Office of Research
Foreign Media Reaction
July 19, 2005
SREBRENICA: WORLD LOOKS BACK ON EUROPEAN 'TRAGEDY'
** Europe is widely seen as the "largest culprit" in the Srebrenica massacre.
** Serb media commemorate and condemn the massacre, to mixed foreign reviews.
** Balkan papers criticize Serbian politicians for pouring "fuel on the fire."
** For some, Srebrenica symbolizes the divide between Islam and the West.
'Shame for the whole of Europe'-- Generally regarded as the "most shameful" episode in Europe's history since WWII, Srebrenica was viewed as both a reminder of Europe's "tragic impotence" and a warning that the "moralization of international life" remains "uncertain." The center-left Irish Times claimed Srebrenica "characterizes the vanity and ineptitude of this project of a united Europe," while Britain's conservative Daily Telegraph called the "continued freedom" of Karadzic and Mladic "a standing rebuke to Western forces." Croatia's government-owned Slobodna Dalmacija opined, "Evil obviously hasn't been eradicated. And, what's worse, justice seems even more helpless."
Breaking a 'controlled silence'-- While many Euro papers criticized Serbian unwillingness to "accept the truth about Srebrenica," many Serbian and Bosnain papers emphasized that "the majority" of Serbs "condemned" the crimes that were committed "on behalf of the Serbs--without asking for their permission." Serbia's influential Politika identified Srebrenica's place as "the most horrible event/crime in the civil war." Bosnia's pro-government Dnevni Avaz, discussing the commemoration, applauded the fact that many Serbian leaders "used this word [genocide] without hesitation," and also praised the "voice of reason of those who believe that it is necessary...to come to terms with the truth, no matter how painful it may be."
'Counting graves'-- Regional papers faulted some Serbian politicians for having exploited "the politics of mistrust and intolerance" that lay behind the massacre. Bosnia's pro-opposition Nezavisne Novine assailed these politicians and the media for "counting graves, peddling them, and relativizing the victims...definitely to the detriment of truth and reconciliation." Serbia's independent Danas expressed concern over "pragmatic-political" efforts to emphasize Serbian victims "as a counter-balance to the Srebrenica genocide." Serbia's centrist Nin noted, "Politicians are using the imposed subject of truth and reconciliation to score points."
'Srebrenica and Muslim memory'-- Some conservative Muslim observers described the Srebrenica massacre as "the true face of the West," while moderate papers highlighted how "victims of terror...can be Muslims as well as Christians or Jews." Iran's conservative Keyhan argued the Srebrenica massacre "exposed the enmity towards Islam" of European and U.S. leaders. A Pakistani writer reminded the West that many "who today count themselves as allies of al-Qaida cut their jihadi teeth in Bosnia." Turkey's conservative DB Tercuman claimed the West's "double standard" regarding Srebrenica "feeds the attacks they call 'Islamic Terror'."
Prepared by Media Reaction Branch (202) 203-7888, email@example.com
EDITOR: Erin Carroll
EDITOR'S NOTE: Media Reaction reporting conveys the spectrum of foreign press sentiment. Posts select commentary to provide a representative picture of local editorial opinion. Some commentary is taken directly from the Internet. This report summarizes and interprets foreign editorial opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Government. This analysis was based on 42 reports from 18 countries over 6 - 18 July, 2005. Editorial excerpts are listed from the most recent date.
BRITAIN: "Unfinished Business"
The conservative Daily Telegraph (7/6) editorialized: "There was a fitting symbolism in the discovery of two bombs yesterday near the memorial centre for the Srebrenica massacre. It was a reminder, nearly 10 years after... of unfinished business in the Balkans.... two of the main suspects, the civilian leader Radovan Karadzic and General Ratko Mladic, are still at large,.... Their continued freedom is a standing rebuke to Western forces, which at one stage numbered 60,000 in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and to the Serbs, who are affording them asylum.... Srebrenica is one of the most shameful passages in post-war European history, from the failure of the United Nations to deter an attack on what it had declared a 'safe haven,' to a subsequent lack of will in pursuing two of the chief culprits.... Yesterday's bombs point to continuing instability... part of which is due to the refusal of Serbs to acknowledge what was done in their name at Srebrenica."
FRANCE: "The Moralization Of International Life Is Nonetheless Uncertain"
The left-leaning daily Liberation (7/12) commented: "[The Sebrenica massacres] forced us to recognize that good, humanitarian intentions do not do away with either clear political vision nor a solid stick to make yourself heard.... The anger raised by Srebrenica perhaps allowed the worst to be avoided in Kosovo,.... [but it warns] the moralisation of international life is nonetheless uncertain,.... [the US and UK's intervention in Iraq] is a new opportunity of measuring the gap between the justifications for military intervention and its concrete effects on the ground.... Diplomatic calculations contributed to pulling a convenient veil over Putin's policy in Chechnya and repeated calls for help have not stopped pro-government 'militias' in Darfur too much,.... in Srebrenica itself, the ethnic cleansing imposed by the Serb nationalists remains in force, despite (or because of) international agreements,.... This is why the ceremonies in Srebrenica... cannot be seen as a full repayment for the errors of the past."
