Monday, March 13, 2006

Well, I have watched the video again:

Over-the-top 'expose' on Mujahideen in Bosnia

Some of the images in this report are genuinely disturbing. The sight of the captured Serb soldier being taunted, hit repeatedly, and then led to his death is deeply disturbing. One wants to reach through the screen and appeal to the Bosnian Muslim soldiers, to beg them to ignore the bearded mujahideen and his craven 'advice.' While there is no gore in this piece (apparantly some of the footage Sky News acquired is quite graphic), it is not easy viewing.

However, this reporter is not interested in fleshing out the broader, human tragedy of the Yugoslav wars; nor is he interested in illustrating one of the many of the ambiguities of that conflict. Rather, he deliberately juxtaposes jarring images before putting them in context, and implies worst-case scenarios before acknowledging that they have not come to pass. Most damning, however, is his decision to validate nationalist Serb propagdanda. Fifteen years after the war to dismember the multi-cultural state of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the name of ethno-religious purity, the ridiculous ultra-nationalist Serb claims that they were fighting to defend Europe from Islamic terrorism have finally found a willing mouthpiece in the West.

Yes, most outrageous about this report is at the end--after filming scenes of hostile villagers in Zenica and bearded Muslims outside a Saudi-funded mosque in Sarajevo, the reporter finally sits down with someone and lets him talk at length--that person is a Bosnian Serb policeman. And this gentleman is allowed to spout off at some length about his concerns that Islamic fundamentalism is taking root in Bosnia--the same disingenuous claims that Serb ultra-nationalists used to justify their war aims a decade and a half ago.

A responsible reporter might have noted this. A responsible reporter might have also pounced on this gem--the Bosnian Serb policeman actually blames the situation on the lack of a unified police force! The sheer nerve and hypocrisy of this statement goes completely unchallenged by our intreped reporter, who surely can't be completely unaware of the terms of the Dayton Agreement, or of the existance of 'Republika Srpska,' so he can't be completely oblivious to the main reason that Bosnia lacks a unified police structure, can he?

Or is he so eager to shock his viewers with the spectre of Islamic fundamentalism taking root in the heart of Europe that he is willing to set aside any inconvenient or contrary facts? I fear so.

This is a hack job of the worst kind--not only does the reporter strenuously avoid placing the story in any context, he (knowingly, I believe) is clouding the true historic record and perhaps inflaming recent sectarian grievances with a completely disproportional sense of alarm. By validating the tired, racist propaganda of Serb ultra-nationalists even while allowing bald-faced hypocrisy to stand unchallened, he is clouding the truth rather than illuminating it.


Katja R. said...

Hello! I came here to have a look, from 'Finding Karadzic'
Not only were there videos that were over the top about the mudzahadin, BUT there have been in some cases, pictures of people said to have been killed by Oric, when any one looking at the pictures could see that the damage was from the feet up, and frankly to me it looked more like what would happen if one stepped on a land mine.
That is a tragic, painful and terrible death, but it's not the same as being massacred.
I found myself really angry because this was intended to elicit support for the Bosnian Serbs.
I am not for a moment saying that Bosnian Serbs did not suffer in the war, there were Serb refugees, there are Serbs who can never go home again, that said, passing off landmine casualties as massacre victims, is NOT useful to the discussion, it discredits actual accounts of actual Serb victims of the war.
When people of any side uncritically post attrocity pictures, they really should consider that people who know about forensics, and medical subjects will look at those pictures, and will not be fooled.
The same obviously goes for film.

Kirk Johnson said...

Thanks for your comments--and please let others know about this blog! I will read yours as well.

I just couldn't believe how irresponsible and deceptive this shoddy piece of crap posing as an 'investigative report' is. The nerve of that Bosnian Serb policeman complaining about the chaotic nature of the countries police forces was only matched by the reporter's refusal to clarify the situation. It would have been good to point out that it has been the Republika Srpska government which has blocked the integration of the nation's police forces. This reporter needed to be exposed as a phony.

Katja R. said...

That is so true Kirk! I was in BiH when the Republika Srpska was blocking an integrated police force. I watched this stuff on the news nearly daily when I was there.