Ok, let’s start by you, dear reader, throwing out all of your preconceptions about Serbia – preconceptions undoubtedly fostered by a drumbeat of negative news reports from the 1990s depicting the Serbs as grim genocidaires…
A news vacuum in regard to Serbia since that time has, unfortunately, done little to alter that bloodthirsty impression forged during the various Balkan conflicts.
The reality: Serbia bears little resemblance to the image we have been presented with by popular media…
Lest any of you think I am too pro-Serbian and am walking around wearing Serb goggles, please review my Bosnia posting here.
Some of you just like to look at pretty pictures and others of you like a bit more depth. So, if you’re looking for depth and detail please read the breakdown given at the end of the photographs. If you just want pictures, proceed as normal and skip the text at the bottom…
Crossing into Serbia from Kosovo (below). Serbia considers Kosovo a part of its territory (a claim not without merit) and so if you wish to enter Serbia via Kosovo, you must have a Serbian entry stamp. This is obtained by accessing Serbia at a different time from some other country such as Bosnia-Herzegovina or Montenegro. If you don’t have this Serbian entry stamp, you will be turned back at the border of Kosovo. And don’t try running the border – those soldiers in the background are well-armed and well-trained.
Especially if you enter Serbia from Kosovo, as mentioned above, you will notice an immediate improvement in things – you will encounter quality roads that will have signs, the countryside will be clean, the people will be more friendly… It is a huge transition.
This is a typical country home in Serbia:
Much of the southern region of Serbia is devoted to agriculture and so you will drive past many fields and farms (30% of the total labor force in Serbia is involved in agriculture). And, as an interesting “oh by the way,” did you know that Serbia grows about one-third of the world’s raspberries and is the world’s leading frozen fruit exporter?
This structure is used for drying hay…
To fuel sturdy horses such as this one that was just hanging out alongside the road:
If you need more than a horse to haul your hay, you can use a tractor like this:
And if you need more than a tractor to haul your hay, you can use a converted military truck like this one:
There is more apparent prosperity in Serbia than many of the other Balkan states. With a GDP per capita (PPP) of only $10,800 Serbs somehow make the most of their modest wealth with respectable homes and well-maintained automobiles.
An old Serbian Orthodox church and cemetery in the countryside:
Entering a typical Serbian village:
I snapped this picture of these apartment blocks below at a gas station in a larger town. My intention was to show what some of the larger towns look like. But, my main point is about the petrol station and the Serbian people in general…
We filled up our tank at the before-mentioned petrol station and, unbeknownst to us, because we purchased a certain amount of fuel, we were automatically eligible to receive a free container of window-washing fluid for our car. The gas station employees struggled to communicate this to us, but we don’t speak Serbian and they didn’t speak English. However, they were so concerned about us getting our free window-washing fluid that they tracked down someone that spoke English to explain the situation to us. And they insisted that we take our free bottle even after we politely declined (we were driving a rental car and so didn’t really need it).
Such a thing might not impress you, dear reader, but having just come from Kosovo where we were ripped off at every opportunity, such honest behavior was more than a little refreshing and is reflective of the general nature of the Serbs we encountered.
Did I mention that the Serbian roads were great?
I told you the roads were great:
Ok, here is my effort at an unbiased breakdown of the last century of complicated Serbian history:
World War I
On 28 June 1914 the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria at Sarajevo in Bosnia-Herzegovina by Gavrilo Princip (more on that in my Sarajevo post) led to Austria-Hungary declaring war on the Kingdom of Serbia. In defense of its ally Serbia, Russia started to mobilize its troops, which resulted in Austria-Hungary’s ally Germany declaring war on Russia. The retaliation by Austria-Hungary against Serbia activated a series of military alliances that set off a chain reaction of declarations of war across the continent, leading to the outbreak of World War I within a month.
The Serbian Army won several major victories against Austria-Hungary at the beginning of World War I, such as the Battle of Cer and Battle of Kolubara – marking the first Allied victories against the Central Powers in World War I. Despite initial success though, Serbia was eventually overpowered by the joint forces of the German Empire, Austria-Hungary and Bulgaria in 1915. Most of its army went into exile to Greece and Corfu where they recovered, regrouped and returned to the Macedonian front to lead a final breakthrough through enemy lines on 15 September 1918, freeing Serbia again and defeating the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Bulgaria. Serbia (with its major campaign) was a major Balkan Entente Power which contributed significantly to the Allied victory in the Balkans in November 1918, especially by enforcing Bulgaria’s capitulation with the aid of France.
World War II
The Kingdom of Yugoslavia was in a precarious position in World War II. Fearing an invasion by Germany, the Yugoslav Regent, Prince Paul, signed the Tripartite Pact with the Axis powers on 25 March 1941, triggering demonstrations in Belgrade. On March 27, Prince Paul was overthrown by a military coup d’état and replaced by King Peter II. General Dušan Simović became Peter’s Prime Minister and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia withdrew its support for the Axis.
In response Adolf Hitler launched the invasion of Yugoslavia on 6 April. By 17 April, unconditional surrender was signed in Belgrade. After the invasion, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia was dissolved and, with Yugoslavia partitioned, Serbia became part of the Military Administration of Serbia, under a joint German-Serb government led by Milan Nedić.
The ultranationalist and fascist Croatian Ustaše sought to purge the Independent State of Croatia of Serbs, Jews, and Roma who were subjected to large-scale persecution and genocide, most notoriously at the Jasenovac concentration camp. Such were the excesses of the Ustaše that even some Nazis balked at the zeal with which their Ustaše compatriots went about their murderous handiwork. After the war, official Yugoslav sources estimated over 700,000 victims of genocide, mostly Serbs. The events had a profound impact on Serbian society and relations between Croats and Serbs (a factor in the 1990s conflict).
The lust for genocide displayed by the Ustaše, and the presence of a ruthless German occupation force, prompted Serbian resistance on a large scale. Two very different resistance groups emerged. One of these groups were the royalist Chetniks commanded by Draža Mihailović who were anti-communist. The other resistance group – the Partisans – were pro-communist and were commanded by Josip Broz Tito.
As if Nazi occupation and genocide were not enough, Serbia was the scene of a civil war from 1941 to 1945 between the two resistance groups as they battled over ideology and strategy. Against these forces were arrayed Nedić’s units of the Serbian Volunteer Corps and the Serbian State Guard. By the beginning of 1944, the Partisans became the leading force in Bosnia, Montenegro, Slovenia and Herzegovina. In Serbia however, especially in rural areas, the population remained loyal to Draza Mihajlovic. However, the joint Soviet and Bulgarian “liberation” in 1944 swung in favor of the communist Partisans, who were then established as the ruling elite until the 1990s.
The 1990s And Beyond
Slobodan Milošević rose to power in Serbia in 1989 in the League of Communists of Serbia through a serious of coups against incumbent governing members. As the Soviet Union disintegrated, fears of Serbian domination by the communist leadership of the other republics of Yugoslavia eventually resulted in the secession of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia along ethnic lines.
The period of political turmoil and conflict marked a rise in ethnic tensions between Serbs and other ethnicities of the former Communist Yugoslavia as territorial claims of the different ethnic factions often crossed into each others’ claimed territories. Serbs in Serbia feared that the nationalist and separatist government of Croatia was led by Ustase sympathizers who would oppress Serbs living in Croatia. This view of the Croatian government was promoted by Milošević, who also accused the separatist government of Bosnia and Herzegovina of being led by Islamic fundamentalists. The governments of Croatia and Bosnia in turn accused the Serbian government of attempting to create a Greater Serbia. These views led to a heightening of xenophobia between the peoples during the wars.
In response to accusations that the Yugoslav government was financially and militarily supporting the Serb military forces in Bosnia & Herzegovina and Croatia, sanctions were imposed by the United Nations which led to political isolation, economic decline and hardship, and serious hyperinflation of the currency in Yugoslavia.
In 1992, the governments of Serbia and Montenegro agreed to the creation of a new Yugoslav federation called the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia which abandoned the predecessor SFRY’s official endorsement of communism, and instead endorsed democracy.
Also in 1992, Yugoslavia was ousted from the UN, but Serbia continued its – ultimately unsuccessful – campaign in Bosnia until signing the Dayton Peace Accords in 1995. Milošević represented the Bosnian Serbs at the Dayton peace agreement in 1995, signing the agreement which ended the Bosnian War and internally partitioned Bosnia & Herzegovina largely along ethnic lines into a Serb republic and a Bosniak-Croat federation.
Milošević kept tight control over Serbia and eventually became president of the FRY in 1997. In 1998, an ethnic Albanian insurgency in the formerly autonomous Serbian province of Kosovo provoked a Serbian counterinsurgency campaign that became known as the Kosovo War. The Milošević government’s rejection of a proposed international settlement (and an overly eager West wanting to act early this time around following the collective dithering in Bosnia and utter failure to stem the Rwandan genocide of 1994) led to NATO’s bombing of Serbia in the spring of 1999 and to the eventual withdrawal of Serbian military and police forces from Kosovo in June 1999.
In September 2000, opposition parties claimed that Milošević committed fraud in routine federal elections. Street protests and rallies throughout Serbia eventually forced Milošević to concede and hand over power to the recently formed Democratic Opposition of Serbia ( Demokratska opozicija Srbije, or DOS). The DOS was a broad coalition of anti-Milošević parties. On 5 October, the fall of Milošević led to the end of the international isolation Serbia suffered during the Milošević years.
Serbia’s political climate following the fall of Milošević remained tense. In 2003, the prime minister Zoran Đinđić was assassinated as result of a plot originating from circles of organized crime and former security forces. Nationalist and EU-oriented political forces in Serbia have remained sharply divided on the political course of Serbia in regards to its relations with the European Union and the West. However, the tensions between those political poles is gradually easing, as the issues of Kosovo independence, economical crisis and aspiration towards accession to the European Union force the parties to find more common ground.
Milošević was sent to the International Criminal Tribunal in the Hague on accusations of sponsoring war crimes and crimes against humanity during the wars in Croatia, Bosnia, and Kosovo where he was held on trial until his death in 2006.
In May 2006, Montenegro invoked its right to secede from the federation and – following a barely successful referendum – it declared itself an independent nation on 3 June 2006. Two days later, Serbia declared that it was the successor state to the union of Serbia and Montenegro. A new Serbian constitution was approved in October 2006 and adopted the following month, leading the National Assembly of Serbia to declare the “Republic of Serbia” to be the legal successor to the “State Union of Serbia and Montenegro.”
I completely agree with you. I really didn’t like Kosovo, but I loved Serbia. Serbs are really honest, friendly and hard-workers people. Albanians (people from Kosovo) are dishonest, careless of your point of views, exploiters and really greedy. Serbia is a very well run country considering the low amount of money they have. Kosovo is just a dumping site, dirty and full of rubbish everywhere, even though we, the UN, pour a lot of money in the country. Awesome post and completely true.
A really good piece of serbian propaganda.
“official Yugoslav sources estimated over 700,000 victims of genocide, mostly Serbs. ”
This is never the official number. The correct number of killed Serbs is today:
betwenn 30 000 and 60 000. 60 thousand.
Thats the number of KILLED CHILDREN. So SHAME on you and your denial
My name is Nebojsa and I’m Serb from Herzegovina. I understand your comments only if you are Croat. They are not shaming of anything, they live and die as Serb haters. Like Palestinians and Jewry. But, if you are not Croat you are seriously sinned against hundreds of thousands serbian victims. Yes, I am a Serb , that’s truth, but honest one.
God with you, Neso
You “forgot” to explain that Cetniks comitted genocide and ethnic cleansing on non-serbian civilan population.
You are even a bigger liar than Albanian and gipsies together.
Thank you for your comments, Kate. Your email address would seem to betray your bias though – as well as the inherent racism in your comment about Albanians and gypsies… I liked Bosnia too, but I try to stay objective. Pray tell, what motive do I have to lie? I have no stake in this conflict.
Yes, the Cetniks did commit genocide on more than just the Serbs. However, as I was discussing Serbia in this post, I focused on the Serbian angle.
you forgot to mention it was in self defence! And its not genocide if they are the ones who started it by killing you in the fist place!!!!ви прљави хрватски
I am sure you have serbian roots.
You can pretend what you like.
But you arguments are serbian propaganda. No one who is not connect to the Balkans do not know about this.
Yes thats right I am a racist. I do not like anyone who is a Muslim in the Balkan. Gipsies, Bosniaks, Sandjaklije and Albanians. And I am not going to excuse me for this.
I have my reasons. Everyone who collaborated with Ottomans is it not worth to live in Europe.
And Hercegbosna is a legitimate aim for Croats in Bosnia.
Do not mind Kate, Justin. She doesn’t know any better. She hasn’t been in Serbia, talked to Serbians eye to eye, never had any hospitality experience in Serbia, never has friends from there.
Massage to Kate: You sure talk a lot about how you know Serbian people well. Tell me, what is 1 trait that Serbians have and never will give up even for extinction of entire nation? What is the name of that trait? Do not Google it, I will know. If you tell me what that trait is, then you are an expert of Balkans and Serbia, if not, do not comment anymore because your ignorance is backfiring at you.
Btw Kate I personally invite you and Justin to come over to Serbia for your holidays or vacations, to experience the hospitality of Serbian people, food, drinks, to see wonders of our mountains, fields, ravines, valleys, rivers. I invite you to come visit Guca and Exit, I want to invite you to come visit Belgrade on Water when it is finished, also to show you the oldest brewery on Balkans and one of the oldest in Europe, I want you to see all our famous monasteries and Vinca too, so you can personally experience Serbia. And when you do all of that, I wish to hear from your words what you think of Serbia and Serbian people then and there.
So, great blog, explaining every single detail truthfully. Keep it up. Cheers from Pancevo.
Šta se sereš, budala jedna ? Jebem ti pičku materine, hrvatska hitlerska govno. Hajde popuši mi kurac!!! Moj Otac je Bosanac, Maika je Srbska. Tito je bio vrlo dobar čovek…
I think the bummer part of Milošević’s turn driving Yugoslavia is when he realized that being really nationalistic and promoting Serbs first was really giving him a lot of power. Then parts of the country that were under Yugoslavia decided it wasn’t such a great deal. Especially after the Serb forces came to kill a lot of them. In Priština, the Serb army pulled everyone from their homes, and destroyed all their passports and paperwork. Its a big city. It was a lot of people. The soldiers were not polite. How could a part of the federation thats treated like this NOT break off? I thought people were plenty friendly in Kosovo, the capitol is sure dirty but its mild lawlessness was really comfortable.
Initially the JNA did just try to hold the federation together and stop the unrest, but as you infer, the nationalistic elements started to come out and manifested in the nasty actions that essentially destroyed what was the most liberal and advanced of all the socialist countries of eastern Europe.
During communist times, Jugoslavs could travel freely and buy many consumer goods not available in the Soviet Union. My Ukrainian wife tells me that in the USSR, Jugoslav made furniture and shoes (of all things) were well sought after there as the Soviet made furniture and shoes were garbage….strange but true.
You have some evidence to prove those LIES!?
What did albanians, mostly brought there by the communists in 1945-46. (at least 400 000) start to do after they looted albanias weapons in 1997!?
SHOOT, STEAL, RAPE AND KIDNAPP SERBS!!! And it took us a year to say – enough!!! 800 Serbs were kidnapped for ORGAN HARVESTING, so yeah you lieing cunt we came to Kosovo (arround 1000 AD actually, 5 centuries before albanians) just for the fun of killing and expeling some PEACEFULL albanians (which is an oxymoron) completely unprovoked!!!
Kate, you are advertising yourself as a typical Balkan bigot.
I am an Irish South African but I frequently get accused of being a Serb or a Croat or an Albanian depending on who I am writing positively about.
Justin’s post are very well thought out and balanced.
Just accept that not everyone is, like you, motivated by ethnic affiliation or hatred.
From the New York Times…
October 21, 2010
Protectors in Serbia Hinder Pursuit of War Crimes Suspect
By DAN BILEFSKY and DOREEN CARVAJAL
BELGRADE — After 15 years on the run — sometimes in plain sight at soccer matches and weddings and sometimes deep in the fabric of this secretive city — Europe’s most wanted war-crimes suspect, Ratko Mladic, is being hidden by no more than a handful of loyalists, most probably in a neighborhood of Communist-era housing towers, according to investigators and some of his past associates.
The diminished circumstances of the former Bosnian Serb general, who once was protected by scores of allies and Serbian government officials, make him ripe for capture, according to these people. But a softening by several European countries on whether his arrest should be a prerequisite for Serbia’s admission to the European Union is raising questions about whether he will ever face justice.
These developments make this a seminal moment not only in the search for Mr. Mladic but also in Europe’s often agonized deliberations over how much to encourage the manhunt in the face of deeply conflicting priorities. In the name of unity and stability, should Europe put a premium on rehabilitating a battered country that became a pariah state in the Balkan wars of the 1990’s?
Or in the name of its human rights tradition, should Europe first require a friendly Serbian government to make the politically difficult arrest of a man blamed for the worst ethnically motivated mass murder on the Continent since World War II? That involved the massacre of about 8,000 Muslim men and boys from the Bosnian town of Srebrenica, an enclave under the failed protection of United Nations peacekeepers from the Netherlands.
An investigation into Mr. Mladic’s whereabouts, how he has eluded capture, and Europe’s shifting response to him paints a picture of a man of obstinate will and bravado, slowly and haltingly being drawn into a shrinking world of shadows. Over the years, as European pressure for an arrest intensified and then retreated, he received vital, little known, assistance from Serbian military forces and several of the country’s past governments.
By all accounts, one of the most effective points of pressure was withholding consideration of E.U. membership until Serbia produced Mr. Mladic.
But as Europe has struggled with the dilemma, time seems to have played its hand. The vividness of the wartime horrors has receded outside the Balkans. Mr. Mladic has gotten older, and, according to many people, sicker and more isolated, probably moving from nondescript apartment to nondescript apartment in New Belgrade, a sprawling extension of Belgrade across the Sava River.
The two-year-old government of Boris Tadic has been overtly pro-Western and has vowed to apprehend Mr. Mladic, even though he has defied arrest for more than two years after his fellow fugitive, the former Bosnian strongman Radovan Karadzic, was brought in.
Given all of this, there are strong indications that when European foreign ministers meet in Luxembourg next Monday, the balance could tip away from requiring an immediate arrest and that an E.U. admission process that would take several years could start.
“Your future is the European Union and that future must accrue as soon as possible,” the Greek prime minister, George Papandreou, said in Belgrade this month, a comment representative of others made in Belgrade over the past month, by officials from France, Germany, Belgium and other E.U. members. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton also visited and offered encouragement to the government.
But some senior European officials and human rights groups are unrelenting in believing that a compromise over Mr. Mladic would undermine international law and amount to a moral failure.
“The arrest should be a number one priority,” Serge Brammertz, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, said in an interview.
At a commemoration of the massacre this summer, he was one of many speakers to urge a quick capture. “I said in Srebrenica at the summer memorial that this was the most emotional moment for me in my three years with the tribunal,” Mr. Brammertz recalled. “I could see that for all of the survivors and relatives, Srebrenica is not an event from the past, but something dominating their life, not only today but for tomorrow. And the number one priority for the victims is to see Mladic in the Hague.”
Although the European Union halted accession talks in 2006 when Serbia failed to arrest Mr. Mladic, Dutch diplomats say they are now the lone holdouts for an arrest as a prerequisite for resuming the discussions. They are hoping to forestall action until December, when Mr. Brammertz issues his annual report evaluating Serbia’s effort in the manhunt. In the last few days, to the consternation of some E.U. officials, he has called for more aggressiveness.
Mariko Peters, a Green member in the Dutch Parliament, which passed a resolution this month seeking to delay a decision, acknowledged, “Our Dutch position has become more isolated.”
“Many nations are weighing Mladic’s capture as just one of many factors — stabilization of the Balkans, the Kosovo issue, upcoming Serbian elections and the need to give rewards to democratic forces that are weak,” she said.
Mr. Tadic, the Serbian president, has been adamant that he is dedicated to a capture. In response to written questions, he wrote, “This government of Serbia is doing absolutely everything in its power to locate and arrest him.”
Given history, many analysts in Serbia and beyond remain skeptical.
“It’s easy to hide successfully when nobody wants to find you,” said a key protector of Mr. Mladic’s fellow fugitive, Mr. Karadzic, offering a wry smile.
Out in the open
Mr. Mladic, who commanded Bosnian Serb forces, has proved a wily foe — tough, resourceful and abetted by military-trained protectors, according to more than two dozen sources, including government investigators, two loyalists who aided him and Mr. Karadzic, and five family friends, including the family priest.
A tall, burly man of 68 with a ruddy face and sharp blue eyes, Mr. Mladic was born in a remote Bosnian Serb village, Bozanovici. He was shaped by poverty and the killing of his partisan father by soldiers of the Nazi puppet state in Croatia. His rise in the Yugoslav Army was swift.
In 1992, one month after a Bosnian majority voted to secede from Yugoslavia, Mr. Mladic’s forces launched the three-and-a-half-year siege of Sarajevo, killing 10,000 people, including 3,500 children. In July 1995, the Srebrenica men and boys were led to killing fields where they were shot with hands bound. The Bosnian war ended five months later.
That year, an international court in The Hague indicted Mr. Mladic twice, for war crimes in the Sarajevo siege and for genocide in the Srebrenica massacre. He became a fugitive at a time when 60,000 NATO troops were on the ground, raising questions about why he was not seized. American and European diplomats say a consensus prevailed that no country wanted to spill its soldiers’ blood in a battle with Mr. Mladic’s armed protectors — which has left Serbian governments asking why they should risk the same.
Mr. Mladic certainly did not lie low for many years. Protected by Serbia’s nationalist president, Slobodan Milosevic, he visited for several years the grave of his daughter, Ana, who committed suicide with his favorite pistol in 1994. He enjoyed a Chinese-Yugoslav soccer match surrounded by bodyguards at a Belgrade stadium in 2000. His framed photograph hung in bars like the Crazy House in New Belgrade. He prayed at his brother’s funeral in 2001 in a jogging suit and sunglasses with a young woman on his arm, according to the family priest, Vojislav Carkic, who said local men blocked off the cemetery road.
One protector — a Serbian military officer who was later arrested — recalled that Mr. Mladic lived fairly openly in a house guarded by a private 52-man security detail with four cars. Last year, a former Mladic bodyguard, Branislav Puhalo, testified that the unit was established in 1997 on Mr. Milosevic’s orders.
For Mr. Mladic, this was the easiest time.
Doubts grow about manhunt
After 13 calamitous years, Mr. Milosevic was ousted in October 2000 after a popular uprising.
In 2001, a new government, threatened with the loss of American aid and World Bank loans, arrested him on genocide charges and sent him to The Hague.
Mr. Mladic pulled back from public view and began to move among military barracks, according to friends, who said they would visit him to play table tennis or chess. As he did, the myth of his fugitive cunning only grew. In 2002, the government signed a cooperation agreement with the war crimes tribunal in The Hague. It eventually asked him to leave the Topcider barracks in Dedinje, an exclusive Belgrade district where he was hiding. According to Vladimir Vukcevic, Serbia’s war crimes prosecutor, he simply refused.
The Topcider barracks, built in the 1960s under the dictator Josip Broz Tito, was an ideal hiding place, as it concealed an underground city carved into a hill. Mr. Milosevic is believed to have hidden behind its thick, reinforced concrete walls during the NATO bombing of 1999.
The military authorities tried to smoke Mr. Mladic out by summoning a police helicopter to hover over the barracks, dropping a decoy rope ladder to pretend a raid was imminent. But that did little more than provoke Mr. Mladic to speed away, a level further into Belgrade.
Investigators say that they chose not to attempt an arrest out of fear of a violent shoot-out with Mr. Mladic’s ardent military supporters. This, along with other subsequent failures to make an arrest, intensified doubts about whether the manhunt was genuine.
At one point, a former protector said, 50 bodyguards formed a human shield when investigators showed up at one of the safe houses Mr. Mladic began to use, and he fashioned another escape.
There were other near showdowns. In March 2003, the Serbian prime minister, Zoran Djindjic, pledged to arrest him to pave the way for E.U. admission. Days later, a sniper killed Mr. Djindjic.
‘Snitch culture’ aids movement
When their network was vibrant, Mladic loyalists would meet routinely in four crowded public lobbies in Belgrade — summoned by the code, “waiting room,” according to a former protector who is now on trial in Belgrade with more than a dozen others for helping Mr. Mladic. All were brought in at a time of intense Western pressure.
As the former protector described the process as it worked in 2006, they discarded mobile telephones and SIM cards 4 kilometers, or 2.5 miles, from their gatherings in crowded places where they could easily blend in. Meeting face to face, they hardly spoke, discussing protection logistics by exchanging written messages that they burned.
Mr. Mladic’s pursuers came from two agencies, one military and another that reported to senior government officials, and sometimes they clashed. According to an agent involved, military intelligence labeled one of its actions “Operation Network.” Mr. Mladic was referred to as “The Host.”
A former member of the government’s surveillance operation — who described with precision the monitoring of Mr. Mladic and Mr. Karadzic — said investigators knew the fugitives’ hiding places until February 2008, five months before the Tadic government took over and Mr. Karadzic was apprehended. Until then, the official said, the surveillance team did not receive an order to make an arrest.
The former investigator said teams stalked both men outside their apartments and followed their helpers on grocery trips. Until his arrest on genocide charges in 2007, they said, the mastermind of the network that shielded Mr. Mladic was Zdravko Tolimir, a former general and an assistant commander of intelligence in the Bosnian Serb Army who is now on trial in The Hague.
The investigators received technical help from the United States and other countries, but those forces have dwindled. And even when at full strength, according to Mr. Mladic’s protectors and investigators, they faced an insidious force that often undid their efforts — an elaborate “snitch culture” in which officials in military and state intelligence regularly tipped off Mladic operatives.
Perhaps with such insight, Mr. Mladic visited his dying mother’s bedside in 2003, Father Carkic, the family priest, related, and then vanished before investigators arrived. His mother’s marble tomb, located in a verdant Bosnian cemetery, is inscribed: Provided by Ratko Mladic.
Pressure and concessions
Mr. Mladic’s support from Serbian governments ebbed and flowed, shaped by national politics and the West’s inconsistent pressure.
But on many occasions, his protection reached to the political elite, investigators say. Mr. Vukcevic, the prosecutor, said that Vojislav Kostunica, prime minister from 2004 to 2008, pressured him to try those accused of war crimes in Serbia, to shield them from the potentially harsher justice of The Hague.
When he refused, he said, Mr. Kostunica tried to oust him, but was blocked by the West, particularly the United States. Mr. Kostunica has vigorously denied in the Serbian media that he knew the whereabouts of Mr. Mladic or Mr. Karadzic or obstructed the search.
Still, Western officials detected a long-running pattern: Whenever pressure increased, the Serbs made limited concessions. When pressure receded, efforts evaporated. The authorities staged raids targeting Mr. Mladic and Mr. Karadzic through the first half of 2008, for example. But in interviews, Serbian investigators and protectors of the two men said members of Serbian state intelligence services were simultaneously watching Mr. Mladic and Mr. Karadzic in their true hiding place, far from the drama.
