I want to write a poem that explains how one genocide begets another becomes another betrays another and all that changes is what we call it and what we call them and what we call us; but first I need to know: is there a difference between a turk and a turk and do all wolves carry guns? If I tell you that ustaše means fascist, does that change what side of this war you’re on? Which way does your trumpet swing and will you die for your führer if it means dying with us?
I want to write a poem that explains what happened when the wolves came, how they had packed away their instruments and pulled out their guns and how hardness came to settle on all our faces; but Karadžić got there first and it turns out genocide is not just aspirational, it’s inspirational. five books since the war started and you’d think someone would think again but convictions prove thin when there’s money to be made and there’s always someone to appeal to.
I want to write a poem that explains a hundred thousand deaths, one point five million unhomed, up to fifty thousand raped and 9 million youtube views; but what can we do with this kind of history, the kind that playlists manifestos and turns people into bad meat. because it is one thing to be a man trapped in a war machine with nothing but an accordion and teeth to grit, but it is quite another to be the war machine, digitized.
I want to write a poem but our history is all references that make no sense and how do we remember ourselves when our selves are turned sheep, rewritten by wolves.
Karadžić is a war criminal found guilty of genocide, persecution, extermination, deportation, forcible transfer, and murder. He was a key figure in the Srebrenica massacre which saw 8000 men and boys slaughtered over three days. After the war, he went into hiding and was not arrested until 2008. In 2016 he was found guilty and given a forty-year sentence. In 2019, his appeal was denied, and his sentence increased to life.
He has published a number of books of poetry, including one directly before the war, two during, and three while in hiding.
The song ‘Karadžiću, vodi Srbe svoje’ is a piece of propaganda produced during the Bosnian War. It asks Karadžić to lead his fearless Serbs and warns the ‘ustaše’ and ‘turci’ that the wolves are coming, to beware. ‘Ustaše’ is a derogatory term for Croatians. It means ‘fascist’ and refers to Croats who collaborated with the Nazis during the second world war. ‘Turci’ is the Serbo-Croatian word for ‘Turks’ and is used as a slur for Bosniaks, Bosnian Muslims. The title of this poem comes from a line in the song. It means ‘the wolves are coming’.