Britić speaks with author Dr Vladimir Umeljic about his book ‘Occidental European cultural tradition, genocides in the middle and the Balkan wars at the end of the XX Century’. The book is launched in Britain at 7.30pm, 26th January 2017 at St St Sava’s Church on the occasional of an exhibition for Holocaust Memorial Day. The event is organised by Dragana Tomasevic, founder of the Jasenovac and Holocaust Memorial Foundation.
B: Why did you write this book?
VU: I felt the need to contribute toward rehabilitating the historical truth in an age where one feels an increasing prevalence of self-styled historical revisionism. Only then will that ancient wisdom apply once again “History is the teacher of life”. I feel an obligation in the book to pursue the scientific truth, to rescue people who have been bewildered in the electronic age by the stultifying “information overkill” to once more be able to begin to differentiate in their own minds and to (self) critically evaluate political, social, media and military events in our common shrinking world.
B: Why do you think this book is important?
VU: In order to preserve the memories of the great genocides of the 20th century in Europe in terms of the principle of “Never again!” Genocide is the worst crime known in the history of mankind, as Raphael Lemkin rightly said in the inscription above the entrance to the former Nazi concentration camp of Dachau, “Whoever wants to forget genocide, wants to repeat genocide!” Unfortunately, this warning has lost nothing of its topicality or verity.
Secondly, as a reminder that since the disintegration of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union, after the bipolar world was no more, we took a turn, “NATO-democracy” missed a historic opportunity to make the world a better, fairer and safer place – quite the contrary!
B: What do you hope to achieve with this book?
VU: That people will start to think about my basic thesis in the second part of the book, namely that the “NATO-democracy” after the decline of the bipolar world, has become increasingly transformed into a kind of expansive “NATO-empire”. As such it has declared the end of history, something commonly wrought by every empire in human history during their decadent phase, which in turn marks the start of their own end.
Because democracy is an ideal, as yet unrealised, to which we must aspire. I’m fearful that today the most dangerous enemy of Western Democracy does not come from outside, nor from aggressive and barbaric Islamism, let alone from Russia. No, the greatest enemy comes from within Western democracies themselves. These are totalitarian tendencies, which favours the growing concentration of financial resources in the hands of a small number of oligarchs, the growing monopoly of information in the hands of fewer and fewer media moguls, all of which are difficult to control. Ever more dangerous weapons are falling into the hands of more states, militant organisations and individuals. The most dangerous, however, is the ‘utopia’ which NATO countries appear to cherish since the disappearance of the bipolar world – that is the dream of ruling the world. Once again, this has been a dream of empire in human history which has turned out to be a nightmare, which has always ended in catastrophe and it is germane to remind ourselves that none of the previous Empires had nuclear weapons…