Monday, January 14, 2008

It's Time to End Serb-Bashing

This article of mine appears on The Guardian's 'Comment is Free' site.


On Cif last week Anna di Lellio, who was a political adviser to the former Kosovan prime minister and one-time Kosovan Liberation Army chief of staff, Agim Çeku, claimed that "Serbian nationalism briefly subdued after the fall of Milosevic" is back in full force with its "old tactics". Di Lellio offers very little evidence to back up her assertion, except a declaration from the Serbian parliament that - horror of horrors - the country is determined to defend its territorial integrity in compliance with international law.

What is undoubtedly "back in force" with all its "old tactics" is Serb-bashing, of which Di Lellio is only one of many culprits in the western media (including, it must sadly be said, Cif). The Serbs have been demonised not because they were the party most responsible for the wars of secession in the 1990s - they were not - but because they have consistently got in the way of the west's hegemonic ambitions in the region.

The west wanted Yugoslavia destroyed, with one militarily strong, independent state replaced by several weak and divided Nato/IMF/EU protectorates. "In post-cold war Europe no place remained for a large, independent-minded socialist state that resisted globalisation," admitted George Kenney, former Yugoslavia desk officer of the US state department.

The Serbs' great "crime" was not reading the script. Out of all the groups in the former Yugoslavia, the Serbs, whose population was spread across the country, had most to lose from the country's disintegration. At a meeting at The Hague in October 1991, the leaders of the six constituent republics were presented with a paper entitled "The End of Yugoslavia from the International Scene" by European Community "arbitrators". Only one of them - the Serb leader Slobodan Milosevic - refused to sign his country's death certificate. "Yugoslavia was not created by the consensus of six men and cannot be dissolved by the consensus of six men," he declared.

For his pro-Yugoslav stance, Milosevic was rewarded with over a decade of demonisation in the west's media. Despite his regular election victories in a country where 21 political parties freely operated, Milosevic was (and is) routinely labelled a "dictator", a description which even his consistently hostile biographer Adam LeBor concedes is "incorrect". Some of the attempts to incriminate Milosevic for events he played no part in have been ludicrous: in a Guardian article in 2006 Timothy Garton Ash, a professor of European studies, wrote of Slovenes "trying to break away from Slobodan Milosevic's Yugoslavia in 1991", even though the leader of Yugoslavia at the time was the Croat Ante Markovic (a correction to the claim was published).

In the standard western rewrite of history, Slobo and the Serbs were also to blame for the break-out of war in Bosnia. Yet the man who lit the blue touch paper for that brutal conflict war was not Milosevic, nor the Bosnian-Serb leaders, but the US ambassador Warren Zimmerman, who persuaded Bosnian separatist Alija Izetbegovic to renege on his signing of the 1992 Lisbon agreement, which had provided for the peaceful division of the republic.

Even after the 1995 Dayton agreement brought an end to a totally unnecessary conflict, there was to be no let up in the west's Serbophobia. In Kosovo, the west's strategic objectives meant them siding with the hardliners of the Kosovo Liberation Army, a group, officially classified as a terrorist organisation by the US state department.

No one, certainly no Serb of my acquaintance, denies that Serb forces committed atrocities in the Balkan wars and that those responsible should be held accountable in a court of law (though not one financed by the powers who illegally bombed their country less than 10 years ago). But what makes Serbs so incensed is that whereas Serbian atrocities have received the full glare of the western media spotlight, atrocities committed by other parties in the conflict are all but ignored.

While massive media attention focused on the relatively low-scale tit-for-tat hostilities between Yugoslav forces and the KLA in 1998/9, Operation Storm - where an estimated 200,000 Serbs were driven out of Croatia in an operation which received logistical and technical support from the US - is hardly mentioned. No publicity, either, for massacres such as the slaughter, on Orthodox Christmas Day 1993, of 49 Serbs in the village of Kravice, near Srebrenica. The town recently held a commemorative service to mark the 15th anniversary of the atrocity: no members of "the international community" were present.

Now, with Kosovo again in the headlines, the Serb-bashers are once more out in force. Once again, the dispute is being portrayed in Manichean terms. While much is made of the treatment of Kosovan Albanians by Yugoslav forces in 1998/9, little is said about the KLA's campaign of intimidation which led to an exodus of an estimated 200,000 Serbs, Roma, Bosnians, Jews and other minorities from the province after "the international community" moved in.


"Nowhere in Europe is there such segregation as Kosovo ... Nowhere else are there so many 'ethnically pure' towns and villages scattered across such a small province. Nowhere is there such a level of fear for so many minorities that they will be harassed simply for who they are. For the Serbs and 'other minorities', who suffer from expulsion from their homes, discrimination and restrictions on speaking their own language, the pattern of violence they have endured for so long may be about to be entrenched as law in the new Kosovo, as the future status talks continue."


So concludes the Minority Rights Group report on "liberated" Kosovo - but hey, let's brush that one under the carpet because it doesn't blame Serbs.

The double standards imposed where Serbs are concerned are breathtaking.

Independence for Kosovo is a simple issue of self-determination, we are repeatedly told. Yet the same principle does not apply to Bosnian Serbs who wish to join up with Serbia.

Instead of championing Kosovan secessionism in contravention of international law, Britain and the west should, in fact, be reconsidering its policy towards Serbia. It's too late to undo past crimes - such as the barbarous 1999 Nato bombing campaign - but changing its policy on Kosovo would at least be a start on redressing the injustices of the last 20 years. It's high time we gave the Serbs a break.

72 comments:

Jock McTrousers said...

Keep saying it Neil! You're one of the very few in the UK who even seems interested in the facts. Most of the rest of the so-called 'left' are still trotting out the 'butcher of the balkans' stuff, and the term 'denier' seems to have spread from the 'holocaust' to Srebrenica - another of those historic moments of which, out of reverence, we must not speak.

Roland Hulme said...

While I'm supporter of Kosovo becoming independent, I think it's a fair comment that the crimes of the KLA are often overlooked. Anything with 'liberation army' in the title is a little scary.

Plus now they exist by running heroin, arms, explosives and even unwilling women and children through the protected zone into Europe.

But if Kosovo is not made independent and returns to being part of Serbia, it will give the KLA a new legitimacy - whereas Kosovon independence would enable the West to help stamp out this mafia like organisation.

I don't see how anybody can think we'll have anything but a repeat of history is Kosovo isn't made independent.

lee said...

I hope you don't mind me responding here and not among the wingnuts of CiF ;-)

First, let's be clear, the tiny Serb minority in Kosova is being treated very badly by the Kosovar government in waiting. The long-term repression of Kosovars since the 1980's puts their insistence on independence in perspective, but it does not excuse the ethnic cleansing of Serbs. Full stop. It's a double standard, in my view.

But the idea that Serbia does not bear the majority of blame for the wars of the 1990's is simply wrong. Serbia armed and radicalised local Serb militia in Croatia and Bosnia, and then sent the JNA to back up the planned creation of Greater Serbia by cleansing, then annexing northern Bosnia, eastern/southern Bosnia and the areas that became the UNPAs in Croatia. Ethnic cleaning was an aim, not a bi-product of the war in Bosnia. Reliable figures suggest that over 86% of civilian deaths in the war were the work of the Serb forces.

Whilst evidence abounds concerning Serbia's role in the Bosnian and Croatian wars, I bet you can't quote much to support the idea that "The West" wanted Yugoslavia destroyed. Why? It posed no threat at all and would have made a good ally. And Milosevic was no Yugo hero either - he was a nasty nationalist who revoked the autonomy of Vojvodina and Kosovo, and who was turning the Federal state into an ethnic-based state.

I suspect your cookie-cutter leftism leads you to see an evil "Western" conspiracy (an odd term BTW, given the different positions of the Contact Group countries) that uses 'the media' to demonise the poor Serbs (Karadzic, Mladic and Arkan?), rather than the messy local situation it really was to begin with. Of course, these western countries were happy to get deeply involved, and it almost became a war of NATO vs the UN, as well as between Bosnians. They did most things wrong, as it happens, especially the arms embargo against the emergent Bosnian army and also the focus on aid rather than conflict prevention, for example. Dayton was a farce, but at least it froze the conflict.

You say Zimmerman persuaded Alija to rejection division at Lisbon, but why accept division at all? Because people "just can't live together"? Bullsh*t! They can. Just as long as some people aren't murdering non-Serbs and claiming this is for the good of their 'narod'.

You want a 1980'-style leftist position? How about: everyone lives together and we incentivise tolerance and cooperation? Serbia, like Bosnia, has a lot to offer Europe, potentially. But like Serbia's courageous human rights groups sometimes say, the country needs to face up to what it did as a precursor to progress.

Paradoxical as this may sound, supporting Serbian nationalist positions you are doing a disservice to the very progressive elements that exist in Serbia as a whole. Some of the apparently contrary positions about Serbia's role in the wars you state in this piece are just ... well ... wrong. Shine a light on "Western" hypocrisy for sure, but at least be clear about Serbia's role in formenting conflict and ethnic cleansing.

You talk about 'The Serbs' great "crime"' - well it took place at Omarska, Srebrenica, Sarajevo and a host of other places in Bosnia where civilians were brutally murdered en masse in the name of Greater Serbia. Such a thing did not exist "on all sides".

Anonymous said...

Loland you were ahead when you said that the west should just leave the place alone and let them all deal with each other, now you go right back to the idiot pile.

Lee-

If you paid any attention to Neil's last post on Srebrenica before this one you'd know that the Bosnian Muslims (Namely Nasir Oric and his Mujahedin) were using the Srebrenica "Safe Zone" as a staging area to kill and expel the neighboring Serbian Villages totaling 3500 deaths the Serbs only returned the favor and they had the Decency to leave the women and children alone.

If we accept the Srebrenica Massacre death toll of 7000 then they killed 2 men for every Serb Civilian killed which if you look at it Historically was awfully nice. The Nazis killed 100 Serb Civilians for every 1 dead German and 50 for every wounded 1 German.

Now How do you gloss over the fact that Croatia Ethnically Cleansed the Majority of their Restive Serbian population.

Also The Combined Death Toll For the Bosnian War was last reported to be 97,207 not the Grossly over-inflated 300,000.

Also the Albanian Minority in Kosovo was causing trouble in Kosovo all the way up until the 80's From burning down convents to splashing a kid with gasoline and lighting him up in the middle of the street.

If you read Milosevic's Speech in Kosovo he was parroting the same communist BS about brotherhood and unity amongst the different peoples , he was NOT making a propaganda speech to incite the Serbs to violence.

And Why Lee why is Serbia still Ethnically Diverse while Croatia is not? While Slovenia is Not, while Kosovo is slowly becoming Not? I mean they kicked out all the Jews in Kosovo what the hell was so scary about a couple thousand Jews?

I've got more but my shift is about to start.

SL said...

Roland.

Those unwilling women and drugs are serving NATO troops in Kosovo, why would they want to stamp out their own entertainment?

Lee.

