Thursday, July 31, 2008

Revisiting The Hunting Party

At the end of The Hunting Party, an excellent 2007 movie starring Richard Gere and Terrence Howard, some statistics and facts scroll across the screen. Some for comedic value, some for contemporary impact. The movie is about three reporters who track down "the fox", the most wanted war criminal in the world, in Bosnia. The facts that we learn at the end of the film are as follows: First of all, the man that Gere and Howard are tracking is clearly a war criminal who, for all intents and purposes, is Radovan Karadzic. We also learn that the international community was so interested in catching Karadzic that they took out Wanted posters in Bosnian newspapers. If someone spotted the man, they could call a toll-free number at the bottom of the poster - a number that worked...only in the United States. And we also learn that while he was in hiding, Karadzic was able to publish a play and two books of poetry. (In fact, that should now be three books of poetry.) The whole point of the film was that for five years, this man had been in hiding, and yet no one had come close to him. And yet these three reporters were able to find him in two days. The whole movie had a tone of satire about it - so one could only assume this "two days" business was done for satirical effect.

Or was it? As it turns out, The Hunting Party appears to have been largely, even perfectly, accurate when it comes to the world's attitude toward war criminals. Not just the United States and the CIA, which are the main targets of the film, but also Canada, Great Britain, 50 other countries, and Serbia itself. Serbia desperately wants to become a part of the European Union. The EU, which began negotiations for inclusion with Serbia after the fall of Slobodan Milosevic in 2000, told Serbia that unless these war criminals, the World's Most Wanted, were caught, they could not become members. And then - lo and behold! They catch him! Right away! Almost like they knew exactly where he was the whole time! Working as a "doctor of alternative medicine" and publishing books of poetry. Only with more facial hair.

And the rest of the world moves on and says "good for you, Serbia". From NATO: "[We] commend the Serbian authorities for this important act of cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia." From the United Nations: "a historic moment for the victims who have waited 13 years, a decisive step toward ending impunity for those indicted for war crimes." So they're basically acknowledging the fact that Serbia has finally done something, you know - when there's something in it for them. Our own foreign affairs minister, David Emerson, says “The Government of Serbia is to be congratulated for this arrest." No! The government of Serbia is to be condemned for not doing it for thirteen years! Not "good for you". "Shame on you". This man was the Most Wanted Criminal In The World for thirteen years. And he was right there. He was sleeping in the bed next to us, cooking us breakfast. We were discussing the weather with him and picking up Cheerios for him at the store while we were out. He was right there.

When I first watched The Hunting Party, I gave it to Randall to borrow, because I knew he'd like it. And he did. In fact, it inspired his commentary of the following day. As he thought about all the war criminals from around the world who end up receiving no penalties for committing genocide, and who no one really wants to try and prosecute, it occured to him that we still haven't found Osama Bin Laden. And it now occurs to me too. Bin Laden surpassed Karadzic as World Enemy Number One when he attacked the World Trade Centre and Pentagon. Bin Laden had killed 3,000 people in America. And Karadzic was only responsible for the deaths of 7,500 Muslims. And that was SO thirteen years ago. Now he was Number Two. one month it will be seven years since Osama Bin Laden became the Most Hunted Man In The World. The $50 million reward the U.S. is offering for his capture or death is proving to be as useful as the $5 million they offered for the capture or death of Karadzic. Where IS that pesky Bin Laden, anyway?

1 comment:

  1. you have no idea how much the Serbian people have suffered because of people who think like you. For example, we still have sanctions in 2008 from actions a military dictator Slobodan Milosevic that occurred in 1990s.

    don't you know that other ethnicities in the Balkan conflict committed atrocities against serbs as well. however, you don't see movies that depict the atrocities committed committed against the Serbs. For example, from Croatia over 500,000 Serbs lost their homes in 1995. Lookup operation storm.

    You guys make me sick because you reflect the society that you live in. your society is highly biased and is racist. your racist against the Serbs because what you're thinking. You're racist because you're hating s race of the people. in this hate is unjustified because Serbs are not the only criminals in the Balkan war!