Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Hamza Yusuf - Tackling Extremism - Doha Debates

This is irrefutably one of the most important debates I have ever seen. Even though not pertinent to the war in Bosnia, I nevertheless recommend everyone to watch this debate.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

A gruesome fate!

I just learned the gruesome details about my late grandfather’s fate. I have known for a long time that he was killed in Srebrenica in 1995 when Serb soldiers overran the enclave killing approximately 8,000 innocent civilians. According to a testimony given by a Serb soldier who had participated in the attack on Srebrenica, my grandfather was hung in front of his house by Serb soldiers and left there to hang for a couple of days before he was buried in his own garden. During the three years that he spent in Srebrenica with my grandmother he systematically refused to believe that Serbs would harm him if Srebrenica fell into their hands. My grandmother who fortunately survived the massacre said that he was stubborn and na├»ve and he remained calm even on the day when Srebrenica fell. Grandmother also said that he did not even attempt to flee that day. Paradoxically, the incontrovertible and abundant evidence of the Serbian atrocities during the three years of the Serb siege of Srebrenica had not been sufficient to convince grandfather to flee the town. Not even the fact that their own house was hit by a bomb and almost killed both of them was sufficient. He simply could not believe that people could commit enormities. He never hurt a fly in his life and therefore he assumed that all people had benevolent intentions.

For that he paid with his life. May those who committed this appalling barbarity forever burn in hell and may my grandfather forever rest in peace.
Dedicated to Alija Salihovic.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Why did NATO bomb Serbia?

I frequently come across people who question the motive of NATO's intervention against Serbia. According to these people, the NATO's intervention was not only unwarranted but also illegitimate and unjustifiable. Many left revisionists in the West as well as apologists for the Serbian aggression in Bosnia claim that the U.S. sought to impose its hegemony in the Balkans. They believe that the U.S. was deliberately dehumanizing Serbian people during the war in Bosnia and Kosovo. No explanation has ever been offered as to why the U.S. was supposedly biased towards Serbian people.

Now, while it goes without saying that the U.S. foreign policy is extremely flawed and discriminatory, this allegation is preposterous. That the U.S. administration has strategic and economic interests in the region is an irrefutable fact. This does not by any means mean that the intervention was unwarranted and unjustifiable. If the potential victim of a rape is rescued by someone I do not think that the victim cares why she has been rescued. The important thing is that she had been rescued. Likewise, the fact that the NATO’s intervention put an end to the Serbian aggression and subsequently the suffering of the Bosnians and Kosovars is a justification in itself. Some experts assert that the NATO’s intervention merely exacerbated the conflict in Kosovo. This is inaccurate, all we know for sure is that it stopped the war, didn’t it? What was the alternative? Stand by and do nothing? Watch innocent people being slaughtered every day? That is cowardice. When an innocent person is suffering then we are morally obliged to put an end to that person’s suffering. Indifference and apathy are by far the worst qualities a person can have.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Blood and Vengeance

This powerful and highly momentous book by Chuck Sudetic tells a story of one family’s flight to Srebrenica from Kusupovici following the outbreak of the war in Bosnia in 1992. Sudetic brilliantly describes their plight as well as their happiness and joy. It is one of those rare books that forever stays with you. I have read many books about the war in Bosnia but Blood and Vengeance is irrefutably my favorite one. It is extremely important to me primarily because it offers an in-depth account of the massacre in Srebrenica. Moreover, unlike other books it is personal and involves the reader in the story in a way you never thought possible; one becomes part of the story by sharing the family’s experiences. What better way to describe the war in Bosnia than to describe it from the point of view of those who experienced it firsthand?

I can think of only one book that resembles Sudetic’s book to a certain extent and that is Love Thy Neighbor by Peter Maass. Like Sudetic, Maass also gives an extensive account of the egregious atrocities committed during the Bosnian carnage. Maass witnessed firsthand many of the atrocities described in his book. He was once shown a propaganda film by Serbs about which he later wrote that it would be awarded an Oscar if the Academy indeed awarded an Oscar for the best propaganda film. So elaborate and sophisticated was the Serb propaganda during the war in Bosnia. Serbs were trying to convince Maass that their film showed Muslims brutally slaughtering Serb civilians while in fact the film was actually showing Muslims being killed by Serbs.

