SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC AS HITLER
SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC AS HITLER
By: YÜKSEL SÖYLEMEZ
I thought it would be appropriate today to reprint the essence of my article published in the Turkish Daily News on June 9, 2001 as a suitable obituary for Slobodan Milosevic, who cheated the International Criminal Court at The Hague and his victims by escaping a guilty verdict on 66 counts, more than one crime for each of his 64 criminal years. His death once again divides his victims and the Western world on the one side and his Serbian supporters on the other, many of whom consider him a Serbian hero and a fascist nationalist demagogue in spite of the fact that he led Serbia to four military defeats. His wife blamed the International War Crimes Tribunal for his death, omitting the fact that her husband, with whom she collaborated, was the “Butcher of the Balkans” and responsible for the biggest carnage in Europe since World War II.
Adolf Hitler and Slobodan were the misguided products of the last century. Both criminal careers could have been averted by their unfortunate mothers through miscarriages. Europeans deeply regret that both belong to European history. Slobodan was part of an unhappy family, as was Adolf. They were both born not too far from one another in Middle Europe.
Adolf hated the communists and as such became a fascist by reason of his convictions. Slobodan was a trained communist-turned-fascist by profession. Both dedicated their political careers to destruction rather than construction. To his discredit, Adolf succeeded in reducing the high and mighty Third Reich to rubble and into a virtual postwar colony. In the same vein Slobodan reduced what was left of the former Yugoslavia to the ruins of a pariah state. He misled it to complete isolation from the international community, banished for some time from all kinds of support and sympathy.
It is apparent that both Adolf and Slobodan had inborn killer instincts that were perfectly concealed until they came to power by means of blind popular support. They could perhaps fit into the theory of Italian criminologist Lombrozo, since both had committed premeditated crimes against humanity in which they took great pride.
Some 20 million of the total dead from World War II were victims of Hitler's folly. Six million hapless Jews will rise up and testify against him. Over 200,000 Bosnians and Croatians will rise from their shallow graves along with 342,000 ethnically cleansed Kosovar Albanians to bear witness against Slobodan. Hitler apparently never heard of the gas chambers, and Slobodan labeled as sheer fabrication the mass graves, concentration camps, reminiscent of Nazi atrocities, and thousands of collective rapes.
Milosevic was the evil architect and chief instigator of racial hatred, first in Croatia, then in full force in Bosnia and later in Kosovo; Hitler was his mentor as a professional exterminator. The stories of butchery in Vukovar and Srebrenica suffice to condemn him.
What happened in Bosnia alone was the genocide of the Bosnians as a race and as a culture. Slobodan erased and razed to the ground the Bosnian historic relics of the past. As Hitler's Third Reich collapsed because it stood on no moral or humane ground, Milosevic let down millions of Serbs who had followed him blindly, failing miserably. Both left behind untold misery and tragedy for European history. In politics nothing fails like failure.
Slobodan was a carbon copy of Adolf, adopting his ugly nationalism as policy. However, statistically he was no match for his mentor. Slobodan used and misused ethnic nationalism and exploited it to its fullest, which was to backfire as never before. Milosevic was the first head of state to be tried in an international court. If former Yugoslavian leader Tito were to rise up from his grave, he would have Slobodan court-martialed and shot for nothing less than high treason to Yugoslavia.
Milosevic helped the Serbian economy literally go bankrupt. I recall that in 1995 Belgrade sent an unofficial but forceful representative minus the rank of ambassador to Zagreb under the misnomer of "Liaison Office." In the course of his making the rounds of the diplomatic corps, he requested a courtesy meeting with the then Turkish ambassador. As a gesture of friendship, since Turkey had maintained its embassy in Belgrade, a meeting was held with obvious pleasure. This was a wide-ranging diplomatic exchange of views that lasted until lunchtime.
This get-together coincided with a period when Milosevic's forces were gaining ground in Bosnia. Just a few days earlier the U.S. secretary of defense was quoted in the media as having said, "Milosevic won the war." This obviously was more than a diplomatic blunder. I said this to the Serbian emissary: "If the U.S. secretary of defense was with us this morning, I would tell him how mistaken he was. I would even argue with him to the contrary. That is, the Serbs, and not the Bosnians, have lost the war with a bankrupt economy, thousands of percent inflation that is still on the rise, with an economy so dislocated and in such complete ruin that how can you win but lose." To be fair, I was completely undiplomatic. He kept quiet and smiled. It was an educated guess, to be proven correct in the end. Milosevic lost the poker game, not just once in Bosnia but again for the second time in Kosovo.
Milosevic's freefall began in Kosovo, where his Serbian forefathers had been defeated by the Ottoman sultan in 1389. He based his entire political career on the historic premise of revenge and ethnic hate. But he was to end where he began -- on the Kosovo plains, in a zero-sum game that he bitterly lost. He was a mythomaniac and a great megalomaniac, for which he paid the price. He fanatically led the Serbs in marking their 1389 defeat every year on June 28. Fate had it that he was handed over for trial on almost the same date.
He came from a deranged family; both his parents were known to be suicidal characters who eventually killed themselves. Milosevic is on record as having said he would kill himself "rather than surrender to the court in The Hague,” but was in the event handed over to the International Criminal Court for $1.2 billion and to save Yugoslavia's skin. The jury will be out for the foreseeable future as to whether he really killed himself as the trial was coming to an end, or whether he played his Russian roulette once too many times in his deliberate efforts to worsen his health by taking medicine that successfully negated the benefits of his other medication in a bid to be sent off to Moscow for treatment.
The end of the road is a surprise, not only to the big-game war criminals but also to the small fries such as the "butcher of Bosnia" Dr. Karadzic, a psychotic case, and the notorious Serbian Gen. Mladic, along with many of their war crimes collaborators who are waiting to be collected and delivered to The Hague to defend themselves.
Hitler did not survive to stand trial in the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal and, in the end, Milosevic, who had escaped the public death meted out to his other mentors, Italian fascist Benito Mussolini and Romanian dictator Nicolai Ceaucescu, managed to evade the court's verdict by his death, over which controversy will continue for some time on whether he outwitted the court by design or chance. But he cannot evade the verdict of history or that of the consciences and minds of his victims. His indictment is written in the tortuous history of the Balkans, but it is indeed an affront to the collective international conscience and to his victims that he has evaded the punishment which would have been meted out to him for his crimes of genocide, systematic murder and ethnic cleansing of Bosnians and Kosovar Albanians.