Preface to the Paperback Edition

Whoever is a Serb of Serbian blood Whoever shares with me this heritage, And he comes not to fight at Kosovo, May he never have the progeny His heart desires, neither son nor daughter Beneath his hand let nothing decent grow Neither purple grapes nor wholesome wheat Let him rust away like dripping iron Until his name be extinguished. 1 The Balkan tragedy began in the Serbian province of Kosovo as the mythology embodied in this famous curse of Kosovo was, in the words of one Serbian nationalist,...

Moral Equalizing

There are no angels in this conflict has been a slogan used for the refusal to stop the killing as if angels, rather than human beings, deserve our empathy and support. In July 1992, British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd patronized victims along with perpetrators Where there is no will for peace we cannot supply it. 46 The Balkanist stereotype was continually used to imply that all sides were equally guilty. No party in any war has ever been free of blame. But the blame-on-all-sides position...

The Wounding

Before Aida Musanovic spoke of the cloud of ashes that hung over Sarajevo for three days after the Serb army burned the National Library, she told another story. She had gone to the Oriental Institute, one of the central resources for the history and development of Bosnian culture. It was the day after the institute had been completely destroyed by Serb army gunners. She stood on the ground floor of what used to be a six-floor building and looked up at the open sky. Bosnian culture has always...

Some Basic Sources

Publications by Governments and International Organizations Amnesty International Bosnia-Herzegovina Gross Abuses of Basic Human Rights (New York 1992) Bosnia-Herzegovina Rana u dusi A Wound to the Soul (New York, 1993). Helsinki Watch War Crimes in Bosnia-Hercegovina (New York Human Rights Watch, 1992) Letter to President of Serbia and JNA Chief of Staff (New York, 1992) War Crimes in Bosnia-Hercegovina , Vol. I (New York, 1992) War Crimes in Bosnia-Hercegovina , Vol. 2 (New York, 1993) Abuses...

The Execution of Culture

Secretary of State Henry Kissinger proclaimed that there is no Bosnian culture. The context for Kissinger's claim was his proposal that Bosnia should be partitioned between Serbia and Croatia and that the Muslims (and presumably anyone else who did not want to be part of ethnically pure Greater Croatia and Greater Serbia) should be placed in a Muslim state. Partitioning Bosnia and putting the Muslims in a religious ghetto was the original goal of the Serb and...

Chapter Four Masks of Otherness

By 1992, a series of ominous developments had occurred a language of extremist paranoia had emerged allegations were made that an ethnoreligious group was plotting and carrying out genocide militias were arming to battle the federal government, which was allegedly supporting the genocidal plot a battle was looming to save Christian values and identity a violent text read and memorized by militia members recounted the plot against Christians, the battle to save Christendom, and the punishment in...

Europeanizing the Bosnians

Croatian President Franjo Tudjman had fought in World War II with Tito's Partisans. By the time of Croatia's independence in 1991, he had changed from a communist into a religious nationalist. In his 1990 book Wastelands of Historical Reality , Tudjman revealed an anti-Semitic tendency. He suggested that Jews are genocidal by nature and that Jews were the major executioners in the Ustashe death camp of Jasenovac where an estimated 300,000 Serbs, Jews, and Gypsies were killed. 4 Earlier Tudjman...

Balkanism As A Mask

How Balkanism functions as a code for political decisions can be seen in the statements of U.S. President Bill Clinton. As candidate for president in 1992, Bill Clinton proposed the use of NATO air power to save Bosnians from deliberate and systematic extermination based on their ethnic origin. 25 On February 10, 1993, President Clinton still acknowledged massive human rights violations but spoke of containing the conflict. Containment had been the policy of the Bush, Mitterrand, and Major...

Diving from the Bridge

Amir Pasic is a native of Herzegovina. An architect and city planner, he won an international award in 1987 for his work in reconstructing the old city of Mostar. The historic core of the city, which had been in decline, was reconstructed with sensitivity to both historical detail and social viability. Residents of the old city were not priced out of their property. They were encouraged to open businesses and museums that would serve the tourists expected to come to a revived Mostar. The plan...

Preface to the 1996 Edition

The story told here is not one I wish to believe or to tell. My mother's family is Serbian American, and I know personally that Serbs have suffered in the Bosnian war some of my Serb relatives in Bosnia and Krajina the Serb-inhabited area of Croatia have been killed, some are missing, and others are living in refugee camps. However, the evidence in Bosnia leads to conclusions that are as unavoidable as they are unpalatable. Genocide has occurred. It has occurred with the acquiescence of Western...

Christoslavism

Race betrayal is a key theme of The Mountain Wreath and the strand of Serbian literature it represents. By converting to Islam, Njegos had insisted, Slavic Muslims turkified. To turkify was not simply to adopt the religion and mores of a Turk, but to transform oneself into a Turk. To convert to a religion other than Christianity was simultaneously to convert from the Slav race to an alien race. This ideology, originally set forth in the nineteenth century, found a new and powerful form in the...