AUSTRIA: "The Criminals Are Always The Others"
Foreign affairs editor for mass-circulation daily Kurier (7/12) Livia Klingl editorialized: "Ten years after the Srebrenica massacre, the state of Bosnia is grappling with problems more severe than those affecting widows and orphans: No functioning structures and no hope for improvement, a horrendous unemployment rate, and a political system that allows for no more than coexistence of ethnic groups. In Serbia--which subsidized the war in Bosnia during the Milosevic era not just ideologically, but also with money, logistics and weapons--most citizens and many politicians do not want to confront their own criminal energy. True, many Serbians were disturbed when a video showed the cold-blooded murder of captive men from Srebrenica, but the backlash that followed was in bad taste. On the evening before the Srebrenica anniversary, many television stations showed pictures of badly-hurt Serbians from the various Balkan wars. Despite the many millions of euros that a helpless international community invested there, the tenor on the Balkan remains unchanged: The others are the bigger criminals."
"The Crime That Was Never Avenged"
Foreign affairs writer for independent daily Der Standard (7/12) Adelheid Wölfl commented: "Srebrenica--the greatest crime on European soil after the Second World War--has still not become a reality that can be collectively remembered in such a way as to make political consequences possible and restore the dignity of the victims. And that is not just because the mass graves were hidden for so long.... Today, Srebrenica lies in the Bosnian Republica Srpska. For many Bosnian Serbs, this is as if the 'ethnic cleansing' of the Serbs had been confirmed in the Dayton peace agreement. In addition, the representatives of Republika Srpska are still undermining the creation of a common Bosnia. After ten years, this ought to result in a thorough re-writing of the peace treaty. After ten years, however, Srebrenica also continues to remind the Europeans of their duty to acknowledge their responsibility today at least--considering they shunned it earlier.... Europe must do all it can to reconstruct and integrate the country. This will restore the dignity of many people standing before green wooden plates that bear the inscriptions of their loved ones that died in the massacre of Srebrenica."
BELGIUM: "A Farce And A Shame For The EU And NATO"
Foreign editor Frank Schloemer in independent De Morgen (7/12) commented: “The search for and the prosecution of the main culprits of the genocide in Srebrenica is a farce and a shame for the EU and NATO. Ten years after the facts the two most wanted criminals of Europe are still at large. Nobody knows--or wants to know--where Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic are hiding--undoubtedly under high protection. It is a shame for the West that the butcher of Srebrenica, Mladic, and his political master, Karadzic, are still at large. Regular declarations by NATO officers that the net around both men is closing must sound like scornful laughter in the ears of the victims’ relatives.... Of course, there was the Dayton peace agreement that ended the genocide in Bosnia-Herzegovina and that created an artificial state. But, that came about mainly under pressure from the United States--while Europe felt at ease with its role of spectator. Yes, there is the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, but what kind of tribunal is it where the two main defendants are absent and where the public prosecutor cannot do much more than urge the authorities involved to speed up the arrests?”
BOSNIA - HERZEGOVINA: "Our Strength Is In Truth, Our Fate In Justice"
The Sarajevo-based pro-ruling Bosniak newspaper Dnevni Avaz (7/12) reported on speeches of foreign dignitaries in Sebrenica: "There were claims of gruesome crimes, of serious violations of the Geneva Conventions, of the many violations of the international humanitarian law.... Genocide was a forbidden word. But, yesterday, many used this word with no hesitation."
"Srebrenica--The Day After"
Former deputy prime minister of Serbia Zarko Korac said in the pro-opposition Banja Luka-based newspaper Nezavisne Novine (7/12): "Many more steps will have to be taken before we can confront the fact that atrocities were committed in our name."
"Srebrenica For One-Time Use"
Ruzdija Adzovic wrote in pro-ruling Bosniak party daily Jutarnje Novine (7/9): "The question is what will happen after 11 July. After a good night's sleep, how many international and domestic officials will think about Srebrenica and the women, children, and the elderly trying to regain the shattered pieces of their former lives and return to some kind of decent existence.... The Srebrenica Declarations certainly do have their significance and their specific weight. However, unless the leaders of the world finally realize that Srebrenica has to be a planetary memorial and a testimony to crime and unless they accept it and proclaim it as such, and if our politicians remember Srebrenica only for several days every July, then that will be a very clear sign that for them Srebrenica is only for one-time use--for the former, to soothe their guilty conscience, and for the latter to collect political points, and, worst of all, to use the Srebrenica tragedy to homogenize their body of voters."
