No Dogs, Catholics Or Muslims Allowed

Civilians of Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina 1993 running for cover to avoid Serb snipers during the city's siege Photo: Chris Helgren/Corbis

Civilians of Sarajevo in
Bosnia and Herzegovina 1993
running for cover to
avoid Serb snipers during the city’s siege
Photo: Chris Helgren/Corbis

The referendum held on 25 September 2016 in the entity of Serbian Republic (Republika Srpska/RS) within Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) regarding confirmation that 9 January should be set as public holiday for the celebration of the Day of Republika Srpska/Serbian Republic Statehood Day may to many in the outside world seem benign but given BiH’s geographic position coupled with the 1990’s history puts it all in a different light. But, in reality and in truth this frighteningly defiant move led by Milorad Dodik, RS president – and nourished and supported via Russia’s Vladimir Putin’s promises of financial supports – has all the hallmarks of officially legitimising war crimes, especially ethnic cleansing and genocide (including Srebrenica) committed during 1990’s against Croatians and Bosniaks/Muslims of Bosnia and Herzegovina/BiH in that self-proclaimed Serbian territory situated within sovereign borders of BiH.

 

It once again brings to a chilling reminder the chilling “banner”, the “warning sign” under which Serb aggression operated there in that BiH sovereign territory in the 1990’s: No Dogs, Catholics or Muslims Allowed.

 OHIO, Nov. 21, 1995 from Centre left: President Slobodan Milosevic of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, President Alija Izetbegovic of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and President Franjo Tudjman of the Republic of Croatia sign the Dayton Peace Accords. Photo: U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Brian Schlumbohm

OHIO, Nov. 21, 1995
from Centre left:
President Slobodan Milosevic
of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia,
President Alija Izetbegovic
of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
and President Franjo Tudjman of the Republic of Croatia
sign the Dayton Peace Accords.
Photo: U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Brian Schlumbohm

 

In November 1995 the primarily US-driven international Dayton Accords peace agreement ended the war in BiH and it preserved BiH as a single sovereign state, divided into two largely autonomous parts/entities: the Bosniak-Croatian Federation and the Serbian Republic. Dayton Accords, although made having peace in mind, in essence meant that peace had no chance as no conductive environment was created for proper reconciliation, in many ways the Serb aggressor was rewarded with its own region to govern autonomously. Dayton Accords agreement had sealed the fate of BiH as a sovereign state made up of three constitutional peoples (Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs) into a perpetual state of ethnic rivalry, recriminations, dysfunction and fear that Serbs were only “an inch” away from achieving their initial goal of creating their own sovereign state from parts of BiH’s sovereign territory they’d cleansed of all non-Serbs.

 

Milorad Dodik had officially, with apparent newfound determination, begun threatening to hold a referendum on secession of Serbian Republic from BiH in 2014 if Bosnia does not become a confederation of three states (Serb, Croat and Bosniak). At that time he sought to seize on the Crimean referendum and subsequent Russian annexation as a political and moral guide and an example of self-determination in action, however wrong, tragic and misguided these actions may have been held by the leaders of the Western democratic world. Dodik had planned for the referendum regarding 9 January as the Day of Serb Republic/ Statehood Day (which date by the way coincides with the Serb Orthodox religious holiday) to be held on 15 November 2015 but this and any such referendum was thwarted via BiH Constitutional Court’s ruling, making such referendums illegal.

Milorad Dodik September 2016 Photo: Reuters/ Dado Ruvic

Milorad Dodik
September 2016
Photo: Reuters/ Dado Ruvic

Defying BiH Constitutional Court and BiH Parliament, to which Serbian Republic answers, the referendum held Sunday 25 September saw the Serbs living in that entity in overwhelming numbers voting Yes to declaring 9 January as the Day of Serbian Republic. The relatively very few Croats and Bosniaks now living in the Serb Republic (having returned there post 1995 Dayton Accords agreement) had refused to vote in the referendum because, in essence, the referendum represents Dodik’s rehearsal for an eventual secession of Serb Republic from BiH and, therefore, the destruction of BiH as the world knows it now.

