Sunday, July 11, 2010

The World Cup, the Dutch, and Srebrenica

I love the Dutch. I believe liberating that beautiful little progressive country was the best thing this country has ever done. I love the way they send us tulips every year. I'm sorry so many are so sad tonight. 

But I'm glad Spain won the World Cup. Not just because they were the better, classier team. But because I can't think of a worst day for the Dutch people to go wild with joy.

Than on the anniversary of this massacre.

Some 30,000 Bosnian Muslims had flocked to the UN military base in the town's suburb of Potocari for refuge, when Serb forces came and the outnumbered Dutch troops opened the gates. The Serbs separated out men and boys, putting them on trucks and carting them away, the vast majority never to be seen again.

I know those Dutch soldiers weren't entirely to blame for what happened. They weren't given enough support. It was the blackest day in the history of the United Nations.

But I can never forget how they partied when the Serbs announced they were letting them go. Or how their general toasted the war criminal Ratko Mladic.

Even as his death squads were preparing to murder thousands of men and boys.

I realize the date of World Cup final was a cruel twist of fate. But to celebrate wildly on such an anniversary would have been unfortunate to say the least.

The good news? Serbia's long and painful journey out of the darkness into the light. The Serbian President attended today's memorial. And I found this particularly moving.

But until this monstrous war criminal is captured and punished.

Until the last remains of his victims are found and returned to those who loved them.

The Serbs are condemned to keep looking for him, if they want to complete their journey.

And the Dutch are condemned to REMEMBER...

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