Last week while watching the kick off to the extremely, impotent Bosnian Butcher war tribunals and leaving aside the shock and horror I felt at the fact that, Mladic - who is due to stand trial on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity for his key role in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre and other atrocities during the war in Bosnia- will continue to receive his monthly pension payments. It appears that the world pays for bad behaviour. Thus far he has pocketed about $72000 and counting. I guess Justice is a word better served to the poor and the non- European.
I got to thinking about the news in general and how one cannot help but wonder whether news watchers are sadists. We’re like those old aunties that press away at their little electronic tasbeeh counters the only difference being that we aren’t counting prayers. Or maybe we’re more like vampires (and here I don’t mean the effeminate high fashion meets Gucci model pasty white, Twilight types but the blood and gore thirsty monster types).
We seem to love counting the dead, the tortured, the raped and the wounded and the higher the numbers the better. Even as you read this, stories of the mass rapes in the Congo are making news editors drool even though the rest of the fighting and displacement has had dismal coverage in the global media.
The tragedy of course is that we never seem to go beyond the numbers to the fact that every digit represents an actual LIFE. Its history, hopes, dreams, love stories and its undone and unsaid. Apparently some philosopher’s already thought of this (man these guys leave nothing unnamed), it’s called the bureaucratisation of numbers*.
So no matter what the struggle or the circumstances were and no matter who you were or what you believed in, the only thing that will matter in the end is the number your corpse gets... a fitting memorial don't you think?
*Hannah Arendt (October 14, 1906 – December 4, 1975)