Pero Simic commented in Banja Luka-based pro-opposition Nezavisne Novine (7/7): "All of this time of remembering the victims of the Srebrenica massacre, when, besides confronting the truth, reverence toward the killed, and sincere repentance, nothing else was even expected, has unfortunately been exploited, above all by many politicians, some services, and the media. In the first place, counting graves, peddling them, and relativizing the victims is increasing the estrangement and deepening the division between the two sides. Definitely to the detriment of truth and reconciliation. All of that seems to me to be beyond the wishes and control of the victims' families and the ordinary people in the Serb Republic, the majority of whom have compassion for the families of the Srebrenica victims.... The truth is that the majority of people in Serbia condemn and do not support the crime in Srebrenica, just as it is true, unfortunately, that those who do not want to accept the truth about Srebrenica are making the most noise.... purported concern on the part of the homeland is, rather, a pouring of fuel on the fire and an attempt to deflect attention from the most pressing problem--that the authorities in Serbia have to bring to justice Ratko Mladic,..."
"Last Attempt To Deny Genocide"
Edina Sarac commented in pro-government Dnevni Avaz (7/6): "As 11 July [anniversary of fall of Srebrenica] is drawing near, there is an increasing number of Belgrade's (unsuccessful) attempts to deny through Banja Luka the genocide committed in Srebrenica.... Serbian officials, instead of bowing to the victims of Milosevic's and Karadzic's project entitled 'all Serbs in one state' and finally admitting that someone on behalf of the Serbs--without asking for their permission--has committed crimes, are trying in every possible way to show the truth in a different light.... Belgrade is living in an illusion;.... Why are both banks of the Drina River doing everything they can to minimize the severity of the Srebrenica holocaust and to accuse, through various fake lists of murdered Serbs in Srebrenica and Sarajevo and though ridiculous criminal reports, certain people of crimes against the Serbs?.... It has become clear after the airing of the videotape of the cruel murder of six Srebrenica residents that Serbia was living in a complete media blockade. Apparently, many politicians and citizens, after seeing the videotape, have awakened from a dream. Growing louder is the voice of reason of those who believe that it is necessary, for the sake of the future in this region and normal coexistence, to come to terms with the truth, no matter how painful it may be. Serbian leaders and the Great Vozd [leader -- reference to Slobodan Milosevic] are trying to profit from the intense campaign conducted in the past month. The former are using it as a counterargument in Bosnia-Herzegovina's lawsuit against Serbia-Montenegro, while Milosevic is using it in his defense before the Hague tribunal. These, however, are the death throes of the policy conducted in the past 16 years in the territory of former Yugoslavia, whose principal thesis was that 'the whole world is against the Serbs.' Fortunately for everyone living in this region, including the Serbs, this policy is becoming a thing of the past;..."
"Mladic To The Hague, Tadic To Potocari"
A reporter commented in an interview in pro-opposition Nezavisne Novine (7/6): "Unfortunately, Serb public opinion has long been led to believe that genocide did not take place in Srebrenica. That stance is along the lines of, "yes, there was a crime, but crimes were committed on all sides, and it is all relative." Thus, it is a purely political intention to equate the crimes, to say that we are all to blame. I think that those who take that position are wrongly deceiving their people. It is also a fact that certain paramilitary units in Sarajevo, and even regular units of the B-H [Bosnia-Herzegovina] Army, committed crimes against some innocent Serbs. People were murdered simply because they are Serbs.... On the other hand, I do have understanding for the associations of families of the Srebrenica victims. They are ordinary people, and it is hard to explain to them that 10 years after the signing of the Dayton Agreement the most sought-after Hague indictees have still not been brought to justice."
CROATIA: "Anniversary Of World Shame"
Zagreb-based mass-circulation conservative Vecernji List (7/12) commented: “Unfortunately, instead of thanking Croatia, the international community today accuses it for things it should have done. That’s why it was inappropriate yesterday to hear American Ambassador for War Crimes Richard Prosper warn of the urgency to arrest Karadzic and Mladic, and recall at the same time the Republic of Croatia’s commitment with Gotovina. Such comparisons, in Srebrenica of all places, equalize the victim’s and the aggressor’s guilt. And blur the real picture--in which the international community bears a big stain. Srebrenica is one of the larger ones. That’s why yesterday was the anniversary of their shame as well.”
"International Community Is The Largest Culprit For The Srebrenica Massacre"
Deputy editor-in-chief Davor Butkovicin of the Zagreb-based mass-circulation Jutarnji list (7/12) wrote: "It is unbelievably tragic that the Srebrenica genocide had to happen in order to initiate the international military operation against Bosnian Serbs, and for Croatia to receive tacit approval for operation Storm. Such a tragic situation primarily speaks to a total misunderstanding of developments in the former Yugoslavia, by most important European countries whose leaders thought they could reach an agreement with the Serb dictator Milosevic, and at least to some extent control military and political moves by Bosnian as well as Croatian Serbs. The international community’s guilt for the massacre in Srebrenica, therefore, does not lie only in an inability to make decisions, or certain governments’ indecisiveness, but most of all in its inability to assess developments in the field and articulate their policies based on such assessments.... From the moral standpoint, the Srebrenica genocide is the darkest event in the history of European Union, since the international community and the E.U. are definitely the most responsible."
