Two Swedish Professors Promote Bosnian Genocide Denial

Excellent dissection of the latest set of (old) lies to find their way on to Swedish newspapers.

Remembering Srebrenica

On 18th of February a delegation from the foundation “Remembering Srebrenica” from the UK visited the Gallery 07/11/95. The gallery is dedicated to the victims of the Srebrenica genocide.

In addition to the President of the Foundation, Waqar Azmija, the delegation consisted of Angus Robertson, member of the British Parliament and the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Scotland in opposition, David Hamilton, a senior official of the Association of Scottish Police who during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina as part of the aid convoy organized by the Edinburgh Direct Aid, The Right Reverend Lorna Hood, from the Church of England and honorary chaplain to the Queen, Seonag MacKinnon, a specialist in the field of communication, Ann McKechin, a member of the Scottish Parliament, and David Pratt, an award-winning writer and photographer.

Remembering Srebrenica Foundation was established with the aim of raising awareness about the suffering in Srebrenica and its first step on this path was the organization of Genocide Remembrance Day.

The visit garnered some media attention in both Bosnia and Herzegovina and Scotland. This article first appeared on Bosnian news site Novo Vrijeme 19-02-2014

Scottish delegation during the visit to The Srebrenica Gallery  18th Feb 2014   Photo:  Galerija 11/07/95
Scottish delegation during the visit to The Srebrenica Gallery 18th Feb 2014 Photo: Galerija 11/07/95

See more images from The Srebrenica Gallery and the visit on it´s Facebook Page.

Even though it ended 18 years ago the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina is still a topic in numorus countries throughout Europe and the world. Some know a great deal about the aggression on Bosnia and Herzegovina during the early nineties , some know a bit, others know very little or nothing, however most know about Srebrenica and what happened in that Bosnian town in July 1995.

That´s also the case with the delegation that at the behest of the Foundation: Remembering Srebrenica came to Sarajevo. A team from Anadolu Agency (AA) was there to meet the visitors from Scotland in The Srebrenica Gallery 11/07/95 ( Galerija Srebrenica 11/07/95.) For Angus Robertson, a member of the Scottish parliament this was however not the first time in Bosnia and Herzegovina, he had as a journalist reported from Bosnia and Herzegovina during the conflict in the early nineties.

“Before I went into politics I was a journalist, I reported about the war in former Yugoslavia druing the early nineties, this is not my first visit to this part of the world. It is however the first time in the recent past that I have had the time to come here and see what has changed since the war.” According to Robertson, he viewed the conflict in BiH as an outsider, as somebody who was not from around here.

Even still, what he saw in Bosnia and Herzegovina was surely different from other conflicts.

According to Robertson: “Intimacy makes everything more difficult, people knew each other they were neighbors, friends, people that lived in the same villages, the same towns. And now, decades after the war very often the people that were involved in all that, including the genocide in Srebrenica are still there. That makes everything even more difficult. War is hell, no matter where it happens. We must not forget that in modern Europe Bosnia and Herzegovina was the only place where genocide took place. We have a responsibility to remember just what happened here, to learn from it and make sure that it never happens again.”

Robertson also stated that the exhibition like the one they had the chance to see in The Srebrenica Gallery was very moving and powerful, and he recommends everyone to go and see it.

“I recommend everyone to go and see the exhibition; it shows in detail the horrors experienced by the people of Srebrenica. Ethnic cleansing is horrific, and that is what took place in this country. Sadly the attention of the international community is very short. That is why we have to make sure people do not forget what happened in Srebrenica. That is the message we take back with us to Scotland and Great Britain”

Adding that the rest of Europe should be encouraged not to forget what happened in Srebrenica.

“We have to make sure that the commemoration of the Srebrenica genocide takes place on the same day throughout Europe. That is already the case in Great Britain. We have to encourage people across Europe to take part in the commemoration, because if history has though us anything it is that people have a short memory, they forget. And with that increases the chance that bad people do bad things to others. That means that we have not learned the lesson. That is why we need to make an effort not to forget.”

For the The Moderator of the Church of Scotland and honorary chaplain to Her Majesty, Lorna Hood, this was the first in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The story of Srebrenica, which she has been aware of for a long time, upset her, and pictures from the gallery have managed to invoke up the pain.