A further element of defiance and repulsive attempt to legitimise genocide and ethnic cleansing committed by Serbs in this referendum can be seen through Biljana Plavsic’s comments as she voted in the RS representative office in Belgrade, Serbia. Biljana Plavsic, whose actions in 1992 as a member of collective presidencies of both Bosnia and the breakaway Serbian Republic of Bosnia constituted crimes against humanity and who actively supported the ethnic cleansing of Bosniaks and Bosnian Croats in Serb-held lands, who is an ICTY convicted war criminal said last week that the referendum represents a defense of Serbian Republic – of that in which she herself had participated in the 1990’s.

Whether the leaders of Croatians and Bosniaks living in BiH consider Dodik’s defiant move with the referendum as some kind of an internationally acceptable foundation for a movement that would split BiH into three different ethnically defined sovereign states (Bosniak, Croat, Serb) is at this stage a disquieting point occupying a great deal of political analyses space throughout the world. As desirable as contemplation of such a division of BiH into three sovereign states may appear to each of the three ethnic groups at this moment may be, this articulated in the media desirability or political assessment in essence masks the real and dangerous prospect of the possibility of repeated Serb violence and aggression against Croatians and Bosniaks in BiH.

 

Croatian refugee families from Serb Republic still today in their thousands seek return to their rightful homes in Banja Luka. Photo: HINA

Croatian refugee families from Serb Republic
still today in their thousands seek return to their rightful homes in Banja Luka.
Photo: HINA

Dodik’s defiance with holding the referendum and his subsequent defiance of the BiH State Prosecutor by refusing to answer a summons to appear before the prosecutor regarding his breach of the Constitutional Court order that declared the referendum illegal, are acts that are very likely to motorise the Serb population’s energy for renewed attacks against non-Serbs in BiH. Dodik has found it handy to interpret everything commented against his referendum as threatening to his personal safety and so:
I will not go to the prosecutor’s office in Sarajevo but I am ready to give a statement in any other judiciary office in the Serb Republic,” Dodik told a news conference 27 September 2016. He therefore rejects the jurisdiction of the government of Bosnia Herzegovina to which Serbian Republic entity must answer. He has therefore, in his mind and in his deeds already cut Serbian Republic’s ties with BiH.
If Dodik fails to comply with a summons, and fails to justify it, the prosecution will then issue an arrest warrant,” said Bosnia’s Security Minister Dragan Mektic, a Bosnian Serb.

Map of Bosnia and Herzegovina with entities of Serb Republic/ Republika Srpska and Croat Bosniak Federation

Map of Bosnia and Herzegovina
with entities of
Serb Republic/ Republika Srpska
and Croat Bosniak Federation

 

All this says that Bosnia and Herzegovina is in a more dangerous state than at any other time since Dayton Accords in 1995, with looming possibility of renewed violence and crimes against humanity. It confirms that, despite atrocities committed in early 1990’s and guilt confirmed via international criminal tribunal and domestic criminal courts, Serbs have not learned to keep their fingers off sovereign territories and state borders that have been established/recognised on an international level for many decades. Collective catharsis associated with the atrocities and war crimes as some guarantee of lasting peace in BiH has made no progress despite Dayton Accords and the UN’s International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). This latest behavior of Bosnian Serbs evidences the fact that reconciliation in BiH (in former Yugoslavia, really) has been a pipe dream, and a utopian dream concocted by the West and the European Commission who thought that equating the aggressor with the victim would reap positive results of reconciliation and peace. Permitting Serbian Republic to exist within BiH in the first place was the beginning of that pipe dream, which was above all cruel to the victims of war crimes and, as such, it was never going to work. Daytom Accord should have either split BiH into three distinctive sovereign states (Bosniak, Croat and Serb) or insisted on retaining BiH as a single sovereign state without entities or divisions of autonomous territory between its constituent ethnic/national groups.

But as things have panned out, the world must cringe with disgust watching the referendum signatures of the majority of the genocidal Bosnian Serb “nation” celebrating without an inkling of shame or remorse their “state” founded on war crimes, forced deportations, ethnic cleansing, concentration camps, genocide, torture…and all that permitted by way of world leaders’ benign political statements that offer only political analyses of the past and no visible intention for decisive involvement to stop such lunacy that is creating new victims of the imposed ethnic Serb superiority in that region. This is a true perversion of justice for the victims of crimes against humanity and freedom to live peacefully anywhere within one’s country’s sovereign borders.

