Nobel Prizegiving Decisions: Gone To The Dogs

War Crimes Apologist Peter Handke To The Critics Of Genocide Perpetrated By Serbs: “You can stick your corpses up your arse!”

No declarative words can describe the emotions and content triggered by this year’s Nobel Prize for Literature better than the idiom “gone to the dogs”. Nobel Prize has all gone badly wrong and lost all the good things it had. Austrian author and playwright Peter Handke has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for 2019, with 2018’s postponed award going to Polish writer Olga Tokarczuk.

“You know it was we who protected you from the Asian hordes for centuries. And without us you would still be eating with your fingers.” So declares a character defending the Serbs (and their attendant massacres in the 1990’s war in Bosnia and Herzegovina/ no need to mention the Serb attendant massacres in Croatia during the same time – they are known also) in author Peter Handke’s war play “Die Fahrt im Einbaum oder Das Stueck zum Film vom Krieg” (The Journey into the Dug-out, or the Play of the Film of the War).

“Does the jury sincerely contend that Peter Handke’s appearance at the grave of mass murderer Slobodan Milosovic will advance understanding between nations? Does the brazenness with which Handke glosses over Serbian crimes and denies ethnic cleansing foster solidarity between peoples?” Hubert Spiegel, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 27 May 2006.

Milosevic died in 2006 while on trial at The Hague for war crimes pertaining to the Bosnian genocide, including his role in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys. Handke, however, eulogised Milosevic after the dictator’s death, and before an overflow crowd of some 20,000 radical Serb nationalists. Fourteen Serb war criminals, Milosevic’s men, have been convicted of genocide and other crimes against humanity by the International War Crimes Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) at the Hague including former Military Commander Radislav Krstic, former President of Republika Srpska (Serbian Republic) Radovan Kadadzic and Bosnian Serb Military Leader Ratko Mladic, also known as the “Butcher of Bosnia”. Handke’s alignment with Milosevic has been so controversial that in 2006, his nomination for the Heinrich Heine Prize was ultimately withdrawn and yet, here we are in 2019, the Nobel Committee. While acknowledging the controversy regarding his apologetic stand on war crimes committed by Serbs the Nobel Committee still awards Handke the Prize!

According to an article published in The Irish Times in April 1999, when critics pointed out that the victims’ corpses of Serb genocide provide evidence of Serb war crimes, Handke replied: “You can stick your corpses up your arse.”

It would seem, sadly, that the Nobel Committee ignored the fact that a controversy does not stand for its own sake but for the sake of upholding to the decent level the world’s moral compass. What a shame! How scandalous indeed!

Pater Handke Photo: Getty images

On Thursday 10 October 2019  Peter Handke, 76, won the 2019 Nobel for Literature “for an influential work that with linguistic ingenuity has explored the periphery and the specificity of human experience,” according to the Swedish Academy, the cultural institution responsible for awarding it. If writing about massacre and genocide in order to support the perpetrator then we can all do without this “periphery and specificity of human experience” being elevated to the Nobel! Kosovo’s ambassador to the United States, Vlora Çitaku, tweeted that the award was a “scandalous decision,” adding that “genocide deniers and Milosevic apologists should not be celebrated.” “Have we become so numb to racism, so emotionally desensitized to violence, so comfortable with appeasement that we can overlook one’s subscription and service to the twisted agenda of a genocidal maniac? We must not support or normalize those who spew hatred. You can do better! Nobel,” Vlora Çitaku tweeted further.

In a statement published by PEN America, the organisation that promotes literary freedom of expression said it was “dumbfounded” by the decision to honour a writer “who has used his public voice to undercut historical truth and offer public succour to perpetrators of genocide.”

“We are dumbfounded by the selection of a writer who has used his public voice to undercut historical truth and offer public succor to perpetrators of genocide, like former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic,” they wrote.

“At a moment of rising nationalism, autocratic leadership, and widespread disinformation around the world, the literary community deserves better than this. We deeply regret the Nobel Committee on Literature’s choice.”

Within just over a day from the announcement of the Nobel Prize award to Peter Handke 25,000 have signed an online Petition to the Nobel Committee seeking to revocation his Nobel! The Petition says: ”Peter Handke is an apologist for the “butcher of Balkans” Slobodan Milosevic. Person who was responsible for wrongful death of hundreds of thousands of innocent people and tens of thousands of raped women and men. A person who defends such a monster does not deserve a simplest literary recognition let alone a Nobel Prize. Let us send a loud and clear message to the Nobel Prize Committee, that we do not condone rewarding apologists of mass murderers.”

