This report continues
and wraps up my visit last week to the Krajina, northwest
Bosnia. I have put a few links at the end of this posting, for
background on Kozarac, Prijedor, and related history.
From Banja Luka I went west to Kozarac, which lies most of the
way to the town of Prijedor. The bus between Banja Luka and
Prijedor passes the exits for the former concentration camp
sites of Omarska and Trnopolje, and goes right by Keraterm.
I slept at the “Kuća mira,” the House of Peace. At the
upper end of Kozarac, this building was formerly the elementary
school. Like nearly every other building and house in Kozarac,
it was torched and bombed during the war, and left as a hulk. I
was present on a dreary April day in 1998 when Emsuda Mujagić,
leader of the women’s organization Srcem do Mira (Through
Heart to Peace) planted a “peace tree” next to the ruins of the
building and declared that it would be rebuilt and a community
center created there. This was before any of the thousands of
displaced Bosniaks had started to return to Kozarac. The
atmosphere was foreboding. I thought Emsuda was fantasizing.
Not long afterwards, someone ripped out the “tree of peace.”
However, return to Kozarac got underway, and today some
thousands of the pre-war residents have returned. The old
elementary school building was beautifully restored, and today
it indeed serves as a center for non-governmental activity and,
occasionally, as a haven for wandering visitors.
Overnight it snowed. I had an early meeting in Prijedor - though
not as early as I thought, since I was unaware of the change to
standard time, which occurs in Bosnia-Herzegovina a week before
it does the United States.
The new look of Kozarac
I met with Sudbin Musić,
secretary of the Udruženje Logoraša
Prijedor ’92 (Association of Concentration Camp Prisoners,
Prijedor 1992). He was a survivor of Trnopolje. On one hand, he
looks like a young 38-year-old. On the other, his pale face gives a
somewhat ghostly, not-so-robust effect that you can only assume is
the result of a traumatic experience from which there is no complete
recovery. But, somehow, Sudbin is energetic, mentally lively, with an
abundant sense of humor and irony. He conveys his feeling of the
tragedy and difficulty of his constituency’s situation, and the
obstacles both within that community and from the outside - through
biting sarcasm - but sometimes also through playfulness.
Sudbin told me about himself: “My father was killed in our village of
Čarakovo at the beginning of the war. I spent two years in Holland
and four in Germany, and then I returned. I came to Sanski Most in
1998. Three days after I returned, they called me into the army. A
week after that, my father’s body was discovered in a well. So there
was no traditional going-away party for me. I spent ten months in
“There were 700 houses destroyed in Čarakovo; it looked like
Hiroshima. I returned there with my family in 2000. There were two
hundred families that wanted to return, but we were only able to get
donations to repair forty houses. It was like in Rwanda, you could
find human bones everywhere. I found a skull in the garden.
“My first ‘hobby’ was taking care of funeral arrangements, helping
people identify the remains, coordinating with the ICMP
[International Commission for Missing Persons]. My God, what a
hobby. I started to become well known because of my activism. I’m
38; I was 25-26 when I returned.
“The return process ended in 2003. And in that year, people started
to leave. The older people are dying, and the younger ones are
leaving if they can. They get married to someone abroad and then
leave. This is the last phase of the ethnic cleansing.
“In 1991, 2,417 people lived in Čarakovo; the village was 99%
Muslim. From there, 413 people were killed. The rest were taken to
concentration camps, then deported to central Bosnia, and they then
left for Europe and elsewhere.
“In 2003 there were 462 returnees. Now about 350 people live there.
There are 26 children in the elementary school, first through fifth
grade. That is a picture of the success of the ethnic cleansing.”
Sudbin discussed with me the struggle of his organization for the
rights of the concentration camp survivors. He said,
“The question of memory is the most
essential one. There need to be reparations, and we are working on
the status of the survivors. My association is not ethnically-oriented. We are struggling for the rights of all
survivors. That is why we have no money, because we are not
nationalist. There is too much politicization of this issue.”
