They Would Never Hurt A Fly: War Criminals on Trial in The Hague Paperback – 4 Mar 2004
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Slavenka Drakulic is a writer of great sensitivity, intelligence and grace (Alice Walker)
A formidable writer (SUNDAY TIMES)
Her writing has the spare poetry of Marguerite Duras (GUARDIAN)
Slavenka Drakulic is a journalist and writer whose voice belongs to the world (Gloria Steinem)
* An accessible, involving and moving account of the Balkan war criminalsSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Drakulic takes a long hard look at the war crimes committed by a variety of men who she saw being tried at the Hague. While the detail of their crimes is shocking enough, as a reader again and again I found myself most stunned by the fact that such disgusting acts were perpetrated by otherwise unremarkable- dare I say rather boring- people. Perhaps the extraordinary circumstances war thrusts people into makes them do outrageous things. For every act of courage there must be countless acts of cruelty. However, it's only when writers like Drakulic reminds you of this fact that you realise just how awful war is, and how much everyone must always try to stop them from occurring.
Two chapters really stood out for me: the first is the one on former Serb general Ratko Mladic (actually a piece that predates his recent capture and sending the the Hague). This chapter actually focusses on his daughter's suicide, and almost achieves the seemingly impossible by making you feel an ounce of sympathy for this piece of human detritus.
The other powerful chapter concerns the way prisoners of all kinds- Serb, Kosovan, Croat etc- seem to rub long well locked up together while awaiting trial. Read the book to see what lesson Drakulic draws from that irony.
That never occurred to me reading the book, i wasn't looking at what ethnic group each of the perpetrators were in. What the author does is she looks at the lives of these men and women prior to the war.
The book is an exploration of her own quest for understanding. She is trying to see WHY these people, people that she could relate to and were so similar to her own friends and family, could kill hundreds of innocent civilians. She is trying to understand the psyche of the accused. She is not biased in her actual writing, she only uses ethnicity in her explainations of who people are - she doesn't say anything like "the Serbs were the worst". The book is not about what ethicity did what - its about the individuals and WHY they did what they did.
It is beautifully written, and thought provoking, it makes you think - if i were in that situation would i have behaved the same as the accused? We each hope that we wouldn't, that we could keep our humanity, but this book makes you think would i be able to?
At the time of writing Karadicz and Mladic were still at large and Milosevic was still alive. I think the book would benefit from an update and some revisions for as successful as the ICTY was in 2004 (publication date), its greatest successes were still to come.
There are a few typos in the Kindle edition but on the whole it is a good transfer from the print.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I like the historical facts and knowledge in this book, I did however feel that sometimes her own input overshadowed certain aspects but not enough to ruin my enjoyment of this... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Keara
After reading As If I'm not there(incredible book) I bought this book. It's gripping and shocking. Can people change into monsters because of the war or is there evil hiding inside... Read morePublished on 30 Nov. 2011 by Ofratko
This book is a must read and should be on the school's reading list along with WWII. It demonstrates that not only can this type of horror occur in modern times, it is about... Read morePublished on 6 July 2011 by L. Patmore
The author states her case in a compelling and gripping manner that draws the reader in and makes him/her ask themselves what would they do if they were in that position. Read morePublished on 14 May 2006 by Michael Trezise
As an Englishman, who has studied the Balkans, extensively, I cannot believe that , yet again we have an example of an anti-Serb book. Read morePublished on 3 Mar. 2006