By way of referendum for Serb Republic Statehood Day Bosnian Serbs are erecting a monument to those who committed genocide. This comes without real sanctions and practical intervention against this shame for humanity as all of the political analyses and statements by world leaders about this appear more benevolent toward this Serb cause of celebrating genocide than toward anything else. Turbulent times are on the cards once again for Bosnia and Herzegovina; for Bosniaks and Croatians. Together with political instability in Macedonia, violent protests in Kosovo, the destabilisation of Bosnia and Herzegovina will have a destructive influence on the entire Balkan region. The referendum in Republika Srpska also perfectly shows how history can be used to drum up hostility between nations. Desirous of peace and life without fear, a life that moves away from daily infliction of pain contained in politically live reminders of the 1990’s war, Bosnian Croats may do well by utilising this latest practically unchecked Bosnian Serb defiance and seek their own independence or autonomy within or without BiH. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

A Horror Journal: Forget The Victims Of Serb Atrocities And Genocide!

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) Yellow represents Serbian Republic That part of BiH that was ethnically cleansed By Serbs

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH)
Yellow represents Serbian Republic
That part of BiH that was ethnically cleansed By Serbs

Today 9 January the political entity called Serbian Republic (Republika Srpska) is pushing ahead with celebrating its Day – the 21st anniversary of its own proclamation! This is also the 21st anniversary of the beginning of genocide and ethnic cleansing of all non-Serb nationals from the areas in Bosnia and Herzegovina where Serbs were in majority. Serb police, soldiers, and irregulars attacked Muslims and Croats, and burned and looted their homes. Some were killed on the spot; others were rounded up and killed elsewhere, or forced to flee. The genocide culminated in Srebrenica massacre of more than 8,000 Muslim (Bosniak) men and boys in July 1995. Then in November 1995 came the Dayton Agreement which ended the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina effectively dividing it into two political/administrative entities: Serbian Republic (Serbs of Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Federations of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosniaks and Croats of Bosnia and Herzegovina).
Ahead of the anniversary of the Republika Srpska (RS) Bosnian entity, members of 25 associations, which represent Bosnian war victims, held a press conference on Monday 6 January aiming to raise public awareness for the crimes and foundations of that entity.
A postcard with a photo of exhumed body remains found in Tomasica, the largest mass grave in Bosnia after World War II discovered at the end of 2013, was prepared for the occasion.
The postcards of the remains unearthed 18 years after the end of the Bosnian war were sent to the addresses of RS authorities ahead of January 9, the Day of Republika Srpska.
“If you mark the Day of Republika Srpska, do not forget that these are its foundations,” wrote the post card.

Postcard sent to Serbian Republic,  Bosnia and Herzegovina, 6 January 2014

Postcard sent to Serbian Republic,
Bosnia and Herzegovina, 6 January 2014

Today, 9 January, the president of Serbian Republic, Milorad Dodik, celebrated Serbian Republic Day, marking it publicly perhaps for the first time for what it truly was intended to be from the very start: an independent state, which will then easily pin itself as part of Greater Serbia. He sent a message to the world that the Serbian will continue existing and be increasingly stronger and that its independence needs to be placed as a government and political goal.
Commenting on the Postcard from victims (referred to above) Dodig said that it arrived from the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and not from Serbian (Republic) and that Serbian (Republic) is not governed by politics of ethnic hatred.
“If someone does not want reconciliation, they can only increase our convictions that we are on the right tracks of fighting for our status. Are they going to continue behaving negatively towards Serbian (Republic)? Of course they will. Many of them have suffered and lost their loved ones, but the Serbian side also had many who suffered”, said Dodik.
He said that the crimes were not committed in the name of Serbian Republic and that it never had plans of such kind, and that none of its leadership set such goals.

Oh yes they did Mr Dodik! The goal was to achieve an ethnically pure region (Serb) and in order to achieve that goal genocide, rape and forced deportation were employed as means to achieve that goal.

We must not allow that attempts that seek justice for perpetrators of genocide be labelled ethnic hatred.

During his visit to Sarajevo in 2010 Croatia’s president Ivo Josipovic urged Bosnian and regional leaders to put the past behind and work towards a shared, prosperous future in the European Union. He is been pushing the same agenda in Croatia: forget the Serb, or any other, crimes committed during the war of brutal aggression, move forward…

Wrong, wrong, wrong!