Spring of 2012 was the twentieth anniversary of the beginning of the
war, the attacks on Prijedor and Kozarac from surrounding Serb
separatist forces, and the formation of the concentration camps.
There has been an upsurge of activism in the municipality - and on
the Internet as well. Survivors and returnees in Prijedor have been
fighting to have the crimes that were committed against them
acknowledged and commemorated, for example, at Omarska. To date
there has been strong resistance against this campaign, especially
from the municipal government headed by Mayor Marko Pavić.
“I’m president of the committee for organization of funerals. More
victims are being exhumed and identified each year. The funerals are
held on July 20th. There are three parts of Prijedor
municipality [that were inhabited by Muslims and that were
targeted]: Kozarac was the first that was destroyed. Then the Old
Town and other Muslim parts of the city. Then the communities on the
left bank of the Sana were destroyed between July 20th
and 26th of 1992. Of all the people killed, 95% were Muslim, including women, children, and old people [The
rest were other non-Serbs, primarily Croats]. No one has been
arrested or prosecuted for these crimes. We are using this day, July
20th, to show the local community and the world that no
one knows about these things.
Mourner at cemetery of wartime victims,
“And we are talking about the 256 women and 102 children who were
killed. We were going to do an exhibit about the women, but this was
forbidden by Pavić. He is the Pharaoh. He is Ramses. He says, ‘You
have to do what I say, and think like I do.’ But we did a
commemoration for the children, and that was a success. We held a
procession through Prijedor, carrying children’s school bags. We
walked starting at noon and finished at 1:00 p.m.
Q: How was this received?
A: “Nothing happened. Then we did something for Human Rights Day on
December 10, and again it was received with indifference. But the
municipal assembly called a special session, exclusively to talk
about our use of the word ‘genocide.’”
I asked if the struggle for commemoration at Omarska would continue.
Sudbin said, “Yes, but how? There is no money. We got a letter from
Pavić that there would be no money from the municipality for this
kind of work, and there is no support from the UNDP either. We are
fighting the fight of Don Quixote.”
Sudbin discussed the position of various return communities and the
capital city: “The return communities are like reservations. These
are local microcosms with micro-economies. Kozarac is Dubai. It is
the golden goose, based on good agricultural land, tourism, and
agriculture, some industry.
“And there is a very large microcosm in Sarajevo, which is the Hong
Kong of Bosnia. It sucks money from the rest of the country. People
there don’t understand that there is also Bosnia on the other side
of Trebević [a mountain to the southeast of Sarajevo].
“Politics in this country is based on the economics of
privatization. In five years we won’t have our own politics, but
that of Zarubezhnjeft [Russian oil company], Mittal [international
steel company that bought the Omarska mining complex], the
Austrians. That is neo-colonialism.
“So in a few years my human rights job will make no sense; I will be
in danger, because I will be disturbing the Bosniaks. I feel like
the last Mohican.”
In Prijedor I noticed an anonymous inscription on the outside wall
of a restaurant, in Cyrillic. It read, “Milorad Lukashenko,”
combining the first name of RS President Dodik with the last name of
the dictator of Belarus.
Graffiti calling Dodik "Lukashenko "
Edin Ramulić, Izvor
Edin Ramulić is the secretary of the predominantly women’s
organization Izvor (Source). This organization campaigns for
the rights of the families of missing persons. Izvor collects
information about missing persons, advocates for the rights of the
relatives of the disappeared, supports prosecution of the war crimes
cases, and promotes public discussion of the history of the war.
This latter work focuses, among other things, on the rights of rape
Edin says, “Prijedor has the most war criminals of any single place.
There were 28 people from here who were convicted of war crimes in
The Hague, in the Bosnian court, and in Belgrade. There is nowhere
else that there were so many concentrated war crimes. And this area
has the biggest number of concentration camp survivors, and the
highest number of missing people - there are still one thousand
people missing, and sometimes there has been no DNA sample provided
to identify them.