“This game has been going on now for five to six years,” a Western diplomat said. “They are either waiting for him to die — a stroke or kidney problems — or hoping to get into the European Union without doing anything.”
‘Very disciplined’ fugitive
The government’s boldest move took place in 2006. In raids on homes and hangouts, the government arrested more than a dozen protectors, culminating in the arrest a year later of the network’s supposed organizer, Mr. Tolimir, the former Bosnian Serb general. The actions severely damaged the network, but there is a belief that they, too, actually worked to help Mr. Mladic.
To Mr. Vukcevic, the Serbian prosecutor, the arrest of a key protector, whom he identified as Stanko Ristic, was devastating. “It sent a message to Mladic to run away and hide,” Mr. Vukcevic said. “It was catastrophic.”
After the arrests, one investigator, who said he monitored Mr. Mladic through 2008 outside his apartments, described a fugitive still at large, but in a smaller way, reduced to an ascetic existence in the large, gray towers of New Belgrade, where he could disappear like a ghost.
Mr. Mladic “was very disciplined,” the investigator recalled. “He stayed in his apartment and food and supplies were brought to him. He lived in tall buildings with 40 other apartments in New Belgrade where there are only 54 police officers for 70,000 people. He was never seen leaving the apartment even to go to the park. It was like he was under house arrest.”
Investigators and friends of Mr. Mladic say his network is now likely down to one or two people — deeply loyal associates, with probable links to the former Yugoslav Army — who aid him in a way roughly parallel to what a former protector says was the way Mr. Karadzic was helped.
One of his allies described how Mr. Karadzic shifted among a collection of 12 apartments in New Belgrade once every five months and survived monthly on €200, or about $280, for groceries. Protectors delivered newspapers, bread, even fresh salmon. Funds came from former associates, say friends.
But Mr. Mladic’s life is likely harder. Mr. Karadzic disguised himself as a New Age guru with a bushy beard and circulated in public. Mr. Mladic’s friends said he has refused an elaborate disguise, preferring an underground existence, and that he may be sick.
In a raid in March 2009 on the Bosnian home of Dusan Todic, a former military associate of Mr. Mladic, European Union troops found evidence that Mr. Mladic had used Mr. Todic’s military medical identification to seek care in Serbia.
Is he alive, or dead?
The Serbian authorities, pressed by Western countries since Mr. Karadzic’s arrest in 2008, have clearly been intensifying pressure on Mr. Mladic’s family.
His wife, Bosiljka, whose nervous tick has intensified under constant surveillance, was detained in June and questioned for possessing unregistered weapons that the authorities knew about for years, according to Milos Saljic, the family’s lawyer. Darko, Mr. Mladic’s son, is routinely searched at airports and his computer business clients have been pressured to break contracts, Mr. Saljic added. Darko’s wife, Biljana, was recently fired from a position at the state telecommunications company.
“They want to destroy the family,” Mr. Saljic said, noting that relatives sought a court order to declare him dead to relieve pressure. Prosecutors say the family was really trying to recover assets, including a $50,000 pension, frozen by the state.
Yet some friends insist that Mr. Mladic is indeed dead, having committed suicide to foil the manhunt, or that he will choose to take his life if he cannot thwart an attempted arrest.
The Serbian authorities say that regardless of how the European Union treats Belgrade’s application, they will press for an arrest. “Serbia will bring its international obligations to completion,” Mr. Tadic, the president, wrote in response to written questions.
On a recent, misty, gray afternoon in Srebrenica, rows of marble tombstones were mixed with freshly turned red dirt.
The remains of victims — heads, arms, legs, scattered and concealed by Serbian forces — are still being discovered 15 years after the killings.
Mladic is where he belongs now and I noted that he is defiant as ever even making cut throat movements to the Bosnians who are present in court and this man is about the age of my parents (my Bosnian father died last year) and has the mentality of a teenager. My mother is Serbian and she is disgusted at what he and Milosevic did…I hope he rots in the Hague for the rest of his life…and so does my Serbian mother. It’s a shame Mladic wasn’t gunned down like Arcan was in that hotel all those years ago…..
For one it was NOT genocide!!! You know what’s genocide, when Naser Oric kills 3572 mostly CIVILIAN SERBS, of all ages and both sexes, as young as FOUR AND SIX, and as old as 87-91… From 93 villages arround Srebrenica!!!! In a period of 2 and a half years which would mean nearly a village per week, in the demilitarised zone!!!!!!!
So when Mladic decided to put a stop to that, and killed or arrested and then shoot ONLY ORICS MEN AND THOSE SUSPECTED OF THAT, MALE, AGE 17-60-ish, and not 8000+ but 3700, exactly HOW is that genocide as opposed to the people they killed, because killing a Serbs is allowed!!!???
About the 8000+ figure, those cunts counted people which died as early as 1993 and 30km away, 700+ people that VOTED IN THE 1997 ELECTIONS, 400+ people which now live abroad and aren’t the citizens of BiH anymore, even Serbs were claimed as dead muslims!!!
with all due respect, your comment is pure rubish, please find your self a nice mental sick hospital somewhere in croatia, or even beter somewhere in the western europe and leave us alone, we are getting better now.
thaks in advance.
p.s. this post is excelent, thank you Justine
Thank you for your opinion, also one question, why are croats still up to their racist ushstazi ways?
Actually, most of those people are diminishing from power right now in Croatia, but the teachings in elementary schools and high schools are still there, so they teach their children how fascism and being an Ustasha is good. However that will pass by years to come now, since they are a part of EU and they have to remove that teachings, because EU will not allow such politics to stand.
Kate is a hard core Ustasha, she or he is very hateful and people like her are responsible for all the pathetic lies about Serbs. She knows well who commited crimes im WWII. Many of my friends are Serbian and the always have a question “Why are the Croates so hateful, and why did they kick out over 300 ooo Serbian familes from Krajina?
as it is croats still think of themselves as Ustasha
Serbs are a nothing but an infectious disease, an infestation on a large scale which managed to escape the pits of hell, where they have been mutating since the dawn of time. Serbia’s nauseating mental twisted inbred sickness has brought nothing but pain and misery to others.
Mainstream media won’t print Serbian infectious garbage lies no more, umm I wonder why. So they resort to the internet where they can freely spread their sickness. But what they don’t realise is that they are giving others, who wouldn’t have the privilege to meet a Serb in real life a chance to see for themselves on their websites, what a demented bunch of lost delusional people the Serbs are.
Serbia’s whole existence is based on folk mythology, one lie after lie which has mutated from one generation to another generation to the stage where their lies have mutated to Super Bug status or as a Serb would say, the gospel truth I swear.
When are the Serbs going to stop being like parrots? and stop repeating the bullshit passed down to them by their previous generations of parrot Serbs and STOP the bullshit once and for all that has engulfed their lives and their history. Serbia’s sickness has to cease for peace to have a chance to prevail, listening to Serbia’s sickness makes me sick.
Just Google anything to do with Croatia and most of it will be connected to some hate mongering Serb, the internet is polluted with Serbs and their friends spreading Serbia’s propaganda.
People often ask why the Serbs and Croats hate each other. Google and have a look and see for yourself who’s doing all the hating, it’s the Serbs and not the Croats.
The Serbs are always twisting, changing and adding to their past events of lies in their history to make it sound better. I don’t think there is nothing in Serbia’s History books that hasn’t been tampered with, even Historians can’t keep up with Serbia’s ever changing strange History.
The 90’s war isn’t completely directly related to WW2 as the Serbs amongst many other things would like us to believe.
To understand the current history of any conflict in between any nation, you have to look into the past for answers.
Do your own research on actual events in Europe and not from Serbs or their so called Serbian History books or the Serb polluted anti Croatian websites, which might I say, there are a plenty.
I’m sure if you ask a Serb for answers that he will pull out facts showing that everything was Serbian and Serbia was this and that, with a sniff of tears here and a sniff there and how Serbia was proudly half of Europe once…. bla bla bla and how they were the only true Christian defenders of Europe…. bla bla bla. Who don’t understand why the World is against against them when the Croats, Bosnians and Kosovars have killed trillions and trillions of Serbs bla bla bla…sniff sniff, I’m getting a headache just thinking like a Serb.
The Serbs are not what they are trying to portray themselves to be in this day and age. They are a cunning deceiving pathological breed of liars who actually believe in their own lies and then think that they are spreading the truth. They kill, steal, plunder, destroy and loot as seen in the wars of the 90’s and then try to portray themselves as the victims.
The World could be excused for being deceived by the first Serbian lies in the beginning of the Serbian Croatian war, but the Serbian lies started to smell when the Serbs kept using the same old lie repeatedly in Bosnia’s war and then Kosovo’s War. Many in the West then started to think, “Hold on something isn’t right here”. Finally the World started to see through the Serbian web of lies and bombed the Serbs, they shouldn’t have stopped!
Nothing has changed in the past 800 years of battles with the Serbs, except for the Serbian history books that try to deceive the World by depicting the Serbs as the victims and the heroes.
For 800 years the Serbs made many incursions into the territories of Croatia to create their dream of Greater Serbia.
In short, this is what the whole bullshit war was about in the 90’s, nothing more and nothing less. I have just given you a quick answer to what the conflict was about in between Croatia and Serbia.
I scratch my head in amazement and wonder at what the fantastic excuses may have been that the Serbs gave to the then powers of Europe to justify their many incursions into Croatia. One thing I definitely know is that the Croatian’s weren’t called Nazis or Fascists, as Hitler wasn’t around during those times and that America wasn’t blamed for starting the war either as they weren’t the super powers then. The Serbs probably blamed Caesar and the Roman Empire for starting the War instead, lol .
The Croats don’t hate the Serbs like the Serbs hate the Croats. The Croats don’t want to hate any one. It is the Serbs that continue to hate the Croats, as they see the Croats as invaders and foreigners who are living in Serbia’s God given Heavenly Country of Great Serbia. To the Serbs, everything is Serbia and everyone is Serbian. The Croats hate the Serbs not because they are Serbs but for what the Serbs keep doing to them.
Another mytholicaly belief that I found on the internet is that the Serbians believe that they are heavenly people who are Gods soldiers and that Serbia is Gods new Israel, as quoted in this next extract which is on the internet with many other fascinating facts posted by the Serbs.
“Lazar is portrayed as having been
visited by an angel of God on the night before
battle, and offered a choice between an earthly or
a Heavenly kingdom, which choice would result in a
victory or defeat, respectively, at the Battle of
Kosovo. Lazar, naturally, opts for the Heavenly
kingdom, which will last “forever and
ever” (“Perishable is earthly kingdom,
but forever and ever is Kingdom of Heaven!”),
but has to perish on the battlefield.
“We die with Christ, to live forever”
tells he to his soldiers. That Kosovo destination
and that Testament, it is a union
which Serb people made with God and sealed
it with martyrs blood. On Kosovo Serbs voted
with their souls for Kingdom of Heaven and that
was and has been their right destination. Since
then all Serbs truthful to that Testament are
becoming people of God, Christ’s New
Testament nation, heavenly Serbia, part of
God’s New Israel. This is why sometimes Serbs
refer to themselves as the people of Heaven.”
How mind blowing can the Serbs be, woww? Any normal minded person would read this and say, what a load of bull. But the Serbs aren’t normal minded.
You will get a complete different picture from the Serbs and to my surprise, lol, will only hear the complete opposite from them on any of their Croat hate sites. The Serbs will try to show you that they were the persecuted and that they were the victims and that this was all due to the continuous Croatian persecution and so on, you know the picture.
The Serbs will portray to the World that they were always the victims in Croatia but were strangely the ones holding the guns and doing all the shooting and occupying?
The Serbs were never victims due to Croatian persecution in Serbia, why? Doesn’t that tell you something? The Croats never at any time fought with the Serbs in Serbia.
Croatia had no reason to do so, as Croatia in their history never invaded any foreign land, Croatia only protected its borders. The Serbs always fought the Croatians for Croatian territory on Croatian soil for the past 800 years and the 90’s war was nothing but a continuing never ending quest by Serbia to establish its dream of a Greater Serbia.
Where is the panadol, I’m getting a headache thinking about all that anti Croatian crap on the internet, there is so much.
Don’t the Serbs have anything better to do with their lives instead of sitting by the computer and spreading anti Croatian hatred?
I’m a firm believer in free speech, but something has to be done about the bullshit that someone can easily and freely post on the internet. It can be damning and damaging upon others as it continues to be for the Croatians.
I was born 1967, I’m not a Fascist or a Nazi and I don’t understand how can I be called one? The Germans who were the inventors of Nazism don’t get called this anymore, even the Italians aren’t called Nazi’s either but I do as a Croat. Why?
I watched a documentary once called the aftermath, life after humans. After 5 minutes it dawned on me. Wow, no Serbs, how peacefully nice would that be.
This is not a Serbophobia article but a SoOverSerbia article.
I would love to think that there will be peace but I can’t see that happening. Why? There are a few big hurdles for Serbia to cross which have I have listed.
Serbia must want peace for peace to happen.
Serbia would have to apologise to the countries around itself for the current and past grief and suffering that is has caused by them in their pursuit for a Greater Serbia.
Serbia has to denounce their dreams of a Greater Serbia.
Serbia has to change its present day thinking of itself and her neighbours.
All Serbian History books in their archives have to be rectified. Every false addition that was added in their History Books must be recognized and re-edited and deleted forever.
I honestly can’t see peace from the Serbs by the way the Serbs are still continuing to blindly debate and pedal their false nationalism pride, as witnessed on this website and on those other million Croatian hate webpage’s.
History will unfortunately repeat itself again, with war once again rearing its ugly head as Serbia makes another push for a Greater Serbia again in another 50 years or so.
I feel so sorry for the future poor innocent peoples of Croatia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Vojvodina, Kosovo, Sandzak, Montenegro and Macedonia who will once again have to endure and suffer at the hands of the delusional Serbs.
I just wonder what pathetic lies and excuses the Serbians will invent and use to portray themselves as the victims once again to justify the violence called war.
On the Serbian flag is a Christian cross.
The four back the front C’s on the cross mean “SAMO SLOGA SRBA SPASAVA”
This means: “ONLY UNITY SAVES THE SERBS”.
Or my interpretation
SAMO SRANJE SRBA SPASAVA
ONLY SHIT SAVES THE SERBS
Only Unity saves the Serbs, what Unity? Is this the same unity war speech which was delivered and televised live to the World by the then ex Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic in Belgrade in front of hundreds of thousands of chanting flag waving nationalist Serbs prior to the war in the 90’s.
Slobodan Milosevic said, “Where ever there is a Serb, Serbian house, Serbian grave or Serbian Church that is Serbia”.
The 2 current biggest lies that the Serbs are freely pedalling to the World with their Serbian friends on the internet at present are that the Serbs were against the Germans in WW2 and never committed crimes against the Jewish people.
There are documented facts that will prove that the Serbs were also allies with the German Nazis and Mussolini’s Italians and that Belgrade was astonishly the first European city to solve the Jewish problem by publically declaring itself Jewish free, but the Serbs will deny this truth as well.
If the Serbs were such heroes than why was their so called Serbian hero Chetnik leader Draze Mihajlovic hung as a criminal by the Partisans in Belgrade after World War 2.
There is documented evidence that will also show that the Serbs were to great extent allies with the Ottoman Empire and not the true Christian defenders as the Serbs have portrayed themselves to be. Their first alliance was noted back in 1396 in the Battle of Nicopolis where the Holy Crusades near win over the Ottoman Empire was crushed thanks to the help of the Ottoman Empire Serbian Allies lead by Stefan Lazar.
The Serbs have to say thank to the Turks, as it was the Ottoman Empire that settled the Serbs and their Orthodox Church for the first time in Bosnia as defenders and Tax collectors of the Ottoman Empire, but the Serbs will adamantly deny this truth as well.
Can the Serbs deny that there are currently 3 millions Serbs who are now residing in Turkey?
Why? I thought the Serbs were persecuted and hated by the Turks. Well that’s what the Serbs seem to be saying to us in their Croatian and Bosnian hate sites. These Serbs that now live in Turkey were the good servants of the Ottoman Empire who were allowed to leave with the retreating Ottoman Empire and settle in Turkey. Documented proof will show this to be the truth but the Serbs will still deny this too.
This is what I can’t understand about Serbia and its Serbian people. This is their factual past and this is how events actually happened, but the Serbs for whatever reason beyond me, will instead chose to see it differently and then lie about it to everyone by making up a new glorified Serbian twisted history instead, why? WOWW truly mind blowing.
I can understand the Serbs trying to deceive the World but to lie to each other about themselves is the most astonishing part. The Serbs will deny the truth till their last breath because they themselves no longer know what the truth is as they have lied so much that they actually believe their lies to be the truth.
Here is an extract from Serbia’s former President Dobrica Cosic which can be found freely on the internet, explaining what a Serb is about.
“Dobrica Cosic Former Serbian President “We lie to deceive ourselves, to console others; we lie for mercy, we lie to fight fear, to encourage ourselves, to hide our and somebody else’s misery. We lie for love and honesty. We lie because of freedom. Lying ie is the trait of our patriotism and the proof of our innate smartness. We lie creatively, imaginatively, inventively.”
Is Turkey going now going to be a part of a Great Serbia’s dream because there are so many Serbs who live there, lol? Serbs are scattered around World like many other nationalities, should we people around the World hold grave concern for a Serbian invasion too, lol.
Serbia’s ex President Milosevic infamous unity speech can still be viewed on the internet. You can also view the victorious singing Serbian Chetniks marching through the streets of Vukovar shortly after the City fell to the Serbs. They were singing to their then President Slobodan Milosevic, asking him to only send salad and to not send meat because there will be plenty of meat from the Croatians that they will slaughter and kill. Are these the Serbian Warriors the only true defenders of Christianity in Europe? If these are the good Christian Serbs then I would hate to come across the bad Serbs, lol.
As I read your comment “Fed up With Ser Lies”, I was beginning to wonder how much time you are willing to spend from your busy day schedule or your free time to write such long comment of made up stuff from your fictional world? If you think I am offended by your comment, you got it all wrong, I am not. There are also a two things I would like to explain to all that read his post.
First the comment about “Serbians being heavenly people”. First of all, it was written in the “Miroslavljevo Jevandjelje”. Miroslav (yes, it is the real name of the author of that book) was the one that visited the Israeli people somewhere around 1200 AC, where he talked with their religion leader, their scientist and philosophers. They told him that Israel people, long before the birth of Christ, tought that Serbians are a messengers from God. At that age they saw as a grandiose people that ruled the world. Miroslav, being ofc the Serbian, liked that “idea of grandeur” and wrote that stuff down with ease. So that’s where that meaning really came.
Second – “Samo Sloga Srbina Spasava”. That fraze is not just a fraze. It is the essence of Serbian existence. It was written by the first Serbian Emperor Nino Belov (also know in Greek history by the name Achilles) and he wrote it on his battle uniform to inspire his soldiers and people when they went to conquer entire West, South and East Europe and East Asia. This is cemented on new discoveries that support new renewed Serbian history, supported by all well known world historians today.
Do not think I gloat about this (well maybe a bit, but still..), this is a part of Serbian culture and spirit and me and other Serbians will rather choose death then to denounce all of that. Remember that.
I’m sorry but what you say are pure lies. Many Serbians lie to others and to themselves just to feel superior. Serbian professors denouncing the genocide have been rejected to speak in academic universities around the world.
Weeeeell said mate!
It makes me kinda sad how many people fall for these lies and the Serbian propaganda, it’s sickening.
People need to learn the truth and they need to deal with our actual history, especially with legit facts.
Given Croatia’s Nazi past, are you not ashamed to be spouting this Nazi-like rubbish? The Germans learned their lesson and banned it, but for you its “Weeeeell said”? Check out your fellow-traveller….
“For us, this is not a problem you can turn a blind eye to-one to be solved by small concessions. For us, it is a problem of whether our nation can ever recover its health, whether the Jewish spirit can ever really be eradicated. Don’t be misled into thinking you can fight a disease without killing the carrier, without destroying the bacillus. Don’t think you can fight racial tuberculosis without taking care to rid the nation of the carrier of that racial tuberculosis. This Jewish contamination will not subside, this poisoning of the nation will not end, until the carrier himself, the Jew, has been banished from our midst. (Applause)” – Adolph Hitler, 1920
Source: D Irving, The War Path: Hitler’s Germany 1933-1939. Papermac, 1978, p.xxi
Coming from a lyeing CUNT AND GENOCIDAL SCUM LIKE YOU, that’s actually a compliment for us practicaly…
Nazi-like rubbish? Hahah what? Why are you saying that?
Yeeeeah of course, agreeing with someone who spreads the truth makes you a Croatian Nazi huh?
Seriously, shut your butthurt mouths and stop spreading Serbian propaganda, it’s so ridiculous how people like you are trying to pull the Serbian victim card, there’s a reason why so many Balkan people hate Serbs although it’s wrong to say that every Serb is evil and supports Greater Serbia/Propaganda whatever because it’s absolutely not true but still I oppose Serbian propaganda because it’s common sense.
People just have to stop denying historical facts.
The post above, “Fed Up With Ser Lies” (sic) is racist hate speech and should be deleted.
This clown has been up to this before. Its a copy and paste job.
@ Jonathan – Racist hate speech?? The truth hurts doesn’t it? Great post
@Superfknman – The truth does not hurt. Lies, slander and propaganda “hurts” anyone who actually values honesty and accuracy. Astroturfing shills like Mr Fed up muddy the water with bunk.
Whatever limbic, you just cant handle someone who can actually pin point all of the truthful things about you Serbs that led ALL of the ethnic groups of the former yugo to dislike and distrust you.
1. I am not a Serb.
2. If you had even a passing acquaintance with the place you would know that all of the ethnic groups of the former yugo to dislike and distrust all of the other ethnic groups of the former yugo!
But the dirty politics of Belgrade is what led to this unrest. Yes all sides committed crimes, but the Serbs are the most hated ethnic group in the region and committed the most crimes of the last war.
Dirty politics in Belgrade most certainly played a part. But dirty politics in Zagreb and Sarajevo and Ljubljana and Skopje also played a part. Tudjman and Milosevic were equally evil ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kara%C4%91or%C4%91evo_agreement ) . Ascribing all blame to the Serbs is short-sighted and naive. Try not to be one of Rebecca West’s clichéd amateur Balkanologist:
“English persons…of humanitarian and reformist disposition constantly went out to the Balkan Peninsula to see who was in fact ill-treating whom, and, being by the very nature of their perfectionist faith unable to accept the horrid hypothesis that everybody was ill-treating everybody else, all came back with a pet Balkan people established in their hearts as suffering and innocent, eternally the massacree and never the massacrer.” – Rebecca West, “Black Lamb and Grey Falcon”.
Milosevic was in power before tudgman and was inciting fear and hatred of non serbs before he came into power as well. Like i said earlier, i dont deny wrong doing by all sides ie the Milosevic Tudgman agreement, although the Bosniaks weren’t respecting the wishes of the Croats who wished to e part of Croatia. Afterall it was their homeland before the Ottoman empire invaded and only originally wanted the parts with the Croatian majority to break from this country instead of killing and expelling people, it doesn’t excuse the killing of Bosnian victims but they engaged in killing of civilians with their Mujahadeen counterpart from the middle east . As far as Serbia is concerned, they had the third most powerful army in Europe while the other republics had nothing. Croatia couldn’t commit the same amount of crimes even if it wanted to. Also, if all sides are equally to blame, why was Serbia itself sparred from the war. All they had was a bombing campaign by nato in Belgade in 1999 AFTER they started 4 wars in 10 years which pales in comparison to what they did in Vukovar in 1991, never mind the war itself. I believe that the Croats who killed innocent people deserve to be brought to justice just as much as the Serbs and Bosniaks who committed crimes but equalizing the guilt isn’t right either. The allied forces killed German and Japanese civilians in ww2 but obviously the nazis started the war with their hateful ideology. Lastly, Rebecca West has actually been known fro having a pro Serbia biasand supported the Chetniks during ww2. So much for her “objective” opinion, not to mention the fact that she died in 1983 BEFORE the 1990s war we were talking about.
Peter I see little point in going over the story again. You should know the facts by now.
There was villainy on all sides. The Serbs committed the bulk of the atrocities, but not to the degree portrayed by the media then or now, pace Srebrenica. One does not need to be a denialist to challenge the prevailing, grossly oversimplified and untrue trope that the Serbs were the “baddies” and the rest noble victims of beastly Serb aggression. It is now about equivocation, but honest accounting and making sense of what happened.
There was and is a double standard at play.
The West selectively supported either the Helsinki Principle or the Right to Self-determination, usually to the detriment of Serbs.
In the Krajina, where Serbs were 90% of the population, they asserted separate homeland within Croatian borders when Croatioa chose to secede. The West armed and trained the Croats to forcefully take back the territory in Operation Storm citing territorial integrity (Helsinki principle). In Kosovo, the West bombed the Serbs to give the Albanians an etnhic homeland within Serbian territory, this time citing the right to self-determination.
There are many, many other examples. The very instrument of justice – The Hague – is a travesty of unbalanced victors justice (see https://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/08/opinion/global/selective-justice-for-the-balkans.html ).
Please don’t repeat the old and discredited bunk about the Serbs “starting 4 wars”. It betrays either wilful ignorance or propagandistic malice.
The Balkan wars were brutal, tragic and extremely complicated. You do a disservice to history and the truth with over simplifications and repeating 90’s black propaganda.
Your forgetting that the west , especially the united states were actually against the breakup of the Yugoslavia just like the Serbs were, stating that they are not the world police. They even put together a weapons embargo which only hurt the non Serbs against the Serbs who had all the weaponry the JNA could offer at the beginning of the war. The US handled this war the same way they handled ww2, they sat on their ass and only when it became apparent that the war was going to continue to drag on, they stepped in and armed the Croats and Bosniaks because it was clear who the aggressor was, especially in light of the Croatian community begging for foreign intervention during the war. In “krajina”, Serbs were not 90% of the population, most of Croatia’s Serbs lived there, there’s a difference. Their claim to this land is false, just because they migrated their during the Ottoman empires bloody siege through eastern Europe doesn’t make it there’s, especially considering the fact that it was the Croatian ban within the Austro Hungarian empire that gave the o.k. to this. The deal was they could help fight the Ottomans and then call this place their home, which they did for 400 years (I know Croats who can trace their family history to this territory back 800 years btw). It’s also worth noting that at the beginning of the war, the Croats of this
so “called ” Krajina were killed and expelled from there. After it was retaken,
3000 bodies of Croatians that lived there were found, not counting the ones that are still missing. Around 1000, Serbs or so were killed in this region which still pales in comparison to what the Croats had to go through. What I find really funny was that the Constitution for Croatia drafted before the war, emphasized that ALL citizens of Croatia, whether ethnic Croats or not, will be given the same rights and freedoms. Belgrade purposely claimed that Serbs were under threat to incite hatred despite their being no factual evidence to support this claim. What else is funny is that in early 1995, the Serbs were offered the Z-4 peace plan. This would have ensured that krajina was a semi-autonomous state within Croatia meaning their own anthem, laws, police etc.. but this wasn’t good enough for them which opened the floodgates for the operations that followed, including storm. As far as this selective punishment article, it is rubbish to say the least. Yes Serb civilians were killed, but those crimes were committed by individual Croats who were pissed about the last 4 years. It is worth noting that all of them have been brought to justice. Ante Gotovina never ordered this, which is why he was eventually acquitted of all crimes. My last words here are that I find it very lazy to equalize the guilt on all sides when there is overwhelming evidence suggesting otherwise.
