From a Balkanian bloke to a Martian man - what on Earth am I on about?
Quite a few times I've heard from fellow Serbs how even if a person of Serbian descent were born in a country outside of the Balkans, they'd still be Serbs no matter where they were born. Such a debate regarding identity sometimes rises when Serbs in the Diaspora are in question. Although people who hold such a sentiment are obviously patriotically inclined, that logic does make sense given genealogy and genetics. But some of them even go as far (!) as to say, "Even if I were born on Mars, I would always be a Serb [and never a Martian]!"
Now I was thinking about this the other day, and interestingly enough, I came to a contradictory conclusion: "If I were born on Mars, maybe I'd like to be a Martian", instead of an earthly national like my ancestors were. And, "If we were to send a Serb, a Croat and a Bosniak to live together on Mars, maybe it would be a good idea for all three to become Martians. So in that way, they and their children can all become one people again!"
Friday, 26 March 2010
From a Balkanian bloke to a Martian man - what on Earth am I on about?
Thursday, 18 March 2010
Between grievance and justice, and between law and morality. A look at post-war ethics among Yugoslavia's war-torn people - or lack of, as the case may be
The wars in Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosovo saw war crimes committed on a large scale, resulting in widespread bloodshed, destruction to property everywhere and devastated lives all round. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that, as a result of all this carnage, these same wars also brought to local and worldwide attention alike numerous horror stories from all sides, each side accusing the other(s) of systematic abuses of human rights against its people, while also denying and/or undermining the claims of the other side(s).
The job of verifying the truthfulness of these allegations and counter-allegations fell to International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), simply called "The Hague Tribunal" as it is based at The Hague in the Netherlands. However, this has not been an easy job for that institution, and controversy has struck many times since its foundation. Nevertheless, it has brought forward many convictions, and also a few acquittals.
It has convicted men like Milan Babić and Milan Martić, the political and military leaders of the short-lived Republika Srpska Krajina, of war crimes and crimes against humanity against that entity's non-Serb population at the beginning of the war in Croatia. These two were found guilty of being part of a "Joint Criminal Enterprise" with Serbian president Slobodan Milošević at the helm, that had the aim of forming an enlarged ethnic Serb state, known as "Greater Serbia" (Velika Srbija), upon the territories of four former Yugoslav republics at the expense of numerous non-Serbian communities.
With regards to the war in Bosnia, Bosnian Serb General Radislav Krstić was convicted of of the crime of genocide with regards to the Srebrenica Massacre, in which over 8000 Bosniak men and boys were murdered in cold blood by Bosnian Serb troops under his control within only a few days in mid July 1995. It was thanks to that ruling by the Hague tribunal that this atrocity, the worst in all of Europe since World War Two, was recognised as a genocide.
Also regarding the Bosnian war, Milan and Sredoje Lukić were convicted for their personal involvement in a series of mass murders and torture of unarmed civilians committed in and around the Bosnian town of Višegrad envisaged upon that town's Bosniak population. These crimes committed in Višegrad were some of the most awful and appalling committed during that whole war, most of all for their cruelty and brutality. Among the many crimes these two were found guilty of was the murder of five out of seven men tortured prior to being shot on the banks of the river Drina, and two incidents in which dozens of people in each case were locked in and burnt alive. (See this article on the Srebrenica Genocide Blog for more information)
As for acquittals, the court acquitted Bosniak Commander Naser Orić, who was long-accused of masterminding a series of atrocities against Bosnian Serb civilians in villages around Srebrenica prior to the 1995 massacre there. This acquittal came as a shock to people in Serbia, who had long been led to believe that he was responsible for the deaths of up to 3000 Serbs in Eastern Bosnia (that figure has been discredited by the Hague Tribunal itself and by the Research and Documentation Center (RDC) in Sarajevo).
The acquittals of Kosovo Albanian political and military leaders like Ramush Haradinaj and Fatmir Limaj also dismayed Serbian public opinion, but on the other side of the fence, they reaffirmed how Kosovo Albanians felt about these individuals who fought in their name and for their sake against the Serbian police and army, vindicating them of any possible responsibility for any war crimes. Nevertheless, there is still uncertainty with regards to the outcome of Haradinaj's case, as it is believed that witnesses who intended to testify against him were allegedly intimidated by Haradinaj's associates in order not to go to the Hague.
