Today, on the 11th July 2010, marks 15 years since the worst massacre to take place in Europe since World War II. It is a date that the United Nations and NATO in their new war-on-terror guise would like to forget, for it is the date of the genocide of Srebrenica. Many of us were too young to see it, and some of us like myself were not even muslim at that time and as such would have casually commented on the violence before changing channels. This is an attitude that the west seems to have ingrained in a lot of muslims nowadays, that of switching off from the horror and devastation that the enemies of Islam have caused in the name of nationalism, finance and foreign policy. Its important for all of us to be aware of what happens when we demonstrate indifference and “switch off”, and no more pertinent an example of that is present than the massacre of Srebrenica.
“Between April 1992 and March 1993, Srebrenica town and the villages in the area held by Bosnian Muslims were constantly subjected to Serb military assaults, including artillery attacks, sniper fire, as well as occasional bombing from aircraft. Each onslaught followed a similar pattern. Serb soldiers and paramilitaries surrounded a Bosnian Muslim village or hamlet, called upon the population to surrender their weapons, and then began with indiscriminate shelling and shooting. In most cases, they then entered the village or hamlet, expelled or killed the population, who offered no significant resistance, and destroyed their homes. During this period, Srebrenica was subjected to indiscriminate shelling from all directions on a daily basis. Potočari in particular was a daily target for Serb artillery and infantry because it was a sensitive point in the defence line around Srebrenica. Other Bosnian Muslim settlements were routinely attacked as well. All this resulted in a great number of refugees and casualties”
Eventually, the United Nations under considerable pressure elected to act, designating Srebrenica a “safe area” in 2003 where refugees could congregate. This stayed this way until early july 2005, when the Serb forces elected to attack those in the refugee area, after gathering from a meeting with the French commander of the UN in Bosnia that they would not attack.
The Dutch Soldiers, as expected, offered no resistance as serb forces ransacked the town. Indeed, some dutch high-command were captured drinking with the serb war criminals by TV cameras. It was however to get far worse as the refugees fled from Srebrenica to Potocari. In Potocari women were raped and babies killed whilst the dutch UN peacekeepers looked on, presumably as part of the “turn the other cheek” philosophy. Men were separated and marched to their deaths across the hills. They were herded into football stadiums or warehouses, and executed en masse. Women and children were taken to the notorious “rape camps” where some were murdered and others released to walk to government-held territory. Whilst this was happening, the UN and NATO forces continued to refuse to intervene even though they were well aware a massacre was occurring.
Eventually over 8000 persons were killed, more than 30,000 displaced, and countless homes destroyed.
So what has happened since then? Sadly no-one has learnt their lesson from such events, as we have seen many massacres committed by troops around the world, with no intervention ever taking place unless there is money and oil involved. We have seen NATO and the UN acting as the worlds peacemakers in Afghanistan, bizarrely dispensing with their propaganda as the “worlds saviour” to instead massacre thousands of civilians in Afghanistan. Though not anywhere near the scale of Srebrenica, this is more due to a lack of people in Afghanistan (a country ravished by decades of war ) rather than any concern by the occupying NATO Forces.
We have also seen the Bosnian government quick to forget the debt and gratitude they owe to those who fought the serbs in the war, without whom it is unlikely that NATO, fearing a genuine Islamic state, would have intervened. Indeed one of the conditions of the Dayton Accords was that “foreign” ( ie. Muslim ) fighters leave Bosnia immediately. The Bosnian government have tried to deport brothers for years whose crime was to help muslims when the whole world would not. They have also handed brothers over to the Americans who were then tortured in Guantanamo Bay for many years. They have harassed the families of Ex-Mujahideen, making their desire for European Membership supercede their responsibilities to the ones to whom they owe their very survival.
Perhaps most tragically is the attitude of the muslims, whom now see NATO and the “west” as people who believe in the right to life and in human dignity when their actions in Srebrenica and many other areas of Bosnia show that they were never to be trusted then, and they should not be trusted now. We see muslims ignoring the plight of the other bosnias around the world, the slow death of Gaza, the rape of Kashmir, the Conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and of course the abject poverty of the central African countries coupled with the political terror by dictatorships in the Maghreb and Middle East.
Srebrenica should teach us the dangers of indifference, and I pray to Allah(swt) that the muslims wake from this sleep and remember our past, ameen.
Umar Abdullah,12th July 2010