The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Monument to Gavrilo Princip?

Among the people mentioned in my most recent post was Gavrilo Princip, the Bosnian Serb assassin who murdered Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary and his pregnant wife, Sophie, as they rode through Sarajevo in an open car on June 28, 1914. I suppose part of my purpose was to highlight certain coincidences in time, how personal and historic events often coincide. Well, another strange but related event has arisen. Moments ago I read that on Saturday, the 100th anniversary of the Sarajevo assassination, the Serbs in that city unveiled a monument to Princip, the man who triggered (literally) World War One and it's 16 million deaths. He was also at least indirectly responsible for bringing us the subsequent horrors that wracked the 20th century. 

Assassination of Franz Ferdinand and Sophie
Below is a photograph of a Serbian actor posing as Princip, pistol in hand, and standing in front of the newly erected statue of the young assassin. A bizarre, tasteless charade, but rather typical of what one can expect these days.
Honoring the Assassin
Apparently the Serbs consider Princip a hero of sorts, something I find more than a little disturbing. Just imagine the people of Richmond erecting a statue of John Wilkes Booth in 1965, a hundred years after the Lincoln assassination. Personally, I can't imagine it. 

Anyhow, in Sarajevo at the statue's dedication, Nebojsa Radmanovic, the Serb leader of the Bosnia-Herzegovina government, gave quite a tribute to Princip:
"Today, we have Gavrilo in East Sarajevo, a revolutionary, a man who to us, is one century of hope. We remember the Young Bosnia members and Gavrilo Princip proudly...Gavrilo Princip’s shot was a shot for freedom. His shot was a prelude to what some Europeans had prepared for years, and Serbs finished the war as winners. We remember Mlada Bosna and Gavrilo Princip with pride."
Gavrilo Princip
Yes, indeed, strange words of praise for the murderer of an empire's presumptive heir and his pregnant wife. And yet given the brutal ethnic cleansing carried out in the 1990s by the Serbs in Bosnia, in which over 100,000 were slaughtered, I suppose one can expect little more. Although the Serbs in Sarajevo celebrated Princip's marksmanship, across town the Bosnian Muslims and Catholic Croats were far less enthusiastic.

Another interesting side note is that Yugoslavia, Lebanon and Iraq, among others, were artificial, patchwork nations, poorly manufactured by the Europeans at the conclusion of World War One. One can only suppose that the problems that have plagued each of these nations in recent decades are just a manifestation of the law of unintended consequences. How foolish we humans are when we trust in ourselves.

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