Bosnia: Exit the Doctor

Here’s the short version. Bosnia has this thing called a “High Representative”. The High Rep is not a Bosnian. He’s a European charged with overseeing implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement (the 1995 treaty that has kept the various Bosnian groups from each others’ throats), and also with “representing the international community” in Bosnia.

The High Rep is much more than a diplomat. He’s really more like a colonial governor. He can pass laws and fire Bosnian politicians. If he flexes his muscles, he’s really the final authority in the country. You might think this is strange in what’s nominally a sovereign European state, but Bosnia is a strange place.

For four years, 2002-6, the High Rep was a British fellow named Paddy Ashdown. Paddy took his job seriously and did not hesitate to use his powers. He didn’t like nationalist politicians and he wanted Bosnia to act like a real country. So he banged some heads and stepped on a lot of toes.

Many, both in Bosnia and in the international community, did not like this. Paddy was accused of being an old-fashioned imperialist, high-handed, divisive. Furthermore, said many, he was stunting the political growth of the Bosnian state. As long as Paddy was there to twist arms, the Bosnians would never learn to solve their own problems.

So when Paddy left, the job was given to an elderly, mild-mannered German politician, Dr. Christian Schwarz-Schilling. Dr. Schwarz-Schilling made it clear in advance that he did not plan to use the powers of the High Rep’s office. In fact, he saw his job as overseeing the position’s liquidation. He “didn’t believe in colonialism for Bosnia,” said the good Doctor. The High Rep’s office would gradually ramp down, aiming for a complete shutdown within a year or two. The Bosnians would assume responsibility for their own destiny. Polite clapping all around.

That was a year ago.

Schwarz-Schilling is now packing his bags; the date is not confirmed yet, but he’ll be leaving in the next few months. His tenure as High Rep has been brief and… well, disastrous may be too strong a word. But clearly not a success.

Bosnia was supposed to have constitutional reform, modifying the heavily decentralized system set up under Dayton and creating a more unitary national government. Hasn’t happened. The country was supposed to have a unified police force by now, instead of ethnically based cops. That hasn’t happened either.

Cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in the Hague has completely stalled. So have talks with the EU on a Stabilization and Association Pact, which is the precursor to EU candidacy. By way of comparison, Albania signed its S&A Pact six months ago. This leaves Bosnia along with Serbia and Montenegro as the only “slow students” left in the region. Montenegro will probably get its pact next year. That’ll leave Bosnia and Serbia as the two countries that are not even making progress towards candidacy, never mind membership.

Meanwhile, Schwarz-Schilling has been repeatedly dissed and ignored by nationalist leaders. Milorad Dodik, the premier of the Republika Srpska (RS) hardly bothers to hide his contempt. Dodik has started making loud noises about a referendum to take the RS out of Bosnia. Meanwhile the Bosniak leader Haris Silajdzic has publicly called for the abolition of the RS, even though this is completely illegal. As usual in the Balkans, the various nationalists are feeding each other. Schwarz-Schilling seems to be completely unable to stop this.

There are a few things Bosnian politicians seem to be able to agree on. One is that the judiciary should be weak and subject to political control. Another is that they should be able to spend money on crowd-pleasing populist legislation without worrying much about who’s going to pay for it. (Come on. Like Europe will let us go bankrupt.)

— I’ve known a lot of Bosnians. They’re lovely people. But their politicians are, by and large, the scum of the earth. Nowhere, not even in Serbia — not even in Texas — is there such a baffling contrast between likable, easy-going ordinary people and the venal, mean-spirited asstards they choose to lead them. It’s a disturbing mystery.

It’s possible to feel sorry for Schwarz-Schilling. He seems like a good and decent man who wants to help the Bosnians. It’s just that (1) he’s terribly miscast for the part, and (2) he’s operating under wrong assumptions.

Schwarz-Schilling represents that part of the international community that is very tired of Bosnia. And certainly, after nearly twelve years of petty disputes and idiotic nationalism, it’s easy to be tired of Bosnia. But Bosnia fatigue has led to profoundly wishful thinking.

Surely by now the Bosnians are willing to set aside their silly disputes? Surely they can put the war behind them? They must be ready to be a real nation by now! After twelve years, isn’t it time for the Bosnians to govern themselves? The prospect of EU membership must be enough to lure them towards reasonable behavior and responsible self-government.

Well, no they aren’t, no the can’t, and no it isn’t. Bosnian political culture remains stunted, immature, and poisoned by hardline nationalist rhetoric. The three communities don’t like or trust each other and are raising their children with drastically different views of history. Bosnia may be a real nation some day, but that day is still many years away.

(I note in passing that the “wishful thinking” school was dominated by Germany. This should not be surprising. German policy towards the Balkans has been dominated by wishful thinking for a while now. It doesn’t get much noticed outside of diplomatic circles, but something about this region causes even the most hardheaded German government to start babbling about unicorns and rainbows.)

So Dr. Schwarz-Schilling is out. Paddy Ashdown’s departure last year was attended by pious hopes; Scwharz-Schilling’s will be rather more glum.

High Reps are nominated by a group called the Steering Committee of the Peace Implementation Council. (Don’t ask.) These guys will meet at the end of February. Their first order of business will be to swallow hard and say, okay, we wanted to shut down the High Rep’s office this year but that’s not going to happen. Their second will be to pick a new High Rep.

Another Paddy? I doubt it. Picking another head-banger would be a public admission of error, and nobody likes that.

Still, I’d be happy to be wrong. Watch this space.

52 thoughts on “Bosnia: Exit the Doctor

  1. Doug

    Bosnia is a territory held together by foreigners. This territory is home to two national groups and members of a religious sect. The national groups are Serbians and Croatians; the religious sect are Moslems, all of whom belong to one of the two national groups.

    Without the foreigners, who rule by the gun, these three indigenous groups would agree to split the territories of Bosnia and Hercegovina between them.

    All citizens of Bosnia and Hercegovina once lived together harmoniously in the multi-ethnic, multi-denominational union called Yugoslavia. They intermarried and lived in mixed communities. No foreign guns were needed to keep them in Yugoslavia.

    Many who now plea for the preservation of “Bosnian unity” are those who applauded the destruction of Yugoslavia.

    As soon as the foreigners leave Bosnia will split. The only question that remains is whether this split will cause another war.

  2. “the religious sect are Moslems, all of whom belong to one of the two national groups”

    If this were Usenet, here’s where I’d go _plonk_.

    Not even wrong.

    Doug M.

  3. Doug

    I don’t understand your comment. Please write in plain English.

    Do you doubt that Bosnia’s Moslems have Serbian and Croatian heritage?