Concerning Srebrenica:

http://www.srpska-mreza.com/Bosnia/Srebrenica/index.html

Concerning the Hague Tribunal:

http://www.srpska-mreza.com/WarCrime/index.html

Concerning Omarska:

http://www.srpska-mreza.com/guest/LM/lm-f97/lm-f97.html

Anonymous said...

http://www.juliagorin.com/wordpress/?p=1313

also this article is relevant so I wanted to share it with the other readers.

Lee said...

Just briefly, because I sense that this is not likely to be a fruitful debate:

1. The Serbian nationalist views (and links to Srpska-Mreza, which is hardly a reliable source) would deeply offend most normal, progressive Serbs I know. They are not representative of decent people in Serbia or in RS.

2. Trying to play up the Naser Oric story as a way of trying to take focus away from Srebrenica is sick. The 7-8,000 men and boys killed around Srebrenica were tracked down and murdered as they tried to flee the enclave - it was not an act of war. It is a matter of public record that the starving ragtag groups led by Oric launched attacks on Serb positions during the war, as this was their only way to obtain food and munitions. Oric was no angel, and I am sure there were civilian deaths as well as soliders, but this is nothing compared to the calculated mass slaughter of Srebrenica, and I am sure the commenters above actually know this. As for Mujahedin, they were not in Srebrenica. That is a matter of fact.

3. I would be interested whether Neil has any response to the posting of the link from SL that parrots the Living Marxism claim that Omarska was a fabrication. This, I am afraid, is beyond the pale. No matter how PoMo your view of "texts" and competing views, there is no denying that thousands of people were tortured and hundreds killed in the camp at Omarska. The survivors and the families of the missing are all still alive; you can talk to them if you actually care about the truth, and there are > 13k pages of evidence at the Hague Web site on this topic alone. Seriously: anybody who associates themselves with the absurd LM position (which was based on watching the TV remember, not actually being there or talking to those involved) should feel deeply ashamed. Even one of the camp leaders, Dr. Kovacevic, recanted before his death and told journalists of his shame over what they did there. Have any of you actually been there or talked to the survivors? Of course not.

Neil: you are not the first person to write counter-factual stories like this, and like the others you will suddenly find a bunch of Serb nationalist nut jobs (usually living abroad) who will jump to your defence. But the thing is, these views would not be acceptable in the Belgrade human rights community or progressive political circles. Doesn't that tell you something?

SL said...

1. Normal? Decent? Is a normal and decent American/German/Briton one who believes the crimes committed against the Serbian people from 30,000 feet in the air something to apologise for? Is a normal and decent Croat ready to apologise for the crimes of WW2 or the expulsion of Krajina’s Serbs? Is a normal and decent Bosniak ready to apologise for the crimes committed by Nasar Oric or Izbegovic? Is a normal or decent Albanian ready to apologise for the hundreds of thousands of Serbs the KLA has driven from Kosovo or the thousands they have murdered?

If a ‘normal’ and ‘decent’ Serb is an apologist for NATO’s campaign of horror in the Balkans during the 90s then you will find that there aren’t many ‘normal’ and ‘decent’ Serbs living in the world.

2. Its almost impossible to tell how many of those ’men and boys’ were soldiers. Nearly one thousand of them were killed before 1995. Concentrating on those ’men and boys’ while forgetting the 3,500 men, women and children who were murdered is sick.

3. Check out Judgment.

http://www.mininova.org/tor/314580

http://www.slobodan-milosevic.org/multimedia.htm

Consider that while you remember that Croats and Muslims in Bosnia had concentration camps built for the Serbs.

Lee said...

Sorry, but I am working on facts, not political positions.

I didn't support the limited bombing of Belgrade that you think is a "crime" that ranks alongside Serbia's genocide in Bosnia. WWII was a long time ago. Neither Oric nor Izetbegovic can credibly called a war criminal (though Oric was not exactly somebody I would want round for dinner) in the sense that the whole world agrees Milosevic, Karadiz, Mladic, Arkan and the countless others were.

I did not imply that 'normal and decent' Serbs supported the (limited) bombing of Belgrade, any more than I did.

But every intelligent, educated Serb I know in Belgrade or Sarajevo would regard views like yours (denial of Srebrenica, Omarska, etc) as disgusting.

Truth is a precondition for moving forward, and anyone who cannot put their hands up and see Omarska for what it was is not living in truth - simple as that.

Goodbye.

It is a real shame that somebody (Neil) who calls themselves a journalist can fall in line with the Omarska-never-happened brigade, especially when the truth is so easy to find.

Svetlana said...

So, someone who purposely perverts the official name of Serbian province of Kosovo and Metohija to Albanian secessionist trademark name KosovA, like "lee" here, expects to have his ludicrous claims accepted as balanced and neutral.

Now, that takes the cake.

Other than that, it would be nice if "lee" would allow us Serbs to speak in our own name, i.e. if he was able to refrain from speaking in the name of Serbs, "normal and progressive" or abnormal and conservative - you're already speaking in the name of Albanian separatists, Bosnian Muslims and most of the Serbophobic nutcases I personally know - that should be sufficient padding for your brand of propaganda.

Srpska-Mreza.com is simply an internet collection of articles and historical documents pertaining to former Yugoslavia and different aspects of its dissolution, civil wars, NATO aggression etc. written by the western authors, reporters and analysts. No more, no less.

Lee said...

Why is my name in "quotes"? Bit disrespectful...

Kosova is the name that the local government uses - why can't they name their own entity? I am equally happy with Kosovo (hence I used it when referring to the 1980's).

I am speaking only in my own name, but I know how ashamed normal Serbs are of people like you and the other commenters who refuse to admit what happened in the 1990's and so condemn what should be a modern, connected country to a situation of international isolation.

I am not Serbophobic - what is there to be afraid of anymore? ;-)

Also, just for info, this western fixation dropped out of series political analysis over a decade ago. Time to move on.

Anonymous said...

Neil:

BRAVO!!

Lee:

Don't leave. It's important to have a real debate.

But I must take issue with this comment:

"Neither Oric nor Izetbegovic can credibly called a war criminal (though Oric was not exactly somebody I would want round for dinner) in the sense that the whole world agrees Milosevic, Karadiz, Mladic, Arkan and the countless others were."

First of all, who is the world Lee? Your assertion sounds like a poll of NATO foreign ministries and mainstream newspaper editors. I thought the world also included Russia China, India, Africa, and Latin America who do not see the distinction you are trying to make.

If you think that Nasir Oric was not a war criminal, then we should toss the definition in the dustbin. The man was a thug and butcher and his noble warriors slaughtered hundreds of innocent Serbs in Eastern Bosnia (assuming you agree with the absurd proposition that there is such a thing as innocent Serbs). His punishment was to sit in the Hague for 3 or 4 years and then was released in lieu of time spent. What a wonderful humanitarian gesture from the ICTY.

Moreover, I notice that you do not even ask for the arrest and deportation of Agim Ceku, a key commander of Operation Storm. Is it so painful to demand justice for Serbian victims? Or is it because he is one of “our bastards” now?

Like many of those who blame the Serbs for everything, you avoid addressing Neil's reference to the Lisbon conference, the "forgotten" conference. Forgotten because all parties were agreed to the decentralisation of Bosnia before the stupid Yanks stepped in to ruin everything. How was the "country" of Bosnia expected to survive when its proposed sovereignty did not command the loyalty of a majority of its citizens from the outset. You talk about Milosevic's crazy ideology. What about the even more idiotic Western ideology of creating an independent Bosnia against the wishes of the majority of its citizens including a substantial number of Muslims? What imaginative rules of sovereignty and self-determination were applies in that instance?

If you are confused by all of this, then let me help you out. The Great Moraliser Tom Lantos (Dem rep from San Fransisco and visceral anti-Serb) had this to say about Kosovo:

"Just a reminder to the predominantly Muslim-led government[s] in this world that here is yet another example that the United States leads the way for the creation of a predominantly Muslim country in the very heart of Europe. This should be noted by both responsible leaders of Islamic governments, such as Indonesia, and also for jihadists of all color and hue. The United States' principles are universal, and in this instance, the United States stands foursquare for the creation of an overwhelmingly Muslim country in the very heart of Europe."

Why did such a disgraceful comment receive no attention whatsoever, Lee? America is busy sacrificing Serbia in a ploy to fool Muslims into think that the American government is not anti-Muslim. Just how dumb do we think the Muslims are?

The sickness is that of those who think they are curing the world with their ghastly and brutal intervention, whatever your coterie of Serbian DOS progressives and Otporistas may think.

Roland:

FYI, Kosova is already "independent". There is no southern border worth speaking of. Greater Albania already exists. Europe's largest drug and prostitution nerve centre den has been fully operational for some time now. I know it's difficult but please don't try to pin this one the Serbs.

PS. Since you are a historian, what do you think about the Lisbon conference? And what do you think of Lantos' comments?

Regards,

Steven

Svetlana said...

They can't rename that "entity" for the same reasons they can't change my name: it's not theirs to change.

And it's certainly not yours to change it, either.

Funny you should complain about being addressed with insufficient measure of respect, since you are accusing me, under the same breath, of being sick (not "normal" according to your esteemed diagnosis), because I'm not saying things you believe and want to persuade others to believe.

I have no respect for people who are incapable of stringing three sentences together without pretending their views are not just theirs, but also an echo of an enlightened brotherhood of "normal", "decent", "progressive", "intelligent" and "respected" Ones.

Bluffs like that only reveal one's inability to rely on solid facts to prove one's points and eagerness to persuade others to accept his point of view based on abstract, imaginary group of like-minded supporters.

So, stop wasting everyone's time and quit trying to fool anyone: you know nothing about Serbs and you certainly can't tell me or anyone else what Serbs think, feel, or want. I can tell you that, you can't.

Svetlana

P.S. I have no idea what "western fixation" are you talking about. You said that Srpska-Mreza.com is "hardly a reliable source", since it represents "Serbian nationalist views" and that it would, in fact, "deeply offend most normal, progressive Serbs".

Rubbish! Srpska-Mreza.com is a web library comprised of articles and documents from western sources, including western encyclopedias and history books.

Move on from there - where to? To your version of events?! In your dreams, "lee".

Lee said...

ferr... I had to use a word for the (apparently) soon to be independent province. I used Kosova because it is my custom to try to respect the name local people use. In Kosova/Kosovo/K&M, people seem to call it Kosova. But I also used the term Kosovo referring to the province in the 1980's. I don't much care what the place is called, actually. It is what it is - but what it isn't is a place that wants to or is prepared to live under contemporary Serbian rule. I think Serbia lost the moral right to run this 88% Albanian, province just about the time children had to organise secret schools and Universities at home because they were forbidden to be educated in their own language.

In case you hadn't noticed from the first thing I said, which was to condemn the ethnic cleansing of Serbs in ... the place I am not allowed to give a name to, I am not a particular supporter of Kosovan independence, but nor am I against it. It is what it is. You can't behave as Serbian politicians have done since the 1980's an expect others to want to share a bed with you.

