Synopses & Reviews
In her novel S.
, Slavenka Drakulic´ explored the horror of genocide and the lives that were ripped apart during the Bosnian conflict of the early 1990s. Now, in They Would Never Hurt a Fly
, she confronts one of the consequences of that warthe prisoners being tried at The Hague for their war crimes by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
During that terrible and bloody clash, countless humans were tortured, raped, and murderedunspeakable acts committed in the name of ethnic cleansing and all authorized by the government. Drakulic´ introduces readers to the accusedfrom the infamous to the unknown to the unquestionably guilty, including former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic´seeking to understand the people behind the horrific crimes. She asserts that the trials are important not just because of the dead, but also because of the living. In the end, she writes about the war criminals, what matters... is one single important question: what would I do in their situation?
"What causes people to participate in genocide? Respected Croatian journalist Drakulic (How We Survived Communism and Even Laughed) set out to explore the psyches of the people who turned her former country, Yugoslavia, into a killing field in the early 1990s. Observing them on trial for war crimes before the International Tribunal in the Hague, Drakulic depicts the perpetrators, from Radomir Kovac, who raped young girls, to the delusional former Serb president Slobodan Milosevic, often from the point of view of the perpetrators themselves. The novelistic imputation of imagined thoughts can be distracting. Nevertheless, with a few exceptions, the snapshots are powerful and horrifying: they include a chilling description of the slaughter at Srebrenica through the eyes of a reluctant Bosnian soldier forced to kill or be killed, and a portrayal of an entire town's complicity in the murder of a Croatian militiaman after he courageously testified before the tribunal. Drakulic's analysis of why people choose evil fear, opportunism, propaganda, lust for power and identity, historical grievances offers little that's new, and her conclusion 'if ordinary people committed war crimes, it means that any of us begs the question of why some found the courage to say no. But her focus on the perpetrators and their apparently inexplicable moral choices forces us to face the questions of good and evil these crimes raise." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Drakulic introduces readers to the accused individuals from the Bosnian conflict of the early 1990s--from the infamous to the unknown to the unquestionably guilty--seeking to understand the people behind the horrific crimes.
"Who were they? Ordinary people like you or me—or monsters?” asks internationally acclaimed author Slavenka Drakulic as she sets out to understand the people behind the horrific crimes committed during the war that tore apart Yugoslavia in the 1990s. Drawing on firsthand observations of the trials, as well as on other sources, Drakulic portrays some of the individuals accused of murder, rape, torture, ordering executions, and more during one of the most brutal conflicts in Europe in the twentieth century, including former Serbian president Slobodan Miloševic; Radislav Krstic, the first to be sentenced for genocide; Biljana Plavšic, the only woman accused of war crimes; and Ratko Mladic, now in hiding. With clarity and emotion, Drakulic paints a wrenching portrait of a country needlessly torn apart.
About the Author
Slavenka Drakulic was born in Croatia in 1949. The author of several works of nonfiction and novels, she has written for The New York Times, The Nation, The New Republic, and numerous publications around the world.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Not a Fairy Tale
1. Why The Hague
2. Justice Is Boring
3. A Suicide Scenario
4. A Quiet Night in October
5. Boys Just Had Fun
6. He Would Never Hurt a Fly
7. "Triumph of Evil"
8. One Day in the Life of Drazen Erdemovic
9. A Beast in a Cage
10. Ribbons and Bows
11. Punished by the Gods
12. The Metamorphosis of Biljana Plavsic
13. Why We Need Monsters
Epilogue: Brotherhood and Unity