    Alija Izetbegovic, the Islamist leader of the self-proclaimed wartime “Government of Bosnia-Hercegovina” had no difficulty in describing himself as a Serb. Why should you disagree?

  4. Without the foreigners, who rule by the gun, these three indigenous groups would agree to split the territories of Bosnia and Hercegovina between them.

    All citizens of Bosnia and Hercegovina once lived together harmoniously in the multi-ethnic, multi-denominational union called Yugoslavia. They intermarried and lived in mixed communities. No foreign guns were needed to keep them in Yugoslavia.

    You forgot the pony.

    More importantly, you also argue first of all that splitting BiH between groups would be a good and natural thing, then that keeping it together in Yugoslavia was a good and natural thing, and finally that if the foreigners stop keeping it together, it will split up, there may be a war, and this will be a bad thing.

    Have you recently undergone split-brain surgery, or do you usually reason like that?

  5. If I may venture a guess, Doug is bewildered by a mindset in which being Orthodox or Catholic is enough to distinguish a Serb from a Croat, but being Muslim is not enough to distinguish a Bosniak from either.

  6. The Peoples of Yugoslavia felt comfortable and safe in their moderately free and moderately prosperous country. When foreign governments, most notably Germany and America decided to finance and arm extremist regimes in Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia (the Islamist forces of Izetbegovic) many Yugoslavs felt uneasy and looked for safety and security among their own ethnic/religious group. This is not something that is uniquely “Yugoslavian.” If the Americans armed and financed the Walloons and used its control over the world’s media to damn the Flems as fascist scum, then Belgium would quickly go the way of Yugoslavia.

    Many nations are now multi-ethnic and their leaders must tread carefully lest their actions cause one ethnic group to rebel against them. In Yugoslavia the flame of nationalism was lit by foreigners who then stood back and expressed their horror at the inferno they had caused.

    For what its worth I admit that I wanted Yugoslavia to survive. For all its faults it served its people better than the banana republics that now exist. And most of all the war would have been avoided.

    Now on the ruins of Yugoslavia foreigners want to build a new Yugoslavia in miniature – Bosnia.

    But the fact is that unlike the old Yugoslavia the new state of Bosnia-Hercegovina is not wanted by the majority of its people. When the foreigner leaves Bosnia will cease to exist.

    Will the disintegration of Bosnia lead to war? Well that depends on what foreigners do. If the Americans arm the Sarajevo Islamist and fly in thousands of Iranian Revolutionary Guards into Bosnia (as they did in the early 1990’s) then there will be a war.

  7. Informative, incisive post, as always. I have one thing to add about Germany, however: are you sure it’s just the Balkans that cause German officials to start babbling about unicorns? I saw at least two rather stunning things in Afghanistan that may indicate that this is a more general German problem.

  8. Dr. Schilling’s plan was correct, but it should have been put into action a long time ago.

    As long as the local politicians can blame ‘outsiders’ and ‘foreigners’, they don’t have to take responsibility for the economy, jobs, pensions etc. etc.

    Over a billion euros were misappropriated, stolen or whatever in Bosnia (mainly by the Bosnian Moslem side as they in fact received the lion’s share of EU funds whilst the Bosnian Serbs side was regularly sanctioned and cut off from EU monies).

    The other problem is that they still have the pre-1989 economic mind-set, i.e. “you give us the money, and we do whatever we want with it”. I suppose it could be seen as ‘keeping the peace money’.

    The Bosnian moslem side was backed to the hilt by the likes of Ashdown who saw himself as the great white protector, whilst successively punishing the Bosnian Serbs.

    This led to a situation where one-side was ‘always right’ and the other side ‘always wrong’.

    For the Bosnian Serbs, it was clear evidence that no matter what it did, it would be punished.

    The regular sackings of Bosnian Serb officials kept the RS continually destablized politically which only benefited the more radical politicians and undermined the possibility of an enduring agreement to be made (that is ‘voluntarily’).

    So, why should either side cooperate with the other? Both are entrenched.

    What the EU should have done is said, “Ciao, were leaving, save for some soldiers. If you want to benefit from an EU association agreement, stabilization funds etc. then you have to remove barriers between each other to trade and services, levy a common service tax and have real police cooperation. We are not going to give you anything above a minimum level if you do nothing in return”.

    Just my 10 eurocents worth…

  9. I post because I want to get a conversation started that I can learn from. Sometimes this works. (And sometimes I am sharply corrected — see the coal mines post of last week.)

    But when the topic is the Balkans, I know I’ll have to sift through a certain amount of dross to find the gems. Threads about the former Yugoslavia, in particular, get hijacked easily. These topics are goober magnets. If it’s not nationalists screaming at each other, it’s some Usenet autistic with a monomania about how, you know, the Macedonians are just /confused Bulgarians/. Or it’s cranky Uncle Philip from Kettering, who never quite recovered from the Miners Strike, raving about how the whole thing was a plot by the arms dealing imperialists of the Clinton administration to _destroy socialism_.

    Well. Is there anyone here who wants to talk about, you know, what the post was about? The current state of affairs in Bosnia, the failure of wish-and-hope diplomacy, the prospects for the High Rep’s office?

    Hope or the lack thereof in Bosnia? Constitutional reform, dead or still twitching?

    Chances of a Stability and Association Pact?

    Possible effects around the region?

    Doug M.

  10. [comment deleted]

    Look, people, I’m not messing around here. If you can’t keep it polite and more or less on topic I /will/ delete you.

    Doug M.

  11. Noel: as to that, I couldn’t say. I’m not an authority on German diplomacy generally.

    We have readers who are, though; some of them might be able to address this.

    (But now that you mention it, they haven’t exactly covered themselves with glory WRT Russia, either.)

    Doug M.

  12. sorry noel. i am a bosnian yes.
    and just ask me whatever you want to know about bosnian politics.
    i am 16 years old so i don’t have much exprience of it.
    but i watch the news regularly.
    both the bosnian national news. and the RS nationalistic news.
    so yeah ask what you want.
    i got angry a little because of what some people were suggesting before.
    that bosnia be split up into smaller countries.
    i don’t think it is right.
    but ill keep the profanity out of my further comments.
    sorry.

  13. Aleks: I disagree about Ashdown. While he was hardest on the Serbs, he came down hard on all three groups at one time or another.

    I do agree about the money issue (though I’d like to see a cite for that figure of one billion euros). There is definitely a feeling in Bosnia that they’ll be bailed out no matter what they do. I think your comparison to the old Yugoslav days is a good one.

    Also, having a tough High Rep who makes decisions for local politicians is not entirely a good thing. Among other things, it encourages the nationalists to indulge in a politics of gesture.

    But having a do-nothing High Rep (or none at all) seems to be much, much worse.

