[balkans] Re: Questions
- Dear sir,
I feel free to ask You about one element which would be, in my opinion ,
different between the cases of Germans and their participation in killings
of Jews and the case of the alleged killings of Albanians.
I am not eager to repeat well known facts, but still I have to remind You of
anti-semit nazi propaganda, or even discriminatory laws against Jews, which
existed during nazi era in Germany. I admit that such an atmosphere really
could have been a basis for situations like the one depicted in Browning`s
book "Ordinary men". Precisely, I strongly believe that a scientifically
true multiple factor analysis should examine particular social and cultural
conditions for such patterns of behaviur, beside, of course, rules of
collective decision-making and behaving.
But, is there any such condition in the present serbian society or culture?
Do You know that no-one disputes over hte fact that more than 70 000
Albanians live in 1,5 million capital of Serbia, Belgrade? And that no
humanitarian organization or NGO whatsoever filed reports on human rights
abuse of Albanians in Belgrade? I stated this circumstance to provide basis
for my personal description of the situation in Belgrade - there is no
anti-Albanian histeria, and from a personal point of view, I still see the
same Albanian hard-currency dealers of the black market standing in the
streets, and the same bakeries and sweet-shops in the centre
of Belgrade working as usual, although it is well known that their owners
are Albanians. I am very glad about that, and sure it is not going to
change no matter what happens later.
I am afraid that some authors saw this lack of any evidence that Serbs are
consciously or unconsciously self-directed at taking part in killings of
Albanian civilians, and thus tried to establish this condition on a general
level, examining serbian myths and trying to prove that the very basis of
our culture represents an appeal to commit genocide, no matter towards which
Since serious contemporary european anthropology and filosophy (and not only
contemporary) do not recognize such qualifications of any nation`s cultural
and spiritual being, I am afraid that the term "multi-factor analysis", if
used for an examination based on such premises, would be euphemistic, hiding
rasist notions behind.
I strongly believe that You just haven` t taken into account the difference
I had stressed here - that Serbs live in a society whicj\h is, as a whole,
free of any traces of anti-Albanian emotions or rules.
Dusan Rakitic Srbic
From: David Fisher <dhfsbf19@...>
To: magdalena <manen@...>
Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>
Date: Friday, April 30, 1999 2:40 PM
Subject: [balkans] Re: Questions
>Christopher Browning's *Ordinary Men* describes the process by which------------------------------------------------------------------------
>"ordinary men"; older men who had joined a Reserve Police unit sent to
>Poland became killers. Very few of them were sadists; even fewer
>expressed ideological motivations, or had been subjected to the kind of
>heavy indoctrination that transformed Hitler youth into fanatical
>haters. Yet when the commander of the unit announced, on the first day
>of action, that those with objections to mass killing might step aside
>without penalty, only a few - less than 20 out of 200 - did so. As the
>process moved from mass murder to what were later described as "Jew
>hunts" in pursuit of individuals, some men in the unit managed to avoid
>killing by serving as guards rather than members of killing squads. Some
>feigned illness. But on the whole, most were willing to shoot persons
>who had been among their neighbors. When asked why they had done these
>things by investigators years later, some said they did not wish to
>appear cowardly; others that they didn't want to let their comrades
>down; yet others could give no reason at all.
>Browning has resisted the easy simplifications about "German character"
>made by D. Goldhagen (in *Hitler's Willing Executioners*). Instead,
>drawing on research from various fields, he has proposed a multiple
>factor analysis of the process by which ordinary persons may become mass
>killers. Based on this work, and others like it (for example Tzvetan
>Todorov's *Facing the Extreme: Moral Life in the Concentration Camps* or
>Robert Jay Lifton's *Nazi Doctors*), it should be possible to develop
>similar causal explanations for the behavior of those who have become
>willing executioners for Milosevic, and it is urgent that this be done
>when the conflict finally ends.
>It is important to identify the killers in Kosovo - and those
>responsible for directing them - and to bring both to justice. It is as
>important to undertand the conditions under which ordinary citizens can
>be motivated to become killers in the first place. Scholars from the
>field of Balkan studies might at some point wish to join with scholars
>who work in the field of Shoa studies to produce work that could locate
>the similarities and differences between the behavior of killers in both
>David H. Fisher
>Professor of Philosophy
>North Central College
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Balkan Academic News
- drs wrote:
>Evidence is currently being collected from refugees by officials of the
> Dear sir,
> I feel free to ask You about one element which would be, in my opinion ,
> different between the cases of Germans and their participation in killings
> of Jews and the case of the alleged killings of Albanians.
International War Crimes Tribunal as a basis for criminal prosecutions.
