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NO 91-92

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INFO   :::  Helsinki Charter - PAGE 2 > Helsinki Charter No. 91-92 > Text


Helsinki Charter No. 91-92

January - February 2006



By Sonja Biserko

For Serbia and her political elite 2006 is a crucial year - as it seems, the international community has finally decided to pull the plug on the Yugoslav crises, i.e. on dissolution of the former SFRY. Pending statuses of Kosovo and Montenegro have kept alive the illusion that the Greater Serbia project, i.e. Serbia's territorial aspirations were sustainable. It goes without saying that bringing the dissolution process to an end implies the pressure on Serbia to fully cooperate with The Hague Tribunal and, among other things, extradite Ratko Mladic.

The government's attempt to finally "extradite" Ratko Mladic failed again. The accompanying hysteria once again triggered off the anti-Hague campaign staged under slogans such as "The Hague is where the deep-rooted lie made up by the world's real butchers and criminals should be confuted." The same mindset brings forth interpretations according to which "fortunately, less and less people believe in the dark story of Srebrenica that has been weighting even its alleged victims." Further, "The Srebrenica fabrication has been put together even before this hamlet was routinely liberated," while "massive crimes" were fabricated just because "Srebrenica neighbors on Serbia and was meant to have Serbia punished." The same style marks the claims that Serbian troops "never entered a non-Serb village unless self-defense dictated otherwise." By the way, it was Ratko Mladic himself who, while invading the village of Osmaca, said, "This was the biggest Muslim village a Serb foot has never stepped in before we liberated it."

It's more and more obvious that the resolution of Kosovo status will be sped up and that independence (conditional or full, makes no difference) is an optimal solution. Should Kosovo become independent, says the Serbian Radical Party - like the Serbian Orthodox Church before it - Serbia should immediately proclaim it occupied. Allegedly, Tomislav Nikolic and the Serbian Premier have already agreed on such sequence of events. Off the record, cabinet members label Kosovo's independence "a fait accompli," which, in a way, unburdens one's mind. But in public they keep insisting they would never put their signatures under such solution. The media keep on campaigning against the Albanians. Some media outlets are crying blue murder - "An independent Kosovo will be nothing but yet another Islamic terrorist state in the heart of Serbia," they say. The media also announce that "the Serbs from Kosovo ghettoes are getting ready for a flying start" and claim that "/Slobodan Milosevic/ was the first European statesman whose soldiers and policemen have courageously fought against and won out over the organized, militant, brutal, Islamic terrorism that was destroying Christian churches and killing Christians."

The awarded Bosnian film "Grbavica" quite unexpectedly drew the attention of the Serbian public. Belgrade perceived the Golden Bear Award of the Berlin Festival bestowed upon this film as an award "against the crime prone Serbs." Accordingly, the movie had nothing to do with "rapes of women in wartime" but was meant to incite "anti-Serb sentiments, rekindle the world's hatred of Serbia and besmear the Serbs." Simultaneously, the Bosnian charge against Serbia for genocide to be decided before the International Court of Justice in The Hague raised a great hue and cry since the media refer to it only in the terms of war compensation to be "paid by our children."

Any careful analyst of the Balkans could have foreseen the cost of Serbia's failed national program. It's almost incredible, therefore, how lulled the Memorandum Serbs have been while looking forward to another denouement testifying that these analysts had been in the right. It is their moral duty to go public with their failures and accept the responsibility for what has now befallen their children's who will be more and more faced with the movies such as "Grbavica" and other dealing with ex-Yugoslav wars.

The phrase Ratko Mladic uttered on July 11, 1995, while "liberating" Srebrenica - "On the eve of a major Serbian holiday, we give this town to the Serbian people, as the moment for taking vengeance against the Turks has finally come" - is just a logical outcome of the atmosphere that has prepared the wars in the territory of ex-Yugoslavia. This is about the atmosphere created by a part of the Serbian intellectual and cultural elite, particularly by the academicians supporting the infamous Memorandum and the role they played in Yugoslavia's disintegration.

