Serb commander accused of genocide labeled 'hero'
Every day on World Now, we choose a striking image from around the globe. Today we spotted this bit of graffiti in Serbia labeling a jailed army commander accused of war crimes as a "hero."
Ratko Mladic faces genocide charges at The Hague for his part in ethnic cleansing campaigns, including the massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica. He was arrested in May after 16 years on the run.
"I don't see any big-time problems for Serbia from now on," arts writer Milan Vukelic told The Times after Mladic was arrested. "You don't have a problem of a mass murderer who killed 8,000 people. Now it's done, and we're going to be a normal European country again."
But while many Serbs heralded the arrest of the man known as the Butcher of Bosnia, ultranationalists were angry, arguing that the aging man was a hero, as insisted by this Belgrade graffiti.
Some Serbs chose to mark his birthday on Monday: One group on the extreme right posted a video of the burning of a provincial flag and graffiti that read, "Happy birthday general," the Associated Press reported.
Right-wing extremism has been an ongoing worry in Serbia. One recent survey found that Serbian teenagers are significantly more xenophobic than generations past, wrote Vladimir Ninkovic, a project officer for TransConflict Serbia, which works to stop ethnic violence.
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-- Emily Alpert in Los Angeles
Photo: War crimes suspect and Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic is labeled a hero in graffiti seen in Belgrade, Serbia, on Monday. Credit: Darko Vojinovic / Associated Press