Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Genocide Denier Allowed to Slander Bosniaks in University of Minnesota-connected Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies

As already noted by Daniel in this post at the always-excellent Srebrenica Genocide Blog, the Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies at the University of Minnesota has made a poor and disturbing choice--to allow a well-documented genocide denier to write at least one page of their website:

"Bosnia and the Holocaust is a very incomplete, disingenuous, and misleading article to be as generous as possible. While the decision to defer on this niche topic to an "expert" like Carl Savich, who possesses the requisite academic credentials, might be understandable, someone in an editorial capacity should have had second thoughts when the web "source" Savich links to were given the most cursory of examinations. Savich links to this article from the "Srpska Mreza" website. Put aside how grossly misleading and dishonest this article is--the writing is atrocious, and the style is far below the level expected of an undergraduate paper.

Someone at the Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies has really dropped the ball on this. There are simply no standards of basic academic honesty or fundamental research to be seen--this is a disgrace to the Center and the to the University of Minnesota.

What is most troubling is that, after reading Daniel's account, I sent a rather detailed email alerting the Center to this problem, and to date have not even received a perfunctory acknowledgment of my concerns. Considering that I informed them they were allowing a genocide denier to use a pro-genocide, far-right website as a source in an article promoting propaganda as history, one would think someone at their end would want to address my concerns. So far, however, nobody there seems to care much.

More on this issue as it develops--or, so far, as it has sadly failed to develop.

8 comments:

owen said...

Kirk, I sent an e-mail on Sunday picking up on your own, Daniel's and the Congress of North American Bosniaks' concerns and referring to the Center Office Manager's reply cited at Srebrenica Genocide Blog, promising prompt action.

I wondered why the Center (or the University's History Faculty with which the Center seems to be associated) had failed to check the credentials of their source. I asked who had taken the editorial decision that the material was suitable to post at the site and I suggested that there were questions to be asked about their impartiality/competence.

I expressed astonishment that an institution whose name suggests that genocide studies lie at the heart of its being should be furthering the propaganda mission of the people responsible for the genocide at Srebrenica.

I haven't had an acknowledgment yet (though of course to be charitable it's possible that the Center has limited administrative support).

I'm not clear why the Office Manager was prompt to confirm a mistake had been made and the links and reference to Carl Savich would be removed (within a couple of days it was suggested) but made no reference to any review of the actual content of the article.
http://srebrenica-genocide.blogspot.com/search?q=Minnesota

owen said...

Something rather curious.

According to her CV at http://www.chgs.umn.edu/about/faculty.html the Center's Interim Director, Ellen Kennedy, is very active in areas of genocide concern, in particular campaigning on Darfur. Her CV refers to a wide range of activities and interests touching on genocide in Darfur, Rwanda, Armenia, genocide of the Australian aborigines (no specific mention of the Holocaust but there are references to Jewish history).

She is State Coordinator of the Minnesota Genocide Intervention Network and originated a website, www.mngin.org.

When I went to this website, I found that like Ms Kennedy's CV there seems to be no mention of Srebrenica and the only reference to Bosnia is in a caption to an unanchored photo.

The roundup of "Worldwide Genocides" comprises pages on "Darfur Genocide - Armenian Genocide - The Holocaust - Cambodian Genocide - Rwandan Genocide". No Srebrenica or Bosnia.

There may be some explanation that's not obvious but I have to say I find this a bit strange.

owen said...

I've been looking at the Center's website for treatment of /references to Srebrenica. It's not terribly clearly organised. In the end I decided to do a search on "Srebrenica". I found only 11 hits.

There is no specific treatment of the genocide at Srebrenica. Four of the hits were bibliographic - to an individual play (Stone Hearts), a book (Jan Willem Honig's Srebrenica: Record of a War Crime) and a video and film (Burden of Proof and The United Nations and the Betrayal of Srebrenica). One was a mention in the context of the assault on Dubrovnik. Three were to articles in issues of the now defunct "The Genocide Forum", all copies of which are archived at the site (articles by Prof. Henry R. Huttenbach of City College of New York).

There is a mention in an item which also includes an incidental reference of questionable objectivity to (the teenage) Alija Izetbegovic at "Educational Resources > Curriculum Models > Model from Republic of Croatia": "Franjo Tudjman had extensive involvement with the Ustashe regime and this was also true of Bosnian leader Alija Izetbegovic."

