For, if is true that communism's 'worst sin' was that 'you had to think just the same as everybody else', then how come that so renowned an anti-communist could be dean of the Faculty of Natural Science and Mathematics in Sarajevo, and a member of the B-H Academy of Arts and Sciences to boot? How could the regime have failed to apply to the future Serb Empress the criterion of what used to be known as 'moral and political suitability'? And how could an anti-communist such as Biljana Plavsic claims to have been have agreed to accept such high positions in a regime with which she 'had nothing in common'?
If, moreover - as she told Borba (Belgrade) on 27 July 1993 - the Serb people had been subjected to fifty years of 'slavery' under the communists, how come that in these conditions of slavery Biljana Plavsic herself made an enviable professional career? Was such a thing allowed to the Serb slaves? And were 'patriots', of the kind Biljana claims always to have been, really willing to pursue their own careers in a situation where their own people was 'enslaved'?
Proud to be called 'Madam Thatcher' by journalists and other media people - 'I have to be an iron lady', she told Nedjeljni Telegraf (Belgrade) on 16 November 1996 - she has even explained how she came to be given this nickname. Apparently, while studying at the University of Zagreb (just the place for our Serb patriot!), she was put through 'a very useful training, which I then enforced myself when I became a professor' (Monitor, Podgorica, 2 August 1996).
This useful experience, however, in no way inhibited her from making the following pronouncement: 'I'm not saying that we no longer wish to live with Croats, but rather that we shall not allow them to live with us.' How fortunate that this 'brilliant' Serb idea did not occur to the Croats first! For then she would never have gone to Zagreb to study, never have been put through the training that served her so well, never have acquired the nickname 'Madam Thatcher'.
Plavsic's monstrous celebration of Arkan as the symbol of Serbdom and heroism can be understood only in the context of her own authentic conception of ethnic cleansing: Arkan is not simply the Serb Empress's favourite hero, he is the loyal and systematic executor of her 'imperial' design. This is the reason for her great affection for him, which has lasted to the present day. 'I would prefer completely to cleanse eastern Bosnia of Muslims. When I say cleanse, I don't want anyone to take me literally and think I mean ethnic cleansing. But they've attached this label "ethnic cleansing" to a perfectly natural phenomenon and characterized it as some kind of war crime. (Svet, Novi Sad, 6 September 1993).
Although it was her conception of the biological supremacy of the Serb race and nation which led Biljana Plavsic to encourage ethnic cleansing and on that basis commit mass crimes in B-H, it is equally significant to indicate the national and political model that inspired her in this respect. From the very beginning of the war Plavsic was already invoking Dragoljub-Draza Mihailovic, leader during World War II of the Serb(ian) nationalists better known as Chetniks and a proven collaborator of the German occupiers. 'He fought for the unification of all Serbs within a single Serb state, the borders of which were to run from Djevdjelija [on the Macedonian- Greek border] to Karlobag [two thirds of the way up the Croatian coast]... Uncle Draza intended to cleanse the future united Serb lands of all enemies of Serbdom and Orthodoxy, as well as of anti-national elements.' (Srbija, 3 September 1992)
This has led, she has further 'explained', to a degeneration of the Serb people, as a consequence of the 'mixing of blood': 'We are disturbed by the fact that the number of marriages between Serbs and Muslims has increased... because mixed marriages lead to an exchange of genes between ethnic groups, and thus to a degeneration of Serb nationhood.' (Oslobodjenje, Sarajevo, May 1994).
Plavsic sees, as the highest expression of this degeneration of Serbs, the process of their 'de-Serbianization'. 'The Serbs have become so de-Serbianized over these past fifty years, they have insisted so much and in such an ugly way that they are not Serbs, they have blasphemed so much and denigrated the Church and clergy so much... the Serbs have defiled themselves terribly' (Republika, no. 78, Belgrade, 16- 31 October 1993). However, when such 'pedigree' Serb types as Biljana Plavsic, Radovan Karadzic, Momcilo Krajisnik and Nikola Koljevic came to power, the Serbs regenerated overnight and became nationally conscious. Plavsic once again has a 'scientific' explanation: 'Perhaps a genetic factor was involved here - a secret of the blood, as our people would have it' (Ognjista, Pale, June 1993)! Such incredible stupidities are really beneath discussion.
