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Monday, July 11, 2005 

A Shameful Anniversary



Ten years ago today, Bosnian Serb forces under the command of General Ratko Mladic entered the UN "safe haven" of Srebrenica triumphantly, with television cameras beaming the pictures to the world.

The Dutch battalion responsible for the protection of the enclave - vastly outnumbered and outgunned, unwilling to fight, and abandoned by UNPROFOR - essentially surrendered and allowed the expulsion of 23,000 Bosnian Muslims from the town in the following 30 hours. Around 8,000 captured Bosnian men and older boys were then systematically massacred by the Serbians over the next few days.

Too late, this bloodbath became the rallying-call to the international community to 'do something'. Both Ratko Mladic and his political master, Radovan Karadzic are now fugitives wanted for war crimes but remain at large, likely protected and hidden within Serbia itself.

The soul-searching official Dutch report into this episode was published as Dossier Srebrenica. I strongly suggest that students of international conflict read this sobering document, and note similarities to the American experience in Somalia. Also the record of an illuminating conversation between the top UN officials in Bosnia, as well as Bianca Jagger's article on the massacre here and concluded here.

As she says:
"Throughout the conflict and its aftermath, there are those who have advocated a policy of neutrality and inaction in Bosnia because they argue, it keeps the blood of our hands. The blood may not be on our hands, but it is already on our conscience. Dante wrote: "The darkest place in Hell is reserved for those who, in a period of crisis, claim neutrality." Bosnia has been a failure of our morality. It has also been an indictment of international law and order."

Darfur, anybody?

[post revised 12th July 2005, with added links and minor edits]

"Libel"-Richard Waghorne
"Attack blog"-Damien Mulley

About me

  • An early-thirties male Irish technologist living and working in Dublin, I'm a former (recovering) member of both Fianna Fáil and the Roman Catholic Church.

    I'm not a member of any political party these days, but my opinions can be broadly categorised as 'lefty' and republican. I am also a former member of the Irish Defence Forces.

    Please feel free to check out the FI Fie Foe Fum group blog, where I was once a regular contributor, and the Cedar Lounge Revolution, where I can usually be found in the comments.

    (This blog and its contents reflect only my own personal opinions as a private citizen, and not those of any other person or organisation.)

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