Public reaction

It's hard to break down into specifics, but there were some interesting observations on public opinion during the recent flurry of "Mladic has been located" rumors.

A couple observers noted to me, and transcripts of talk radio seem to confirm, that the consensus reaction in Serbia was of relief at the capture stories, while desperation and sadness marked the majority's reactions in (non-Banja Luka) Republika Srpska.
Are the stakes greater for Serbian citizens than RS residents? Probably, since the RS doesn't have as much of a near-term economic stake in war crimes cooperation as Serbia. Could the RS also have more hardliners who will support K & M at any cost? Also probably true.

Seems Radovan has every reason to feel like he's still comfortably on his home turf along the border of the RS and Montenegro.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is a reaction from Croatia to the recent flurry in Mladic-reports. It was run by the Austrian daily Newspaper "Die Krone" on 28 Feb (http://www.kurier.at/ausland/1293485.php)

This is the translation:

"Mladic killed girlfriend"

Zagreb – Last week the alleged arrest of the Bosnian-Serbian general Ratko Mladic only caused little alarm in Croatia.

The reports that long time fugitive and presumed war criminal was finally snatched caused not much excitement. Probably because nearly each week at least one newspaper in Croatia runs headlines like "Mladic killed girlfriend" or "Mladic driving under the influence". Some examples in recents months were: "Mladic drove into pedestrians". Then "Mladic was kidnapped, beaten and thrown into river". And finally: "Mladic died from drugs overdose ". However, there are no Mladic-clones in Croatia.

The explanation lies in the original meaning of the word. In Croatian, Bosnian or Serbian "mladic" means "boy, young man or young person". And because "Mladic" is also the surname of the presumed war criminal wanted by the UN tribunal because of the massacre of Srebrenica, the editors cannot withstand the temptation to place the word "Mladic" at the front of the headline. Because of this the word is written with a capital letter, like a surname.

Cash Gotovina

Mladic however is not the only accused by the Hague, whose name has different meanings. The Croatian daily paper Vjesnik reported on Monday: "Gotovina odlazi u zaborav" ("Gotovina will soon be forgotten"). That does not mean however the Croatian public is losing interest in the accused Croatian general Ante Gotovina. This Croatian headline was used for a story about the increased use of credit cards. Therefore it really meant: "cash will soon be forgotten ", because the name Croatian general on Croatian (also in Bosnian or Serbian) means exactly that.

Therefore when Gotovina was still on the run, certain parts of the population had a very popular saying: "we do not give cash for loans of the IWF. Or: "we do not give up Gotovina for loans of the IWF".

Article of 28.02.2006 |apa |jos

You can see, it's Karneval in Europe. Helau to everyone. Keep up the good work and the good analysis.

6:50 AM  
Blogger Yakima_Gulag said...

@ anonymous: That is a worthwhile contribution to the discussion!

And yes it could be a logical source for some of the rumors, it won't explain ALL of them, but it's interesting.
Not that many words in the local language have dual or double meanings except when slang is involved, some do, but the number of double meaning, multiple meaning words is unusually low, especially in comparison with English, or Spanish, or French or other languages likely to be a second language for English speakers.

11:43 AM  

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