For the Priestess of the Church of Scotland and honorary chaplain to Her Majesty, Lorna Hood, this was the first in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The story of Srebrenica, which she has been aware of for a long time, upset her, and pictures from the gallery have managed to invoke up the pain.

“As soon as I entered the gallery, I was confronted with the images from the walls. I thought that could have been my husband and son. That kind of evil can happen anywhere and anytime. Seeing the images in the gallery from different point of views, and they are difficult to watch, still they have to be seen, people need to see what really happened. There are still those who deny that is all happened.”

According to Hood; “A lot of people know about Srebrenica, they know something horrible took place there but a lot of them do not know the full measure of what happened. People know some of what happened, but it´s only when you are on the ground that you can see the proof, this gallery, talking to the mothers of Srebrenica that you can experience in part they pain they feel. It´s only then that you feel that you have touched evil, there are not many situations where you can say that, but in this place you really feel that you have touched evil”

During her visit to Sarajevo, Hood also met with the head of the Islamic Community in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Husein ef. Kavazovic.

“It´s wonderful that we as religious leaders could talk about that which troubles all of humanity. Until people fully understand that we are all god´s children, no matter where you are from, and that we are all the same. Only then will things like this stop happening. Talking about this we can stop Srebrenica from happening again. We need to look at each other and respect that people are different.”

That is the message Hood takes back with her. “All those that cannot be protected, we need to protect and care for those who are in danger. I think that is the lessons of Srebrenica, these people were in danger, and the international community did not do anything. Still in the years after Srebrenica we must learn to live together, to cross ethnic boundaries, to offer the hand of friendship. And to learn to respect and understand that we are all different and what it´s like to walk in someone else´s shoes.”

The HeraldScotland reported on the visit Sunday 23 February 2014 with a piece titled Ghosts of Srebrenica by David Pratt, with more images from the visit, including a visit to one of ICMP´s facilities.

You can also receive updates from Remembering Srebrenica UK via Twitter at @SrebrenicaUK and it´s Facebook Page.

Continuation of genocide by other means

A Bosniak woman woman cries next to coffins during a mass funeral for victims from Visegrad. (2012)
A Bosniak woman woman cries next to coffins during a mass funeral for victims from Visegrad. (2012)

This is a continued effort to highlight the discrimination faced by returnees to the Podrinje region of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Podrinje or the Drina Valley was scene to some of the most vicious pogroms and mass killings during the Bosnian War. On January 23d local Serb authorities in eastern Bosnian town of Visegrad removed the word “genocide” from the main Bosniak cemetery in town. The action was originally scheduled for 24 December 2013 along with the demolition of a rebuilt house a few hundred yards down the road from the cemetery on Pionirska Street.

The house was a scene of one of the most horrific crimes of the war, it has been since rebuilt and stands as a memorial to those killed in the Pionirska Street Live–Pyre. The action to remove the word “genocide” and demolish the house was then stopped by the survivors who confronted the local authorities, however on 23d of January this year the word was removed, and the fate of the memorial on Pionirska Street is still uncertain.  Several media outlets both in Bosnia and around the world ran the story, including International Business Times.

Writer Predrag Blagovcanin was one of those pointed out that what is going on in eastern Bosnia and Visegrad is simply a continuation  by other means of the politics carried out by Radovan Karadzic during the 1992-95.

This article first appeared on Bosnian portal Tacno.net 23/01/2014

We already know that Bosnia and Herzegovina is a country of absurdities, in which we on a daily basis are forced to witness an orgy in fascism stipulated by law, but today we also learned that we live in country in which a 100 members of the special police can rearrange inscriptions on memorials dedicated to murdered civilians

By Predrag Blagovcanin

Early this morning at around 7 o´clock municipal workers and members of the Inspection Unit of the municipality of Visegrad toghter with around 100 members of the ministry of the interior RS in an action probably named “Erasing for a better tomorrow” chiseled away the word “genocide” from a memorial dedicated to murdered Bosniak civilians from the Visegrad area during the aggression on Bosnia and Herzegovina. The initiative for the removal of the word genocide from the memoarial dedicated to the murdered civilians from the Visegrad area came SDS-deputy Miroslav Kojic who in the People’s Assembly of Republika Srpska requested that Bosnian entity do everything in order to prevent the spreading of “lies and untruths” about the character of the war in the town of Visegrad.

