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New Left Review I/196, November-December 1992


Branka Magaš

The Destruction of Bosnia-Herzegovina

The year 1992, scheduled to be a milestone on the road to European unity, has seen Sarajevo and other Bosnian cities slowly bombarded to pieces and their inhabitants starved before the television eyes of the world. It has seen two million Bosnian Moslems threatened with Europe’s first genocide since World War II, most already driven deliberately from their homes by massacre, rape and terror, thrown into concentration camps, or made refugees within their own country or outside it. All this has occurred with the full knowledge of the outside world, which is also quite aware of the identity of the perpetrator, who has been perfecting such procedures for over a year now in occupied Croatia, including in zones formally under un jurisdiction. The year has seen Bosnia’s legal, multinational government holed up in Sarajevo, treated as a mere ‘warring party’, and pressed to surrender by Western governments eager for peace at any price. Short-sighted and cynical, divided among themselves, determined to avoid intervention, and seeking an eventual accommodation with the military strongman of the Balkans, these governments have settled for ‘humanitarian’ palliatives that amount to little more than a prolonging of the victims’ agony. These are the same governments that protested loudly about ‘ethnic cleansing’ only when the reality was exposed by their media, months after they first learned about it. At the same time, they maintained an embargo on the arms which alone would enable the Bosnian government to repel the aggression, reassert its authority over the whole territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and create conditions for the expelled population to return.

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