Tomislav Klauski commented in government-owned Slobodna Dalmacija (7/12): "Yesterday, survivors grieved for their dead. What were foreign diplomats grieving for? Their conscience? Murderers are guilty of crimes, and the Serbs who covered up these crimes, as well as the international community which enabled them to do so, are responsible. Which punishment should they get?.... Which punishment will befall diplomats who had left Srebrenica at Ratko Mladic’s and his cut-throats’ mercy?.... Srebrenica once again opens the most painful question: Does the civilized world have a response to such a monstrous crime?.... Evil obviously hasn’t been eradicated. And, what’s worse, justice seems even more helpless."
"Srebrenica Challenges Dayton"
Zeljko Kruselj commented in Zagreb-based government-owned Vjesnik (7/12): “Serb ultra-nationalists are aware that the Srebrenica massacre is permanent evidence that the current Republika Srpska was founded on ‘ethnic cleansing. That’s the key reason why there has been more and more talk about a revision of the Dayton Agreement. Namely, Republika Srpska continues to be ‘more equal’ than the B&H Federation, considering the fact that it has an institutional framework for a continued policy of obstructing reconciliation. Draconian decisions by High Representative Paddy Ashdown cannot resolve that, because they only punish individuals, and institutions which had inspired the Srebrenica tragedy remain, and then for years hide the true chain of responsibility.”
"Knife, Wire, Srebrenica"
Branko Mijic wrote in Rijeka-based liberal Novi List (7/12): “Not even the tenth anniversary of the ‘largest massacre after the Second World War,’ which has already become a phrase of the world media in characterizing Srebrenica, or the presence of ‘strong international factors,’ or the United Nations’ late recognition of co-responsibility, can provide a reliable response to the question which keeps coming up: Could such evil happen again? Because, as much as we swore differently, and as much as we invited the future to remember, the latest show-down with posters and gatherings in honor of Srebrenica testify that there still isn’t a single firm foothold to believe that.”
CZECH REPUBLIC: "Srebrenica Memento Is Valid"
Alexander Tolcinsky opined in the leading, centrist daily MF Dnes (7/12): "The dreadful casualty of eight thousand people of Srebrenica, but also of 200,000 other people who lost their lives during the war in Bosnia, should remain a great warning even ten years later. The war in Bosnia was a result of the politics of mistrust and intolerance, when politicians in the former Yugoslavia managed to convince a majority of people that their fellow citizens who use practically the same language but have a different religion and culture are their irreconcilable enemies with whom they cannot co-exist anymore. The Islamic terrorists who struck in London last week are also trying to stir up fear, intolerance and mistrust. But Britons, given their proverbial coolness have not let themselves be provoked to massive acts of vengeance against the Muslim community there, as many expected. Common sense has won for this time. Let's hope for a long time."
"Srebrenica Ten Years After"
Martin Hekrdla editorialized in the center-left daily Pravo (7/12): "Aside from a chill in the back, Srebrenica is still begging a series of questions even ten years after the massacre.... In the pious atmosphere of the anniversary some aspects and connections are not put in the forefront and therefore are escaping the notice of the broader public.... As for Srebrenica, it is terrifying to follow some "technical" details concerning the timing and the actions of some key figures back then--the commander of the Dutch U.N. blue helmets, Mladic, the commander of Bosnian Serb units in Srebrenica Nasser Oric, the U.N. expert in Bosnia Rupert Smith.... This raised and is still raising doubts whether cynical realpolitik even at that time did not enter the political game in Bosnia as a concrete project of Western diplomats to end the war there."
"Rapprochement In Srebrenica"
Martin Ehl declared in the business daily Hospodarske Noviny (7/11): "Srebrenica was surrounded for three years and its citizens were starving.... They underwent bombing like in Guernika, and were under a massive attack as defenders in Grozny. Today, 10 years after the Serbian slaughter of 8 thousand Muslims in Srebrenica, politicians and lay people will meet to attempt to reflect about the war. The East Bosnian town has become a synonym for the deepest animosity between two European nations in the modern times. It is also a symbol of the inability of the international community, represented by the U.N. (in this case, Dutch members of the "blue helmets"), to prevent such atrocity. Among the participants, there will also be Serbian politicians. It is hardly expected that they will come hand in hand. It is too early for such gestures. There are too many culprits at liberty, too many wounds are still open and too many people desire revenge."
HUNGARY: "Past, And Facing It"
Endre Aczel editorialized in left-of-center Nepszabadsag (7/12): "The whole issue continues to live in the form of questions. In some places, not even in this form. Anyone who believes that the decisive majority of Serbs living inside or outside Serbia are now, 10 years after the "events," willing and able to face the facts of the massacre is wrong. A learned friend of mine who lives in this area has told me that people immediately switch off their television sets when a news item starts with the word Srebrenica or the first clips of the infamous video of the killings appear. Those who broke up Yugoslavia and made many hundreds of thousands of Serbs (from Croatia, Bosnia, and Kosovo) homeless are not to feed them with Serbian crimes. This is the reason Karadzic and Mladic, the two Bosnian Serb chief executioners, can still find hiding places somewhere in the Bosnian Serb Republic or in Serbia itself."
