It is held that man, in distinction from plant and animal, is the
living being capable of speech. This statement does not mean
only that, along with other faculties, man also possesses the fac-
ulty of speech. It means to say that only speech enables man to
be the living being he is as man.
One instrument that promoted evil in Bosnia was the war criminals’ mendacious use of language in the media. Documentaries, news reports, and world newspapers featured the verbal utterances of Slobodan Milošević, Ratko Mladić, Željko Ražnjatović (Arkan), and Radovan Karadžić. When speaking with a reporter, Milošević, Mladić, Arkan, and Karadžić were aware of their audience; they anticipated how their audience would perceive them. This awareness influenced what those engaged in evil said and how they said it. The world would think that through these utterances it understood the ineffable events in Bosnia.
Every person engaged in action speaks, and this speaking signifies social membership. Through the mere fact that Milošević, Mladić, Arkan, and Karadžić could be gregarious in the global media, they promoted an image of themselves as members of human society. Despite their crimes against humanity and transgressions against so many communities, they normalized their conduct to themselves and to the world.
An earlier version of this chapter appeared as “O upotrebi dvoličnog diskursa u globalnim medijima od strane počinitelja rathih zločina u Bosni” in Odjek.