“All of us have a relative who is missing. There were 3,173 people
who were disappeared. We created a book of the disappeared, and it
has come out in three issues, in 1998, 2000, and 2012. The first
issue was the first evidence about the missing in
Bosnia-Herzegovina. The government had done nothing.
“We followed the exhumations, helped with information. No one lived
here in Prijedor then. We got in touch with the relatives of the
disappeared. There are still remains of the missing being found this
year. We have a database. There are still one thousand missing
“…The relatives of the disappeared people now have the right to the
status of family of the disappeared. This was established in Bosnia
overall in 2006, and in the RS in 2007. But there are around 500
people who have not received this status. There was a very short
time period where people were allowed to apply. Some 700 people
applied. With the status of family of a missing person one receives
a pension. In the RS it is around 140 KM; it is better in the
“The Ministry of Soldiers deals with these cases. Mišo
Rodić is the head of the department for disabled veterans’ pensions.
He’s an assistant to Pavić. He was involved in the concentration
camps. He doesn’t deny this, says, ‘I did my job.’
“Furthermore, Mirzad Islamović was in the camps. Now, he is the head
of the department of economy. So he is Rodić’s colleague. Rodić had
the power to say who was going to be killed and who was going to get
a beating. Now, the two of them eat lunch together.
I asked, “Is this a case of reconciliation?” Edin responded, “Yes it
is, on a personal level.”
The city of Sanski Most sits on the other side of the inter-entity
borderline, in the Federation, just a twenty-minute drive from
Prijedor. When it was taken by Serb forces in 1992, Edin tells me,
there were around 700 Bosniak and Croat civilians killed. Combined
Bosniak and Croat forces retook the city in 1995, and some Serb
civilians were killed or expelled. Edin says, “In 2009 we held a
conference in Sanski Most. One Serb spoke there about crimes
committed against the Serbs when Sanski Most was retaken. But this
has never happened again.
“Prijedor has the highest number of war criminals who have
confessed to their crimes, but most of this happened far away from
here, in The Hague, so people don’t know about it. So we share that
information here, and that gives a chance for reconciliation.
At another local conference, Edin said, “Zdravka Karlica came to
speak with us from the Serb organization of fallen soldiers. Her
husband, Zoran, was killed in the war. If anyone had a reason to
hate us, she would, but she doesn’t. And there were some other
Serbs, some whose sons were killed. There was also a man who was
injured in fighting between Bosniaks and Serbs on May 30, 1992. He
was shot 32 times, and still he survived. He spoke with us; this was
a very positive story.”
Q: Are these people in favor of reconciliation?
A: “Everyone is, except for the politicians.”
“In 2011 we had a conference with Croats from the Association for
Return to the Valley of the Sana River. Hrvatski Dom. This
was a conference to help the Croats. Again, Pavić didn’t attend. His
letter said that we were working to create an ugly picture of
Prijedor. But it wasn’t us who did that; we are not guilty of that.”
There has been strong resistance to the erection of a commemorative
monument, or for that matter any other kind of commemoration, at
Omarska. One of the forms of obstruction has been cooptation. That’s
too complicated a story for me to go into here, but Mittal and the
local government, together with some outside “reconciliation
careerists,” have had considerable success in thwarting the movement
for memorialization. Meanwhile, monuments to Serb soldiers are
erected in many places. Edin reports,
“There are Serb victims, and the municipality erects monuments to
them, but none for the Muslims. The only public place where there is
a commemorative marking is at Keraterm. Within 200 meters of the
municipal building, there are five monuments to Serbs. One is to Rašković,
the Croatian Serb founder of the SDS [the Serb Democratic Party,
whose Bosnian branch was led by Radovan Karadžić].
This was perhaps placed there to please the displaced Serbs from
Monument to Serb fighters placed by
wartime location of concentration camp at Trnopolje, near Prijedor
I met with Mirsad Duratović, the president of Sudbin’s concentration
camp survivors’ organization. Sudbin had told me that when Mirsad was
17 at the beginning of the war, Serb separatist forces killed eleven
members of his family, including his father and his grandfather,
“all in two minutes.” Mirsad survived Omarska, Manjaca, and
Trnopolje concentration camps.
