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Articles on the Bosnia Conflict


Deniers of Serbia's War Crimes:
Peter Handke

Why we need to challenge genocide denialism in the Balkans The denial of an individual’s or a group’s persecution is the ultimate cruelty – on some level worse than the persecution itself . By Ehlimana Memišević, Al Jazeera, July 16, 2021

A Literary Consecration of Genocide Denial While the Nobel committee insists that Handke is a poetic genius whose works transcend worldly politics, the Austrian writer’s Yugoslav texts tell a different story. What Handke has crafted is a new cultural space for genocide denial, blending literary ambiguity and epistemic uncertainty in an effort to rewrite the history of the genocide in Bosnia and redeem the Serbian nationalism of the 1990s, even using the Srebrenica mass murders to advance anti-Muslim views in the name of peace and justice. By Edin Hajdarpašić, New Lines, July 12, 2021

A few unflinching pairs of eyes for Handke to face up to Graphic reports on the kinds of genocidal crimes that Handke denies happened. By Melina Borčak on Twitter, December 10, 2019

The King of Sweden gives Peter Handke a disgraceful Nobel Prize A Nobel Prize that will live in infamy was officially presented today to Peter Handke, who is a genocide denier. There was no sign of protest or discord inside the Concert Hall of Stockholm as King Carl XVI Gustaf handed a gold Nobel medal to Handke. Outside, protests against this award have been unprecedented. The Balkan countries that best know what happened in the war — Bosnia, Turkey, Croatia, Kosovo, North Macedonia, and Albania — boycotted the award ceremony today. Two members of the Nobel Committee for Literature have resigned their posts, and one member of the Swedish Academy, which is the final arbiter of who wins the literature prize, refused to attend the ceremony. By Peter Maass, The Intercept, December 10, 2019

Peter Handke and the power of denial Denial is part and parcel of the process that sets the context for genocide in the first place. Victims have to be seen in the same way they were constructed and imagined before the killing: as less than human and deserving of their fate. In October this year, the Nobel Committee delivered the final verdict on our place in European memory: we are unseen and unremembered, our pain and our truth - denied. The outside world actively rationalized and negated our experience, and what is more, it continues to do so. By Emir Suljagic, Al Jazeera, December 9, 2019

Why Peter Handke's Evasions Can't Evade the Truth Handke reaps benefit from his dubious alliances with Serbian fascists, which he incessantly denies, posing instead as an ethereal aesthete tormented by other people’s fundamentally irrelevant responses to his ill-informed political interventions, which he claims he intended as art and never really meant. By Eric Gordy, December 9, 2019

Two members leave Nobel literature committee, criticizing Swedish Academy Gun-Britt Sundstrom said in a statement published in Dagens Nyheter that the choice of Handke had been interpreted as if literature stood above politics and she did not share that view. Handke has been heavily criticized for his portrayal of Serbia as a victim during the Balkan wars and for attending the funeral of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. Milosevic died in 2006 in The Hague, where he was standing trial for war crimes. Reuters, December 2, 2019

Wings of Denial A detailed look at Handke's anti-Muslim and genocide-apologist history. He has been promoting denialist, apologist, and nationalist narratives about the Yugoslav Wars in his literary works for more than two decades.
The cult of ethnic purity in Serb nationalist ideology very much appeals to fascists in the West. What they see in the Greater Serbia project of the 1990s is the realization of their own cause: a fundamental reordering of space along archaic ethnic dividing lines, against Islam, multiculturality and globalism. Götz Kubitschek, one of the key thinkers of contemporary fascism in Germany, considers Handke’s ‘Justice for Serbia’ pamphlets part of the right-wing literary canon.
Genocide denial goes beyond the claim that literally nothing happened. More often than not it comes in the form of something happened but. Its shifting strategies draw on a diverse arsenal of erasing, omitting, obscuring, distorting, minimizing, relativizing, decontextualizing, whatabouting, gaslighting, sealioning, bullshitting, dog-whistling, concern-trolling, victim-blaming, and many other techniques. It does not seek to establish facts but to destabilize them. It purports to seek the truth but aims to create the opposite: an ambience of uncertainty. The violence of genocide denial keeps the victims from mourning, healing, and moving on. It is the continuation of Ratko Mladić’s motto for the siege of Sarajevo - “Let’s blow their minds, so they cannot sleep” - by other means.
By Adnan Delalic, December 2, 2019

The Nobel Prize, a Rape Camp in Bosnia, and Peter Handke What’s come to be known as ethnic cleansing is not a simple or quick act. To succeed, it must be ongoing and everlasting. The memory of what happened must be denied and repressed at all times, so that it does not return to destabilize the false history you are trying to establish. If you stay at the Vilina Vlas with the knowledge of what happened there, you are a participant in the process of memory erasure, to life returning to normal in places that are not normal and never should be; you are an active accomplice to the moral crime of genocide denial . By Peter Maass, The Intercept, November 28 2019