There have also been a number of convictions made at home in the former Yugoslav republics, including the conviction in Serbia of four members of the Serbian paramilitary unit the "Scorpions" involved in the Srebrenica massacre, mentioned above, who were infamously filmed executing six Bosniak men and teenagers. That video recording shook the Serbian public, and helped to some extent undermine the efforts taken by some to deny the very occurrence of that gruesome and heinous crime.
But what I think should be considered more often is how these war crimes, and the justice taken to deal with them, affect ordinary people's views of the conflicts generally and personally; what kind of "moral impact" these events have initially on these people, and also what kind of endless affect their aftermath has upon these people's sense of morality to this day, taking into account how the pursuit of justice influences attitudes about accountability for war crimes. That is what I wish to examine in this article, with particular focus on attitudes commonly expressed by people from war-torn regions of the former Yugoslavia mentioned above.
Based on my personal observations, these attitudes have a habit of sometimes manifesting themselves in interactions between people from former warring sides either in real life on the ground, or in the virtual world of the World Wide Web. From what I've perceived, they are often accompanied by a sense of indignation demonstrated by their feelings of personal humiliation followed by a corresponding desire for justice or vengeance. And let's not forget that vulgarity and profanity can be very obviously noticed in such heated exchanges.
What about our victims; don't they count?!
You will find numerous victims on all sides involved in the wars. But what you will also find is that many people feel that their victims are not being acknowledged enough by people from the other side(s) of the conflict(s); many of these same people feel offended whenever people from the other warring side(s) pay tribute to their own victims, relating how their victims suffered at the hands of their neighbours, believing that they should be more willing to acknowledge the horrible crimes that their fellow ethnics committed against their loved ones!
Relatives of victims understandably feel pain for their lost loved ones who perished under dreadful circumstances brought about by disgraceful people from another side. And when people from that other side commemorate their victims, the relatives of victims from the first side feel very annoyed, especially when their fellow ethnics are being blamed!
Regarding the war in Croatia (which in Croatia is named the "Homeland war" ('Domovinski Rat'), my fellow Croatian Serbs accuse the Croatian army and state of committing ethnic cleansing and other war crimes and crimes against humanity upon them during 'Operation Oluja' (meaning "storm") in the August of 1995, during which around 200,000 Serbs fled their homes forming a column stretching many kilometres across Bosnia towards Belgrade. (During 'Operation Bljesak' (meaning "lightning") that occurred three months before 'Oluja', around 30,000 Serbs fled their homes.) And since many Croatian Serbs still live in Serbia today, where they originally sought refuge at the end of the war (many are now fully-fledged citizens of Serbia - but not all of them!), the Serbian state has a responsibility to uphold their grievances of their Croatian Serb citizens towards neighbouring Croatia, where they originally came from.
However, in response to these allegations by Croatian Serbs, many Croats angrily enquire, "But what about what happened in Vukovar?", the previously multiethnic city home to around sixteen ethnic groups on the Danube river that was raised to the ground by a number of Serb paramilitary formations in collusion with the JNA ('Jugoslovenska Narodna Armija', the "Yugoslav People's Army") sent there from Serbia. And likewise full of indignation, "What about Ovčara and Borovo Selo?", nearby villages in which hundreds of Croatian soldiers and civilians were murdered by those same paramilitary groups.
This is just one example of how discussion concerning the suffering of victims on either side is such a sensitive topic for all people who have lived through these recent wars; as you can guess, there are many, many more examples.
Why us; what about them?!
Whenever individuals from one warring side gets accused and charged for this or that crime against members of another warring side, the people from that side impulsively cry out, "But what about the things that they (the side which the victims of the accused came from) did to us?"
I've already demonstrated to you one example above of how many Croats feel offended by Serbs accusing them of war crimes, and like I've said there, that's just one of many examples. But what is interesting is that people from either side will admit that members of their ethnic group did commit war crimes on the other, and this is more often the case than a straightforward denial. However, many feel more comfortable equalising the crimes committed by their fellow ethnics with crimes committed by other ethnic groups, "Oh, I'm not saying that we didn't commit crimes ourselves, but they did it to us as well". On the other hand, there are others who feel offended by anyone equalising war crimes committed by members of their own people against others to crimes committed by members of other groups against them, "What they did to us and what we did to them are NOT the same!"