IRELAND: "An Irishman's Diary"
Columnist Kevin Myers of the center-left Dublin Irish Times (7/12) commented: "How apposite that the British commemorations to mark the end of the second World War should fall on the 10th anniversary of the massacre of Srebrenica.... Srebrenica in its way characterises the vanity and the ineptitude of this project of a united Europe, which, the last time it was tried, was also the home of the Final Solution.... fifty years later, the might of democratic Europe proved utterly incapable of preventing another little exercise in genocide, though it had full warning..... for Europe's elites had another project on their minds: the bureaucratic creation of a vast but toothless super pan-European welfare state.... the fantasy that is 'Europe' was...exploded...10 years ago in the hills around Srebrenica. The murders convulsed Europe's Muslims, and turned Omar Sheikh, a beer-drinking, womanising, rock-loving Englishman of Pakistani origin into a Islamic fundamentalist.... The irony here is perfectly terrible. For it was the US, acting almost unilaterally, which brought the agony of Bosnia to an end, and which similarly curtailed the pogroms of Albanian Muslims by Serbs in Kosovo. But this seems to have made little difference to the perception of the US among European Muslims."
The center-left Dublin Irish Times (7/11) commented: “Today, 10 years after they were massacred, Srebrenica will rebury some 570 of its dead.... Yet while the world mourns with Srebrenica it is crucial too that it acknowledges a broader culpability. Much has been written about the bureaucratic failures of the UN whose tiny Dutch contingent watched on, unable itself to act, and unsupported by headquarters, as Srebrenica's men were marched off to almost certain death. That tragic impotence was the direct product of a yawning gulf between the pious resolutions of the Security Council and any real will on the part of member states to implement those fine words. The absence of means on the ground was no accident.... As the UN prepares this autumn to debate reshaping itself to face the future they are words that must be heeded. The world community must give the UN the ability to act. The dead of Srebrenica demand it of us.”
ITALY: “Srebrenica, 10 Years Of Fake Tears And Mea Culpa”
Enzo Bettiza wrote in centrist, influential daily La Stampa (7/18): “In Srebrenica, the 10th anniversary of the most systematic mass extermination in Europe after WWII…. Srebrenica… was the last massacre and bloody Serbian purge against the ‘diversity’ of moderate Islamic Bosnia. Obligated by the Dayton Accords to military withdrawal… Serbia today is paying for the consequences of the disasters inflicted upon and suffered in Bosnia and Kosovo. Milosevic is being tried by the international tribunal while on the anniversary of the massacre, the absence of the murderer Mladic and his inspirer Karadzic appears to be coming to an end. Negotiations for the entrance of Serbia into the EU begin in October.”
NORWAY: "Srebrenica’s Tragedy"
The newspaper of record Aftenposten commented (7/12): "A small, heartfelt prayer from a simple memorial in the Potocari cemetery in Srebrenica says it all: ‘Let revenge turn into justice, let the mothers’ tears turn into prayers that there will never be another Srebrenica.’ These are words that hopefully will make a mark on [politicians’] minds, and--through the media--also on ours. Srebrenica should not just remain a dishonor and a disgrace to Europeans, to Americans, and to organizations like the UN and NATO, but become the end of ethnically driven wars on our continent and a starting point for political co-existence with a new base.... [Serbian] President Boris Tadic’s presence [at the memorial] is a sign that Serb authorities and most Serbians no longer deny what happened. From this acknowledgement we can move on to reconciliation, as hard as this may sound today.... The signals that something could go wrong in Srebrenica and in other so-called UN-created safe zones were many and substantial ten years ago. But the will [of the international community] to intervene was lacking. The Western World will never be able to wash away this stain, even though the tragedy taught us something. NATO’s military power finally intervened. This resulted in an end to the Balkan wars, even though political solutions are not in place yet. They may come. If the prayer of Potocari is heard."
SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO: "Srebenica"
Influential daily Politika wrote (7/12): "Yesterday the world commemorated the most horrible event/crime in the civil war sparked by the disintegration of SFRY. Srebrenica is the site of a grave and a very serious crime. The large number of persons gathered yesterday confirmed that. Many high ranking officials condemned the crimes and promised that the perpetrators will face justice. President Tadic paid homage on behalf of Serbia. His appearance in Srebrenica was a wise, clever move, despite the many risks. He went to show that Serbs distinguish themselves from the crimes committed in their names. The message sent by the commemoration was that the crime cannot go unpunished, that life must go on, and that the future cannot be founded on revenge."