Mirsad discussed the work of his organization: “There are around
4,000 registered members. 90% of them live abroad. Some of them come
here once or twice a year. There is also the Association of Kozarac
Camp Survivors, led by Sabahudin Garibović. And some of the people
from Kozarac are members of our association.
“We are mainly involved in commemorating the anniversaries of the
opening and closing of the camps. Camp survivors do not have the
status of civilian victims of the war. They have no legal status as
such. That is one of the things we are struggling to accomplish. The
issue has now been in court for four years.
“Q: What would be involved in having that status?
A: “There is some material benefit, a pension. But we don’t just
need that material benefit; we also need the recognition of the pain
in our spirit.
“In his trial at The Hague, Karadžić said
that the war started on the 30th of May, when the Croats
and Muslims attacked Prijedor. But on May 22nd, the Serbs
had already attacked my village of Biščani.
They killed my father and my fifteen-year-old brother, my
grandfather as well, and three of my uncles. I am the only male
survivor from that family. And by the 30th of May, the
concentration camps were full.
“We are not being allowed to place a monument in Omarska, nor in
Prijedor. That’s what hurts us. We need recognition from the
government that crimes happened here. There is no amount of money
that can assuage that pain. There is no law regarding a deadline to
finish this process. The other day one woman who had been in Omarska
died. Who will remember all this?
Q: What’s going on now with the campaign for memorialization in
A: “The main obstruction here is the city government; the mayor is
preventing it. We have contact with Mittal; they say that when the
government gives its approval, they will help. The problem is not
with the company at all.
“If the government were to permit the memorial, that would be an
admission. Now, there are six monuments for fallen Serbs, and none
for our side. There is one monument for the fallen police, another
for mailmen, another for hospital workers, and another for miners -
but these are only for the Serb members of these professions.
“There is not only discrimination here towards the dead. There is
discrimination in hiring as well. Serb veterans get priority. Their
children receive scholarships, but ours do not.
I asked Mirsad if he thought that what exists in Prijedor conforms
to the legal definition of apartheid. He answered, “The government
provides 500,000 KM for the victims of the war - but only for the
Serbs, and this is written into the law. That money goes to five or
six Serb veterans organizations. We have six organizations here of
Croats and Muslims. So this is legalized discrimination - and this
is money that partially comes from the taxes that we pay.
“They also reserve funds for the monuments to the Serb soldiers, and
to their organizations, but nothing for our side. We have a case
about this pending in the EU Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.”
Q: Is there a complete halt to the campaign for a commemorative
monument at Omarska?
A: “We don’t know what to do. We tried to go to London for the press
conference, but we were not able to get visas.
“The international community could help us if it wanted to, as it
did in Srebrenica. But it is playing its own game. If they were able
to take care of this problem in Srebrenica, then why can’t they do
“We need to have a memorial center in Omarska, and one in Prijedor
as well. If this were to be done, then we would be able to move on.
As it is now, I do not have the right in Prijedor to commemorate the
day of the death of my parents.
Omarska mining complex, wartime
“More than one thousand of those who were killed have not yet been
found. There were drivers and other people who were involved, who
were witnesses. There are people who know what was done. So why
can’t they find those missing people? There are at least five
witnesses of what happened in my village who have already spoken.
Some of them have testified in The Hague - but no prosecutor has
taken any action.
“If you were in my place, what would you do? My grandmother, my
other relatives, are gone. I must look for them and find them; then
life can go on. Why is it like this? There are prosecutors in
Sarajevo, at the state level, who could do something.”
The weekend that I was in Prijedor was the time of the major Muslim
holiday, Kurban Bajram, as I mentioned in my previous report. Mirsad
noted this, saying, “Now it’s Bajram. Ordinarily, that’s a holiday
where the whole family gets together, something like Christmas for
the Catholics. But I’m sitting with my mother alone, and Sudbin with
his, and it’s sad. I don’t like this holiday.
“What have I been waiting for, for fifteen years? In ten more years
I won’t be capable of doing this work, I’m already sick from the
results of the beatings in the camps. I have problems with my
stomach, and they injured my arm.
“The people who were convicted of committing war crimes and who are
becoming active now again in politics are saying things like, ‘We
served our time, now we are free to do what we want.’”
At this point the recounting of the tragedy, the misery, and the
denial and obstruction was affecting me. I felt close to tears. I
could hardly fathom the will to persevere on the part of these
I brought up something that has occurred to me, a form of
on-the-edge activism that has been practiced in the United States,
admittedly with much less risk:
Q: You are aware of the Occupy movement in the US. What do you think
of the idea of doing something like that here, for example, sitting
at the entrance to Omarska as a protest?
A: “There are not the people for that. Here there are perhaps around
5,000 people. If there were 500 of those who would participate, it
would just be a small effort. We have organized some actions,
although it is prohibited.
“There is fear. If the authorities see that your organization is
doing this kind of thing, then the government says that you are
‘rebels,’ and then you get no assistance from the municipality.”
Q: What kind of assistance do organizations get?
A: “For example, scholarships for students to go to school.
“We have no money; how can we pay the rent? Courage is useless in
this regard. And there have been threats against us. There is
economic pressure, and when that doesn’t work, there is physical
pressure. The saddest thing is that the police don’t do anything
about those threats of violence. And people come from the
international community, but they don’t help.
“There are people who are leaving. So they won’t talk about these
things. Whoever can leave, is leaving. Regardless of how patriotic
you are, you still have to have something to live on. (Looks out the
window at the weather) - You can’t live on snow. We have children;
they want chocolate, they want a bicycle. If you have nothing to
eat, you pack your trunks and you leave.
“In the last year there were thirty returnees who died, and no one
was born here. It’s the third year that it’s been like that. We have
three schools in the six villages around my area. There were five
schools, now there are three. When I was in first grade in Biščani,
there were 36 students in the first grade. In those six villages
there were 250 students in first grade.
“Now there are thirteen. In the different schools, there is one
student here, and maybe two there, in first grade. Next year, maybe
altogether there will be four students in first grade. When we first
returned, there were sixty students in the four-year elementary
schools. Now there are 36. Next year there will be fewer than
“When those people reach twenty years of age, they go looking for
work - not in Prijedor, but at least in Slovenia or Croatia, or
beyond. They leave. In the last twelve years there have been
hundreds of weddings here; all of those married couples left.
“Sudbin and I were born in 1974; we are the last generation of people
who are staying here. Now the process of ethnic cleansing is
finishing. It is the same for the Serbs in the Federation. People
who are in the minorities are leaving from the smaller cities. Serbs
are even leaving from Drvar in the Federation, where they have a
Serb mayor; but they mean nothing to the Federation.
Mirsad asks, rhetorically, “Why did the OHR [Office of the High
Representative] not remove Dodik?” I responded that “the OHR gave up
on making a difference in that way a long time ago. There appears to
be no long-term plan for Bosnia-Herzegovina on anyone’s part -
except for that of Dodik.”
Mirsad commented, “Everything is going according to that plan. But
he is not acting alone.
“If you want help from the international community or the courts, or
from an Embassy, you can’t criticize them. Some organizations have
consented to those conditions. But our task is to point out our
problems - so what can we do?
“Some of the NGOs have become satellites of the government. They can
criticize the government. But they have to choose between receiving
money or being beaten.
