The Hell that is Syria, and Etc.


Herblock, 1999


I’m afraid that I simply couldn’t help thinking of the classic Herblock cartoon from back in the day when Slobodan Milosevic was fomenting atrocities in the Balkans while the European powers, NATO, and the United States were wringing their hands and issuing toothless warnings.



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  • Louis Midgley

    The cartoon with which Professor Peterson introduces his commentary reminded me of more that twenty years ago trying to follow the dreadful civil war that took place when in the 1990s Croatia tried to become an independent nation. I am, of course, aware that in the northeast of Croatia that Vukovar was pounded into rubble by the Serbian army. But the really disgusting, for me at least, bit of entirely unnecessary evil was the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) consisting mostly, I believe, of soldiers from Montenegro, perched on the high mountains to the north firing something like a thousand mortar rounds down on the simply wonderful old walled city of Dubrovnic (from October 1991 through May 1992). Those packed into the old city, we were told, lived in the basements especially of hotels. I have a map indicating where each round hit and I took photos from the very high walls around the city of the repairs to tile roofs showing the damage.

    Beginning in the 12th century, Dubrovnic Republic was able to defend itself for hundreds of years from both Turkey and Venice. One very good reason is that they built massive walls around the old city and other forts along the coast. That wall is 50 feet high on the ocean side and up to 82 feet high on the land side. It runs for 6300+ feet and is very wide. But they had essentially no defense against mortars from the hills behind the city.

    A couple of years ago my wife and I had a look at villages in Croatia where one could still see homes with the windows gone and bullet holes in the plaster. These were the homes of Serbs who happened to live among Croatians. They both speak essentially the same language, with a slight difference in dialect, and a difference in which version of Christianity (or Islam) to which they are often merely nominally attached.