And the reason why this attitude prevails is this: even though people from all these sides are victims for whatever reason and to whatever extent, they as members of their ethnic group feel accused of committing war crimes, and as a result, they feel personally insulted! They feel, as part of a collective, accused of having committed crimes similar to crimes committed upon them, and so they often resort to such retorts mentioned in the above paragraph. A classic case in post-war former Yugoslavia of victims feeling accused of victimising others!
Nevertheless, there is also the attitude shared by many victims and survivors of these conflicts regarding war crimes committed by their own people that, "We have been stamped on by all and sundry, while everything we did to them is exactly what they deserved!" And as you can tell, this again shows the pain and desire for justice that these people collectively feel and continue to feel, because what they endured during that tumultuous time was a collective experience. The very use of the word "we" in the above sentences within quotes betrays this collective sentiment among people from each ethnic group from the war-torn parts of the former Yugoslavia.
That never happened to you; you didn't suffer as much as we did!!
In the environment in which accusations flew back and forth like bullets ricocheting, as was the case during and after the wars, denial was a very common propaganda tool, regularly serving as a bridge between accusation and counter-accusation! And along with denial often came contradicting interpretations of events, often serving a certain political agenda.
Even now, the joint forces of denial and revisionism still abound, which often includes minimising the numbers of victims and gravity of certain crimes, or even justifying their occurrence in the first place, treating the pain incurred to the victims as just recompense.
For instance, when Bosnia is in discussion, many Serbs still question the truthfulness of war crimes committed by fellow Serbs like the Srebrenica massacre (Masakar u Srebrenici), even though it has been twice declared a genocide by two international courts. Denial of Srebrenica has been prevalent for much of the past decade, and it was particulary strong within the first ten years following the event.
Surprisingly, many Serbs still find the mere mention of the genocide in Srebrenica, especially how it has been labelled a genocide, an "insult" to their nation. The reason why they feel offence at hearing about Srebrenica on the news and elsewhere is this: for them, the only genocide that occurred in their part of Europe was committed during World War Two against their people, in places like the infamous Jasenovac concentration camp, in which up to a hundred thousand people - half of whom Serbs - were slaughtered by Croatian fascists known as the Ustaše.
Based on the above explanation, as far as many Serbs are concerned, nothing can compare to what they endured in their history, not even anything that their fellow Serbs did to others. And this same attitude is shared by many Croats. For many Croats who lived through the war in Croatia, the crimes committed upon them by their ethnic Serb neighbours far outweigh anything that their fellow Croats did to Serbs during that same conflict - in fact, they couldn't care less! And the same can be easily said for Bosniaks and Kosovo Albanians.
As we've established above, relatives of victims from one side tend to only feel compassion and pain for their own victims, rather than victims from other sides. And you can also notice that such people often show a careless but spiteful ignorance to the suffering of people from other ethnic groups caught up in the wars, founded on an attitude characterised by, "Your people did this and that to my people, and that is all that matters to me!" And when it comes to crimes committed by their own people on other people, this ignorance can sometimes be followed by doubt, likewise coloured by that same spite, "I doubt we did this and that to you; I doubt we were that bad to your people", followed by the belief that, "Your people did worse things to us, you evil people! F*ck your mothers!"
And so you can see, this sense that the terrible things that happened to other people in the wars are unimportant, even if some of it was caused by their fellow ethnics, is very common among people from all the warring sides, including the phrase "F*ck your Serbian/Croatian et al mothers!" ('J*b*m vam mater/majku srpsku/hrvatsku i.d.!') - that's very common! And I believe the reason for this lack of compassion for the other former warring sides' victims is because the victims' survivors feel a sense of duty to maintain the memory of their lost loved ones' appalling end at the hands of others, and also to preserve the memory of their own awful experiences as survivors from that time lest it occur again.
Looking at all that we've examined above, we get an impression that many people's sense of accountability regarding war crimes, specifically those who've suffered from war and the trauma that keeps haunting them, depends on their experiences from that time, but as a result of which, their moral standing is compromised. It also seems that many of these people are inclined to continue harbouring such sentiments with an overt obstinacy, described by the local word Inat.
There is a lot to say about how media stations in the Former Yugoslav republics like Croatia and Bosnia. The media from one former warring side often interprets recent history in a way that befits what the ordinary people they represent on the ground experienced, but also in way that seems self-serving to the interests of nationalist politicians keen on either maintaining the current status quo or changing it altogether.
