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Harun Karcic 



The UN-established International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, better known by its acronym, ICTY, sentenced former General Ratko Mladic to life in jail. Mladic, the former army chief of Bosnian Serbs, has since 1992 symbolised the worst that human beings are capable of. As a Bosnian Muslim (Bosniak) who was forced to flee Sarajevo from the onslaught of marauding Serb soldiers, I feel no satisfaction with the verdict whatsoever. Many fellow Bosnian Muslims would agree. The reason is simple: though Mladic will spend the rest of his life behind bars, his idea lives on and the Serb-only statelet that he and Radovan Karadzic fought for is now a reality. It is a legal part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, highly autonomous, makes up 49 percent of Bosnia's territory, and has been threatening to secede and join neighbouring Serbia for the past 10 years.

Bosnian Serb leaders Ratko Mladic and Karadzic, with overt political, military and financial support of neighbouring Serbia, led a military campaign to forcefully rid significant areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina of hundreds of thousands of Bosnian Muslims. They knew exactly what they were doing from the very start. 


Exhibit that was scheduled be held in European Parliament cancelled after certain members disapproved of its content.

An exhibit titled "Genocide in Srebrenica: Eleven Lessons for the Future" has opened in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, after it was turned away from its original event location in Brussels by certain members of the European Parliament (EP) for displaying "too many skulls and bones".

Exhibit organiser Hikmet Karcic, an author and genocide researcher from Sarajevo, told Al Jazeera that he had been in contact for a year with some members of the European Parliament, who had agreed to host his exhibit in parliament on July 11, commemorating the 23rd anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide.

More than 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed in the worst atrocity on European soil since World War II.  However, when the members realised that the exhibition focuses on the steps that lead to genocide instead of the genocide's consequences and reconciliation – they decided to cancel the event just a few days before the exhibit was supposed to start.
"They requested that we take out photos of [Serb war criminals] [Slobodan] Milosevic, [Radovan] Karadzic, [Ratko] Mladic and photos of mass graves," Karcic said.

He added that the decision wasn't the official stance of the European Parliament, but the opinion of certain members who canceled the event due to personal "political calculations".

"It's important that we talk about this theme and with as many details as possible. If we don't look at the causes then we don't get a complete image of genocide," Karcic said.
"That's why it was important to hold this exhibit in parliament to show how nationalists, right-wing movements can very quickly turn to mass killings in the centre of Europe."
Karcic did not name the EU parliament members involved for reasons of anonymity. A spokesperson from the European Parliament was not available for comment.

The return and rise of far right groups across Europe and controversial policies targeting minorities in the United States have alarmed the public, and what happened in Srebrenica has become more relevant than ever as it serves as a reminder of how the "impossible" can quickly and easily unravel into a reality.

When the 'impossible' became a reality
Much of the Bosnian nation and the world was stunned in disbelief when Serb and Croat forces began their attack on Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992 with the goal of creating a greater Serbia and Croatia respectively. 
Bosnian Muslims and other non-Serbs were raped, tortured and executed - often by people they personally knew such as neighbours, former elementary school teachers and colleagues. The nearly four year war on Bosnia culminated with a genocide on July 11, 1995 when over 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were systematically executed in Bosnia's eastern town of Srebrenica – a UN-declared protected enclave. From 1992-1995 at least 100,000 people were killed in the country and as many as 50,000 women were raped.

'Justice eludes victims' as Yugoslavia tribunal ends

The Bosnian War ended with the signing of the Dayton Agreement, which divided the country into two administrative entities: the Bosnian-Croat "Federation" entity and the "Republika Srpska" (Serbian Republic) for Bosnian Serbs. Karcic decided to focus his exhibit on the 10 stages that led to genocide in Bosnia, a process coined by American genocide researcher Gregory H. Stanton, but also added an 11th stage, specific to Bosnia's case – "Triumphalism", or the celebration and glorification of genocide and war crimes – coined by Bosnian Australian anthropologist Hariz Halilovic.

Karcic's exhibit highlights the historical, political and military aspect of the Srebrenica genocide starting from former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic's rise to power in the late 80s to today's denial of genocide common among Bosnian Serb politicians and society.
However, the hosts disapproved of this focus and Karcic says he was surprised to hear them say that his exhibit was problematic because it could potentially jeopardise Bosnia's path to Euro-Atlantic integration. "That's what hurts me the most – that people would quit on these kind of exhibits just so they can score personal, short-term political points," Karcic said.