I do not claim to speak for, or characterise the views of any group, including Serbs. I merely said that people I know, who are Serbs, would be appalled to see people denying Omarska and Srebrenica - it is sick! Make a case, by all means, but given the plethora of physical and documentary evidence (i.e. reality) have you not considered that the majority opinion - that Serbia organised and managed a terrible war of ethnic cleansing in Bosnia - is perhaps correct. Omarksa and Srebrenica are provable - there are (what I regard as) normal, reasonable people in Belgrade who will tell you exactly the same. I just don't want people to get the impression that all Serbs hold to the lunatic views that say Omarska never happened, Srebrenica was not a massacre, or that the multi-ethnic Bosnian government in 1992 was some kind of mad mullah movement that was as bad as the SDS. They don't, in my (let's say limited) experience.

And "western sources" are just as reliable or unreliable as others - they are just sometimes more diverse, which is why a site like srpska-mreza can put together "western" sources to back up its own bizarre claims.

Believe what you like, but just know that you look ridiculous by saying these things never happened.

Dr Paul said...

Lee wrote: '... the Living Marxism claim that Omarska was a fabrication...'

I was a supporter of that mag at the time of the Yugoslav collapse. I am pretty sure that it never said that.

It did come a cropper over its story about the ITN report of the Trnopolje camp. Is that what you meant?

SL said...

Lee.

I have given you website to support my position, you have given nothing of the sort. Please show us all were you get your ‘facts’ or stop being a hypocritical bitchy Nato apologist.

Ali da Hodza said...

he he - the website you sent is run by nut jobs for nut jobs, so I think it hardly qualifies as evidence. I really like the story that the UN decided 5,000 people must be massacred at Srebrenica to give them an excuse to intervene, so the super-well-equipped and not-at-all-staving Bosnian soldiers decided to launch a suicide mission, walking to Serb positions to be killed in a cunning move to lay a trap for Serbia. You got me there! It was a global suicide consipracy rather than the straightforward Serb massacre that us "NATO apologists" claim it was. That, my friend, is sooooo delusional it is insane. Really.

I am sorry to dismiss me as a NATO apologist, despite the fact I have written nothing pro-NATO and even said that the Belgrade bombing was not something I supported. Maybe if you put my name in "quote marks" again you can persuade yourself that I don't know what I am talking about.

Have a nice, bitter, paranoid, delusional life and pleas continue dragging Serbia down with you - your loss, not mine.

Ciao.

Lee said...

PS: that was still me (Lee) above - I thought I would use an ironic nickname from one of my favourite Serbian authors - Alihodza from Na Drini Cuprija ;-)

SL said...

Ali.

If you want to continue the myth of Srebrenica or Racak then be my guest. Know that people who keep this myth alive are hurting themselves as well as the Serbs.

I really am called Lee said...

LOL! My name really is Lee, and it doesn't matter how many times you "put it in quotes" or call me Ali. Talk about a blind spot!

Racak and Srebrenica are two totally different cases, and I don't recall ever mentioning Racak because I don't know enough about it.

Regarding Srebrenica, let me see...

Was it...

(a) a UN conspiracy that persuaded the Bosnians to engage in a 5,000 person mass suicide among *just to make Serbs look bad*

or...

(b) a brutal massacre led by Mladic and the Drini Corps, as supported by thousands of pages of testimony, aerial photos of mass graves, eyewitness testimony from soldiers in the Serb Army and ... crucially .. the fact that Tuzla is full of Srebrenica widows.

Treatment options

3oka said...

This tels more than anything else.

"Everybody is parroting everybody, but nobody shows hard evidence. I notice that in the Netherlands people want to prove at all costs that genocide has been committed. (...) If executions have taken place, the Serbs have been hiding it damn well. Thus, I don’t believe any of it. The day after the collapse of Srebrenica, July 13, I arrived in Bratunac and stayed there for eight days. I was able to go wherever I wanted to. I was granted all possible assistance; nowhere was I stopped."
-- Captain Schouten quoted below. Captain Schouten was the only UN military officer in Bratunac at the time a massacre is alleged.)

SL said...

Lee.

If they can make Omarska look like a concentration camp then they can make fighting within and around Srebrenica to look like a massacre. It’s a propaganda war, you cannot trust anything or anyone these days, especially mainstream media.

andrew said...

Lee
You say that you don't know much about Racak , why don't you read up on it then, and the scales may fall from your eyes.....and If the Muslims could bomb there own innocent people in Sarajevo, why couldn't Izetbegovic sacrifice thousands of Muslims at Srbrenica?

Lee said...

Bratunac:

Why would movement be restricted to a liaison officer with the VRS? Life for Serbs went on as normal whilst their brothers committed a massacre that shocked the world. Also, some Dutch soldiers hated the Bosniaks and even wore Nazi t-shirts and insignia. It's a matter of public record. Your quote means nothing, especialy as the guy was in Bratunac, not Poticari, Srebrenica or Zepa.

Omarska:

I know you are only trying to provoke me, but I really wonder what your friends in the USA or UK or wherever you live would think if they knew you not only justify but deny the reality of Omarska.

I personally know dozens of survivors and I have researched this topic in great depth. These people are visibly damaged and they are clearly not making up what happened to them.

In the village of Kevljani, near the camp, a mass grave was found last year with 450+ bodies from Omarksa that had been bulldozed into a pit. Look it up. It is just one of hundreds of grave sites in the area.

Thousands were tortured and hundreds killed in the camp, many in the most appalling ways - such as this and this.

Is *everybody* making this up? Are the bodies false? You really think that every journalist, every investigator and every human rights group is wrong and some German leftist found the truth by watching the news report on TV? Honestly, I think that qualifies as delusional.

People who deny the (much bigger, much worse and generally incomparable) events of Auschwitz are rightly condemned. Think about how survivors feel reading your glib words, written from a safe distance and with zero personal experience of the story?

Why not visit the site of the camp this year on August 6 when survivors are allowed to return there and talk to them? Then you tell me Omarska didn't happen.

Again, you may think your little lobby is doing Serbia a favour, but it is not. Serbia suffers every time one of you wingnuts makes a claim like Srebrenica was a mass suicide or Omarska was not a death camp. Seriously.

There is a healthy anti-fascist movement in Serbia these days, with some courageous human rights groups in Belgrade and other cities. But as long as people like you write this rubbish, they will not be able to turn Serbia into the modern, successful state it should become.

I am all for PoMo critiques of the "media" but some things are actually verifiable. Omarksa is one of them, and if you hold so tight to the deluded belief it never happened, maybe it is time to find out for yourself? I will gladly put you in touch with survivors and families of the missing and you can judge for yourself.

Svetlana said...

"the website you sent is run by nut jobs for nut jobs," where a "nut job" is defined as everyone who doesn't subscribe to your version of history.

This is why I can barely stand the half-informed, our-media-is-entirely-free gullible people who swallow everything the mainstream feeds them, hook, line and sinker, and then run around evangelizing the world: they don't operate on any semblance of facts, but on persuasions based on memory of emotions and impressions certain images left; they are belligerent in their zeal to issue final judgments and they take enormous amounts of time that is, more or less, wasted, because personal opinions are dime-a-dozen and largely irrelevant - all that really matters in these issues are solid, reliable, verifiable facts.

Regarding Srebrenica:

1. Even if everything Lee believes (along with - true - the greatest majority of Westerners) is absolutely true and Bosnian Serb Army, led by General Ratko Mladic, did execute 7,000 (the number according to Sarajevo-based center headed by Bosnian Muslim Mirsad Tokaca and accepted by the Hague tribunal - he has a list of some 6,900+ alleged victims) "Muslim men and boys" in that town in July 1995, that did not happen in a vacuum, out of nowhere and for no reason whatsoever save for the Serbian inherit evilness. As one of the commenters noted under Neil's
superb article over at Cif, treating Srebrenica as an unprovoked, inexplicable bout of madness, is as wrong as if one would analyze Dresden
carnage
at the end of a WWII without taking into account Hitler and German fascists. Up to half
a million German civilians (men, women and children, not just "men and boys") were killed by the US
and UK forces there in 1945, and the town was wiped off the face of the earth. Was it a genocide?
Should someone have been brought to Nurnberg to face charges for it? Was that justified? You tell us.

2. Twelve years after the alleged massacre in Srebrenica took place, there are still no bodies to
support the figures shouted out a month after the event (first by U.S. State Department's Madeleine
Albright, who decided, in a TV studio, that "8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed in Srebrenica",
than by everybody else). They have a list with names and some 3,000 bodies, some of which have still not been identified as Muslims - they could be Serbs, and most of which have lost their lives in a
battle - there was a battle for Srebrenica takeover. Among their 6,900+ names, some belong to people who have been found to live at present in United States. It has also been determined that 954 names from that list belong to members of Bosnian Muslim army who have lost their lives before General Mladic entered Srebrenica.

Areal photos (also used by the State Dept. to "prove" Serbs have killed up to 500,000 Albanian Muslims during NATO aggression in Kosovo province, that have also failed to materialize after the FBI forensic teams rushed in to turn every stone around), constant repetition and persistent claims mean absolutely nothing. Facts and solid evidence are everything.

And there is no evidence massacre like that occurred, either on that scale, or in the way it is always
presented.

So, where do you think are the bodies of the remaining 4,000-5,000 "Muslim men and boys" Serbs have allegedly massacred in Srebrenica in July of 1995? Have the Serbs ate them? Neither the Hague prosecution, nor Mad Albright, Bill Clinton or Tony Blair will tell us. Judging by people like Lee here, they don't have to bother with trifles like that, they can just keep repeating the magic number and that's that - the history is written, and the Serbs, along with few Westerners who have managed to preserve their capacity for critical thinking and common decency, will just continue to be
labeled "nut jobs" for insisting on the whole truth, instead of popular mythology.

Jock McTrousers said...

On 14 March 2007, Glasgow's 'Scotsman' newspaper posted, on its website, an interview with Adam Boys, ICMP's Chief Operating Officer and Director of Finance since September 2000 at
http://news.scotsman.com/ViewArticle.aspx?articleid=3354195#comment444047
Balkan Witness, a site dedicated to rubbishing the work of Parenti, Herman, Johnstone et al posts a link to this, I guess as the most up-to date evidence of the 8000 figure, under the banner:

"To date the ICMP has positively identified about 3000 bodies of Srebrenica victims and has partial remains of about 1000 more. The ICMP still predicts that about 8000 were killed in the massacre. "

A blog debate follows in which Boys participated, In his replies to posts #33 and #34 Adam Boys
stated:

"The date of death, manner of death, and who did the killing are a matter for the courts. "

It will be a decision for the (Nato-appointed) regional governments whether a list of those identified from Srebrenica will be available online.

Asked whether there is: " a publicly accessible database, broken down by date of death, place remains found, cause of death, ethnicity (established by DNA from relatives) etc. details? "
Boys evades the question by answering " There is the ICRC list of missing. It does not show ethnicity. Neither do our records. " I take that as a NO.

