Saturday, July 28, 2007

Some thoughts on genocide

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.


Irene Grumman said...

Why? Only recently did I see Hotel Rwanda, in which a furious UN peacekeeper asserts that "we" - meaning the UN or white people or the developed nations, or all of the above - "we think you're dirt." He says it because he's being pulled out of the country. How often have I heard, "Let them kill each other off," in contexts from African nations to urban teenage gang shootings.
I'll find that book.

Scott Scofield said...


Thanks for the book review "Complicity with Evil," I'll find it. I might also recommend to you, if you have not already read it, Samantha Power's "A Problem from Hell - America and the Age of Genocide." Powers details the response (or more appropriately the non or ineffective response of American policy to 20th century genocide, beginning with the Turks and Armenians. She also does a very nice job in providing the historical background Raphael Lemkin, the man who brought the legal term "genocide" to the world community. A very good book.


acadia said...

In response to your Some Thoughts on Genocide article:

You said: "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"

Orthodox Christian countries also sent 10 times more Christian extremist terrorists (aka: cut-throaters) in Bosnia and nobody seems to like to talk about it. There was only around 300% of arab fighters in Bosnia, well documented, and well bellow 0.5% of Bosnian government fighting force (most of them were not even under the direct control of BH government).

Let's focus on Srebrenica Genocide, which is far more important than any other topic.

At least 8,000 people died in Srebrenica genocide, and this is as far as
we can estimate based on DNA evidence (see here
). But my suspicion is that there was likely more than 8,000 victims,
because there is no way of recovering bodies who were thrown into Drina
river by truckloads. There is also no way of getting information about
missing persons whose entire families got wiped off in the war.

Just recently, a couple of days ago, we uncovered a new mass grave which
included Srebrenica children, 7-11 years of age, beeing shot in the head


acadia said...

Correction: I meant "300 arab fighters", whic is well bellow 0.5% of active BH defence force.

Michael Averko said...

Truth be told, the late Bosnian Muslim President Alija Izetbegovic was a fundamentalist, who sided with the Bosnian Muslim SS Handschar unit during WW II.

Truth be told, some secular Muslims and others can be murdering extremist slime.

As for the above posted "blogger", the referenced Srebrenica genocide site is an overly propagandistic venue.

The idea that a flawed legal body (the ICTY) should be readily accepted and not criticized is rather Soviet like.

Unlike others, Edward Herman has been spot on in his assessments. Like the bogus 200,000 or more Bosnian Civil War casualty figure, which a number of mass media outlets no longer accept.

I can't answer for what Z-Net chooses to post and not post. On related subject matter, the censorship of outlets like The New York Times is influentially much more evident.

As per Srebrenica, no mention is made of what Alija Izetbegovic allied warlord Nasir Oric and his goons did in that town before the more talked about massacre. Oric's forces killed up to 2,500 Serbs, with many of them being women and children.

For accuracy sake, providing links listing bodies recovered and those still missing should be more clearly broken down. Ethnic group breakdown of those killed/missing, when and how they were killed.

No one seems to be denying that a summary execution of Muslim males took place. The issues are on the figure and the gross oversight of crimes committed against Serbs. Based on what's known, some put the summary execution figure of Muslims in the range of 2,000-4000.

BTW, in the lead up to the incident with Dutch peacekeepers present, there had been a cease-fire in Srebrenica, which the Izetbegovic side proceeded to violate. The Serbs noted this, adding that Srebrenica's Mulsims should be evacuated from the war zone. The Izetbegovic refused to take them in, much to the stated dismay of some of Srebrenica's Muslim population. Not that this excuses the summary execution of Muslim males.

Kudos to progressive individuals like James Bisset, Scott Taylor and Lewis MacKenzie for providing a more balanced overview.