Winning a Nobel Prize is usually a cause for celebration in the Nobel laureate’s home country as well as worldwide. It is a point of pride in glorious achievements individuals can reach. This pride runs very thin when a laureate’s personal stand outside the works that deserved the Nobel becomes bitter and anger-provoking.

According to AlJazeera, Handke told Serbia’s state TV on Thursday, the night before the Nobel Prize award, that he felt Serbians’ “happiness because of the big award that I have received”, adding that they will celebrate with “a rakija [brandy] and a glass of white wine”.

The Nobel has gone to the dogs! No doubt about that, just a loud shriek of despair! If the world erected a pillar of shame, then this episode with Peter Handke at the Nobel would surely be etched at the top of the list.

Ravaged by infighting, accusations of corruption, and connections with serious sexual assault allegations, the Swedish Academy said in May 2018 that the Nobel Prize for Literature, traditionally announced every autumn, was cancelled for that year.  Prior to Thursday 10 October 2019 observers said this year’s prize has the potential to mark a comeback from the events of last year. Having recognised how low trust was in the Academy. The Nobel Prize is considered by many as the leader in efforts to push things in the other direction, and to open the windows. The only window that has been opened this time around seems to be the one that tells people to forget genocide, even the Holocaust, to forget the atrocities perpetrated by Serbs in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina because they weren’t so bad! Ask the victims of Serb genocidal aggression about that! Ask anyone!

The Swedish Academy for the Nobel Prize lost a lot with not only the accusations of sexual harassment and sexism, and the man who ended up in jail for rape, but also in how they handled the situation with their own members. It will take time to regain trust and respectability. The catharsis has not occurred yet. The untouchable patriarchs are still ruling, and this is demonstrated by the scandalous decision to award the 2019 Nobel for Literature to Peter Handke for whom the horror of war crimes depends on who perpetrates the war crimes! The catastrophe for human decency of this year’s Nobel for Literature can only be crushed by cancelling the one awarded to Peter Handke. Ina Vukic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Radovan Karadzic The Butcher Of Bosnia – Given Life Sentence

Radovan Karadzic

The United Nations international criminal tribunal in The Hague has Wednesday 20 March 2019 rejected former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic’s appeal against his conviction for genocide and war crimes committed during the war of 1992-1995 that saw the bloody carving out of the so-called entity Serbian Republic within Bosnia and Herzegovina and increased his sentence to life in prison. Without a shadow of a doubt Karadzic was one of the architects and leaders of the joint criminal enterprise to permanently remove Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats from Bosnian Serb-claimed territories throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina between October 1991 to 30 November 1995, which resulted in genocide and crimes against humanity.

Judges in The Hague upheld a 2016 ruling that Karadzic was responsible for crimes including the 1995 massacre of 8,000 Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica and the 44-month siege of Sarajevo which claimed about 10,000 lives.

 

Presiding judge Vagn Joensen said the original 40-year sentence did not reflect “the extreme gravity of Karadzic’s responsibility for the gravest crimes committed during the period of conflict, noted for their sheer scale and systematic cruelty”.

 

Reading the verdict of the five-judge panel, Mr Joensen said a life sentence was appropriate given the “extraordinary gravity of Karadzic’s responsibility and his integral participation in the gravest of crimes … committed throughout the entire area of the conflict in Bosnia”.

 

Dismissing Karadzic’s appeal, Mr Joensen said his “contention that he was a psychiatrist and poet with no military training ignores his extensive authority over Bosnian military forces.”

Reportedly Karadzic’s lawyer Peter Robinson said outside the court on Wednesday:

“Karadzic says that if the choice to have an independent [Serb republic in Bosnia] meant that he had to lose his freedom, he’s prepared to make that choice and lose his freedom.”

 

As a reminder, Radovan Karadzic warned Bosniaks and Croats about the dangers of an impending war in Bosnia and Herzegovina in a speech in October 1991 in the Bosnian parliament, after Slovenia and Croatia had already declared independence from Yugoslavia and war of Serb aggression was at its genocidal and ethnic-cleansing of Croats terrifyingly raging stage. He said that leaving Yugoslavia would plunge Bosnia and Herzegovina into violence. The same destiny Croatia was fighting against, defending itself at the time of his speech in Bosnian parliament.

“The road that you are choosing for Bosnia and Herzegovina is the same highway to hell and suffering that Slovenia and Croatia have already taken,” he told lawmakers.

It was a speech that seemed to predict the brutality of the coming conflict, and the massacres that would follow. It would be a “replica” of Serb atrocities that were happening in Croatia.

