You know how Caucasian people often have trouble distinguishing between the faces of African people even if they’re comparing say, a Somalian and a Senegalese? It’s usually attributed to being racist or ignorant and while that may be the case, it has more to do with cultural facial recognition patterns that one gets ingrained with from birth. I say this because it goes the other way as well in that random Caucasians will often look the same to Africans. Again, it’s an issue of how a person optically addresses facial patterns to see the unique qualities of an individual. Most of the time it’s just an amusing side note, but as was the case for Igor Majeski, it ended up in his getting arrested by the Kenyan police because he was thought to be the extremely wanted Bosnian Serb war criminal, Ratko Mladić.
I haven’t been able to find out how the authorities were “tipped off” to this, but I’m sure once word got out that they could make the arrest of their career by getting the #1 Wanted ITCY Fugitive and also getting the $5 million reward, they got a wee bit excited. This then ended up in arresting poor Mister Majeski, who is a Croatian (not Bosnian Serb) that has been in Kenya for 23 years managing a hotel in Mombasa. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that this may the one and only instance of my Balkan background meshing with my African interests.
For those interested, there’s a video on Reuters of Igor as well as a nice side by side comparison on the guardian.co.uk website. (How can the Guardian spell it ‘Majeski’ at the beginning of the article and then misspell it at ‘Mejaski’ the rest of the way?)
I would also like to add that had this actually been the real Ratko Mladić being arrested, Twitter would have broken the story first. When it happened, there was a flurry of activity on Twitter and absolutely nothing on not only news sites, but also on Google Blog Search as well. So, while there have been some flops in reporting the breaking news on Twitter, it’s only a matter of time before serious stories emerge from this system that I once hated, but am now getting to love and build for.
BREAKING NEWS, SORTA!
It appears that Igor has finally been released from jail. I loved how the article was written up in a very understated British wit from the title of, “Kenyans release Mladic mix-up man” to this quote:
Mr Majeski’s mother told reporters that he was coping with health problems and also facing a bad tourist season.
She said the last thing he needed, in the circumstances, was to be falsely branded as a war criminal.
So, so true. Being falsely branded as a war criminal really craps all over my day as well when it happens.