Victims do not forget, victims cannot forget! Victims must have justice! We owe the victims the dignity of ensuring that genocide does not win its targeted prize: freedom/independence. Just imagine what would happen if someone came up to the Jews and told them to forget the Holocaust, to stop hunting down the Nazis who killed. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A.,M.A.Ps. (Syd)

PLEASE READ “THERE IS NOTHING TO CELEBRATE” BY MISHKA GORA

Serbs serve more “Blood” than “Honey” for Angelina Jolie’s film promotion

Angelina Jolie Photo: Slobodna Dalmacija

According to the Guardian’s article Angelina Jolie’s directorial debut “In the Land of Blood and Honey was intended to remind the world of the horrors of the Bosnian war which began 20 years ago, and trigger a debate among Bosnians over what happened and why. But it has succeeded most in exposing the depth of the rifts in a country that many fear is moving away from reconciliation and drifting once more towards dangerous instability. Since the film opened, with a peace award at the Berlin film festival on Monday (13 February 2012) and a premiere before 5,000 people in Sarajevo on Tuesday night, Jolie and several Serbian members of the cast have received threats.
In the Land of Blood and Honey is a stark, brutal and often shocking portrayal of the war. It shows summary executions and the systematic rape of Muslim and Croat women by Serbian officers at one of the many camps set up around the country.
An estimated 100,000 people were killed in the war, 8,000 Muslim men and boys murdered at Srebrenica in 1995, which the Hague tribunal has declared an act of genocide.
The current Bosnian Serb leadership rejects the findings of the tribunal and other international investigations, and Jolie’s film is not being shown in the Republika Srpska, the Serbian entity which makes up more than half of Bosnia.”
Republika Srpska (Serbian Republic) arose from within the borders of the former Yugoslav state of Bosnia and Herzegovina and it’s “birth” is soaked in genocidal blood and horrors of the 1990’s wars when Croatian and Bosnian Serbs and the Serb-led Yugoslav Army mounted terrible aggression in order to stop the secession of Croatia and Bosnia from communist Yugoslavia. It is, therefore, no surprise that Bosnian Serbs have hostile attitudes towards Jolie’s movie. One can safely conclude that Serbs don’t want the world to know or imagine more about their horrors.
Critics, including renowned Serbian film director Emir Kusturica, “alleged that Jolie unfairly had depicted ethnic Serbs as sole aggressors in the war and associated ethnic-cleansing campaigns. Kusturica told Serbian daily Blic that Jolie’s new film was a work of Hollywood propaganda.”
Does it really matter whether it’s propaganda or not?

In all its history, movie making has been about bringing to the world portrayals of factual as well as fictional events. Jolie has brought a factual story of horror told by fictional characters. There’s no propaganda in that. But even if it were propaganda then it’s high time for more of it because justice has not yet been served to all the innocent victims, and especially not to rape victims in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

So, I say: “good on you, Angelina! Now make a movie on the thousands upon thousands of rape victims in Croatia because Croatian women who were raped by the Serbs during the 1990’s war still await their justice. But worse than that, they are forced to live in the same community as their rapists (e.g. in Vukovar) because the international community, particularly the European Union, has been pushing for the return to Croatia of Serbs who fled the country in 1995 without insisting on justice and conditions that Serbs need to meet if they wish to rehabilitate themselves back into the country which they so brutally ravaged.
Attending the Croatian premiere of the movie in Zagreb, Croatia, Friday February 17, Jolie said: “I hope that my film will throw a light upon this region, that people will come and travel here, be excited by your beautiful country and artists that inspire”. When, on the red carpet, asked why she made the movie she replied: “It was the bloodiest conflict since WWII, and I felt that I did not know anything about it, like many people in other countries. People here have suffered enormous agonies and are still suffering through much. International community needs to continue helping them.”

Let’s hope that Jolie’s movie will trigger more investigations and prosecution of all rapists from the war in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. While Serb rapists from Bosnia have maintained a relatively safe haven from prosecution within the Serbian Republic and Serbia, in Croatia most roam freely because the international community insists on their return to Croatia. While the ICTY in the Hague has included rape as a war crime, only the individuals who are before it get to answer for it. The majority of the rapists are still at large and much more needs to be done for justice to be served. Every bit helps and Jolie’s film may well trigger some blood into a boiling point that will see an increased number of criminal investigations and criminal trials for rape, wherever the rapists may be – even in “Western” countries where many live normal lives as refugees from former Yugoslavia. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A. Ps. (Syd)

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