Those of you who still have not read Sudetic’s book are strongly advised to do so. It is a masterpiece.

What is your favorite book about the war in Bosnia?

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Bosnia versus Serbia at The Hague

The ongoing trial between Bosnia and Serbia at The Hague is a trial of the century, the importance of which cannot be overstressed. This is simultaneously a trial between the truth on one hand and disinformation and propaganda on the other hand. Bosnia is charging Serbia with genocide and aggression. For justice to be served, it is imperative that Bosnia wins this trial and that the Serbian government be convicted of genocide. Furthermore, the Serbian government must pay restitutions to the survivors of the Serbian aggression. The symbolic value of the outcome of this trial is perhaps even more important than coercing the Serbian government to pay the damages. If Bosnia wins then the Serbian people will have to admit the truth and face the irrefutable fact that their government was aiding and abetting the Bosnian Serb army at the time of the war in Bosnia. If Bosnia wins then hopefully more than 50 percent of the Serbian population will finally come to terms with the fact that the Srebrenica massacre did take place in which approximately 8,000 Bosnian Muslims were killed. According to some estimates, more than 50 percent of the Serbian people still deny that there was a massacre in Srebrenica. If Bosnia wins, hopefully Ratko Mladic will no longer be considered a war hero among many Serbians. If Bosnia wins then Serbian schoolbooks will hopefully contain the truth about the war in Bosnia and Serbia’s role in the Bosnian carnage. If Serbia is convicted of genocide then the Serbian people will once and for all have to confront their past.

I hate to think what might happen should the verdict turn out to be in favor of Serbia. If Serbia is acquitted, then Serbian nationalists and certain left revisionists in the West will win a crucial battle and will certainly do everything in their power to spread even more misinformation and propaganda about the war in Bosnia. They will seek to rewrite the history. Let us hope that this will never happen. Needless to say, this would also be a huge setback for the survivors of the Bosnian war who suffered at the hands of the Serbian aggressor. The acquittal of Serbia would be an unfathomable injustice to the Bosnian people. The least that the people of Bosnia deserve is justice and justice cannot be done without the truth. Serbia must accept responsibility for the war in Bosnia and more importantly acknowledge its pivotal role in enabling the genocide of Bosnian Muslims.

Subsequently, the importance of this trial cannot be exaggerated. The Bosnian government has already presented the court in the Hague with some 32,000 pages of evidence material more than sufficient to prove Serbia’s role in the war in Bosnia. The evidence is abundant and incontrovertible containing video and audio documents that implicate the Serbian government in the Bosnian war. The defense has so far failed severely to refute any of the claims presented by the Bosnian government. I am therefore optimistic that justice will be done.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Indisputable facts about the war in Bosnia.

- U.N. Commission of Experts led by Cherif Bassiouni conducted a thorough study of the human rights abuses in Bosnia. The results of the study unequivocally and unambiguously demonstrate that Serb forces committed the overwhelming majority of the war crimes in Bosnia. The study also acknowledges that all warring parties committed grave breaches of the Geneva convention. None the less, the study also makes perfectly clear that only the Serb side committed human rights violations as part of their policy of ethnic cleansing. Even though all war crimes are morally reprehensible, those committed by Bosnian forces were not part of the policy of ethnic cleansing. Moreover, Bosnian government troops comprised members of all religious groups; it was not uncommon that Serbs and Croats fought alongside Bosnian Muslims.

- Human Rights Watch (HRW) found, in accordance with the above mentioned study, that Serb forces committed most war crimes in Bosnia. A 1996 report by the HRW accounts for the systematic and deliberate expulsion of Bosnian Muslims and other non-Serbs from northwestern Bosnia, implicating a notorious war criminal Zeljko Raznjatovic a.k.a. Arkan and his paramilitary Serbian troops in “implementing” the policy of ethnic cleansing.

- A study by the Amnesty International titled Bosnia-Herzegovina Gross Abuses of Basic Human Rights divulges the complicity of Serbia and Croatia in aiding and abetting Serb and Croat side in the Bosnian war. According to this report, Serbia and Croatia provided both political and military support to Bosnian Serbs and Croats.

