While He Was Hiding: A Tnr Retrospective

by | July 22, 2008

In the wake of the capture of genocidal former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, TNR looks back at some of our most incisive (and often prescient) writing on the conflict in Serbia and Bosnia following Karadzic's systematic massacre of nearly 8,000 of his countrymen in 1995. 

Forecasting the turmoil of a post-Karadzic Bosnia, Samantha Power wrote in 1996:

Nowhere is the danger to Bosnia's existence as overt as in Republika Srpska, the Serb half of Bosnia piloted from behind the scenes by Karadzic and now from the democratic stage by a clan of ruthless nationalists. The "Pale Mafia"--whose ideas of ethnic separatism won out in the war--have made no secret of their plan to do everything in their power to sabotage the Dayton peace.

 Peter Maass filed a vivid dispatch in 1998 chronicling the horrific consequences of the Bosnia-Serbian conflict:

Nedret Mujkanovic is a human metaphor for healing the wounds of war. When the conflict began, Mujkanovic was finishing his work as a surgical intern in Tuzla, and the Bosnian army decided to send him, through Serb lines, into the besieged enclave of Srebrenica, which had just a few doctors, and none with surgery experience. In Srebrenica, Mujkanovic often operated by candlelight, under fire, with no anesthesia. He lost precise count but thinks he performed 1,400 operations in nine months. He amputated legs and arms, pulled shrapnel out of stomachs and heads, and so on.

And bluntly outlining the moral and practical necessity of bringing Serbian war criminals to justice, Michael Kelly determined in 1999:

Karadzic and his fellow gangsters, free and empowered, will always agitate for conflict. That is the only hand they can play; peace for them means jail, or death.

These archived works from some of TNR's most insightful writers, including, Leon Wieseltier and Adam Smith, provide stark testimony of the 13 years of turmoil following Karadzic's brief, terrible reign.

--Bess Kalb 

Source URL: http://www.newrepublic.com//blog/the-plank/while-he-was-hiding-tnr-retrospective