Collective perception

The mechanics of collective perception are forever fascinating. They are particularly evidently at work in collectively traumatic situations, such as the Holocaust, Armenia 1915, Tiananmen 1989, Rwanda 1994.

The most interesting case in point right now is related to the 1995 massacre of about 8000 civilian men & boys in Srebrenica, perpetrated by Serb forces. This is a well known fact which is the object of proceedings before the ICTY. Despite of, or maybe because of mounting international pressure, the Serb public opinion has steadfastly refused to acknowledge that fact and to deliver, let alone prosecute war criminals.

But this is changing fast now. In the wake of the recent unearthing of incriminating video footage a few days ago, Serb public opinion is performing an amazing about-face, complete with presidential apology and arrests of suspects who were able to roam freely for the last couple of years. It wouldn't be very surprising if war criminals on the "run" would be found and delivered quite soon.

While this is an exciting and entirely welcome development which will do a ton of good for the Serb public image and their collective spirit, I am very curious as to how it may have come to pass. I am looking forward to seeing more backgrounders like this.

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