“An Arab Spring or Occupy movement can’t happen here - there is too
much at stake. What’s going on in Greece? It’s worse here, but no
one is responding. Governments come and go, they keep stealing, and
there is no prosecution when someone new comes into power. That is
because the next person in power knows that he could end up in the
“We lack the critical mass for a rebellion. The government keeps a
good eye on potentially active people - and buys them off if
Back in Kozarac, I fit in a couple of quick conversations with local
folks who have been active, since the end of the war, in rebuilding
their lives and in rebuilding Kozarac. I wrote about the work of
activist and camp survivor Švabo in 2010.*
With his organization Optimisti, Švabo has been active in the
struggle for memorialization. Among other things, he has traveled
and educated himself about the nature of other memorials, especially
those related to the Holocaust. He has gone to symposia at Auschwitz
and at Dachau. He says, “We need to have an entire concept of
a memorial center. That has to include even the restrooms, and there
must be a director, a memorial section, a film room, and an
archives, and so on.” But, as mentioned, all this is blocked for
now, in one way or another.
“Meanwhile,” Švabo says, “we can
have a web site. Other memorials have a web site to augment the work
of their centers; we can start with one.”
Regarding the stalled struggle for a
memorial at Omarska, I asked Švabo whether he thought it
would be possible for people to mass at Omarska, something like an
Occupy action. He did not want to be pessimistic; he said, “Local
people here aren’t prepared to mobilize for something like that. But
I think something like that action could be done…”
Švabo turned to the problem of outside
support for Kozarac. “There were 22 weddings here in one day,
all from the diaspora. There were 7,000 people present. People in
the diaspora come here for vacation, but they are letting go…”
The international community and the relevant court at The Hague have
restricted all discussion of genocide to Srebrenica, while genocide
arguably occurred in many parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina - certainly in
Prijedor and in Višegrad. People
who survived the destruction of the Bosniak communities outside of
Srebrenica need recognition of their experience just as much as do
those from Srebrenica.
Švabo said, “If there was not
genocide in Prijedor, then there is no such thing. I carry that
genocide on my shoulders - I was in the camps, I saw the beatings
and the killings. So I don’t need there to be a decision in order to
know there was genocide.”
War memorial to civilian victims,
I spoke with my old friends Emsuda and Osman Mujagić, who were among
the first to return to Kozarac in 1998-1999. Emsuda told me that
there were around eight thousand returnees to Kozarac and the
surrounding villages (out of a pre-war population of 27,000), and
overall in the Prijedor municipality, around 24,000 returnees -
“though people have left. Now there are fewer people. People came
back, saw that there was no work, and left again. Young people are
Srcem do Mira, a women’s organization founded in 1993 in exile,
actively participated in the uphill struggle for return to Kozarac
in the postwar period.* In the first years after return, the
organization was involved in a wide range of issues from education
to a crafts cooperative to various kinds of training. Now, Emsuda
says, Srcem do Mira has reduced its projects, as other organizations
have formed. “Now we mainly work with older women, in psycho-social
activities. And we help younger women prepare to start a business.
Other organizations that use the Kuća Mira include sports groups,
the cultural-artistic association, and the hunting club.”
In recent years Emsuda had described to me various kinds of
harassment that returnees to Kozarac had suffered at the hands of
the local authorities. I asked if this kind of treatment was still
going on. Emsuda told me about an investor, a Kozarac returnee from
Norway who “three years ago invested a million KM in a cattle farm
where he wanted to produce healthy food and bio-fuel. Throwing
mountains of paperwork at him, government has still not given
permission to run his company, so he can’t hire anyone.” The entire
Bosnian-Herzegovinan economy is shackled by this kind of red tape,
discouraging much foreign investment. But it can particularly be
felt as discrimination in the return communities.
And it sounds like there is real economic discrimination in Kozarac
that overcomes any other possible explanation: “There is all kinds
of harassment, still. The finance inspectors come to the local
businesses. There, the cash registers are electronically connected
to the tax agency. If there is more or less money in the register
than there is supposed to be (based on sales), then the owner can be
fined 500 KM. And one owner was fined 500 KM for not having the box
that the cash register came in.
Q: Why can they fine someone for not having the box?
A: “Because there wasn’t something else to fine them for. But they
don’t bother the Serb businessmen about this - they don’t even have
to have a cash register.”
