Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

[balkans] Re: Questions

Expand Messages
  • drs
    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
    Message 1 of 6 , May 17, 1999
    • 0 Attachment
      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
      people.

      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.

      Sincerely,

      Dusan Rakitic Srbic
      Law student
      Belgrade


      -----Original Message-----
      From: David Fisher <dhfsbf19@...>
      To: magdalena <manen@...>
      Cc: balkans@egroups.com <balkans@egroups.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
      >cases.
      >
      >David H. Fisher
      >Professor of Philosophy
      >North Central College
      >
      >------------------------------------------------------------------------
      >@Backup - #1 Online Backup Service Free for 30 days
      >INSTALL now and win a Palm Pilot V!
      >http://clickhere.egroups.com/click/137
      >
      >
      >eGroup home: http://www.eGroups.com/group/balkans
      >http://www.eGroups.com - Simplifying group communications
      >
      >
      >




      ------------------------------------------------------------------------
      ________________________
      Balkan Academic News
      Subscribe: balkans-subscribe@egroups.com
      Unsubscribe: balkans-unsubscribe@egroups.com
      Home: http://www.egroups.com/list/balkans/
    • David Fisher
      drs wrote: 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
      Message 2 of 6 , May 18, 1999
      • 0 Attachment
        drs wrote:
        >
        > 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.

        Evidence is currently being collected from refugees by officials of the
        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
        list.

        > 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.

        Using the same set of evidence as Daniel Golddhagen (documents and
        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 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.

        I can not dispute the evidence of your own experience in Belgrade, nor
        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
        open society.

        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.

        David Fisher
        North Central College

        ------------------------------------------------------------------------
        ________________________
        Balkan Academic News
        Subscribe: balkans-subscribe@egroups.com
        Unsubscribe: balkans-unsubscribe@egroups.com
        Home: http://www.egroups.com/list/balkans/
      • David Fisher
        mladen wrote: Dear David Could you possible point out to me those evidence, in a clear and verifiable manner, that you are aware of. I am not, and
        Message 3 of 6 , May 18, 1999
        • 0 Attachment
          mladen wrote:

          > Dear David
          >
          > 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.

          I appreciate the invitation to supply instances of "clear and
          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
          to me.

          Cordially,

          David Fisher
          Professor of Philosophy
          North Central College
          Naperville, Illinois


          Radio B92
          http://helpB92.xs4all.nl , http://www.b92.net/

          Balkan Action Council
          http://www.balkanaction.org/links.html

          Balkan's Page
          http://www.igc.org/balkans/raccoon/kosovo.html

          The Balkan Human Rights Web Pages
          http://www.greekhelsinki.gr

          Balkania Net
          http://www.balkania.net/

          Central Europe Online
          http://www.centraleurope.com/ceo/ceonews.html

          Human Rights Watch website
          http://www.hrw.org/hrw/campaigns/kosovo98/index.htm

          International Crisis Group
          http://www.crisisweb.org/projects/balkans.htm

          KCC-NEWS: Kosova Crisis Center News Network
          http://www.alb-net.com/kcc/

          Free Serbia
          http://welcome.to/freeserbia/

          ------------------------------------------------------------------------
          ________________________
          Balkan Academic News
          Subscribe: balkans-subscribe@egroups.com
          Unsubscribe: balkans-unsubscribe@egroups.com
          Home: http://www.egroups.com/list/balkans/
        Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.