Independent Danas (7/11) commented: "In spite of Nikolic's almost messianic assertion that victims should not be differentiated by their ethnic affiliation, 'because the sorrow of a Serb mother, a Croat mother, and an Albanian mother is equal,' the pragmatic-political part of last Saturday's spectacle and the almost ritual explanation, 'our obligation is to condemn all crimes, but also to defend Serbia,' have shattered even the faintest notion that the Radicals and the part of Serbia they personify, have made any progress whatsoever.... the problem is that this succession of individual and group crimes committed against Serbs has been packaged into a special film--undoubtedly as a counterpart to the recently shown footage of the execution of six Bosniak boys and young men--and presented as a counter-balance to the Srebrenica genocide."
"The Most Successful Western Propaganda Campaign!"
Zeljka Aleksic wrote in independent tabloid Srpski Nacional (7/8): [According to Prof. Dr. Emil Vlajki, a political analyst and researcher] "'The "Srebrenica" case is a pure fabrication. It is one of the most successful Western propaganda campaigns carried out during the war in Bosnia, which has become a myth about Serb beastliness,.... All indications are,...that the Bosnian enclave under UN protection was intentionally turned over to the Serbs in order to fabricate the "Srebrenica massacre"'.... In order to cover up the much greater tragedy that was to follow, the tragedy of Krajina in Croatia, inhabited by Serbs, its fall, and the exodus of some 250,000 Croatian Serbs.... it [is] clear that no one is innocent in the Srebrenica massacre; the only question is whose share of the collective guilt is greater--that of the Serbs, the Muslims, or the international mediators, personified by the EU-NATO-US coalition.... Until the veil of secrecy is lifted from the suffering endured by Muslims and Serbs alike in that Bosnian enclave, where a crime was committed that is attributed exclusively to Serbs, Srebrenica will remain an object of heavy-handed manipulation."
"Serbs Need The Truth The Most"
Djuro Bilbija commented in independent Belgrade daily Vecernje Novosti (7/8): "The House of Representatives would not need the 'regime of Slobodan Milosevic and his supporters' if the agenda of most congressmen was not to exact payment for the Serbs' collective guilt, to impose therapy for all-national penitence, and to demand the price of collective responsibility through the loss of Kosovo and Metohija.... The ultimate goal is no secret: to have a terrified, paralyzed, and hypnotized Serbia drop down in penitence and receive without objection everything that is attributed to it. Its persecutors would no longer need arguments or pretexts for the planned seizure of Kosmet or a persistent quiet dismantling of the RS.... The Serbs, Serbia, and the Serb Republic are the ones who need the full and ruthless truth about Srebrenica today the most. The "truth" being imposed and planted decries every Serb for personally dictating to Milosevic the "war option" and directly taking part in the liquidation of each Bosniak in Srebrenica.... Thus Serbia must do whatever is necessary and whatever it can so that its possible participation and guilt are separated from the guilt and responsibility of Ratko Mladic, Radovan Karadzic, and the RS Army..... The international chorus and conductors need the connection between Srebrenica, Auschwitz, and plebiscitary support not only to take Kosmet away from Serbia, but to take away its past, as well.... If the Serbs and Serbia let their past be dragged through the mud, slandered, decried, and falsified, they will lose their dignity and future. The prophesy of Georges Clemenceau might come true: "A country that continually makes concessions and compromises will eventually cease to exist politically."
"In The Clutches Of Petty Politicking"
Marijana Milosavljevic reported in Belgrade centrist political weekly Nin (7/7): "The screening of the video of the brutal murder of Muslim youths brought surprise and questions. From that day to this and on into the future, we are not the same people that we were before. The suppressed and unwanted past has emerged and become omnipresent. The uninvited guest with the face of death is waving from billboards, television screens, and government institutions, enticing us like a mermaid to look into the depths of darkness and think about condemning crimes that some of us inflicted on many. The screening of the footage of the massacre really could have been a watershed not just in facing up to crimes, but also in abandoning the conviction that our truth was the only truth; in trying to understand why we agreed to the conflict, why individuals committed crimes, and why it has been so hard for us to talk about this; to begin again to differentiate between right and wrong, just and unjust, to break a controlled silence.... The impression is created that politicians are using the imposed subject of truth and reconciliation to score points, not out of a feeling of moral responsibility after which the country could finally move on to a positive future. After this clumsy tumbling into the matter, the impression is created of a prevalent unease that learning and admitting the truth about crimes will be abused, that there will be a one-sided proclamation of the main culprits for the war, that 'we' will be proclaimed to be the villains and that the 'others' will be made out to be innocent. When only one truth is so clumsily presented, everybody knows that the result is denial.
"A Crime Against History"
Serbia-Montenegro Foreign Minister Vuk Draskovic was reported to have said in Belgrade FoNet (7/6)--independent Belgrade press agency in Serbian: "The Serb people had been shocked after having found out about the crime committed on its behalf in Srebrenica.... the Serb people had been under the influence of [former Yugoslav President] Slobodan Milosevic's propaganda for a long time.... Draskovic said that, besides such propaganda and in spite of it, the Serb people was 'what it historically is' and that the crime in Srebrenica was, above all, a crime against the history of Serb people. 'By killing innocent Muslims, those people, those non-humans were killing our history. Exactly because we know what a crime is, since one has been committed against us so many times, no-one on the territory of the former Yugoslavia feels the crime committed in Srebrenica as much and suffers as much as the Serb people'."