Just what “lies and untruths” is Kojic talking about?

Miroslav Kojic, the SDS deputy, from the same party as convicted war criminals Momcilo Krajisnik and Biljana Plavsic and soon to be joined by Radovan Karadzic, obviously is not familiar with the historic facts about the events that took place in Visegrad during the war. The SDS-deputy is either not familiar with or does wish to acknowledge the fact that according to RDC (Research and Documentation Centre) 1760 civilians from the Visegrad area were killed, of those over a 100 were children. He´s also not interested in the fact that according to the International War crimes Tribunal (ICTY) Visegrad was a scene of some of the worst “ethnic cleansing” during the aggression on Bosnia and Herzegovina and he does not seem to remember that on 14th of June 1992 70 people were barricaded into a house on Pionirska Street and burnt alive.

However for Miroslav Kojic the SDS-deputy and Slavisa Miskovic the current mayor of Visegrad, a town in which prior to the war 63 % of the population was Bosniak in accordance with their own views on historical events in this municipality those facts are not important. That´s why it was decided by the local branch of the SDS that the word genocide would be erased from all memorials and the house of Sumbula Zeba (On Pionirska Street) in which 70 civilians were burnt alive on June 14th 1992 is to be demolished in order to make way for an intersection. So Miroslav Kojic´s and his party colleague Miskovic´s own vision of a new Visegrad which they intend to build so that it´s even more beautiful and older and more ethnically pure the Andric´s is disturbed by memorials to Bosniak civilians, especially bothersome is the disgusting word genocide which thanks to a set of circumstances is constantly haunting them.

They are however not bothered by the statue to the unknown Serb soldier on Visegrad´s main square or a memorial to Russian volunteers and mercenaries’. Of course these two SDS visionaries in their efforts to rewrite history the way it suits them don´t see anything controversial about the traditional event glorifying the Ravna Gora Chetnik movement, and they are especially proud by the relocation of the monument of Draza Mihajlovic from Brcko to a called place Undrulje which is going to be renamed Little Drazevina (Mala Draževina) in honor of the convicted war criminal.

In the vision of this SDS tandem, generations and generations will be laying flowers next to the newly built two-meter statue of Ratko Mladic. While under the patronage of the municipality in and in honor of Radovan Karadzic a festival called “The leading voice of the Chetnik song” will be organized. Unfortunately today´s removal of the word genocide from the memorial dedicated to Bosniak civilians on Straziste cemetery, under the absolute patronage of the authorities in RS is just one more proof that the politics of ethnic cleansing by this which this entity was created. And because of which so many people lost their lives, has still not been stopped. Indeed it is being carried out with the same intensity as before, only the methods have changed, and those are no less dangerous.

As our wise people would say; the principal is the same all the rest are different shades.

Aleksandar Trifunovic : Those who rebel in Republika Srpska are percived as traitors

Balkan-Inside-Aleksandar-Trifunovic

This interview first appeared on Croatian portal Lupiga.com 10.02.2014. In light of the protests that have taken place in the last week throughout towns in Bosnia and Herzegovina Lupiga.com spoke to BUKA editor Aleksandar Trifunovic about how the protests are perceived in Republika Srpska.

“In Republika Srpska setting fire to federal institutions is being perceived as an attack on RS, and as unbelievable as it might sound that mantra is working. People here feel the same type of injustice, but the threat that this all could be an attack on RS coming from the Federation has been a very successful tool in making sure people forget their troubles and their empty stomachs.” All this according editor of Banja Luka based portal BUKA (6yka) Aleksandar Trifunovic.

On the question of how Republika Srpska precives the protests in the Federation and why it has not spread to RS he had this to say:

According to Trifunovic one of the main aims of politicians in RS is to make sure that they present any type of rebellion as form of treason and as enemies of RS. It´s very important to make sure that these protests are perceived as “Bosniak” in which case it´s easy to portray them as “hostile” thus creating ample room for manipulation.

Trifunovic goes one to say;  if one is to judge the protests taking place in the federation by what is being written on social media outlets across the country,  then it´s obvious that there is large support for the protests. Problems plaguing RS are the same one plaguing the Federation. With the added fact that strictly mathematically speaking the citizens in RS have more debt per capita than those in the Federation, so people feel the same type of injustice and it only makes sense that they at least in private sympathize with the protests.

