Monday, October 17, 2005

A visitor from Sarajevo

Several posts back, I blogged on the Islamist Ministry of Silly Soccer, and according to my site meter (see bottom of blog), somebody from Sarajevo noticed.

The site meter also informed me that this person found me by googling for "soccer rules" and "Islam" -- or something similar. The person even looked at my link to some damned humorous thing that my six-year-old son said.

I'd like to think that this Sarajevo searcher was a friend.

I used to be a friend of Sarajevo . . . not that I've ever been there. I was living in Europe in the early 90s and read daily in the papers about Sarajevo during General Mladic's attempt to destroy it and annihilate all of the Muslims in Bosnia. I identified with that city, which sounded graceful, beautiful, cosmopolitan, and beleagured.

Though I wasn't about to go there under the conditions of wartime and the threat of annihilation by Serbian paramilitary who were shelling the city, I admired Susan Sontag for going and directing Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot -- a most appropriate choice, given that the city had been waiting for Europe to show up with more than mere words.

I even felt strongly enough to write a poem for Sarajevo, one of my very few 'political' poems:


Scenes of fallen tranquility
And the silence that follows lies:
Words fail, would sound obscenity,
Would flail against uncaring skies
That answer not to your demise.
No answer give to your demise.

Yet other words betray you still,
Worn words so cheap, not worth a dime:
Thus even now they bode you ill,
This evening of your sad decline,
With promises of peace in time.
Peace in their own, serene, sweet time.

I had grown tired of the broken promises that European politicians kept offering Sarajevo, and I was appalled by the Euro-left's refusal to protest. I asked my leftist friends and acquaintances why they didn't call for intervention. Finally, one leveled with me:

"If we called for intervention, then NATO would have to do it, and we're against NATO."

Oh, I thought, I see. Anti-Americanism trumps human rights every time.

But for a misplaced sense of courtesy, I would have spoken these words out loud.

All of that now feels very long ago. I hope that the Sarajevan who googled and found me considered me a friend, but for all I know, the searcher may have been an Islamist looking for soccer according to shari'a but finding an infidel to hate.


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