SPAIN: "Seven Days In July"
Left-of-center daily El País (7/12) wrote: "Srebrenica represents the failure of the UN, NATO, and the EU in 1995 to flaunt their moral and military power, and to avoid the worst genocide committed in Europe after the Nazis.... The victims of this colossal deceit merely committed the sin of trusting the international community that, throughout the conflict and until its final moment, precipitated by the American intervention, was more attentive to its grievances and national interests than to the preservation of human dignity that they tried to invoke. The lesson is still perfectly alive today."
SWEDEN: "Much Remains To Be Done"
Liberal tabloid Expressen (7/12) said: "The truth has to be brought into the light and justice must be done.... [if the former Yugoslavia is to] take the step into the modern Europe and Nato.... On the other hand, Europe has to be able to hold the door open to its southeastern flank even though fatigue from enlargement is now spreading.... Without the promise of a future in the EU, the Balkans risk becoming a black hole in Europe.... But much remains to be done,.... The least the world can do to honour the victims is to ensure that the guilty are arrested and that the genocide isn't rewarded by a Bosnian-Serb breakaway state in the end."
"Shame For The Whole Of Europe"
Another Swedish daily, liberal Dagens Nyheter (7/12) said: "[The anniversary of Srebrenica is] filled with shame for the whole of Europe.... No speeches in honour of the occasion, no visits from high-ranking politicians, no ceremonial burials can help--Srebrenica remains a shameful name.... Europeans knew what Europeans could do to other Europeans [50 years after Hitler was defeated] and yet General Radko Mladic's forces could do it again--practically within sight of troops from the international community.... Perhaps today the EU would intervene more quickly and decisively if war broke out in the former Yugoslavia, for example in Kosovo. But how quickly and how decisively? After all, we are far from having joint leadership and joint forces which are ready to be deployed,.... And it is a long political road for Sweden,.... As an EU member we are still being awkward with non-alignment and for most people Nato is a swearword, not the name of a military alliance for the defence of democracy and human rights."
TURKEY: "Do Not Forget This Massacre"
The fundamentalist Milli Gazete (7/13) published in a front-page report: "The Srebrenica massacre [is] the true face of the West, which watched the [Serbian atrocities] from the sidelines for days."
Emin Pazarci argued in the conservative-sensational DB Tercuman (7/13): "Thousands of Bosnian Muslim men were killed in Srebrenica ten years ago. These people did not occupy anyone's land, and they didn't bomb any country. All they wanted to do to live on their on land as Muslims. Why were they massacred then? The only reason was that they were believers in a different religion. They were the victims of Christian terrorism. The international community would have forgotten the massacre if it weren't for the commemoration ceremonies held on July 11. If not for those ceremonies, the world would still be talking about 'Islamic terror.' During the ceremonies, the Bosnian Muslims turned to the Serbs and said 'even murderers are welcome here.' If it had been the Christian Serbs who were murdered ten years ago, would they have offered such tolerance? I don't think so. The massacre in Bosnia was never called 'Christian terrorism,' but the actions of suicide bombers in Iraq, which are carried out as a rea ction to the US occupation, are always referred to as 'Islamic terrorism.' The West's double standard feeds the attacks they call 'Islamic terror.'"
"A Shame For Europe"
Oktay Eksi wrote in the mass appeal Hurriyet (7/12): “When Serbian forces entered Srebrenica and started rounding up all Bosnian men between the ages of 16 and 70, and raped, robbed, and killed women, neither the French General nor the Dutch forces intervened.... years later people gather in Srebrenica to mark the 10th anniversary of the massacre. The most critical issue here is that the European countries, which always boast about being so civilized, remained indifferent to the massacre. If US President Bill Clinton hadn’t forced NATO to intervene, Serbian forces easily could have carried out at least ten more massacres like Srebrenica and Europe wouldn’t have lifted a finger to stop them. The Srebrenica disaster is a shame not only for the UN, the Dutch troops, and the French general, but rather a shame for all of Europe.”
"The Srebrenica Massacre And Europe’s Double Standard"
Ismail Kapan commented in the conservative Turkiye (7/12): “It is sad to see that these two murderers are still in hiding while the former Serbian president and his team are being tried in the international court. Europe has failed to pass many tests like Srebrenica because of its tendency to adopt double standards. Europe’s long-standing tolerance of PKK terrorism, and political support for the PKK in Holland and many other European countries are clear signs of that. Europe exhibited its double standard once again after the bombings in London. Although the bombings in Spain have been mentioned frequently in recent days, the terrorist attacks in Istanbul never seem to be mentioned, even though the death toll in Istanbul was higher than that in London. It is clear that a Europe that ignores massacres like Srebrenica and supports terrorist organizations operating away from its territory can never fight effectively against terrorist groups that have started taking actions within Europe. In order to fight terrorism effectively, Europe needs to relinquish its double standard.”
