So today we had a quiet discussion going on. Yes, there was an almost unanimous condemnation of genocide, but sad to say there were denials and dissemblings too. 'Twas ever thus. Many a pint was pulled to cool down hot heads.
It started with the news of one particular chap who was sentenced in a Court the other day for his leading role in mass slaughter. Ratko Mladić. The 'Butcher of Bosnia'. To many he is a Hero, although I do not envisage his name being put on the Hero Board in the bar any day soon.
Owen Bowcott and Julian Borger had some bare bones for us which the Prof, JJRay had a few words about too.
Ratko Mladić convicted of war crimes and genocide at UN tribunalThe former Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladić, nicknamed the ‘butcher of Bosnia’, has been sentenced to life imprisonment after being convicted of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/nov/22/ratko-mladic-convicted-of-genocide-and-war-crimes-at-un-tribunalMore than 20 years after the Srebrenica massacre, Mladic was found guilty at the United Nations-backed international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague of 10 offences involving extermination, murder and persecution of civilian populations.
As he entered the courtroom, Mladić gave a broad smile and thumbs up to the cameras – a gesture that infuriated relatives of the victims. His defiance shifted into detachment as the judgment began: Mladić played with his fingers and nodded occasionally, looking initially relaxed.The verdict was disrupted for more than half an hour when he asked the judges for a bathroom break. After he returned, defence lawyers requested that proceedings be halted or shortened because of his high blood pressure. The judges denied the request. Mladić then stood up shouting “this is all lies” and “I’ll fuck your mother”. He was forcibly removed from the courtroom. The verdicts were read in his absence.Mladić, 74, was chief of staff of Bosnian Serb forces from 1992 until 1996, during the ferocious civil wars and ethnic cleansing that followed the break-up of the Yugoslav state.The one-time fugitive from international justice faced 11 charges, two of genocide, five of crimes against humanity and four of violations of the laws or customs of war. He was cleared of one count of genocide, but found guilty of all other charges. The separate counts related to “ethnic cleansing” operations in Bosnia, sniping and shelling attacks on besieged civilians in Sarajevo, the massacre of Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica and taking UN personnel hostage in an attempt to deter Nato airstrikes.The trial in The Hague, which took 530 days across more than four years, is arguably the most significant war crimes case in Europe since the Nuremberg trials, in part because of the scale of the atrocities involved. Almost 600 people gave evidence for the prosecution and defence, including survivors of the conflict.Delivering the verdicts, judge Alphons Orie said Mladić’s crimes “rank among the most heinous known to humankind and include genocide and extermination”.In evaluating Mladić’s culpability for genocide, the court pointed to his command and control of the Bosnian Serb army and interior ministry forces, which carried out almost all of the executions, his presence in the area, and his frequent remarks about how the country’s Muslims could “disappear”.Once Mladic has exhausted any appeals, he could, theoretically, be sent to the UK to serve out the rest of his life behind bars. Britain is one of the countries that has signed up to the tribunal’s agreement on the enforcement of sentences.
The hearing, broadcast live, was followed closely in Bosnia. The Bosnian prime minister, Denis Zvizdić, said the verdict “confirmed that war criminals cannot escape justice regardless of how long they hide”.In Lazarevo, the Serbian village where Mladić was arrested in 2011, residents dismissed the guilty verdicts as biased. One, Igor Topolic, said: “All this is a farce for me.
As Owen and Julian gave little context, the Prof, JJ, stepped up. He did not excuse but did shed some light. There are some around with little knowledge of even modern history.He [Mladić] is a Serbian national hero.”Mladić’s home village of Bozinovici retains a street named after the former general, where he is praised as a symbol of defiance and national pride.Mladić’s defence lawyer, Dragan Ivetic, announced that he would appeal against the convictions.
The massacre of innocents can of course never be condoned and it seems clear that Mladic is a thug but I wonder if it could have been taken into consideration during his sentencing that it was Muslims he was fighting and killing? His Republika Srpska was essentially the frontline of Serbs against the Muslims of Bosnia.Both in the former Yugoslavia and worldwide Muslims have shown scant regard for the lives of others and retribution is very much a part of Yugoslav culture generally. As the report above notes, he is seen as a hero by his countrymen.
Long memories brings us to another genocide which few barely even recognise let alone discuss. Close to the Home of Anglophilia.He is adored, his portrait adorns bars and office walls in Bosnia and Serbia, his name sung at football matches. Was he just a typical Yugoslav? His men appear to have followed him unhesitatingly.Had my people been the victim of centuries of Muslim oppression, I imagine that I might feel similarly. Scots still remember Edward Longshanks (King of England from 1272 to 1307) with bitterness. Serbs have to remember back only to 1812. And are we allowed to mention the large number of Serbs killed by the Muslim KLA?