    Ado: no problem. We appreciate your comments and are interested to hear your point of view. Just no yelling, is all… we have discovered that if one person starts, soon the thread becomes a flame war. BTW I’m Doug, not Noel.

    cheers,

    Doug M.

  14. hey sorry doug. i read the wrong thing lol.
    um yeah. well my view about the OHR. is that there should be a moderate, who is willing to act on ultra nationlists being in government and kick them out.
    im sure that dodik isn’t good for the bosnian people. i’d love to see us all living together again. but sadly i do not think it will be able to happen.
    dodik, is using the nationalistic card to cause a stir and try and get more serbs to go against bosnia and call for a referendum.
    which is only possible by a constitutional change.
    which i am positive the croat and muslim sides will not accept.

    but i think they should get rid of dodik. and hopefully the serb people elect someone who see’s bosnian serbs future as part of bosnia.
    because they even call them selves bosnian serbs.
    they are bosnians to me.

    but they are jsut haltin the progression into europe. and also progression for themselves.
    the RS has a slower growth rate then the federation and also has a higher unemployment rate.
    but yet these people still elect presidents like dodik.

    btw.
    before the war.
    most of the RS was muslim held.
    or evenly distibuted.
    such as banja luka. the RS capital. it had 60% muslim pop.
    because of ethnic cleansing. it is not almost fully serb.
    and most of those serbs came from the krajna region from which croatians expelled them from. and villages from serbia.
    there are approx. 2 millions bosnians in the diaspora.

    any other questions you need awnsering?

  15. Doug – I’m afraid that you have just found out why no one in the Balkans can deal with the Serbs. Whenever someone wants to talk about anything that is intellectually challenging (providing everyone with a chance to learn something new), the Serbs (and Serbophiles) turn the discussion into a barrage of comments that first express their hatred for everyone who is not a Serb, then reiterates their belief that they are victims, and let’s not forget, the international community caused the breakup of Yugoslavia by supporting everyone except for the Serbs. You are very unlikely to have an intelligent conversation with people like that, which is unfortunate because usually the most vocal ones are the Serbs that should not be (majority of the Serbs, I believe, can address problems/topics in an intellectual manner, but rarely comment).

    With respect to Bosnia, it really is a tough situation. I think the appointment of the High Representative (HR) has done nothing more than provide local politicians with an excuse when they fail. Every times something does not work out, they blame the HR. It removed all accountability that the Bosnian elected officials would face for their inertness. I think the same will happen now in Kosova, when they name the EU Civilian Representative.

    The other issue with Bosnia is that the three communities still distrust, if not hate, each other. 12 years is not nearly enough to forget all the evil that took place in Bosnia. That is why I had stated in some of my other comments that splitting Bosnia (pre-war borders), while not politically correct, may be the only way to a long term peaceful solution.

    To be sure, whomever the Steering Committee of the Peace Implementation Council (sounds like something out of the Lord of the Rings) chooses, it will do nothing more than prolong the status quo. Status quo is not a bad thing in a normal society, but in Bosnia, it does nothing for the people living there.

  16. Doug

    You make a plea for readers to address what you consider to be important issues facing Bosnians (Constitutional reform, EU entry, the High Rep), but important as these issues may be there is a more important issue that needs to be addressed first: should the West force Bosnians to live together when it is clear that this is not their wish?

    You believe that those who reject the notion of a multi-ethnic Bosnian paradise are “screaming nationalists” or “Usenet autistics” (whatever they are) but nothing you say can change the fact that the majority of Bosnians reject a unitary Bosnian state. Until this issue is addresses by the Western Powers then nothing good will come of their interference in Bosnian local affairs.

  17. Hi Gentlemen, my spelling may not be the best but bear with me.
    I traveled in Bosnia for several years after the war, and met many people on all sides.
    My impression is that people are people no mater where you go. The problem in
    Bosnia is that foreigners (U.S. E.U. and other smaller countries) want to be able control the development of all the Balkan states so that they would eventually join the E.U.
    I think that it would be in the best interest of Bosnians to align them self with a new world powers that will be able to protect their interest far into the future, these new powers are China, India and Russia.
    E.U. is just a giant carcass of has bean powers.
    Also they should kick out the E.U. and U.S. representatives and everything will come easy for them because they have learned that the war is totally stupid and not to repeat it.
    Regards

  18. micheal:

    to awnser your statement.
    most bosnian muslims and bosnian croats wants a unified country.
    SOME bosnian serbs oppose it.
    so you cannot justify your clain that MOST bosnians in general dont wan’t a unified bosnia. because bosnian muslims and croats = to about 65-70% of the total bosnian population.
    that means the remianing 30%, doesnt account for ‘MOST’ as you say. of the population.

  19. As I’d mentioned back on the last Kosovo thread, there seem to be some commonalities to the situations in Kosovo and Bosnia… in both cases, although international law is quite explicit about states not being divisible without consent, you have significant regions where 85%+ of the population simply does not identify with their governments on a demos-type level.

    Bosnian Serbs simply cannot seem to abide living under a unitary cross-community administration, and Bosniaks and Bosnian Croats simply cannot seem to be able to swallow sharing power with the Serbs on any kind of significant level.

    The mononational state model has been proven to be full of nasty consequences, but you seem to have actors here that unswervingly won’t concieve of themselves as anything other than part of a mononational community. While stupid, that isn’t unmanageable in and of itself–Dayton was built around this idea, for instance. The problem is that howevermany years later, people on all sides are still demanding exclusive political authority be arranged in parallel to this identity–and to hell with the people outside your community that live on the dirt that you associate with your ethnos.

    I can’t imagine the inner Croat-Bosniak shenanigans in FBiH are all kittens and Christmas trees, but there seems at least to be at least some acceptance there of a political entity that spans an ethnic divide.

    That’s why I’m becoming a reluctant convert to the idea that the only real solution is to let all or some of RS leave Bosnia. We’ve tried multinationalism, the children don’t seem to want to play by those rules, so let’s just let them to turn their backs to one another in the hopes that they’ll be able to move on and focus on providing decent governance rather than ethnic bickering. Maybe people will have grown up enough by the time both states join the EU that the sort of multinational integration the region needs in the long term can begin.

  20. “Usenet autistics (whatever they are)”

    Those afflicted suffer — among other things — a painful inability to read for content.

    Doug M.

  21. What do we do once a HR deposes a politician and he refuses to go? Send the army to arrest him? Cut off funding?

    Moreover, how do we justify this? The EU is and has to be comitted to democracy. In the long run we cannot deny it to others. At some point, we’d have to conclude that if they haven’t learned by now, they won’t.