"We didn't see the point in having an exhibit without photos of Mladic, without photos of mass graves, etc; I think that's an extermination of the truthful image of Srebrenica."
Unwelcome in Brussels, the exhibit moved to Sarajevo where it could be presented without complications. Karcic still remains determined for the exhibit to be presented elsewhere in Europe and around the world. "Of course anyone who is interested in viewing our exhibit, which wasn't welcome in the European Parliament, we will eagerly organise it in any city, any institution," Karcic said.

At the exhibit a map of Srebrenica is on display with a message written by convicted Bosnian Serb war criminal Radislav Krstic reading "Srebrenica has been Serbian and remains Serbian. 12 July 1995." [Courtesy of Mirnes Kovac]

'Genocide is worth it'
The European Parliament adopted the Resolution on Srebrenica in 2009 calling for July 11 to be marked as the day of mourning for victims of genocide in Srebrenica.
Srebrenica has long been internationally recognised as an act of genocide, including by the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia and the International Court of Justice. The Hague Tribunal has convicted numerous Bosnian Serb war criminals of genocide including former military commander Radislav Krstic, former president of Republika Srpska Radovan Karadzic and military leader Ratko Mladic.
However, genocide denial is widespread in Republika Srpska and Serbia's political establishment and society.

The president of Republika Srpska, Milorad Dodik, one of the most outspoken Srebrenica genocide deniers, has called the massacre, "the greatest deception of the 20th century". 
Bosnian Serb leader describes Srebrenica genocides as a 'lie'.  "We cannot and will never accept qualifying that event as a genocide," Dodik said in a 2010 interview with the Belgrade daily, Vecernje Novosti.  Convicted war criminal Momcilo Krajisnik was welcomed back as a national hero with over 2,000 people partying in the streets in his hometown of Pale, about 18km east of Sarajevo, after being granted an early release from prison.

Bosnian journalist Mirnes Kovac told Al Jazeera that the members of European Parliament who decided to cancel the exhibit shows that Europe in fact isn't ready to come to terms with the worst atrocity committed on its soil since the Holocaust.  "The denial of genocide in Srebrenica, which for the most part has been led by the Serbian political establishment in Bosnia's Republika Srpska entity and in Serbia has obtained an institutional character and support in the media," Kovac said.

"With triumphalism along with the European Parliament [members'] mitigation with its rejection of the exhibit on Srebrenica, the world is in fact confronting with the most brutal lesson from Srebrenica, from Bosnia and it's short and clear: "Genocide is worth it".


Riada Asimovic Akyol

In October of that year, seeing that Yugoslavia(where Serbs dominated in politics) was breaking up, and emboldened by rising nationalism among the masses and an ever-assertive Orthodox church, the Bosnian Serb leadership (in coordination with Belgrade) decided to embark on establishing its centuries-old idea of having an ethnically pure "Greater Serbia". This would include significant parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, where Serbs constituted considerable numbers.

In order to carry out their plan, they established illegal parallel political institutions known as "Serb Autonomous Regions", which were tasked with implementing the Serbian Democratic Party's (SDS) notorious genocidal policies on a local level. In August 1991, the SDS, Karadzic's party, began boycotting Bosnian state presidency meetings, and, by October, it had removed all its deputies from the Bosnian parliament and set up its own "Assembly of the Serbian People of Bosnia and Herzegovina", first in Sarajevo, then in Pale.

Having parallel political institutions on the local and state level, along with the already Serb-dominated police force, Bosnian Serbs embarked on their plan. In May 1992, Karadzic presented to his fellow Bosnian Serb politicians in the Serb Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina a document titled "Six Strategic Goals of the Serbian People in Bosnia and Herzegovina". One of their strategic goals was, in their own words, the "separation from other ethnic groups on the territory rightly claimed by Serbs, by force if necessary".

