Thursday, April 28, 2011

Bosnian-American Friendship Association

It's my pleasure to pass along this Facebook page for a fairly new and very worthwhile venture:

Bosnian-American Friendship Association

I encourage anyone reading this blog to check them out.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Press Release: 19th Annivsersary of the Bosnian Genocide at Visegrad

[Please see Visegrad Genocide Blog for more information. The press release follows.]

2011 Visegrad Genocide Calender
Visegrad Genocide Memories

Press Release

The central commemoration of the 19th anniversary of the Visegrad genocide will be held on 28.05.2011 on the Mehmed-pasa Sokolovic bridge in Visegrad. The commemoration will be followed by the burial of Visegrad martyrs at the Straziste Muslim cemetery.
This commemoration is organized by the Association of victims families “Visegrad 92″.
Contact person: Hida Kasapovic (062 212 631) – Bosnian
and Berina Pekmezovic (061 508 691) – English

The Pionirska Street massacre will be commemorated on 14.06.2011 at 12 o’clock noon. The official ceremony will be followed with religious prayers for the victims. The commemoration will be held in front of the site of the massacre in Pionirska Street, Visegrad.
On 14.06.1992. around 70 Bosniak civilians were burned alive in Pionirska Street by Serb soldiers – only a few survived.
This commemoration is organized by the Association Women-Victims of War.
Contact person: Bakira Hasecic (061 272 000)-Bosnian
and Berina Pekmezovic (061 508 691)

The Bikavac massacre will be commemorated on 27.06.2011 at 12 o’clock noon. The official ceremony will be followed with religious prayers for the victims. The commemoration will be held in front of the site of the massacre in the Bikavac settlement, Visegrad.
On 27.06.1992. around 70 Bosniak civilians were burned alive in Meho Aljic’s house in Bikavac by Serb soldiers – only one person survived.
This commemoration is organized by the Association Women-Victims of War.
Contact person: Bakira Hasecic (061 272 000)-Bosnian
and Berina Pekmezovic (061 508 691) – English
♦For more information on these commemorations or information on Visegrad please contact Visegrad Genocide Memories editor at♦


[Please see the original Press release at 2011 Visegrad Genocide Calendar. I also recommend keeping tabs on the Visegrad Genocide Blog; it's been quite active lately and I suspect that will continue with the commemoration coming up.]

EDIT: I just realized that for months, I have had the wrong link for Visegrad Genocide Blog--I was using a link to a specific post rather than the main link to the main page; if anybody got the mistaken impression from my misleading link that the blog had not been updated since last June, I sincerely apologize.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Third Annual Bosnian Women's Day on Capitol Hill

[Press Release from The Bosniak American Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina (BAACBH)]:

Third Annual Bosnian Women's Day on Capitol Hill
Empowerment through Film: "Back to Bosnia"
The Bosniak American Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina (BAACBH) cordially invites you to the Third Annual Bosnian Women's Day on Capitol Hill. We will celebrate the courage of women and emphasize the role of film and multiethnic dialogue in a post-conflict society.

Opening Program and Reception: Tuesday, April 12, 2011

2:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Location: Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2253

Keynote speakers 2:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
The Honorable Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)
Ms. Sabina Vajraca, Bosnian-American Award Winning Filmmaker

Showing of documentary "Back to Bosnia" 3:00 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.

**Bosnian delicacies will be provided.**

BAACBH along with the help of Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), her staff and the Heinrich Böll Foundation North America would like to emphasize the role of women in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The documentary film "Back to Bosnia" is a story of a family who returns to Bosnia in order to reclaim their property after being forced out from their home during the war in Bosnia that lasted from 1992-1995. While there, the family is confronted with the destruction of their city's multiethnic character and forced to examine the community they left behind. They witness an exhumation, visit the sites of war crimes, and seek out the remnants of a city that was once their home, as well as confront those that forced them out.

This event is sponsored by the generous financial support of the Heinrich Böll Foundation North America.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

"Bosnia and Beyond" by Jeanne Haskin [5]

Part 2

...will have to wait.

My interlibrary loan copy is due to be returned to the lending library system tomorrow; the issues covered in Part 2 (lessons about humanitarian intervention, international responses to genocide, and other "lessons of Yugoslavia") deserve more than a perfunctory review; and since I haven't found much substance in Part 1, I really cannot justify putting aside further time for this book when my graduate studies are piling up.

I may revisit this book sometime later this year; in the meantime, I hope to begin tackling another, more substantive book, within the next week or two.

Sorry to bail out mid-stream.

Friday, April 08, 2011

"Bosnia and Beyond" by Jeanne Haskin [4]

Chapter 7

The role of international aid and humanitarian campaigns; the establishment of safe areas; different peace plans and the creeping institutionalization and acceptance of ethnic partition among the Western powers; the Croat-Muslim war; atrocities carried out by Muslim forces; "lift and strike"; criticism of the inactivity and passivity of the international community by Western observers in and outside of Bosnia.