Asked whether there are " scientific reports detailing the methodology, results and interpretations?"
Boys says yes. I look forward to these being made available for public scrutiny.

Lee is getting sick of this said...

Svetlana:

Dresden was a war crime, IMO. Simple as that. Just because Germany was led by fascists does not mean it is ok to target civilians in that way. Similarly, if the bombing of Belgrade had targeted civilians and been on a significantly larger scale, that too would have been a war crime regardless of the fact of Serbian fascism.

You trot out information about Srebrenica as if you know what you are talking about. How many of the Srebrenica women have you met? None, I would wager. So, for example, how do you know that 954 names on the list of missing died before the massacre, given that Tokaca only reported last year?

Where are the bodies? In mass graves. If you read the news, you will see that new mass graves are being discovered all the time. As in the case of Omarska, there is evidence of repeated reburials using machinery to hide the evidence, plus (as in the Vlasic massacres) the VRS used lime and other techniques to try to detroy the evidence.

Again, I ask - have you been to these sites? I guess not. Have you met the widows? They exist. Do you think they have maintained some elaborate pretence all these years? That is sick.

As for Jock, I presume he gets his "reality" from a similarly comfortable distance, and the bizarre claims of Johnstone et al are seized on as truth simply because they are the opposite of mainstream opinion. If that's the case, I guess you regard the Holocaust, Tsumanis and US High School massacres as media fabrications as well.

The work of the ICMP is incredibly slow and painstaking. It takes a long time to identify people and of course they do not hold a database of ethnicity, because ethnicity has no scientific basis (duh!). They are simply helping families achieve closure. So, not having recovered all the bodies (in these cases, BTW, it rarely happens that all bodies are found) and needing years to foresnically ID them, I doubt they will reach a conclusion any time soon.

Incidentally, the people working in ICMP are great. They are doing a tough job with dignity and making a difference. I bet Jock thinks that sitting in his armchair guessing about whether tens of thousands of Bosnians really went missing or not (based on the secondary and tertiary "evidence" of people like Johnstone who came along years after the fact and have a clear political agenda that is unrelated to Bosnia) is a great act of political courage. Yay - pour yourself another beer and tell yourself how clever you are not to be fooled by the media.

No matter that every survivor or family of the missing who reads this will be re-traumatised. After all, they don't exist do they?

SL said...

Lee.

Watch Judgement. Your head is full of propaganda. Judgement will give you a whole new outlook on Omarska and the Bosnian war.

Here is a direct link:

http://www.slobodan-milosevic.org/judgement.rm

Torrent:

http://www.mininova.org/tor/314580

Educate yourself. For your sake if no one else’s.

Lee said...

So let me get this right. I have deep, personal experience of the reality of the situation. I have interviewed literally dozens of survivors of Omarska, been to the site, seen the mass graves in surrounding areas and also heard statements of regret and shame from Serb officials in the area. But all of that, plus 13,000 pages of testimony at the Hague is a lie ... my head is full of propaganda .... and to get the truth I need to watch some video which is a a refutation of that propaganda, but does is not actually based on evidence from the ground, but rather a hypothesis formed from watching TV news reports.

I see! Thanks so much.

SL said...

Actually Judgement is a video recording of the camp, mostly done by a British camera crew including one scene done by a Serbian camera crew, and several interviews with camp workers, such as the Bosnian Muslim doctor, as well as refugees who were housed there. I am curious, you tell of your ‘experiences’ and yet you give us no source from which we can work from. Who are you exactly?

Svetlana said...

Then, being an interviewer and a hearsay advocate (being that the solid evidence is still missing, regardless of the excuses you can come up with), perhaps you personally met Munira Subasic, President of the Bosnian Muslim Association of Srebrenica Women, who reported her son as one of Srebrenica Muslim victims, only to be eternally shamed after it was discovered her son is alive and well today and lives in United States under a new name.

Furthermore, "Republika Srpska Veterans Association has reported on Wednesday they have the list of 954 Bosnian Muslim fighters, members of the Muslim army, who have lost their lives before the end of 1994 in the battles during the Bosnian civil war (1992-1995), but have nevertheless been listed as the Muslim victims of battle for Srebrenica, fought in July 1995.

"The news about the list has triggered strong reactions in the Serbian republic in Bosnia.

"On the one side, the information has thrown renewed suspicion at the report of Bosnia’s Commission that was supposed to determine the facts about Srebrenica events. The Srebrenica Commission was formed according to the order of former Bosnian High Representative from Great Britain, Paddy Ashdown, by the Government of Republika Srpska. On the other side, the list provided by the Serbian Veterans Association has reopened the issue of exaggerated numbers of Bosnian Muslims who have allegedly lost their lives in Srebrenica. The continuously overblown figures are constantly parroted both within the Bosnian Muslim circles of high officials and Muslim NGOs operating in Bosnia, and by the Hague Tribunal.

“I can’t tell you who provided us with the list of 954 names. I can only say that these are the reports submitted to the Command of the Second Corps of the Bosnian Muslim army before the end of 1994, by the Muslim commander of 28th division stationed in Srebrenica, Naser Oric,” said the President of the Republika Srpska Veterans Association, Pantelija Curguz.

"Beta news agency today reported that the President of the Camp Prisoners Association of Republika Srpska Branislav Dukic said that Serbian camp prisoners will demand the revision of the report submitted by the Srebrenica Commission. He said that Bosnian Serbs interned in the Muslim and Croat-run prison camps during the Bosnian civil war suspected the authenticity of the commission’s report from the very beginning.

“We now have to ask if anyone lost his life in Srebrenica from 1992 until July of 1995 [for the duration of the civil war, before Srebrenica takeover]. Every single Muslim who died in Srebrenica during the entire war was listed as killed in July of 1995,” said Dukic, adding that the Association of the Camp Prisoners has been posing this question to both Paddy Ashdown and Carla del Ponte, but has never received a response.

"Director of the board of Bosnia’s Missing Persons Commission and the president of the Srebrenica Commission whose report is now questioned, Milan Bogdanic, said that Srebrenica Commission was not aware of the list of 954 Bosnian Muslim fighters who died before July 1995, that the association had presented. He also claims Srebrenica Commission was not trying to assess the number of victims, but was working on putting together the list of missing persons."

The list is of the "missing persons", not necessarily killed persons - people who put it together say so, certainly you can't claim otherwise.

Finally, 12 years should have been more than sufficient to uncover Srebrenica mass grave allegedly containing 7,000 "Muslim men and boys". Serbs certainly couldn't lag those 7,000 dead men and boys around, experimenting with lime and shit, without being observed by A SINGLY DARN PERSON OR A SATELLITE in a region swarming with foreigners of all colors and shapes. Stop selling crap even you can't believe!

You yourself said there were areal (satellite) images of "mass graves" State Dept. must've had a month after Srebrenica takeover, since MadCow was so sure there were neither more nor less than 8,000 Muslim men and boys "executed" in Srebrenica.

So, what happened since July-August 1995 to January 2007 - they forgot where they took the photos of the "mass graves"? They lost their way around? Someone erased an X that marked the spot? Give me a break!

All of Bosnia was under surveillance during the entire darn war, the American and British satellites were covering every creak and every ditch, just like Kosovo and Metohija was and the rest of Serbia all the time under surveillance during NATO aggression, don't be an idiot!

But, all of a sudden, once they need to prove a single word of dozens of their claims, they can't say shit, except that Serbs must've kept digging and undigging the corpses and dragging them around on their backs in the midst of a war. They really had nothing more important to do, but to play with dead Muslims... please, you have an ability to pile up so much nonsense in every comment, that trying to talk to you is worse than undigging a corpse would be.

I have no time for your "yes it is/no it's not" toddler spats, so buzz off, or keep bugging someone who's willing to put up with this crap.

The point is: you have nothing to offer but hearsay, emotional outbursts and moral outrage. In short, you have no evidence. Just like I thought.

I'm actually now pretty sure you're as much a "Lee" as I'm Vivianne.

Anonymous said...

I urge everyone to watch following videos.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSaWoUFnZZ8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sYFE5WxKks&feature=related


Unfortuanately it is in Bosnian only. Its title is "Mass graves" and it was made by the Bosnian State Comission on Missing Persons. it is a few years old and it shows geographical locations, names and counts of mass graves found in Bosanska Krajina region mostly area of Prijedor.

Also you can download map with indication of mass graves found where victims were from Prijedor. Mass grave is defined here as a grave where there are remains from 5 or more victims. Bear in mind that the map is outdated and yet even then there was almost 52 mass graves in Prijedor area. Map was compiled by the International Criminal Tribunal in Hague based on forensic evidence.

http://www.prijedorcani.org/dokazi/icty/dokumenti/masovne_grobnice.pdf

Also here is the link to some of the court exhibits used in Tribunal proceedings. Exhibits were accepted as authentic by both prosecution and defence.

Translation of Exhibit S 45 from Stakic trial shows nazi-style order about who can hold official positions in society.

English
http://www.prijedorcani.org/dokazi/icty/dokumenti/Stakic___exh45_extra.pdf

Original

http://www.prijedorcani.org/dokazi/icty/dokumenti/Stakic___S45_cyrillic.pdf

petrija said...

Marko G says:

A question for anonymous:
re: Mass graves found in Prijedor district link.

How many of these victims of war buried summarily in mass graves were killed as combatants in the heavy fighting that took place?

a) none b) 1-2 c) rather more


Re: initial wartime order that command responsibility be held by PC members of your own ethnic group:
Was this, as you demonise, a 'nazi-style' order? Or was it exactly the same policy on all three sides? (That is, before Izetbegovic got media-savvy and installed Divjak as the exception that proves the rule) How many Germans were in positions of power in the UK in 1940? How many Yorkists fought for the House of Lancaseter, etc?

petrija said...

Marko G says:

Lee, I've been to those two links to terrible torture you posted.
(1) the accusation of x being forced to bite off the testicles of y made in the Tadic case is, I have been told by a forensic pathologist, physically impossible. A claim doesn't equal a fact, especially not in the Balkans, and this may be another example.
(2) I once interpreted for a Bosnian Muslim in the UK. Omarska came up - he'd been there and to trnopolje. He described Omarska as a 'privatnicki logor' (privatised camp). I asked him what he meant. He said well, it was a place where your neighbour could come and beat you up if he didn't like you (it being run by locals).
In the first few months of the war, when things were about as bad as they were going to get, these camps were just a reflection of that civil war between groups polarised by the lunatic firebomb that was the recognition of BH. All sides had camps, but it's perhaps better that they did, than that they just killed each other whenever they came across each other. Although many were murdered on all sides in these camps, a lot more would have been if they didn't exist as an alternative to Rwanda-like grassy verges. Would any side leave a load of the enemy wandering about its own claimed area? The only partial exceptions were Potemkinesque cities like Sarajevo, where initial ethnic cleansing was replaced by subtle repression and parading of the Serbs left, as an advertisment for Izetbegovic's alleged tolerance (while unbeknowest to the hacks, camps like Viktor Bubanj continued to function).
Re: your Greater Serbia accusation. Even the Hague tribunal gave up on this claim, I understand. Serbs preferred Yugoslavia to any other concept. But if self-determination at Yugoslavia's expense was to be accorded by outsiders to Croats, Slovenes et al, then the Serbs who'd founded Yugoslavia with their sacrifices and valour in WW1 didn't want this to be at the expense of their own self-determination. An issue especially sensitive in areas where they'd been victims of a WW2 genocide proud to speak its name; a genocide at the hands of their south slavic, nazi-backed brethren. A genocide centred in a real concentration camp - the "Aucshwitz of the Balkans" - Jasenovac, where hundreds of thousands of people met brutal cold steel deaths. (There was even a concentration camp for kids there, in which c 11.000 children met their ends.)
Your mistake like that of most people who share your view - is to start with the recognitions of Yugoslavia's republics under German diktat as year zero, in terms of conferring legitimacy on the sides you support. In fact even those recognitions met none of the accepted, and sensible, international criteria for recognition (see Montivideo Doctrine, 1933), and the legal depts of half the chancelleries in Europe were up in arms over the recognition of Croatia and BH as states when they met none of the accepted principles for recognition (eg absence of outstanding territorial disputes, full control over the territory claimed). The EC unilaterally took it upon itself to give the Yug parties two weeks to decide whether to seek EC recognition for independence from Yug. Thus it polarised the Yug peoples on the one issue that would polarise them at the the one time it would polarise them. Instead of taking the heat out of the situation, the EC thereby ratcheted it to boiling point. Even then, war in Bosnia could have been avoided, as the Serbs and Moslems were prepared to compromise (Cuitelhero Plan, Lisbon, 1993). But then the US decided to join in the great power meddling, and encouraged Izetbegovic to renege on the cantonisation deal he'd already accepted. Back to polarisation.

All of which events have nothing to do with "Greater Serbia" (ho-bloody-ho) . Even the phrase, which derives from pre WW1 Austian propaganda is a mistranslation of the phrase in Serbian "Velika (Great) Serbia".

Well, you say "why accept division at all? ...How about everyone lives together and we incentivise tolerance and cooperation"? Indeed. That was precisely the Serb point about Yugoslavia. Which looks a lot better than the Mickey Mouse states that have followed it.
But, following the demise of the Soviet Union, the Catholic-Germanic bloc had this once-in-a-lifetime chance to turn the clock back to the Balkan situation pre-1914; a situation for which it'd gone to war in 1914. And it wasn't about to lose it. Hence the Vatican, which had taken thirty years ot recognise Israel, took about three days to recognise Catholic Croatia and Slovenia. Germany followed, and a despairing EC fell into line. The Serbian position which hadn't changed, then became the problem - for those who had unilaterally moved the goalposts.
Well-budgeted demonisation and finger-pointing followed, with young western journos sent to establish their careers within the parameters of the new orthodoxy.

It's my view that the central govmt in Belgrade was entitled to countenance just how much secession it wanted. Annexing doesn't come to it, as you can't annex your own country. I just wish that govmt had stuck to this position instead of wimping out when faced with the great powers, then helping by the back door, instead of the front door.

Once the war started, with polarised groups of people sharing the same space, ethnic cleansing was inevitable, and was pursued with gusto by all sides; though the Izetbegovic Muslims had media immunity for their actions in this regard. I remember standing above Gorazde in 1994 with a well-known BBC journalist and a British Army guy. Half of Gorazde seemed to be relaxing by the water. Above them a whole section of town was a blackened, destroyed ruin. "What happened to all those burned out houses?" asked the journalist. "Oh, that's where the Serbs were moved on from", was the army man's casual reply. Naturally, the fate of the Serbs there did not make it into the journalist's BBC report.

By 1994, the fighting had ground to an impasse. So when you say "They did most things wrong, as it happens, especially the arms embargo against the emergent Bosnian army" well, I don't know why you wanted Izetbegovic's lot to get arms. I mean, there was already a ceasefire, a Contact Group, and a peace process. (Which admittedly the US kept spiking (Cuitelhero 1992, Owen-Stoltenberg, 1993, and Vance -Owen 1994) until Europe gave in and allowed Clinton to claim the credit (Dayton 1995)) for the peace his administration had long prevented.
So on the one hand, you want tolerance and co-existence between ethnic groups. On the other, you wanted war and for those Serbs to be killed good.

And you know Lee, you'll be surprised to hear that on Kosovo I don't agree with you either! I believe the only long-term repression there has been at the expense of all non-Albanians, especially Serbians, who lived there. That's why there's three men and a dog left. If you don't like ethnic cleansing then remember that the elimination of non-Albs from Kosovo began at a time officially called peace. A time before Milosevic. And reached new heights whenever the Albanians were given untramelled power in the province. Forget what they did under the Nazis or the Ottomans (I'm sure you already have). But when the Albanians were given legislative, executive and judicial power over the province by the communists from 1974, it got even worse. That's why they lost some of those powers in 1989. The alternative was that the state just stood by while it happened.

Oh, and finally: You refer to the Serbians still left in Kosovo as 'a tiny Serb minority'. Tiny they may now be in number, but I don't think they can be called a minority in any part of their own country. They're the state-founding people, not a minority. Over and out.

Lee said...

Why do people keep talking to me about Kosova?!?My first words on this post were opposing the ethnic cleansing of Serbs in Kosova, so that deals with that point, I think.

Petrija:

I have never heard of the concept of 'state founding people' that means a 10-12% Serb population does not constitute a minority because they can never be a minority. This reminds me of the old joke Vreme published during the war based on the fascist notion that wherever Serb bones are buried is Serbian land (a quite literal analogue of 'blood and soil' ideology). They published a world map showing Serbian dominion over West London, parts of the USA and so on.

Whilst you seem to be able to marshal some historical info in support of your argument, I think the problem is where do you draw the line? I don't think anything that happened in WWII is a justification for Serbian ethnic cleansing in 1992. Indeed, if you go back far enough then it is the Illyrians (today's Albanians) who were the 'founding people' of the whole area until the C5th, which is a ridiculous position.

Anyway, I have one and only one interest in this post: the denial of Omarska and Srebrenica, which I find sick. The reason your poor Bosniak in London talked about a privatised camp was telling - the camp guards allowed local Serbs to come in and torture to death Bosniak inmates. The camp was indeed run by local Serbs acting under the 'Crisis Committee", which took its orders from the SDS and VRS/JNA (who were run by Belgrade, as dozens of intercepts and documents attest). There was nothing remotely comparable to Omarska anywhere else in Bosnia, both in terms of the numbers of people killed, the brutality of the torture or the level of official organisation involved. No amount of "all sides were guilty" can cover the fact (as I mentioned much earlier) that 86% of civilian deaths in Bosnia were at the hands of Bosnian Serb forces. Also, please trust me on this, the words Omarska and Srebrenica will be mentioned whenever and wherever people talk about Serbian nationalism.

I love the fact that like the other deniers, you cite a claim by somebody with no exposure to the reality that the Omarska castration incidents were "physically impossible". Well ... obviously not, since it is recorded in the testimony of many people who were there. Omarska taught people a great deal about what is and is not "physically impossible". I met a man last year whose body was thrown from the White House onto the grass because the guards thought he was dead. He doesn't know how long he was there, but at some point another prisoner dragged him away and he came back to life. If you want to know about things that seem "physically impossible" I suggest you interview a few of the survivors and hear their tales. Honestly. I am sure even you would be shocked.

As for recognition, peace plans and international meddling, that's another story. Ultimately, Izetbegovic's government had little choice - stay in a dangerous Serb-run mini-Yugoslavia or seek the protection of international law. They chose the latter, and the consequences are well known. The issue is whether the recognition of Croatia and Slovenia were well-handled, and I don't think they were. But let's face it, Yugoslavia was dead when Milosevic revoked the autonomy of Vojvodina and Kosovo and then refused all attempts at reform on the federal level.

Once the war had started, the arms embargo was a problem because (a) Bosnia had a legal right to self-defence and the conflict had an international character (see the JNA's actions in April-May 92), and (b) the Serb "side" had enough materiel and ammo to fight about 5 wars (the JNA having been a rather large standing army). If the courageous and (as you reluctantly acknowledge) multi-ethnic Bosnian Army was armed then the war would have ended much sooner with much less loss of life. Whenever the VRS faced a fair fight against an army (rather than just shooting fish in the Sarajevo siege barrel or fighting men without shoes or weapons in eastern Bosnia, for example) they basically caved in. When the Bosnian Army took Vlasic, they couldn't even find anybody to shoot at, so fast were Serb forces running away. And, as those who know the situation on the ground acknowledge, if the USA had not pressured Alija to halt the advance of the 5th and 7th Corps at the end of the war, there would be no RS and all Bosnians would have a chance to live together.

The world is not black and white, and I am sure there are some merits in the historical aspects of your argument, but from a moral perspective there is simply no justification for the denial of Omarska and Srebrenica. If you case rests on the pretence that they never happened, it is all a lie and each of the thousands of survivors or families of the missing is pretending (for 15 years!) then it has no merit.

Big Andy said...

Lee
Your use of "Kosova" is knowingly provocative.( "Kosova" is meaningless and means nothing to anyone who knows anything about Slavic languages - but of course you know that already "Lee")

You argue in a similar fashion to Prof. Richard Dawkins the militant atheist who spends a great deal of time thrashing religious fundamentalism , when 99.9% of belivers don't think abortionists, and gays deserve to die etc. You construct a "Strawman", which is esy to knock down.

None of the posts on this subject have denied Serbs commited atrocities in the 1990's in Bosnia.
There is strong evidence to support the fact that murders took place at Srbrenica . Scores of bodies have been exhumed with bodies showing evidence of being executed ( hands tied behind the back with wire, single bullet to, the head. There is, however no evidence to support the assertion that some 8,000 men and teenage boys were killed in this way. Most deaths at Srbrenica in 1995 were as a result of the fighting that took place , as retreating Muslims (abandoned by their leaders for propaganda purposes)forces were routed by a superior force of Serbs. The trouble is, anti-Serb propagandists have grouped the latter deaths in with the former, and people like you have fallen for it hook line and sinker ( unless of course you are one of those propagandists yourself!)

Your consistent assertion that genocide occurred at Srbrenica is not backed up with credible facts. you have merely regurgitated stale anti-Serb propaganda which by inflating the figures of Muslims who were killed ( many of which were probably innocent of any war crimes themselves), is an insult to those who were actually murdered.

Lee said...

(sigh)

If you don't even believe my name, which always has to be placed "in quotes" then I think there is a limit to how much dialogue we can have here.

Svetlana is, presumably, the person who runs the Byzantine Sacred Art blog, so if you want to find a propagandist, she's your woman. I very rarely intervene in Bosnia debates, except where some clueless, misguided commentator implies that events such as Omarska and Srebrenica are products of "the media" in pursuit of evil neocon hegemonic aims, etc. Each time I do intervene I come across wingnuts like Srebrenica who, from the comfort of the UK or US homes, feel empowered to explain how the pain and torture of the families of Bosnian genocide victims is a figment of their imagination. And then I promise myself never to get involved again ;-)

A few comments up, we heard that many of the 50+ mass graves near Prijedor were the result of fighting in the war. Can anyone name a famous battle near Prijedor in 1992-1995? No, because there were none - I mean literally not a single one. Why? Because there was no Bosnian Army in Prijedor. One small hamlet, Hambarine, tried to resist for a few days when the cleansing began and the men of that place were massacred as a result. Nobody credible on the Serb side claims that there were battles in the Prijedor region, as far as I can tell.

Now we hear that the deaths in Srebrenica were the result of fair fighting as the men and boys fled the enclave. Yet, as witness accounts from both VRS soldiers and victims attest, the vast majority of those who were slaughtered were simply walking in lines through the forest and had abandoned any weapons they might have had in the enclave in the naive belief this might save their lives if caught. There was almost no fighting between the columns of fleeing men and boys and VRS troops. In fact, I know of not a single example, though I am prepared to believe some may have carried weapons, so I don't want to claim 100%.

I thought the "truth" was the Srpska Mreza story quoted earlier, which claims the UN and USA persuaded the Bosnian government to sacrifice 5,000 men in order to create a pretext for intervention, and these men walked towards Serb positions in some kind of slow motion suicide operation. Has anybody ever heard anything so ridiculous? Even the crazy Mujahedin in Afghanistan only perform suicide attacks one at a time and to achieve some kind of strategic objective. Bosnians are not the most obedient people in the world, in my experience. Do you really think Sarajevo (who, lets face it, did little to help Srebrenica throughout the war) could persuade 5,000 men to kill themselves?!?

So, now you are saying that they didn't kill themselves, but instead these men (often lacking shoes, food and weapons) fought a major battle against VRS troops, who reluctantly killed them all in self-defence? Well, why have we never heard of this battle? Why are there no accounts of it from Serbian soldiers? The only accounts I have read from Serbian soldiers present at the time talk of guilt, shame and mass killings, such as this report.

Which is it? 8k deaths, of whom 5k committed suicide (?!?)? Or, a handful (you mentioned "scores") of deaths and the rest are made up. If the former, then I suspect you may find it hard to find people who believe that Srebrenica was the biggest mass suicide in history. If the latter, then there is a very simple question: where are the 8,000 or so who are missing, and why do we keep finding new mass grave sites in that area all the time?

At the end of the day, reconciliation is only possible with a modicum of truthfulness, not bizarre head-in-the-sand denial. I found this excellent piece by Nerma Jelacic from 2004 that tries to show how foreign leftist blowhards who fuel the denial for their own wider political reasons (usually a perception that just because unsavoury characters like Perle and Wolfowitz urged stronger US action over Bosnia, somehow Bosnia must all be a big lie) are actually harming the prospects for all peoples in the Balkans.

This kind of behaviour is what fools Serbs into voting for the Radical Party in the elections today, who seek votes by creating an illusion of independent power and also some kind of weird international conspiracy against Serbs. In reality of course, (a) Serbia has become a corrupt backwater that cannot even support its own veterans (except for criminals like Mladic, of course!), and (b) the USA and major European "powers" couldn't care less about what happens in the Balkans unless it threatens them directly.

Svetlana and others should perhaps check out the EXIT music festival, the Belgrade human rights scene or some of the other positive things that are going on in Serbia and, dare I say, get over 1389. It's history ;-)

But let me just say that every act of disrespect towards the victims of tragic events like Omarska, Srebrenica, and every denial of Serbian responsibility for them, diminishes you, your position and your people. That's why I have wasted so much of my life this week on the this blog.

che said...

I've got a few thoughts for the lot of you. I am a political refugee from the US -- I abandoned ship many, many years ago. I have lived, worked, and traveled in all the countries of the former Yugoslavia since 1992 to date.

Why don't you all try this on for size: everybody, E-V-E-R-Y-B-O-D-Y, has been lying, twisting the truth, exaggerating for 15 years. The Serbs, the Bosniaks, the Croats, the Americans, the "west", the liberals, the conservatives -- the whole bloody lot of them.

What you all have failed to realize is that amidst your political spats and blind loyalties are people in every knook and cranny of the former Yugoslavia who have, and still are, suffering.

Suffering from poverty, fascism, nationalism, lies, denial. We have completely lost any sense of normality. We are tired of using our energies to constantly drum up the past and incessantly point fingers at others.

The answer, for all of us, is easily found. Step away from your computer and walk to the mirror. It's there, plain and simple.

Kosovo/a whatever the hell you call it is a lose - lose. Everybody loses here, its a bad road to take. Bosnia and Herzegovina is still on its knees - economically, emotionally, politically. Serbia has been demonised and demoralized for almost two decades - partly its own doing, but certainly not all.

Are these blogs all you can do? Is there something you can do to help contribute to peace, normality and fairness. Step into the others shoes, even if just for a moment.

You have all shamefully and immorally generalized each and every human being that lives here; insulted and belittled the suffering of others...all for one ideology or another.

The bottom line my friends is that we live in a nasty world, with lots of nasty and greedy people and its helm. What i ask of you is to read between the lines a bit...and realize that we all share the burden of what did and did not happen in the former Yugoslavia. Enough finger pointing...no ones hands are clean enough to reach out in that direction - no ones.

peace, your brother from another planet.

lee said...
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Lee said...

PS: That was a comment from a few days ago appearing out of sequence, and responding to earlier comments.

I don't know why it was edited, but somehow an error slipped in. The August 6th date, of course, refers to the anniversary of the closure of the Omarska camp, not Srebrenica, whose anniversary is in July.

Neil Clark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Neil Clark said...

Hi 'Lee'
there was no attempt to censor you- except that in the post that was edited (the only one of your many critical contributions on this thread that has not been published in toto) you made a defamatory claim about me and other commenters to this debate which I was not going to allow to be posted. I thought you were referring to Srebrenica in your post and I thought you had made a mistake re the date and I'll correct it shortly. There was no cunning attempt to make you look stupid, I can assure you.

You claim that you really are called 'lee' but having read the email you recently sent to me and the tone of it I have serious doubts.

Why don't you email me from a proper email address?

If you can provide proof of your real identity then fair enough, but I have to say having done a little detective work on my own regarding your IP address, I agree with the commenters, like svetlana who smell a rat.
You can however disprove all our suspicions by revealing your true identity.
As you claim to have first hand experience in this area, what are you frightened of? Over to you, 'lee'.
ps
svetlana, roland hulme and most other commenters to this blog post in their real names: why don't you?

lee said...

Wow! Aside from the swearing and abuse, can I just re-affirm that my name is Lee. I mean ... I have had it since birth so I am fairly sure about it ;-) Is it that you cannot accept somebody from outside the former-Yugo knows more than you about the Bosnian war? Perhaps we even live in the same town!

The "British camera crew" you refer to is the crew of Penny Marshall from ITN, no? Your delusional friends and people like Deichmann in Germany watched this footage from afar and then abused it by adding voiceovers etc to suggest that the story was fabricated.

Why don't you just take me up on my offer to go to Omarska or Kozarac (where many survivors live) and talk to them? That would settle it, don't you think. Or maybe you think the world conspiracy against ze Serbs is so BIG that these people have been attending trauma therapy and telling lies for 15 years.

Hard though this may be to believe, the evidence of Serbian ethnic cleansing is still coming to light, as I said, because such an effort was made to hide it through reburial, etc. But in your rather paranoid mind, US super satellites watch everything that moves in Bosnia (because Bosnia is sooo important) so surely they know everything. Laughable!

BTW -thanks for the "evidence" of the Serbian Veterans Association. That is a REALLY reliable source!

Look: I understand that as somebody who has lived outside the Balkans for a while, you have a psychological block when it comes to accepting that Serbia and many (not all!) Serbs were guilty of genocide in Bosnia. I think they call this a dissociative disorder. This grand conspiracy theory helps, I know, even in the face of 13,000 pages of testimony about Omarska, and the existence of hundreds of survivors who have told their stories and helped the world re-create what happened in the White House, Red House, the Hangar and the canteen. But don't despair - not all Serbs are fascists, and one day they will restore Belgrade to the wonderful city it used to be. Accepting the truth is necessary for healing, and I sincerely wish you well in that.

I could cite evidence until the cows come home, but it would make no difference. I will be there on August 6th this year.

Why don't you join me? Imagine the scoop you wold have when you uncover the fact that we are all lying and we secretly work for the CIA and we are dedicated to the destruction of Serbia ;-)

For any newcomers, pls refer to my comments above for my views on Kosovo, Serbia and the Bosnian genocide.

Ciao!

Anonymous said...

This will be my second and last comment and it is for Neil.

I hope he will be fair enough to post this on his blog.

Neil, please go to the city of Sanski Most, area called Sejkovaca where ICMP victim identification hall is located. Just ask some locals about Sejkovaca or "October 1oth Hall". There you can see first hand doings of Serb authorities from Prijedor. You can even examine the wounds and clothing on the victims. If you want to film however you need a permission from the Prosecutor's office in Bihac, which is not hard to get at all.

So for now I will concentrate on a small village near Prijedor called Zecovi. (This is also in part to response to Marko G who wanders whether Prijedor victims were combatants).

Now, according to the census conducted in 1991 results of which were more or less accepted even by the hard-core SDS extremists such was Slobodan Kuruzovic - here is the transcipt

http://www.un.org/icty/transe24Stakic/030328ED.htm

Page 14659

the ethnic structure of the village of Zecovi was following:

Total population: 887
Muslims: 701
Serbs: 152
Croats: 21
Yugoslavs: 10
Others: 3

Now, according to the data from the Institute for Missing Persons of BiH (and bear in mind that those data are old) 114 persons, all muslim Bosniaks are missing or killed from Zecovi.
Out of 10 Yugoslavs 6 were Muslims and 3 Others were of Albanian descent and 4 were Serbs that declared themselves as Yugoslavs, so I will include them in the number of Muslims and Serbs respectively, therefore we get new breakdown

Muslims: 710
Serbs: 156
Croats: 21

Now lets concentrate on Muslims from Zecovi.

Out of 710 there were 375 men and 335 women.
Out of 375 men, 247 were 18 and older, 128 were 17 years old or younger.

96 men were killed. 18 women were killed.

Out of 96 men killed, 85 were adults by Yugoslav law (18 and older) and 11 were children and young boys.

Targeted population were male adults so 34.6% of male adults from Zecovi were killed, that is every third adult male was killed. Out of total male population every fourth male was killed in Zecovi (25.6%)

Bear in mind that out of the census population many were not present in the village at the time of the attack.

Now, Neil that is called genocide. If you need data and names of thevictims those are available too.

No matter how many time you make excuses for Serbs from Prijedor the fact is going to remain the same:

Genocide was committed in Zecovi on adult male population ranging from 25-36 years with every third adult being murdered.

And kids? Do you have kids, Neil? Well here is the list of those killed in Zecovi. Little Ernest didn't live to see his third birthday. On the exhumation day his teddy-bear toy was found nearby.

TATAREVIC (SULJO) AMIR - 28 NOV 1974
BACIC (MEHO) SUDBIN - 2 FEB 1975
BACIC (SALKE) ZIKRET - 17 JAN 1976
BACIC (FERID) FERIDA - 22 MAY 1979
BACIC (SALKO) SABAHUDIN - 24 APR 1979
BACIC (FIKRET) NERMIN- 1 MAY 1979
BACIC (FERID) ELVISA- 24 NOV 1981
HOPOVAC (ISMET) IBRAHIM- 8 NOV 1984
HOPOVAC (ISMET) ADIS- 22 SEP 1986
HOROZOVIC (MESUD) NERMIN- 28 JAN 1981
HOROZOVIC (MESUD) NERMINA - 28 AUG 1976
BACIC (SALKO) ZIKRETA- 27 JUN 1982
BACIC (DJULEJMAN)JASMIN- 28 FEB 1984
BACIC (FIKRET) NERMINA- 12 MAY 1985
BACIC (DJULEJMAN) SEMIR- 16 DEC 1987
BACIC (REFIK) REFIKA - 23 JAN 1987
BACIC (SEFIK) ERNEST - 31 OCT 1989

I hope you sleep well.

Neil Clark said...

anonymous: I made it quite clear in my article- and elsewhere- that I unequivocally condemn all atrocities/massacres/ murders committed in the Balkans- regardless of who commits/committed them. You imply that I somehow would support/excuse the terrible crimes you chronicle. Of course I don't.
Neil

SL said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
SL said...

Lee.

Voice overs? The can clearly hear the man that Penny Marshall is ’interviewing’ say that they are doing fine. Have you even looked at the film? I doubt it. Why don’t you go to Srebrenica and talk to the Serbs there? Ask them how many family members and friends died at the hands of Oric and his thugs. Why don’t you ask the Serbs from the Muslim or Croat run concentration camps if they had anything to do with Omarska? You try and find guilt where there is none, if you want me to atone for what someone else MIGHT have done then you are barking up the wrong tree.

Maybe someday I will find a Bosnian Muslim who will apologise for Izebegovic starting the mess in Bosnia but because of all the ridiculous anti-Serb propaganda you people dish out, I might never find an ‘normal’ and ‘decent’ Bosnian Muslim.

Che.

Don’t play games with me. I went to your ‘Sarajevo is Calling’ blog and you clearly have something against Serbs.
5:50 PM

Neil Clark said...

'Lee': thanks for your emails today. I have posted your earlier comments about Prijedor.

A Lee said...

SL:

You may never see this as I seem to have a queue of unpublished comments here, but hey!

1. I try to avoid the term concentration camp even in relation to Omarska, since even Omarksa is incomparable to WWII Nazi camps. Omarksa, however, deserves the term death camp because of the number of people executed (in the hundreds over a short space of time), the brutality (see my links above for examples) and the fact that it was organised for the express purpose of removing the non-Serb population.

I am aware of the camp at Konjic, which was a shame on the Bosnian side in the war, but as far as I know there were very, very few deaths in this camp. It was totally incomparable with Omarska.

Honestly, if there was anything remotely comparable to Omarska on the other side, I would put my hands up and agree with you.

2. The film you refer to is total and utter rubbish. I have met several of the people pictured in it, and heard exactly what their experience was. As Ed and Penny recorded at the time, they found it chilling that some inmates were so scared they would say things like "I cannot tell you a lie" whilst looking into their eyes trying to communicate the truth using non-verbal means. To pretend that these people were not suffering in a truly shocking way is sick.

And when you say "you people" - what category is that? Lee? Ali? CIA operatives dedicated to the destruction of the mighty Serbia?

Do you not get the joke in my blog's nickname? Ali = A Lee. Duh.

Anyway, let's leave the identity question aside until Neil publishes my response to him calling me a liar.

Lee said...

Thanks Neil. Why, though, do you not publish my response to your claim that I am not in fact called Lee?

It seems rather unfair to make two accusations, ask for a response and then not publish it, don't you think?

I am still working on the assumption that this is a blog and you are behaving honestly.

Neil Clark said...

Lee', I never said you were a liar, only that I had 'serious doubts' that your name really is Lee! I do not exclude the possibility that you could be telling the truth.....
Full marks for your persistence.

Neil Clark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Neil Clark said...

Lee: "Why, though, do you not publish my response to your claim that I am not in fact called Lee?"
Which post/email are you referring to? you emailed me twice today and
i didn't think you wanted the emails posted, especially as you accused me, unfairly, of being indiscreet with publishing private emails!
the only other post I had from you was one in which you threw all manner of accusations at me-(including repeating ones made by sour individuals who were jealous their blogs didn't win the Best UK blog award). They weren't being 'humorous'- just pathetic.

SL said...

Neil.

He already admitted to posting as Ali da Hodza. Perhaps he is a Lee of you take the li out of Ali into consideration.

Anonymous said...

Lee, thank you. Your comments mean a lot to me.

Rather than giving links for websites, youtube videos or quoting sayings of some politicians, I’ll tell you a more personal story here. First of all, the reason I decided to write is: I’m very upset with many comments here and especially with denials of Srebrenica and Omarska camp.

I am from Kozarac and I know many people who didn’t survive Omarska camp and several other camps that existed in Prijedor area in ’92. If the camps didn’t exist, could you please tell me: Where are my cousins, my teachers, our doctors…?

My cousins and friends are still missing. Three of them were buried last year on mass funeral among other 147. My uncle was killed on Vlasic with 200 others and his body is still missing. Officially recorded, more than 3000 people are still missing in Prijedor area. Can you imagine agony that their families are going through all these years?

Every year, several mass graves are discovered and hundreds of people found in them are buried again in mass funerals on the same day. Mass funerals are organized in summer, since almost all non-Serb population was forced to leave Kozarac in ’92 and most of them live abroad.

Do you believe that we go there every year to carry empty caskets? Do you know how much you hurt us when you deny the camps or ethnic cleansing in Bosnia? I don’t think you do! Neil, if you care at all, please visit the site of Omarska camp that is organized every year on the 6th of August and then write your analysis and theories about the war in Bosnia.

Now, when I go to visit Kozarac, Mrakovica, Prijedor… and when I am there, I know that I am in Bosnia and for me it will always be Bosnia, but seeing the names of the streets, seeing all the monuments with Serbian signs, orthodox crosses… I feel unwelcome and unpleasant. Places and things that belonged to all of us equally - now have Serb prefix everywhere. I don’t blame western countries for that. For my missing cousins, for all troubles my parents, relatives, neighbours… had to go through when they were forced to leave the country, I blame Milosevic, Karadjic, Mladic and their politics. For not feeling welcome and pleasant in Kozarac and especially Prijedor and Mrakovica now, I blame RS and its politics.

Recently, I watched an interview with Mr Dodik, the president of RS, where he admitted that Moslems, although they were majority of the population in Bosnia, had most of the casualties during the war. He also admitted that Serbs were better armed. Neil, does this tell you anything?

Big Andy said...

A Lee ( side splitting!!!)

So Lee, "Serbia has become a corrupt backwater that cannot even support its own veterans except for criminals like Mladic" . This comment sums you up completely, wild accusations without any proof to back it up. Your visceral hatred of Serbs is so strong that anything you have to say can be taken with a pinch of salt. Mladic is a criminal on your say so only, and my bet is that he would end up dead (as Slobo was) before any verdict was arrived at if he was ever kidpnapped and taken to the ICTY.

Lee said...

Hello Big Andy.

In case this does get published, can I just point out that my response to the accusation that I am not who I say I am has been ignored (i.e. not published) for the second time by Neil today. I tend to think it is unfair to make such claims on your blog, demand a response and then continually refuse to publish it only because it makes you look a little bit silly. But hey!

Anyway, Andy says:

1. I hate Serbs
2. Ratko Mladic is not a criminal

First, it is a matter of public record that I have done a great deal to promote the Serb Civic Council in Bosnia during the war. Second, I am (as I think my comments here make clear) a big fan of the Belgrade human rights community, Women in Black, the Human Right Law Centre, etc. Third, this insulting claim is offensive to a number of my friends and business partners. Grow up.

2. Ratko Mladic, I think you will find, is almost universally acknowledged as the worst war criminal in the Balkans. You may think this is some vast 'Western conspiracy" but then perhaps you have never been on the sharp end of VRS military operations. Listen to the intercepts of him directing attacks on the civilians of Sarajevo. Then tell me he is not a war criminal.

The point about Milosevic having been "poisoned" by the "Western conspiracy" is not, I recall, supported by any of the investigations into his death. If you were aware of his family's mental health history and propensity for suicide, plus the fact that he had been treated at the Belgrade Military Hospital for mental health issues, it is actually more likely that he killed himself. Ultimately, as the medical records and investigations show, he probably just died of natural causes. I mean ... the Netherlands are not exactly famous for state sponsored killings.

che said...

To SL... 'Don't play games with me'

Your comment just further stresses my point. I do not have anything against any collective here. I am not, however, ignorant enough to think that all Serbs, Bosniaks, Croats, or Albanians are either victims or aggressors. They all are a bit of both.

I assume you are referring to a few of my blogs which i criticize the frighteningly high number of Serbian youth who idolize, promote and provoke ultra violence. I don't care if it was a bunch of bangladeshi's who showed up at a football match wearing KKK outfits and toted nooses with them. I find it offensive and wrong -- and would suspect any civilized person would speak out against such outrageous behaviour. It deeply bothered me that no one in Serbia spoke out against that. Does that qualify me as anti-Serb though?

If you cared to carry on with that very same blog, i saved most of my criticism for the morally bankrupt Bosniak leadership in Bosnia. Which leads me to my next point...

You seem to only be able to see things from one perspective, whereas I have dedicated the entirety of my adult life to truly understand each and every perspective here. And yes, I did have prejudices....towards the Serbs, towards Islam, towards the Croats. And that is precisely why i forced myself to seek to understand others perspectives.

Which part of me obviously has something against Serbs? The side that established preschools for 20,000 children (for me they were simply children but I assume I get brownie points if I inform you that they were Serbian children) in the RS in 1997 when so few 'foreigners' would even venture to RS then? Or was it the side that was expelled and received a death threat from a group of Albanians for helping a village in Kosovo from being attacked (again, i guess i MUST note, link, and prove beyond any reasonable doubt that it was a Serbian village - which it was?)

Perhaps the side of me promoting Serbia and RS as a tourism destination with some of the finest hospitality in Europe proves my anti-Serb sentiment? So many of you on this blog sound like bloody Bush! You are either with us or against us! Is there no room for balance and perspective here? Or is it only your opposing side who are delusion and has been taking for a ride by this or that propaganda machine?

