[ Home ] [ Library ] [ Index ] [ Maps ] [ Links ] [ Search ] [ Email ]

The Balkan Conflict and International Reaction

By Dr. Raju G.C. Thomas.
Professor of Political Science at Marquette University.

Raju G.C. Thomas is professor of Political Science at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and adjunct senior research fellow at the Center for International Relations, U.C.L.A. He was visiting scholar and research fellow at Harvard University (1980-81, l988-89), U.C.L.A. (1982-83), M.I.T. (1988-89), and the International Institute for Strategic Studies-London (1991-92). His books include: "The Defence of India," 1978, "Indian Security Policy," 1986, "Defence and Stability in South Asia," 1993, "Security, Democracy and Development in South Asia", 1993/94. He is a contributing editor of "The Great Power Triangle and Asian Security," 1983, "Energy and Security in the Industrializing World," 1990, and "Perspectives on Kashmir," 1992. He has published extensively in professional journals, edited books and leading newspapers. Raju Thomas was educated at Bombay University, the London School of Economics and U.C.L.A., from where he obtained his Ph.D.

Excerpts from a report by Dr. Thomas and his fact-finding mission in April 1993:

General Observations

A whole nation and ethnic group-men, women and children - appear to be incarcerated in a giant prison. Western policy and the media campaign is such that ALL Serbs are being economically and psychologically destroyed. The word "SERBS" has been made synonymous with the word "EVIL." Even the Jewish Anti-Defamation League has become caught up in propagating a vicious campaign of defamation against the Serbs on behalf of Franjo Tudjman. Using the Jewish Holocaust as their exclusive domain and forgetting the holocaust of the Serbs, the American Jewish Congress has gone overboard in their calls to bomb the Serbs. (This is in contrast to the sense of reason and sanity provided by other Jewish figures such as Simon Wiesenthal, A. M. Rosenthal, Nora Beloff, Henry Kissinger, and others). Serbs everywhere see themselves being dehumanized, demonized and punished severely for events over which they have little control.

The problem is not "self-pity" among the Serbs, as the Westem media has claimed repeatedly in several articles and commentaries. The underlying problem is the zealous self-righteousness, moral hypocrisy, and political arrogance that now permeates the Western media in the unipolar post-Cold War era.

Through clever manipulation by the Western, and especially US media, all pro-Serbian views have been shut out or are presented in weak form so that they may be demolished later. Pictures and images presented are selective and deliberately provocative to whip up mass public emotion to justify "bombing the Serbs."

When pictures of Serbian victims are shown, their ethnicity is not identified so as to give the impression that these are Muslims or Croats. One American newspaper even took the picture of a Serbian rape victim clearly identified in a caption in a Canadian newspaper, then reprinted that picture under a caption identifying her as a Muslim victim.

This American media strategy of dehumanizing the Serbs- ALL SERBS - is to make bombing the Serbs more palatable to the American public. Selectivity of images to be conveyed to the American and global public is the key to this strategy. All the crimes committed against the Serbs are deliberately played down or passed off as Serbian atrocities through acts of omission. In April, 1993, entire Muslim families and the razing of homes and villages in Central Bosnia were portrayed on television channels in Milwaukee and Minneapolis showing the horrific pictures of charred bodies of Muslims without mentioning that the perpetrators of these crimes were Croatian soldiers. The following clip then showed Serbian activities in Eastern Bosnia around Srebrenica, further crystaling the impression that atrocities in Central Bosnia were committed by Serbs.

In a press conference that took place soon thereafter, President Clinton described these atrocities committed by Croats against Muslims in April, 1993, as "qualitatively different" from those committed by the Serbs.

How much more "qualitatively different" could atrocities be than the deliberate burning alive of whole families, or throwing grenades into homes of innocent civilian families and then shooting them dead as they run out of their homes in terror to escape the blasts?

There are no words such as "anti-semitism" or "racism" to describe this attitude of total insensitivity towards all Serbs that is beginning to permeate American Society from the president of the United States down.

Bill Clinton is obviously president of all of the United States, except for the one million whole or part Serb-Americans. This generalized hate and contempt for all Serbs that is being absorbed by most Americans is the artful and manipulative work of the American media led by the New York Times and the Washington Post.

War Crimes Issues

We questioned Nikola Koljevic, vice president of the "Serbian Republic" of Bosnia about Western allegations of genocide and mass rape. He alleged that in Sarajevo the Bosnian government was forcibly putting Serb "recruits" to the Bosnian army in the front line of Serb artillery causing large-scale deaths. These Serbs were then being buried alongside Muslim soldiers in mass graves to demonstrate massacres to Western reporters.

My impression is that this practice has occurred elsewhere in Bosnia. It amounts to the virtual execution of Serbian men in Bosnian military uniform in Muslim controlled territory.

Dr. Milan Bulajic, an eminent authority on international law and author of "International Law and Development", is recognized for his documentation and four-volume dissertation on the Ustasha crimes of genocide in WWII. He is considered an expert on genocide. In an interview at the Yugoslav equivalent of the "State Department," he said: "A crime is a crime and should be punished, especially when committed against women and children." But the general feeling in Yugoslavia is that Serbs are being singled out for punishment-while the west not only ignore the war crimes committed against Serbs in this war, but also more atrocious crimes committed elsewhere in the world in the past. Especially troubling is the creation of an ad hoc International War Crimes Tribunal to try Serbs alone. Both Milan Bulajic and Nikola Koljevic indicated that Yugoslavia would have no objection to a permanent war crimes tribunal that would examine all the crimes committed during the current war as well as crimes committed elsewhere in the past and likely to be committed in the future. There was a question as to why an ad hoc tribunal was necessary, since the accusation of war crimes against Serbia has already been submitted to the International Court of Justice.

