The Union of Death
Terrorists and Freedom Fighters in the Balkans
By: Sam Vaknin, Ph.D.
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Written: May, 2000
"'Unbounded' morality ultimately becomes
counterproductive even in terms of the same moral principles
being sought. The law of diminishing returns applies to morality."
There's a story about Robespierre that has the preeminent rabble-rouser of the French Revolution leaping up from his chair as soon as he saw a mob assembling outside.
"I must see which way the crowd is headed",
he is reputed to have said: "For I am their leader."
People who exercise violence in the pursuit of what they hold to be just causes are alternately known as "terrorists" or "freedom fighters". Ironically, the word "terrorist" was first applied by the French during the Revolution to the most fervent adherents of equality, fraternity, and liberty: the Jacobins.
They all share a few common characteristics:
Most freedom fighters are disgruntled members of the middle classes or the intelligentsia. They bring to their affairs the merciless ruthlessness of sheltered lives. Mistaking compassion for weakness, they show none as they unscrupulously pursue their self-aggrandizement, the ego trip of sending others to their death. They are the stuff martyrs are made of. Borne on the crests of circumstantial waves, they lever their unbalanced personalities and project them to great effect. They are the footnotes of history that assume the role of text. And they rarely enjoy the unmitigated support of the very people they proffer to liberate. Even the most harangued and subjugated people find it hard to follow or accept the vicissitudinal behaviour of their self-appointed liberators, their shifting friendships and enmities and their pasilaly of violence.
In this series of articles, I will attempt to study four such groups which operated in the tortured region of the Balkans. I will start with the IMRO (VMRO) in Macedonia and Bulgaria, proceed to Serbia and its union with death ("Union or Death", aka the Black Hand), study the Ustasha in detail and end with the current mutation of Balkan spasms, the KLA (UCK).
Go To Part II
Terrorism as a Psychodynamic Phenomenon
Narcissists, Group Behavior, and Terrorism
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