You all must understand that neither Croatia, BiH, Serbia, Montenegro or Kosovo/a have a moral leg to stand on with the current political structures that its own people have chosen. Did I miss something here or isn't this site about anti-war amongst other things that i also believe in? Since when do two wrongs make a right? (Sorry, I don't have a link to prove any of this, so i'll probably be accused of being a implant for???? the Macedonians!)

I have lived through horrible times here, along with millions of others in the former Yugoslavia. Have you ever held a dead baby torn apart from shrapnel in your arms SL? Or held the hand of an old baba, baka, or nana as she watches the house she was born in go up in flames? Have you ever felt the grief of a mother, daughter, or wife when her husband or son doesn't come home from the frontline? I have. Too many of us here have and if fucking kills me SL.

My point is this - it doesn't matter if his or her name is Milorad, Ante, or Mustafa...or Dunja, Ivana, or Jehona.

I, and many others, have dedicated our time and energy to pulling down walls and walking in the shoes of our neighbours. All i see you doing is constructing more walls and trying to convince others what my mama always told me was never possible -- two wrongs making a right.

Their are no righteous sides in war. That was the point. And if i speak out against fascism - whether it be American, German, Serbian or Albanian fascism...it's still fascism. No one here is an angel...and for that, i'm afraid, i can't provide you with any links.

Nato may well be 'barbarians' for bombing Belgrade, but aren't Arkan, Tuta, and Caco barbarians for their roles here. Did the powers that be take the hands of Serbs, Albanians, Muslims and Croats and pull the trigger or slide a knife across another humans throat?

Imperialism, fascism, economic globalization, NATO expansion or any military expansion for that matter is only halted when we stand up and say NO. Some of you here seem to be standing up and saying, 'well, no...but in our case we were justified.'

I'm quite sure you will carry on bashing others who don't necessarily agree with you. Not much i can do about that. But i will tell you something, I'm not playing games with anybody at all. Are you?

peace, che

Big Andy said...

Lee
1. Of course you are "A big fan of the Belgrade human rights community". Thats because these organisations were set up or funded by by the ironically named " The National Endowment for Democracy" which the US set up in the early 80's. The NED is funded by the US Congress and funded, Newspapers, Radio stations and "Human Rights" organiastions etc in Yugoslavia/Serbia in order to destabalise the country and subordinate it to the will of the US Government.
2. You said that I said " Mladic is not a war criminal" now if you read my post you will see that I said no such thing. I don't know if Mladic committed war crimes or not, I only know that he would not get a fair trial at the Hague.

Finally Lee, I think that you are having a laugh by complaining to Neil about not posting your comments; about 40% of the posts on this subject are from you!

Fadil said...

I stayed in central Bosnia during the war and because of my socialist views I was deemed as a traitor by the traitors. After being spit on and tormented by my fellow countrymen who called themselves Moslem, I felt akin to the so-called Serbian side. But the truth be told, there is no Serbian side or Moslem side in the war that ravaged Yugoslavia. There is only Yugoslavia and the traitors who did not wish to live under a multicultural and multiethnic banner.

Concerning apologising for the concentration camps set up by various groups during the war; you cant really blame an entire group of people for the crimes committed by a few, after all, that is a form of collective punishment in itself.

lee said...

Andy:
Like so many politicos in the UK you deny agency to others. I am a fan of the courageous Belgrade human rights campaigners because they are smart, ethical and brave. I have no insight into their funding, and even if they were partly funded by the Moonies, what they do is good and useful. Also, if you don't know that Mladic is a war criminal, then you have presumably not bothered to access the wealth of available evidence that points in that direction.


comment edited by moderator

SL said...

Che.

http://sarajevocalling.blogspot.com/2006/10/hooligans-assholes-shitheads.html

“I think backward ass southerners from the sticks of Mississippi would be embarrassed to do that in the 21st century. Not Serbian hooligans though. Not even in the slightest bit.”

As far as I know, hooligans around the world are the same but you seem to see Serbian hooligans as more extreme and more racist or whatever.

“expressing their pride and joy of the genocide committed by the Serbs at Srebrenica.”

Anyone who considers fighting within Srebrenica as ‘genocide’ is seriously biased. Strange how you haven’t talked about the ‘genocide’ committed by Oric and his men upon the Serbian people on your blog.

Lee said...

Fadil: you are quite right about not tarnishing an entire group based on the actions of their thugs and nationalists. It is easy to forget that.

The fervour with which all ethnic groups in Sarajevo chanted "mismo Titove Tito je nas!" during the peace demonstrations was electric. At least it was until Serb nationalists fired into the crowd, killed Suada Dilberovic and injuring many more.

SL: genocide is defined as at attempt to destroy in whole or in part a particular group, usually to remove them from an area or a polity completely. That is why even the ICJ judged Srebrenica to have been an act of genocide. It clearly does not apply to the desperate forays launched by Oric to capture food and weapons from the Serb military for their starving enclave. That does not in any way justify the killing of civilians that also took place in some of the Oric operations, but the scale is incomparable. A massacre of 49 people vs 8,000, according to most reliable sources.

I would love to talk more, but my comments here are either edited or removed (not, I should emphasise, because they are offensive or break any rules but for other reasons), so I shall bid you adieu.

SL said...

Lee.

I have grown sick of your anti-Serb propaganda. Oric killed over 3,500 Serb men, women and children between the start of the Bosnian war until he and his men left Srebrenica. Enough. I have grown wearily of your constant denial of crimes committed against Serbs. You are nothing but a propagandist for the Croat/Muslim/Albanian/NATO lobbyist and if you are not and truly believe the lies you are relaying, then I pity you, I truly do.

As for the Sarajevo incident, did you forget that the person who fired into the protestors in Sarajevo was a Muslim thug who later defected to Izebegovic’s army? I guess not.

Lee's gone said...

qpxSL:

I am gratified you don't want me to leave, but I need to leave this little chat because, a I said, I am not allowed to refute the allegation that my IP address range proves my ethnicity and that I don't know my own name.

I am surprised your list of evil forces for whom I am apparently a lobbyist is so short. Given that I am both a NATO and Albanian lobbyist despite not having said anything particularly in favour of either the Western military alliance or the Illyrian-descended people of Albania, Kosovo/a and Macedonia. What about Al Qaeda, Hillary Clinton, Halid Beslic and the Daleks, while you are at it?

I must admit that I was not aware of the ethnicities and names of the individual VRS soldiers who were standing by the bridge that day, nor which of them started firing at the multi-ethnic crowd of peace protesters. Similarly, I do not claim to know the waist sizes of the other "Serbian" snipers in the Holiday Inn who shot and wounded a bunch of other people before they were flushed out of the hotel by Dragan Vikic's Police special forces (you will note he is Serbian by ethnicity, though a brave anti-fascist one). I simply do not have this information, but what does it matter anyway? There are no pure ethnic groups in the Balkans (thank God), and in my view that is not what it is/was about anyway. Don't tell me: the solider you claim was a "Muslim" was in fact a rogue element who was told not to fire on the peace demo, but did so because he was secretly working for the Bosnian side!

As for Srebrenica, I find it tawdry to engage in a debate about numbers. A human life is a human life. But the only justification I have seen for 3,500 Serb civilians being murdered by people from Srebrenica is to add up all deaths (military and civilian) for all the surrounding municipalities over the entire length of the war. Each of them should be mourned, of course; but can you not see how this is different from the killing - in one incident - of 7-8,000 fleeing, largely unarmed and hungry people for no military purpose?

Sorry to run off, but I don't exactly feel welcome here and I think we have wasted too many pixels already on this page ;-)

SL said...

The soldier who fired into the crowd was Jusuf Prazina.

enigmax said...

Somebody here calling themselves "Lee" writes:

"Neither Oric nor Izetbegovic can credibly [be] called a war criminal..."

"...the desperate forays launched by Oric to capture food and weapons from the Serb military for their starving enclave."

This guy Lee is nothing more than an apologist and propagandist for genocidal mass murderers, Naser Oric and Alija Izetbegovic - whom Oric took direct instructions from - according to testimony by French General Phillipe Morrillon, at the NATO-owned "Hague tribunal" trial of Milosevic.

This guy Lee is a total nutcase. If you are supposedly "starving" you wouldn't have the physical strength to go around murdering innocent Serbian women and children at night - since most of the Serbian husbands of these women and fathers of these children had no choice but to be away from their wives and children - fighting Izetbegovic's Islamofascist troops at the front.

To attempt to justify and excuse Naser Oric going around slaughtering thousands of innocent Serbian civilians for years under the pretext of "capturing food and weapons" is totally morally depraved, evil and sick.

Have a look at what Islamofascist Naser Oric - and his commander Alija Izetbegovic- did to thousands of innocent Serbian peasants over a 3 year period, here:

http://www.real-srebrenica-genocide.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

You all , you don't know a thing about Bosnia and Herzegovina and what happened '91-'95.You don't know how it felt to live under grenades.You don't know how it felt to watch bloodspilling and destroying something that has been created for hundreds of years in a moment. We all lived happily and joinfully until the first grenade fell on to Bosnian and Herzegovinian soil.And one more thing! You don't know anything about us , about Bosnian and Herzegovinian people.

Tomasz said...

I feel really sorry for what happened in Yugoslavia in 90's.

My pryers will be with all the victims.

Regardless of their ethnicity

lpcyusa said...

##

#What It’s Like to Chill with the Most Ruthless Men in the World
Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic:
Confessions of a Female War Crimes Investigator


Retrospectively, it was all so simple, natural and matter of fact being on a boat restaurant in Belgrade, sitting with, laughing, drinking a two hundred bottle of wine and chatting about war and peace while Ratko Mladic held my hand. Mladic, a man considered the world’s most ruthless war criminal since Adolf Hitler, still at large and currently having a five million dollar bounty on his head for genocide by the international community. Yet there I was with my two best friends at the time, a former Serbian diplomat, his wife, and Ratko Mladic just chilling. There was no security, nothing you’d ordinarily expect in such circumstances. Referring to himself merely as, Sharko; this is the story of it all came about.

http://sites.google.com/site/jillstarrsite/what-it-s-like-to-chill-with-the-most-ruthless-men-in-the-world-ratko-mladic-and-radovan-karadzic-confessions-of-a-female-war-crimes-investigator

Zlatko said...

SL:

Where do you get your facts from?
Hans-Christian Andersen?

Max said...

The war in Yugoslavia is one of the last acts of the not-so-cold war to reclaim "communism" for capitalism, so that capitalism can re-colonise the former Eastern bloc and attempt to overcome its internal crisis and long-term decline. To this end, political power and military might were used to stage an imperialist war against the rump of the former Yugoslavia to break it up and divide the Balkans into new client states of imperialism. http://max-balkanboy.blogspot.nl/2012/04/readers-will-recall-that-justification.html