- U.S. Department of State writes in its 1994 report on the war in Bosnia that only Bosnian Serb forces engaged in the policy of ethnic cleansing. The report further discloses the fact that Bosnian Serbs received full support from Belgrade. Furthermore, this report demonstrates that Bosnian Serbs sought to create a “Greater Serbia” by ethnically cleansing Bosnia of all non-Serbs. This report also corrects the common misconception of the Bosnian government forces as “Islamic fundamentalists”. As the report makes perfectly clear, the Bosnian government forces fought for a multiethnic society.

- An extremely well-documented study on the Srebrenica massacre by the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation proves without a doubt that approximately 7,500 Muslim men were killed by Bosnian Serb forces led by Ratko Mladic. This meticulous study contains a thorough account of egregious atrocities committed in Srebrenica by Bosnian Serb forces.
Internet Sources:

Friday, February 24, 2006

Why has not Ratko Mladic been apprehended?

It is a shame for the entire international community that almost 11 years following the abhorrent massacre in Srebrenica, the two men responsible for the egregious atrocities that took place there, Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic, are still at large. The Serbian authorities have known all this time their whereabouts, this is irrefutable. Yet, they have systematically and deliberately refused to extradite them to the International Criminal Court in the Hague. Those who have little prior knowledge of the war in Bosnia probably do not know that many Serbians consider Mladic a war hero and refuse to believe that Mladic is a war criminal. Many Serbians still do not believe that there was a massacre in Srebrenica. The situation in the Serb part of Bosnia is much worse given the fact that Bosnian Serb children are taught in elementary school that Mladic is their national hero. The majority of Bosnian Serbs do not believe that there was a massacre in Srebrenica despite the abundant and compelling evidence that proves otherwise. Even though pressure on Serbia to extradite Mladic is growing, no one seems to ask the obvious question: why wait almost 11 years before putting significant pressure on the Serbian government to comply with the demand to extradite Mladic? Note that no one is talking about Karadzic any more, no one is seeking his extradition; he is as responsible as Mladic was for the gruesome massacre in Srebrenica as well as for other war crimes perpetrated in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Let there be no doubt about that but let me point out the obvious anyway: if the Serbian authorities wanted to apprehend Mladic then they would have done so a long time ago. The same can be said about the international community: if there was a real interest in Mladic’s apprehension, then the international community would have put much more pressure on Serbia. NATO does not want to further exacerbate its already poor relations with Serbia by capturing Mladic without Serbia’s permission. There is a lack of political will on the part of the international community to arrest Karadzic and Mladic. Their capture has unfortunately always been a low priority case. The real problem here is the fact that the Serbian people refuse to admit the truth to themselves. They refuse to believe that Mladic and Karadzic are guilty of appalling war crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina for which they must be punished by the War Tribunal in the Hague.

As long as the Serbian people keep misrepresenting and distorting the truth about the war in Bosnia and Kosovo there will never be any reconciliation let alone forgiveness for their aggression against Bosnia and Herzegovina. As long as they keep lying to themselves, how can there be any reconciliation? How can there be any long lasting peace in the region when Serbs deliberately spread misinformation about their role in the Bosnian carnage? How can there be stability if they keep writing in their schoolbooks that there was no massacre in Srebrenica and that Mladic and Karadzic are their national heroes? Needless to say, not all Serbs are the same. There are Serbs who believe that there was genocide of Bosnian Muslims in Bosnia but they unfortunately represent a minority. Natasha Kandic is one of them, hopefully there will be more like her who dare tell the truth.

Until then, let us now hope that the international community means business this time about punishing Serbia unless they extradite Mladic. I am skeptical though.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

The truth is the only thing that matters!

