Anyone who has spoken to Dr. Karadzic will recognize this "mechanism of falsification of reality" as his most distinctive quality. When I inquired of him, over our plates of beef stew, in his small office, with color-coded maps showing successive diplomatic plans for slicing up Bosnia on one wall and an Orthodox crucifix on the other, about the siege of Sarajevo, the siege that people around the world had been watching in transfixed horror for almost two years, the leader of the Bosnian Serbs replied that there was no siege—that in fact those artillery pieces and mortars had been dug into the mountainside to keep the Muslim hordes from breaking out of the city and attacking the Serbs. As always with Karadzic, the words seemed so distant from reality that one had trouble mustering arguments to challenge him.
I asked Karadzic about the shelling of the National Library, whose broken, cluttered ruins I had visited a few days before, perusing the odd charred scrap of paper, the pitiful remains of hundreds of thousands of irreplaceable books and manuscripts. How could he, a man of learning and culture, a poet himself, have countenanced his gunners lobbing shell after shell into the great building, destroying it in a day in a great conflagration that left his adopted city canopied in a cloud of priceless ash? Dr. Karadzic could only shake his head sadly, stare gravely into my eyes, and declare that of course the Muslims had destroyed this building themselves: "It was a Christian building, you know, from the Austro-Hungarian period, and so the Muslims hated it. Only Christian books were burned, you know. The others they removed."
And so it was with the shells that had reduced the world-renowned Institute of Oriental Culture to a burned carcass; so it was with the mortar round that had plunged into a crowd waiting outside a shop in a downtown street and brought the world the Breadline Massacre of May 27, 1992, in which sixteen people died in a telegenic horror that forced the Western countries to impose the first set of sanctions against the Serbs; so it was with the two shells that had killed six children who were sledding twelve days before the Marketplace Massacre, and the three shells that had killed ten Sarajevans and wounded eighteen in Dobrinja on February 4. In each case, Dr. Karadzic told me, the Muslims, "trying to gain the sympathy of the world," had "shelled themselves."
There was a certain brilliance to his blank and impenetrable sincerity. I actually found myself wondering, as a young blond waitress cleared the dishes from Karadzic's desk, whether he could possibly believe anything he was saying. "Mechanism for falsification of reality"—that was Dr. Ceric's term. And yet this seemed insane....
A key feature of the New Age from its very beginning has been blaming the victim. The trope of 'they must have been lovers in a previous life' used to excuse child molestation and incest is only one example.
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