Site Meter

Monday, September 17, 2007

Michael Palin in Bosnia

Impartiality will only get you so far. Watching Michael Palin’s travels round ‘New Europe’ last night, starting in former Yugoslavia, I thought of Slavoj Žižek’s joke about how to work out if you’re a racist or not. It involves a Serb and an Albanian arguing on German TV, and the interviewer interrupting with the line, ‘After so many centuries of ethnic hatred, why not just put your differences aside and get along?’ At which point, Žižek says, if you have any sympathy for the German, you are a racist.

Palin’s Žižek joke moment arrived when he was talking to a mine-clearer working in the countryside around Sarajevo. Aren’t you angry, he asked, that such maniacs and idiots laid all these mines in your country? Hardly, came the reply: I was one of the people who did it, and if we’d had ten mines as many, we’d have laid them too.

He also informed us that the combatants in the Bosnian war divided into Bosnian Croats, Bosnian Serbs and ‘Bosnian Muslims’, who I’m guessing were the Bosnian Bosnians.

It all made me think of the cartoon (above) from Oslobodenje, published during the siege.

No comments: