Saturday, July 16, 2005

Appalling Barbarity

Natasha Kandic, a human rights activist from
Serbia, recently released a videotape of a gruesome execution of six Muslim men in Srebrenica. While there is no doubt that this horrific footage shocked the whole world, it has not been able to produce a significant outcry in Serbia, let alone among the Serb population in Republika Srpska. This is evident from the fact that more than 50% of the Serbian population still believes that there was no massacre in Srebrenica. The figure is presumably significantly higher among the Serbs in Bosnia. The Serbs’ immediate reaction to this abhorrent atrocity was thus denial. Many Serbs believe that the videotape had been tempered with for the sole purpose of dehumanizing the Serbs. Some Serbs assign the blame only to the individuals who perpetrated this odious act and refuse to admit that the Srebrenica massacre was planned in advance by Mladic and Karadzic. Noteworthy is the fact that thousands of Serb soldiers participated in the attack on Srebrenica, many of whom also took part in the subsequent execution of 8000 Muslim men.

Serbs frequently assert that all sides in the Bosnian war committed war crimes. None the less, evidence gathered by respected fact-finding organizations such as the Amnesty International and the Human Rights Watch divulges that only the Serb side committed systematic atrocities, the principal objective of which was to create a “Greater Serbia”. Furthermore, only the Serb side (and in some instances the Croats) committed abhorrent atrocities against civilians, as this videotape proves. Granted, even the Muslim side killed civilians but seldom deliberately and never in such a barbaric and cold-blooded manner.

Most people who have seen this videotape become very upset. One cannot but wonder: are human beings really capable of perpetrating such heinous atrocities? How do you execute someone who is defenseless, powerless and innocent and then continue with life as if nothing has happened? How do you live with yourself? Do the terrifying looks on the faces of these poor men haunt you in your sleep? It is beyond my comprehension that a human being can commit such egregious war crimes. For me, the only word that properly explains the perpetrators of this crime is: monsters. To call them animals would be an insult to animals. Animals do not torture their prey!

What is the most suitable punishment for these monsters? Capital punishment is too lenient. I have a much better suggestion: life time imprisonment without the possibility of parole where they are forced to watch this videotape over and over again and then face the family members of their victims. But then again, monsters do not have feelings; they are unable to feel empathy and compassion for other people and they never show repentance. As long as these savages are at large, there will never be justice in Bosnia let alone reconciliation. All war criminals must be severely punished if we want to achieve a long-lasting peace.

In the meantime, let us hope that the perpetrators of this horrible war crime will receive severe punishments and that the facial expressions of their victims will forever haunt them in their sleep.

Download the video here:

Warning: Viewer's discretion is advised!

Dedicated to the victims of this appalling barbarity! May your soul rest in peace.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Commemorating Srebrenica

Dedicated to the innocent people who were killed in the Srebrenica massacre!

On 11 July 1995 an unfathomable tragedy was taking place in Srebrenica before the eyes of the whole world. After three years of occupation and intensive bombardment, Bosnian Serbs finally entered Srebrenica. What followed in the ensuing days constituted one of the most egregious atrocities in Europe since World War II. Approximately 8000 Muslim men were killed by Bosnian Serb forces despite the fact that Srebrenica had been designated a “safe area” by the U.N. itself. Simply put, this meant that the U.N. was supposed to protect the people of Srebrenica if they came under attack. They failed to keep their promise.

Ten years have passed since the massacre in Srebrenica. Paradoxically, according to some estimates more than 50% of the Serbian population still believes that there was no massacre in Srebrenica. Needless to say, this figure is probably much higher among the Serb population in Bosnia. Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic, the ones held most accountable for the massacre in Srebrenica, are considered heroes in the Serb Republic of Bosnia. Still at large, Mladic and Karadzic are believed to be hiding in Serbia. Why provide shelter for notorious war criminals guilty of having committed heinous war crimes?

Recently, a video tape was released the importance of which cannot be overstressed. The video tape shows a gruesome execution of several Muslim men. These men are taken to an execution site and subsequently shot point-blank. The Bosnian Serb soldiers who committed this abhorrent atrocity appeared completely unaffected by their barbaric war crime. One cannot but wonder: are human beings truly capable of perpetrating such enormities? I strongly doubt it. In my opinion, only a monster can kill a defenseless civilian in cold blood. I sincerely hope that these monsters who committed this despicable atrocity will be severely punished.

This videotape has been shown in Serbia but has not been able to significantly sway the public opinion. Many Serbians still contend that the video has been tampered with and manipulated in some way. What does it take for someone to admit the truth? How can we talk about justice in Bosnia when those responsible for the massacre in Srebrenica are still at large? Moreover, those Bosnian Serbs who have been caught and extradited to the War Tribunal in The Hague have received such lenient sentences that speaking of justice is sheer nonsense. Is it reasonable to sentence someone who has been found guilty of killing many innocent people to six years in prison?

As long as war criminals remain at large there will be no justice. I am not referring to Karadzic and Mladic only even though they masterminded everything. All Bosnian Serbs who participated in the massacre in Srebrenica must be punished. Furthermore, Bosnian Serbs must apologize not only for the massacre in Srebrenica but for committing atrocities throughout Bosnia. Only then, I repeat only then will it be possible to start anew.

This is dedicated to the people of Srebrenica who were brutally massacred by Bosnian Serb forces. May their souls rest in peace because they will never be forgotten!

Recommended reading:

-Endgame: The Betrayal and Fall of Srebrenica, Europe's Worst Massacre Since World War II by David Rohde.

- Srebrenica : Record of a War Crime by Jan Willem Honig and Norbert Both.

- Slaughterhouse: Bosnia and the Failure of the West by David Rieff.

- Love Thy Neighbor : A Story of War by Peter Maass.

See the video of the abominable execution of the young men here: