everyone is an accomplice

bq. *In wartime nearly everyone becomes an accomplice.* The huge dislocations, the millions who lose homes and property, are often compensated with the property of those that were forced out. Those who had their homes taken away from them in Srebrenica by the Bosnian Serbs were later given the homes of Serbs who fled the suburbs of Sarajevo. The moral destructiveness of ethnic cleansing, like the psychic wounds of war, thus reverberates throughout a society. Families who are stripped of all they own and then handed by the state apartments that were seized from others are complicitous, whether they like it or not, in the crimes of war.

bq. These dislocations, a large and usually deliberate part of modern warfare, destroy communal structures and weaken ties to those beyond the immediate ethnic group. They create, as Hannah Arendt pointed out, a population of stateless individuals, refugees within their own countries, who to survive must share in the loot of war. The policies of communist Russia revolved around such internal displacement. Political or moral dissent is silenced, since nearly all are forced to become accomplices. It is hard to condemn ethnic cleansing when you live in someone else’s home. (p. 106, emphases mine)

I’m reading War is a force that gives us meaning. that section resonated for me, and reminded me of a theme I need to return to in my novel. I’ve been focused on Aila’s romantic entanglements; I want to go back to this particular philosophical point…the question of culpability. she’s always been an outsider, in my mind, but she’s benefited from the forces she detests nonetheless, even from the weird unbelonging space that she inhabits: a “stateless individual.”

and Marcus…I think, whatever the deal is with his career, and what Viola does, and how Aila reacts to it, that his own innate feeling of being an accomplice in Aila’s fate, and Radla’s fate, and Reboa’s fate is what sends him into his final spiral. it’s not like he’s a kid, either.

(total aside…I find that I’m getting more depth out of this story as I get older. of course, one of these days I’m going to have to finish it, and move on to something new.)

which brings me back, in the context of the book, to what one actually does about it. Marcus…well, Marcus doesn’t do too great; I have some ideas about what Aila does, but nothing too clear. and that brings me to what I actually do about it in real life. sigh.

not that anybody except “Kat”:http://frantikgirl.blogspot.com has any freaking idea what the hell I’m talking about.

One Reply to “everyone is an accomplice”

  1. I’ve heard a few radio interviews with Chris Hedges on the topic of this book. As someone who has been fascinated for _mumble_ years with foreign correspondents, I really want to read this. But as someone who just moved to a new house, I had forgotten completely about it. Thanks for the reminder!

Comments are closed.