EDITORIAL: "WE SHALL TAKE
VENGEANCE AGAINST THE TURKS"
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
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
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
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.