When people talk about the war in Bosnia they tend to use the word “civil” war. This word is not only misleading, its implications are far more dangerous than meets the eye. The word “civil” in this context implicitly implies collective guilt, meaning that all warring sides in the war were equally guilty. Needless to say, the war in Bosnia was well planned in advance by Serbia as well as Croatia. We need only recall the covert meeting between Milosevic and Tudjman in Karadjordjevo in which the two leaders had decided to divide Bosnia between themselves. I wonder why Western journalists so often ignore and downplay the importance of this event. The two leaders agreed that Herzegovina would be annexed to Croatia and the main part of Bosnia would be annexed to Serbia. However, in order to realize this plan, Serbs had to either annihilate or expel the entire Muslim population of Bosnia. Even though the Serbs were militarily superior, this was easier said than done. Sadly, Bosnian Serbs managed to carry out their genocidal plan before the eyes of the entire international community, killing approximately 250,000 people. The international community refused to rescind the arms embargo arguing that it would create even more havoc. This is the same as refusing to help a defenseless victim during a vicious attack by an armed assailant. You simply turn your head the other way and say that they were both equally guilty. Blaming each party creates a psychological resistance to the suffering of the victim. This is how the U.N. justified its failure to prevent and stop the unfathomable genocide in Rwanda. In the case of Rwanda not once was the word genocide used to describe the abhorrent atrocities that were taking place there. Once again, genocide warrants immediate action from the international community and this is the reason the U.N. officials avoid using this word. Had they acknowledged that genocide was taking place in Rwanda then they would have been compelled to put an end to it. The same conclusion can be drawn about the war in Bosnia. By calling it a “civil” war, the international community argued that it was the responsibility of the warring parties to stop the conflict. This subsequently meant that all parties in the war were equally guilty. It is as if putting equal blame to a rapist and his defenseless victim. Was the international community unaware of what was happening in Bosnia?

I am convinced that the whole world knew at the time that genocide was taking place in Bosnia. The evidence in support of this claim was abundant and incontrovertible. Cherif Bassiouni’s meticulously researched document on the atrocities perpetrated in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was later submitted to the U.N. Security Council, proved that Serbs had committed the overwhelming majority of war crimes in Bosnia, as part of the policy of ethnic cleansing. While the report also acknowledged that Bosnian army forces committed grave breaches of the Geneva Convention, it was not part of the policy of ethnic cleansing. All respectable fact-finding organizations (the Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Red Cross) unanimously recognized Serbs as the aggressors. More important, they all documented the complicity of Serbia in the Bosnian war. It seems futile to present this evidence since many people in the West believe that the war in Bosnia was a civil war. Left revisionists knowingly misrepresent the war in Bosnia so that it be in accordance with their anti-American/Imperialism agendas. These demagogues do not care about the truth; in their systematic efforts to depict the U.S. as the greatest threat to international peace they are ready to downplay atrocities or even worse, to deny them. This is unacceptable. Even if one disagrees with something, one must always tell the truth even if it does not support one's stance. Yes, the U.S. foreign policy is primarily driven by imperialistic motives but this does not mean that Serbs did not commit genocide in Bosnia. The left revisionists are trying to convince us that the Serbian people were framed and deliberately dehumanized by the Americans and their allies so that the U.S. and its allies could send their troops to Bosnia and Kosovo in order to control the entire region. Even if it all was true, they still do not have the right to downplay Serbian atrocities or deny their war crimes. It would be one thing if they said that the NATO intervention in Kosovo was undertaken to increase NATO’s influence in the region while acknowledging that the Serbs were guilty of genocide. I would accept that, but many of these left revisionists claim that the Serbs were innocent.

Are they blind? No, but they loathe the truth and refuse to modify their views even if proved wrong. To these people, evidence makes no difference, what they believe is always true no matter if the entire world disagrees with them. To them, there is always a conspiracy and there is always something more than meets the eye. The entire world is blind, only they know the real truth, it is as if only they were entitled to truth. To them, the U.S. is always evil. They never try to see things from other people's perspectives, but why should they, they have monopoly on truth. For instance, some left revisionists have asserted that the massacre in Srebrenica does not constitute a genocidal act because, after all, the Serbs had been kind enough to allow women and children a safe passage to Tuzla. It does not seem to bother them that they killed approximately 8,000 unarmed and defenseless men. How can a person be so cold and not care about the relatives of these men? Do these left revisionists even take into consideration the feelings of these people before making such preposterous and ridiculous statements? No, all they care about are their own perverted agendas.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Noam Chomsky and the Srebrenica Massacre

