I spent a quiet day today reading Adam Lebor's book, Complicity with Evil. It is a searing indictment of the United Nations for its complicity in th genocide in Bosnia, Rwanda, and, now -- even as I write -- in Darfur.
Having just spent time in Sarajevo and visited Srebrenica it brought the tragedy of what happened there into vivid focus.
Lebor's thesis is that the United Nations essentially allowed these tragedies to happen when it could have stopped any of them by acting forcefully in the beginning. In each case -- certainly in the case of Bosnia and Rwanda -- it knew precisely what was coming and did nothing. These were, in the words of Lebor, carefully if not meticulously planned genocides.
While the UN and its leadership -- Boutros Ghali and Kofi Anan in particular -- come in for the brunt of the responsibility, they are not alone.
This was not a mattter of ancient hatreds, as some people termed it. These were people who had lived in harmony. [As was evident from what remains in Sarajevo.]
Lebor's point is that not only did the UN fail miserably in this case, it continues to do the same in the case of Darfur. He also faults the Arab League which, when it met on this topic in 2004, came up with its standard explanation for all its problems -- it blamed Israel and Jews.
Lebor's thesis, in additional to the failure if not complicity of the UN, is that a "rich European Muslim culture what could have forged a new relationship between Islam and the West vanished forever under a rain of Serb artillery shells." [p. 249]
Islamic countries sent mujahideen fighters to Sarajevo and other parts of Bosnia. Their type of Islam was and is very much at odds with that of the Bosnians'. Some of these mujahideen were connected with AlQaeda. They have helped more radical Islam to take root in Bosnia.
[Interestingly, I heard from a number of Bosnians complaints that the only help they get from Muslim countries is mosques, rather than help to their very weak economy.]
For people who care about these tragedies, this is an important book. For those who feel that they don't know enough about these tragedies, this is an essential book to read.