Truth in Media Global Watch Bulletins

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TiM GW Bulletin 96-03

March 1996

A Letter from Bosnia

A Case of Classic Occupation

A translation from Serbian; some names of places have been omitted to protect the identity of the correspondent; the "Grbavica Christ"

FROM PHOENIX, ARIZONA              Topic: BALKAN AFFAIRS

SOMEWHERE IN BOSNIA, Mar. 3, 1996 - We received the following letter from a friend in the Bosnian Serb part of that wartorn country.   Sounds like the heart of this former Serb warrior has been torn to shreads more by the NATO "peace" than by the battles of the last four years:

"I spent the days of March 1 and 2 in Pale and in other parts of Sarajevo. The weather was wintry. There was an accumulation of about 30 to 50cm (2.5 to 4 feet) of snow on the ground. During the night of March 1-2 another 20cm (8 inches) of fresh snow had fallen.

Along the way, as it is still early morning, I see a small number of vehicles filled with people who are forever leaving their ancestral homes in Serb Sarajevo. By the afternoon, the roads are cluttered with caravans of horse-drawn carts, cars, and overloaded trucks which the Army of the Republic of Srpska had lent these unfortunate people so as to at least lighten their tragedy a little bit.

...Most of the trucks don’t have any tarps, so the snow is falling on the peoples’ furniture and other possessions.

... The evacuation is taking place in two directions. One is across the Serb-held territories; another through a part of Sarajevo which has been under Muslim control. During the last several days, the retreating Serb refugees have been attacked by the Muslim stone-throwing mobs. There have been also physical assaults in which several Serb civilians suffered serious injuries. There are also damaged automobiles.

...During the last month or so the majority of the Sarajevo Serbs has tried to exhume and move the graves of their family members who gave their lives in defense of their ancestral homes. They are being reburied in Sokolac, Pale, Rogatica and other places in the Republika Srpska...

Mar. 12, 1996. The Serbs have withdrawn completely from the counties of Ilidza, Grbavica and Vraga (? - illegible).

According to the Dayton Accord, the Serbs retained the county of Pale, and parts of the (Sarajevo) suburbs of Lukavica and Vojkovici. But, for all intents and purposes, this is a wedge (into the now Muslim territory), a blind alley of sorts. There are no roads between Pale and Lukavica and Vojkovic. The Serbs will be forced to build new roads through the forests of Mount Jahorina.

Anybody with a detailed Dayton map can see the injustice which it did to the Serbs. The Muslim territory intersects the road from Pale to Lukavica and Vojkovici for about 1km (about 2/3 of a mile) - just so that the Serbs would not have a contiguous link between their settlements.

I should point out that this intersecting of the road is of absolutely no transportation or military significance to the Muslims. It was done solely so as to make life more miserable for the Serbs, and to turn their territory into a blind alley.

Dear Bob, the place where we took pictures during your July 1994 visit [site description withheld; generally - front lines in the vicinity of Sarajevo], and where we drank coffee with Serb soldiers, is now where the (Dayton) border separates the warring sides. The last time I visited this site was on Sept. 30, 1995. I wanted to see how the world’s policeman destroyed all that’s Serbian.

During the night of August 30, 1995, at 02:06, the world policeman’s air force dropped its deadly load on [site description withheld], killing five Serb soldiers, and seriously injuring three. The [site description] was completely destroyed.

Mar. 13, 1996. With the evacuation of the Serbs from Sarajevo, the "ethnic cleansing," or more gently put - the "ethnic resettlement," of the peoples of the former Bosnia and Hercegovina (B&H) has now been completed. The other day, I had an occasion to look at the data from the official census of 1991. About 38% of the prewar Serb population in B&H has been driven from their ancestral homes, and forced to resettle in other parts of the RS or in SRJ (Serbia). That’s about 530,000 Serbs! At the same time, about 24% of the Croats and Muslims have had to leave their homes in the Serb-held territories.

[...] That’s it for now. Much has happened since (we last saw each other) Aug. 4, 1995, when the exodus of the Krajina Serbs started, and since the start of the NATO air force operation on Aug. 28, 1995 through Sept. 15, 1995 - a preamble to a Croat-Muslim offensive.

For me personally, the toughest part was the fall of my native [town name withheld - generally - Western Bosnia] on [date withheld]. And when I was awaiting in Banja Luka the arrival of my refugee mother who had to walk about 100km (67 miles) on foot, sleeping by the roadside along the way. It is painful for me to recall all that. It is hard for me to talk and write about all the things which have happened to us, and are still happening. We are happy that the war is over, at least for now, although we’ve lost a lot.

In short, this is a case now of classic occupation (by NATO). I cannot otherwise understand why the (NATO) troops, wherever they show up, always have their weapons on the ready; why the tanks and the armored vehicles are always pointed toward the (Serb) civilian population; why the convoys of military vehicles drive through populated areas at maximum speed; etc.?

We are an old civilization. We’ve seen many foreign occupiers come and go. Which is why we cannot understand the low regard for our lives shown by the supposedly civilized people (NATO), who carry a tank by a helicopter 20-30 meters (22-33 yards) above the rooftops of apartment buildings in Banja Luka.

The leaders in arrogant behavior are the French, the British and the Americans.

I don’t understand why?

Dear Bob, thank you for your continuing concern for us. I don’t have much time these days, but I will make time occasionally to send you reports like this from our homeland. Take care."

Name withheld, but known to TiM

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The Grbavica "Christ"

GRBAVICA, Mar. 14, 1996 - A procession of 13 Serb soldiers and a priest carried a huge cross and the church bell from the Orthodox church in the Serb Sarajevo suburb which was due to be handed over to the Muslim government on March 19.

"The bell tolled a solemn retreat and some Serb residents wept as two soldiers lugged the cross on their soldiers through the area’s dingy street market," Reuter reported.

TiM Ed. As someone else did about 2000 years ago.

One soldier carried a black flag with a double-headed white eagle (the Serb royal crest) and skull. The words on the flag read: "For King and Homeland - Freedom or Death."

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