Peter I think you have revealed which nation you are an ardent apologist for :-)
It is funny you refer to Ottoman rule. I see that a lot in the Balkans. All sides have an abundance of horror stories to justify the barbarities meted out to the others.
You excuse the murder of Serbs in Krajina as mere outbreaks of ethnic revenge. The victorious army losing control of a few vengeful individuals.
How ironic that Serbian Srebrenica apologists excuse that massacre on exactly the same basis, namely that “three thousand Serbian civilians were killed in and around Srebrenica by Naser Oric’s Mudzahedin between 1992 and 1994”. The implication is that the mass murder of Muslim men and boys was somehow justified by these previous barbarities. Or at worst it was a victorious army merely getting revenge. A lapse of discipline, nothing evil or planned. Where have I heard that before?
I have heard Serbian nationalists justify the crime against Croats in the 90s as fully justified because the Croat Ustase Nazi collaborationist regime hosted death camps like Jasenovac where hundreds of thousands of Jews, Serbs and Roma perished. It was mere revenge, said Serbian nationalists. Only a few thousand Croats died whereas hundreds of thousands of Serbs were murdered.
I have heard Albanians justifying the ongoing brutal oppression of Serbs in Kosovo as justified by the crimes of the Serbian security forces over a decade ago.
I could go on…..
It is utterly wrong to excuse any of these crimes on the basis of previous crimes.
Taking only the 90’s into account, then the Serbs are the most guilty of raw killing.
If you consider only the last decade, they have been the biggest victims (in Kosovo).
If we consider the last 100 years, the surely the greatest infamy should vest with those who collaborated with the Nazis to practice mass murder – the Croats (although others like the Albanians and Bosnians also had their own SS divisions.)
Strict accounting would only benefit the Serbs, who currently carry the burden of the blame for historical wrongdoings whereas all sides have behaved barbarously. This is especially true when a deeper historical perspective is used.
Ottoman crimes, Nazi crimes, Nationalist crimes, Mafia crimes….they equal out in the long view.
One more thing. The Croats technically never expelled the Serbs, they were ordered to leave by Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic. These are facts, if you don’t believe them then you and I will have to agree to disagree.
Strict accounting?, the more the numbers of casualties of Serb victims come out the less they are. They want everyone to believe that 700 000 to 1.5 million died which is insane and infact impossible to say the least. it is believed that 208 000 or so people died in the independent state of Croatia including death from famine, old age etc.. , about 20-40 000 dying at Jasenovac but you still repeat those numbers which seems to tell me that you have a pro serb bias. I can see why Belgrade lied, war reperations from Germany and and hatred of Croats. Croat Bruno Pusic was jailed for revealing the truth about ww2 and when he was released, fled to Paris where he continued his work. Unfortunately, he was murdered by the yugoslav secret police, a lot of effort to go through to silence someone who is talking out of their ass dont you think?. Besides, do you think Serbs were the only victims during ww2? What about the documented evidence of the hundreds of thousands of Croats and Bosniak civilians killed by Serbian Chetniks? What about the Croats who were murdered in the first yugoslavia for simply voicing their opinion. Even Serbian historian Bogoljub Kocovic “Very soon it dawned upon me that the major obstacle to my work would be the myths created over four decades about the number of victims, myths by now deeply implanted in the soul of the people of all religions, political beliefs and nationality; myths which, by repetition became a ‘reality’. There will be many who will reject my study because it does not conform to their beliefs…Many of them are looking for spiritual food to ignite their hatred of the Croats”.
“The Croat authorities murdered between 320,000 and 340,000 ethnic Serb residents of Croatia and Bosnia during the period of Ustaša rule; more than 30,000 Croatian Jews were killed either in Croatia or at Auschwitz-Birkenau.” – United States Holocaust Museum – http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005449 .
In Jasenovac alone they killed almost as many people as all the victims – civlian and military – of the Bosnian war (80,000 to 100,000 according to the Croatian count). – http://www.jusp-jasenovac.hr/Default.aspx?sid=7619 .
See also – http://blogs.wsj.com/emergingeurope/2011/11/09/disfiguring-jasenovac/
So One Croatian Nazi death camp cancels equates to all the killing of Bosnia on all sides. Shall we keep counting……
My point is that trying to finger the Serbs is pointless when all the nationalities are steeped in shame and innocent blood.
Also, your forgetting that Croatia’s nazi government was a PUPPET government not elected by the Croatian people, most of whom rejeced the nazis. what about Milan Nedic’s pro axis puppet government of Serbia? or the fact that Belgrade was he first city to be cleaned of Jews. Also, what about he fact that Serbian “hero” Draza Mihaljovic has been proven to collaborate wih he Germans, Italians, and even the Croatian ustasha? This is he reason he was executed for treason in 1946. Dont give me any B.S. about him saving the U.S. airmen, he did that for srategic gain just as he and some of right hand men saved Nazis. One of his men recieved an Iron Cross from hitler. Alhough I’m no fan of Serbs, I dont support he ustasha for being radical but dont repeat he same stuff that has been proven to be wrong or a half truth, especially when to this day, they stumble on mass graves of Croatian civilians killed during his time, not to mention Bleighburg . As for the 1990s , I never jusified the killing of Serbs in 1995, I simply let you know the murderers were punished. As for the Ottoman Empire, I never used this as an excuse to hate Bosniaks, I was talking about he circumstances that led the Serbs to migrate to Croatia. Lastly, The Serbs never had a problem labelling all Croats as evil Ustasha but today when hey finally have to answer for their crimes, I have to get Serb and Serb apologists whining about how its unfair. I think they are getting a taste of their own medicine.
The one article on jasenovac was written by Goran Mijuk, a Serb. As for the other site, I meant to say 20-40 000 Serbs died. The full number includes Serbs, Jews, Roma, Gypsies, and Croats who opposed them. Many Serbs tried to blow up the number of Serb victims that even claim 1.5 million died at Jasenovac alone. As for the ushmm, this organization has been known to use political bias to spread their interpretation of ww2. Michael Dobbs works for them and is known to have sided with Serbian extremists i.e. Chetniks and others openly calling for the extermination and expulsion of all Non Serbs from “Serb lands” on issues concerning 1990s simply because they wanted independence, ya know those same nationalists on the other side of the aisle who also promote the hateful bias you appear to be against. I think the fact that Bruno Busic was murdered all the way in Paris shows what was really going on in the former yugo after ww2
What else is funny is bow the Croatian people never elected the officials that committed genocide in ww2 but the majority of Serbs happily voted for monsters like Milosevic who ordered troops to commit the atrocities of the 1990s
My point at the end of the day is that the Serbs exaggerated their numbers of victims, undermined the amount of Croatian victims at the hand of the Chetniks during ww2 and used these half truths to rally each other up in hatred of the Croatian people to start war in the 1990s. But I have no reason to worry, the world has and is slowly but surely seen what has been going on for decades. The acquittal of Ante Gotovina meant not only a free man, but a another big step for the political change in opinion on the Balkans. You claim I have some big bias but I never deny the wrong doing on Croatia’s side but instead showing that Serbia’s greedy lust for Greater Serbia is what led to the conflicts in this region in the past century. They still find mass graves of Croats who died in ww2 and the 1990s, and at the end of the day it doesn’t matter what you think or say, the truth is coming out and in a generation, I can’t wait to see how much more evidence we will see.
Peter you are a living example of what I am talking about. For every Croatian Petar, there is a Serbian Jovan with a bag full of horror stories, “facts” and propaganda to counter each other’s claims.
The point of the New York Times article above ( https://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/08/opinion/global/selective-justice-for-the-balkans.html?_r=0 ) was to show that the ICTY is a travesty. It is and has always been deeply, deeply biased against the Serbs and has utterly failed Serbian victims. The acquittal of Bosnian warlords because all the witnesses were murdered is trumpeted as proof that no harm was done, that the killers were innocent. So it is with most of the non-Serb indictees. Evidence lost, ICTY “mistakes” leading to mistrials and spurious “acquittals”. They are show trials and we all know it, except no one cares about what the Serbian audience thinks. Big mistake.
All this injustice is doing is setting up the next round of bloodshed in 20 years. The world has woken up to the reality of Kosovo. The truth of Bosnia is now slowly being cleared up. The false history peddled during the Yugoslav years is being dissolved now too. The truth – in so far as history is ever truthful – is coming out, at least for the older events.
I should be clear, this includes Serbs, who are also facing the truth of what was done in their name.
See also: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-20545798
The ICTY is a political court which is why they originally tried to throw Ante Gotovina in the can for 24 years. As I explained, their hands were eventually tied due to their being no evidence linking Ante Gotovina to the crimes committed by individuals who actually were brought to justice. Which is why I posted that Washington Times article earlier.
In fairness, the Ante Gotovina case was very suspect. But there have been some travesties where the guilty have walked. I suppose it is better that the guilty go free than the innocent are imprisoned.
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“In the Krajina, where Serbs were 90% of the population, they asserted separate homeland within Croatian borders when Croatioa (sic) chose to secede.”
Pre 1991, only 52.3% of the population in the “Krajina” region were Serbs. After 1991 when Serbs occupied the region, the Serbs made up 88% of the population thanks to ethnic cleansing.
Please use facts when using your arguments, lies do not help anyone.
The fact that every one of Serbia’s neighbours have had a recent direct conflict with Serbia (recent meaning in the past 100 years) should tell you pretty much everything you need to know about the mentality of that nation.
Even the people in Vojvodina and the Sandzak regions have had enough of Belgrade’s chauvinistic attitude, and they both want out.
So what is Serbia doing wrong? Why doesn’t anyone like them?
The problem lies in Serbia’s unwillingness to respect the rights of their neighbours, and they think that everyone around them needs to sacrifice themselves to make way for Serb interests. In other words, they truly believe they are god’s people.
They are masters of deception and pathological liars, and in the past their propaganda has worked, but in this information age, you simply cannot get away with that stuff anymore.
Nicko you are a perfect example of the common variety Balkan bigot.
Thanks for the Wikipedia link. I concede the point that the Serbs went
from a mere majority to a super-majority between 1992 and 1995, although
the reason for this is not clear. Did the other ethnic groups flee or
were they ethnically cleansed. What you fail to mention or show or
concede is that in 1995 the percentage of Serbs went from 88% to what –
4%? – after they were definitively ethnically cleansed.
10 years later Amnesty International was denouncing the Croatian
government for completely failing to pursue justice for Serbs:
” Proceedings conducted by domestic Courts in Croatia have failed to
bring justice to all victims, and their families, of war crimes and
crimes against humanity. While Croatian courts have been vigorous in
pursuing the prosecution of Croatian Serbs and others accused of
committing war crimes against ethnic Croats, they have done little to
tackle impunity for violations committed by members of the Croatian Army
and police forces. Crimes against Croatian Serbs committed during
Operations “Flash” and “Storm”, as well as in previous phases of the
conflict are often not acknowledged, investigated, and their
perpetrators have largely enjoyed impunity.
In a report issued in December 2004, A shadow on Croatia’s future:
Continuing impunity for war crimes and crimes against
International had documented a pattern of widespread impunity including
for killings and “disappearances” of Croatian Serbs committed in Sisak
in 1991-92. To Amnesty International’s knowledge, no progress was made
in the investigation of these crimes and in the prosecution of those
The latest Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)
report on Croatia’s progress in meeting international commitments,
issued in July 2005, noted that Croatian Serbs continue to represent the
vast majority of those prosecuted (often in absentia) for war crimes and
crimes against humanity, while in 2005 no new prosecutions have been
initiated against members of the Croatian armed forces.
The failure to ensure that the Croatian judiciary addresses all
violations, regardless of the ethnicity of the victims or of the
perpetrators, is in breach of Croatia’s international obligations, and
seriously undermines the rule of law.
Out of approximately 300,000 Croatian Serbs displaced during the 1991-95
war, only approximately 117,000 are officially registered as having
returned. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, some
200,000 Croatian refugees, mostly Croatian Serbs, are still displaced in
neighbouring countries and beyond. Many Croatian Serbs, especially those
who formerly lived in urban areas, cannot return because they have lost
their tenancy rights to socially-owned apartments. Croatian Serbs
continue to be the victim of discrimination in access to employment and
in realising other economic and social rights; some cases of violence
and harassment against Croatian Serbs continue to be reported.”
From “Document – Croatia: Operation “Storm” – still no justice ten years
The situation is pretty much the same today.
As for the rest of your bigoted outburst, I should point point out that
neither Macedonia nor Montengero had any conflicts with Serbia, so you
are wrong on that one. Serbia had conflicts with Hungary, Croatia and
Romania as they were all allies of Nazi Germany. Wars with Albania were
not against Albania but against the Ottoman empire (Turks). Serbia did
not have any war with Bosnia Herzegovina either. You confuse Serbs and
Serbia just like people confuse Jews and Israel.
Croatia invaded Bosnia, something Serbia never did. Croatia was a
fascist Nazi ally. Is that supposed to tell me something about Croatian
As for your quipe about Vojvodina and Sandzak, you know full well (or
maybe you are an ignoramus who knows nothing about the region?) that in
both those places there are deeply complicated ethnic tensions and they
are being managed brilliantly by Serbia. Every NGO and International
body praises Serbia for its responsible handing of the situation. Serbia
is, after all, one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the
Balkans with the best record on the treatment of minorities. Where did
the Roma and Muslim Gorani flee to when ethncially cleansed out of
Kosovo by Albanians? To Serbia, one of the very few places in the region
not hostile to minorities.
You ask “So what is Serbia doing wrong? Why doesn’t anyone like them?”
I respond, they are doing nothing wrong. Since 2000 Serbia has been a
model of enlightened liberal democratic responsibility. It has sought
peaceful recourse to every problem. Every Balkan watcher knows this.
Additionally they are loved by Montenegrins and Slovenians, and well
liked by Hungarians. Even Bosnians and Croats yearn for normalisation
because they are all Slavic brothers and sisters under the skin.
Serbia has for well over a decade not only respected the rioghts of
neighbours, but been a regional leader in responsible neighbourly
relations. It has shown tremendous restraint over the open wound that is
Kosovo, and the
Who are you judge and condemn an entire people as “thinking they are
God’s people…masters of deception and pathological liars”?
Who licensed your bigotry? The Serbs are lovely people. Warm, kind,
welcoming and charming. Every foreigner that goes there falls in love
with the place!
It is clowns like you that are the liars and deceivers.
You claim the modern era is exposing Serb lies and propaganda, whereas
the exact opposite is happening!
The information age and internet have helped reveal the enormous black
propaganda campaign waged against the Serbs since the mid 90’s.
The lies and slanders that are being revealed are those of the
Serbophobes like you. It has take a long time – 10 years – but the
Western public is waking up to the reality that they were duped on the
The old trope of baddie Serb vs goodie Croat/Albanian/Bosnia is not
grounded in reality.
It is you, Nicko, who cannot ply his old trade anymore. Once upon a time
only Serbs would try and defend themselves on the web. Now hordes of
non-Serbs challenge and expose the lies and exaggerations of bigots like
you, armed with the truth liberated by the internet.
Until there is a proper Truth and Reconciliation Commission for the
Balkans, this is the best we can do to wade through the lies and
propaganda. Unpick them one at a time, one post at a time, one bigot at
You will see me, or someone like me, wherever you pop up, Nicko. My
advice to you is start telling the truth and tempering your hatred.
“Thanks for the Wikipedia link. I concede the point that the Serbs went
from a mere majority to a super-majority between 1992 and 1995, although
the reason for this is not clear. Did the other ethnic groups flee or
were they ethnically cleansed. What you fail to mention or show or
concede is that in 1995 the percentage of Serbs went from 88% to what –
4%? – after they were definitively ethnically cleansed.”
Again, lies. 4% is the figure for the whole of Croatia. Nice twisting of facts there, very Serb like.
Pre war, Croatia’s whole population was 12% Serb. After it is now 4%.
Within the fictional borders of Krajina, Serbs probably now make up around 15% – 25% of the population. But that’s a rough estimate. Down from 52% pre war.
“Serbia did not have any war with Bosnia Herzegovina either.”
It’s hard to argue with someone when they continually manipulate facts.
1. Of 300,000 Serbs ethnically cleansed from Croatia, 200,000 are still refugees, unable to return. That is according to Amnesty International. That speaks for itself, and is an ongoing shame on Croatia’s record.
2. The state of Serbia did not have a war with the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina. There was a civil war within Bosnia fought between Serbs, Bosnian Muslims and Croats. The independent state of Croatia did, however, invade Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1994. See http://www.nytimes.com/1994/01/29/world/asserting-croatia-invaded-bosnia-appeals-to-un.html . So Serbia did not invade any of its neighbours, but Croatia did. Suffer that for a facepalm. It is you who is clueless and historically ignorant.
So when non-Serbs were expelled from Krajina, you say it’s debatable whether they actually fled or whether they were ethnic cleansed, right?
But when Serbs fled just before the operation “Oluja” which liberated Croatia, you say that Serbs were ethnic cleansed?
Now we know for a fact that Serbs fled the storm, as per orders from the Serbian hierarchy. See the following link where it says “Today a majority of Serbs are able to return to Croatia legally. However, in reality a majority of Serbs who left during organized evacuation…”…
When Serbs left Croatia, it is, now officially called an “exodus”.
You say that Serbia was not involved in the wars.
But who provided the weapons and who back the local armies?
Why were soldiers, from Serbia, warring in Croatia and BiH?
What was your current president, Tomislav Nikolic, Arkan, and other Serbian paramilitary units doing in Croatia and BiH?
Taking a sightseeing tour, I suppose?
There’s a reason why Milosevic was arrested and taken to the Haag. He controlled the Yugoslav army, which pledged allegiance to Serbia (obviously because it was made up of Serbs) and dedicated itself to help protect Serbian interests in the region.
And if Milosevic and Serbia was not involved in any of the wars in Croatia and BiH, what business did Milosevic have signing the Dayton agreement?
There’s also a good reason why many Serbs from Croatia pathologically hate Milosevic – it’s because Milosevic withdraw support from the Krajina region in 1995 after he realised that the whole exercise was a lost cause.
As Milosevic later revealed in a telephone conversation with Mladic, he didn’t care much for Krajina – he only used Croatian Serbs as negotiating chips when negotiating a Serbian entity in BiH.
Hundreds of Serbs foolish enough not to heed the evacuation order were murdered. They were never allowed to return. Military action, combined with murder and intimidation of civilians, followed by obstructing refugees from return = Ethnic cleansing.
You wrote (scroll up to see): “The fact that every one of Serbia’s neighbours have had a recent direct conflict with Serbia”.
It did not. I proved you wrong. It did not have any recent DIRECT conflict with ALL of its neighbours. The only state of invade another sovereign state was Croatia invading Bosnia in 1994.
I should also point out that Nikolic is not “my” president. I am neither a Serb nor do I live in Serbia.
As for Milosevic and the Krajina Serbs, you are dead right. He did not care a damn for them. He was an absolute scumbag. Both he and Tudjman plotted to divide up the spoils of Bosnia.
As I wrote above, to Peter:
“Dirty politics in Belgrade most certainly played a part. But dirty politics in Zagreb and Sarajevo and Ljubljana and Skopje also played a part. Tudjman and Milosevic were equally evil ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kara%C4%91or%C4%91evo_agreement ) . Ascribing all blame to the Serbs is short-sighted and naive. “
Yes, Croatian forces – from Croatia – were present in Herzegovina (I have family from Dalmatia who fought there, so I know that fact very well). However, they were not there because Croatia wanted to gain more territory; rather, they were there to create a sizable buffer zone in between Dalmatia and Serb forces.
Why did they need to create a buffer zone?
Because Dalmatia was already cut off from the rest of Croatia thanks to the Krajina Serbs in the north. If Serb forces had of reached Dalmatia from the east, Croatians would have been surrounded with no where to move. In these circumstances, occupation of all of Dalmatia by Serb forces would have been likely.
And yes, Serbia did invade Slovenia, Croatia, and BiH, but technically it didn’t, because it hid behind the name “Yugoslavia” and the Yugoslav National Army.
I do not dispute the reasons why Croatia invaded Bosnia. I just pointed out that it did, indeed, invade Bosnia. It did so in 1994, after Croatia was a separate independent and internationally recognised state (recognised by the EU and UN in 1992). Serbia, on the other hand, has no such record of aggression since becoming an independent state after the collapse of Yugoslavia. My point was that your bold and untrue claim that Serbia had waged war against all every one of its neighbours was particularly unfair considering Croatia’s behaviour.
Lets wrap this up.
Did Serbs commit the majority of crimes in the Yugoslav wars? Yes. Did mostly Serb forces of the JNA commit atrocities and war crimes in Croatia? Yes.
Does this mean the rest are blameless innocent victims? No. Are Serbs essentially evil and aggressive? No.
I must tell you I absolutely adore Croatia and Croatians. I have take so many vacations there it is not funny. I also love Serbia and the Serbs. How can that be? Because you are so similar. It is a damned pity the wounds have not healed. But I knew many happy Croats in Belgrade and many happy Serbs in Croatia.
There is hope for a full return to normality.
Late last year there were 2 soccer world cup qualifying matches in Macedonia – first game versus Croatia and a few days after versus Serbia.
Check out the Maco fans reaction to the Croatian national anthem, and see how they reacted to the Serbian anthem.
I warn you but, when the video gets to 1 minute, you need to turn down the volume!
It shows that Macedonia’s Serb hating Albanian minority showed the deepest disrespect and booed during another country’s national anthem. The violence before the match and the behaviour at it was Albanians (http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/violence-surrounds-macedonia-serbia-football-match) . The country is riven by ethnic tension and violence. Just a few days ago there were violent ethnic riots (http://world.time.com/2013/03/02/at-least-22-people-injured-in-macedonia-riots/) between ethnic Macedonians and Albanians. Do Macedonian have a problem with Serbs? No. Do Albanians? Yes.
This is just another advertisement of anti-Serb hostility and bigotry from Albanians. Serb nationalists use the same video to demonstrate that their beliefs are justified. Shame on the (Albanian) Macedonian crowd. If the Serbs did it, it would be presented by you as evidence of Serbian evil.
Nicko, you are doomed to your view. You hate Serbs. Fine, good luck to you. The vast majority of foreigners who go there love the place. We carry the message back to where we come from. The country keeps getting great press now. It is now routine to see pieces on how Belgrade is the cool capital of the Balkans etc.
And you are a shrinking minority. Slovenians – who you Croats call Mountain Serbs – love Serbia and visit there in their droves. Montenegrins are the real mountain Serbs. Ethnic Macedonians are at worst neutral, but most pro-Serbs (esp. compared to Croats or Albanians). Hungarians, Bulgarians and Romanians are fine with Serbs. Bosnians Muslims are the most justified to hate the Serbs but do not. You rarely see Bosnians Muslim bigots spouting Serb hatred. Croat bigots are mostly children of the diaspora, commenting from Australia or the UK. The children of refugees with the distorted and obsolete world-view of those cut off from their culture. Croatian youngsters – the hippest ones anyway – can regularly be spotted in Belgrade. Normalising from the bottom up.
Give up your vitriol or at least keep it to yourself. You are a dying breed. The young will dance on your bitter grave and laugh at your hatred.
Woops, accidentally made a new thread, see my reply at March 13, 2013 at 7:38 pm.
That said, I also know plenty of good Serbs. In fact, they are the majority.
But when I talk about “Serbs”, I’m actually talking about Serbian politics, and not the people as a whole.
I am hoping everyone in the region has learned form the horrors of the 90s. Ethnic nationalism should be dead with Nazism and Communism in the graveyard of history.
I have to agree with you LIMBIC, 1990 – 1995 was years I want to forget and move on, but I do not want to forgive. And I certainly do not want to create another Yugoslavia ever again. Creating Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians (Kingdom of Yugoslavia) in 1918 – 1919 was the BIGGEST mistake our retarded King Karadjordjevic made that is haunting us till this day. We should have just let the Bosnians, Croatians and Slovenians get their own countries or do whatever they want at that time, all would be better now. Now we face incredible pressure from people who do not really understands us, trying to interfere in our lives and tell us what to do. Time will pass, history will be revriten, but there will always be a Serbian under the plum tree :D. Cheers.
The Serbian national team get that type of reaction wherever they go in the region.
However, relationships have somewhat worsened since the election of “former” radicals to the government, who still, in their hearts, believe in Greater Serbia.
But in the region at this very moment, Serbia is not the main worry. Albanians, like the Serbs 20+ years, are talking about forming a Greater Albania. Hopefully they don’t make the same mistakes as the Serbs, but unfortunately it looks like they are going down the same path.
I would really triple check any information about history of the Balkans, especially if the source is Serbian. Serbs are known for lying about their history and that is the main reason why they don’t get along with their neighbors – and I am not just talking about Croats and Albanians. Serbs don’t get along with Bosniaks neither, nor do they get along with Bulgarians, Hungarians and Macedonians. Their relations with Monte-Negro is also very tense and they hate Turks. Why do the Serbs have a problem with just about everyone in the region, while other countries can co-exist peacefully? Why did Serbia wage wars against Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and then Kosovo – all in the last 20 years?
While I agree that there are idiot nationalists everywhere, in Serbia nationalism is on a completely different level – it is a way of living. Serbs teach false history in schools and their politicians constantly make claims to other nation lands – even in 2013 when one would think they have learned their lesson.
Let us talk about facts vs Serb lies – so that this doesn’t turn into another pointless rant.
1. Serbs claim that in WWII Croat Nazis killed 700.000 Serbs just in Jasenovac death camp. Now, you may have heard other numbers being mentioned – some Serbs go up to 1,6 million, others say it was around 1 million, Jewish sources mention 350.000-450.000, but the main problem is that all of these numbers are vastly over-exaggerated. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) in Washington, D.C. presently estimates that the Ustaša regime murdered between 77,000 and 99,000 people The Jasenovac Memorial Site quotes a similar figure of between 80,000 and 100,000 victims and this is what most historians actually agree with. Although, this is still a lot – it is nowhere near Serb lies. Another approach that you can use to check Serb lies is to actually compare the number of Serbs in Croatia before WWII and after.
Population of Croatia 1931-2001
Year Serbs % Total pop.
1931 633,000 18.45% 3,430,270
1948 543,795 14.39% 3,779,858
1953 588,756 14.96% 3,936,022
1961 624,991 15.02% 4,159,696
1971 626,789 14.16% 4,426,221
1981 531,502 11.55% 4,601,469
1991 581,663 12.16% 4,784,265
2001 201,631 4.54% 4,437,460
2011 186,633 4.36% 4,284,899
This really illustrates just how much the Serbs lie. How could have the Croats killed 700.000 Serbs, when total population of Serbs before WWII was never above 700.000. If Serbs are saying the truth, you would expect that Croats exterminated every single Serb from Croatia, and the numbers just do not support this. Note please that I am not trying to defend the crimes committed by the Nazi Croats – the crimes happened, they were terrible and it is a dark stain on Croatian history, but let us talk with facts and not Serbian myths if we really want to do justice to the victims. I personally think it is disgusting how Serbs use the victims for their own political games.
