Justice Unattainable in Karadzic Verdict
Published on Huffington Post, TheWorldPost, On March 25th, 2016
Justice does not exist. This thought has been bugging me today. It has been swimming in my head ever since I read the news about the conviction of Radovan Karadzic for the genocide in Srebrenica. It is a harsh, completely unsatisfying sentence. It is a disturbing thought to have and it becomes a burden for people like me. It becomes a burden of the consciousness of the mind that knows that the injustice has a constant presence in our lives (in one way or another) and that the real justice does not really exist. Justice that is offered to us does not completely negate and offset the atrocities committed against the innocents. It is really a mask, presented to us, to ease the pain of the survival. Not to mention the fact that the verdict found Karadzic not guilty for other genocides that happened on Bosnian soil against the Bosnian-Muslims.
I am not from Srebrenica, but being Bosnian and being a mother of two young boys, it does not take me long to imagine my life, fifteen years from now. My boys are young, eighteen years old, falling in love for the first time, hanging out with their friends, playing sports, enjoying life, no real worries in their lives. Suddenly, war breaks out around us, because of our nationality, my boys are taken away along with my husband, never to return. Even a hypothetical thought of this scenario makes me sick. Even a hypothetical thought of my children being taken away from me to be murdered, just because they are boys, makes me want to die, literally. I would not have been able to survive, God forbid, if anything like this would have ever happened to me.
Mothers who lost their children and spouses in Srebrenica were not happy today; they were not relieved that the "justice" was served. They were not happy that Karadzic is going to sit in the cell for the next forty years. Their children are gone. They saw their smiles, imagined their hugs when they were small, saw the babies that they once were. Justice was not served. I cannot imagine how these women survived. I cannot understand how they are living day by day with the knowledge that they lost everything. I cannot guarantee that I would be strong enough.
Another layer of the (in)justice is the fact that the portion of the Bosnian population who still considers Karadzic a hero still believes that the act of eliminating roughly eight thousand men in Srebrenica and the act of killing off the population of Sarajevo during the siege was an act of defense.
Aleksandar Hemon, a Bosnian-American writer who currently lives in Chicago recently wrote an article for Rolling Stones magazine comparing Donald Trump to another war criminal Vojislav Seselj. The masses that follow good old Donald are similar to the masses that still support Seselj, the masses that still consider Karadzic a hero. Donald's rhetoric convinces some Americans that those people of different religions (mainly Islamic religion) and those citizens- immigrants of the Middle Eastern descent are dangerous and the very act of hatred Donald supporters feel towards these people is served to us as a defense mechanism, defending American freedom, Christianity, their lives.
I understand now what it all means, why it is so important to compare Donald to Karadzic and Seselj. It is important because real justice does not exist after the crimes have been committed. It really does not matter that Karadzic and Seselj are labeled as war criminals by the international war tribunal and that they are convicted of their crimes. The lives are lost, they can never be retrieved. Mothers will live out their lives without their children, imagining what it would be like to see them grow up, become men, have their own children.
Donald and the others who preach hatred and intolerance must be stopped before they can inflict horrors on those who are different from their norm. We as human beings must be vigilant to preserve lives of our children, all children. We must be vigilant to protect each other from the existence that involves loss, due to the forceful deaths of our loved ones. Karadzic verdict is important in a sense that it shows that perhaps we have not lost our humanity completely. However, understanding that we cannot passively listen to the hate mongering that is on display on TV and in the news lately and that we must speak up against them is crucial.
Justice does not exist. I return to the worrisome sentence again and again and I hope that I never have to be in the position to wait for the justice for something I lost because for me it would never be justice, it would be an appeasement for the masses who are praying, like me, that they never have to wait for the verdict.