As an Englishman I am always troubled by the Irish hatred of my countrymen. The 'Troubles' in Northern Ireland in the later part of the 20C remain quite fresh in my mind. As a Catholic I can understand their understanding of their history. I will not, however, accept the longevity of the bitterness. The difficulties of attitude and action experienced by friends of mine sent to NI to quell murder and mayhem remain a scar. But being sent to protect the Catholic minority was never going to make up for the genocide of Catholics centuries before.
The Irish do so often disremember that English Catholics were slaughtered first.
Several voices from the tables murmered:
But let us hear some of the accounts of the time and get a bit of that history lesson that we did not get at school - or University for that matter.Funny how they never teach this in history classes in school. They also never mention how the Protestants during the Reformation sacked and pillaged convents and monostaries, raping and killing Catholics, and burning churches down.The average person confuses Protestant violence with ALL of Christianity. They don’t know the difference between Catholic and Protestant. That’s why some hate ALL Christians.
It is timely, being as America, started in their tradition by the Puritans, is celebrating 'Thanksgiving'. Seumas MacManus takes us back.
The Puritan Massacres of CatholicsOn October 2, 1649, the English Parliament appointed a national Thanksgiving Day in celebration of the dreadful slaughter—and by unanimous vote placed upon the Parliamentary records—"That the House does approve of the execution done at Drogheda as an act of both justice to them [the butchered ones] and mercy to others who may be warned by it."EXCERPT FROM "The STORY of the IRISH RACE"It was in August of ‘40 that Cromwell landed in Dublin, with eight regiments of foot, six of horse, and several troops of dragoon—in all seventeen thousand of the flower of the Puritan army.
They were extraordinary men, his Ironsides—Bible-reading, psalm-singing soldiers of God—fearfully daring, fiercely fanatical, papist hating, looking on this land as being assigned to them the chosen people, by their God.
And looking on the inhabitants as idol-worshiping Canaanites who cursed of God, and to be extirpated by the sword.
They came with minds inflamed by the lurid accounts of the "great Popish Massacre," which for some years now had been, by the Parliamentarians, sedulously circulated among the English people.
In an earlier time he could have been on Ghengis Khan's HQ Staff.A sample of this literature is the pamphlet published in London in 1647 by a noted Puritan preacher (and writer) Nathaniel Ward: "I beg upon my hands and knee that the expedition against them (the Irish) be undertaken while the hearts and hands of our soldiery are hot; to whome, I will be bold to say, briefly: happy be he that shall reward them as they served us, and cursed be he who shall do the work of the Lord negligently. Cursed be he who holdeth back the sword from blood: yea cursed be he that maketh not the sword stark drunk with Irish blood; who doth not recompense them double for their treachery to the English; but maketh them in heaps on heaps, and their country the dwelling place of dragons—and astonishment for nations. Let not that eye look for pity, nor hand be spared, that pities or spares them; and let him be cursed that curseth them not bitterly."
To keep the men’s venom at the boiling point there were chosen to travel with the troops, and also to sail with the fleet, Puritan preachers of the Word distinguished for their almost demoniacal hatred of the papistical Irish.
Stephen Jerome, Hugh Petes, and their like, noted for the violence of their invective against all thing s Irish and Catholic, preached a war of extermination in the most startling and fearful manner—in the pulpit invoking the curse of God upon those who should hold their hands from slaying "while man, woman or child or Belial remains alive." Peters exhorted his hearers to do as did the conquerors of Jericho, "kill all that were, young men and old, children, and maidens."The great leader of the grim Ironsides, himself, was destined to leave behind him in Ireland for all time
a name synonymous with ruthless butchery.
The first rate taste of the qualities of this agent of God the Just, and first Friend of the Irish was given to the people at Drogheda. When he took this city he gave it and its inhabitants to his men for a three days’ and three nights’ unending orgy of slaughter. Only thirty men out of a garrison of three thousand escaped the sword; and it is impossible to compute what other thousands of non-combatants, men, women, and children, were butchered.
They were slain in the streets, in the lanes, in the yards, in the gardens, in the cellars, on their own hearthstone. They were slain in the altar steps, in the market-place—till the city’s gutters ran with red rivulets of blood.
In the vaults underneath the church a great number of the finest women of the city sought refuge. But hardly one, if one, even of these, was left to tell the awful tale of unspeakable outrage and murder.
Arthur Wood, the Historian of Oxford, gives us a narrative compiled from the account of his brother who was an officer in Cromwell’s army, and who had been through the siege and sack of Drogheda—which throws interesting sidelight upon the British methods, and the quaint point of view of the most cultured of them.
"Each of the assailants would take up a child and use it as a buckler of defense to keep him from being shot or brained.
