San Jose Peace and
Justice Center (California) scheduled a May 31 fund-raising event featuring a
speech by Michael Parenti, who was the US chair of the
International Committee to Defend Slobodan Milosevic.
Parenti is a
well-known Leftist denier of Serbian war crimes in Bosnia and Kosovo, repeating
minimizes the extent of the
Srebrenica massacre of 8,000
men and boys by Serbian forces.
questions the fact that
concentration camps in Bosnia were death camps.
camps in Bosnia
where rape was used as
instrument of Serbian policy
demoralize the entire non-Serb population in the service of
Dissidents in the peace group protested, forcing the group's
officers and board to reconsider, but twice the board voted to go ahead with the
In the meantime, however, local Muslim and Bosniak groups mobilized to
pressure the group to cancel Parenti. Supporters of the Bosniaks in at least 24
over 500 letters to the peace group, expressing their feeling that Parenti's denial
undermines peace and justice because the
way to reconciliation is to acknowledge the truth and punish those
responsible. Survivors of the Bosnia war met twice with
representatives of the peace group, who were moved by their experiences.
The opposition from within and outside of the peace group, along with the
group's meetings with the Bosniaks, led the group to cancel the Parenti event on May 14.
Following are some of the numerous letters sent to the
Two letters from a member of the San Jose
Peace and Justice Center
of North American Bosniaks letter (PDF)
by 73 Bosniak and Human Rights organizations (PDF)
Judith Armatta letter
Daniel Simpson letter
Roger Lippman letter
Peter Lippman letter
Stephen Zunes statement
Advisory about Michael
Parenti distributed by Balkan Witness to other peace organizations