Another thing that Serbs never mention is that Croats actually played an important part in the partisan movement that was fighting against the regimes who did the killing. Serbs also do not mention that their Chetniks – who Serbs today portray as anti-fascist – actually collaborated with the Nazis and had death camps of their own – killing just in Bosnia over 60.000 people. Tito, who was the leader of the partisan movement, was actually half Croat and half Slovene, and he fought both Croat Ustashes and Serb Chetniks. By April 1945 composition by region from late 1941 to late 1944 was as follows:
Late 1941 Late 1942 Sept. 1943 Late 1943 Late 1944
Bosnia 20,000 60,000 89,000 108,000 100,000
Croatia 7,000 48,000 78,000 122,000 150,000
Kosovo 5,000 6,000 6,000 7,000 20,000
Macedon 1,000 2,000 10,000 7,000 66,000
M-N 22,000 6,000 10,000 24,000 30,000
Serbia 23,000 8,000 13,000 22,000 204,000
Slovenia 2,000 4000 6000 34,000 38,000
Vojvodina 1,000 1,000 3,000 5,000 40,000
Total 81,000 135,000 215,000 329,000 648,000
Therefore, while it is true that Croats did commit terrible crimes against humanity, they also helped overthrow the regimes that were guilty for the monstrosities. And let us not forget that allied forces also have their own war crimes to deal with – Stalin, USA’s atom bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, etc. The only reason why Croats still carry this burden of the past, is because Serbs keep spreading their hysteria and lies, constantly reminding everyone of Jasenovac and mistakes Croatia did in the past and trying to connect those events with events of today.
Serbia’s Secret War: propaganda and the deceit of history, By Philip J. Cohen
2. Serbs often claim that present day Croatia took the Ustashe coat of arms and put it on the present-day flag of Croatia – which supposedly proves that present day Croatia is built on Nazi ideology.
The tale that the Croatian coat-of-arms is a symbol of Fascism is a very new myth that, like many others, was created by the Serbian apologist writers David Martin and Nora Beloff and has been repeated by some other ill informed reporters. “They waved the Croat checkered flag-something akin to waving a Confederate flag at an NAACP meeting” wrote the Christian Science Monitor. Today again the Ustashe flag has been raised” cried Nora Beloff in the Washington Post. “Mr. Tudjman’s decision to adopt a flag modeled on the Ustashe flag has only made matters worse,” lamented David Martin writing in the New York Times.
In reality, the ancient Croatian coat-of-arms has been used for hundreds of years by every Croatian government, and was even used by both royalist Yugoslavia before WWII and Communist Yugoslavia after WWII.
3. Serbs often claim that all Croats are actually Serbs. In fact, they go so far in their delusions to say that Slovenes are Alp Serbs, Croats are Catholic Serbs, Bosnians are Muslim Serbs, Macedonians are south Serbs and people from Monte-Negro are Serbs that lost their identity. It is no wonder nobody in the region likes Serbia when they publicly spread such nonsense. If you ask Serbs about how the map of the Balkans should look like according to them, they would most likely present something like this:
Next map shows that the Serbs during the Balkan wars in the 90’s were actively working towards making that map a reality:
Needless to say, there is no legal nor historical basis for such borders and they exist only in the heads of deluded Serbian people. Serbs argue that Croats ran away from Ottoman invasion during the 16th and 17th century and that Serbs came to abandoned Croatian lands by invitation of Austrian court – which according to them gives them right to Croat lands. However this is again based on a Serb lie.
a.) While it is true that many Croats abandoned their homes during the Ottoman wars and that Serbs were placed there by the Austrian court, Serbs inflate the number of Serbs and lie that the majority of Croats abandoned their land.
b.) I also need to point out that the military frontier was demographically dynamic area, constantly changing, and while it is true that Serbs were the majority in the military frontier in the year 1790:
Serbs = 388,000 (42.4%)
Croats = 325,000 (35.5%)
Romanians = 89,000 (9.7%)
Hungarians = 69,000 (7.5%)
Germans = 44,000 (4.8%)
By the year of 1851 (just 60 years later), the Croats represent a clear majority:
Croats = 480,494 (50.1%)
Serbs = 310,964 (32.4%)
Romanians = 113,723 (11.9%)
Germans = 37,875 (3.9%)
Slovaks and Czechs = 8,822 (0.9%)
Hungarians = 4,985 (0.5%)
Jews = 479 (0.1%)
Others = 1,535 (0.2%)
4. Serbs lie that Croats speak Serb language and that this proves all Croats are Serbs.
This is just ridiculous and shows just how ignorant the average Serb must be to actually believe in such a blatant lies. First, it is very important to understand that Croats and Serbs came to the Balkans around the same time, somewhere in 6th-7th century and that they are both descendants from protoslavic tribes from eastern parts of central Europe. This already explains the language similarity to a certain degree, but Croats and Serbs came as different tribes and they stayed separated throughout most of their history, thus having different culture, different language, different alphabet and different religion. Before the 19th century, Croats and Serbs spoke noticeably different languages, but in the 19th century political decisions and trends brought different languages together. Standardization took place along different paths. Among the Serbs, one man, Vuk Stefanović Karadić, worked from 1814 to 1864 to replace the previous Serbian/Church Slavonic mixed writing style with straight Serbian and to simplify the Cyrillic alphabet. In his alphabet, 30 letters correspond exactly to the language’s 5 vowels and 25 consonants. Unlike some letters in the Russian and other Cyrillic alphabets, no single Serbian Cyrillic letter ever denotes a consonant-plus-vowel sequence. Croats had for some centuries been writing primarily in Latin letters in all three sorts of dialect (but reading one another’s publications). In the 1830s Ljudevit Gaj, a journal editor in Zagreb, urged all Croats to adopt Shtokavian in writing, the geographically most widespread dialect and a link to other peoples of the region (mostly Serbs). Because of Austrian and Hungarian hegemony, the south Slavs of the 19th century started dreaming about unification of all south Slavs. After discussions lasting most of the century, Croats did accept that suggestion, using Karadić’s Serbian dictionary as one of their authoritative sources, though they went on using some traditional vocabulary and, notably, the Latin alphabet associated with Catholicism and western Europe. Throughout the 19th century, Serbs spoke of “the Serbian language” and Croats of “the Croatian language,” though they ended the century with standard forms much more similar and mutually intelligible than they had been previously.
This of course does not mean that all Croats are Serbs, nor does it mean that Croats speak Serb language.
5. Serbs often lie that more than 300.000 Serbs was forced from Croatia in the Balkan wars in the 90’s – claiming that Croats committed the biggest ethnic cleansing since WWII.
The fact of the matter is that the number of Serbs has been dropping in Croatia in the last 80 years, but that does not mean the Serbs were forced out of their homes. Lets take a look at the table I presented earlier:
Population of Croatia 1931-2001
Year Serbs % Total pop.
1931 633,000 18.45% 3,430,270
1948 543,795 14.39% 3,779,858
1953 588,756 14.96% 3,936,022
1961 624,991 15.02% 4,159,696
1971 626,789 14.16% 4,426,221
1981 531,502 11.55% 4,601,469
1991 581,663 12.16% 4,784,265
2001 201,631 4.54% 4,437,460
2011 186,633 4.36% 4,284,899
Now let us remember that Serbs claim 700.000 Serbs was killed by Croats in Croatia during WWII. Yet, even though the war in the 90’s was much smaller and war crimes were not nearly as big as before, the number of Serbs dropped by 380.000, while after WWII it dropped by 90.000. It is obvious that Serb story does not make sense, because one would expect the number of Serbs to drop more in WWII scenario. Also notice that between 1971 and 1981 the number of Serbs in Croatia dropped by 95.000 even though there was no war. This shows two things:
a.) That you don’t need ethnic cleansing and war for big demographic changes.
b.) That perhaps there are alternative explanations as to why the number of Serbs dropped so much after the war in the 90’s.
Perhaps Serbs were ordered to leave by their leadership? There are actually documents that show how Serb leadership was planning to evacuate the civilians in a defeat scenario and there is evidence that Serb leadership commanded evacuation.
Before I continue, please let me assure you that I have no intention in denying that Croats also committed war crimes during the last war and I am deeply ashamed of every Croat who killed an innocent Serb. But these were individual war crimes and even though Serbs want to involve the political leadership of Croatia into planning these war crimes, it was never proven in Haag. In fact, last year Haag acquitted two Croat generals who were accused for – as the Serbs like to call it – “the biggest ethnic cleansing after WWII”. Haag concluded that there was no evidence that these generals committed crimes against humanity and the court found no evidence for ‘joint criminal enterprise’ against the Serbs.
This of course does not mean that there were no war crimes, but it does show that Serbs have yet to meet their burden of proof for lies they spread. They actually have to produce some evidence, and until they do, I have no reason to believe them – nobody should – especially after hundreds of years of lying and scheming against their neighbors.
6. Serbs often say that Croatia does not prosecute their war criminals, and again this is a blatant lie.
I’ll post just 3 most famous cases, but there have been over 30 convictions so far, with many more being under investigation:
There are literally hundreds of other lies being spread by Serbs every day on the internet, but I hope this here will be enough to debunk some of their lies.
So “Mark” how is the weather in Durak, Croatia :-)
I have decided not to waste an Easter Sunday responding in detail to your outpouring of serbophobic nonsense. But some sort of responses is in order.
You state that the Serbs are known for lying about their history and this is the main reason why they don’t get along with their neighbours. Are you seriously suggesting that the Serbs are the only Balkan country that lies or has lied about its history? Every single Balkan country has a long and sordid history of exaggerating or downright lying about its past. The Serbs are no better or worse than anyone else. Would you like me to list here examples of Croatian nationalist lies exaggerations and other propaganda?
As I have already shown above, Serbia did not wage war is against Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and then Kosovo. The former state of Yugoslavia was involved in a civil war. The state of Serbia has not engaged in a war with anybody at all. As previously noted, only Croatia has actually invaded a neighbour.
You state that Serbian nationalism is on a completely different level than other Balkan countries, that it is a way of living. Can you prove this statement? By what authority do you have to make this claim? Are you a Serb? Have you lived in Serbia?
You claim that Serbs teach false history in their schools and that the politicians make claims on other people’s countries, even in 2013. Can you present evidence of this? Are you referring to Kosovo? Even the most biased of commentators would find a statement like yours absurd in the context of Kosovo, where we have a genuinely difficult situation. In Kosovo there is a conflict between the principle of self-determination and the Helsinki principal of not changing national borders. This is not a trivial matter of political philosophy. Kosovo represents a genuine dilemma. There is no easy solution to Kosovo. The Serbs claim to Kosovo is exactly the same as the Croatian claim to the Krajina. When the Croats fought to regain territory that had seceded due to a local majority siding with their ethnic brothers, it was celebrated as liberation. When the Serbs did exactly the same thing, Croats called “foul”.
Some would call that pure hypocrisy.
On to the “lies”.
1. Serbs murdered by Croatian Nazis.
Regarding the claim made by some that 700,000 Serbs were killed by the Croatian Ustase collaborationist regime, that figure is exaggerated. The actual figure is around 330,000.
I choose to believe the United States Holocaust Museum:
“The Croat authorities murdered between 320,000 and 340,000 ethnic Serb residents of Croatia and Bosnia during the period of Ustaša rule”.
Between 320,000 and 340,000 [Serbs] murdered [by Croatian Nazis] and you point the finger at Serbs claiming THEY are Nazis!
No amount of mudslinging at Serbs will remove the stain of genocide from Croatia.
Serbia was the only occupied country in the region that did NOT have an SS Division mad up of locals.
A massive, mostly Serb, partisan movement fought the Nazis out of the Balkans.
Oh look, there are those Israeli’s honouring hundreds of Serbs are Righteous Among Nations :
2. Croatian coat of arms
Never heard of this claim before. A sample from the thousands of idiotic claims traded by the ex-Yugoslav internet legions daily? Who cares?
3. Croats are Serbs.
No, but you are all Southern Slavs. Genetically closely related. Brothers under the skin :-)
Another claims I have never encountered. Another straw man?
5. Serbs ethnically cleansed from Croatia
I chose to believe Amnesty International, not some Croat apologist.
“Out of approximately 300,000 Croatian Serbs displaced during the 1991-95 war, only approximately 117,000 are officially registered as having returned. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, some 200,000 Croatian refugees, mostly Croatian Serbs, are still displaced in neighbouring countries and beyond. Many Croatian Serbs, especially those who formerly lived in urban areas, cannot return because they have lost their tenancy rights to socially-owned apartments. Croatian Serbs continue to be the victim of discrimination in access to employment and in realising other economic and social rights; some cases of violence and harassment against Croatian Serbs continue to be reported.”
From “Document – Croatia: Operation “Storm” – still no justice ten years on” - https://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/EUR64/002/2005/en/46184632-d4c3-11dd-8a23-d58a49c0d652/eur640022005en.html
PS. “Croatia should apologize for World War II genocide before joining the EU” – http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2010/0402/Croatia-should-apologize-for-World-War-II-genocide-before-joining-the-EU .
They estimate 300,000 to 700,000 murdered.
I actually write from Sweden and not from Croatia, although I do have ties to Croatia – but this is completely irrelevant, just as most of your weak points.
I have shown just a few examples how Serbs lie about their history and I have backed up my claims with a lot of references. So whether you like it or not, I am not writing “serbophobic” nonsense, but coherent arguments. Your weak responses however illustrate that Serbia still has a lot to learn when it comes to dealing with truth. Let us examine the points you raised:
1. You say:
“Are you seriously suggesting that the Serbs are the only Balkan country that lies or has lied about its history? Every single Balkan country has a long and sordid history of exaggerating or downright lying about its past. The Serbs are no better or worse than anyone else.”
I have not suggested that ONLY the Serbs lie about their history. That is a strawman question. Of course other nations (not just the Balkan countries) use propaganda and lies for their own political goals – especially during the war. This is nothing shocking nor strange. However, I was suggesting that Serbs do this more than others and I have actually presented examples just how deep these lies go. There are literally hundreds of historical lies being told on Serb TV by their historians, politicians and media, the internet is filled with these lies and you have been doing this for over a hundred years now, which is the main reason for all the troubles in the region. I will present even more evidence for this as I answer your other points.
2. You say:
“As I have already shown above, Serbia did not wage war is against Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and then Kosovo. The former state of Yugoslavia was involved in a civil war. The state of Serbia has not engaged in a war with anybody at all. As previously noted, only Croatia has actually invaded a “neighbour.”
How you want to call the war is really completely irrelevant, but the very idea that Croatia invaded Bosnia while you call the wars in Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia civil wars, shows just how twisted your understanding of reality is. The fact of the matter is that Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia sought independence from Yugoslavia and Serbs attacked these countries to prevent them from leaving – it was not the other way around. Now you may play word games and say that it was Yugoslavia that attacked and not Serbia, but we all know that Yugoslav army without Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Macedonia, was comprised mostly of Serbs. We also know that without Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Macedonia, Yugoslavia was run by Milosevic and it was supporting the Serb cause all the way. Just because the country of Serbia did not officially exist in the 1991-1995 does not mean that Serbs did not attack other countries. These are just word games – and the fact that you need to resort to such cheap tactics just confirms my main point that you guys lie, twist and exaggerate the truth how ever it suits your needs.
3. You say:
“You state that Serbian nationalism is on a completely different level than other Balkan countries, that it is a way of living. Can you prove this statement? By what authority do you have to make this claim? Are you a Serb? Have you lived in Serbia?”
I make this claim based on the very fact that Serbs voted for nationalists after all the shit they caused in the last 20 years.
Furthermore, in a May 2012 interview, Nikolić (this newly elected nationalist President) was quoted by Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung to have said that ″Vukovar was a Serb city and Croats have nothing to go back to there″.
Croatian President Ivo Josipović criticized Nikolić for this statement and conditioned future cooperation on Nikolić’s withdrawal of the statement.
The following day Nikolić’s office issued a statement saying that Nikolić never made any such statement and called it a ″treacherous lie″. However, Michael Martens, the journalist of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung subsequently published the audio recording showing that Nikolić had indeed made that statement.
Here is the audio recording:
Again, you Serbs have been caught in a lie.
3. You say:
“You claim that Serbs teach false history in their schools and that the politicians make claims on other people’s countries, even in 2013. Can you present evidence of this?”
Yes, check the recording about Vukovar being a Serb city by YOUR PRESIDENT in 2012!
Check the statement from your historian in 2012:
I mean, this was recorded in 2012 – not in 1991. The very fact that your historians and leading politicians are still saying such nonsense today proves my point, I would say.
4. Then you say:
“Are you referring to Kosovo? … There is no easy solution to Kosovo. The Serbs claim to Kosovo is exactly the same as the Croatian claim to the Krajina. When the Croats fought to regain territory that had seceded due to a local majority siding with their ethnic brothers, it was celebrated as liberation. When the Serbs did exactly the same thing, Croats called “foul”.”
There is a huge difference between Croatian problem with Krajina Serbs and Kosovo. First and foremost, Albanians in Kosovo rebelled against Serbia because they were treated badly by the Serbs for decades. Serbs have been killing Albanians since the first Balkan wars in the 19th century. Then again in the second Balkan wars – the world could again read about Serb monstrosities on Albanian population:
Furthermore, before the world decided to grant Kosovo independence, again we were forced to watch and read about the killings of Albanian population – not to mention that Serbia did the same thing both in Croatia and Bosnia a few years earlier. That was the reason why NATO bombed Serbia, and that is the reason why the Kosovo question cannot be based just on international law, but it should be interpreted as Albanian right to self-defense. This was actually the argument Croatian government gave for recognizing Kosovo. I cannot comment on the “foul” remark since you did not present any reference nor evidence for this. For all I know, you might be pulling this out of your ass.
5. Then you go on a complete strawman:
“Regarding the claim made by some that 700,000 Serbs were killed by the Croatian Ustase collaborationist regime, that figure is exaggerated. The actual figure is around 330,000.”
When I mentioned the 700.000 figure, I was referring to just the Jasenovac death camp. Read again what I wrote. I am not denying the number you mentioned on the whole territory of NDH, nor do I want to reduce the number of victims. But I find it disgusting how Serbs use the 700.000 figure just for one camp – vastly over exaggerating the truth.
6. Then you say:
“No amount of mudslinging at Serbs will remove the stain of genocide from Croatia. Serbia was the only occupied country in the region that did NOT have an SS Division mad up of locals. A massive, mostly Serb, partisan movement fought the Nazis out of the Balkans.”
Look, as I already pointed out many times – the crimes happened, they were terrible and they are a dark stain on Croatian history, but let us talk with facts and not Serbian myths if we really want to do justice to the victims. Where exactly do you see mudslinging?
Furthermore, no one is denying the part Serbs played in the partisan movement, but you cannot deny that Croats played an important part as well. You didnt even comment on the table I posted, because it shows just how important the Croat partisans were and now yet again you play with words and say something that sounds good, but which is actually a complete misrepresentation of history – yes, I agree – Serbs did not have an SS division, but you had the Chetniks and these guys were just as bad. Croats admit their mistakes from the past – why do you Serbs have to dance around the truth?
7. You say:
“Oh look, there are those Israeli’s honouring hundreds of Serbs are Righteous Among Nations :
What is this supposed to prove? That some Serbs got medals? Am I supposed to post links of Croats getting medals as well? Dont be a child.
8. Then you say about the Croat coat of arms:
“Never heard of this claim before. A sample from the thousands of idiotic claims traded by the ex-Yugoslav internet legions daily? Who cares?”
Well, these thousand internet idiots spread lies too, dont they? I have heard this argument being made many times by Serbs and all I am saying that it is based on a lie. That is all I am saying.
9. I am glad I met a Serb that finally admits that Croats are not Serbs.
10. You say:
“I chose to believe Amnesty International, not some Croat apologist.”
The document you presented was written in 2005, before the verdict in Haag. The document does not represent evidence that Serbs were forcefully displaced. That there were individual war crimes happening after the war, is a fact which no doubt contributed to the exodus of Serbs, but it was never proven that this was anything more than individual war crimes committed by drunk soldiers thirsty for revenge after Serbs left a trail of death wherever they waged wars.
It also needs to be said that amnesty international has been known for quite a lot of controversy and that many of their claims have received quite a lot of criticism:
Not to mention that the whole article is just that – an article with no evidence for any of the claims being made. Croatia has also criticized AI for being completely blind to the problems that are universal for all citizens of Croatia. Finding job is hard for everyone – not just a Serb – and cases of violence will always happen, because every country has a few idiots who will do something stupid. Croatia cannot be responsible for such events.
That is why we should base our conclusions only on proven facts and not controversial articles – and the facts are that the highest ranking Croats have been put to trial for these accusations and they have proven their innocence. Croatia is becoming a part of EU, which would not be possible if claims from 2005 AI article were true.
11. Croats have apologized countless times for war crimes in WW2, while you Serbs are considering to rehabilitate the status of Chetnik leader and an accused war criminal Draza Mihajlovic.
NOTE: Rushed out. Forgive typos and other weirdness in text.
Preamble 2. You in Sweden
Marko, I am not a Serb :-)
You say that your provenance is “irrelevant” and of course you are right. That you are of Croatian origin or otherwise connected with Croatia does not, in itself, invalidate what you say. Yet I cannot cite the myriad of Serb sources that debunk your claims because, well, that opens me up to claims of bias. Serbs scholarship, no matter how good, is denounced as ipso facto biased, yet Croatian sources and propaganda are supposed to be impartial and fair and utterly trustworthy?
You are falling victim to the Confirmation Bias. Unlike me, you are personally connected to the Balkan conflict. Are you one of the lost generation? The child of refugees or emigrants?
The internet battles are mostly fought between kids on both sides who have never set foot in Serbia, Albania or Croatia or Bosnia.
Preamble 2. Your “examples” how Serbs lie
You have pointed out that some Serbs claim that 700,000 were killed at Jasenovac. It is trivial to show that some members of a nationality are historical liars.
Shall I point you to the Croatian Neo-Nazi holocaust deniers? How about former Croatian diplomat Tomislav Sunic
Does this “prove” that Croats are endemic liars and holocaust deniers? (Hint: Of course not).
1. Serbs “lies” about history
So now you concede that Serbs are not the only practitioners of propagandas, but they do this “more than others”.
I would love to see you defend this claim. Posting examples of Serbs propaganda is not proof of anything except that it exists. Show me the comparisons by a neutral party.
For you, its all about a matter of degree.
The fact that Croatian nazis murdered 300,000 Serbs is irrelevant, the real crime is those pesky Serbs exaggerating the death toll!
It is ironic that this is the same line used by Serbs nationalists about Srebrenica and Bosnia in general. They also point at the exaggerated casualty claims a proof of Bosnian “lies” whilst ignoring the crimes themselves.
2. Serbs waged war against neighbours
No they did not. Se above, again.
I am not going to convince you or anyone else to change their minds about the Yugoslav civil war. Read the newer books, watch the newer documentaries. Read the biographies of the participants.
The truth is leaking out.
The simple fact is that since 2000 Serbia has been a poster of both or responsible diplomatic engagement in the region. No aggression. No militarism. Just international diplomacy.
3. Serb Nationalism worse than the other balkan people
I will not defend Serbian Nationalists nor their leaders.
It is true that in the 2012 election Tomislav Nikolic beat Tadic. This was a bad result for Serbia. The nationalist base was mobilised on a populist anti-corruption ticket, the metropolitan elites did not bother to turn out, and Western brinkmanship and unfairness over Kosovo damaged Tadic.
Whilst there is no doubt that this result in 2012 is a disaster for the Serbian people. I absolutely understand why it happened. The Serbian people have been subjected to a constant stream of lies, propaganda, exaggerations, and provocations.
If any other people, say in a western country, were subjected to the same level of hostility and lies, we would see a much worse nationalism develop.
I can only imagine what would happen, for example, in Britain if there had been a civil war that broke apart the United Kingdom. Then the English were vilified constantly by a major power and its allies. Then a part of its territory seceded, aided by an illegal and aggressive bombing campaign, orchestrated on the basis of falsehoods. Do you think under those circumstances we would see a centrist Conservative party in power? Even today, in 2013, the UK Independence Party is gaining strength in Britain solely due to anger and misgivings over immigration and the economy. Imagine if you mixed in historical wrongs and an unresolved territorial dispute within your borders?
So I suppose my point in a long winded manner of speaking is this: yes, the people of Serbia have elected a nationalist president and a majority nationalist parliament. The reasons for doing so are extremely complex. It is definitely not some sort of harking back to a 90s era ethnic nationalist greater Serbia. It is however, people grasping for some sort of pride, for some sort of justice, for some sort of historical reckoning.
Whilst Nikolic may have made the statements that you quote, he has fully repudiated his formerly nationalistic opinions. In fact, in the same articles and interviews with Michael Martens, he categorically renounces all claims to a greater Serbia or anything like it.
I am posting links to the German articles, rather than the Croatian interpretations of those articles, so that people can see for themselves.
Finally, I should point out that Croatia has a less than stellar record of voting in moderate parties. Reading about HDZ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Croatian_Democratic_Union) and its Tudjmanism is interesting. This is the party that was in power from 1990 to 2000 and in coalition from 2003 to 2011. They sound exactly like the Serbian nationalists to me, and they are not even the far right!
“Tudjmanism is a form of Croatian nationalism. Franjo Tuđman defined it as non-Communist nationalism with “re-examined Croatian history”. According to Croatian historan Ivo Banac, Tudjmanism unites all forms of the Croatian anti-liberalism, that is Croatian fascism and the Croatian communism.” – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tudjmanism
This is the same Tudjman who plotted with Milosevic to divide up Bosnia:
3.Serb falsehoods at school and Vukovar
Okay, just to repeat for the record: I am not a Serb.
As for Nikolic’s Vukovar statement, who really cares? The guy believes Vukovar is a Serbian city. He is entitled to his opinion. As for the rights and wrongs, I have no idea.
What I do know, is that what happened in Vukovar in 1991 was utterly wrong. I would venture that most Serbs would agree with me on. What I also know is that many of the people who committed crimes there have been brought to justice. This is not true of the people who committed crimes against Serbs in Croatia in 1995. Nor is it true of those who committed crimes against Serbs in Kosovo in 1999 and since then.
The bald and unpalatable fact is this, the ICTY has been rightly zealous in his pursuit of Serbian war criminals, but has completely failed to bring to justice those that have committed crimes against Serbs. This is not lost on the Serbs. One of the reasons people like a Nikolic are voted into power is precisely this sort of ongoing injustice. The Serbs have faced up to what happened in their name in the 1990s. It has been a difficult and painful process. As they emerged from this process they are asking, “what about the others?”
