Reconciliation is a two-way street but the Bosnian Muslims don’t seem to agree — they nearly tore the Serbian prime minister apart at the weekend when he attempted to pay his respects to those killed in Srebrenica in the civil war.
But there is always an upside, and the Srebernica massacre is paying dividends for Europe’s ruling elites two decades later. For in the cultural war, new ways of demonising Whites have to be continually rolled out.
Hence the gathering at Westminster Abbey last week when the British people were reminded that they too had to shoulder the burden of culpability for the massacre of Muslims in the Balkans in 1995. Former government minister Paddy Ashdown said from the lectern “We could have prevented this horror. We chose not to.”
Who does he mean by “we”? That brutal Bosnian civil war was not short of atrocities on both sides. And what has that got to do with ordinary British people?
One reason is that British Muslims need to have a “holocaust” of their own, and this one fits the bill perfectly. Despite the unlikelihood of most British/ Pakistani Muslims being able to find Bosnia on a map, it will help them burnish their victimhood credentials.
Of course there are no shortage of massacres of Muslims in the world but they are usually carried out by other Muslims or Israelis and therefore not fit for purpose. This one was carried out by Whites and is much more useful.
To ram this message home, live BBC programmes have been broadcasting local commemorative events across Britain with special emphasis on towns with large Islamic populations such as Oldham, Burnley, Blackburn Northampton and Rochdale which, curiously enough, are also among the towns plagued by the worst cases of Muslim child sex abuse rings.
With a Downing Street reception, Royal visit, church services in the Scottish and Welsh capitals, nobody could accuse the government of not doing enough to mark the occasion. Celebrity supporters include prominent Speaker of House of Commons John Bercow, and actor Simon Callow. Baroness Doreen Lawrence, mother of the martyred Stephen, lent her name. Even Angelina Jolie has been roped in.
It is also a big payday for the booming international genocide industry with conferences at the University of London and in Washington at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
In London the Wiener Library for the Study of Genocide and Holocaust will be the venue for the “multi-faith” launch of new charity, Remembering Srebrenica which will be spending £1 million of taxpayers money sending hundreds of British kids to Bosnia every year to remember the occasion. The charity is off to a good start with the BBC devoting a prime time television documentary to its activities.
For Dr Alexander Korb, director of the University of Leicester’s Stanley Burton Centre for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Srebrenica had a special resonance. “What seems to be like a distant shadow of the horrors of the Holocaust, happened just 20 years ago on our doorstep, in the middle of Europe, during the Bosnian wars.
Even while the Bosnian war was going on there were those who were not slow to see the strategic advantage. Zbigniew Brzezinski used it to invoke the holocaust and said never again. In the Guardian, David Aaronovich used Srebrenica to justify the war on Iraq.
French media intellectual Bernard-Henri Levy has milked it for all its worth, comparing it to the Warsaw Ghetto. He used it as a media platform to blame France for what happened and says that the sooner Bosnia is integrated into the European Union the better. He even got a play out of it.
Prominent Jewish Holocaust survivors have beaten a path to Bosnia. They include the Academy Award winning producer of the Steven Spielberg film “Schindler’s List” and a Judge at the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia.
Much effort has gone into shackling the two “holocausts” together. Groups such as the American Jewish Committee and Jewish Council for Public Affairs have led the pursuit of alleged (Serbian) war criminals. Bosnia is one of the few places that host Jewish-Muslim multi faith conferences.
It has all been helpfully spelled out in the Jewish Chronicle by prominent neocon and leader writer for The Times Oliver Kamm. In a 2012 article he wrote:
Jews have a particular interest in helping to ensure that the human costs of what followed are accurately recounted. The facts of the genocidal assault on Bosnia’s Muslims are so horrific that a cottage industry of denial has since grown up. You will find websites claiming that the number of victims of the Srebrenica massacre has been exaggerated, and that those who died were killed in combat. This material is not just the equivalent of Holocaust denial, but the same fraudulent argument. It should be recognised and named for what it is: genocide denial.