The Serb Church and the Stepinac Syndrome

In Bosnia, the Serb Orthodox Church made the same mistake the Catholic Church made in Croatia during World War II it became a servant of religious nationalist militancy. In many instances, Christian Serb clergy have supported the extremists who carried out the genocide in Bosnia and have given ritual and symbolic support to the programs of ethnic expulsion and destruction of mosques, In the late 1980s, the Serb Orthodox Church collaborated with academics and literati to highlight the motif of...

Not Two Cents

Bosnian Omarska

Not two cents. The people there have brought on their own troubles. This statement by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman was made on June 7, 1995. It marks the logical end of moral equalizing, the equating of the victim and the perpetrator and the devaluing of both. 56 In theological terms, the moral and political equalizing was embodied in the statement by the Serb Church spokesman that everyone in this war is guilty. 57 The ramifications of such a...

The Madonna

Pocitelj Mosque War

The Madonna was said to have appeared to six Catholic children, four girls and two boys, at the small village of Medjugorje in Herzegovina on June 24-25, 1981. This village subsequently became one of the world's more popular pilgrimage sites. Millions have made their way to Medjugorje, which means between the hills. Pilgrims would see the shimmering light, the strange phenomenon around the sun, an intense feeling of both attraction and fear of looking, but only a select group of young...

Arming the Aggressor

For almost two years, since the summer of 1992, the continuing atrocities in Bosnia had been denounced by officials with the UN High Commission for Refugees. Louis Gentile, the UNHCR head of operations in Banja Luka, was prompted to make the following statement It should be known, and recorded for all time, that the so-called leaders of the Western world have known for the past year and a half what is happening here. They receive play-by-play reports. They talk of prosecuting war criminals but...

Religion and the Ideology of Genocide

Many deny a religious motive in the assault on Bosnia and upon Bosnian Muslims in particular and in the three-year refusal by the major powers of the Christian world Britain, France, the U.S., Canada, Germany, and Russia to authorize NATO power to stop it or allow Bosnians to defend themselves. This book explores religious dimensions of the genocide. The focal point is a national mythology that portrays Slavic Muslims as Christ killers and race traitors. When that national mythology was...

Creating the Perpetrator

Arkan Tigers

Explosive as they were, the symbolic forces marshaled at the Kosovo celebrations of 1989 were not capable alone of producing genocide. The fuse needed to be lit. Serb nationalist forces, protected by Serb President Slobodan Milosevic, worked carefully to light it. Milosevic and Serbian nationalists had used mob intimidation and media exploitation to overthrow Serbian President Ivan Stambolic and purge the communist party and governments in Serbia's autonomous regions of Vojvodina and Kosovo and...

Bosnia in Myth and History

Constantinople 1566

The ancestors of the South Slavs arrived in the Balkans in the sixth and seventh centuries. 4 By the ninth century, the South Slavs were converting in large numbers to Christianity. Credit for the conversion is given to two Christian saints, Methodius and Cyril. The Bible and liturgy were translated into a South Slavic language Slavonic . Followers of Cyril are credited with the invention of the Cyrillic script, based upon Greek characters, used in Serbia and Russia today. The South Slavs were...

Orientalism

In 1970, Yugoslavia was experiencing a form of glasnost writers took up previously taboo subjects such as religion. A Sarajevo lawyer named Alija Izetbegovic imposed a document entitled The Islamic Declaration. The document, an anticommunist assertion of religious rights, spelled out the conditions for a just Islamic society and contained several provocative statements concerning the incompatibility of Islam with other systems. The principles of an Islamic state were discussed in an abstract...

The Christ Prince Lazar

The Good Friday story of the crucifixion of Jesus has been a central, enduring, and powerful symbol within Christianity. The story of the sufferings and death of Jesus Christ, the divine Son in the belief of many Christians, is ritually performed and reenacted in masses and services, in sermons, in literature, and particularly during the Good Friday commemorations in Easter week in the practice of meditating on the Stations of the Cross and in solemn Good Friday mass. In the Middle Ages, the...

Bridge Keeper

It is not enough to cleanse Mostar of the Muslims, said a Croat militiaman as his unit worked to destroy the bridge the relics must also be destroyed. 1 On November 9, 1993, in a final barrage, the sixteenth-century bridge, which had withstood months of shelling, collapsed into the Neretva River. Mostar takes its name from its magnificent old bridge. Under Ottoman patronage, Mostar became a major cultural and economic center in the sixteenth century. The Ottomans built bridges, inns,...

The Madonna and the Concentration Camps

Unity Herzegovina And Croatia

In Croatia and central Bosnia, Catholic church leaders, particularly Cardinal Kuharic of Zagreb, Archbishop Puljic of Sarajevo, and Father Petar Andjelkovic OFM, the superior of the Franciscan Province of Bosnia, have specifically and courageously condemned the crimes of Croat religious nationalists. In Herzegovina, however, the Catholic clergy played a different, more troubling role. The view of Slavic Muslims put forth by some Herzegovinian clergy differs little from nationalist Serb views. A...