  22. Im sure millions of bosnian’s won’t be willing to let go of RS.
    a state which is built of genocide.
    how can the international community let that be?
    they killed and forced millions of muslims and croats out of what is currently the RS and now they deserve their own state?
    no
    and bosnians won’t stand for this.
    you give RS a referendum there will be another war. i promise you.

    from a person who is bosnian and lives in bosnia.
    your statement regarding that bosnians and croats can’t live with serbs is absurd.
    while serbs want their own state.
    bosnians and croats only want unity within the country.
    and most want things to go back to the yugo day’s where everyone got along.
    it will be a long and hard path for people to trust each other again.
    but with ultra nationlist hardliners like dodik still in power.
    its on making the situation worse.

    Ado

  23. Dug and Michael, where did you study?
    I’m from there, but live in Texas for the last 35 years, and I travel to Bosnia quite often and have friends politicians on all sides, plus Milorad Dodik is a friend of mine, and I can tell you this much, he just wants prosperity for the country and he has made good on that.
    Look at Muslim and Croat sector of Bosnia and what due you see? High unemployment and run rampant corruption on top of RADICAL ISLAMIC groups taking hold in Muslim sector.
    And the reason for Croats and Bosniaks not wanting Serbs to Segregate them self is because they would fall into obscurity without the Serbs. So if we are going to debate this issue lets deal with facts.

  24. The sooner the “High Rep” leaves the country, the sooner the people of B-H will realize that it is their own nationalist politicians who are keeping their country down.
    Only when they start voting for politicians because of their financial or social policies (maybe even environmental someday) instead of their nationalistic rhetoric, then there will be peace and prosperity in Bosnia.
    The sooner people like “Ado” (sorry, nothing personal – just a convenient example) stop with their nationalistic rhetoric (which is usually full of lies) and digging up the past the sooner the nationalist politicians will lose their grip on the country.
    Politicians say what will resonate with their base of support, and right now there are too many uneducated, nationalist peasants who come from uncivilized villages in the mountains who give theses politicians the support they need.
    As far as Dodik is concerned, I don’t agree with his nationalist rhetoric and threats to secede from Bosnia (I don’t think he means it, just trying to look tough), but beyond this he has done a lot to improve the economy and create a healthy environment for business.

  25. Doug,
    first, thanks for deleting BS comments.

    second, thanks for a good post and for opening a good topic.

    As all of us probably have noticed by now, there is a trade off in the Bosnian situation. The trade off is between a functional/stable state and a dysfunctional political culture. The international community so far has gone for a stable state, trying to achieve functionality.

    The problem is that this creates a dysfunctional political culture. Local politicians evade responsibility for everything if there is a Pasha/Governon there. This then leads to corruption, and political stalemate, which in turn lead to economic stagnation and a DYSFUNCTIONAL state.

    This paradox was evident in Kosovo under UNMIK, too. And, I am afraid that they are going to create another Bosnia in Kosovo after independence. Which would be a mistake. At least in Kosovo you have a 90% majority that can take responsibility for ‘leading’ the minorities and the country. So, given this it would be an even bigger mistake to repeat Bosnia in Kosovo.

    Bosnia is especially difficult because you don’t have a clear majority which can be held responsible for better or worse. IMHO I don’t think that Bosnia will be stable before the Kosovo issue is solved. When Serbs (in general) have no more illusions about Kosovo, they will have to face a crucial decision: Do they want Bosnian Serbs (a) in Bosnia or (b) out of Bosnia?

    THIS WILL BE ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT DECISIONS IN SERBIAN AND BALKAN HISTORY.

    They will either go for (a) which means Bosnia will be stable, and the above mentioned paradox easier to figure out. Or they will choose (b) which they might achieve in two ways, RS joins Serbia or Bosnian Serbs end up as refugees in Serbia. This decision will depend a lot on the reaction of Serbia’s leadership to Kosovo’s independence.

  26. “That is why I had stated in some of my other comments that splitting Bosnia (pre-war borders), while not politically correct, may be the only way to a long term peaceful solution.”

    This person needs to realize that Bosnia had no ‘pre-war borders’ and that RS was formed as a consequence of war. Once you realize that, you will also realize the significance of that mini-state. It not only justifies the war, but all the genocide and destruction that ensued.

    If RS becomes an independent state or a state that attaches to Serbia, you can be certain that there will be carnage great enough to justify its destruction.

    Now, the question is does Europe or anybody else care enough to prevent it?

  27. The notion that Bosnia and the former Yugoslavia were ever independent of strong foreign influence is quite naive. One could go way, way back in history, but to keep it simple, the fall of the Berlin Wall doomed Bosnia. What?! You may say… Ok here goes:

    British agents dispatched to the area during WWII reported [correctly or not] that Tito and his Partisans were more effective than the Chetniks (Serb Nationalists) at defeating the Nazis, and therefore they should be supported. So Tito got his start, while the Chetniks were both abandoned by the allies and slaughtered by the Nazis. They understandably did not like this.

    After WWII ended, Tito (to make a long story short) became very effective at playing the two cold war blocs against each other. He and his government would get cheap loan guarantees from the West, (‘cause they didn’t want Russian subs docking in the Adriatic) and cheap fuel and other resources from the Eastern Bloc. (‘cause they didn’t want western multinational corporations importing their brand of capitalism.)

    Sadly, this created a scenario where Yugoslavia lived on credit, but did not properly invest in itself. Kudos to Alex’s comment about a “pre-1989 economic mind-set.” It goes back quite a ways IMHO.

    Fast forward to the late 80’s/early 90’s… Tito is gone, and loans are coming due. (In fact loan oversight was _relaxed_ in this period, so borrowing skyrocketed.) But now the West is not worried about Soviet expansion, and the Soviets are just falling apart, so neither group have any real interest in helping Yugoslavia. Inflation goes through the roof.

    And what do people do when they feel threatened? They form groups that they think will endure the chaos. In this (as in many cases) the ‘enduring bond’ was a nationalistic one.

    Because the Chetniks felt the abandonment in WWII mentioned above [yes I know I am simplifying] they were the ones that felt a need in the intervening decades to be close to and part of the military. So like a spring suddenly released from tension, they were the group that first exploded on the scene initially with nationalist rhetoric and then military action. (‘Cause they were driving most of the tanks.)

    The West was actually happy with the idea of a new strong man in the region. Heck, they almost backed the Chetniks 50 years ago. It was only when bodies were being stacked like cordwood in a little place called Srebrenica did this policy get a serious review.

    And if anyone thinks I am being hard on the Serbs, let’s not forget BiH’s second largest city, Mostar. There they managed to expel the Yugoslav National Army early in the war but then some Croats (Catholics) and Bosniak (Muslims) decided that instead of sharing the beautiful city, it would be better to shell, kill and rape each other. Now one group has 51% and the other has 49% of a big pile of rubble. Smooth move guys. (Although kudos to those who are rebuilding, and not out of spite.)

    But to wrap up, everybody owns a piece of your “disturbing mystery.” Yes, the locals need to put aside their differences, but the International Community needs to own up to its failings too. All too often people are rotated in, who if they are not lazy and selfish, are often unqualified and/or have little understanding of the region. They end up with simple goals: Line their pockets with fat consulting fees, run some little BS project and then declare victory on their way out so they can repeat the process elsewhere.

    The fact that this dynamic finally happened in a visible position like the High Rep should be a wakeup call that it is anything but an anomaly. You criticize locals for wanting a judiciary that “should be weak and subject to political control.” No argument as far as it goes, but have a look [and any journalists reading this I mean you too] at what has gone on in the state prosecutor’s office in just the past few weeks. The actions of some in the IC, in complicity with local officials, have been simply shameful.

    For at least a century, larger nations have played a strong role in the Balkans. Their role will continue. (Even if they do retreat outside of Bosnia’s borders.) In the future this role will need to be one of truer understanding and resolve if anything constructive is to be accomplished. People will not put aside nationalist feelings until they have real trust and belief in a genuine alternative.

    [My apologies if anyone finds my comments offensive or inaccurate. I am just calling it as I have seen it after several years of living here.]

    P.S Sorry to open a second topic, but has anyone asked Serbia (or Croatia for that matter) if they _want_ part of Bosnia? In the first case the RS makes a great political pawn vis a vi Kosovo, but considering what it cost West Germany to bring in East Germany, it is a very legitimate question.

  28. so i am called nationalistic, while stating several times i wish that we would all live together.
    i go to bosnia every year. i was born in bosnia.
    you go in RS and all you see is serb flags, there are no bosnian flags. when before the war it wasn’t the same. when you go in the federation, all you see is bosnian flags, there are not many if any muslim flags. (i havent seen any myself)
    so from that you can see the mindset from the two sides.
    you look at the two news stations and watch them.
    the BiH national newstation only talks of unity, they ask peoplein the street for interviews, and most say all they want is a good economy and decent jobs.
    but sofar all i have seen in the RS news station, is political propoganda been spawned up again.
    especialy by dodik.

    like i said before they are all bosnians to me. i don’t see a reason that they call themselves ‘bosnian serb’ or ‘bosnian croat’ or ‘bosnjak’.

    i am not living in the past.
    i am just saying it would be wrong to give a made up autonomy like the RS which was founded on genoicde, independance. That will be even worse.
    and the other peoples of bosnia will not stand for it. because they have had family memebers fight and get killed. for the exact reason of giving bosnia independance.

    I fully AGREE with damir on his comment.

    and Jon : i am not a nationlist. read my comment carefully.
    if i was a nationalist i would be saying ‘kill all serbs’ and all of that BS but i am not. i want everyone to live together.

    i am also not living in the past.
    but i am saying we shouldn’t forget the past so easily.
    because like i have mention further up in this comment, some of you guys are hinting at giving RS independance which might shut both sides up?
    which is wrong. ask any bosnian, and they wouldn’t stand for it.
    many of the bosnians who live in the diaspora come back to bosnia during the summer and many of them are from the RS region.
    so instead of coming back to their homeland BOSNIA. they would have to come back to SERBIA or some other state?

    thanks.

  29. also i would like to add the fact that the federation has a tripresident rotating system.
    which includes a bosnjak,croat and serb president.
    why doesn’t RS have that to represent muslims and croats in the RS?
    they only have a serb leader representing serb people.
    what about the rest?
    RS isn’t all serb.
    and if you take away the serb president from the federation, they will complain.

    hmm so what do you guys think about that?

  30. Well done ado for sticking to your point – you are quite right. A few other thoughts:

    * Doug: Why is Haris Silajdzic called a nationalist for wanting all people to live together in total equality rather than maintain a mono-ethnic mini-state (RS) that was created out of ethnic cleansing? His party is non-nationalist and he is a very mature European politician.

    * It may be ‘illegal’ to call for the abolition of RS, but go and ask every one of the authors of the Dayton agreement on the US side and they will now tell you the agreement is a mess which has paralysed progress in Bosnia. RS should never have been legalised in the first place, and with Bosnian troops 2 days from liberating Banja Luka, it didn’t have to be either. Calling for the abolition of RS in now way undermines the position of Bosnian Serbs, who are vital to the country.

    * Bosnia can trace its polity back to the 10th Century and beyond. RS has no precedent whatsoever, nor any of the basic economic, geographic or cultural pre-requisites of statehood.

    * RS is a mess (I go there a lot) – corrupt, poor, miserable and clearly suffering the loss of its Bosniak and Croat populations. It is in complete denial – to the extent that there are monuments to ‘Serb war heroes’ outside the very camps (I am thinking about the school in Trnopolje) where they ‘processed’ the non-Serb population. RS will never enter Europe as an entity or on its own. Only the restoration of pre-war Bosnia as a multi-ethnic state with high levels of cultural and political autonomy for its constituent peoples can lead to Europe.

    Now, regarding what to do about the High Rep – this is a tough one. Paddy was reluctantly interventionist and Dr. Schwarz-Schilling was the oposite. Neither is right or wrong in my view. On the one hand, intervention further takes away the responsibility from (crap) Bosnian politicians; on the other hand, how can they be expected to step up and take control of a dysfunctional system imposed on them from outside. There is no easy answer to this other than perhaps a more gradual transition from one approach to the other.

    I think the solution is with the EU. If they say clearly and firmly that only an integrated, modern, multi-ethnic Bosnia (where Bosnian Serbs are fully respected and supported) can enter the EU, and if they do some public information work inside Bosnia so that ordinary people understand this point and what it means, then there is potential for a full and open debate about the future. Outside powers probably need to stand as guarantors of the Bosnian Serbs’ autonomy within a unified state and give them reassurance and investment on this basis so that they can feel comfortable moving forward. At the end of the day, even Bosnian Serbs care more about education, health and a functioning economy than they care about supporting their backward primitive corrupt leaders. Once that debate begins, the space might be open for a constitutional conference – not with the SDS, HDZ and SDA – but with civil society groups and real popular representatives on all sides.

    Optimistic? Maybe. But the alternative is continued stagnation or (if RS tries to secede along with its non-Serb population) potential upheaval.

  31. the above article conatins few blatant lies, and several false estimates.
    It is true that we lived happily in Yugoslavia but the was changed all that. (be it to our stupidity, be it the arrogance and ill-intentioned German foreign policy).
    But the reality today is straightforward: 3 different people in Bosnia cannot stand each other, keeping them together is a costly businees and formula for another disaster.

    More and more, international community is realizing that the split of Bosnia is the only lasting solution.

  32. Hi Doug,

    I was recalling from dodgy memory, but here is what I have:

    1: Leaders in Bosnia Are Said to Steal Up to $1 Billion – NYT 17 August 1999 by Chris Hedges (and repeated by all major channels)
    http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F70C16FA355D0C748DDDA10894D1494D81&n=Top%2fReference%2fTimes%20Topics%2fPeople%2fI%2fIzetbegovic%2c%20Alija

    2: Though according to the State Department, this isn’t true: http://www.hri.org/news/usa/std/1999/99-08-19.std.html

    3: BBC report “…The paper says it has agreed to publish three minor corrections, but that it stood by the main allegation…”
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/425584.stm

    If I’d remembered I’d read it in the NYT, I certainly would have been more circumspect. From an EU US point of view, if the money’s gone, then why bring it up when it will only frighten off donors/investors?

    2 interesting links on corruption in Bosnia:

    http://www.essex.ac.uk/ecpr/events/generalconference/marburg/papers/19/4/Chandler.pdf

    http://www.isaca.org/Template.cfm?Section=Home&CONTENTID=17599&TEMPLATE=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm

    You are of course right when you said Ashdown sat on all sides. I should have taken a lot more care with my comment, though what I suppose I should have written is that the bosnian serbs got most of the sharp end.

    As for the High Representative, if he does nothing, then there’s no reason for him to be there (maybe PR?), but intervening too often becomes self-defeating.

    The locals have to realize that it is in their own self interests to co-operate. Banging heads together may look great, but beyond the short term, I really do question whether the policies sustainable. After all, the ‘internationals’ will have to go home one day…

  33. lera –
    I don’t think you’re quite hitting the mark when you say that now there are three different people in Bosnia who cannot stand each other. Before the war, there were friendships and marriages that crossed religious and ethnic lines (20% mixed marriages in Bosnia according to some estimates), and today I know for a fact that there are still friendships and marriages (I’ve been to one myself) that cross ethnic and religious lines.
    The only hate is between those who are very vocal against the other ethnic groups, because, after all, how can you be friends with someone who is talking about how you’re a bad person and a murderer just because of who you are. If anything, this is what makes a peace loving person turn into someone who hates.

    In 10-20 years, if things continue peacefully, the RS will melt into Bosnia by itself after they see how pointless it is to live in a country split into two parts.
    Anyone in their right mind who has seen the war and its results would never say that there should be another war, yet alone pick up a gun.

  34. Congrats – as you guys can see its well worth keeping the Balkan topics ‘burning’ even if as Doug points out it tends to attract the nut jobs, not just the domestic ones.

    I agree with the point about Bosnian politicians – things are bad in Serbia but I actually feel sorry for Bosnians when I saw some of the statements made during last years elections. In public they were all lining up to take the hardest, most populist line possible which they thought would give them support. In private they arent so bad – I know from personal experience.

    However, when there is a gulf between the way politicians behave in public and the way they are in private in my opinion it means they have a deeply contemptuous or cynical view of their own people. Their excuse is they are saying what they believe their supporters ’emotionally’ want to hear. They have no understanding that the relationship is not about politicians reacting to the public, in fact it is more the other way round. ie they are mostly responsible for creating the political climate – not the other way round.

    Doug one issue (thats also interesting I think) :

    ‘This leaves Bosnia along with Serbia and Montenegro as the only “slow students” left in the region. Montenegro will probably get its pact next year. That’ll leave Bosnia and Serbia as the two countries that are not even making progress towards candidacy, never mind membership.’

    There is a serious debate going on within the EU on this topic. Its by no means certain that a Mladic arrest is a condition for continuing negotiations on EU stabilisation treaty. The alternative condition being proposed by some EU states is that a democratic Serbian government is formed. The thinking behind this is that Serbia will lose Kosovo so they might let Mladic off the hook. Karla isnt a happy bunny because of all this.

    Ado and Lee regarding Silajdzic and nationalism. He is a nationalist. Thats not a political point its a factual one, check your definition of nationalism. One can also support multiethnicism (leaving aside the political point as to whether Silajdzic thinks its a priority to maintain Bosnia even if its Serb community might not have equal standing) and be a nationalist.

    Ado ‘am just saying it would be wrong to give a made up autonomy like the RS which was founded on genoicde, independance. ‘

    Well firstly it is at this stage an opinion whether the Republika Srpska was founded on genocide at not – the international court will have some say in this. Secondly you are operating under the principle that somehow states are created on a moral basis and not on whether there is a majority in a given area. (I personally would prefer a multicultural Bosnia, then again I preferred a multicultural Yugoslavia but look what happened to that idea).

    The majority is the key issue that the West takes notice of in the end. Thus the creation of nation states of the former Yugoslavia and thus the eventual creation of an independent Kosovo. It is called ‘recognising’ the situation on the ground. Of course history is also a part of the debate..

    The majority ‘argument’ worked for the former Yugoslav republics including Bosnia but now the argument can be used for majority Serb areas in Bosnia. Whether that is rewarding agression or not doesnt count for much.

  35. Even if and once ethnic tensions have faded, the fading of the entities is not a given: a small pond is an open invitation to big fish, and once there, the big fish don’t give up their positions readily. For a similar reason the idea of Kosovo joining Albania is far from given: if Kosovo is ever independent, being unified with a larger polity will then be a demotion for Kosovar elites.

  36. bganon: so it is a “fact” that Silajdzic is a nationalist, but an “opinion” that RS was founded on genocide.

    Can you point me to a series of angry speeches or articles by Silajdzic talking about how he hates Serbs and Croats and only Bosniaks matter? I can’t find any. Every time I have heard him speak or spoken to him he sounds much more like a modern European liberal than any backward Serb nationalist papak “politician”. Whatever else he might be, he is not a simple nationalist. Can you provide evidence to the contrary?

    However, the evidence of Serbia’s genocide against the Bosniak and Croat populations in areas now under RS control is quite plain. There is, for example, the small matter of the mass graves, the missing and the proven intent (e.g. Karadic’s ’91 speech when he warned that Bosnian independence would lead the Muslim population into Hell and potential destruction). Correct me if I am wrong, but do you not agree that Omarska, Manjaca, Keraterm, Luka (Brcko), Srebrenica and so on add up to genocide according to the legal definition? Why else would Serb paramilitaries have been charged with Genocide by the ICTY?

    You say we should recognise Serb majority status in post-ethnic cleansing RS and it doesn’t matter if this rewards aggression. If that isn’t an acknowledgement that RS was built on ethnic cleansing, I don’t know what is.

    RS is a sad, forlorn place full of hate, guilt and bad vibes. If you look at official stats of pensioners vs value of pensions paid out every month, you will also realise that its own population figures are vastly inflated and even poor Serb villagers are getting the hell out (but retaining title over the property they stole) and trying to find work in Serbia or Croatia.

    Don’t give in to cynicism. RS will disappear – it is just a question of how (e.g. by force or peaceful means) and when. Regardless of how states are created, RS is not a state and has none of the basic pre-requisites of a state.

    Do you really think that RS will ever join Europe as part of a divided Bosnia? I think not.

  37. Here’s a prediction for you: The next high rep will not be a European.

    Call me crazy, but that is the word on the street.

  38. ‘Can you point me to a series of angry speeches or articles by Silajdzic talking about how he hates Serbs and Croats and only Bosniaks matter? ‘

    One doesnt have to say hateful things to be a nationalist. Keep it factual check the definition of nationalism, its only a click away and then come back and argue the point with me.

    ‘but do you not agree that Omarska, Manjaca, Keraterm, Luka (Brcko), Srebrenica and so on add up to genocide according to the legal definition? Why else would Serb paramilitaries have been charged with Genocide by the ICTY?’

    We are obviously talking about different things here. I dont disagree with the Hague and their view on what happened in Srebrenica – it was what is commonly known as genocide. You want to stretch that by saying that RS was created on genocide. Thats your perrogative. Its quite another matter whether one believes that almost all states were founded on ethnic cleansing or if many states were actually founded upon some kind of genocide.

    Its another issue that I think genocide is an inadequate term for nation statists and assorted nationalists. Answer me this – these so called differences between us.. (human beings) W

    hen would it NOT be genocide if you, either personally or through ordering it, killed hundreds or thousands, hell millions of people? Yep thats right if you kill the standard definition of your own ethnic group you are not guilty of the genocide. Go figure, I still dont understand that one.

    ‘You say we should recognise Serb majority status in post-ethnic cleansing RS and it doesn’t matter if this rewards aggression. If that isn’t an acknowledgement that RS was built on ethnic cleansing,’

    No, I say that it is a fact that majorities in given areas are eventually granted the status they seek. If you have a problem with the way the world governs itself dont blame me.

    ‘Don’t give in to cynicism. RS will disappear – it is just a question of how (e.g. by force or peaceful means’

    I’m not cynical, just looking at previous experience in the Balkans. I do not that you should support war in the Balkans. Nor should you make judgements about how full of hate Srpska is. It is a desperate place – above all because the economy is not functioning as it should.

    For example I worry about ethnic minorities in Kosovo but that doesnt mean I dont know what will happen down there. Thats not cynicism, thats reality.

    To be honest with you I think it would only be a matter of time before Republika Srpska would put out a referendum on joining Serbia which the majority in Rep Srpska would agree to. I dont know how it would work in Serbia. I suppose there would have to be a vote here too. I’m not sure how I personally feel about that, I dont like to pander to nationalist sentiment. On the other hand like I say its the reality.

  39. bganon: you offer no evidence that Silajdzic is a nationalist – the onus is on you to prove it, not on me to deny it. I can’t argue the point with you because you present no evidence. He has always (1992-2007) talked about the need for all Bosnian peoples to live together peacefully as equals. That is is not my definition of a nationalist.

    You say that “majorities in given areas are eventually granted the status they seek. If you have a problem with the way the world governs itself dont blame me,” but then you go on to express concerns for minorities in Kosova. That is called a self-contradiction. Now, I do in fact share your concern for the Serb minority in Kosova, as all people should, but that basically negates your first point. RS has never been a state or entity of any kind, whereas Bosnia has been a state more or less since the 10th Century. RS only exists because of an ethnic cleansing campaign that (as you acknowledge) was genocidal in character. Ergo it was founded on genocide, which is (what we call) WRONG. Razumijes?

    RS is full of hate, as I said. Look at the levels of drinking, wife-beating, rape, violence and corruption. The hatred they vented against Bosniaks is now turning against themselves. I don’t think I have ever been to a place more devoid of culture, hope or humanity. It sucks big time, which at least has the advantage that most Serbs in Serbia would not exactly welcome their country cousins into a “Greater Serbia”. At least, relatively modern people in BG and NS would not!

    The “reality” is that RS has no place in a modern Europe or indeed a modern Serbia.

    Finally, you say a lot of rubbish about genocide (the word denial comes to mind). Genocide is defined in the Conventions – aside from obvious examples such as the Holocaust, Armenia and possibly Vietnam, Serbia and RS stand alone in the late C20th as perpetrators of genocide. It is not the case the most states have been founded on genocide.

    For what it is worth, I think the best to way to overcome the rather negative perception of Serbia that exists because of Bosnia is for Serbia to completely distance itself from the backward nationalists of RS. When I think of Serbia in the future I want to think of the EXIT festival, B92 and Belgrade, rather than Chetniks, single-stringed instruments, Karadzic’s “poetry” and the murderers of Prijedor. Natasha Kandic and Sonja Biserko are heroes. But what were the rest of the Serbian population doing whilst Sarajevo burned and inmates in Omarska were being tortured to death? That is a question you should be asking yourself, IMHO.

  40. Bosnia gets ’em every time, doesn’t it?

    Just my two cents…Silajdzic is a nationalist of the kind Kostunica is on the Serb side – not violent, not evil, not fascist but certainly nationalist.

    Dodik, on the other hand, is as much a Banja Luka regionalist as he is a nationalist. He doesn’t much care about Sarajevo either way (or Istocno Sarajevo AKA Pale, for that matter) as long as he is allowed to run his Vrbaska Banovina.

    My “limus test” in the context of the former Yugoslavia is quite simple: I’d ask you whether you could imagine some sort of confederation between the ex-yu republics. If not, you’re probably a nationalist.

    The next High Representative will probably have to bang some heads, in particular those who have not yet realized that the war is over…

  41. ‘That is is not my definition of a nationalist’

    Lee with all due respect how can you expect me to show you something if you have your own personal definition of a nationalist? There is a common definition. The sensible thing to do when discussing something like this is to agree to a definition and then proceed to the argument.

    ‘That is called a self-contradiction’

    No it isnt I’m allowed to be concerned about anything I like even if I know the way the world operates. Why should it be contradictory?

    ‘Bosnia has been a state more or less since the 10th Century.’

    Check again, this isnt true.

    And dont put words into my mouth on the genocide point. I said that what happened in Srebrenica amounts to the contemporary definition of genocide.

