Belgrade, April 12, 2006
The Muslim Women
Belgrade is sinking today, heavy rain. The link to Hague is back: the cassette owner witness today is going into details with the bad guy who became good by pleading guilty as to how many people he shot. "I don’t know," says the witness, "two or three people."
"For me it is very important if it is three or six," says the indicted. "Because I am a moral person."
Sighs from the audience. Today we are sitting in the usual crowd with relatives of victims and criminals, but there is a new, third lot in dark suits and fancy caps. The wife of one war criminal asked the men in suits, "Who are you, if I may know."
"We are the police," says one, slightly embarrassed. He meant the secret police.
She retreats in awe. I guess her husband claimed too that he was on a secret mission. A mission of secretly executing as many people as he could.
[Image: Goranka Matic, 2002. Jasmina explains what's going on in this photo: "Women cross the borders, starting from Belgrade and going through the countries of former Yugoslavia, meeting women, friends, pacifists. This site is Vukovar Croatia, a city often mentioned in my texts because the Yugoslav army destroyed it. The Scorpions were based there, too, before going to Bosnia."]
"So, specifically, what does 'certification of the shot bodies' mean?" asks the indicted Scorpion of his ex pal, the protected -witness Scorpion. They are exchanging their small talk in court as if it were small-arms fire.
Yes, sure, we must be precise; you shoot the body in the head with a pistol. You use the gun only rarely. That is not a proper certification then.
This witness was beaten and sent away because he contradicted the Commander. The others got the order to shoot with the gun and camera.
Now we moan in the audience... but soon it will be over... The next protected witness asks to be questioned via video link and not in public. This even though we know his name and that he is the one most responsible for spilling the beans to the Justice.
Only some viewers get to stay inside: the secret police, few humanitarian lawyers... We Women in Black together with relatives of the victims and the criminals are all tossed out in the rain.
I am angry and disappointed, so are their women. I nearly offered the Scorpion women peanuts while we were waiting for the guards to let us in on special permit.
I choked back the instinct, but I still wonder, would they have taken the peanuts? Since they call all of us: The Muslim Women.
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Previous essays by Jasmina Tesanovic on BoingBoing:
- Belgrade: New Normality
- Serbia: An Underworld Journey
- Scorpions Trial, Day Three: March 15, 2006
- Scorpions Trial, Day Two: March 14, 2006
- Scorpions Trial, Day One: March 13, 2006
- The Long Goodbye
- Milosevic Arrives in Belgrade
- Slobodan Milosevic Died
- Milosevic Funeral
- Link to previous posts about Jasmina's work.
Boing Boing editor/partner and tech culture journalist Xeni Jardin hosts and produces Boing Boing's in-flight TV channel on Virgin America airlines (#10 on the dial), and writes about living with breast cancer. Diagnosed in 2011. @xeni on Twitter. email: firstname.lastname@example.org.