Bosnia and Herzegovina became independent in 1992, after a vote that was opposed by Serbs who wanted to remain part of Yugoslavia, and then the war broke out.

 

Karadzic’s wartime military chief, Ratko Mladic, is also appealing against the life sentence he was given in 2017 for genocide and war crimes. The former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic, Karadzic’s long-time patron during the war, was on trial in The Hague until his death in 2006  Ina Vukic

 

Herceg-Bosna: Non-Malignancy In Defending Croatian Life

Herceg-Bosna Six – From left: Jadranko Prlic, Milivoj Petkovic, Bruno Stojic, Slobodan Praljak, Berislav Pusic, Valentin Coric
Photo: AFP

The former commander of the Bosnian Serb army, Ratko Mladic, dubbed the Butcher of Bosnia, has last week at the ICTY been found guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, participating in joint criminal enterprise and sentenced to life in prison.

This coming week an important verdict from the ICTY Appeal Chamber awaits six Croatian men (Jadranko Prlić, Bruno Stojić, Slobodan Praljak, Milivoj Petković, Valentin Ćorić and Berislav Pušić) in relation to war crimes charges pertaining to the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The spin and mantra concocted by anti-Croatian political lobby that Croatians engaged in a joint criminal enterprise in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the early 1990’s, with view to creating a Greater Croatia/i.e. that Herceg-Bosna territory should become part of Croatia, made it to the ICTY war crimes charge sheet against these Croats. Should one concentrate upon facts as evidence, transcripts of tape-recorded conversations from the Security Council of the Republic of Croatia during the period 1992–95, for example, one would come across the justified and widespread fear that Croats would become dominated in an independent Bosnia and Herzegovina (by Serbs and Muslims/Bosniaks) but that Croatian leadership in early 1992 expressed strongly the idea that entertaining the idea of any part of Bosnia and Herzegovina becoming joined with Croatia was not the path Croatia would pursue with its military assistance, but defending Croats from attacks would be a matter of necessity, especially given the relatively much smaller number of Croats there as opposed to Serb and Bosniak population. Fears of political domination over Croats and Bosniaks came from Serb onslaught first, then subsequently this fear transformed into security concerns in the second half on 1992 due to the increasing tensions stemming from the escalation of Bosniak pursuits to take over control of areas where Croat majority lived. The presence of imported foreign Mujahedin forces (from Middle East and surrounds) fighting alongside Bosniaks added further weight to the Croatian fear for bare survival.

Back to Mladic case, the distressing reality is that Mladic got most of what he, the Serbs and Serbia wanted: a Bosnian Serb statelet (Republika Srpska/Serbian Republic) from which almost every Croat. Bosniak and other non-Serb was cleansed and banished or murdered. He is adored, his portrait adorns bars and office walls in Bosnia and Serbia, his name sung at football matches…the denial and lack of remorse for the criminal enterprise continues.

Mladic faced two counts of genocide: one for Srebrenica, the other for what happened in the “municipalities” elsewhere in Bosnia. He faced no charges for his heinous crimes in Croatia, which were as gruesome as the ones in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In Croatia as in Bosnia and Herzegovina serial atrocities were committed, while the international community remained indecisive, and worse – tolerating and even attempting to justify on some trumped-up historical ethnic hatreds the utter depravity of Serb aggression. In that, victims – dehumanised!

The whole idea of the Hague tribunal was as much an act of contrition for that failure as it was ambition for international justice. Mladic’s pogroms included more mass-murder, torture, mutilation and rape, in the camps at Omarska, Trnopolje and Keretem in northwest Bosnia. To the east, in Visegrad, civilians – including babies – were herded alive into houses for incineration, or down to a bridge to be shot, or chopped into pieces, and hurled into the river Drina. Then there was the wholesale demolition of countless towns and villages, and the ‘cleansing’ of all non-Serbs, by death or deportation; the razing of mosques and Catholic churches; the gathering of women and girls into camps for violation all night, every night. And the rest,” Ed Vulliamy (a prosecution witness at Mladic trial, one of the first western journalists to discover Serb concentration camps in Bosnia and Herzegovina), The Guardian.

The Hague ICTY’s (International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia), being wound down and replaced with Mechanisms for Criminal Tribunals (MICT), task was always to be judicial, but also to “promote reconciliation” in the Former Yugoslavia territories. There is no reconciliation and the Judges at ICTY have hopefully recognised that fact. There is no reconciliation!