I used to admire Noam Chomsky, especially his astute political opinions pertaining to certain aspects of the U.S. foreign policy. Although he is not always right when it comes to the U.S. policy in the Middle East (no one is always right about anything), he is generally successful in his mission to expose the underlying motives behind the West’s involvement in the Middle East. There is no doubt in my mind that imperialism is one of the primary motives given that strategic and economic interests are, after all, crucial for most foreign policy makers worldwide. Chomsky particularly opposes the U.S. foreign policy which he believes to be extremely unjust and hypocritical. While this assertion is irrefutable, the same can be said about the foreign policy of virtually any country in the world: France, England, Russia etc. It is a fact that most countries if not all seek to safeguard their interests many times with little or no regard for human rights.
The reader will have noticed my use of the past tense in the first sentence when I said that I used to admire Chomsky. I no longer do for the following reasons. In his interview for Bosnian TV1 last night Chomsky was asked to offer his opinion on the Srebrenica massacre. More specifically, he was asked if he believed that the massacre of 8,000 Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica was an act of genocide. Chomsky stated that the massacre in Srebrenica did not constitute a genocidal act since “only” 8,000 people were killed. Apparently, it is the number of casualties that is significant for Chomsky and not the intent to kill innocent and unarmed civilians. All reasonable human beings know that Serb forces committed genocide in Srebrenica by killing approximately 8,000 defenseless civilians. Even the War Tribunal in the Hague has declared the massacre in Srebrenica an act of genocide. Moreover, Chomsky seems oblivious to the fact that an official Bosnian Serb investigation into the Srebrenica massacre found that approximately 7,500 Bosnian Muslims were killed by Bosnian Serb forces in Srebrenica. The most comprehensive and meticulously researched study of the Srebrenica massacre, however, comes from the Dutch Institute for War Documentation. This massive document proves without a doubt that 8,000 civilians were killed in the Srebrenica massacre. Testimonies offered by the Dutch U.N. soldiers stationed in Srebrenica at the time of the massacre provide compelling and conclusive evidence.

When asked to comment on Diana Johnstone’s pro-Serb propaganda, Chomsky was deliberately evasive in his response. Those who have read Johnstone’s Fools’ Crusade know that this book is full of ridiculous historical revisionism and vicious lies. For instance, Johnstone has stated in her book that it is highly questionable if those who were killed in the Srebrenica massacre were civilians. She then implicitly suggests that the majority of them were soldiers killed during battle. Diana Johnstone’s book is a perfect example of left revisionism at its worst. How sane is a journalist who makes a comparison between Milosevic and Clinton only to call the latter a liar and the former a multiculturalist who had benevolent intentions? How serious is Johnstone’s work when she believes in Mladic’s and Karadzic’s innocence in spite of the fact that they have been charged with genocide by the War Tribunal in the Hague? Thus, Johnstone’s principal thesis is that all parties in the Bosnian war were equally guilty. Chomsky defends Johnstone’s “freedom of speech“, as he calls it, but refuses to comment on the specific contents of her book. Chomsky believes that Johnstone is a respectable journalist whose book about the war in Bosnia is based on scientific facts. Chomsky then adds that he would consider revising his opinion about Johnstone if someone offered a rebuttal of her book. I cannot but wonder, on which planet does Mr. Chomsky live? There are innumerable extremely well written rebuttals of Johnstone’s book, see for example the Balkan Witness website for several excellent refutations.

Chomsky should be ashamed of himself for supporting Johnstone’s vicious historical revisionism, the sole purpose of which is to spread gross misinformation about the war in Bosnia. Note that no one opposes Johnstone’s freedom of speech but her pro-Serb propaganda. It is beyond my comprehension that Chomsky can be so naive and dishonest. Either you disagree with Johnstone’s thesis or you agree with it; Chomsky deliberately refuses to divulge where he stands on this issue. If you agree with Johnstone then you say that there was no massacre in Srebrenica and that the Muslims were targeting themselves in order to induce a NATO intervention against the Serbs. If these outrageous assertions are indicative of serious journalism then I rest my case.
Chomsky has completely lost his credibility.
See the following websites for honest and serious work on the war in Bosnia: