For a moment I thought the Balkans would decay to a New Age soap opera. There we have the second most wanted man on this planet arrested and, as details of his life as a fugitive trickle into the public domain, it becomes more and more bizarre.
Radovan Karadzic, the man who bears the responsibility for thousands of victims in Bosnia, has lived and worked for the last years in Novi Beograd as a spiritual healer, a man who would use his hands to influence patients’ energy fields. He grew his hair, a beard, wore glasses. He traveled to seminars, talking about spiritual healing. And he never traveled alone, always with a woman at his side. A good healer who had to make a living, he also had a website.
What has the Balkans come to, I asked myself. A fiction author could not have made it up better. The story is the perfect setup in all its details. A humble identity, yet allowing him to change appearance, while still serving his need to influence or manipulate people. How far from the glorious, Hollywood-like scenario of a man on the run, always surrounded by a dozen bodyguards, moving from monasteries to mountain resorts to military compounds. An excellent cover, very well done by whomever did it. Balkan soap. Human quantum energy instead of flak jackets, helicopters, covert actions.
And the soap continues. Serbian yellow press is asking today who the “mysterious woman” next to him is, titling “Radovan, the guru in love”. No special units, no combined military-police actions, just a guru in love. Now everybody, who ever was in touch with the good doctor Dragan Dabic – Karadzic’s alter ego – will come out and tell their stories. we already saw psychiatrists, the editors of the journal he used to write for, his webmaster. Now’s the moment for patients, ah no, we had some of those already, neighbours, the neighbours’ relatives and so on and on and on.
But then – there are still real guys making real stories. Take Sali Berisha. Former doctor, former president, now Albanian prime minister. The scene is the parliament of Albania. Taulant Balla, an oppositional member of parliament, speaks about some utterly boring financial issues, and slips a little bomb into his speech, implying that Berisha’s daughter wanted to be minister. Berisha reacts accordingly, as one would expect him to do: “Your sister will end up a prostitute in motels”, he shouts. Later, when the fight escalates, he allegedly threatens to kill Balla.
The result? Ah, the world is still comme il faut in the Balkans: Balla is taken out of the room by security guards, shouted at by the parliament speaker Josefina Topalli, who calls him a wretch and excluded for two weeks from parliamentary work. Berisha? Well! Nothing. Duh!
Vision? Oh absolutely! Not.