The Military-Poetic Complex

Slavoj Žižek

Now that Radovan Karadzic has finally been arrested it is time to recall that Karadzic, a psychiatrist by profession, was not only a ruthless political and military leader, but a poet. His poetry should not be dismissed as ridiculous: it deserves a close reading, since it tells us something about the way ethnic cleansing works. Here are the first lines of an untitled poem, identified by its dedication, ‘For Izlet Sarajlic’:

Convert to my new faith crowd
I offer you what no one has had before
I offer you inclemency and wine
The one who won’t have bread will be fed by the light of my sun
People nothing is forbidden in my faith
There is loving and drinking
And looking at the Sun for as long as you want
And this godhead forbids you nothing
Oh obey my call brethren people crowd

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