PERSPECTIVErnTreason Against the New Orderrnby Thomas FlemingrnIwas doing my best to mind my own business on a ‘ery busyrnSaturday. My wife was in England, and after nearly twornweeks of playing mother, I was catching up on the laundry,rnshopping for the dinner I would have to prepare, and, in betweenrntrips to the store, I had to take my elder daughter to herrnorchestra lesson. Then there was that registered letter, whichrnprobably contained a $450 refund check I was expecting from arnclinic that had scammed us on the insurance. It was tight, butrnI made it to the Post Ofhce about 15 minutes before closingrntime, only to discover that the envelope contained not therncheck but a formal notification from the local “chief forester.”rnMy hedges were, apparently, above the three-foot limit thatrnhad to be observed within 40 feet of any intersection, and onernof my neighbors had filed a complaint. As I drove home, I notedrnthat at least one house at every intersection was in violationrnof the same rule, and I began to fantasize about a campaign ofrnsoft terror against the nosy neighbors and local officials whornknew how to mind my business better than their own. I couldrnprobablv file a dozen complaints a week and keep the chiefrnforester working overtime for the rest of his officious little life.rnMv irritation did not pass that evening, even after drinking arnpair of very dry double martinis with dinner and a bottle ofrngeneric Chianti that was more than good enough after the gin.rnI lay awake much of the night, tr’ing to con’ince myself thatrnthe retaliation I was planning was not only childish, but would,rnin fact, violate my cardinal rule of not interfering in the lives ofrnstrangers. So what, if the mayor, the sheriff, and the chiefrnforester himself were all in the pay of local contractors andrnMafia dons? Thev had wives and children; they had privaternlives that I had no more right to disturb than if I were a telephonernsolicitor selling burial plots.rnEventually I slept, and when I awoke, it was to the sound ofrnthe ringing telephone. I dread the telephone and never answerrnit, if I can find a child to say I am not available. After five ringsrnI picked up the receiver. The call was from a friend in London,rnwanting to know why I had not responded to his E-mail messages.rnI asked him what was so urgent that he had to get me outrnof bed. “Oh nothing, really,” he answered. “It’s just that ThernHague Tribunal has decided to devote a special session to journalists.rnThe charge is aiding and abetting the Bosnian genocide.”rnSunday was already turning out worse than Saturday.rnKnowing the answer in advance, I asked who was named in thernindictment, and he mentioned the usual suspects: a Erenchrntelejournalist, a New York newspaperman and one in Texas, arnleftist columnist, and, last and least of all, me.rnEver the optimist, I tried to find a silver lining. Better a haterncrimes trial in The Hague than a week of cutting down hedgesrnin Rockford, which reminded me that I had to get to work onrnthe bushes after breakfast. After cutting down a half-dozenrnshrubs, our vard looked like it had been hit by a tornado. I wentrninside and hxed up a big sign: “This devastation brought to yournbv neighbors who cannot mind their own business,” before goingrnup to mv studv to start work on mv defense.rnI wondered what good would it do to protest my innocence.rnI could say that all I had done was to tell the truth as I saw it.rnEven if I had made mistakes, they were honest mistakes. Thernsimple truth is that I am innocent. Then I remembered Kafka’srnJoseph K., who said the same thing to his prosecutor. “Butrn8/CHRONICLESrnrnrn