Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Srebrenica: Foreword by Tun Mahathir

Salam. Good greetings to my fellow Malaysians. This is the foreword written by Tun M for the book 'The Story of Srebrenica' which portrayed the situations of the town of Srebrenica during the Bosnian War (1992 - 1995) It begins.


1. Srebrenica, the name of a town that I can hardly pronounce, is now etched deeply into my heart. We all remember 9/11, the eleventh of September, 2001 because on that day two aircrafts crashed into the twin towers of the New York World Trade Centre. 3000 people met horrifying death. But as Srebrenica more than 13,000 Bosnian Muslims were slaughtered by the Serbs virtually in the full view of the Dutch United Nations troops stationed there to protect them.

2. The Serbs knew the horror of what they were doing, the Dutch soldiers knew the killings that were going on and the Bosniacs, the Bosnian Muslims knew they were going to to be slaughtered. It was not instantaneous death, for every one of the victims knew they would be taken out one by one for slaughter. It took time to murder individually 13,000 people, all males.

3. The Serbs were intent upon wiping out the Bosnian Muslims, the last genuine European Muslims in Europe. They, the Serbs believe they were doing the other Europeans, all Christians, a favor. Europe must be freed from Muslims. To be freed, all male Bosniacs must be killed so they may reproduce no more. The women who were left alive were to be raped. Their children would not be Muslims, tainted as they were by non-Muslim Serbian blood.

4. 13,000 Bosniacs were slaughtered at Srebrenica. Yet today the world hardly knows, and those who know hardly remember the systematic massacre in Srebrenica. The world has gone to war against the terrorists because of September 11. The world should have gone to war earlier for what the Serbs did must certainly be considered as acts of terror, deliberate and systematic acts of terror which were prolonged and sustained, acts which were carried out in full view of the world as ethnic cleansing. But the world was only mildly horrified. The world went back to making money, to watching football and to their minor bickering. And the world would have gone on this way had it not been for September 11.

5. The deaths of people should not be compared as to which is more tragic, which is more brutal. All killings, all massacres are tragic and brutal. But one cannot help comparing the response of the world to September 11 and that to Srebrenica. Is it that the deliberate and methodical killing of eventually 200,000 Bosnian Muslims less horrifying than the equally deliberate destruction of an edifice which resulted in the death of 3000 people in New York? It cannot be. But the response seems to indicate differences.

6. Certainly the response is different from the massacre of 6 million Jews almost 60 years ago. To this day the holocaust is remembered and the world is forced to atone for it by excusing all Jewish crimes against Arabs who are not guilty of even a single death in the holocaust.

7. It would seems that the world response to horror and brutalities depends on who the victims are. Malaysia hanged numerous Asian drug traffickers but when two Australian trafficker were hanged, Australia and the European world kicked up a row and called Malaysians barbarians. It does not speak much of the caring society that we are to have in these days. The caring is selective, despite all the proceedings about equality, human rights, the rule of law and democracy.

8. The story of Srebrenica needs to be told and told over and over again. For it is a story of human suffering in an age which is equipped with all the means to stop these sufferings. Nothing could have been done to stop September 11. The whole world, the authorities in the country attacked, knew nothing, certainly not precisely about the attack that was going to be launched. If they did not stop the attack, we can understand why.

9. But the ethnic cleansing by the Serbs was known and the massacre at Srebrenica was known, was witnessed in fact by the very guardians of the victims. Yet nothing was done.

10. Under ordinary criminal law, a witness to a murder, unless he is restrained, is an accessory to the crime. The world is witness to the massacre of the Bosniacs, to the slaughter of the male Bosniacs, and the world must be regarded as accessories to the crimes, that constitute ethnic cleansing by the Serbs. And because the Serbs to all intents and purposes, got away with mass murder, we are seeing mass murder as a daily feature of our modern civilisation. We are seeing in fact assassins and murderers being supplied with arms to kill people and to be protected after doing so. And the people who provide protection are being actually nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

11. Mr. Isnam Taljic (the author of the book) has decided not to condemn the murderers of his people. I hope the readers will appreciate his generosity of heart. It is noble. Although I hold a different view, I think this novel should be read by all, so we may appreciate that despite everything, there is still Bosniacs generous enough not to vent his anger through his writings. I salute Mr. Taljic for that and I will try to be as generous as he is.

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