It would make a worthy debate to consider how the local media in the war-torn regions of the former Yugoslavia contribute to maintaining these attitudes, fanning the flames of hatred and resentment whether intentionally or not - that's also very debateable. But let's not forget that these people themselves are perfectly capable of maintaining such sentiments without too much help from the media to remind them of the very things that happened to them not very long ago. And it is their sense of morality and accountability that is the focus of this article.
Looking at the wider historical context, these people (Serbs, Croats, Bosniaks, Kosovo Albanians et al.) used to live in a much larger country, in which they shared a common identity based on the belief that all people in their country are equal and essentially one people, regardless of the religious distinctions that characterised whole communities or the differing historical experiences that further divided them. Now, thanks to nationalist politics and war, their common identity is long gone and nowadays they live in smaller countries, and worst of all, many of these people still bear the scars from that time.
But you have to remember that the Yugoslav wars of the 90s not only caused so much carnage and loss of life, the turmoil of that period turned these people's worlds upside down; the way they saw the world around them and themselves in it was completely overturned within five awful years. And along with that feeling of everything going upside down, their sense of morality fell apart; their moral compass had shattered into a million pieces. Therefore, it should come as no surprise to anyone that this turnaround has had a huge affect on their interactions with other people, particularly with their former fellow countrymen and women.
These victims of all the wars, brought about by political turmoil and resulting in widespread bloodshed and destruction, do deserve our sympathy for all the suffering that they've endured and for everything they've lost through absolutely no fault of their own. However, without the slightest offence intended to anybody, we should not assume that all these people, who are rebuilding their lives after everything they've been through, are very kind and loving people these days. Instead, it shouldn't surprise us at all that, as a result of this moral breakdown, which has blighted their lives since that period, along with many other factors, some of them have turned into very unkind and even hateful people. But you'll also find many more people who put on a polite and friendly face around people from the other side(s) of the conflict(s), while hiding the scars, pain and hatred they still feel for those people deep inside them, along with an undying desire for justice sometimes coloured by revenge.
The dignity and decency that characterised their lives in Yugoslavia as her citizens have been replaced by selfishness and spitefulness thanks to the politics and wars that destroyed their common country and took away their common identity from them.
So where is the justice for these people; and where is the morality in them? These two highly valued notions in all human societies the world over should, as a rule, go hand-in-hand. But do they always?
Monday, 15 March 2010
Since the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s, and during them, a lot of my fellow Serbs have felt that they had been “disproportionately” accused of war crimes by the Western and local media alike, hearing accusation after accusation blasted at them from their TV screens during the course of the last twenty years. Many high-ranking Serbs have been charged for this and that, eventually getting convicted based on such allegations. Serb after Serb sent to The Hague and then behind bars, and lo and behold, the majority of all the defendants - and convicts alike - at The Hague are and have been Serbs!
For years, Serbs back home in the Balkans and oustide living in the Diaspora felt that we were "demonised" by the media; depicted as the "bad guys" in the world. And worst of all, being considered as bad as Hitler and the Nazis!
I used to be bothered by all this as well many years ago as I was growing in Britain, learning my language from my parents and watching Serbian satellite TV to supplement my growing ability to speak my native tongue (I call it Serbo-Croat, but you can call it what you want!). And as I became more and more aware of my Serbian-ness – or Serbdom, or as we say Srpstvo – in my formative years, I developed a high opinion of my people, my “Serbian brothers” (Braća Srbi!), based on the belief that my people are fundamentally “good” people, from whom came many great people who achieved equally great things in their lives.
However, this was also a time when I often heard bad news about my fellow Serbs on the British news, with the same accusations of war crimes heard time and again, and when it wasn’t about what the Serbs did in recent history, the Serbs in the present time were likewise depicted very unsavourily, in such a way as to invite derision and denunciation from the British public towards my people. All this made me feel offended and even humiliated by my host country’s media, which only caused me to feel even more rebellious against such accusations and the overall "anti-Serb" attitude such accusations foster!
This attitude led me to immerse myself in the pro-Serb and pro-Milošević websites on the Internet. I’m ashamed to say it now, but back then, I found their literature and attitude inspirational! And I honestly believed that what I was discovering was “the truth” about “Western lies” used to justify anti-Serbian policies that caused harm to my people. I viewed the Hague Tribunal as a “kangaroo court”, which unjustly per-secuted rather than prosecuted my people's leaders on a routine basis, serving anti-Serb Western policies in the Balkans.