Kamm expanded on this theme this week in another article titled “Unmasking the deniers.” Apparently these ‘deniers’ are keen to defend the reputation of Serbia as a Slav champion against Western aggression:
Jewish campaigners immediately recognised in 1992 what was happening in the former Yugoslavia and appealed to the conscience of the world. Bosnia was no intractable civil war: it was a campaign of genocidal aggression launched by the Serb leader, Slobodan Milosevic. Elie Wiesel interrupted his own speech at the opening of the Holocaust Museum in Washington to implore President Clinton to protect Bosnian civilians.
Quite apart from the questionable wisdom of citing Elie Wiesel in support of any issue where truth is concerned, it does alert us to another agenda operating here; the cynical determination to use the Bosnian war to serve the promotion of the Holocaust.
Intriguingly, Kamm takes aim at the small band of left-wing Jews who have criticised the West’s bombings in the former Yugoslavia. He specifically singles out Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman — perhaps his way of disguising his own determinedly ethnic agenda.
Another dissenting journalist on Bosnia who has been targeted by neocons is a left-wing non-Jewish journalist called Mick Hume. Hume’s claims that the Srebenica is being abused for a Western agenda make interesting reading. Naturally, he is hobbled by having to pretend he is blind to the Jewish agenda at work, but his arguments still have power.
There is no doubt that Bosnian Muslims were murdered at Srebrenica. But as has been argued before on spiked, everything from the numbers involved to the circumstances of their deaths is far more open to question than the standard version of the parable might suggest (see “How did Srebrenica become a morality tale?,” by Tara McCormack). Taking these events out of their historical and political context and trying to link them to Auschwitz is about creating a morality play of good and evil rather than understanding what happened — and why.
What is a war crime? The legitimacy of the legal term ‘war crime’ is something that the war-crimes tribunal at The Hague has taken for granted, since to do otherwise would be to call its own rationale into question. Yet it is a highly questionable notion, suggesting as it does that there is a ‘good’ and ‘bad’ way to wage a war — and that the West plays by the rules. But war is not cricket. It is a violent struggle for power or survival in which there are no holds barred. To single out some acts of war as crimes makes no more sense than to suggest that other acts of war are harmless pastimes.
The idea of a war crime, dating from the trials of Nazi and Japanese leaders at the end of the Second World War, is essentially a political device used to draw a line between the wartime activities of the West and the rest. Even in the trials of the 1940s, this involved glossing over the way that the British and Americans had also bombed civilians and butchered their enemies. In the 1990s, it involved setting up the Serbs as the new Nazis, to boost the moral authority of the West and justify intervention.
Warming to his theme, Hume wonders why these critics do not question why Clinton or Blair should not be tried for their 1999 illegal war over Kosovo. He also questions the legitimacy of the international court whose appointment and legal status is far from clear.
This has nothing to do with justice or fairness, despite all the courtroom trappings. These courts are not appointed by or accountable to the peoples whose conflicts they rule on and whose fate they help to decide…
The Nazification of the Serbs was to be a self-serving means to those ends; if they were little Nazis, then ‘we’ must be little Churchills.
The Tara McCormack article referred to by Hume contextualizes the war as brutal on both sides, noting, e.g., that “On the Bosnian Muslim side, the area had been under the command of former bodyguard to Slobodan Milosevic, Nasir Oric. Even by the standards of that bitter war, Oric conducted a brutal campaign against Serbian villages in the area. Two journalists reported that they had seen Bosnian Muslim military action that included beheadings.”
There is no doubt that some of the Bosnian Muslim prisoners of war were executed in cold blood.
That murders occurred, however, does not prove genocide. The extent of the massacres has not been fully established; the figure of 8,000 murdered is not proven but an estimate made up from various lists of missing people. To date, the ICTY has identified 2,032 bodies from the 5,000 exhumed (15). While some bodies bear signs of having been killed rather than shot in battle, wounds on many bodies are consistent with battle deaths. Moreover, given that the area had been the scene of heavy fighting since 1992, it is to be expected that there were substantial casualties on both sides, and that many would have been buried in graves where they fell.
But the neocons have not had it all their own way. It was the first UN peacekeeper general in Bosnia who first expressed “serious doubts” about the Srebrenica narrative. Lewis Mackenzie drew attention to the fact that only 2,000 bodies had been recovered and that there is no mention of Bosnian Muslim commander Naser Oric.
Oric was said to have led attacks against the surrounding Serb villages that took many civilian lives. Although released by the International Criminal Court he has now been held again on a fresh war crimes warrant.
And the Guardian this week reported a growing “spirit of denial” was deepening in the Balkans.
The Bosnian Serb leader, Milorad Dodik, has become increasingly assertive in questioning the fact of the Srebrenica killings. Last month he called it “the biggest sham of the 20th century” and he has been supported by nationalists in Serbia and by Moscow, which is currently blocking a UK-sponsored UN security council resolution officially declaring the killings a genocide.
Another dissident journalist is Brendan O Neill who prefers to think that generals like Radko Mladic were a “substitute Hitler” for a bored political class. However, he is determined to ignore an ethnic agenda.
He got halfway there three years ago when he wrote:
The trial of Mladic has nothing to do with “justice for Bosnia”. It is better understood as a cut-price Nuremberg for modern moral crusaders who, lacking a Hess or a Goering, will make do with a Mladic instead. Mladic is a substitute Nazi for self-styled reincarnations of Churchill, those middle-aged bores of the liberal international media who fancy that their brave reporting from Bosnia in the mid-1990s helped to expose that Nazism was alive and well and living in the DNA of every Serb man. No mention of Mladic is complete without the deployment of Holocaust-echoing terminology, whether we’re being reminded that he is responsible for “the worst crimes in Europe since the Nazi Holocaust”, or that he is the “architect of genocide”, or that he was hellbent on cleansing, exterminating, wiping out, and so on.
What is interesting here is the use of guilt. We are morally obliged to get involved. Not to do so would be the inaction of wicked, morally compromised people. As often reiterated on TOO, appeals to the moral conscience of White people are extraordinarily effective.
So in conclusion, Srebrenica is useful for our hostile elites for three quite different reasons:
1. Srebrenica is used to reinforce the moral touchstone of Nazis murdering Jews in World War II—the ultimate holocaust. To be effective, propaganda must be constantly repeated. Srebrenica thus offers a golden opportunity to once again put the Jewish holocaust in the forefront of public consciousness and to promote the idea of Jews as the ultimate victims (after all, 8000 pales in comparison to 6,000,000).
2. Srebrenica is used to promote the ideal of a multicultural Europe that includes Muslims. Europe must do all it can to protect Muslim communities within its borders. The most revealing quote about the Balkans conflict came from General Wesley Clark, Supreme Allied Commander Europe, from 1997 to 2000. “In the modern Europe there is no room for homogenous nation states. It was an idea from the 1800s and we are going to carry [multiculturalism] through…and we are going to create multi-ethnic states.” It is highly unlikely that there would be accusations of genocide if the victims in Srebrenica were Christians.
3. Srebrenica is useful for rationalizing Western intervention in civil wars around the world. This ideology of making the world safe for democracy and human rights is tailor-made for neocons bent on intervening in wars against governments they don’t like—always exempting Israel with its horrific record of violence and oppression of the Palestinians. McCormack:
From Kosovo in 1999 to the Congo in 2005, Srebrenica is held up as conclusive proof that the West is morally obliged to intervene militarily in conflict situations. Jack Straw argued in defence of Western intervention in Macedonia in 2001, on the basis that Srebrenica showed what happened when the West was reluctant to intervene (27). Liberal commentator David Aaronovitch used the same argument to explain his support for military action in Iraq (28). When discussing the killing of 60 Congolese soldiers by UN troops, UN General Patrick Cammaert argued in favour of robust military intervention, because of ‘the lessons of Srebrenica, Somalia and Rwanda’ (29).
There is no evidence to suggest that Srebrenica represents proof of a planned campaign of genocide. Rather, the murders there should be understood in the context of a complicated civil war, which occurred as three groups fought to gain control of parts of Bosnia. The abstraction of the event from the context of a bitter and brutal war is representative of the simplification of the entire Yugoslav conflict.
Still this is unlikely to bother such statesman as the British Prime Minister who, a PR consultant at his fingertips, is unlikely to see beyond the admiring headlines it will earn him. In his statement Cameron said he was working towards a “tolerant and inclusive” Bosnia and Herzegovina as a “tribute to Srebrenica’s memory.” The nearly-lynched Serbian prime minister would no doubt have some interesting things to say on how that is going.