Late last night my friend Rob was visiting. We watched Sunset Boulevard, had a nice meal, feasted upon some yummy cheese and, at the end, wound up watching a hearing for Ratko Mladić, a very unpleasant man currently on trial in the Hague for ordering the massacre of nearly 9,000 civilians. This was during the Balkan Wars. Wars which, I would like to remind the Muslim world, featured the USA and NATO attacking a Christian nation to keep Muslims alive. Remember that, please.
Watching the hearing was interesting. Partly it was interesting because it was a hearing in the Netherlands, presided over by a judge from a non-English speaking country, trying a Serbian man, and yet the court was conducted in English. That was kind of cool. But what was even more fascinating was when Rob said, “That’s the guy? He looks so normal.”
And Rob is very right. Mladić looks very normal. If you were to walk past him in the streets, you wouldn’t have any idea he was one of the most unpleasant men in the world. He just looks like some guy. And you know what? I’m willing to bet that he probably loves his family. I’m willing to bet that had the Balkan Wars not happened, he probably would have just continued onward with his undistinguished career in the Yugoslav army.
But instead he got caught up in a system that said “Christians = good, Muslims = evil”, and since he probably considered himself a good man, he was willing to kill Muslims by the truckload. And why not? If your government and your media is telling you that these people are a threat to all you hold dear, why wouldn’t you kill as many of them as you could? I’m sure some of his defenders would say he perhaps went a little farther than he should have, but that he did what was required to keep Serbia safe (Romania has a similar argument about a certain Wallachian prince).
None of this excuses him, of course. He still needs to be held responsible for his crimes, and will be. He’s likely going to spend the rest of his life behind bars and well he should. Put him into prison and let him rot there for the next thirty years until he finally dies. I’m fine with that. But just to look at him, and to hear him talking in court yesterday, it’s fascinating to think of just how banal this evil fellow is.