Believe it or not, I naively hoped that one day I might contribute to "freeing" my people from all those lies that demonised my people throughout the world, and I was honestly inspired and motivated by the good intention of bringing about improved relations between my people and our neighbours, with whom our relations have been strained due to recent history. I honestly thought that way.
I spent a lot of my teens and early adulthood on the net, ’cause well, hehehe (!), I didn’t have much of a social life back then, to tell you the truth!
But joking aside. There came a point in my young life that turned me around from thinking and feeling the way I describe above. And what was it that brought about this shift in me? Well, it happened when I actually decided to venture into hostile territory: to boldly learn how people in Serbia, who lived under Milošević’s régime and fought against him, view our people’s and their country’s recent history. And for me, living away from the Balkans but with access to the internet, this unknown territory was represented by websites like B92.net!
This venture practically gave me a chance to see things from the other side’s point of view, something I had previously denied myself as I found such terrain just too “anti-Serbian” for me to tolerate! But during this process, this research gave me such an education about my people’s recent history, such that none of the pro-Milošević propaganda could ever give me! And it came from people who lived in Serbia at the time, who actually witnessed the political turmoil that consumed their country for a whole decade, were conscious of the downward spiral their country was going since the late 80s, and actually tried to make a positive difference for their country and people. Looking back, I must say it was actually quite an enlightening time for me.
But bear in mind that this personal 'revolution' was not a process that started and ended overnight. Years of strongly held beliefs can't be erased so easily, and there was many a time during this journey that I felt offended by what I was reading from both fellow Serbs and people of other nationalities! Although little-by-little I started to accept opinions I had previously reviled, often I came across ideas which I still resisted and found difficult to swallow.
It felt as though everything I used to believe was true was crumbling in the face of information from people who actually knew far better about what was going on in our former Yugoslavian homeland than I personally did - or could. Each piece of difficult to accept info hit me deep within, and I would resist it by thinking, "That's not true", or, "That just goes too far", and even, "How treacherous can they be to think and write such unpatriotic bile!"
But slowly, I started accepting as true the very stories and ideas I used to believe for so long were not true, and I also started seeing the very people who "thought and wrote such unpatriotic bile" as intelligent and inspirational people that we Serbs should be proud of!
After exposing myself to the views and experiences of the anti-Milošević crowd around B92 and elsewhere on the net, I look back now and I realise that a lot of that literature was actually quite radical stuff, radical in the sense of how it differed completely from how I previously thought. And that's probably why that side of Serbia's political stage captivated me in the end!
And now, whenever I'm watching Serbian satellite TV and listen to anything Serbian nationalist leaders in Serbia and similar folk advocate (which I now know is really just recycled rubbish!), thanks to the critically insightful literature I began exploring only a few years ago, I'm now very critical of anything such politicians have to offer. While on the other hand, I can also recognise reasonable and progressive views and ideas, and also acknowledge their more respectable proponents.
During this process, my view of the Hague Tribunal, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), also changed. From regarding it as an illegal institution funded by Western governments to further blacken my people's good name, to considering it an important institution with a very important task of shedding light on all the terrible things that have befallen many people thanks to war and nationalist politics.
For a long time, I used to think that many of the witnesses who testified against my fellow Serbs were paid by the West to lie. I also believed that whenever Serb defendants like the late Krajina Serb leader Milan Babić did plead guilty to their charges, that they did that only so they can receive a smaller number of years to serve in prison at Scheveningnen, and therefore, I questioned the validity of their confessions and considered them as good as traitors.
Of course, I thought these numerous allegations laid against Serb defendants at the dock there were as false as the original accusations aired on TV and radio years before, with the sole purpose of "dehumanising" my people! I despised hearing about them in the British media, and perhaps even more from the Serbian media!
But then, during my "period of exploration" I describe above, I visited sites that dispensed information regarding the work of the ICTY. I started reading through profile after profile of Serb defendants on trial-ch.org, and I also read through their indictments and many excerpts from trial sessions on the un.org/icty site. And not only that, I encountered many other sites that offered a lot of primary and secondary sources of info to support these allegations from victims themselves, including the renowned Srebrenica Genocide blog, run tirelessly by a Bosniak man living today in Canada.
And as I exposed myself to all this information, I started wondering, "Are confessions by these Serb defendants only given out so they can receive lesser sentences, and as a consequence, hold no value in truth?" And then I also started asking myself, "How can these witnesses, who claim to have suffered such pain and humiliation, be paid to say those things?"