The strong have the right to suppress the weak: this is Biljana Plavsic's main watchword. It is so to speak in the nature of the human species. We should never forget that she is a biologist by profession, whence derives by analogy her sketchy socio-biological conception of man and society. This will be expressed with particular clarity when the matter of dividing territory comes up. 'I do not wish them [the Muslims] anything good! But for my own peace of mind I have to give them something, a place where they can organize their own lives, so that they are not constantly bothering me. This is how I understand that 30 per cent' (Svet, Novi Sad, 6 September 1993).
Her cynical racism in regard to territory reached its highest expression during the discussions about implementing the Dayton Accords, when the Serbs were obliged to give back more than twenty per cent of the country's territory to the Muslims and Croats and it was stated that all refugees had the right of return. The issue was then the amount of residential land. Claiming that Republika Srpska [RS] had got only 22 per cent of the residential land, Plavsic insisted that 'only if there is any residential land left over may Muslims come and settle'.
'Sooner or later they'll drop those bombs on us. But they've no idea how resistant the Serb nation has become to threats. The Serbs no longer react at all, and if you ask them about bombs they just say: "Oh, well, they might as well drop them and be done with it!" A threat that's delivered in gradually increased doses over a long period of time finally ceases to have any effect. They don't know the mentality of the Serb people, it's a total mystery to them. The Serb people isn't scared!' (NIN, Belgrade, 6 May 1994).
The principle is the same as with frogs. And the explanatory language is almost literally that of the laboratory: acquired resistance, reaction and non-reaction, gradually increased doses, effect or no effect. This is neither accidental nor incidental. This female leader of the Serb people once said, at the time of the Vance-Owen Plan: 'there are twelve million of us, and even if six million perish the other six million will live decently.' Later she tried to explain this away by saying that Milosevic had misquoted her (NIN, Belgrade, 6 May 1994). She claimed she had only repeated to him what a wounded soldier had told her! It is not known what reply she gave to the wounded soldier, but if Milosevic said one good thing during the war it was that she belonged in an institution.
Given that the haggling over how much territory RS should have after Dayton ended up with its current 49 per cent, and given also that the Serb entity has remained within the borders of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Biljana Plavsic - despite her insistence that there would be no haggling about percentages - subsequently fell beneath the spell of the percentage game. But now it had to do not with territory, but with sovereignty: '...RS will have more than 80 per cent sovereignty in the most important spheres of life' (Nasa Borba, Belgrade, 14 August 1996).
As for the Americans, she wished them another Vietnam. Her malicious hope that a dozen US soldiers might lose their lives in B-H and so affect Clinton's own future and the outcome of the US elections (NIN, Belgrade, 6 May 1994) shows not just a deep misunderstanding of US policy towards Bosnia, but also a provocativeness that merely confirms the lethal arrogance of the stance of this mistress of Serb lives, who claims the right to sacrifice the people for the sake of its 'dignity'.
Biljana Plavsic is unaware, of course, of the contradiction contained in this statement. If it were true for one moment that the Bosnian Serbs had become superior to the Serbs of Serbia thanks to their life in border areas and the powers of adaptation and survival they had acquired through living alongside 'other species', then it is quite unclear why she should urge these naturally superior Bosnian Serbs to separate from other peoples in a 'natural' and 'necessary' manner. And it is especially unclear why they should join the 'inferior' Serbs of Serbia, when this would only mean their becoming 'bad' Serbs themselves one day.
This article is translated from Helsinska povelja [Helsinki Charter], Belgrade, November 1996. Slobodan Inic teaches sociology at the University of Belgrade.