Until such time as such prosecutions begin and result in conviction, you
are technically correct to use the word "alleged". There is, however a
sufficient preponderance of evidence from a variety of sources - for
those willing to view and hear it - to substantiate the claim that large
numbers of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo are being killed by agents of the
Serbian government. The sources in question have been posted on this
> I am not eager to repeat well known facts, but still I have to remind You ofUsing the same set of evidence as Daniel Golddhagen (documents and
> anti-semit nazi propaganda, or even discriminatory laws against Jews, which
> existed during nazi era in Germany. I admit that such an atmosphere really
> could have been a basis for situations like the one depicted in Browning`s
> book "Ordinary men". Precisely, I strongly believe that a scientifically
> true multiple factor analysis should examine particular social and cultural
> conditions for such patterns of behaviur, beside, of course, rules of
> collective decision-making and behaving.
eyewitness testimony from veterans of the Order Police unit that carried
out the killings), Christopher Browning refused to attribute the
Holocaust to unique features of
the "German character". At the end of *Ordinary Men*, Browning
summarizes various possible explanations, including the Milgram
experiments, to account for the process by which ordinary men became
killers. He argues that the process is not confined to any one time or
place. I used the term "multi-factor analysis" to differntiate
Browning's work from Goldhagen's.
> I strongly believe that You just haven` t taken into account the differenceI can not dispute the evidence of your own experience in Belgrade, nor
> I had stressed here - that Serbs live in a society whicj\h is, as a whole,
> free of any traces of anti-Albanian emotions or rules.
your claim that anti-Albanian sentiments may not be as widely distrbuted
in Serbia. The behavior of Serbian government forces under Milosevic,
first in Bosnia and now in Kosovo, point in a different direction. The
evidence here suggests that ordinary men could be moved to acts of rape
and murder, and it is difficult to do this unless there is some prior
animus, some prior hostility towards those who were attacked.
I believe that sooner or later, Serbs will face the same alternatives
that faced the German and Japanese people after World War II. Given the
horrors of Hiroshima, Nagasaki and the fire bombing of Dresden, it was
possible for some to take refuge behind the banner of victimization, and
ignore or minimize evidence of the Holocaust, the rape of Nanking and
other crimes against humanity. Or, under courageous leadership,
individuals and groups could begin to acknowledge culpability for
national wrong-doing and work together to build a more tolerant, more
Americans are only beginning, in the last twenty years, to come to terms
with the legacies of slavery and crimes against Native American peoples
- but we are beginning to do so. It is not pleasant to confront one's
own shadow, and there will always be those who resist and deny the past.
Since you are a law student, you may find Martha Minnow's recent
*Between Mercy and Forgiveness* helpful. Minnow, professor of law at
Harvard, considers the different mechanisms developed to deal with
massive crimes against groups, from war crimes tribunals through
national truth commissions to reparations.
North Central College
Balkan Academic News
- mladen wrote:
> Dear DavidI appreciate the invitation to supply instances of "clear and
> Could you possible point out to me those evidence, in a clear and verifiable
> manner, that you are aware of. I am not, and yet I am willing to view and
> hear'. Hope not to suffer from another attack of presumptuousness. By the
> way, are you yourself willing to 'view and hear'?
> I am humbly expecting an answer from you. Thanks in advance.
verifiable" evidence, but must first ask what standards of proof, in
terms of quantity or quality of information, are being suggested. I am
not a forensic pathologist, for example, and therefore lack the training
to evaluate human remains and report on the probable causes of death. I
am not an information technologist, and hence lack the skills needed to
interpret videotape materials for possible alterations. Nor, finally, am
I an attorney engaged in preparing an indictment or set of charges to be
used before an examnining magistrate. I am a professor of philosophy
trained to analyse texts, to look carefully at the structure of
argument, and to consider the quality of indictive evidence in support
of initial premises.
I mention these things because, having been involved in debates with
persons involved in Holocaust denial, I am aware of the tactics used:
shifting beween points about the character of a specific piece of
evidence to the meta-level (i.e. questions about how much evidence is
sufficient to offer conclsive proof on a disputed issue, or questions
about the difference between testimony and photography as evidence, or
about the possible bias of various classes of persons, etc.).
I realize that the issue is an important one, but at the end of my
academic term I face limits on the amount of time available to engage in
e-mail conversation in addition to the professional limitations I've
indicated in the previous paragraphs. That said, the following internet
locations have provided me with the basis for my claims about evidence.
Once I am clearer about the quantity or quality of evidence being
requested, I will attempt to respond within the limits of time available
Professor of Philosophy
North Central College
http://helpB92.xs4all.nl , http://www.b92.net/
Balkan Action Council
The Balkan Human Rights Web Pages
Central Europe Online
Human Rights Watch website
International Crisis Group
KCC-NEWS: Kosova Crisis Center News Network
Balkan Academic News