For such a radical plan to be implemented in an ethnically mixed country, with its capital, Sarajevo, having the highest percentage of inter-ethnic marriages in former Yugoslavia, it could only mean one thing - utterly destroying the Muslim and Croat populations, either through killings or mass expulsions. Mladic stood up, not to disagree, but rather to make sure the entire Bosnian Serb leadership was on the same page. ''We cannot [ethnically] cleanse, we don't have a sieve to sift so that only Serbs can stay, and others leave," he said. "I don't know how Mr Karadzic and Mr Krajisnik will explain this to the world. This is genocide, people.''
Everyone present agreed this was the way forward. Having the necessary political backing, the self-proclaimed Army of the Serb Republic, as well as Serb police forces, proceeded to implement their plan.

What took place over the following four years was a systematic campaign of death, terror, and destruction straight out of the Nazi handbook. Bosnian Muslim women were systematically raped, as was well documented by the UN during the war. Muslim men and young boys were locked up in concentration camps such as Omarska, Trnopolje, and Keraterm. Ed Vulliamy from the Observer was one of the first western journalists to discover Serb-run concentration camps. Here is how he described what he saw: ''...the bones of their elbows and wrists protrude like pieces of jagged stone from the pencil-thin stalks to which their arms have been reduced. Their skin is putrefied, the complexions ... have corroded. [They] are alive but decomposed, debased, degraded, and utterly subservient, and yet they fix their huge hollow eyes on us with [what] looks like blades of knives".

In the town of Visegrad in eastern Bosnia, so many Muslim men were slaughtered and tossed off the beautiful Ottoman-era bridge into Drina river that Milan Josipovic, then a Visegrad police inspector, received a macabre complaint from the manager of a nearby hydroelectric plant, asking whoever was responsible to please slow down tossing dead Muslims into the river as they were clogging up the culverts in his dam. Muslim houses in areas under Serb military control were burned to the ground, so they would have nowhere to return after the war. Those who did return after 1995 were attacked, threatened, and their mosque vandalised. Such a policy continues to this day.

Under Mladic's policy of spreading death and terror, Sarajevo was shelled for nearly four years while the Bosnian towns of Trebinje, Foca, Prijedor, Banja Luka, and Visegrad were ethnically cleansed of their non-Serb populations. Mladic's forces stand accused of killing more than 100,000 people, mostly Bosnian Muslims, between 1992 and 1995, and raping more than 20,000 Muslim women.

The war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, waged against Bosnia's multiethnic but predominantly Muslim government, ended with the signing of the Dayton Agreement in the United States, which effectively divided the country into two autonomous political entities: the Bosniak-Croat "Federation" and the ''Serb Republic'' for Bosnian Serbs.


Nidzara Ahmetasevic

After Karadzic was sentenced to 40 years in jail last year, for genocide and crimes against humanity carried out against Bosnian Muslims, former General Mladic is the highest-ranking military leader to be imprisoned for the same crimes. This means that two of the highest-ranking Bosnian Serb leaders, who are credited with establishing the Serb Republic, have been found guilty by a UN-established court of committing the worst of crimes against humanity.
This falls in line with the existing Bosnian Muslims' stance that the autonomous Serb Republic was created through genocide and as such has no legitimacy.  

Mladic has systematically denied all charges levied against him, describing them as "obnoxious" since his first appearance in court in 2011. He claims to have been defending Bosnia's Serbs against ''radical'' Muslims. Will such a verdict change anything in Bosnia and Herzegovina?
Hardly so. Take Visegrad as an example. Before the war, there were more than 13,000 Bosnian Muslims living in that eastern Bosnian town. Today, less than 1,000, mostly elderly, Muslims remain. Only 7.69 percent of the prewar Muslim population returned to live in Visegrad. Once these Bosnian Muslim men and women, now in their 60s, 70s, and 80s pass away, hardly any Muslims will be left in Visegrad. Almir Salihovic, a Bosnian Muslim who fled marauding Serb soldiers from Srebrenica in 1995 and returned to the town in 2014, speaking of the Mladic verdict told Reuters: "For most Serbs he will remain a hero, for others he will be the butcher and criminal, and we will continue to live in our folds, side by side, not together."  

The Bosnian Serb political idea of creating an ''ethnically pure'' Serb statelet has been a success. So no verdict, no matter how harsh, will change facts on the ground. Bosnian Serbs achieved what they envisioned in the 1990s. 

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RE: HOW WESTERN ANTI-MUSLIM BIGOTRY BECAME ACCEPTABLE - by globalvision2000administrator - 11-22-2017, 09:32 PM

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