Thursday, July 12, 2012

A response to James Bissetts racists comments on Srebrenica and a plea for action against CTV News

A response to the shameful explanation by the Former Canadian Ambassador to Yugoslavia James Bissett on Canadian Television as to why the Srebrenica Genocide and the War in Bosnia occurred.

James Bissett explains why there was so little action in the west in the face of atrocities during the war in Bosnia. Although mandate after mandate was set, yet ignored by the international community. The illegal UN arms embargo created a clear advantage to the Bosnian Serb VRS and Bosnian Croat HVO who could rely on an endless supply of weapons and ammunition.

In addition, Many power brokers both out in the open and behind the scenes, like Yushi Akashi, Boutros Boutros Gali and General McKenzie openly and clearly sided with the Bosnian Serbs following in the treacherous footsteps of Margaret Thatcher and Lawrence Eagleburger who clearly favored the strongest (militarily) and largest population group in the Balkans, which happened to be the Serbs.

Bissett’s explanation that America was responsible for the war in Bosnia is reprehensible and is just a repeat of what Serb apologists claim. While nearly the entire international community openly recognizes that almost sole responsibility for the wars that consumed Yugoslavia belongs to the Serbs. A CIA report covered in the book “Balkan Battlegrounds” show that through an extensive review of the war the Serbs were responsible for over 90% of crimes committed in Bosnia during the war.

Bissett claims that for Bosnian Serbs what happened in Srebrenica is controversial, claiming that Bosniaks during the breakout “fought their way across” to free Bosnian territory is an outright lie not backed by any facts and is completely inaccurate. Yes, the Bosnian Army’s 28th division led one of three main groups out of Srebrenica, but to claim they fought their way out is way off base. Ambushes, choke points and artillery and tanks were laid out all the way along the path and there was no fighting except at the eventual breakout point across to Bosnian territory. Almost all men were unarmed and carried no extra ammunition for their small arms. The idea that he purports that this was soldiers fighting is just another ridiculous account of blaming the victims and a repeat of Karadzic’s lies made up after the fact that those killed in Srebrenica were soldiers who died in fighting. When in fact it has been proven that they were bussed,  herded into collection points, executed, buried then reburied in order to hide their crimes. There is no controversy over what happened in Srebrenica happened in cold blood, the facts have been established over and over again for 17 years except in the minds of racist nationalists and their apologists, like Bissett, around the globe.

Bissett’s claim that Tuzla was a “Muslim stronghold” is another use of words to obscure the truth. Tuzla was the one and only truly multi-ethnic city still left in Bosnia during the war.  He purposefully uses the terms “Muslim stronghold” in order to raise fear among westerners and makes an attempt to tie Bosnian Muslims to Muslim extremists which helps to back up racist Serbian stereotypes of why they started the war in the first place.

His claim that “roughly the same percentages” of Bosnians and Serbians died during the war are widely inaccurate. Most Bosnian Muslims killed were civilians, most Bosnian Serbs killed were soldiers and relatively few Bosnian Croats died during the war.

Bissett’s further claims that Srebrenica was used as a base to raid Serbian villages has also been found to be untrue by the international courts. The Bosnians were starving and the Serbian villages nearby were chocked full of food and guarded by civilian defense forces who were heavily armed. The claim that 3,000 Serbian civilians were killed around Srebrenica is also an outright lie.   While it is true that some Serbians died in that region, almost all were from combat both around Srebrenica, but also with the Serbian VRS across Bosnia. It has been established that fewer than 400 Serbian civilians died around Srebrenica during the war.

His claim that the US started the war mixes two stories; the referendum on independence being defeated is incorrect. There was a referendum and almost all voted for independence (most Serbs did boycott this referendum). Also there was an agreement to work on a loose confederation of States in the early 1990’s but once Slovenia and Croatia pulled out of these negotiations, it was dead, as Bosnians knew that meant Serbian domination of Bosnia and rump Yugoslavia.

The claim of Serbs not wanting to live under “Sharia law” is another example of Bissett  trying to place fear in the minds of westerners and conjure up images of Iraq, Afghanistan and Osama Bin Laden.

In the end he spends less than a minute of the interview talking about what happened in Srebrenica the next five minutes making excuses for what the Serbs did.

Please contact this network and point out what he said was wrong, factually inaccurate, racist and has no place in a discussion on the Genocide that was committed in Srebrenica by the Serbs against Bosnian Muslims.

A link to the original story is located here...

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1) Do you remember where were you when you realized the war was imminent?
I remember very well when few days before Bosnian war broke out I was sitting in a
coffee shop with my friends. Of course, like everybody else in that time, we were talking
about politics and possible war that was coming to Bosnia-Herzegovina. When we left that coffee shop through my head passed thought “there is not chance that the war does not happen”. I felt so helpless.
 2) Do you remember where you were when the war broke out?
Of course, there are not too many wars in people's lifetime. I was step away from my
Mechanical engineering diploma in Sarajevo when war broke out in Bosnia.
 3) Where were you when the war came to your town?
I was at my apartment in Sarajevo. Confused and scared like everybody else.
 4) The most memorable event of the war for you was?
Unfortunately, many events were memorable in bad sense, but day when I lost my
Best friend Samir was the most memorable event of the war for me.
5) What made you hopeless during the war?
Better question would be what didn't make me hopeless during the war. It would be
Easier question to answer then this one. Almost everything was making me hopeless during the war, really.
 6) What gave you hope during the war?
When war just started my hope was international community. Later even that hope I lost.
 7) Did you lose anyone close to you during the war?
Of course, unfortunately. Many close people including my best friend.
 Were you wounded during the war? Where were you wounded?
No, I wasn't. At least when we talk about physical wound. Other kind of wounds I think all of us had.
9) Your biggest loss during the war was?
Biggest loss are, of course, people I knew and I loved. People who unnecessarily died
during the war.
 10) What was the hardest part about the war?
All parts of the war are hardest parts, because there is nothing normal or easy about war.
Especially in this kind of dirty war like we had in our country.
 11) Did you leave the country during the war?
After 2 years of the war I left the country.
 12) 20 years later, what do you think of what happened?
I think all of us know what happened. I wouldn't go with further explanation.
 13) Are things better or worse than what you expected 20 years later?
Some things are better, but some things are worse than I was expecting. Still, peace is
better then war in any case.
 14) Do you think war will return to BiH?
I can only hope that war will never return to BiH. There is no winner in the war and I
hope everybody will understand that.
 15) What do you think the future of BiH will be?
Future of BiH should be youth of this country. Young educated people who are not poisoned with nationalism and hatred. Youth who are ready to build our mutual and beautiful country called Bosnia-Herzegovina as place for all people who live in it. I can only hope that this younger generation will be better than their parents and grandparents.