Mosque in Kozarac
Leaving the Krajina
I could have stayed in Prijedor, and revisited Banja Luka. There
were more people to talk to, interesting discussions to be had -
maybe even some uplifting ones. But at this point I was chilled to
the bone. I stopped by a Chinese store and bought a cheap but warm
scarf, a pair of long johns, and thick socks (“rabbit hair?”), but
this did not warm the chill in my spirit, the building annoyance,
the sympathetic frustration, the anger. Even seeing the name
“Republika Srpska” painted on the trains irritated me. I had to
leave the RS. I had to get out.
One last unhappy experience, of my own making, awaited me at the
Banja Luka trainyard. There, on the periphery, was an older man
selling cheap goods. His stand was dominated by t-shirts bearing the
picture of Draža Mihajlović and other Chetnik
propaganda (see my discussion of the movement to rehabilitate World
War II royalist Mihajlović in my last
report). Although I knew that this t-shirt was widely available in
the RS, seeing it now got on my nerves. I should’ve kept my mouth
shut. But, remembering what Dražana said [see
my previous report], I said to the man, “So, fascism is cool now,
huh?” He answered, “What, where do you see fascism?” I said, “Here,
all around you.” I walked away.
At this the man started yelling to everyone (except, fortunately,
there was no one around) and, tentatively, walking towards me. I
kept walking and ignored him, and he subsided.
I knew that my comment was not going to do any good and that I
should have either just moved on or tried something different. My
bad mood wouldn’t allow me, but I could have asked him, “Tell me,
what do you like about “Draža Mihajlović?”
Or maybe I should have asked, “Do you have any Hitler t-shirts?”
Back in Sarajevo, I talked to Dževad and
reminded him of his earlier comment: “I can’t believe that in Banja
Luka they don’t know what happened in Prijedor.” I told him that I
had mentioned this to two young activists in Banja Luka and they
said that people don’t know, and that there are only a couple of
places that you can get Oslobodjenje or Dani in Banja
Luka, and that what is mostly available are propagandistic media
such as Glas Srpske, Nezavisne Novine, and Blic.
Dževad said, “They have access to every TV
station, etc, how can they not know?”
I said, “It’s the same problem with us, people don’t know that the
US killed two million in Southeast Asia, and now some hundreds of
thousands in Iraq, and then Afghanistan, and then the drone planes
killing civilians in Pakistan, etc…”
Dževad: “But those things are taking place in
another country, this was right next door, you could see the houses
“…And now, whenever I meet a Serb policeman, he hurries to tell me
that he was not involved in ‘those actions.’ Yes, they were all
cooks. The army was full of cooks.”
And I talked to Hikmet about the same issue of ignorance versus
denial in Banja Luka. He said, “In Banja Luka they had to know about
what happened to the Ferhadija mosque, at least. It was blown up.
Then the bulldozers came. The mosques were plundered and torched,
and then even the stones from the mosques were cleared away. It
wasn’t just individuals who did this. This was done officially.”
Srebrenica Results: More Delay
The vote count from the Srebrenica municipal elections was known
almost a month ago: 4,455 valid votes for Muslim candidate Ćamil
Duraković, and 3,663 for Serb candidate Vesna Kočević. The official
results from all the municipalities were confirmed last week, just
before the one-month deadline - except for a few. There were a
couple of municipalities or, in some cases, polling districts, where
chicanery was revealed and the vote will be repeated.
Nor was Srebrenica’s result confirmed, but this was different; the
“Coalition for the Republika Srpska,” representing the parties that
supported Kočević, filed a complaint with the Central Election
Commission. Chair of the Commission Branko Petrić supported the
complaint and proposed that the elections be annulled due to
“irregularities and infractions,” but he was outvoted by others on
the Commission. However, now the Coalition is taking its complaint
to the Court of Bosnia-Herzegovina, so nothing is certain.
*For previous writings relevant to these topics, see the following:
of my early writing on Emsuda Mujagić’s work with Srcem do Mira
(see issues 2 through 10)
Kozarac and Prijedor, 2008
Kozarac - Prijedor, 2010
Remembering Mladen Grahovac
Index of previous
journals and articles