In defense of the victims

My letter to the USHMM concerning Michael Dobbs…

To whom it may concern…

I am writing to you because I feel that the time has come to bring to your attention the writings of Michael Dobbs  on his Foregin Policy Blog   “Origins of Evil”   because of his to say the least, irresponsible way dealing with the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

As you may have noticed his latest article on Foreign Policy titled “In defense of the Serbs” Is so irresponsible and insulting to the victims of the Bosnian genocide that I feel that it is my duty  as someone that has lost family members in the Bosnian Genocide to write to you and inform you about the many fallacies in Mr. Dobbs article.

He writes:

To use a phrase attributed to the French statesman Talleyrand, leaving two million well-armed Serbs in other people’s republics was “worse than a crime.” It was a gross error of political judgment.’

The last phrase is or should be offensive to Serbs as well as Croats and Bosniaks, since Dobbs seems to imply that Serbs are inherently incapable of living side by side with other nations, and should according to Dobbs logic be separated or granted autonomy. Dobbs also writes about “two million armed Serbs” that is truly irresponsible and a major fallacy, there were about two million Serbs living in Croatia and Bosnia but not every single Serb was well-armed or armed at all nor did they all agree with Milosevic´s poisonous and divisive politics.

He also writes:

“For what it is worth, my own personal view is that the breakup of Yugoslavia was inevitable, just as the breakup of the Soviet Union was inevitable. On the other hand, the United States and Europe (the nations that created Yugoslavia in the first place) should have been much more vigorous about establishing and enforcing rules for the breakup that guaranteed minority rights.  “

 Brittish historian Marko Attila Hoare of Kingston University wrote recently about the Dobbs controversy and he pointed out several fallacies in Dobbs argument.

“Dobbs claims that ‘The practical effect of these decisions [by the international community] was that Croats and Muslims were given the right to secede from Yugoslavia, but Serbs did not have the right to secede from Croatia or Bosnia’. This is false: ‘Croats and Muslims’ were not given the right to secede from Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia was recognised as being ‘in the process of dissolution’, and the six constituent republics were recognised as the entities that inherited its sovereignty. Thus, it was the six republics – including Serbia – not the ‘Croats and Muslims’, whose right to independence was recognised. Serbia was not treated differently from Slovenia, Croatia or Bosnia in this respect, and was entirely free to seek and receive international recognition of its independence, just as they did.

 The right of the Serbs of Croatia and Bosnia to secede from their respective republics was not recognised; neither was the right of the Croats of Bosnia. Nor of the Muslims/Bosniaks of Serbia’s Sanjak region. Nor of the Hungarians of Vojvodina, within Serbia. Nor of the Albanians of Macedonia and Montenegro. Nor, at the time, of the Albanians of Kosovo. In fact, the only group on the territory of the former Yugoslavia whose carving out of a wholly new entity has ever been recognised by the international community is the Bosnian Serbs. Thus, at Dayton, the ‘Republika Srpska’ was recognised, whereas the Bosnian Croats’ ‘Croat Republic of Herceg-Bosna’ has been dissolved, and the right of the Bosnian Croats to establish their own entity within Bosnia has been consistently denied.”  – Marko Hoare

Another point of contention is Dobbs failure to address the causes of the Bosnian war and for that matter all the wars in the former Yugoslavia. The true nature of the conflict and the main players and their goals and aim need to be pointed out, by Dobbs since he does work for the USHMM. As of yet he has failed to do that. His failure to address that is an insult to the victims and dangerous considering he himself has pointed out that the bosnianserb entity Republika Srpska is a financier of genocide denial

Instead he has written at great length about Ratko Mladic, some of the articles have been good some interesting and some have felt redundant and pointless. ”How a dumb blonde took on the Serbs” being the most ridiculously pointless  insulting and depressing so far… What strikes me as most dangerous is that Dobbs seems to have developed an almost fetishistic relationship to Mladic. It seems that every aspect of Mladic professional and private life has been explored whilst his many crimes have not. (Aside from Srebrenica) I will give credit to Dobbs for standing up to Stephen Karganovic and “Andy Willcoxson” two of the most notable members of the Genocide Denial/Milosevic lobby.

     

Michael Dobbs                                Srebrenica/Potocari 2012

(The two prowl the comment forum on Dobb’s blog looking for openings so they can spew out their  unsubstantiated conspiracy theories)

However even there one can say that Dobbs effort  has been lackluster at best, appeasing at worst. He has given space and time to history revisionists and war criminals while at the same time neglecting to focus on the weight of the evidence, and the fact that someone like Karganovic has yet to prove anything and the fate that befell  Ratko Mladic´s victims. Dobbs should know that. Dobbs is guilty of neglecting the victims.

As someone remarked in frustration on his blog:

“Dobbs is slowly losing his mind, “Getting to know the Mladic family” how about getting to his victims familes? You do still work for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum? “

I couldn´t have said it better myself.

From the beginning it was clear that Dobbs would focus on Srebrenica and the genocide that took place there in July 1995, and so he should. However he has failed to address the fact that Srebrenica was only the culmination of the campaign of mass murder and ethnic cleansing, as well as other war crimes against the Bosniak and other non-Serbs in Eastern Bosnia and the Drina valley. Towns and hamlets, such as Visegrad, Rudo, Cajnicje, Rogatica, Vlasenica, Foca, Bratunac,  Bjeljina Zvornik Brcko, Cerska, Konjevic Polje… All fell prey to the onslaught of the Bosnian Serb nationalists – with the logistical, moral and financial support of Serbia and the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA)

Michael Dobbs togheter with “Brane”  Ratko Maldic´s cousin and the man that helped shelter Mladic for five years.

More than three years before the 1995 Srebrenica genocide, 296 predominantly Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) villages in the region around Srebrenica, were destroyed,  forcibly uprooting some 70,000 Bosniaks from their homes and systematically massacring at least 3,166 Bosniaks (documented deaths) including many women, children and the elderly. It was these massacres that should have alerted the international community to the prospect of genocide when the United Nations-protected enclave eventually fell to Bosnian Serb forces commanded by General Ratko Mladic three years later, in July 1995.

Any blog dealing with the ”Origins of Evil” should include the fate of thousands of people killed in the first months of the war in eastern, north and north west Bosnia, and the reasons for why  they meet this terrible fate. Dobbs has failed to do that. Dobbs has also failed to address the question of the Siege of Sarajevo where a three and a half year campaign of terror orchestrated  by Mladic, cost the lives of 11541 of it’s citizens. He has also failed to address the fate of the victims in numeous serb-run concntration camps such as Omarska Trnopolje Manjaca Keraterem Uzamnica…

Sarajevo, victims of the siege               Massgrave in Brcko in 1992

I personally lost six members of my immediate family who´s only fault was that they were not Serbs, I really don´t like the fact that his poorly written argument can be used by Milosevic and Karadzic apologists as a way to justife what happend. I understand Dobbs when he says that that Serbs were also victims, yes they were and so were  the Croats. This is the nature of war, war crimes are committed and those victims deserve to be mentioned.

However everything has to be put in it´s proper context. there is abundant amount of evidence that show how the Serbian leadership under Slobodan Milosevic  Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic directed a campaign of physically removing non-Serbs, mostly bosniaks from areas conquered during the first months of the war in order to create a ethnically cleansed,” Serb State” that resulted in the death of thousands of men women and children.  Michael Dobbs should not be making excuses for that ideology.  I ask of  you only that you take a serious look at Michael Dobbs blog at Foreign Policy.com

The victims of the Bosnian genocide deserve at least that…

Mirza Hota 

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