Unfortunately, there will never be a truth and reconciliation commission in the Balkans. We may never know the full truth of exactly what happened and why. But if there is one historical fact that plays out over and over again across ages and across countries and territories and civilisations it is this: conflicts are really the case of simple good versus simple evil. People are pretty much similar to each other wherever they are. You are marching against the beat of history when you attempt to pin all the blame for any conflict on a single people country.
Marko, you would be better served by taking a more nuanced view of recent Balkan history. Militant one sidedness advertises ignorance and/or chauvinism. Maybe it is impossible to be from their and to be impartial?
4.Kosovo and Krajina
There is no difference between Kosovo and the Krajina. Both are territories within established national boundaries. Both of those territories and ethnic majorities belonging to a neighbouring ethnicity. In both cases ethnic rebels declared independence from the nation that the territory belonged to.
This is where the differences begin. In the Croatian case, the United States armed and trained the Croatian Armed Forces in preparation for an invasion to recapture their national territory. When the invasion was launched, it was helped directly and indirectly by the American armed forces. The Serbs evacuated en masse, many of those that remained were murdered.
In the case of Kosovo, the Serbian army moved to suppress the rebellion. NATO presented Yugoslvia with impossible conditions for “peace”. NATO started bombing Serbia and Montenegro. Kosovar civilians evacuated en masse. The Serbian forces trying to recapture the their national territory were forced to withdraw under bombardment. the UN brokered a “peace” treaty. Kosovar civilians returned en masse. They took revenge on the Serbs that had not fled, in two pogroms. in 2008, Kosovo declared independence, in open violation of the UN brokered peace agreement. Half the planet does NOT recognised Kosovo. The situation remains unresolved, and in many ways, unresolvable.
Today you have tens if not hundreds of thousands of Kosovo Serb refugees still living outside of Kosovo, after being ethnically cleanse by Albanians. Not only Serbs, also Gorani and Roma, were forced to flee. Those non-Albanians that remain in Kosovo live in fear. They are frequently attacked, they are discriminated against in every area of life. Their rights are trampled on and they have been completely ignored by the international community.
So when Croatia attacked ethnic rebels and took back its territory it was “liberation”. When Serbia did exactly the same thing, it was aggression, and NATO took it upon itself to intervene and create the mess that is Kosovo today.
As for your implication that the Albanians were right to secede on the basis of some sort of historical self defence, then one has to wonder why the murder of 300,000 Serbs by Croatian fascists in World War II was not a perfectly acceptable basis for the secession of the Krajina?
You cannot have it both ways Marko.
5. 700,000 not killed, at Jasenovac.
As I wrote above, I’m personally not inclined to be angry at victims who exaggerate – possibly unknowingly – the scale of monstrous crimes committed against them by fascists. iIf they are lying or simply wrong about the Jasenovac death camp, then simply let the truth come out. I think the attempted genocide against the Serbs by the Croatian Nazis in World War II is an important factor in understanding what happened later. Nothing justifies warcrimes but it does explain why the Serbian Nationalists were able to tap into a pool of resentment and energy. Now we are just storing up more pools of resentment and negative energy thanks to the sores continuing to fester from the Civil War and Kosovo.
6. Mudslinging at Serbs about putative Nazi past
I was reacting to your implication that the Serbs were big Nazi sympathisers and collaborationists, when the exact opposite was the truth. Croatia with the biggest ally of Nazi Germany. Bosnia had its SS division. Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria were all part of the axis. Only Serbia and Montenegro held out against the Nazis.
It seems people are not content with libelling Serbia about the Balkan wars and Kosovo, they also want to tarnish the Serb’s World War II record, which was the cleanest in the region.
7. Israeli’s honouring hundreds of Serbs are Righteous Among Nations
No, Marco, that and other facts shows that the Israelis – who really know who is who is who when it comes to the Holocaust – considers Serbia and the Serbian people to be friends of Jews and Israel. The Serbs = Nazis claim is pure nonsense.
8. Croat coat of arms:
9. I am glad I met a Serb that finally admits that Croats are not Serbs.
Sorry to disappoint you, but I am not a Serb. I can, however, find you many Serbs who would be happy to admit that Croats are non-Serbs.
10. Amnesty and The Hague
I find it completely absurd the people present as “evidence” that because justice has not been done in The Hague in prosecuting war criminals who committed crimes against Serbs, that no crimes were committed against Serbs!
The Hague is an absolute travesty. It is victor’s justice at its worst. It has always been a deeply anti-Serb organisation. It is completely failed to provide justice to Serbs.
Allow me to post again what I posed above to make my point:
“TOO bad if you were a Serb victim of any crime in the former Yugoslavia. More Serbs were displaced — ethnically cleansed — by the wars in the Balkans than any other community. And more Serbs remain ethnically displaced to this day. Almost no one has been held to account, and it appears that no one will be.”
See also http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-20545798
11. Croats have apologized countless times for war crimes in WW2, while Serbs are considering to rehabilitate the status of Chetnik leader and an accused war criminal Draza Mihajlovic.
Wow… you are not a Serb, yet your writing is so similar to their propaganda material that it feels like I am reading a Serbian pamphlet. Needless to say, the question of your or my nationality is completely irrelevant. If an argument fails, it fails because there are mistakes in the line of reasoning or because the presented information is false. To every point that I have made so far, you answer with strawman arguments, controversial articles that represent opinions of journalists, biased cherry picking of information and ad hominem attacks. The very fact that you base your whole case on articles that you cherry picked to support your case, demonstrates better than I ever could who is guilty of confirmation bias. I mean, on every single article that you posted, I could post 3 articles that contradict you and that is why I base my arguments on facts which most historians will agree with and not opinions of journalists.
1. You write: “You are falling victim to the Confirmation Bias. Unlike me, you are personally connected to the Balkan conflict. Are you one of the lost generation? The child of refugees or emigrants?”
If an argument fails, it fails because there are mistakes in the line of reasoning or because the presented information is false. You actually have to demonstrate where am I guilty of confirmation bias, otherwise this is nothing more than a typical ad hominem.
How can you accuse me of confirmation bias when you accept all the information that I have presented. You agreed that the number of Serbs killed in Jasenovac was not 700.000. You even said that the number of Serbs killed by the whole Ustashe regime was not more than 330.000, You agreed that Serbs elected nationalists, you agreed that Serbian president has made claims to Croatian land last year, etc. You agreed with every single point I made and you ignored many other points I made, and then you accuse me of confirmation bias, while you try to rationalize with weak ad hoc arguments all the facts that you agree with. Pointing to my nationality is really a pathetic attempt to discredit information that is accepted by majority of neutral scholars today. I wasnt even using Croatian sources, for crying out loud.
2. The you write: “You have pointed out that some Serbs claim that 700,000 were killed at Jasenovac. It is trivial to show that some members of a nationality are historical liars. Shall I point you to the Croatian Neo-Nazi holocaust deniers? How about former Croatian diplomat Tomislav Sunic”
The whole point I was trying to make is that in Serbia this is not just a bunch of nationalist idiots writing nonsense. This is their official story spewed by their highest ranking politicians and historians and media. This lie has been around since the end of WWII and it is so wide-spread today that even many European and USA journalists still talk about 700.000-1.000.000 killed Serbs by the Ustashe regime, even though this myth has been debunked by serious scholars. Here is a clip that was released a couple of years ago on Serb TV – notice how they talk about 600.000-800.000 killed just in Jasenovac:
Here is a Serbian news article where Serbs bombastically claim that Croatian school books are reducing the number of Serb victims in Jasenovac. After I read the article it turned out that the Serbs are complaining about the 80.000-100.000 number – which BTW is the number with which most neutral historians agree with. The article also says that in Serbian books the numbers are sometimes 10 times bigger and that Croats and Serbs obviously teach different history. Here is the article:
Now, this is not a Croatian source and you already agreed with me that 700.000 number was exaggerated. Your only complaint was that this was done by a few extremists in Serbia and that it does not prove anything. However, your rationalization fails, because Tomislav Sunic is a Croatian extremist which no body in Croatia takes seriously, while Serbs present these lies on their televisions, newspaper, school books, and you can hear these lies from their TOP politicians, TOP historians and even academics such as Jovan Deretic and Vasilije Kresic. Now, I am not saying that all Serbs buy into this shit, but my argument was that historical lies and nationalism is on a completely different level in Serbia and I think that I have presented evidence for this. I also have quotes from Serbian school books that speak about 700.000 people. But since I got it from Croatian source, I figure you will just dismiss it as confirmation bias – even though Croatian sources provide you with a clear page reference and a book name so that anyone can check it for themselves if they want to. But I will not bother, because you have already shown how you treat Croatian sources. If only you would be so critical of your pro-Serbian sources :D
3. Then you write: “So now you concede that Serbs are not the only practitioners of propagandas, but they do this “more than others”.”
Err.. I have not conceded anything. You tried to mine my text with a dishonest question. Since I never assumed that ONLY the Serbs use propaganda and lies – answering your strawman question – does not mean I conceded anything.
You write: “I would love to see you defend this claim. Posting examples of Serbs propaganda is not proof of anything except that it exists. Show me the comparisons by a neutral party.”
I agree. But posting examples of propaganda being spread by country’s top politicians, historians, school books and even academics is proof that propaganda is on extremely high level in that country, wouldnt you agree? Furthermore, if you want to claim that other countries in the Balkan do this at the same level, then it is up to you to present evidence for this. Thus far, you have only presented a little biography of Tomislav Sunic, who is a known Croat extremist of no importance.
I cannot give you more evidence than the interviews and recordings of Serb TOP politicians, historians and media spreading their propaganda. If their claims are based on false information, then the only two plausible conclusions are that either the Serb TOP people are uneducated idiots, or that Serbia is guilty of spreading lies and propaganda. If you come up with another plausible conclusion, I would sure like to hear it.
4. You write: “The fact that Croatian nazis murdered 300,000 Serbs is irrelevant, the real crime is those pesky Serbs exaggerating the death toll! It is ironic that this is the same line used by Serbs nationalists about Srebrenica and Bosnia in general. They also point at the exaggerated casualty claims a proof of Bosnian “lies” whilst ignoring the crimes themselves.”
And now you have lost any credibility you might have had with me. Where did I ever imply that murdering 300.000 Serbs is irrelevant?! Now sir, you are lying and I demand that you apologize!
Yes, you are absolutely correct that this is the same line of reasoning used by Serb nationalists, but this does not apply to me, because I admitted 2 times the dark stain from Croatian history, and I wrote that I am not trying to reduce the number of victims. I even wrote I am deeply ashamed for every innocent Serb that lost their lives by the hand of a Croat. My problem was, as I wrote, that Serbs use over exaggerated figures for their political games. I wrote that the only way we can do justice to the victims is to teach the truth, because it is disgusting how Serbs use innocent victims to spread hate and lies for their own political goals.
5. You write: “I am not going to convince you or anyone else to change their minds about the Yugoslav civil war. Read the newer books, watch the newer documentaries. Read the biographies of the participants.
The truth is leaking out.
The simple fact is that since 2000 Serbia has been a poster of both or responsible diplomatic engagement in the region. No aggression. No militarism. Just international diplomacy.”
Wow… so you still stick to word games? I have no comment on this. I have already made my point and the fact that you resort to such cheap tactics to make a point really shows just how pathetic pro-Serb case really is.
I mean, technically, you are right. Yugoslavia was the one that attacked the countries who wanted independence – not Serbia – but the only problem with this line of reasoning is that Yugoslavia without Slovenia, Macedonia, Croatia and Bosnia was reduced to Serbia and a small country of Monte Negro – so basically just Serbia. But yes… I see your point. Serbia has been a good little country, AFTER they lost all the wars they started and AFTER NATO used extreme “tranquilizer” measures to calm down the peaceful Serbian people :)
6. You write: “Whilst Nikolic may have made the statements that you quote, he has fully repudiated his formerly nationalistic opinions. In fact, in the same articles and interviews with Michael Martens, he categorically renounces all claims to a greater Serbia or anything like it.”
LoL! He renounces his formerly nationalistic opinions and categorically renounces claims to greater Serbia, but Vukovar is a Serbian city and Croats have nothing to go back to there?! What are you smoking man?
7. You write: “Finally, I should point out that Croatia has a less than stellar record of voting in moderate parties. Reading about HDZ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Croatian_Democratic_Union) and its Tudjmanism is interesting. This is the party that was in power from 1990 to 2000 and in coalition from 2003 to 2011. They sound exactly like the Serbian nationalists to me, and they are not even the far right!”
And here it is obvious that you have no clue what you are talking about and you started cherry picking from within the text you are referring to. I mean, from the very link that you posted it says that HDZ is a center-right party. They are not a right wing nationalist party. While it is true that HDZ started as a nationalist party, this was toned down after the war. It says so in the very link that you have not bothered to read through. Further reformation happened between 2000-2003 when HDZ expelled all of their hard-liners and the HDZ that came to power in 2004 was not the same HDZ that was in power from 1990 to 1995.
Right wing parties usually dont get more than 5-10% in Croatia. And just to be perfectly clear about this – the only reason why HDZ was in power after 1995 was due to elections being held immediately after the war. Once things about war crimes, division of Bosnia and other shit started coming out, Tudjman lost much of his popularity and already in 1998 it was clear HDZ would lose the next elections.
Look, I personally do not like HDZ, but to call them right wing nationalists like the ones in Serbia is ridiculous.
8. Then you write: “As for Nikolic’s Vukovar statement, who really cares? The guy believes Vukovar is a Serbian city. He is entitled to his opinion. As for the rights and wrongs, I have no idea.”
Are you serious? Who cares? That is your argument?! We are talking about a president of a country. I mean he is not some internet troll that is entitled to his opinion. Contrary to what you say, he represents the opinion of his country and when a president says something like this, the most stupid comment you could make would be ‘who cares’ – especially when the two countries waged bloody war over that city.
You write: “Marko, you would be better served by taking a more nuanced view of recent Balkan history. Militant one sidedness advertises ignorance and/or chauvinism. Maybe it is impossible to be from their and to be impartial?”
You have to show that I am being biased. My nationality does not make my arguments invalid.
9. I have already addressed your pro-Serbian propaganda material on Kosovo and I will not comment it again. However this here deserves some attention. You wrote:
“As for your implication that the Albanians were right to secede on the basis of some sort of historical self defence, then one has to wonder why the murder of 300,000 Serbs by Croatian fascists in World War II was not a perfectly acceptable basis for the secession of the Krajina? You cannot have it both ways Marko.”
The argument is not that Serbs made war crimes 50 years ago, so we have to grant Kosovo independence based on that. The argument says that Serbs have a long tradition of hatred towards Albanian population, with war crimes happening in the 19th century, then in 1912-1913, then in WW2 – and considering Serbian war crimes from just a few years ago in Croatia and Bosnia, as well as the new war crimes that are happening in Kosovo as we speak, we have to evaluate the question of Kosovo as Albanian people’s right to self defense. Again you are twisting my words and using strawman to make a point.
10. Then you write: “I was reacting to your implication that the Serbs were big Nazi sympathisers and collaborationists, when the exact opposite was the truth. Croatia with the biggest ally of Nazi Germany. Bosnia had its SS division. Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria were all part of the axis. Only Serbia and Montenegro held out against the Nazis.”
Again sir, you are lying. Nowhere did I imply that the Serbs were big Nazi sympathizers – as I was talking about Chetniks. Just as I make a clear distinction between Croats and Ustashes, so do I make a distinction between the Serbs and Chetniks.
11. “No, Marco, that and other facts shows that the Israelis – who really know who is who is who when it comes to the Holocaust – considers Serbia and the Serbian people to be friends of Jews and Israel. The Serbs = Nazis claim is pure nonsense.”
Serb=Nazi claim is nonsense, but that was never my claim. It is your strawman argument. And just because some Jews gave medals to some Serbs, does not prove that Chetniks did not commit horrible war crimes during WWII.
12. “Sorry to disappoint you, but I am not a Serb. I can, however, find you many Serbs who would be happy to admit that Croats are non-Serbs.”
Then I am still waiting to meet a Serb who does not claim that Croats are actually Catholic Serbs.
13. You wrote: “I find it completely absurd the people present as “evidence” that because justice has not been done in The Hague in prosecuting war criminals who committed crimes against Serbs, that no crimes were committed against Serbs!”
Again you are lying. Look what I wrote:
quote: “This of course does not mean that there were no war crimes, but it does show that Serbs have yet to meet their burden of proof for lies they spread. They actually have to produce some evidence..” – end quote.
Now why do you lie so much? Will you apologize for these misinterpretations of my texts?
Then you continue: “The Hague is an absolute travesty. It is victor’s justice at its worst. It has always been a deeply anti-Serb organisation. It is completely failed to provide justice to Serbs. Allow me to post again what I posed above to make my point:
You cannot make a point by quoting opinions of journalists. I can quote opinions of other journalists who disagree with your journalist. This is not how you do serious research and cherry picking only those articles that support your view is the very definition of confirmation bias. These are articles and as every article they are opinions of journalists who may or may not have done their homework. With Haag tribunal you can at least be sure that they have done their research extensively – and when it comes to conspiracy theories, such as those presented in this article – I have to say I am very skeptical, especially because the Haag has not been selective. There are people from all sides of the conflict serving their sentence in Haag.
You are not going to succeed in irritating me by accusing me of being a Serb. I am simply not insulted. If I sound like a Serb pamphlet, it is only to your ears. I am neither Serb, nor Croatian. I have no dog in this race. My support of the Serbs, is based mostly on my independent and unbiased interpretation of Balkan history. That is not to say that I am a chauvinistic apologist for Serb wrongs, but rather that I see their side of the story and as a non-Serb feel that I should speak out for them.
You have accused me of cherry picking my sources, yet is it is you who is made a series of statements and then chosen to support those statements with – you guessed it – cherry picked articles. You say that for every article I posted you could post three of your own that contradicted. I could say exactly the same thing. That is precisely what is wrong with the Balkan debate. There is an abundance of propaganda on both sides. Horror stories, lies, exaggerations, false oaths, some truth, and a smattering of facts. You claim that you have based your argument on “facts” which most historians will agree with. Yet the very fact that I am disputing your version of events, the very fact that there is another side and I am able to articulate it, and supported, shows that there is no unified agreed history of the Balkans. There is a hotly contested history of the Balkans, terribly mixed up with misnformation and lies that were put out for the purposes of supporting one side or the other, or motivating home populations during times of war.
You have your sources I have mine. You quote your story and I quote mine. You state your “facts”. I state mine. Round and round. Boring.
The problem is that there is very little dialogue and very little give-and-take. You, for example, have come into this discussion copying and pasting from the Serbophobia playbook. You’re not the first and won’t be the last. I have seen some anti-Serb trolls post the same Astroturf nonsense to seven or eight sites in the same night. It takes time and energy to undertake and debunk that sort of nonsense. It’s hard to establish the truth, especially when there is so much lying, and so many emotions.
I am sorry Marco, that you have not convinced me that you are not a victim of the confirmation bias. Your reflexive anti-Serb attitude, your hostility to all things Serb, the articles you post, the points you make, your tone – all be belie your claims of neutrality. I believe that you have a set of culturally inherited biases about Serbs ie. that they are liars etc, and your whole life has been about collecting evidence to support the pre-programmed beliefs. It is a deeply human trait. I am no doubt guilty of it too, just not so much were about the Balkans.
I have met many people in the Balkans who have successfully overcome their preconceived notions and overcome the bias. In Serbia and Croatia I met hundreds of liberal minded people who fully repudiated the actions of war criminals carried out a new name. They were not fooled. During the war and after it too, there were massive demonstrations in Belgrade against the war, and Milosevic, and nationalists in general. This hidden history is unreported. The Serbian silent majority remain to this day unheard, domestically and internationally.
You seem to believe that there is an organised and orchestrated campaign on the part of “Serbs” to exaggerate the crimes of the Ustase regime. What you actually have is a few local clowns, some radicals from the provinces and Berlusconi like junk television stations such as pink TV. This is not the Serbian mainstream. How have you not been able to find the articles which I have read from balanced and fair minded Serbian journalists writing in newspapers like Politika and broadcasting stations like B92, who with a take their own country and people to task before pointing the finger at neighbours? You can read Serbo-Croat right? Do yourself a favour and read the serious Serbian newspapers and not the tabloids. Watch B92, not Pink. Even in Serbia tabloid TV and tabloid newspapers are mocked.
I don’t think there is much more to say on this. Buried into your essay is a line that I was looking for, “I am not saying that all Serbs buy into this shit”. It is the start of a concession that was missing before. MOST Serbs do not buy into the propaganda, but a lot of what you denounce as propaganda is actually true. This may not be the case vis-a-vis Croatia but when it comes to Kosovo the Serbian side of the story is overwhelmingly the right one. So I sympathise with the Serbs. Maybe some exaggerate casualty figures from World War II but compared to the monstrous lies told about Serbs and Serbia every day these minor indiscretions. They may irritate people like you, so now you know what it feels like to have your people slandered, lies presented as the truth and your history twisted. You should sympathise with the Serbs :-)
I should point out that I only posted about Tomislav Sumic to present an example of the Croatian extremist. You are clearly heavily invested in the Croatia versus Serbia debate. I am not. If I had the time and the inclination, of course I could mine the Internet for examples of Croatian nationalism bigotry and propaganda. But I genuinely have better things to do. Instead I invite you and anyone else reading this to merely google “Croatian propaganda”, or “Croatian fascists”, or “croatian war crimes bosnia”, or “Croatian violence” or “Ustase”. These will give you a satisfactory sample of what I’m talking about.
You are welcome to continue to claim that Serbian politicians are spreading lies and falsehoods, but I’m not sold. At worst you have shown media and people claiming more murdered by Croatian fascists than the consensus agrees. does it really matter that only 300,000 were killed as opposed to 700,000? Is the murder of only a third of a million people somehow less evil than the murder of 7/10th of a million people? From this outsider’s perspective the salient fact is the mass murder and genocide not the misreporting on the part of the victims.
If I implied that you personally do not care about the murder of those 300,000 Serbs then I take that back. That was indeed unfair and unjustified. I was making a broader point that whilst you quibble about the exaggerations being used for political purposes the simple fact is the 300,000 is as good as 700,000 if one wants to use those facts for political purposes. The exaggerated figures do not make much of a difference. If I were you I would stop drawing attention to that dark stain on Croatian history, and let the Serbs exaggerated all they want. I say the same thing to Serbs. Stop crying about Bosnia’s exaggerating casualty figures, you should have thought of that when you were killing civilians.
Your gloating comments about Serbia being “tranquilized’ by NATO reveals you’re very deep and ugly attitude. Of course Croatians love NATO and the Americans. Just like the Albanians, you have benefited by being enemies of their enemies, i.e. the Serbs. I’ve always wondered how it is that educated Croatians who post about WikiLeaks and American propaganda will repeat exactly the same sort of propaganda from the same media outlets supporting the same agenda – American interventionism – but only when it comes to Serbia. They are completely blind to the irony.
I have seen this with British liberals too. You can find a Guardian reader who militantly opposed the war in Iraq and opposes the war in Afghanistan on the basis that those war were the result of American propaganda campaigns, manipulation and illegal aggression. Yet they fully support the bombing of Serbia which provided the pretext for the later wars and was based on exactly the same sort of manipulations, lies and American aggression.
Talk about biases!
In point 6 you take issue with my saying that Nikolic has renounced his former Nationalist opinions. Yet there it is in black-and-white in the interview with Michael Martens. Go and read it if you dare.
In Point 7 we discuss HDZ, now you find yourself scrabbling to explain away their dodgy record. It is because the election was held straight after the war, you say. They got rid of all their hardliners, you say. And so on.
I did not say that HDZ is a were right-wing nationalists. I actually said they were not the far right. What I was showing was that it is trivially easy to find something to pick out about almost anyone, anything or any organisation.
You had to scramble to defend HDZ, a party you do not even support, in exactly the same way that I find myself having to defend people like Nikolic – not because I agree with them, but because the attacks are unfair.
This really is the story of my engagement with Serbs. In Serbia I find kind, hospitable, decent, friendly, lovely people. About people with a deep, sophisticated, nuanced and fair understanding of recent history. About people with no animosity towards their neighbours at all, with a craving for normality and a deep sense of regret for what was done in their name. I personally met hundreds of opponents of the Nationalists both present day and over the last 20 years. I met refugees and people ethnically cleansed from their homes in Kosovo in Bosnia. They are completely silenced. You never hear their story in the international press, or at least, only rarely.
Almost daily I encounter bigotry directed at Serbs. Gross exaggerations, unfair characterisations and downright lies. You can see some posted on this very thread. I am resolutely opposed to the Serbian nationalists but I’m equally opposed to the ongoing injustices against the ordinary people of Serbia and the libel is committed against them on the Internet and elsewhere.
I asked you why Nikolic’s Vukovar statement was important. You seem to say it is because he represents the opinion of the people. Firstly, I should point out that he immediately denied that he said it. That is because he knows full well that that statement does not represent the Serbian people. Secondly he own a very narrow victory. In an extremely low turnout, he won a narrow majority. The majority of Serbs do NOT support Nikolic, even the new moderate version on offer.
You say “The argument is not that Serbs made war crimes 50 years ago, so we have to grant Kosovo independence based on that. The argument says that Serbs have a long tradition of hatred towards Albanian population, with war crimes happening in the 19th century, then in 1912-1913, then in WW2 – and considering Serbian war crimes from just a few years ago in Croatia and Bosnia, as well as the new war crimes that are happening in Kosovo as we speak, we have to evaluate the question of Kosovo as Albanian people’s right to self defense. Again you are twisting my words and using strawman to make a point.”
This sentence is deliciously nonsensical! This is what you get staying up all night to write responses. The Serbs and Albanians have had their conflicts. Both sides have committed wrongs. But since Serbia democratised in 2000, the crimes have been 99% Albanian against non-Albanian, mostly Serbs.
You can read my thoughts on Kosovo here:
As for using terms like straw man, let me help you with that too:
I take back what I said about Serbs and Nazis, I misinterpreted what you were saying, so I apologise for that.
That said, when I wrote “I find it completely absurd the people present as “evidence” that because justice has not been done in The Hague in prosecuting war criminals who committed crimes against Serbs, that no crimes were committed against Serbs!” it was general statement that I stand by.
I am glad you mention burden of proof, because this whole discussion has been about your claims that Serbs are worse propagandists, which you have failed to convince me of.
In your defence you are one of the most reasonable interlocutors I have encountered in this arena. And you do support your arguments with references. You just do not convince me.
I would also like to see you discuss all this with maybe a Serb (or Swede with Serbian connections) who is prepared to put in the time to do a line by line Fisking of your material.
So long until tomorrow morning. Hope tonight’s novella gets finished in time for my breakfast tea……
This has gone long enough and since you are continuing with straight out lying and putting words into my texts that I have never said, I will just try to summarize this whole discussion with a few concluding remarks.
First of all, I repeat for the third time that the question of my or your nationality is completely irrelevant. The fact that your writing sounds like a Serbian propaganda pamphlet does not mean that you are a Serb – nor have I implied that you were one – although I have to admit that in my first response I addressed you as a Serb. Again, this was not done to discredit you, because unlike you, I value arguments based on their internal structure and not someone’s nationality. I just assumed you were a Serb, because I usually get this sort of bad reasoning when I discuss things with Serbs.