What happened was I soon realised that the idea of hundreds of people getting paid to falsely accuse certain people and carry on telling those same "lies" is pratically untenable. How can anyone make hundreds of people who go to such a court to testify against specific individuals - and even more so, thousands more people back home who won't be asked to come testify - maintain a pretense for so long? Even if such a scheme was attempted in real life, it would be such a hard job keeping such people in check; ensuring that these people are subjected to the same "propaganda" year in year out, and also maintaining a level of fear lest any of them choose to shout out, "It's not true!" And many of my fellow Serbs do believe that that's the case, and that it's all happening at their people's expense! But then you've got to ask yourself, "How can you live your life thinking that the world's leaders have nothing better to do than invest millions into maintaining "lies" against your people?" That's pure paranoia, and that's not the way I want to live my life!
And another thing. There are many Serb defendants and convicts at the Hague. In fact, they constitute the majority of inmates at the Scheveningen prison. That has bothered me like many other Serbs, and I also considered that to be evidence of the Hague's anti-Serb intentions for many years.
But, during the latter stage of my re-education process(!), I remember reading an interview on the B92 website with some lawyer from the Hague, whose name I can't remember for the life of me. I've tried to find his interview on their great online archives, but I just couldn't find it. But anyway, he said the most logical thing I have ever read with regards to why so many Serbs are on the dock at the Hague.
For many people, especially where I come from, justice means balance, and even equality. But, as explained by the man in that interview, how can equality be established upon a war, in which there was such great inequality: from the beginning, comparing the military strength of all the warring sides involved; and ultimately, in the number of human beings who actually perished as a result of each side's capability of destroying the other?
So logical and rational, his interview finally explained to me in an obvious and simple way once and for all why there were so many Serbs being tried at the Hague. And along with everything else I reconciled myself with, his explanation was the icing on the cake!
Looking back, I can see I've come full circle; from a heroically pro-Serb Diaspora patriot to a more critical, less patriotic Diaspora Serb. I retain my optimism and hope from that time, but as I've changed my attitudes, I've diverted these energies to a different direction. I was never a nationalist in the true sense of the word, not even back then; just patriotic with a sense of loyalty towards my people. But now that I accept the full gravity of my fellow Serbs' ruthless and reckless policies and actions from the 90s onwards, I've become even more anti-nationalist than ever! I've become more critical of Serbian nationalism itself and other forms of nationalism in Balkans, but I've also became critical of blind loyalty to nation and country, something many of my fellow Serbs are still prone to today. I now realise that the more I grow up, the less patriotic I become, and as a result, my views and opinions of people, both individually and generally, have become much more realistic, and therefore fairer!
I've come to terms with the awful truth, and that there is nothing I nor anyone else can do to disprove it. It was a very profound and moving process, and it wasn't easy for me to change my long held views and beliefs. And what made it difficult was my sincere belief that my people, the Serbs, are a truly good people with a strong sense of justice and a history of liberation, as opposed to imperialism. The truth is many Serbs are indeed very good people with high moral values, but many other Serbs are not so good and don't have that same high sense of morality, while many more Serbs, I believe, find themselves between good and bad and oscillating!
I believe that coming to terms with the truth, as had been stated for so long and yet denied by so many, has also raised my level of morality to a much higher lever. Of course, my intention is always to be fair towards everyone, regardless of colour, creed or country, as such conduct is fundamentally part of my nature. But it is also my intention to recognise something for what it is, whether I like it or not, and however long it takes for me to accept it.
Unfortunately, I'm well aware that thinking this way is not popular among many of my fellow Serbs, and certainly not considered "patriotic" either. Nevertheless, in the end, satyameva jayate - truth prevails!
Minor edit: 17th March, 2010. Second minor edit: 13 July, 2010.
Thursday, 11 March 2010
Is it true? Is this the world's oldest human being at 130 years of age in the mountains of Georgia?
I find this story of a Georgian woman, Antisa Khvichava, who claims to be born in the distant year of 1880 (!) very heart-warming and profoundly amazing, and if proven true, goes to show how endurable the human body can be. Such stories regarding centenarians really do touch our souls, especially when we think about how other people we knew and loved never got passed 70 years, 50 years, or even younger milestones.
Read about her story here on Yahoo: Woman, 130, Wants Age-Old Guinness Record