The so-called “joint criminal enterprise” had, in political efforts demonising Croats, spilled into the courtrooms with an overriding political view of equating the victim with the aggressor and with the stark and blatant lack of attempting to fully address the Bosniak/Muslim onslaught against Croats within Bosnia and Herzegovina, the future looks most grim for all should the ICTY confirm a verdict of joint criminal enterprise against the Croatian six this coming week.

While justice is done and seen to have been done via Mladic verdict as relating to the Serb aggression, Serb joint criminal enterprise, and its consequences, a verdict of similar weight in the case of Herceg-Bosna Six would neither be justice nor would justice be seen to have been done.

The United Nations human rights chief, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, called the verdict against Mladic “a momentous victory for justice” and declared that “Mladic is the epitome of evil.”

The problem here is that Mladic did not act alone – the whole of Serb-aggression was the epitome of evil that had to be stopped for humanity’s sake. So, let’s not lose that picture!

Regardless of the verdict that we all feel as part of the campaign against Serbs, Ratko Mladic remains a legend of the Serb nation,” said Milorad Dodik, the president of the Serb statelet in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was carved out and retained via ethnic cleansing of non-Serbs.

Before the start of Serb aggression in Bosnia and Herzegovina there were more than 760,000 Croats (17.4% of the country’s total population) living there and today there are barely 450,000. The loss of Croatian population in Bosnia and Herzegovina far exceeds that of the Serbs and Bosniaks (Muslims) and it unequivocally points to not only the many murdered and banished but also to a still-existing oppression of Croats with view to annihilating them as a constitutional ethnic group with equal rights as Serbs and Bosniaks in that country.

While Serbs ethnically cleansed Croats from the so-called Serb statelet “Serbian Republic” within Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croats, faced with Serb aggression and subsequent the added Muslim or Bosniak onslaught against them, managed to hold on and preserve their lives, where they made up more than half of the population, in towns that were at the time defended with the help of HVO (Croatian Defence Council) and include: Grude, Posušje, Široki Brijeg, Čitluk, Dobretići, Domaljevac, Ljubuški, Kupres, Tomislavgrad, Livno, Usora, Neum, Orašje, Kreševo, Prozor-Rama, Odžak, Žepče, Čapljina, Kiseljak i Mostar.

In an interview in the German magazine Der Spiegel in January 1995, President Franjo Tudjman of Croatia said: “The Muslims wanted to reign over the whole of Mostar then gain ground to the sea, and finally create an Islamic state. That is what our Croats are defending themselves against.”

Should injustice from the ICTY Trial Chamber be cemented when it comes to joint criminal enterprise waged against the six Croats in the Hague on 29 November 2017 then, besides injustice and conviction on false and twisted evidentiary grounds, it is as clear as day that both Serbs and Muslims (Bosniaks) will get what they wanted out of Bosnia and Herzegovina from day one: to control parts of the country’s territory and oust the Croats; to ensure Croats become marginalised and eventually disappear.

The active plan to banish Croats from any significant roll in the life of Bosnia and Heregovina did not end with brutal attacks against them during the war from both the Serb and Bosniak side, but it continued with its implementation even after the 1995 Dayton Agreement (which blessed a continued life to the Serbian Republic within the country), after the war. In 2000, for example, a good part of the International community instigated electoral reforms that would give Bosniaks within the Bosniak-Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina the power to rule and “call the shots” over Croats; similar moves were previously put in motion for Serbs within the Serbian Republic in that country. The resulting developments saw and see the increasing loss of equality of Croats within Bosnia and Herzegovina and the increasing numbers of Croats leaving the country under the pressure of oppression and inequality in that constitutionally triethnic state.

Contrary to any interpretations vying to paint Croatia and Croats as aggressors within Bosnia and Herzegovina the fact is that the Croatian leadership never took the decision to attack, but to defend. The full-scale war between the Bosniaks and Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina did not break out until the Mujahedins abducted Živko Totić and killed four soldiers in his entourage, the Croat head of the HVO Military Police in Zenica, on 15 April 1993, even if drive-by shootings and threats did occur with great intensity prior to that date.

The fact is that Croats’ war efforts in Bosnia and Herzegovina followed no joint criminal enterprise but were, indeed, efforts of non-malignant intent and defensive posture regardless of whether they fought to save themselves from Serbs or Bosniaks.

While the ICTY Prosecutor is seeking increased sentences for the Herce-Bosna Six from the Appeals Chamber, the defence seeks acquittal of all charges, or a retrial. The acquittal or retrial are sought on basis of wrong conclusions by the ICTY Trial Chamber regarding the existence of a joint criminal enterprise and the participation in the same by the Herceg-Bosna Six. Acquittal is surely the only just outcome. Ina Vukic

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