Anyone with a political memory is thinking about Sarajevo these days as Bashar al-Assad’s artillery shells blast into Homs and families huddle in dark and unheated basements trying to stay alive from the shuddering assault that edges ever closer. As the bombardment goes into its fourth week, those watching the clips from mobile phone cameras feel the same emotion they felt watching the siege of Sarajevo. It is the feeling of shame.
You know it is shame when “the international community’ now talks, as it did during the siege of Sarajevo, not of stopping the carnage, but of offering humanitarian assistance. The very word ‘humanitarian’ is shameful.
President Assad wants to retain fantasies of himself as a modernising fellow held back by reactionary elements but determined, in his own way and his own time, to lead his country forward. He must be stripped of these pretensions and the westernising Syrian middle class that jets between Damascus, Paris and London, must be disabused of such notions too. He and his hangers on need to understand that they have earned the ancient term of obloquy, hostis humani generi, enemies of the human race. Read more