“The reason why there is not more public support for the protests in another matter entirely, and that is the refusal of a vast majority of people in RS to come to terms with the disastrous politics carried out by the leadership in RS which have  financially destroyed this entity. The official policy of RS for years has been trying to present and preserve the image of the RS as a successful economic model, not only in relation to the Federation, but also in relation to the whole region. This, of course, is not true and if it hadn´t been for loan by IMF those dependent on the entitiy´s budget would have been left without their wages. A special issue, also acknowledged by Milorad Dodik is how RS will find 500 million to repay previous debts. However, control of most media, especially public service, makes sure that the current politics manages to convince the majority of the most amazing things. Thus, for example, this time burning buildings and federal institutions is seen as an attack on RS, which is the mantra that, no matter how incredible it sounds is working.”

Does this mean that people in RS are  more satisfied and any less hungry?

“None of this of course means that people in RS are more satisfied and any less hungry then in the Federation, but the threat of an attack from the Federation added with appropriate reaction from political allies and individuals in the Federation have proven to be a successful tool in making sure that people forget that they are hungry.  How long that will last, I don´t know but it´s more than clear that that model of political rhetoric is meeting the needs of the ruling majority, and also the opposition who all keep saying that there is no need for protests in RS.”

When asked how he perceived the media coverage of the protests, by both the Federation media and the media in RS, Trifunovic said that;

“best way to describe it is to say that it was completely ignored. Only after 23 minutes in to the nightly news by RTRS did we get to hear about the protests in Tuzla without any pictures or footage. It was only the day after that there was some information but only about those that were perceived as a danger to RS. The protests in Banja Luka were given the usual treatment, above all it was treated as unimportant and miniscule, and given the number of protesters, it was, however it was not unimportant.  Protest which paved the way for Milorad Dodik to become the premier of RS were by comparison much smaller.

On the question, why it was for some political parties and media outlets very important to portray the protests as exclusively Bosniak, Trifunovic had this to say:

If you portray the protests as exclusively Bosniak then it´s easier to create the image of them as being hostile, the same way some Croatian elements in the country did. The vast majority of people in this country still believe that the other side is the enemy. It is very difficult weight for the development of our society, and on the other hand, is very convenient for every type of manipulation. Now, in the comments, the young people who are protesting in Sarajevo accused of supporting some of the interests of Serbia. Potential for manipulation is enormous.

On the staged counter protests in Bjeljina:

“It is interesting that the government, even at the smallest sign of rebellion against the current state of affairs responds very quickly, as well as the media and the police. At the recent student protests in Banja Luka, there was more police than protestors. The reason for this is obvious. The government is afraid of protests and the development of a situation in which it would become clear that those opposing them were the hungry and angry people on the streets instead of the servile opposition.

So the goal is to portray anyone who tries to rebel as a traitor and an enemy. Fortunately, there are brave people who are  right now suffering a terrible burden, but by deciding on this legitimate form of political expression they have growing support.”

The organizers of the protest walk in Banja Luka had to make it clear that their aim was not to in any way threaten the constitutional order in RS , while during last year´s students protests the students at the head of the column had to carry the RS flag, Has the situation come to the point where the protests are not legitimate unless you make sure that everyone know that you are a Serb or that you support RS?

“I perceive the use of that type of iconography in the light of what I have said before. Using any other type of iconography would result in attempts to discredit and attack the protesters. The ruling majority has a powerful media arsenal toghter with commentators who are very well paid in order to recognize and single out as enemies those that get fingered by the authorities in the entity. In my opinion it is therefore all the more important that those protest were held and the message it sent, and that is that the situation is bad and getting worse.”

Does that mean that those who organize these types of protests are in any physical danger? That because of their involment in civic matters they could lose their heads? Or is national identity more important than civil rights?

“For now the lynching is being done by the media, and the legal proceedings against those who are protesting. I sincerely hope that the government is aware of the reaction any act of violence in any form, against those few who dare to raise their voice against this disastrous policy could cause. I think more and more people realize that those politicians who are prepared to fulfill their duties are few and far between and that there is no force that can change that.”

This post has been edited and updated 12/02/2014