Can Poetry Be a War Crime?
"Radovan Karadzic has been captured. To anyone who cares about Bosnia, war crimes, and impunity, this is thrilling, almost impossible news. Thirteen years after the siege of Sarajevo and the massacre at Srebrenica, the warlord who gave the orders is headed for the Hague.
-Rollo Rolig, The New Yorker
Like many megalomaniacs, Karadzic fancied himself a poet. (In the mid-seventies, he took a few poetry classes at Columbia University while studying psychiatry.) Infuriatingly, Karadzic managed to release a new book of verse, a novel, and a play while living underground.
A real poet, Semezdin Mehmedinovic, in his book Sarajevo Blues, remembers watching Karadzic on the news at the height of the siege:
'Karadzic spouted such blatant lies that, in a rage, I found a book of his children's poetry—There Are Miracles, There Are No Miracles—and began ripping it apart.'"
Jul 22, 2008