Almost all elements of Serb propaganda can be found in your texts. Of course, every person is a bit different and some Serbs accept some points I make, while they renounce others, but usually their is one recurring theme that underlines their reasoning. The same can be said for you and again – I am not implying you are a Serb – you could be someone who has bought into their propaganda – in anyway it is completely irrelevant when assessing your arguments. So what is this recurring theme, you might wonder? Well here are a few examples:
– Cherry picking news articles that support your opinion and ignoring everything else that might contradict it – this is the very definition of confirmation bias.
Now, you accuse me of the same thing, but anyone who compares our references will clearly see that I am not posting opinions of journalists as proof for my claims. Unlike you, my references are words of Serbian top politicians, their popular historians and their media caught on tape making claims to other nation’s land and saying things that are universally rejected by serious scholars. You lie when you say that we both base our case on articles. I have not posted any articles – just evidence that Serbian top people are still spreading the same rhetoric as they did in the 90’s. You also lie that my reference is Pink TV and not their mainstream. Anyone who checks my links will see that in the top left corner says PTPC – which is radio television of republic of Serbia and on the other link PTB – radio television of Vojvodina. There was also a link from HTV – Croatian radio television. The very fact that you constantly resort to blatant lies shows just how weak your case really is. If it was strong, surely you could make a coherent argument without resorting to such dishonest methods.
Furthermore, even if my reference was Pink TV (it is not, but let’s assume that it is), surely you will agree that this does not magically erase the words of their politicians and historians. It doesnt matter where they said it – surely you can see this. So not only do you lie, but your whole point is based on bad reasoning. You also lie that these things have been said by some of their irrelevant clowns, because a president of a nation is not some random clown – but a representative of a nation for which majority of people voted for. Their historians are not clowns, but intellectuals, their academics are not clowns – they are the cream of Serbian society – and their school books are not opinions of uneducated internet trolls, but work of their elite. I have never said that every single Serb buys into their propaganda and I am sure that even in Serbia there are people who are more interested in truth than in politics, but these people are in a minority and they are generally regarded as traitors by most other Serbs.
– Conspiracy rationalizations and bad reasoning
One of the most recurring themes of pro-Serb journalism is circular reasoning, unsound arguments and ad hoc rationalizations that try to explain just why there are so many Serbs accused by the Haag tribunal. The starting point of this bad reasoning is the unfounded assumption that the number of victims was equally balanced on all sides and that the main function of Haag tribunal is political reconciliation among the warred parties. Let me give you a more vivid example how a logician looks at these sort of arguments. Here is an excerpt from the article you posted, translated into a logical syllogism.
Premise 1: Almost all of the West’s friends have been acquitted and almost all of the Serbs have been found guilty.
Premise 2: These results do not reflect the balance of crimes committed on the ground.
Conclusion: Therefore the results are biased against the Serbs.
Notice how the conclusion is valid only if we accept both of the premises. However, in reality both premise 1 and premise 2 are controversial at best. Namely, it is possible that people who were convicted, really are war criminals and people who were acquitted were innocent. As long as this possibility exists, the first premise is completely irrelevant to the conclusion. Furthermore, it is ridiculous to expect that the number of victims can be directly translated to the number of convictions, because it is possible for small number of people to be responsible for huge number of deaths, just as it is possible for many people to be responsible for small scale massacres. This is enough to undermine the second premise. With both premises being controversial, the argument becomes unsound making the conclusion unreliable.
This is just one example of bad reasoning and just because I am a Croat does not invalidate my analysis. You actually have to show where am I doing a mistake in my reasoning, otherwise you are just using ad hominem attacks which are not aimed at my argument, but at me as a person.
The article that you presented also assumes that there was a balance of crimes committed. This is a blatant misinformation, considering that the death toll of Bosniaks is 3 times that of Serbs and Croats. Furthermore, the main function of the Haag tribunal is not to reconciliate different nations, but to examine the evidence as objectively as possible and to make neutral judgments. Any reconciliation between Croats, Bosniaks and Serbs should be based on impartial and neutral Haag judgment, not on a pamphlet written before the trial. The author of your article seems to think that Haag should not acquit people who have proven their innocence in the court of law, because it may, I quote:
“…amplify the worst political instincts of the peoples of the former Yugoslavia..”
He may be right. This will maybe have such an effect on people of the former Yugoslavia, but what does that have to do with the trial? He is basically arguing against an impartial court and he thinks that Haag should base their judgments not on facts, but on the goal of how to achieve the fastest reconciliation. This is opposite of an impartial and objective court – and he seems to support this idea.
– Lying, ad hominem attacks and using strawmen arguments
Another thing that I very often come across when I debate Serb apologists, is lying and dishonest twisting of my words, as well as using ad hominem attacks. Now, I have already presented and demonstrated exactly how and where you did this, so I will not waste my time on this. I will however comment on the gloating over NATO “tranquilizing” the Serbs.
This was just a sarcastic remark to your Serb propaganda. When you said how Serbia after 2000 was a poster boy of responsible diplomacy etc, I just couldn’t help myself but to post a sarcastic remark. I assure you that there is no hatred in my words – just amusement at reading your desperate attempts at rationalizing violence which Serbia spread over the Balkans.
I have debated many non-Serbs as well as Serbs on this topic and I have no problem revealing the logical flaws in other people’s reasoning, because bad and good reasoning does not have a nationality. Of course, people who debate me will very rarely concede a point or two, but people who read my debates can usually tell who is pulling things out of their ass. My goal is not to convince you nor people who I debate, but to present information to the public so that the Serb propaganda machine does not have the only say in this. However I am firm in my belief that truth does not make compromises – that is why I am allergic to people who sometimes say that truth is probably somewhere in the middle. No! Truth is one, and I examine the evidence impartially, not caring where it will lead me.
For this matter, if you want me to share with you my opinion about what I think about us Croats, I will say that we were far from saints in this war and all Balkan nations have a lot to learn when it comes to behaving civilized. Often I feel ashamed for the things I know we did and I wish we acted differently. I wish for Croatia to contribute to the world with it’s science and culture, not by spreading nationalistic hatred. Throwing stones at gay parades, whistling at Serb national anthem when we play football matches, screaming “Go ustashes!” when we play these matches, fills me with sadness and shame. But when I look at how bad things are in Serbia and other parts of the world, at least I can say that there is hope for Croatia. We have open debates on our national TV about these sort of things and more often than not we are very critical of our past – which is a good thing.
PS. I forgot to comment on one good point that you made. You wrote: “…300,000 is as good as 700,000 if one wants to use those facts for political purposes. The exaggerated figures do not make much of a difference.”
This is a good point, however in the light of other claims that Serbs make against the Croats, the number is very important. You see, the whole point with numbers is that Serbs often claim that Croats are such a bloodthirsty nation that although we are small in numbers proportionally we killed more people than any other nation in the world. This argument only works if you inflate the number of victims.
Why would they do this – because this makes the Croats look like unparalleled savages. Serbs then sell this fairy tale to the west which makes the Croats look much worse then they really are. And the worse you can paint your enemy, the more forgiving the west will be when the war starts. I dont need to remind you that when the war started, Serbia enjoyed almost complete support from the west. The west issued a weapon embargo on the whole Yugoslavia, which benefited only those who were already armed – the Serbs – and it caused a lot of problems for both Croats and Bosnians who were not nearly as well equipped. Need I remind you that Serbs even today mention WWII, because they still believe they can score a few points by reminding the west just how bad the Croats really are.
Regarding your comments about inflating the figures to make the Croats make especially evil, I can see how this must irritate Croats. Its bad enough to have the crime on your hands without it being inflated. Ironically, I have said the same in support of Serbs. You do not need to exaggerate Serbs wrongs, the uncontested reality is bad enough.
I think Serbs mention WW2 because of the problem with frames. If I start a story at the point I hit you in the face, it make me look like a thug. But If I start the story 5 minutes before when you actually assaulted me, it shows I was responding to an attack or defending myself. History provides vital context that is so often missing. The Serbs actions only make sense when you understand the animating justifications based in history. This is not to excuse any of it, but it aides understanding. Croats today who do not espouse Nazism have no link whatsoever to the crimes committed 60 years ago. So it is for Serbs who repudiate ethnic nationalism and the crimes committed in their name. I saw no to essentialism.
A few concluding remarks! You mean another 1600 words! :-)
It’s quite funny reading your remarks. They are stuffed with small digs and negative implications aimed at Serns. “I usually get this sort of bad reasoning when I discuss things with Serbs”. What you mean is that you have your flawed and biased reasoning challenged and debunked. :-)
You are responding to my responses to your responses and confusing yourself about who said what. You thought I was a Serb. I am not. I merely let you know. I am not offended you think I am a Serb. Unlike you I have no problem with Serbs. I LIKE Serbs (and Croats too for that matter).
You say you did not identify me as a Serbs to discredit me, so why did you? Why even mention it if it has no bearing on the discussion? Why lace your text with minor insults aimed at Serbs?
We have picked apart the internal structure of your comments and seen the naked skeleton: “We of the Balkans are all bad, but the Serbs are the worst!” Millions of Serbs meanwhile repeat the same in reverse.
My view, you are all roughly as bad as each other, and the minor variances count for nothing. All of you are locked into a cycle of injury and victimhood that gets you nowhere. You, Marko, are part of the problem.
Cherry picking news articles that support your opinion and ignoring everything else that might contradict it
You completely missed my point about cherry picking articles and the confirmation bias. You selectively post the worst examples you can lay your hands on of outrageous things said by Serbs, but ignore the vast majority of things that do not support your thesis.
This is the silent witness phenomenon. The bad people get attention, the good are ignored. You choose to focus on your very few selected examples, suppressing the good and examples of your side’s badness.
You acknowledge that in Croatian you also have a massive problem with nationalists, neo-fascists and people making outrageous claims. So why not balance your video examples from Serbia with some from Croatia?
Why not discuss Thompson? They are a hugely popular fascist neo-Ustase band (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thompson_%28band%29#Controversy ). Imagine a major pop band in Germany celebrating the Nazis.
Instead I just see your snide Serbophobia: “Even in Serbia there are people who are more interested in truth than in politics, but these people are in a minority and they are generally regarded as traitors by most other Serbs”.
This is pure, unadulterated rubbish. Have you ever been to Serbia?
Conspiracy rationalizations and bad reasoning
You have an obsession with a accusing me of bad reasoning and making exaggerated claims about defeating my arguments or whatever. Let me tell you a secret Marko – arguments speak for themselves. The loud guy is usually the scared (and wrong) one. Every youtube fight video you can be sure the loudmouth is the loser. Same with debates. It is bad form to beat your chest and declare victory when you may very well be losing.
So lets focus on the discussion, and leave the meta commentary out.
You can take up your argument about the New York Times piece (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/08/opinion/global/selective-justice-for-the-balkans.html) with the author.
But let us not rely on your flawed interpretation of his arguments, let them speak for themselves:
“Altogether, almost all of the West’s friends have been acquitted; almost all of the Serbs have been found guilty. These results do not reflect the balance of crimes committed on the ground.
I have no sympathy with the Serbs who have been convicted. On the contrary. I lived through the siege of Sarajevo. I served as a witness for the prosecution in the cases against the former Serbian president, Slobodan Milosevic, the wartime leader of the Bosnian Serbs, Radovan Karadzic, and, most recently, the Bosnian Serb military commander, Ratko Mladic, who is accused of ordering the massacre at Srebrenica.
The Serbs committed many of the war’s worst crimes, but were not at all alone, and it is not right, or useful, for them to carry the sole responsibility. Convicting only Serbs simply doesn’t make sense in terms of justice, in terms of reality, or in terms of politics.
The Croatian leaders connived in the carve-up of Yugoslavia, and contributed mightily to the horrors on Bosnia and Herzegovina. I witnessed for myself the indiscriminate fury of the Croatian assault on the beautiful city of Mostar. I lived in a town in Bosnia where the decapitated heads of captured Muslims were displayed in the marketplace.
I saw for myself tens and tens of thousands of Serb civilian refugees fleeing Croatia in the wake of the 1995 Croatian offensive that ended the war. If the acquitted generals were not responsible for this ethnic cleansing, then somebody was, somebody who will presumably go free.
Nor were the Serbs and Croats alone, though they must shoulder most of the judgment of history. The Bosnian Muslim leadership had deeply compromising links to the international jihahist movement, and hosted at least three people who went on to play key roles in the 9/11 attacks on the United States. I witnessed attacks by foreign mujahedeen elements against Croat civilians in the Lasva Valley.
And the Kosovar Albanian authorities deserve a special mention, having taken ethnic cleansing to its most extreme form — ridding themselves almost entirely of the Serb and Roma populations. Kosovo’s ancient Christian Orthodox monasteries are now almost the only reminder of a once-flourishing non-Albanian population. (These monasteries have been the object of numerous violent attacks. Several have been destroyed; others remain under threat.)
Haradinaj has been cleared of the charges brought against him, but the fact remains that hundreds of thousands of Serbs — mostly the elderly, women and children — were ethnically cleansed from Kosovo by the Kosovar Albanians.
What has happened at the tribunal is far from justice, and will be interpreted by observers in the Balkans and beyond as the continuation of war by legal means — with the United States, Germany and other Western powers on one side, and the Serbs on the other.
This will amplify the worst political instincts of the peoples of the former Yugoslavia: the persecution complex of the Serbs; the triumphalism of the Croats; the sense of victimization of the Bosnian Muslims; the vindication of the Kosovar Albanian quest for racial purity. Each of these traits has some basis in truth, and each has been exaggerated and manipulated by politicians on all sides.
The lack of legal reckoning will once again channel grievances into the political process, laying up plenty of ammunition for further rounds of conflict. It is the opposite of what the war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia was created to achieve.”
The bald fact remains that the majority of war crimes pursued by The Hague that were committed BY Serbs have no been accounted for and the perpetrators punished. That cannot be said for crimes AGAINST Serbs. Even people lime Carla Del Ponte – no Serb lover – has expressed dismay at the string of bogus acquittals and procedural failures that have led to the guilty being “acquitted”.
A reminder of what I wrote:
“I find it completely absurd the people present as “evidence” that because justice has not been done in The Hague in prosecuting war criminals who committed crimes against Serbs, that no crimes were committed against Serbs!
The Hague is an absolute travesty. It is victor’s justice at its worst. It has always been a deeply anti-Serb organisation. It is completely failed to provide justice to Serbs.”
I stand by that.
Lying, ad hominem attacks and using straw men arguments
Once again, you complain about the dirty tactics of “Serb apologists” (like me?), accusing us of “lying”, dishonestly twisting your words and personally attacking you.
Where have I lied? Quote me. I did not twist your words, I am arguing with you, I am attacking your claims, showing that your words – and the opinions they express, as flawed and dangerous. This is not a personal attack, its a discussion!
Sarcasm is OK, but cut out the “poor me” stuff. If you a big enough to brand an entire ethnic group as serial liars who are more interested in politics than the truth, then be ready for a few virtual bloody noses.
I am glad you now yield to allowing the neutral third party to make up their won mind. Pity you message is prefaced with more bullish*t boasts about your supposedly devastating logic.
You have the entire weight of 20 years of anti-Serb propaganda to support you. That is the establishment viewpoint. The media’s good guys and bad guys are all neatly labelled. It is flat earth news that Serbs are evil and anti-Serbs are good.
My job is to sow doubt. I am the sceptic challenging the received wisdom on Serbian evil. I am whispering in the ear of their parties: “Maybe just about everything you think you know about the Balkans is wrong. Maybe the Serbs were the biggest victims (when you include WW2). Maybe what you think you KNOW is based on propaganda? Consider the possibility that it is the Serbs that are the good guys in the story. Our allies since 1912, valiantly fought the Nazis in WW2 whilst being mass murdered by Croatian Nazis. They were led astray by dire leaders like Milosevic – who connived with Croatia’s Tudjman to carve up Bosnia between them and transfer populations. More Serbs were ethnically cleansed in the Balkan civil wars than any other group. Did you know that? Hundreds of thousands of Serbs demonstrated against the war through the whole period. As soon they could, they deposed the de facto dictator Milosevic and put n place a democratic government. Do we blame the Iraqis for what Saddam Hussein did 15 years ago? He was voted in with 99% of the vote after all. Of course not. So why do we still persecute the Serbs now, after 20 years?…..”
I could go on and on and on.
Like you, I have absolutely no time for the bad people of Serbia. They thugs, the criminals, the haters. I detest the Nationalists. I spent hundreds of hours arguing with scum. But they are NOT the majority. They are dwindling and dying minority.
Serbs look at Croatia and they see hope for themselves. They also have open debates on their national TV about these sort of things and more often than not they are very critical of their past – which is a good thing too.
If you actually went to Serbia and met real Serbs and watched a variety of Serbian TV you would see this for yourself.
Anyway, I will expect the next 2000 words shortly… :-)
“Regarding your comments about inflating the figures to make the Croats make especially evil, I can see how this must irritate Croats. Its bad enough to have the crime on your hands without it being inflated. Ironically, I have said the same in support of Serbs. You do not need to exaggerate Serbs wrongs, the uncontested reality is bad enough.”
Yes when people lie, it is always irritating – especially when we are talking about innocent people who have lost their lives. This I would say to any person, regardless of their nationality. And again sir, you are lying and you should be ashamed of yourself. I have not exaggerated the Serb wrong doings – this whole discussion was about Serbs exaggerating the Croat wrongs and using disgusting propaganda for their own political goals.
“I think Serbs mention WW2 because of the problem with frames. If I start a story at the point I hit you in the face, it make me look like a thug. But If I start the story 5 minutes before when you actually assaulted me, it shows I was responding to an attack or defending myself. History provides vital context that is so often missing.”
Good. This analogy shows that you do understand why historical accuracy matters and you seem to understand why it is a problem when Serbs exaggerate the number of deaths. As for the analogy, IF you are trying to imply that this represents an illustration of what happened between Croats, Serbs and Bosniaks – then again you are posting a grose misinterpretation of events.
Marko, its seems we are nearing the end of this exchange.
Its a pity you still think I have been lying about you or maligning you. You seem to take everything personally, or apply the worst possible interpretation to what I say. I can see why you have come to believe what you do about Serbs when you have such a filter that seeks out the least charitable meaning.
Regarding exaggeration of wrongs, I was making a general point that there is no need to exaggerate Serbs wrong doings, there is enough bad stuff to fuel several lifetimes of bad blood. The same is true in the reverse. I think Serbs and Croats can learn from Bosnians. Of all the people they are the most victimised and the least guilty of aggressions. Yet they are also the least active in the internet culture wars. Its rare to see Bosnians posting bad things about Serbs or Croats, even true things. They seem to have moved on even though they are entitled to be bitter and angry.
I am glad we can agree on the importance of history and an honest account. Not however, so that we can keep a record of wrongs to keep the fires of resentment lit, but rather to help us understand each other. The extremists on all sides are animated by national myths of glory and grievance. Nothing punctures that like the nasty facts and open debate. It prevents the Hitler’s of tomorrow creating deadly myths of evil minorities, evil neighbours and “our” glorious past.
Finally, do yourself a favour and learn A Code of Conduct for Effective Rational Discussion – http://www.limbicnutrition.com/blog/resources/a-code-of-conduct-for-effective-rational-discussion/ . Pay attention to Fleck’s Addendum :-)
It is funny to see a person who has lied through the whole debate and who has not not addressed any of my points talk about the conduct of rational discussion.
Let me remind you that you lied about my references being Pink TV, you lied when you said that we both base our case on articles, you lied when you accused me of implying that the Serbs were big Nazi sympathizers, you lied when you accused me that I am arguing that no crimes against the Serbs were committed, you twisted the words of all my arguments and then you pretend like I didn’t quote you on it. You also lied 7 times in the response I decided not to answer, because the pattern has already been established.
I am sorry, but copy/pasting an article and declaring a victory is not addressing my points. Talking about neutrality while you spew lies does not make you neutral and spreading Serb propaganda conspiracy theories does not make a you a skeptic.
Few questions. Do you deny the recent genetic discoveries that Croatians are actually Serbians? Do you deny that Croatians aren’t even now supporting fascism by naming their streets, airports and all other popular places with the names of their fascistic leaders from 1941 – 1998?
If you do, that will only mean you still approve of Croatian fascistic actions and to that conclusion you are by all means a Fascist.
If you do not deny it, then your entire commenting here doesn’t make any sense at all to any but yourself, because by not denying it, you immediately approve of new Serbian history, that is now being rewritten with proven historical fats and new discoveries done by team of international historians and immediately you retract your previous comments above.
Stop looking only in one direction like a horse, because you aren’t one, I think you are an intelligent man, but you have to look at all the possibility’s, all the proofs and then make a educated guess from there. Please do that, then you will see the real truth that is now finally surfacing about Serbian people in general.
See? This is exactly what I am talking about! Lol! I claim that Serbs really believe that all Croats are Serbs, Limbic denies it, and here is a Serb trying to prove it by referring himself to some bullshit genetic research. Btw, I know exactly which research you are referring to. You must be talking about the research from FA institute and the work of dr. Milorad Pavic.
Btw, the origins of this article is from a satirical Croatian newspaper News-bar.hr. It is basically a satire on the sad truth of Serbian condition I was talking about, since they constantly claim Croats are actually Serbs. Serbian media not understanding satire immediately published this in their newspapers and TV, making them the laughing stock of all Croats, because they were in such a hurry to publish this satire that they forgot to double check if there is any truth to the claim. FA institute does not exist, its a satirical fabrication which also proved that Adam and Eve were Serbs and that Vladimir Putin is a Croatian spy. So much for the FA institute. Lol!
The sad thing is that many western media read the news from Serbian outlets and didnt bother to check the information, so the whole thing exists on the internet now as an urban myth. Here is the original article that appeared on News-bar.hr.
Here is the English version which Serbs like to advertise as fact. LOL:
Riiiight. So a single Serb making this claim is proof that Serbs – all Serbs – ”really believe that all Croats are Serbs”? Great logic there, Mark. No sweeping generalisations at all. Solid representative sample of …one ….to support your claim about millions of Serbs. :-) I did a quick google and it looks like the satirists were accidentally right (just like the Onion is sometimes when life imitates farce). You lot are all generic brothers and sisters* and you will be neighbours for eternity. Deal with it :-) Example ref…. “The Peopling of Modern Bosnia-Herzegovina: Y-chromosome Haplogroups in the Three Main Ethnic Groups” (2005) – http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1529-8817.2005.00190.x/full#abstract “On the whole, the three main groups of Bosnia-Herzegovina, in spite of some quantitative differences, share a large fraction of the same ancient gene pool distinctive for the Balkan area.”
Are you referring to the genetic study by Croatian FA institute?
If you referring to the genetic study by Croatian FA institute, i hope you are aware that Croatian FA institute is the product of Croatian satirical newspaper called newsbar.hr. In other words it is the same institute that found out Adam and Eve were also Serbs. But i find it funny how Limbic tries to deny that Serbs believe that Croats are actually of Serbian descent, and here we have a Serb trying to prove it with an “Onion” article.
I also dont understand why do you have this almost pathological obsession with the idea of being genetically connected to Croats? I mean, you teach your children that we are murdourous maniacs who killed million Serbs in WW2 – so doesn’t it make more sense to say: “Euuuewww… why would I teach my children that we share the same genes with these psychopaths?”
I mean if you believe we are the same people, when you say we killed million Serbs, you are basically saying that Serbs are so bad that even when they forget their origins, they still commit mass murder. Its like shooting yourself in the leg. If I believed we were the same people, I would be ashamed of the similarity and would not proudly promote it all over the world.
Marko, lying is the deliberate act of deviating from the truth
Please can you show me where I have done so? I mean really, can you give me some concrete examples where I have deliberately deviated from the truth?
Even if I were wrong about my facts (and I am not) , that would not qualify me as “lying”. It would mean I was merely wrong.
Only children think that all deviations from stated intent or literal truth are lies. For sample a child will accuse you of lying if you say you will do something but then have to cancel due to a work emergency. You did not lie, circumstances change.
As for not addressing your points I have thoroughly debunked them.
You asserted that Serbs are worse than other Balkan nations when it comes to lying about history and using propaganda. I challenged you to prove that. You posted some videos showing that some Serb propaganda exists and even senior Serb politicians make bold claims that outrage Croats.
That is not proof they are worse, merely that it exists. But you conceded that, this is a problem for all Balkan nations (i.e. it EXIST in all of them too).
So you have absolutely failed too convince me that Serbs are nay worse than anyone else when it comes to propaganda and lies. The burden of proof lies with you and you have met it. Sorry, you failed.
As for my putative “lies”.
I did not say your references were Pink TV. Scroll up and find where I made that claim. Go on, it should be easy to expose this lie. You are being completely unfair and the proof is there for anyone to read. Search this page for “Pink” and see what I wrote:
“You seem to believe that there is an organised and orchestrated campaign on the part of “Serbs” to exaggerate the crimes of the Ustase regime. What you actually have is a few local clowns, some radicals from the provinces and Berlusconi like junk television stations SUCH AS pink TV”.
Stations (Plural) like (for example) Pink TV. Get it?
As for articles being the basis of your claims, I asked you the following: “How have you not been able to find the articles which I have read from balanced and fair minded Serbian journalists writing in newspapers like Politika and broadcasting stations like B92, who with a take their own country and people to task before pointing the finger at neighbours? You can read Serbo-Croat right? Do yourself a favour and read the serious Serbian newspapers and not the tabloids. Watch B92, not Pink. Even in Serbia tabloid TV and tabloid newspapers are mocked.”
You posted a link to a Croatian article on http://www.index.hr about Nikolic and his recording. That article cited Michael Martens. So I responded with Michael Martens interviews in German to provide full context. You have posted many links (articles) from the BBC and others to support your points, as have I. I should expand my statement to read “The very fact that you base your whole case on cherry picked SOURCES”. You have you opinion, you seek confirmation, you filter out contrary evidence. The cognitive dissonance of considering that Serbs are no better OR WORSE than Croats actually hurts.
Regarding Serbs = Nazis, I apologised for any implication that you explicitly wrote that Serbs were Nazis. You posted a link to the Comment factory piece that repeats the old lie that Serbs were Nazi collaborators. The article is demolished many times over in its own comments. It is probably cited by Croats like you eager to divert attention away from the monstrosity of Croatian WW2 crimes by falsely implicating the Serbs. When you link to a piece like that, cited in support of your claims, then have the courage of your convictions and stand by them. Don’t cry about being accused of foul play when you absolutely DID imply the Serbs were nazi sympathisers by posting a link to an article by a fake Jew who claims just that.
I also did not say that YOU claimed that there were no crimes against Serbs. Where did I say that? Please do the courtesy of supporting your angry claims with quotes from what I actually wrote. Its all there above, so go on, prove I lied. You will not be able to because we both know I did not lie at all.
So call me all the names you like, “liar”, “Serb”, “word twister” etc. Its all rubbish. Let the arguments stand and stop the ad hominums and well poisoning. They do disservice to your mostly well argued and reasonably presented arguments.
Very well. You seem sincere enough and finally you have made a few valid points so I will give you a benefit of doubt, since upon re-evaluating what was written I have noticed a few mistakes from my side as well – and these of course need to be addressed.
You wrote: “Marko, lying is the deliberate act of deviating from the truth”
While I agree with this, it is completely irrelevant since it can also be used by a dishonest person as an ad hoc rationalization for lying deliberately and then pretending that it was an honest mistake. That is why I always call people out on things that I perceive as misinterpretations of truth and then I examine their willingness to address the raised points in an honest manner. If the points are not addressed and similar behavior continues post after post, I usually end the debate. While this may provoke a hostile reaction from immature people, an honest critical thinker will try to address the issues and by doing this he can direct the debate into better understanding of what was meant to be said. The thing that ticked me off was your unwillingness to really address my points and using strawmen rather than real arguments – post after post – as well as some things that I perceived as lies.
Let us start with Pink TV issue – where indeed I slightly misinterpreted you. After I exposed Serb lies and propaganda on a few TV stations done by their president and historian Pejin, you said that what I have is just quote: “…few local clowns, some radicals from the provinces and Berlusconi like junk television stations SUCH AS pink TV.”
Now, since you do not quote me when you post, and instead you post huge chunks of text, I take out those things from your text that seem like relevant responses to what I was saying earlier.
While it is true that you have not said that my references come from Pink TV (and here I stand corrected), you seem to imply that Radio television of republic of Serbia, Radio television of Vojvodina and Croatian radio television which I used for references, are junk television stations SUCH AS pink TV. This is a grose misinterpretation of the truth and I stand by my statement that you lie. Not only that, but after I pointed out what I perceive as a lie, I also made an argument which you ignored. I argued that even if my reference was Pink TV, those people still said those disgusting things and we are not talking about local clowns from provinces, but Serbia’s president and intellectuals. Pink TV does not magically negate what was said, nor do these 2 “clowns” appear just on Pink TV. If you indeed want to have an honest debate, why did you ignore this important point? You accuse me of giving you the least preferable interpretation – why dont you use this advice on yourself – since, surely you can see that the lack of “SUCH AS” in front of Pink TV does not make any difference to my point.
Now, there are some other things that need to be addressed, but rather than attacking strawmen now, I will wait for your response, so that we can tackle one issue at the time. Otherwise there is too much being said and it is easy to get lost in the sea of arguments. I expect that you address this issue in detail, so that we can then move on if you like to other problems. Perhaps this will make it easier to come to some common terms. I assure you that I have a ready answer for all your points, but it just seems like a huge waste of time if you cannot address the points I raise.
One last thing I want to do is simplify this discussion by summing up my argument into a logical syllogism, so that we can get to the crux of the problem. I want to argue that Serb nationalism and propaganda is on a completely different level. For this I offered a few arguments, but for now I will just sum up one, so that you can respond to it in detail. I argue the following:
Premise 1: If we can see propaganda being spread by country’s top politicians, intellectuals, academics, if we find propaganda in history books and media, then it follows that in such a country propaganda is on a completely different level than it is in countries where we do not see such behavior.
Premise 2: In Serbia we can see propaganda being spread by country’s top politicians, intellectuals, academics, and we find propaganda in history books as well as in their media.
Conclusion: Therefore it follows that in Serbia propaganda is on a completely different level than it is in countries where we do not see such behavior.
Now this is a simple modens ponens argument. If the premises are true, then the conclusion must be true as well. If you think that this arguments fails, I want to know which premises do you not agree with and why and then I can address these points in a coherent manner.
I like the idea of focussing on the core because we are going in circles on the periphery about all this “you lied” business which is hopeless convoluted.
You have still failed completely to show where I lied. Until you do, its mere name calling.
Regarding Pink TV, one reference in 2000 words, my point was that the bulk of unchallenged propaganda and nationalist nonsense in Serbia are the preserve of tabloid TV stations like Pink TV. Of course you will find examples of propaganda and outrageous claims on stations like RTS. They interview people from all parts of the political spectrum. That does not man to say that they support those views, but they have a journalistic duty to represent those views as one side of debate. This is as true of the BBC as it is of RTS or HTV.
Since you are in Sweden, you might be able to access Denmark’s DR2 interview with Lars Hedegaard, the very outspoken critic of Islamism that some lunatic tried to assassinate recently.
You could take all of his criticism of Muslims, all of his claims that some find deeply Islamophobic, and according to your logic, ague that Denmark is Islamophobic because DR2 – the national broadcaster – is broadcasting anti-Muslim propaganda!
You would be furious if an anti-Thompson documentary on Croatian TV was used by Serb propagandists to argue the station was neo-Fasists for interviewing them.
You see the absurdity of your position? Three or four clips from hundreds of thousands of hours of TV tell us virtually nothing, except that there are some individuals who expressed the opinions expressed in the recordings.
Your claim (now) is that “Serb nationalism and propaganda is on a completely different level”. What you wrote, in the context of the Balkans, was “While I agree that there are idiot nationalists everywhere, in Serbia nationalism is on a completely different level – it is a way of living.”
Before we get on to syllogisms, please define your terms.
What do you mean by (1) Serbs nationalism, ((2) what do you mean by “a completely different level” and what do you mean by “it is a way of living”?
The crucial element here is about comparisons. You appear to be saying that Serbian nationalism (and later, propaganda) is worse – way worse – than the other nationalities in the Balkans (or do you mean every other nation in the world?). You support that by pointing out selected examples of Serbs expressing nationalist opinions in various media.
I am about to make explicit the flaws in your reasoning. This may sting.
“Premise 1: If we can see propaganda being spread by country’s top politicians, intellectuals, academics, if we find propaganda in history books and media, then it follows that in such a country propaganda is on a completely different level than it is in countries where we do not see such behaviour.”
Do you accept the Wikipedia definition of propaganda (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propaganda)?
“Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed towards influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position by presenting only one side of an argument.”
If you do, you will find that presenting only one sided of arguments aimed towards influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position (i.e. pursuing ideological and political agendas) is standard practice for politicians everywhere (the same “everywhere” that you note has “nationalists”).
A substantial number of academics and intellectuals in every country are similarly guilty of peddling one sided views in an attempt to advance their agenda (convince). .
So I would also like you to show me a country which is free of such axe grinding. We need this country to establish the baseline. We need an example of the “level” to compare against Serbia, the “completely different level”.
I can tell you now, it does not exist.
“Premise 2: In Serbia we can see propaganda being spread by country’s top politicians, intellectuals, academics, and we find propaganda in history books as well as in their media.”
This is true of almost every country in the world. Are you offering Croatia as the example of a country that does not any top politicians, intellectuals or academics that ever us “communication that is aimed towards influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position by presenting only one side of an argument?” Are you claiming that there are no examples of one sides arguments in Croatian history books? I mean, Croats are at least as bad as Serbs when it comes to propaganda, some of it involving top journalists supporting war criminals.
“During the ICTY trials against Croat war leaders, many Croatian journalists participated as the defence witnesses trying to relativise war crimes committed by Croatian troops against non-Croat civilians (Bosniaks in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbs in Croatia). During the trial against general Tihomir Blaškić (later convicted of war crimes), Ivica Mlivončić, Croatian columnist in Slobodna Dalmacija, tried to defend general Blaškić presenting number of claims in his book Zločin s pečatom about alleged genocide against Croats (most of it unproven or false), which was considered by the Trial Chambers as irrelevant for the case. After the conviction, he continued to write in Slobodna Dalmacija against the ICTY presenting it as the court against Croats, with chauvinistic claims that the ICTY cannot be unbiased because it is financed by Saudi Arabia (Muslims).”
Well well well.
It seems that at least ONE other country is at the same level as those Serbs…….
“Therefore it follows that in Serbia propaganda is on a completely different level than it is in countries where we do not see such behaviour.”
Except we see this behaviour everywhere, so Serbia’s propaganda is not “on a completely different level” to anyone at all. It is on the same level as Croatia for example. It is certainly not a “way of life” as originally claimed.
So lets modify your syllogism to match what has been established here so far:
Premise 1: In most countries in the world we find examples of propaganda – a form of communication that is aimed towards influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position by presenting only one side of an argument – being used by some top politicians, intellectuals, academics, in history books and media.
Premise 2: In Serbia we find examples of propaganda – a form of communication that is aimed towards influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position by presenting only one side of an argument – being used by some top politicians, intellectuals, academics, in history books and media.
Conclusion: There is propaganda found most countries of the world and Serbia is one of those countries.
Your claims about Serbia being at a “completely different level” are at best meaningless. Until you define your terms AND offer a comparison so we can test the falsifiability of your claims, we don’t even have the basis of a discussion.
Note to self and the Google bot, fallacies encountered so far in this thread:
Cherry-Picking the Evidence / Suppressed evidence
Mark, you make good case when it comes to debunking the article abut selective justice and i agree with you that Limbic has been lying about meny things you mention. However, i am not convinced that serbians are so bad as you make it sound. Take a look at this article for example (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8672587.stm). It looks like serbians are making some progress with dealing with their past. And you didnt adresed all the points Limbic raised. Is it true that Thompson is popular in Croatia? And are you guilty of confirmation bias as well as Limbic because you post the worst examples you can find from Serbia while you ignore good things? Also, why cant you croatians and serbs get along and move on like bosnians have? Limbic made a nice point that bosnians rarely post bad things about serbians and croatians so why cant you do like bosnians?
Cloud, thanks for the support re Serbs, but neither you nor Marko have shown where I have lied. I have not lied once. Show me where. Quote me.
Cloud, thank you for acknowledging that I debunked that piece of bad journalism that was presented as a good point, and thank you for noticing Limbic’s dishonesty. I am still hoping it was not deliberate, but I want to see how he responds to my previous post before making a final judgment about his character.
As for your article, I have to remind you that I have never argued that there has not been any progress in Serbia. Serbia has certainly progressed in many ways from Milosevic era – even when we talk about journalism – at least they dont oppress people with different opinion anymore. But many old myths that have been around in the 90’s from the time of Milosevic era and even before are still around today. That is one of the main reasons why Croats and Serbs just cannot find common ground. When a Croat goes to watch some popular political show in Serbia, like for example Cirilica or their news, there does not seem to be any historical common ground almost about anything. Now, we cannot both be right and one of us must be lying, but since I was born in Slovenia and got my education there, then I went to university in Croatia and now I am living in Sweden, I have had the opportunity to read about the Balkan from different points of view, and most of what I read supports what I have learned in Croatian history books. Limbic, just as majority of Serbs, seems to believe that there is some western conspiracy against Serbia, but needless to say this is exactly the same argument that we can hear from Vojislav Seselj who sits in Haag. It is the same argument we could hear from Mladic and Milosevic. It is exactly the same rhetoric with Serbs being the victims of the big white world, which is ridiculous.
As for Bosnians not being so active, all I can say is that two biggest nations in the Balkans are Croats and Serbs. Even in Bosnia these two nations present a majority. This partly explains why there is so little noise from Bosnians. People who consider themselves Bosnians are such a small minority in the Balkans that they get lost in the shouting between Serbs and Croats. And Limbic is wrong in his assumption that Bosnians have moved on. Most Bosnians consider Croats their friends and we have excellent relations, but with Serbs it is a completely different thing. Bosnians hate the Serbs and Bosnians are just as bitter about the war as are the Croats. Another thing to consider is that Bosnia is recognized as a victim by the whole world so Bosnians really dont have much to prove.
As for Thompson, that he has a faithful following of football hooligans and neo-Nazis in Croatia and Bosnia, I cannot deny, but these people do not represent the majority of Croats and Bosnians. It is a small subculture of idiots who have bought into neo-nazi fairy tales. Furthermore, I know many Croats who despise all this neo-nazi crap associated with Thompson, yet they love to listen to his patriotic songs. I do not support this and I think that everyone who dislikes Ustashes, should distance themselves from Thompson and not listen to his songs, but people have different opinions as to what is moral and immoral on this particular subject. Some evaluate his songs, while others evaluate the author. This is analogous to popularity of Mike Tyson or any controversial celebrity – people who are fans of Mike Tayson do not necessarily condone rape and fans of Micheal Jackson do not necessarily condone his behavior. That is why you cannot use Thompson as an argument for proving neo-nazism in Croatia. Celebrities are a tricky thing and people often find ways to justify their guilty pleasures.
Marko wrote “Serbia has certainly progressed in many ways from Milosevic era – even when we talk about journalism – at least they dont oppress people with different opinion anymore.”
Well in Croatian they do :-)
“OSCE media freedom representative concerned by Croatian public broadcaster HRT practice to silence critical journalists” – from http://www.osce.org/fom/90347
There was not a Western conspiracy, there was a policy of firstly destabilising Yugoslavia, then going after Serbia – firstly in Bosnia, then over Kosovo.
Bit you know this. An pointing out that Seselj thinks that too is a fallacious argument. It is called the Association Fallacy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Association_fallacy).
Look it up.
As for most Bosnians loving Croats as their “friends”, I think you are deluded. They were wronged by Croats to a massive degree. They may have forgiven, but friendship, I do not think so. In diplomatic speak al the former Yugoslav nations are “friends”. In reality, things are more strained.
As for Thompson, setting aside the fact that he is a self-professed patriotic nationalist of exactly the sort you are complaining about in Serbia, it is his popularity that is alarming. There is no Serbian counterpart. that I know of.
Limbic, when I said that Serbia does not oppress their journalists anymore, I was thinking about something completely different. But it serves me right for posting before checking what I wrote and forgetting to mention the context. Still, from what I wrote you can clearly see that I was referring to Milosevic era – and here comes the missing context – I was thinking about a few journalists that were murdered – with Milosevic being the main suspect.
As for the article you posted, same source, just Serbia and a bit different scenario – molotov cocktails and explosive devices :)
Needless to say, this has little to do with propaganda, since OSCE and similar groups like the press freedom index that report about the freedom of press are mostly concerned about developing an environment where journalists feels safe and protected. They do not deal with the quality of journalism itself. This is why your argument fails. Perhaps I should have been more precise – Serbia has certainly made progress in ensuring a safer environment for their journalists – in this regard Serbia is on equal ground with Croatia – and this progress is amazing, considering how bad the situation was during Milosevic era. But the problem of biased propaganda filled journalism still plagues Serbia more than any country in the region and that is something that Serbia needs to fix if they plan to have friendly relations with their neighbors.
As for association fallacy, (yawn)… you do realize that I would be guilty of association fallacy ONLY if I said that the argument you presented fails because it was the same argument that Seselj made. That was however not my argument. I only commented that this is the same ridiculous argument being made by Seselj and Milosevic. Nowhere did I say, therefore it has to be wrong. Either you are (again) deliberately misinterpreting my texts, or you just copy/paste logical fallacies from wikipedia, without having fully grasped the subject.
As for you thinking that I am deluded about Croats and Bosnians – well you can think whatever you want. Bosnians and Croats in immigration help eachother, there are many Bosnians living and working in Croatia. Many study in Croatia as well. Just recently Croatia and Bosnia build a bridge to connect the countries together and our relations are excellent – of course I am talking about the Muslim side – not the Serbian part. Bosnian coaches train Croatian football teams and vice versa, Bosnians and Croats do not have historical propaganda wall between us and although there are some tensions in some regions, it is nothing serious. The death toll produced by Serbs is so horrendous that Bosnians stick to the old saying: “Enemy of my enemy is my friend.” – and I have encountered so far only one Bosnian that had a bit of a grudge – but guess what – we talked openly – no lies – no propaganda between us and although he still holds a bit of a grudge, it is nothing like the grudge he holds against Serbs by his own words.
As for Thompson… there you go again. Instead of addressing arguments I made, you just repeat the same bullshit as before and you think you made a point. Using your logic, popularity of Mike Tyson suggests that there are a lot of people out there who support rape. Pffftt…
Whilst I am waiting for my main response to be approved, I have discussed in detail your claims, including “the problem of biased propaganda filled journalism still plagues Serbia more than any country in the region and that is something that Serbia needs to fix if they plan to have friendly relations with their neighbors.”
Biased propaganda filled journalism in indeed a problem in Serbia. That it is any worse than the other countries in the region is what we are debating.
It may be that Serbia is has the biggest problem. But your arguments and evidence do not establish that at all. I have seen samples of biased propaganda in the media from Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Hungary, Romania and Bosnia.
From an intuitive/subjective perception, I would agree that Serbia is on a “different level” from, say, Sweden or Norway. But compared to its neighbours, Serbia is unexceptional.
Regarding guilt by association, you need to read up young man.
You wrote, “I would be guilty of association fallacy ONLY if I said that the argument you presented fails because it was the same argument that Seselj made.”. That is not how it works.
“Guilt by association can sometimes also be a type of ad hominem fallacy, if the argument attacks a person because of the similarity between the views of someone making an argument and other proponents of the argument.
This form of the argument is as follows:
Source S makes claim C.
Group G, which is currently viewed negatively by the recipient, also makes claim C.
Therefore, source S is viewed by the recipient of the claim as associated to the group G and inherits how negatively viewed it is.
An example of this fallacy would be “My opponent for office just received an endorsement from the Puppy Haters Association. Is that the sort of person you would want to vote for?”
You wrote “Limbic, just as majority of Serbs, seems to believe that there is some western conspiracy against Serbia, but needless to say this is exactly the same argument that we can hear from Vojislav Seselj who sits in Haag.”
A perfect example of the Association fallacy ad hominum.
As for Bosnian and Croatian friendship, is at best, as you point out. more about common enmity than shared love and respect. I know many Bosnians who still bear grudges against Croatia. The Bosnia – Croatia war in the 90’s was as brutal as the Serb – Bosnian war, although of course there were fewer casualties. Anyway, things are improving. Young Bosnians and Croats can be found in fairly large numbers partying in Belgrade at the weekends. That for me is a sign of hope.
Finally, regarding Thompson. My logic is not that people who support Mike Tyson as a boxer, support rape. If they defended him as a rapist, they support rape.
You are asserting that Thompson, a self-proclaimed far right Croatian nationalist and figurehead of the Neo-Ustase movement, is popular because of his music, not his politics.
The problem is that his music IS his politics. And he has been used as a political tool by our friends HDZ mentioned above ( see http://onlyincroatia.blogspot.dk/2011/02/neo-nazi-singer-payed-by-hdz.html ).
His music may be amazing, and maybe there are a few purely musical fans, but for me and other Croatia watchers, Thompson and his popularity are an indicator of Croatia’s political and social maturity.
For more on Thompson and the Croatian far right: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Far_right_in_Croatia
You wrote: “You have still failed completely to show where I lied. Until you do, its mere name calling.”
I have shown you what I perceive as a lie and I quoted you on it. Now, while it may be possible that I made a mistake of not relating your post in the spirit you intended, to say that I have still not shown you where you lied is non-sensical. If you meant something else and there is a problem, then please make a point and move on. I have no idea what you mean by saying that I failed to completely show you where you lied. Usually a controversial quote does the trick. I can’t do more than that.
Then you write: “Regarding Pink TV, one reference in 2000 words, my point was that the bulk of unchallenged propaganda and nationalist nonsense in Serbia are the preserve of tabloid TV stations like Pink TV. Of course you will find examples of propaganda and outrageous claims on stations like RTS. They interview people from all parts of the political spectrum. That does not mean to say that they support those views, but they have a journalistic duty to represent those views as one side of debate. This is as true of the BBC as it is of RTS or HTV.”
When you say that you can find examples of propaganda on any TV in the world, I absolutely agree, but surely you are not trying to imply that RTS is as objective and unbiased as BBC. Notice how your argument could work in principle for Iran, Syria or China too. Using exactly the same logic as you, I could for example also stick my head in the ground and refuse to budge even an inch by arguing and rationalizing things just as you are doing. I could for example say that there is no evidence that propaganda in Iran is any worse than propaganda in Norway, since you can find examples of propaganda in Norway just as you can find it anywhere else – examples of propaganda just proves that propaganda exists, it doesn’t prove it’s scale. I could argue that the perception of Iran is the product of western conspiracy against Iran’s heroic people and that what I perceive as propaganda is nothing more that journalists doing their job in representing views as one side of debate.
A lot of what I speak of requires a much deeper understanding which unfortunately requires knowing Balkan history, understanding our language, being able to read both latin and Cyrillic, watching Serbian TV, reading their newspapers and comparing this to other countries in the region. That is the thing with propaganda – it is very subtle and hard to pin point even when it is obvious, because you can always pull a white rabit out of your hat and say ‘look, not all rabbits are black’. Well, no shit Sherlock, I don’t need you to tell me that.
Serbia has a lot of experience with these sort of games. I mean, I have been watching these things for decades and then you start noticing certain little patterns that make a lot of difference. Things like Croatia voting for EU despite the initial conviction of the Croat generals who later proved their innocence. Coincedently, this was the same time when Serbia took another turn towards the right. Things like comparing what the presidents of our nations have been saying in the last 10 years, what is their background, how is it possible that Serbian people vote for a radical nationalist who was a Chetnik? Why does Serbia want to rehabilitate Chetnik leader Draza Mihajlovic, who is a convicted war criminal? Is this based on historical facts or myths? Why do Serbs not get along with anyone in the region? Why do Bulgarians and Hungarians also reject huge chunks of Serbian history? Things like comparing Croatian debates with Serbian ones. Once you see that in their prime time you have all of their top politicians both from opposition and the rulling party saying exactly the same things about Croats – no opposing views, while in Croatia the debates are much more divided, all you can do is facepalm. I am talking about things like still not meeting a Serb that does not accept many of their dogma – and I have met many Serbs. I mean, I could write forever about the things I have seen and heard, but it is difficult to see just what would it take to convince you or how would I be able to prove this.
You write: “What do you mean by (1) Serbs nationalism, ((2) what do you mean by “a completely different level” and what do you mean by “it is a way of living”?”
By Serb nationalism, I mean Serbian unwillingness to deal with historical facts that are today part of mainstream, prefering lies and conspiracy theories rather than what the rest of the world thinks, twisting the reality and not being called on it by their journalists, writing lies in their history books, and everything above that I mentioned. I would like to see one journalist from Serbia getting a positive reaction after saying that the arguments that were presented by people who attack the Haag rulling that aquitted Croat generals are stupid and ridiculous. I mean when their journalists just repeat the empty phrases and lies heard from their politicians – like that the rulling is not fair because out of 8 judges 5 rulled against Gotovina – I can just laugh at their stupidity. Wow… I mean, really?… And no one challenges this myth until it becomes a well established Serbian fact. No one challenges Sljivancanin when in one of Serbia’s top political shows Cirilica, he spreads lies how Croatia denounced Haag. I mean, this is not the kinds of debates that I am watching on Croatian political shows like Latinica or Otvoreno. And this is what I mean when I say that nationalism is on a completely different level in Serbia and that it is a way of living.
“The crucial element here is about comparisons. You appear to be saying that Serbian nationalism (and later, propaganda) is worse – way worse – than the other nationalities in the Balkans (or do you mean every other nation in the world?).”
That is not what I am saying. I never mentioned that one nationality is better than the other. This is again one of your “very loose” misinterpretations which you are pulling out of your ass. This is not about which nationality is better, but about NATIONALISM and I defined what I mean by this, although I think I made my point perfectly clear even before that. And I would never make such a broad generalisations as the whole world. I am making a case just about the Balkans and more precisely, Serbia’s surrounding regions.
“So I would also like you to show me a country which is free of such axe grinding. We need this country to establish the baseline. We need an example of the “level” to compare against Serbia, the “completely different level”. I can tell you now, it does not exist. “
You base your whole case on a misunderstood first premise. You do not need to show a country that has no propaganda – all you have to show is that there indeed are some countries that have more propaganda than others. The moment we admit that Iran or North Korea have more propaganda than Norway, Denmark or Sweden, you have admitted that there is a whole spectrum of countries that have different degrees of propaganda. The problem is how to quantify this. I am not aware of any such study in the world, but that does not mean that we cannot do comparrisons – especially if we have a deep understanding of the region and we have been around for decades and have been able to see certain trends in action. But you have made me realize that this is too subjective to be quantified and since I cannot prove it, in intellectual honesty I shall drop my argument, because I realized myself just how difficult to prove my position really is.
“Are you claiming that there are no examples of one sides arguments in Croatian history books? I mean, Croats are at least as bad as Serbs when it comes to propaganda, some of it involving top journalists supporting war criminals.”
This is a positive claim and as such you need to demonstrate it somehow. But since you already said that “we need an example of the “level” to compare against – which does not exist” you jumped into your own mouth. Or perhaps you are just applying these rules when it serves your case and then dismissing them when you need to argue that Serbs and Croats have the same amount of propaganda. ;)
If you want to prove this, then you have to post all the things that I have posted – not just opinons of some journalists. I mean, these opinons might be relavant if you can also show that we teach significantly different history than our neghbours (here I don’t count the Serbs, since Serbian history is a unique fabrication of historical events), if you can show that recently we voted for an ex Ustashe, if you can show at least some recent examples of Croat propaganda and false claims, if you can show at least some Croatian TOP people – that means presidents, prime ministers, distinguished diplomats and intellectuals making claims to other nation’s land or something similar, then you might have a point. Posting a Wikipedia link about a regional (not even national) newspaper writing something stupid 12 years ago and reffering to Thompson is nowhere near the amount of references that I have posted.
Bottom line is, if your arguments are good I have no problems admitting that I was wrong.
Just before you posted your last comment, I posted one where I think I have addressed much of what you are saying. I even cited Norway, as you did :-)
So we agree mostly here.
No, I was not implying that RTS is the equivalent of the BBC. And as I noted in that post, there is a difference between say North Korea and Switzerland. My point was never that all countries are the same, but that your evidence as presented does not establish Serbia as being on “a different level”, especially from its neighbours.
You kind of make my point for me when you point out that it may take an understanding of the language, familiarity with the tricks and rhetoric, an awareness of the frames and subtleties, before you can see the full extent of the problem. It is extremely difficult to compare and rank countries when it comes to propaganda. Extreme examples like Iran and North Korea are easy to spot because they are oppressive.
Press freedom is about as decent an indicator as you can get for propaganda. Ignorance, malevolent political lies and other things are hard to quantify, but freedom of the press to challenge them is crucial.
Guess which countries sit next to each other in the Reporters Without Borders 2013 Press Freedom Index?
63 Serbia 26,59 +17 (80)
64 Croatia 26,61 +4 (68)
That’s right. Serbia is BETTER than Croatia in that ranking.
Does Serbia have a problem with nationalists. yes. Does Croatia? Yes. Does Serbia have a problem with propaganda, historical denial and political manipulation? Yes. Does Croatia? yes. Are they equally bad? That is hard to determine.
[Aside: The Serbs want to examine the record of Mihailovic because the communist authorities of Yugoslavia corrupted the record for political purposes. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dra%C5%BEa_Mihailovi%C4%87#Capture.2C_trial_and_execution ].
You ask, “Why do Serbs not get along with anyone in the region”, yet they do. Why do Hungarians and Bulgarians rejects “huge chunks of Serbian history” for the same reason they reject huge chunks of each other’s history!
Are you ignorant of the mega-battles over each others minorities, Black sea energy, over the past?
All neighbours fight over the historical record.
