Saturday, March 11, 2006

Leaders of Oppression

"The Butcher of the Balkans" has died today at the age of 64.

I just turned on the computer and to my surprise one of the headlines on MSN is that former Yugoslav president, Slobodan Milosevic, was found dead in his prison cell this morning.

As a forceful Serbian nationalist, his brutal attacks on the Albanians in Kosovo led to the struggle in that region with NATO forces in 1999. He was on trial for war crimes at the Hague. Strangely enough both his father and mother committed suicide, but it appears Milosevic died of natural causes.

Coincidentally, today in the mail I received a long-awaited copy of Khrushchev Remembers, the memoir written by the Soviet premier.

I thought it was slightly odd that I would receive the book on the same day as I learned another oppressive leader had died.

Immediately the quote, "Someday history will tell the whole profound truth about what is happening today," came to mind and just as when I posted Khrushchev's words here before I realized that we do not know nor can we comprehend the magnitude of the lives and evil actions of either of these two men.

For me Khrushchev was one of the more admirable men of the Cold War, though he is often underestimated and spoken poorly of by Americans and Russians alike. Communist, yes. Human, yes. And yet, you have to love a man pounding his shoe on the table at the United Nations. Milosevic represented the last of the hard-line communists and his imprisonment was one of many actions that truly reflected a definite end to the Cold War. His methods of ethnic cleansing and brutal aggression toward the people he presided over are despicable, intiquitous acts of inhumanity.

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