Monday, 13 June 2011

Serbian war criminals, Bin Laden and Arab unrest

It is a cruel world out there. No rest for the wicked or justice for the righteous. As long as the definition of the 'wicked' and 'righteous' remains controversial there appears no end to global disputes. How the international media frames these many disagreements is critical to debates meant to find solutions.
Take the Greek, or for that matter the PIIGS (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain), debt crisis. There is little discussion about Greek corruption and poor governance. That Greece's institutional framework is, at best, on par with a typical developing country remains virtually unmentioned. The debate typically centres on Greek borrowing costs and keeping the European financial system afloat.
Then there is Osama Bin Laden and his recent killing in Pakistan. Surely, Pakistan shares some blame in Osama's elusiveness. The media and international leaders remind Pakistan of this and other faults almost daily, especially following the Abbotabad attack.
Meanwhile, the international reaction to the arrest of Serbian war criminals in Serbia is poles apart. Perhaps the massacre of 8,000 Bosnian men and children is less of a crime relative to the several thousand Americans who perished on 9/11? 
The wall of names at the Srebrenica Memorial

Serbian war criminals like Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic lived 'openly' in Serbia for many years. Some wanted war criminals continue to find refuge, allegedly in Serbia. Yet, when these notorious criminals are regularly arrested in Serbia neither the country nor its people is chastised.
Most recently, there are Bahrain, Libya, Yemen and Syria. There appears no need to illuminate the deprived masses of Syria, Yemen and Bahrain about the virtues of democracy and human rights. Or, have NATO air forces simply run out of spare fighter airplanes for the purpose? Maybe the world's 'democracy quota' is full now that Afghanistan and Iraq have joined the list of functioning democratic states.
Please do not misunderstand me. The world is what it is and we deal with it accordingly. Perceptions of reality may differ but facts are generally incontrovertible.
Osama was hiding in Pakistan. Serb general Ratko Mladic was arrested in Serbia. Most Greeks, like most Pakistanis, do not pay personal income taxes. Nevertheless, in a world where information is plentiful and analysis as easily available as reading a blog post, individuals must question conventional wisdom. Comprehending the big picture is not as easy as it sounds. It requires effort.
The truth depends on the distinct facts we see, or choose to see. A CIA analyst located in Langley and an ordinary Pakistani in Peshawar will sees different 'truths' in the same event. One only need ask the Pakistani and American intelligence chiefs to confirm that truth.

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