Haskin passes along this quote from Lewis MacKenzie: "Now obviously the critics will say this rewards force and sets a bad example. I can only say to them, read your history. Force has been rewarded since the first caveman picked up a club. occupied his neighbor's cave, and ran off with his wife." She got this quote from Norman Cigar's "Genocide in Bosnia." She provides no comment; hopefully that is because she believes the stupidity (what sort of "history" has MacKenzie read?) and amoralism of his comment requires no explication. Unfortunately, after reading her book I am not at all certain that Haskin has a firm enough hand on the rudder.
Despite the fact that the book purports to "[show] how Western plans for the liberalization of the country resulted in ethnic polarization and the election of ethno-nationalist leaders", it is largely a mediocre and flaccid work of historiography; little more than a "this side vs. that side" summation of other people's work, with occasional--and not very convincing--editorial asides.

Chapter 8

The war ends, finally--and in this chapter, pretty quickly--11 pages to cover the Markale Massacre, the Srebrenica genocide (she calls it a "slaughter" but given how superficial her knowledge seems to be it is not surprising that the April 2004 ruling that it was a genocide had not yet registered wtih ther), Operation Storm, the intervention of NATO, and Dayton. Haskin veers dangerously close to justifying the Serb attack on Srebrenica as being of "military necessity" but at least she doesn't accept the rationales for how that attack was carried out or for the genocide which subsequently took place. She mostly rejects Sremac on the subject--but then again, why quote her at length (as she does yet again) in the first place?

This account is so perfunctory it simply isn't worth the time it would take to analyze what little substance is here.

Conclusion of Part 1

This five-page summary of what Haskin claims to have shown in the first eight chapters. As I hope to have sufficiently expressed already, I remain unconvinced, to put it mildly. Haskin sees parts of the whole, but she began by uncritically accepting the notion that Yugoslavia was broken up "by Western manipulation of the Yugoslav economy"; and that subsequent events were stage-managed by Western powers in order to achieve an end result which benefitted Western financial interests. This, in spite of the fact that even the back cover preview of the book admits that "no formal plan has surfaced to show that the whole thing was engineered to provide a base fo US/NATO troops"; I have no problem with speculative writing, except that in this case she seems to be forcing 'evidence' to fit an ideologically motivated thesis. It never occurs to her than Western inaction might have been a product of a lack of domestic political support, for example.

All in all, a very flimsy case for a very dubious thesis, made with a hodgepodge of hardly-esoteric secondary sources. I won't be reviewing Part 2 in such detail; I will summarize it briefly in my next post.

Monday, April 04, 2011

"Bosnia and Beyond" by Jeanne Haskin [3]

Chapter 4

This is a perfunctory synopsis of the War in Croatia.

Chatper 5

This is a perfunctory account of the outbreak of war in Bosnia; there is nothing surprising or new for any reader with even a cursory knowledge of events; except for the author's unsubstantiated claim that "the West had given up on the idea of retaining Milosevic as their man due to his refusal to enact further [economic] reform." There are no notes, citations, or evidence presented; she merely states that this is "[m]y own analysis" and leaves it at that. Her only "evidence" is that the West supported independence for Bosnia without being willing to take further measures to allow the country to defend itself. Of such reverse-reasoning are conspiracy theories made.

One other odd choice in this chapter--the author quotes Danielle Sremac, points out that her arguments amount to little more than a defense of the actions of the Bosnian Serb leadership--and then states that "Sremac's defense of the Bosnian Serbs is something to which I will give voice throughout the account of the war"! Why she feels the need to balance her account with a contrary and dubious interpretation is not explained.

Chapter 6

An account of the early phase of the war; the seige of Sarajevo and how it served to distract international attention from the massive campaign of genocide throughout the country; the public relations/propogranda campaign by the Bosnian Serb leadership and their allies/enablers (Sremac and Lewis MacKenzie here) to cloud the issue of guilt and responsibility by claiming that the Bosnian government was responsible for attacking its own people; concentration camps throughout the country; etc.

Haskin continues to quote Sremac; mostly she rebuts Sremac's assertions but sometimes concedes a point. For example, she notes that there were Croat- and Muslim-operated concentration camps, and that the Bosnian government forces sometimes committed atrocities; yet she does so in context of accepting that Sremac's "report" that the numbers of non-Serbs held was wildly inflated and the numbers of Serbs held highly underreported. Either those accounts were accurate (as accurate as they could be during wartime), or they were not; instead, Haskin gives Sremac's contrary account plenty of room (she quotes Sremac at length), and then without considering the specifics of her claims, goes on to state that there were reports of atrocities committed by Croat and Muslim forces, so therefore "this does not mean that Sremac's report is invalid." That's quite a leap, and completely ignores the context in which Sremac's "report" was given. Haskin, in short, completely avoids making critical judgements about the relative reliability and honesty of conflicting sources; a serious flaw in a book which relies on secondary sources.

Oddly, despite her decision to include the revisionist accounts by Sremac and to give space to Lewis MacKenzie's statements (even though she acknowledges that he was later a secretly paid spokesman for the Serb nationalist cause), she does not bring up the Living Marxism smear against Ed Vulliamy's reporting on the concentration camps. Given her odd editorial choice to give Sremac equal time, this came as something of a relief.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Bosnia Banned from FIFA and UEFA


Bosnia federation banned by FIFA, UEFA

The article is short, and sadly not surprising considering the state of other national institutions in Bosnia; the Bosnian Serb leadership of the FA refuses to give up autonomy, and therefore is hobbling the national FA. And the result is paralysis and an inability to participate internationally as a nation. The subject in this case is soccer, but the metaphor applies to the failure of the Dayton agreement in general.