by Editor (Editorials, Crescent International Vol. 41, No. 3, Jumada' al-Akhirah, 1433)
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the brutal war imposed on Bosnia-Herzegovina.
When the Serbs launched their war on Bosnia in early 1992, few could have imagined the barbarity unleashed on a defenceless people. In the span of less than 50 years, concentration camps reappeared and genocide was perpetrated in the heart of Europe again after the Second World War. Before the war, Sarajevo was arguably the most cosmopolitan city in Europe, indeed the entire world. Bosnians, Croats and Serbs had lived peacefully for decades. The majority Muslim Bosnians showed no animosity toward the Serbs despite the latter’s barbarism against the people of Kosova. The Serbs made no attempt to hide their hatred of Bosnians by harping on imaginary injustices they had suffered in Kosova 600 years ago, but few could have imagined the Serbs would indulge in such barbarism and get away with it. In their innocence, the Bosnians thought they would be able to avoid the ravages of war that were inflicted by the Serbs on the Croats. Little did they realize that their peaceful nature would not save them from the Serbs’ bloodletting. In fact, the Bosnians’ peaceful nature spurred Serbian aggression. Once through with their war on Croatia, the Serbs turned their guns on the unarmed Muslims of Bosnia.
The Serbs made no attempt to hide their hatred of Bosnians by harping on imaginary injustices they had suffered in Kosova 600 years ago...
We need to recount some of the horrors that were perpetrated on the Bosnians as well as the sordid role of Western powers in denying them all means of self-defence. History also played its part: traditionally, the Yugolsav army had a preponderance of Serb officers. Weapons were also concentrated in Serb-dominated areas. Thus, when the Serbian army was through with the Croats, instead of heading to Serbia through Bosnia, they took up positions in the mountains above Sarajevo. Serb gunners unleashed the most ferocious bombardment of the city. Anyone or anything that moved was targeted: people out shopping in the market, women taking their children for a stroll in the park as well as apartment buildings, libraries and masjids. The very history and heritage of the Bosnians was systematically wiped out. The situation was no better elsewhere in Bosnia. In towns and villages, armed Serbian gangs methodically picked up their Bosnian neighbours. Some were murdered in their homes; others were hauled to concentration camps to be tortured and their women and girls subjected to rape.
Even while this was going on in full view of the world’s media, Western powers using the UN, imposed the most stringent weapons embargo on “all warring parties” in the former Yugoslavia. This served the Serbs just fine; they had all the weapons they needed; the Bosnians were prevented even from self-defence. The West was, therefore, fully complicit in the Serbian genocide of Bosnians. An estimated 350,000 Bosnians were slaughtered in the war that lasted from February 1992 to December 1995. To their lasting shame, the Serbs also raped more than 50,000 Bosnian women and girls. Some were hauled away and used as sex slaves during the war. While there are many heart-breaking episodes in the three-year war, the massacre of Srebrenica in July 1995 must stand out as the most barbaric. Before the eyes of the Dutch “peace-keeping” forces that were sent to protect the Bosnians, the Serbs separated men and boys from the women and then perpetrated a bloodbath killing an estimated 10,000 Bosnians. Their bodies were then dumped in mass graves. A few days later, they were dug up and buried in different locations in an attempt to hide the evidence. This resulted in body parts of the victims being mixed. To this day not all bodies have been recovered for proper burial. The painstaking process of identifying body parts continues and every July, hundreds of body parts are reburied with the remains of other parts in the original grave. For families of the victims, there is never a closure to their tragedy.
The question that needs to be asked is: how did the Serbs get away with mass murder, genocide, concentration camps and indulging in ethnic cleansing as if Muslims were somehow unclean? The simple answer is that the West was not prepared to tolerate a Muslim majority state in the heart of Europe. For all their talk of being civilized, the West indulges in the most barbaric practices imaginable. The tragedy of the people of Bosnia reminds us once again that the West does not practice what it preaches and that it is driven by the most intense hatred of Muslims and Islam. The tragedy of Bosnia reminds us once again that it is not enough to be right; one must also have the means to defend oneself or be prepared for the most cruel forms of brutality in a world that knows little about mercy or compassion.