So the Srebrenica genocide is oddly invisible. This might be to some extent explained by the resource-based (rather than issue-based) organisation of the website and the sad premature death of the Center's Director (and apparent inspiring spirit) Stephen Feinstein in March last year -http://chgs.umn.edu/feinsteinTribute/index.html - may not have helped matters.

Nevertheless one of the fifteen Affiliated Faculty members mentioned on the website is someone with substantial knowledge and experience in the Former Yugoslavia, Thomas A. Emmert. Emmert was assistant director of Charles Ingrao's The Scholars’ Initiative: Confronting the Yugoslav Controversies, which produced a collection of through and objective research papers on different aspects of the conflict. http://www.cla.purdue.edu/academic/history/facstaff/Ingrao/si/scholars.htm

This is all rather puzzling.

Hopefully the Center will put a bit of effort into resolving this issue before it holds its planned workshop "The Faces of Genocide: Bosnia and the Holocaust" on 10 October 2009. The topics covered include "The Bosnian Crisis - Bosnian War Crime Tribunals - Photographs: Bosnia and Auschwitz - Moving Against Genocide: The Holocaust Through Dance - Survivor Testimonies and the Multi-Generational Legacy of the Holocaust" - http://chgs.umn.edu/news/bosnia.html

I didn't find any mention of the individuals who would be leading the workshop.

owen said...

Kirk, I'm afraid in moving it I lost the final, most substantial reference to Srebrenica, unfairly making the treatment of Srebrenica appear even more unbalanced. The unmentioned two were a link to and the page itself on the subject of the Memorialization of the Srebrenica Massacre http://chgs.umn.edu/museum/memorials/srebrenica/
with an extensive range of photographs of the 2007 commemoration of the genocide,
taken by Stephen Feinstein as part of the International Association of Genocide Scholars Conference in Sarajevo, Bosnia, July 2007.

Anonymous said...

Kirk, this is important:

Carl Savich simply has no credibility. He portrays Bosnians Muslims as "Nazis," who killed Serbs in Jasenovac. Of course, this is a lie manufactured by Serbian imaginary history. In fact, thousands of Bosniaks were killed in Jasenovac.

According to Yad Vashem, on April 22, 1945, Bosnian Muslim prisoner Zahid Bukurevic and Serb prisoner Stanko Gacesa orchestrated a revolt and attempted to break out of the camp. They led a group of other prisoners armed with bricks.

"A second breakout was attempted later that day under the leadership of Stanko Gacesa and Zahid Bukurevic. Only 11 out 150 escapees survived this attempt."


Daniel

owen said...

http://www.chgs.umn.edu/museum/memorials/bosnia/

Bosnia and the Holocaust

This page is being updated

owen said...

Something else very strange in Minnesota.

The Minnesota Branch of the Genocide Intervention Network have put up a web page on the Bosnian Genocide which completely fails to mention either Srebrenica or the Prijedor camps:
http://mngin.org/worldwide-genocides/bosnian-genocide

The page goes into a number of the aspects of the genocide in reasonable depth and includes mention of Bijeljina, the siege of Sarajevo, Foca, Koricani Cliffs, Lasva Valley, Ahmici and the Tuzla Kapija massacre but not a word about Srebrenica or Omarska apart from a passing reference to "many more massacres to name".

The branch is chaired by Ellen Kennedy, Director of the Univ. of Minnesota Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies.

All very peculiar.

I'm e-mailing Ms Kennedy and I'll refer her to the USHMM and Advocacy Project if they've got some problems with their coverage.

owen said...

More oddities in Minnesota (I've also posted this as a comment under the Srebrenica Genocide Blog item on the Center's "Bosnia and the Holocaust" page.)

The Minnesota Branch of the Genocide Intervention Network have put up a web page on the Bosnian Genocide which completely fails to mention either Srebrenica or the Prijedor camps:
http://mngin.org/worldwide-genocides/bosnian-genocide

The page goes into a number of the aspects of the genocide in reasonable depth and includes mention of Bijeljina, the siege of Sarajevo, Foca, Koricani Cliffs, Lasva Valley, Ahmici and the Tuzla Kapija massacre but not a word about Srebrenica or Omarska apart from a passing reference to "many more massacres to name".

The branch is coordinated by Ellen Kennedy, Director of the Univ. of Minnesota Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies.

All very peculiar.