see
Peter Budaj shut out the Flames (yeah!), then apparently turned on Center Ice mere seconds after PPA non-favorite Marc Savard scored to lead the Thrashers over the Rangers (yeah!), and finally settled for the Oilers-Wild game -- I couldn't care less about either team, but the excellent Covered in Oil is such compulsive reading that I'm more familiar with Edmonton than most teams, and Ales Hemsky is becoming one of those guys I'd pay to watch. Alas, I turned it on right after some random Oiler dude scored a goal, then Center Ice did its regular crap-out seconds before some other random Oiler dude scored a goal, and I turned it off in favor of staring into space. Obviously my timing was off yesterday. (Footnote: all those random Oiler dude goals didn't help, and the Oilers lost anyway.)

Other than that? Date tonight, the last vestige of the online dating experiment. Then a decent shift at work for a week, and then a trip to Colorado. Things are looking up.

Balkan genocide to my dating life in mere paragraphs. The Post-Pessimist Association -- dropping some serious science since February 2006!

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