    ‘RS is full of hate, as I said. Look at the levels of drinking, wife-beating, rape, violence and corruption. The hatred they vented against Bosniaks is now turning against themselves. I don’t think I have ever been to a place more devoid of culture, hope or humanity. It sucks big time’

    It rather sounds as if you are the one full of hatred towards Republika Srpska. Do you attribute that to your ethnic group as well?

    ‘that RS has no place in a modern Europe ‘

    Hey remember you are the one supporting that area as part of a unitary Bosnia. I dont understand how you hate Bosnia and Bosnians so much. If Republika Srpska truly is part of Bosnian culture – and you seem so suggest it must be because of history, it wasnt built in a cultural void – I doubt there is much difference between Bosnian Serbs, Bosnian Muslums and Bosnian Croats. Thus if Republika Srpska has no place in modern Europe you are saying that Bosnia does not. I dont agree.

    ‘is not the case the most states have been founded on genocide’

    What tells me that you dont know much about the origins of nation states. Could it be because you have ‘your own’ definition of nationalism?

    ‘When I think of Serbia in the future I want to think of the EXIT festival, B92 and Belgrade, rather than Chetniks, single-stringed instruments, Karadzic’s “poetry” and the murderers of Prijedor. Natasha Kandic and Sonja Biserko are heroes.’

    Well I also want to think of some of those things but remember you are the one who wants to talk about genocide and not EXIT, not me.

    ‘What were the rest of the Serbian population doing whilst Sarajevo burned and inmates in Omarska were being tortured to death? That is a question you should be asking yourself’

    Individual responsibility not collective. Moral responsibility of some yes but no guilt by ethnic group.

  42. ‘I’d ask you whether you could imagine some sort of confederation between the ex-yu republics. If not, you’re probably a nationalist.’

    That wont be a popular test for (nationalist) supporters of independence movements!

  43. “…Holocaust, Armenia and possibly Vietnam, Serbia and RS…”

    LOL! I’m impressed with your list. No Rwanda nor Croatia (under the UstaÅ¡a). You’re not convincing anyone. “Genocide” is a term that is now sliced like a sausage to fit any political need, i.e. ‘incitement to genocide’ (an ICTY favorite) which substantially lowers the bar for it to be ‘proved’, not to mention how the ICTY judges redefined ‘genocide’ in the Krajsnik case.
    As long as you’ve got friends, no need to worry about it. Now if you have powerful enemies,anything is possible. Take for example Sudan in which the west has no economic or political leverage, but China does. If that is ‘genocide’, then the british policy of rounding up the families of boer guerrillas and putting them in insanitary camps where hunger and disease ravaged them, then its ‘fair game’. It seems like everyone wants to join the ‘genocide club’ these days if they want to be taken seriously or as a way to deflect genuine criticism or argument as ‘denial’.

    Re Silajdzic, he, like Izetbegovic (1990 reprint of his famous Islamska Deklaracija) have a vision of a unified Bosnia under the control of the SDA. At the time, the inner cadre of nazi collaborators like Izetbegovic, Cengic (and others with a dark past) or relatives thereof . It really inspires trust doesn’t it. The Croats and the Serbs would have been happy with Fikret Abdic who unfortunately trusted Alija, who didn’t keep his promise.

  44. Sorry Aleks, obviously Rwanda and Darfur were stupid omissions from my list – should have written more thoughtfully – but the rest of your piffle about Bosnia is silly.

    Chris: I think the point is that under the right circumstances, Silajdzic is exactly the kind of person to support a lose confed solution. Again, a telling lack of evidence for his nationalism is presented.

    If Dodik is just a localist – why the emphasis on a referendum on secession?

    Anyway – I wil leave it at that. The thread has lost its way from the original issue.

  45. ‘My “limus test” in the context of the former Yugoslavia is quite simple: I’d ask you whether you could imagine some sort of confederation between the ex-yu republics. If not, you’re probably a nationalist.’

    Well said, I fully agree. Those who destroyed Yugoslavia are all nationalists, no matter how much they claim they want a “united, multi-ethnic Bosnia.”

  46. Aleks:

    “No Rwanda nor Croatia (under the UstaÅ¡a). You’re not convincing anyone.”

    So, if a list isn’t complete, then the existence of the list itself–even as an indicative outline–is without merit?

  47. first of all, that article…
    has no relevence to this subject.
    its jsut a woman (jew herself) complaining about how jews were treated in ww2. and saying we shouldnt not talk about it or forget it.
    theres little reference to bosnia.
    and her statements are wrong.
    milosevic did want to get rid of the bosnian people out of yugoslavia. not the whole world.
    he wanted to get rid of them out the the area’s he thought should be serb dominated.

    no she also states that if it was genocide he would have to go after the whole muslim population.
    1. NO
    who in their right mind with a country like serbia and montenergro would go after a whole religion?
    that is a stupid suggeston. and to me it seem’s like she is the one in denial.
    anyway apart from that useless article. i agree with everything lee has said.

    from being a topic going from how bosnia will survive in the future, people have turned it into a topic accusing someone who IS NOT a nationalist. to a nationalist. with no substantial evidence. some crap about nazi.
    but no evidence of that. only talk.
    or maybe something they dreamt up.

    and also challenging the genocide in bosnia.

    anybody affected by a genocide in bosnia will tell you this.
    my father has been to those concentration camps. he was in various ones for 2 years. including the notorius omarksa one.
    he tells me lot’s of stories of how people got tortured. they made them sing cetnik song’s and if you didn’t they would beat you or kill you.

    etc.
    theres more worse stuff i could say. but i don’t want to i think you get the idea.

    my father obviously did not get killed. but many others did.

    all these mass graves are being found. i think over 200 in total.
    the burying and reburying of people.
    so that was an accident?

    aleks, it seems to me liek you are half denying the serb involvement in the bosnian war.

    if we don’t accept what happened, and move on. then we won;t move on.
    that is maybe why the nationalist parties in serbia win. because nobody will own upto the fact that serbia did commit genoicde and did all these horrible things.

    and
    if you do not call that genocide then i do not know how many people you have to kill in such a bad way. to make it genocide.

  48. ‘if you do not call that genocide then i do not know how many people you have to kill in such a bad way. to make it genocide.’

    The definition of genocide as I understand it doesnt apply to sheer number of people. It applies to the intention to murder all or part of a so called group.

    So called, because I dont believe in different groups. We are all members of the human race after all.

    ‘milosevic did want to get rid of the bosnian people out of yugoslavia’

    Not strictly true, actually he initially tried to keep Bosnia within Yugoslavia. Of course that would have been a kind of Srboslavia so I’ve never really blamed Bosnian Muslums and Bosnian Croats for walking out. The moment the Slovenes (were allowed to) left Yugoslavia was doomed.

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