It was observed that the international investigators looking into war crimes are essentially working for the prosecution; thy are only looking for evidence to convict, not to acquit. Thus, the prosecutors appear also to be the judges. There appears to be no higher court of appeal for the Serbs. In the minds of the Western and especially American media, Serbs have already been tried and found guilty. They will accept no other verdict. The international legal process is a FORMALITY.

My impression of the intended international war crimes tribunal was that it violated every principle of justice and fair play. The system and process would be thrown out as a cruel farce in any domestic Western democratic society.

What is being set up is nothing more than an "Ad Hoc International Kangaroo Court" decked with the frills of respectability to pacify the hysterical and revengeful demands of an American-led Western lynch mob. There has been for some time an array of deeply prejudiced Western news to reporters collecting evidence against the Serbs who have committed war crimes. Few of them are interested in listening to (let alone discovering) war crimes committed against the Serbs.

The Question of Ethnic Cleansing & Genocide

Much has been made about Serbian "ethnic cleansing." It has been equated with genocide. Actually, it is no more so than "Zionism is Racism." The Jews were the victims of that Arab hate propaganda. The Serbs are now the on victims of this new American-Jewish hate propaganda, despite protests by Simon Wiesenthal who insists that the two conditions are not the same thing. If it were, the creation of Israel must also have been a case of genocide, since 800,000 Palestinians were "cleansed" out of in Palestine to make room for the settlement of European Jews from another continent.

Some of the loudest voices protesting the "genocide" by the Serbs in the Balkan conflict are those of the Turks, Germans and Croatians. Ironically, members of these three nationalities were responsible for the worst genocides in the 20th century.

There is almost a craving to discover genocide by the Serbs on the part of the American media and American Jews. Massacres committed by Serbs are genocide, but not massacres committed against the Serbs. Ethnic cleansing by the Serbs is genocide, but not that committed by the other side against Serbs. Figures of Muslims and Croats killed are not just inflated but amount to lies. The American media is not going to be cheated out of their "genocide." The projected figures of the number of people who died in Croatia and Bosnia are deliberately intended to mislead. Of the 10,000 or 16,000 who died during the war in Croatia (the figure fluctuates), at least 40 percent were Serbs. The number of Muslim civilians who died in Bosnia was first projected at 17,000 in late fall, 1992. By early January 1993, this figure was increased to 20,000 dead. But suddenly the figure ranged between 150,000 to 500,000 under a new category of "dead or missing." This missing did not imply "presumed dead" but is deliberately intended to convey that impression to substantiate claims of genocide. Indeed, without any evidence, the "missing" have all now been converted to "dead" by respectable newspapers such as the Christian Science Monitor. Thus, "dead" Muslim civilians increased in a matter of weeks from 18,000 to 150,000.

Inter-ethnic strife everywhere in the world invariably leads to "ethnic cleansing" of greater or lesser degree. When Pakistan was created in 1947, 8 million Hindus and Sikhs from West Punjab and Sindh fled to India, and 5 million Muslims from East Punjab fled-to Pakistan. The Muslim uprising in Kashmir has led to the "ethnic cleansing of all the 300,000 Kashmir Hindu Pundits of the Valley that had lived there since 1,000 B.C. Jews in Israel are not anxious to live next door to Palestinian Muslims, especially when both sides still hate and kill each other Bombing the Serbs will not make Serbs want to live peacefully with Croats and Muslims after all this violence and bloodshed. The solution to inner city crime or racial strife in the U.S. would not be to impose sanctions against all Blacks and Hispanics, or to bomb the inner cities of America. There can only be political and social solutions to such problems, not military ones.

Senator Biden claims that Europeans would have acted differently if the Muslims were Christians instead. As a matter of fact, Biden's deep concern for Bosnian Muslims is not because they are Muslims. It is because they are Whites. The greatest victimization of Asian or African Muslims would not have raised the same level of concern. Senator Robert Dole, who always carried a personal pathological hate for the Serbs long before this crisis erupted, has called for bombing the Serbs and for lifting the arms embargo on the Muslims. He fears the "annihilation of the Albanians" otherwise.

The deaths of innocents are the usual casualties of war, and bombing will not reduce the level of killing of innocents. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the American strategic bombing of Iraq may have led to the direct or indirect deaths of about 47,000 Iraqi children under the age of five. The American bomb dropped on a shelter where American intelligence thought Saddam Hussein was hiding killed 400 Iraqi women and children. There were no American cameras to record the tragedy, and there was no American grief or remorse for their deaths.

Israeli bombings of Palestinian terrorist hideouts in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon have always led to the deaths of many more innocents than that inflicted by Palestinian terrorists on Israelis. However, killing many more innocent civilians with bombs from American and Israeli war planes appears to be moral so long as the targets are strategic even if the bombers know in advance that many innocent civilians will be killed.

You cannot bomb ethnic groups who now hate each other so much into living together in tolerance and goodwill.

Since it was a German-led Europe that decided that Croatians, Slovenians and Muslims could not and MUST NOT live in a "Serbian-dominated" Yugoslavia ... the Serbs have EVERY RIGHT now to refuse to live in a Croatian-dominated Croatia or a Muslim-dominated Bosnia.

PREVIOUS  Back to:

    [ The Hague "Tribunal" ]

Where am I? PATH: 

Book of facts 

The truth belongs to us all.

Feel free to download, copy and redistribute.

First posted: May 29, 1998
Last revised: April 17, 1997