Specially active in this circle - for the sake of memory - were Serbian experts in Islam on "special assignment" to demonize Yugoslavia's Muslim population, for, as they used to put it, "Muslims figure as a particularly vulnerable community because of specific geopolitical circumstances and thus stand in the way of the establishment of Greater Serbia." This crucially determined the policy of their /Muslims'/ extinction and displacement. Long before the war broke out, the authors of Memorandum went for shaping negative stereotypes about the Muslims as some alien, inferior and dangerous factor. What they notably insisted on was the size of the Muslim population that, as they put it, threatens to override the Serbs and turn them into a minority in their own territory. In 1988, one of the authors of Memorandum, Milos Macura, outstanding Yugoslav demographer, told the Round Table on the Study of Kosovo, "Demographic objectives that actually do not differ those in the past, obviously source from some contemporary aspirations. Though pre-Islamic, the ideology of natality is strongly supported by Islam." "In other words, community elders, Islam teachers and parents alike support natality. This high and uncontrolled birthrate is backed by three major institutions of a traditional society: brotherhood and tribe, Islam as an organized religious community and family as a major social institution," he added. Dr. Miroljub Jeftic also warned that the Muslim world could attain its goal to "live in the Balkan area by the will of Allah" only if Muslims were in the majority. Religion that bounds Muslims to give birth to as many children as possible is used as an instrument of birthrate propaganda, said Jeftic. According to him, global Islamic schemers are tasked with Islamizing the entire Serbia, as the first step in their invasion of Europe.

In a series of articles carried by dailies and magazines, but also by the Vojska army weekly, professors Darko Tanaskovic and Miroljub Jeftic were, as a rule, picturing Islam as backward and violent. What they mastered, however, was the betrayal of Bosnian Muslims who have allegedly converted into Islam. In late 1991 and early 1992 when anti-Islam campaign was in full swing and when it was obvious that Bosnia-Herzegovina would not remain in Yugoslavia, Darko Tanaskovic interpreted Bosnia's appeal to Turkey for help as "a taciturn restitution of Islamic converters from bygone days," reminding all and sundry that "for Serbs, Islamic converters were worse that Turks themselves." So, Tanaskovic warns, "Archetypically, threatening a Serb with a Turk is even worse and more menacing than threatening him with Germans." The thesis that Islamic fundamentalism - fatal for Yugoslavia - is by far more important than Serb-Croatian relations was being promoted. Public was being warned of Albanization, for "Albanization destroys Christian churches, graveyards and population, while building mosques and spreading the Muslim way of life." The books by the only Nobel Prize winner in ex-Yugoslavia, Ivo Andric, dealing with "the controversies and the doom of the Dark Village" were abundantly promoted worldwide, the same his Letter Written in 1920, quoting "Bosnia is a land of hatred and fear."

The thesis according to which "domestic Muslims have been genocidal throughout the history" while "their crimes were ascribed to ethnic Turks so as to 'give the wrong address' and have criminals and their guilt swept under the carpet" was skillfully brought to the public eye. Islam was schemingly connected with Bosnian politicians' activity in Kosovo. Accordingly, the Christian Bosnia was destroyed in the name of Islam, for those who have "converted into Islam have betrayed Bosnia." For, "conversion into Islam was nothing but betrayal."

Outstanding leaders and intellectuals were propagating the war and ethnic cleansing as legitimate means in the accomplishment of justifiable ends. Biljana Plavsic, biologist, was claiming that "Muslims were genetically mean people" and that "their genes simply condense from generation to generation." "It /gene/ becomes worse and worse, manifests itself in a simple way, and dictates their way of thinking and behavior," she said. Biljana Plavsic will go down the history for saying, "I would prefer total cleansing of Eastern Bosnia from Muslims. Don't interpret literally the term 'cleansing' as I do not refer to ethnic cleansing. Because they /the international community/ named a natural phenomenon ethnic cleansing and qualified it a war crime."

The anti-Muslim campaign - staged for 30 years now - has psychologically prepared Serbia's citizens for what would befall Muslims in Bosnia, Sandzak and Kosovo. The campaign is still on, but placed in a larger, global context. For, the Serbs have allegedly fought against Muslim terrorism. Demonization of innocent Muslims and the use of brutal methods - from expulsion to genocide - deeply scared the region where Serbs and Muslims still live side by side. Mutual trust will never be restituted unless the truth is acknowledged.


NO 91-92

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