"A Lesson Learned In Srebrenica"
Omer Lutfi Mete wrote in the mass appeal Sabah (7/12): “The British Independent newspaper wrote yesterday that ‘humanity should take a lesson from the biggest massacre since the World War II, which took place in Bosnia, and apply this lesson in London.’ The lesson is that while our paranoia increases about radical Islam, the anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre reminds us that victims of terror attacks in Europe can be Muslims as well as Christians or Jews.”
"Mothers In Srebrenica Still Cry"
Semih Idiz wrote in the mainstream daily Milliyet (7/11): “This massacre was a clear manifestation of pathological nationalism. Many Serb nationals still consider Karadzic, Mladic, and their ‘scorpions’ who carried out this massacre as heroes. Today’s ceremony should cause us to reflect on Europe’s deliberate ignorance during the war in Bosnia, and the perverted mentality of the Serbs, who massacred defenseless young Muslim boys by the thousands.”
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
INDONESIA: "Message From Srebrenica"
Jakarta's leading independent Kompas (7/13) remarked: "...The Srebrenica massacre on 11 July 1995 has obviously been a black mark on history not only for the Dutch troops as UN peace forces that were assigned to secure the city, but also for the UN as a whole. The cruelty of the Serbian troops in the form of genocide has at the same time become a crime against humanity. We do not forget such cruelty which took place at the end of the 20th century.... Srebrenica and the 10th commemoration of the massacre still send out strong humanitarian messages to which the world ought to listen."
SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA
PAKISTAN: "Srebrenica And Muslim Memory"
Liberal English-language Lahore Daily Times (7/13) commented: "The 10th anniversary of the massacre of 8,000 Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica has moved the Europeans to comment wistfully on how Europe and NATO failed to protect the Muslims in an area under UN protection.... The Muslims of the world were greatly agitated by the fact that Europe actually wanted to do nothing about the genocide. Many young people who today count themselves allies of Al Qaeda cut their jihadi teeth in Bosnia fighting the Serbs.... There was some celebration in the Muslim world on the comeuppance that Serbia and its rulers received in 1999, but the grief over what had happened to the Muslims of Bosnia earlier was not forgotten and what the US and Europe finally did for the Muslims of Kosovo did not properly register.... the Muslims have forgotten the good done by Europe and the US in Kosovo. Instead, the pain of what was not done in Bosnia has lingered on. That is why when European leaders go to Srebrenica today and offer regrets, the Muslims are not able to respond with understanding. The 'mujahideen' who went into Bosnia under the US shield have attacked New York's World Trade Centre in 2001 and the entire Muslim world is paying for it. Ironically, Iraq has been attacked by bypassing the UN in the same manner that Serbia was in 1999. Bosnia could have become a symbol of understanding between the Muslim world and the West, but it did not. Alas!"
IRAN: "Recalling The Bosnia Bloodbath"
A. Sabzevari asked in English-language Conservative Tehran Keyhan (7/12): "Why did the UN and the supposedly civilized European states turn a blind eye to the genocide of Europe's native Muslims in the Balkans during the years 1992-95 that claimed as many as 250,000 lives?.... Was it concern for peace or fears of a Muslim victory that made the US to hastily impose the Dayton Accord on the Bosnians just as the tide of the unwanted war was turning against the aggressor Serbs?.... Is it justice that procrastinates the final verdict against the evil brain behind Europe's most bloody crisis since World War 2, former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic, and the reluctance to nab Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic and his military commander, General Ratko Mladic, despite the fact both have been indicted by the UN tribunal at the Hague for genocide and crimes against humanity?.... The crisis nailed the lie of the West's claim to respect human rights, freedom and democracy. It exposed the enmity towards Islam of European and American leaders in view of the fact that the victims of the Serbs' savagery were Europeans practicing a different set of beliefs than Christianity.... The area is a powder keg that could explode any moment. The Europeans and the Americans may not want a fresh crisis at this juncture but in view of the denial of basic Islamic rights by the West, the uneasy status quo is definitely not the lasting solution.... It is worth recalling that the Bosnian crisis was the only instance that saw some sort of solidarity at the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). The frequent meetings between foreign and defense ministers of 8 influential Islamic countries including the Islamic Republic of Iran was an instrumental factor in reviving the spirits of the Bosnians and preventing an ethnic cleansing by the Serbs who threatened to massacre millions of European Muslims with the tacit approval of the Christian World. These facts should never be forgotten, neither by European Muslims nor by the Islamic world for the sake of peace, prosperity and understanding. However, what is essential is the trial of the Serb criminals and justice to the Bosnian Muslims, instead of the crocodile tears that certain dignitaries from Europe and the US shed on Monday at Srebrenica in a clear mockery of the tragedy."
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