My Supplier does not like this projecting of wickedness upon Him, one little bit. Take it from me !After they had killed all in the church they went into the vaults underneath, where all the choicest of women had hid themselves. One of these, a most handsome virgin arrayed in costly a dn gorgeous apparel, knelt down to Wood, with tears and prayers begging for her life; and being stricken with a profound pity, he did take her under his arm for protection, and went with her out of the church with intention to put her over the works, to shift for herself, but a soldier, perceiving his intention, ran the sword through her, whereupon Mr. Wood, seeing her gasping, took away her money, jewels, etc., and flung her down over the works."In his despatch to the Speaker of the House of Commons, after Drogheda, Cromwell says: "It has pleased God to bless our endeavour at Drogheda. . . . the enemy were about 3,000 strong in the town. I believe we put to the sword the whole number. . . .This hath been a marvelous great mercy. . . . I wish that all honest hearts may give the glory of this to God alone, to whom indeed the praise of this mercy belongs."
Wicked men all too often blame God. 'Twas always thus.And again, "In this very place (St. Peter’s Church), a thousand of them were put to the sword, fleeing thither for safety. . . .And now give me leave to say how this work was wrought. It was set upon some of our hearts that a great thing should be done, not by power or might, but by the spirit of God. And is it not so, clearly?"
On October 2, 1649, the English Parliament appointed a national Thanksgiving Day in celebration of the dreadful slaughter—and by unanimous vote placed upon the Parliamentary records—"That the House does approve of the execution done at Drogheda as an act of both justice to them [the butchered ones] and mercy to others who may be warned by it."After Drogheda, Cromwell, in quick succession reduced the other northern strongholds, then turned and swept southward to Wexford—where he again exhibited to the people the face of the King and Friend. Two thousand were butchered here. He thought it a simple act of justice to "the Saint," his soldiers, to indulge them in the little joy of slaughtering the Canaanites. He writes: "I thought it not right or good to restrain off the soldiers from their right of pillage, or from doing execution on the enemy."Lingard, in his History of England says: "Wexford was abandoned to the mercy of the assailants. The tragedy recently enacted at Drogheda was renewed. No distinction was made between the defenseless inhabitants and the armed soldiers, nor could the shrieks and prayers of three hundred females who had gathered round the great Cross in the market-place, preserve them from the swords of these ruthless barbarians."Nicholas French, Bishop of Wexford who escaped from the city, and after terrible suffering and privation, escaped from the country, records: "On that fatal day, October 11th 1649, I lost everything I had. Wexford, my native town, then abounding in merchandise, ships, and wealth, was taken at the sword’s point by Cromwell, and sacked by and infuriated soldiery.
Before God’s altar fell sacred victims, holy priests of the Lord.
Of those who were seized outside the church some were scourged, some thrown into chains and imprisoned , while others were hanged or put to death by cruel tortures. The blood of the nobles of our citizens was shed so that it inundated the streets. There was hardly a house that was not defiled with carnage and filled with wailing."
At Cashel, where two thousand were slain, Cromwell’s general, Broughill, took the Bishop of Ross, cut off his hands and feet, and then hanged him. A Dominican friar had his fingers and toes cut off before he was slain. And at Clonmel, a Franciscan was first drawn on the rack and then had his hands and feet burned off, after which he was hung. The parish priest of Arklow was tied to a wild horse’s tail and dragged to Gorey, where he was hanged.The attitude adopted by the exterminators towards those whom they were exterminating is illumined to us when we know that the most wildly grotesque stories told of the latter, were greedily accepted by the former.
In Nash’s edition of the Hudibras, it was gravely stated that when seven hundred Irish had been put to the sword by Inchiquin, "Among them were found, when stripped divers that had tails nearly a quarter of a yard long. Forty soldiers, eye-witnesses, testified the same on their oaths."
The mind boggles that men who profess to be Christians can be so wicked. I can safely bet that those protestants that are nice, normal, ordinary people of today do not know the least part of their own denomination's past. Not the reality. Perhaps some notions of the myths that excuse.A Protestant minister with the troops in Munster wrote home to London that when they had stormed a certain castle, many of the slain defenders were found to have tails several inches long!
Not that I hold Catholics to be much different. Our religion's history has dark moments and bad people too.
There is a great irony, of course. Those murderous Puritans were treated similarly (not with quite the same measure) by subsequent protestants and had to flee to the New World. Hence the 'Thanksgiving' there in the USA. A double irony is that their settlement would not have survived let alone prospered had they not been befriended by an Indian --- who was a Catholic !!
It is a bit late now to hold a Trial of Cromwell and his men. I have little doubt that they were confronted with their wickedness in the Great Court above infront of the Divine Judge. Pray for mercy.
Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins. Save us from the fires of Hell. Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those murderous b***** that have most need of your Mercy.
Drinks all around. We need it.