Guide to Pronunciation

Jugoslavija 1945 1991

The names Lejla and Jasmina are pronounced Lay-la and yas-Meen-a. Jovic , a last name, is pronounced Yo-vich. Some Slavs in the West add an h to make the pronunciation clear, while others keep the original spelling. Mihajlovic Michaelson is pronounced Mi-Hay-lo-rich. a slightly different form of English ch The town of Foca is pronounced Fo-cha. Pasic and Basic common last names derived from the Ottoman honorific title Pasha are pronounced PAH-shich and Bah-shich. Musanovic Moses-son is...

Return of the Ustashe

The village of Jasenovac stands near the border between Bosnia and Croatia in an area known as Western Slavonia. From 1991 to 1995 this area was held by Serb rebels and formed part of the self-declared Serbian Republic of Krajina. During World War II, Jasenovac was the site of the largest death camp in Yugoslavia for Serbs as well as Jews, Gypsies, dissident Croats, and others deemed undesirable by the Croat nationalist forces known as the Ustashe. The Ustashe regime lasted from 1941 to 1944...

The Curse of Kosovo

Prince Lazar Last Supper

Western policy makers maintain that the conflict in the Balkans is age old. Yet contiguous ethnic and religious groups throughout the world have old antagonisms. Armed conflict between Serbs and Croats is confined largely to this century. The conflict between Serbs and Slavic Muslims dates back to the Ottoman conquest of the Balkans in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. However, the development of the Kosovo story in which Slavic Muslims and Serbs are ancient and fated enemies is more...

Rain of

It was the most apocalyptic thing I'd ever seen, said Aida Musanovic, an artist from Sarajevo, describing the burning of the National Library in Sarajevo. 1 For days, a thick black cloud of ash hung over the city and residents would find pieces of charred paper or ashes of burned books and manuscripts in their hair and on their clothes. On August 25, 1922, the Serb army began shelling the National Library of Bosnia-Herzegovina in Sarajevo from positions on the mountainside directly in front of...

Appropriating the Passion

Milenko Mihajlovic Political Cartoons

The genocide charges against Kosovo Albanians, the alleged Ustashe nature of all Croats, and the alleged race betrayal of Slavic Muslims formed a lethal brew. 25 The work of political cartoonist Milenko Mihajlovic offers a taste of this brew. In May 1989, at the height of the Kosovo dispute and Serb anger over the Albanian birthrate, Mihajlovic published a cartoon showing throngs of Albanian babies with demented, leering grins swarming out from behind Marshal Tito, who is depicted as a queen...

Serb Jerusalem

In 1989, the Kosovo question did not refer directly to the ancient battle of 1389 or to the feast day of Lazar and Vid. It referred to a political crisis in the Serbian province of Kosovo, a crisis that enraged Serb nationalists and tore apart the Yugoslav federation. Kosovo is more than the site of the archetypal founding event in Serb romantic mythology. It is also the center of many of Serbia's greatest works of religious art and architecture and the ancient seat of the Serb Orthodox...

The Realm of Omarska

1992 1995 Prijedor Map

Vladimir Srebrov was one of the founders, along with Radovan Karadzic, of the Serbian Democratic Party SDS in Bosnia. In early 1992 Srebrov became aware of a plan within the Yugoslav army, supported by his colleagues in the party, to destroy the Muslim population of Bosnia as part of a partition of the coun- try between Serbia and Croatia. When he attempted to leave Sarajevo to plead with Serb nationalists to abandon the planned killings, he was arrested by Serb militiamen, placed in the Kula...

The Euphemism

What do we call Omarska and the network of other such places throughout Serb army occupied and, for a time, Croat army occupied Bosnia-Herzegovina The evidence gathered by human rights reports and war crimes investigators shows that most of those taken to Omarska were not expected to emerge alive. Detention was not the object of such places. 13 The existence of Omarska came to light as a result of a series of articles for New York Newsday written by the reporter Roy Gutman. It was both the use...

Gynocide

The following testimony was offered by a survivor of the Susica camp in eastern Bosnia, whose commandant, Dragan Nikolic, has been charged by the International Criminal Tribunal with crimes against humanity. The witness was testifying about several young women who had been selected from other refugees They started selecting young women. The first was only 14, the second could have been 16 or 17. I knew them all, they were from Vlasenica. Then they started yelling 'We want the Muslims to see...

Who Are Bosnians

In 1945, communist guerrilla fighter Josip Broz Tito, better known as Marshal Tito, reestablished the Yugoslav federation, which had existed from 1918 to 1941 and then had been dismembered by Nazi Germany. The constituent nations of the reconstituted Yugoslavian republic were Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, and Slovenia see Map 1 . The word Yugoslavia means land of the South Yugo Slavs. The central part of Yugoslavia was populated by three major groups Serbs, Slavic...