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Just when you thought you lived in a civlized world...
on July 22, 2001
Although it is easy to say that this is a book about Bosnia, the title says it all. This is a meditation on Loyd's witness to the sickening and senseless violence he saw in Bosnia and Chechnya, played off against his own admitted interest in being around such chaos and bloodshed. It has become a standard response to the Rwandas and Bosnias of the world to say "What could make formerly peaceful people, pick up arms and murder their neighbors?" Loyd shows that although he is repulsed by the killing, there lurks inside himself a part that is drawn to it; not only out of curiousity, but for the ability of such situations to make him feel more alive...more connected. He is honest enough to admit that he is not that much different than the killers that are typically branded as non-human, genocidal thugs. Loyd also talks about something that has been forgotten in the "modern" world...the concept of "evil." Although he is reluctant to use the word, he finds that eventually there is no other way to describe what he has seen....he sees evil as a palpable presence that seems to have settled in for a protracted stay in Bosnia. Lastly, I should mention that Loyd's writing is quite good at drawing you into the book...I was hooked after the first 8 pages which left me stunned and a bit unnerved as to what lay ahead. I have re-read this opening passage several times and am always left in state of shock that such a world still exists, and admiration for Loyd in honestly showing his own demons and those who ran amuk in Bosnia. Philip Gourevitch's "We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families" is a great companion piece if you need any more convincing that we live in a barbaric age, and that pronouncments of "Never Again" are hollow words when the developed world turns a blind eye if their own immediate self-interest is not at stake.