Handke's publisher is acting as an accomplice Publisher Suhrkamp should appeal to Handke to apologize to the  victims of the Srebrenica genocide. Society for Threatened Peoples, November 27, 2019

Stockholm Syndrome: The Nobel Prize Organization Is Now Fully Engaged in the Business of Genocide Denial The organization itself has become an open skeptic of the mass murder of Bosnia’s Muslims. By Peter Maass, The Intercept, November 20, 2019

Handke won the Nobel Prize after two jurors fell for a conspiracy theory about the Bosnia war They relied on books that repeat discredited denials of Serb concentration camps in wartime Bosnia. By Peter Maass, The Intercept, November 14, 2019

Why Did Nobel Winner Peter Handke Have a Secret Passport From Milosevic-Era Yugoslavia? The passport says "Yugoslav" under the heading of "Nationality." The fact, undisclosed until now, that Handke had a Yugoslav passport would appear to be a new indicator of his actual sympathies and loyalties. By Peter Maass, The Intercept, November 6, 2019

Peter Handke: Sorrow of the Nobel prize Handke has reduced the Serbian nation to Milosevic’s world and failed to notice anything else. This is not a question of ideas or political sympathy, but of a serious lack of observation, knowledge, sensibility, and impulse to love the oppressed and victims more than tyrants and abusers: in short, the literary capacities that are important to writers today. The fact that Handke has failed to notice anything but the brutal face of the authorities, and that he has equated it with the people, is a serious offense against Serbia. Being critical must be a trait of anyone who feels the need to fall in love with a collective, especially an ethnic one. By Svetlana Slapŝak, October 28, 2019

How the Nobel Prize Succumbed to the Literary Art of Genocide Denial Defenses of Handke stand in defiance of what has long been noted by historians of the Holocaust and other genocides: outright denial is just one way to deny a genocide. Other forms of denial include claiming deaths were inadvertent or unauthorized by political leaders, or there were not as many deaths as reported, or that the victims were killed in retaliation for previous killings they had carried out. Those strategies encompass much of what Handke (along with many others cited on this page) has written about the Serb genocide in Bosnia. By Peter Maass, The Intercept, October 26, 2019

Handke's Nobel Prize: Cauterizing Muslims from Europe's history When the Swedish Royal Academy awarded Peter Handke the Nobel Prize in literature, it finished the process of denying the Bosnian genocide started by the underlings of Ratko Mladić and Radovan Karadžić. By Emir Suljagic, October 19, 2019

Why Reward a Genocide apologist? Milosevic was so fond of Handke that he bestowed upon him the Order of the Serbian Knight. By Aleksandar Hemon, The New York Times, October 15, 2019

Nobel Prize for Peter Handke An award for a stubborn genocide denier who unconditionally sided with the Serbian war criminals. Society for Threatened Peoples, October 15, 2019

Peter Handke Nobel Prize: Bosnia, Kosovo, and Albania denounce the coronation of a negationist The Austrian author saluted the memory of Slobodan Milosevic in 2006 by going to the funeral of a Serb accused of crimes against humanity and genocide. Le Figaro, October 10, 2019 (In French - use Google Translate for English)

Deep Regret Over the Choice of Peter Handke for the 2019 Nobel Prize in Literature "We are dumbfounded by the selection of a writer who has used his public voice to undercut historical truth and offer public succor to perpetrators of genocide." PEN America, October 10, 2019

Genocide apologist gets Nobel Prize Handke embodies the prime intellectual diseases of this era. By Peter Maass, The Intercept, October 10, 2019

The Apologist A prominent defender of Slobodan Milosevic, the Austrian writer spoke at Milosevic's funeral in Belgrade, in March 2006.  Commentary by Michael McDonald, The American Scholar, Spring 2007

Blind to the Truth Handke's transformation from one of the German language's most celebrated writers and an idol of the '68 generation into a full-blown apologist for Serbian war crimes has taken a good 10 years but is now officially complete. By Tobias K. Vogel, Transitions Online, July 20, 2005

Peter Handke persists The controversy rages in Vienna around the new play of the writer-friend of the Serbs. The author's words set fire to the powder. Le Temps (Switzerland), May 25, 1999 (In French - use Google Translate for English)

For services rendered - to the cause of folly Handke has astonished even his work’s most fervent admirers by a series of impassioned apologias for the genocidal regime of Slobodan Milosevic, and, during a recent visit to Belgrade, received the Order of The Serbian Knight for his propaganda services. By Salman Rushdie, Toronto Globe and Mail, May 7, 1999

Open Letter to Peter Handke His ex-companion describes him as an ideologue of modern Balkan fascism and a legitimizer of Serbian violence in Bosnia and Kosovo, and violent toward her. By Marie Colbin, originally published in the Austrian magazine Format, May 1999


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