The documentary ‘Sarajevo Roses’ is important beyond its artistic value and intrinsic worth to the people of the Balkans. We need to make sure there is never a documentary made in America called ‘Sacramento, Sarasota, Syracuse, Santa Fe, You-get-the-picture Roses’. Even though such killing has happened here, we never want it back.
America witnessed wars of personal vengeance and genocidal extermination in our Indian Wars, Revolution and War Between the States. The Indian Wars were different from the Revolution and War Between the States. The Indian wars were two incompatible cultures competing to live in one place. The American Revolution (ACW I) and WBTS (ACW II) were political fights. The North and South were distinct sub-cultures, not fully separate cultures, in conflict.
Consider real culture war and Sarajevo Roses. The Indian Wars (1608-1890) consisted of many different campaigns in a long, long culture war. No cookie cutter, PC labels apply.
My Mother told me the family lore of farm families on a Sunday picnic when Greenville County, SC was frontier. The Cherokees attacked. A neighbor lady died with an arrow to the heart as she was trying to get over a split-rail fence. Had those families traded with the Cherokees who lived a few miles away?
My late wife’s Clay family was on the frontier in Virginia when the Shawnee came a killing. They killed one son on the farm. They took another son back across the Ohio River and burned him alive as a sacrifice to their pagan gods. Had those Indians and English settlers met each other before murdering? In many cases they did.
What was in the hearts of those families who survived Indian attacks and massacres? How is it different from the King David and the Hebrews with their Canaanite neighbors?
I argue there is a distinct difference between two kinds of murderous war. The distinction is lost on the dead children, woman, seniors and innocents of all kinds. Yet, the distinction matters as to why the neighbors kill each other.
Cultural conflict is inevitable. There is no such thing as a multi-cultural society. There are multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-racial, multi-lingual societies that exist under or are built upon one, single culture. Culture commands.
Political conflict is avoidable. The Lilliputians of the world don’t have to kill each other over which end of the egg to open. They really don’t.
I suggest – the conflict in the Balkans started with political avarice for the usual reasons of all political struggles – power and money, money and power. But, people made the political contest into a contest of cultural survival – of kill or be killed. The result, like our Indian Wars, was horrific.
For over a decade after the dictator Tito died, politicians built their constituencies by dividing people. Tito had crushed the differences among Catholic Croats, Orthodox Serbs and Muslim Europeans.
The politicians who preached Serb Lives Matter, Croat Lives Matter and Muslim Lives Matter practiced cancerous identity politics. They aligned with intelligentsia and religious leaders and built greater identity by group.
The Balkan equivalent, say like – a Serb Congressional Caucus – elevated permanent victim status to statehood. The elevated status of their ancestors’ martyrdom had no expiration day. Claims of moral superiority, recompensation or special privileges based on ancient wrongs were unending. It didn’t have to be that way.
When war came, all murdered each other – Serb, Croat, Muslim. There were no good guys. But, there were good people.
In our Indian Wars the humanity of the individual Indians shouldn’t be denied or exalted above all. The humanity of each of the English-Speaking Peoples shouldn’t be forgotten. Individuals wanted to live. Love. Have families. Laugh. Some wanted to make war in its season. All wanted to survive and win.
Is that different from life among Sarajevo Roses? In the Balkans innocents on all sides just wanted to live in peace. Innocents were killed in combat. Some were raped or murdered in person.
Virginia – leading America again – needs to rid itself of identity politics.
If we build a better Virginia identity – we are all in this life in this place together – then we can squabble about more or less government, higher or lower taxes, etc. Politics should be about power and money – as it is – but not about a “them vs. us” with special privileges, affirmative actions, protected classes of persons, and labeling with endless “-phobes”.
Virginia must put away the poison of identity politics, sooner rather than later, so there’ll never be a ‘Staunton Roses’ documentary.
Part 3 of Sarajevo Roses will look at Americans killing Americans in the Revolution and the “Recent Unpleasantness.”