Behind the Lens: Interview With Reporter Joe Rubin
Joe Rubin talks with FRONTLINE/World Interactive Producer Jackie Bennion about the rising nationalism in Belgrade, how the once besieged city of Sarajevo is recovering, and reactions in both cities to the aftermath of war.
"Dark Shadows" is Joe Rubin's third documentary for FRONTLINE/World. Rubin has also produced and reported for ABC's Nightline, including his 2000 documentary on an emerging resistance movement against Slobodan Milosevic, which got him hooked on the Balkans. An unbridled enthusiast for the possibilities of video journalism, Rubin recently returned from a stint in Latin America as a Knight Fellow where he taught digital journalism in Panama, El Salvador and Ecuador. Rubin is currently developing a new program with HBO and lives in Oakland, California.
The 10th anniversary of the worst massacre in Europe since World War II has focused the world's skittering attention on the unfinished business of the Balkan war. Thousands gathered this week in Bosnia to commemorate the Srebrenica massacre, when Bosnian Serb soldiers killed at least 7,000 Muslim men and boys.
The men most responsible for that atrocity -- Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic and his military commander, General Ratko Mladic -- have been indicted for genocide by the war crimes tribunal in The Hague. Yet both men remain at large.
That may change soon as political pressure builds for their arrest. Serbia is trying to join the European Union; Bosnia wants membership in NATO. Neither stands a chance as long as notorious war criminals find aid and comfort from ultra-nationalist Serb supporters who hide and protect them.
This week on Rough Cut, we present Joe Rubin's report from Serbia and Bosnia. "Dark Shadows" is the story of his journey through a region still struggling to emerge from the smash-up of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. Rubin is a veteran video journalist who has reported many times for FRONTLINE/World. Five years ago, he went to Belgrade to cover the student movement Otpor, which led the nonviolent revolution that toppled Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic, who was finally extradited to The Hague, where his trial for war crimes drags on. Rubin's report on those dramatic events appeared on ABC's Nightline.
With the help of a German Marshall Fellowship fund, Rubin went back to the Balkans to visit old friends and see what progress they had made in reforming the Serbian and Bosnian political systems and overcoming the deep ethnic divides between Serbs, Croatians and Muslims. He found some cause for hope: journalists still investigating war criminals, flights restored between Belgrade and Sarajevo, the historic bridge in Mostar rebuilt. But he also found disturbing signs that this haunted region has not yet emerged from the dark shadows of the Balkan civil wars. In Serbia, the once obscure Radical Party -- whose leader, Vojislav Seselj, is on trial in The Hague for war crimes -- now controls more seats than any other party in the Serbian parliament. Venturing into the party's headquarters, Rubin finds an unrepentant group that scorns efforts to bring Serbian war criminals to justice.
In this eyewitness report, you will see for yourself what the Balkan political landscape looks like and how those who ousted Milosevic are still trying to forge a normal life. Along the way you will meet graffiti artists, a journalist inspired by Al Pacino's role in The Insider and a stuttering DJ who during the siege of Sarajevo found salvation in underground punk rock clubs.