The truth and other minor details

PHOTO: Forensic experts in 1996 working in a Srebrenica Genocide mass grave in the village of Pilica.

The assault on truth and memory continues as the propaganda war against the victims of the Srebrenica genocide sees no slowing down…

To this day Serb nationalist websites and on Facebook and other social media outlets continue to spread revisionist myths half-truths and flat out lies about the genocide. The picture below is from a Serb nationalist Facebook page “Borac Republike Srpske” according to the writings below the picture the bodies in the mass grave are Serbs killed by Bosniacs then dumped on garbage site. In reality its a picture of mass grave taken in 1996 at the Pilica Farm, one of the execution-sites during the massacre of up to 8000 men and boys from Srebrenica.  What makes this particular episode even more disturbing is that specific picture is probably the most recognizable of all pictures taken from mass graves in and around Srebrenica.

Srebrenica Genocide Blog, a site dedicated to the victims of the Srebrenica genocide and the aggression on the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina has during a period of 12 years collected an impressive amount of documents photos and other material about the persecution and genocide of Bosniacs in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is also the most important site dealing with the genocide itself and the exhumed mass graves in and around Srebrenica. The picture of the mass grave toghter with an article describing the arrest of two bosnianserb soldiers that participated in the executions at Pilica Farm can be found here.

What is most worrying and depressing is the comments themselves, people who comment and share the picture are justifiably outraged and appalled and see this as evidence of the crimes committed against the Serbs in Bosnia and Srebrenica area. Some see it also as a justification for the Bosnian Serb leadership’s actions.  In fact,  their outrage is based on a lie, a lie that has been repeated over and over again, a lie that has been repeated over the years. Rezak Hukanovic said in his book “The Tenth Circle of Hell”

“The first victim of the war in Bosnia was the truth”

Guardian journalist Ed Vulliamy wrote in the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter in november 2003,

 “These people don´t ask for much. But I think that the survivors of such crimes and  those suffering from grief over the death of their loved ones, at  least have the right to one thing. Namely this: after being betrayed, they now be allowed to get their lives back, as we admit what happened to them. Their mental health requires that history acknowledges the atrocities committed against them and those they lost. Some of them have had the courage to testify in The Hague, and it is precisely for these reasons. “

He was responding to the then ongoing Ordfront Scandal in Sweden.

The truth is vital for the wounds to heal and some kind of reconciliation process to commence, it is now over 20 years since the Bosnian war broke out, and in November, it will be 17 years since the Dayton agreement which brought peace but also a division of the country and an unofficial endorsement of the policies of Slobodan Milosevic and Radovan Karadzic by the international community.  (To put it differently;  Dayton awarded aggression and genocide) During that time, not much has changed, it would be wrong to say all is lost (it´s not)  but time is running out. Those that care about Bosnia need to get to work in any way they can. That goes for all ethnic groups…

The reconciliation and rebuilding process is also being undermined  by the current Bosnian Serb leadership of Milorad Dodik, who has since he took over power in Republika Srpska worked methodically to spread falsehoods about the genocide in Srebrenica, he is  assisted in this by  number of shadowy figures that help him,  most prominent being Stephen  Karganovic a self-proclaimed lawyer from the United States that leads “The Srebrenica Historical Project” whose goal is to deny and spread myths about the genocide in Srebrenica. The  American magazine Foregin has in cooperation with USHMM (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum) Mladic Files written in detail about this organization and its links with Milorad Dodik, as well as the organizations efforts to propagate revisionist myths about Srebrenica.  While I do stand by my earlier critisism of Michael Dobbs and his naive approach to militant Serbian nationalism, and questionable views on the Bosnian war. The USHMM had done a great job in dispelling many of the Serb nationalist myths about Srebrenica and Bosnia. And  it continues to be a thorne in the side of genocide deniers.

The generations born after the war and the genocide must learn the true picture of what happened in Bosnia and what happened in Srebrenica. Truth is one of the cornerstones of Bosnia’s survival. Future generations cannot be burdened for what happened before they were born but we  cannot expect them can build something new if you don’t deal  properly with the past.

( I posted this entry in swedish on the 19th of september, I translated Ed Vullimy´s text from DN, I do not have access to his original article )

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