You define Serb nationalism as “Serbian unwillingness to deal with historical facts that are today part of mainstream, prefering lies and conspiracy theories rather than what the rest of the world thinks, twisting the reality and not being called on it by their journalists, writing lies in their history books, and everything above that I mentioned.”
This is not a very balanced, neutral and workable definition, is it?
What you see as historical facts may be historical falsehoods. They disagree with you. They are not necessarily lying, they just have a different view point. As a Catholic, would you denounce a Muslim as “lying” for expressing a belief that Mohammed is the last prophet sent to mankind by god (not Jesus)? Or is a Buddhist lying for not believing in the god of the old testament?
Also, appealing to what the world thinks is silly. The world thinks what the dominant media/historical narrative tells it to think. How about those Iraqi WMDs?
I wrote, “The crucial element here is about comparisons. You appear to be saying that Serbian nationalism (and later, propaganda) is worse – way worse – than the other nationalities in the Balkans (or do you mean every other nation in the world?).”
To which you reply: “That is not what I am saying. I never mentioned that one nationality is better than the other. This is again one of your “very loose” misinterpretations which you are pulling out of your ass. This is not about which nationality is better, but about NATIONALISM and I defined what I mean by this, although I think I made my point perfectly clear even before that. And I would never make such a broad generalisations as the whole world. I am making a case just about the Balkans and more precisely, Serbia’s surrounding regions.”
Now read what I wrote again. “You appear to be saying that Serbian nationalism (and later, propaganda) is worse – way worse – than the other nationalities in the Balkans”.
Am I missing something here? You just shouted in agreement with what I wrote. :-)
I did not misunderstand your first premise at all. All your evidence showed was that you can find propaganda used in Serbia. This was the level that you established was “another level”, then other countries, to be better (i.e. have less) would have to have no propaganda. Since they do, by the measure of your evidence, they are all equally bad.
The argument was not that there are not different levels of propaganda, with some countries worse than others, the argument was that you’re claims that Serbia is worse than its neighbours is not established by your evidence.
Now since you have shown courage and honesty, allow me to reciprocate.
You may be entirely right that Serbia is worse than the others. I do not know. I believe it is nigh on impossible to measure and quantify objectively. From what I know of the Balkans, no nation is significantly worse than the others. Serb nationalists hate me for defending Croats and Albanians or criticising Russia. Other nations nationalists hate me for defending Serbs. You are angry with me for “lying”, which you perceive as an attack against you, whereas I am just disagreeing with you and presenting my opinions.
I should not have said “Croats are at least as bad as Serbs” because I cannot support that any more than you can establish that Serbs are at a different level. I should have said that in my experience, Serbs and Croats seem to be as bad as the other for propaganda.
It was never my intention to attack Croats anyway. All of my negative comments and posts have been to illustrate points in my arguments.
I think that rather than focussing on the symptoms (propaganda and expressions of ethnic hatred) we should focus on the root causes: corruption, ethnic nationalism, ignorance/lack of education, poverty, isolation and suppression of human rights. Serbian politicians are mostly a despicable lot. Never has the phrase “Lions led by Lambs” been more accurate. Th people of Serbia are, in my experience, amongst the loveliest I have ever encountered and I have lived in many, many places.
For the record I also think that Croatia is an absolutely fantastic country. I have had enormously positive experiences in Croatia, experiencing the kindness and hospitality of many Croat friends. They are, again in my experience, equally as warm hearted and kind as the Serbs.
Argue with that!
So Croats are not Catholic Serbs, any more than Irish are Catholic English. But you are more similar than you are different. There is tremendous good will towards Croatia from the Serbs I know. The hanker for the days before the war. They recall the amazing music from Croatia, the beauty of the country, the art and literature. They vacation there. They want normalisation. And these are the war babies, the 20 and 30-year-olds, kids when the wars were being fought. They are ill served by their own corrupt leaders. They are lovely people. I wish you could meet these Serbs I know, real ordinary Serbs, the ones you never see or hear about in the media. I believe they would transform your attitude to Serbs and Serbia.
Well this certainly has been an interesting debate. Mind you please that I have never argued that Serbs are bad or something as a nation. I really dont have anything against the Serbs personally, but I do get annoyed with their propaganda and nationalism. When I enter into a debate, I already assume that a person I am debating understands that the state of a country has nothing to do with how good their people are and it is more a reflection of complex combination of historical issues and bad choices made by bad leadership. So to point out that Balkan people are actually very warm-hearted is a rather trivial point to make.
When you wrote: “… that Serbian nationalism (and later, propaganda) is worse – way worse – than the other nationalities…” – notice how at first you talk about nationalism and then you switch to nationalities – which is plural of nationality.
Now that you have explained what you mean, I accept that this was probably a misunderstanding due to the language barrier. After explaining, now I understand you probably wanted to use genetiv – “than the other nationality’s” – this is a typical grammatical mistake done by those from Scandinavian origin (?), so I am glad that you did not imply what I was thinking you were implying, although your previous texts are still plagued by very controversial interpretations of what I was trying to say. But I think we have managed to elevate this debate to a point where it seems we can come to some common ground.
When we come to the freedom press index, I think that the 0,2 point difference is a trivial one and again I want to point out that the freedom press index does not concern itself with the quality of journalism. I have never denied that Serbia has done huge progress in providing a safer environment for their journalists – especially given how bad this was during the Milosevic era. The fact that Serbia this year achieved a little better score than Croatia should be looked in the context of the last 5-10 years if you want to get a better insight at the state of freedom of press in a country, since it is possible for a country to make huge jumps on the index during 1 year period if there have not been any big incidents – and huge drops if during that year you get a series of incidents. If you do such an analysis you will see that Croatia does have a considerably better index than Serbia. But again, this has little to do with propaganda and that is why I didn’t want to use this in my argument.
The association fallacy – I still stand by my point. My comment was based on the fact that conspiracy theories in general have a high rate of being false. My comment was also based on a noticeable fact that extremist Serbian nationalists like Seselj spread lies. Noticing that the conspiracy theory you support has it’s roots in a liars rhetoric and exposing those two facts is not a fallacy. It is a very relevant comment because it warns us to be skeptical about such claims. This is a kin to a man who believes in evolution and who at the moment does not have any reliable data saying that he went to school in different countries and that he had the opportunity to talk with scientists from all over the world who believe in all sorts of stuff and noting that most scientists support evolution while creationist believe in the same things people from bronze age believed, which are in his opinion ridiculous. Clearly you can see that bronze age myths have a higher rate of being false than mainstream science? As long as you are referring to things for which there is data which we can check and not victoriously claiming ‘AHA! therefore you are wrong!”, you are not guilty of a fallacy. Here is another example – noticing instances of gay men having HIV virus and from this concluding that HIV virus is higher among gay man is not fallacious as long as we have some reference point. Since I am not writing a 100 page dissertation in natural science I do not see any need to post references for things that seem obvious. I mean, even you are aware that Serbian conspiracy theory is not the mainstream view of historians. Also, it needs to be said that logic is only useful if we truly strive for having an honest discussion and it is trivially easy to misuse it – especially if one posses the knowledge to do so. I really hope you are not – perhaps unknowingly – falling in this category.
When you say that Serbs get along with everyone in the region what do you mean by this? When I say that they dont get a long with anyone I mean that there are big tensions between Serbs and their neighbors, with Serbs and Serbia generally being perceived worse than any other country in the region. I mean, would you dare to say that Serbs get a long with us Croats? Well, sure… I could point to a few friends who have good Serb friends, but then we are talking about two different things. Bosnians? I would dare to question this one too. Albanians? Don’t get me even started. Slovenia? – although Slovenia keeps this image of a clean little country, I have lived there for 15 years and I have heard with my own ears what Slovenians are saying about Serbs (and even Bosnians) behind their backs. I am not justifying this hidden racism, but it is there much more for Serbs and surprisingly even Bosnians, than it is for Croats. I know that you reject Croat sources, but it is the only study done on this subject (that I am aware of), so here are some things to ponder about:
“Only about one tenth of respondents in all countries (with the exception of Serbia, where that figure is somewhat higher – 15%) place the blame on Croatians. On the basis of the positions of respondents in all countries, except Slovenia, the accountability of Croatian President Tuđman is somewhat higher (an average of 17%). In Slovenia, only 7% of respondents are of this opinion.”
“..B&H respondents in the highest number (37%) blame the Serbs, followed in somewhat smaller measure by Slovenians (31%). A fourth of Macedonians also place responsibility on their neighbors, while Montenegrins for the most part absolve them of blame (with only 9% condemning them).”
This is an excerpt from Balkan Insight on the research done by the same author. Unfortunately I do not have a link to the book, but you can find these results there:
“Of all Croatia’s regional neighbours, Macedonians have the most positive opinion about Croats while Serbs are most negative, a recent research study shows.”
Now, of course the book covers a whole range of questions and it is a bit more technical than the title suggests, but yeah… the title describes the bulk of it.
Also this: http://www.bozoskoko.com/en/croatia-and-its-neighbors/
Now, since I have no such references for Bulgarians and Hungarians I ll just let go of this, since I have seen how you operate and I doubt you would be interested in internet debates and polls which show that I am not just pulling this stuff out my ass. Leaving aside their historical differences and conflicts. Although, you will probably dismiss Croat sources as well, since well.. they are Croats and as such part of conspiracy against Serbs ;)
As for Thompson – you wrote: “You are asserting that Thompson, a self-proclaimed far right Croatian nationalist and figurehead of the Neo-Ustase movement, is popular because of his music, not his politics.The problem is that his music IS his politics.”
To which I say, prove it. You made a positive claim and now defend it. Show me a study in which I can see how many Croats listen to Thompson because of his music and how many because of his politics. Also for the allegation that he received half a million euros not to preform. This was never proven, so are you saying that you base your accusation on yellow trash newspapers? You see? Two can play at this game :)
I mean, on a more serious note, our most right wing parties cannot get more than a few percent, while in Serbia such parties are currently running Serbia with an ex(?) Cetnik to who greater Serbia is his unrealized dream, with allegations of war crimes is Serbian president. I mean, seriously… are these two things even comparable?
“Parties like the Croatian Party of Rights which are most commonly associated with Ustašism generally aren’t able to attract support from more than a few percent of the population (HSP coalition won 6.4% of the national popular vote in the 2003 election and 3.5% in the 2007 election). In recent times, the HSP’s image of “pro-Ustaša” was repetitively shunned by its leaders in an attempt to sway more votes.”
And just for the record, there are other singers in Croatia who are also right wing even more so than Thompson, but they are nowhere near as popular. Perhaps their music has something to do with it.
Cheers. I ll be waiting for your response with a warm cup of soup in the morning :)
OK, so we agreed that there is no essentialist bad core to the Serbs. Good. That is progress.
I did mean nationality’s, although I have no excuse. I am Irish – first language English! :-)
The freedom of the press was an aside. I was surprised to see it. Notice that it is only in the last year that you would have seen this. Serbia has had a rapid recent rise up the chart last year. Croatia has been fairly advanced for a while.
It is good to see it though, for both countries.
Regarding the Serbian “conspiracy” view, suffice it to say there is a continuum, not an orthodoxy. One one side there are those who claim all Serbia’s problems are the work of outsiders and malevolent Westerners and on the other those who claim everything was brought down on Serbs heads by themselves.
My view is that Serbian ethnic nationalists and their insane political philosophy led the good people of Serbia into a period of utter madness. Croatia had its share of national is madness too still does. I also recognise that Western realpolitik can be brutal, unfair and Machiavellian. In the case of Serbia, knowing what I do now about it’s history, it is glaringly obvious there is a gross difference between the dominant narrative (Serbs bad, everyone else good) and the the more subtle, grey “truth”. The media hates subtleties and loves good guy/bad guy narratives. This distorts reality. In the Balkans reality is grossly distorted.
Do conspiracy theories abound in Serbia? Yes. Croatia? There too. During the Gotovina trial I recall an outpouring of such sentiment…until he was found not guilty :-)
Trying to cast the Serbs as the equivalent of benighted, ignorant and flat Earth believing evolution-rejecting simpletons of the story might conform to your worldview, but doesn’t really square with reality. Although it is interesting that you mention Flat Earth News. This is a phrase used by Nick Cohen in a book of the same name. I’ve written about this in the context of the Balkans because it is very relevant. You can read more about it at the links below.
Agnotology: study of disinformation propagation
Mesofacts and the lingering effects of propaganda
(Forgive the Malic quote, it is to illustrate a point, not endorse his worldview).
Whilst pondering this discussion with you, and the situation in Serbia in general, it got me thinking about the importance of framing in history. Context really is everything. That will give you a simple example. If I wanted to libel the Eastern Europeans, I could point out that in the last century 16 million Germans were ethnically cleansed from Eastern Europe. I could post pictures, diary entries, contemporary newspaper articles, films and excerpts from books. If you were historically ignorant you might get the idea that this dreadful crime were the most terrible crime that took place in the last century. If all you ever been exposed to was the story of the terrible expulsion of the German people from Silesia and Eastern Europe, you might come to hate Eastern European is as brutal oppressive German hating ethnic cleansers. Now how might that change if you suddenly came to find out that immediately prior to the expulsion of the 16 million Germans from Eastern Europe, the armies of Germany had waged a massive war across Eastern Europe When a brutalised entire populations and mass murdered 6 million Jews and others in extermination camps? It would certainly not justify the crimes committed against a 16 million German civilians. But it should certainly throw your preconceptions into focus. Suddenly it’s not so obvious that Eastern Europeans are German hating brutes, but rather indulging in terrible but understandable revenge. This is why it is important to get the rounded picture of what has happened in the Balkans. This is why when looking at one nations wrongdoings you need to understand what was done to them. Not so that you can justify their actions or in any way excuse them, but rather to temper one’s own emotional response to what one sees and keep in mind the provocations or other relevant factors that contributed to the tragedy.
So Marko, dealing with the apparently obvious is very dangerous. History is littered with majority opinions that turned out to be laughably wrong. History, unlike science, very really lends itself to authoritative verification. Of course that is not to say that there is historical orthodoxy, that there are established events, or that we cannot know with certainty about anything. But we are close to history in the Balkans. The events are relatively recent. There was and there is an awful lot of propaganda still out in the wild so to speak. Just as you were frustrated to read in otherwise serious newspapers like the Christian science monitor that 700,000 people were murdered at the hands of your ancestors, I am frustrated when I read myths and exaggerations about Serbian wrongdoing. I have absolutely no time for the conspiracy theories of the Serbian right. But that does not mean that there were not any conspiracies against the Serbs, and by conspiracy I don’t mean men sitting around with cigars in smoky rooms plotting intrigue. I mean diplomats, heads of state and other actors in the global international political scene deciding that their best interests were served by damaging, neutralising or destroying, first Yugoslavia and then Serbia.
On the matter of how Serbs get on with their neighbours, you have made some good points well supported with facts. What I notice is that most of your links or about Croatia, that this was never about Croatia, it was about your claims about Serbs. From what I experienced in the Balkans, there was a good bit of rivalry and conflict between all of the various former countries of Yugoslavia. These are the wounds of war. That here is another place where the perception of Serbs informs the reality of Serbs, and not the reverse. what exactly do I mean by that. This is tricky to explain. In a way the map becomes the territory. if people are fed a diet of relentless negative propaganda about another set of people, of course they are going to dislike them and blamed them for all the problems, and generally hold them responsible for what went wrong in the past. This does not mean that the allegations are true, that the target population deserves the antipathy and the hatred. For the last 1500 years of European history the Christian churches have done a stellar job of casting the Jews as sneaky mean greedy lying dirty traitors. None of this is true. It was pure propaganda, defamation, calumny. We recognise that now and are ashamed of our anti-Semitic past. One day there will be a smaller but no less important balancing up regarding the Serbs. I think what is being revealed now, as biographies are being written and the true account of what happened in the Balkans is starting to emerge (in other words, the version of events not filtered by the media infotainment lens), and this will help rehabilitate the image of Serbia.
As for Thompson, how about these two Croatian sources :-)
Anyway, that is more than enough from me for now. Sorry I didn’t have this ready in time for your morning soup.
No need to apologize for not being ready for my morning soup :)
Let us start with Thompson. The first link you posted writes extremely negatively about Thompson and is revealing Thompson’s bullshit rhetoric where he lies that he is just a patriot and that his songs have nothing to do with fascism. The article reveals a few of his less known songs where he celebrates Ustashes and reveals Thompson as a liar. As such, I really fail to see how such an article represents anything else than serious journalism that is seriously lacking in Serbia. Second article just talks about a concert in 2007 which was his biggest concert to date. Again, if you want to make a point that his popularity proves how in Croatia neo-nazism is a big problem, I do not see your point since you have failed to demonstrate the reasons why Thompson is so popular. That is why I still stand by the arguments I made earlier.
As for your view that Serbian ethnic nationalists and their insane political philosophy led the good people of Serbia into a period of utter madness, I absolutely agree with this. I also agree that Croatia too had it’s share of nationalistic madness, just as Bosnia did – but I would argue that this was a defense reaction to the madness happening in Serbia. I mean, when Milosevic drastically reduced Vojvodina’s and Kosovo’s special autonomous status within Serbia, he has caused a chain reaction that ultimately destroyed Yugoslavia. Serbian move also drastically weakened the federal position of Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia who often relied on support from Vojvodina and Kosovo to be on equal footing with Serbia. That is why Milosevic’s move was perceived as an attack on other federal units and the start of another era of Serbian hegemony. This gave rise to nationalists in both Croatia and Bosnia.
Furthermore, I fail to see just where does the world media give this simplistic good/evil narrative. In fact, the standard narrative given by the western media is that there were no good sides in the 90’s war and that everyone committed crimes against everyone and that everyone carries their own burden of guilt – although virtually everyone agrees that Serbia gets to carry the biggest amount of it because of Milosevic that started the whole thing and due to majority of war crimes being committed by the Serbs. Now unless you want to argue that in reality everyone is equally guilty and that Serbs did not commit the majority of war crimes, I do not see anything wrong with this narrative. But if you do think that everyone is equally to blame, than you have to give some data that supports this. It seems to me that you have this false perception that western media blames only the Serbs, while they acquit everyone else of any blame. This version, I have only heard in Serbia, and it is such a misrepresentation of the truth that I classify it as nonsensical propaganda bullshit.
That history is not a hard core science as physics is, I agree, but I am not convinced that politics plays such a role as you think it plays. In history you also have peer to peer reviews and if historians that do not have anything to support their claims, might as well give up their attempts at forging history, because no serious historian will support their point of view.
As for Gotovina’s case and the resentment that the Croats showed during the trial and especially when Gotovina was convicted in the first trial, I remember watching many Croatian top political shows on this subject where even Serbs have been invited to comment, and you had Croats from Croatia who spread the same bullshit you hear today in Serbia, but you also had Croats on the other side who tried to be objective and who argued that the war crimes have been committed in Oluja and that someone has to be held responsible, that although this is a shock – it is not an attack on Croatia as a whole as some have claimed, that we should still try to overturn the initial conviction before making judgments on Haag, that there is no political conspiracy in equalizing the blame as some have claimed because of the number of Serbs that were clearly the convicted majority, that everyone has underestimated the seriousness of the case against Gotovina and that this is why there was such a shock, that some media reporters do not really understand the law and base their remarks on false information, that the time has finally come to read these convictions in an objective manner and without patriotic emotions, that Croatian prime minister said that the blame is not on Haag, but on Croatia who did not process people who committed crimes after the war, some things that were said by right wing were challenged and some Croats even said that Gotovina’s action during Oluja could have stopped the war crimes, that in the north where general Stipetic led the Croats no such things happened, etc. Find me a Serb prime TV show where Serbs are so critical and have this kind of dialog after the acquittal of Gotovina.
Here is a few from Croatia where you can hear Croat top intellectuals saying things I just mentioned, but I assure you there were many more similar shows, I just can’t be bothered to find them and these two prove my point just as well:
It also needs to be said that from all the things that I have just mentioned, I strongly disagree with some things that Haag apologists have said in those debates. Furthermore, you cannot deny the fact that general Gotovina was acquitted in the end, thus making many points that were raised against the initial ruling relevant and justified. I know that you dismiss the ruling as a political ploy, but you have not presented any arguments on what do you base this assumption. Have you read all the evidence? Have you read the transcripts from Brijuni meeting in original Croatian which was the basis for the charges against Gotovina? Have you heard the witnesses? Have you read the document in which Serb leadership orders the evacuation? Are you aware that Gotovina and majority of his troops was not even in the region when the war crimes were committed? Are you aware of the difference of shelling in Vukovar which Serbs raised to the ground, and Knin that was barely touched by Croatian shells?
This is Vukovar after the Serbian shelling:
This is Knin after Croat shelling:
I mean, when you are talking about the context of 16 million killed East Europeans, and talking about revenge, I couldnt agree more that the context is very important. As such surely you know who attacked who, and what the death toll was on which side and who wanted revenge? Surely you know how difficult the war was for Croatia and Bosnia economically? I mean, just to give you a little scope of the matter, Croats destroyed around 20.000 Serb houses, but Serbs destroyed over 150.000 Croat houses with over 2000 cultural heritage sites. The war did not happen in Serbia. I am not aware of any house in Serbia being destroyed by Croat or Bosnian forces. And when we invoke WWII to justify Serb monstrosities in the 90’s, you should be careful not to fall pray to Serbian propaganda, because things are not so simple, nor did Croats as a nation support Ustashe regime. Ustashe were not elected by the people and unlike Germany and may other pro-axis allies, Croatia was divided. In reality, many Croats gave their life to fight the nazi regimes and most of those that supported Ustashes, just wanted independent Croatia, free from any foreign rule. And it is funny that you mention context, since Ustashes movement was the consequence of Serbian hegemony in the early kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.
Marko, hallelujah! I have read through an entire post and felt no urge to correct anything. I may not fully agree with everything, but overall my reaction was “fair enough”. I get your point, and it is reasonable, even when I disagree or am sceptical (but too lazy to research). :-)
What a happy milestone.
Regarding Thompson, enough has been said. It is a categorical error to say that Neo-Nazi’s love Thompson, therefore those that love Thompson are Neo-Nazis. But an (extremist?) Nationalist band is Croatia’s most popular band. That is troubling to me but I think Croats do a good job of containing what he stands for anyway, as evidenced by the article I posted. I should point out I have seen exactly the same liberal, self-critical journalism in Serbia.
About nationalists in the Balkans, I can see how Milosevic’s action may have aggravated the situation, but I would not credit him with giving rise to Croatia and Bosnia’s nationalists. As with every nation, nationalists are a natural and irrepressible by-product. Nationalism in its diseased Balkan form, is part of a cycle of grievance, provocation and exploitation. The tonic is openness, education, and the truth being revealed.
About the simplistic good/evil narrative, it tends to correct itself. The narrative of the Bosnian war that you describe (everyone guilty, Serbs most guilty) is now, nearly 20 years after cessation of hostilities, finally approaching some level of balance and consensus. It is still hard to know who and what to trust because the sheer scale of the propaganda and lies from *all sides*. With Kosovo, it is still active, and that is the problem. The narrative is trapped in 1999, the situation is very different in 2013.
Regarding the Serb version of debates critical of Serbian war crimes, it is hard for me to produce them. Unlike you, I do not keep a war file of clips. I would not even know what to search for. My Serbian is conversational at best. I have, however, seen serious, balanced debates and discussions on Serbian TV – mostly B92 – that are highly critical of Serbia, its politicians and its actions. I also saw that famous Scorpions footage on on RTS. Your personal opinion that Croatian TV programs are more balanced and fairer, supported with a couple of clips, does not really establish anything for me. I am sure that there are tens of thousands of Serbs who claim the same thing in reverse. I am not the person to adjudicate or prove the Serbian side. I would need to see like-for-like compared.
One correction about Gotovina. I do not dismiss his acquittal as a political ploy at all. Where did I say that? In fact, before you came along, I wrote to Peter, “In fairness, the Ante Gotovina case was very suspect.”
Let me finish up by offering me congratulation to all Croats on the accession to the EU announced today. This is great news for Croatia and for Serbia. It is only a matter of time before Serbia and Bosnia join too. The sooner all of you are in the EU, the better.
Thank you. I have to say that this was a very enjoyable debate and I am happy that we managed to come to some common ground.
I would just like to correct you about Thompson being the most popular Croat singer. That title belongs to Gibonni or Oliver Dragojevic. There are some other that attract a lot of attention too, but I will not deny that Thompson is among top 5 singers in Croatia – unfortunately.
That Thompson as “most popular “was a misreading of your previous post, apologies.
I hope we meet some day. I would love to continue this discussion in person. It has sparked some very interesting thoughts ,unrelated to the Balkans, about the problem of incorrect but plausibility arguments defeating the truth, and what to do about it. The challenge of the sceptic, in other words.
It is rare that I would like to meet my interlocutors in online discussions, you are an exception. You know how to get hold of me, so feel free.
Perhaps I shall take you up on this, since the problems you mentioned have been a matter of many of my discussions with like-minded people who enjoy a good debate and logic. However, I am not sure if meeting in person is an option because I am very busy in real life. That is one of the reasons why I find this kind of correspondence much more enjoyable, since you can chose when to sit and when to devote time to it, thus having time to actually re-check some old notes, do some additinal research, etc – which is not always possible in real life.
A lot of what we touched has to do with the burden of proof, inductive reasoning, validity and strength of arguments, problem of evidentialism, problem of plausability and probability when applied to skepticism, etc.
It is good to have these things in mind, because it is easy to lose track of what kind of arguments we are using when being engulfed in a lively debate. Now, if you want to take this somewhere else, you can contact me on my e-mail with things or questions you would like to discuss. My e-mail is email@example.com.
I am tired of being a Serb, i am tired of wars that have happend in last 100 years, i am tired of having to get bullied by people from Croatia, Bosnia, Albania and others, i am tired of having to have unemployed, i am tired of having almost worst salay in Europe, i am tired of my parents history lessons… I hate being born as a onee of the worst countries in the world.
Fix* I hate being born a Serb
Don’t feel bad about your ancestry Milan. Most of the other “haters” on this forum, hate other Jugoslavs for being as such from one of the republics their family was not. You are the only poster on this forum, who stated he is ashamed of his ancestry and being from his republic.
I used to be ashamed of being Jugoslav, during the 90’s…How could they use mortars to bomb people lining up to buy bread In Sarajevo ? How could they blow up the old bridge (stari most) over the Neretva ? How could they kill 8,000 in Srebrenica ? How could the KLA hypocritically do the same to Serbs and Croats that was done to the Bosniaks and Kosovars ?
Jovan’s words directly below are the words of a good person. I am the same as Jovan. I was taught by both my Bosnian father and Serbian mother that it does not matter if you are from Croatia or Slovenia or Bosnia or Serbia or Macedonia or Montenegro. All the republics had good and bad, stupid and smart people. Just like in any country.
I don’t care what former Jugoslav republic someone is from, if they are good to me, I’ll be good to them. etc, so forth.
Limbic and MarkDurak seem like sensible people too, although from opposite sides. They conducted themselves very well when debating their points. Interestingly, “durak” is the Russian word for ‘fool’, so it seems that MarkDurak has a sense of humour. (Google ‘Ivan Durak’ for an interesting read about an eastern slavic fairy tale or myth)
Hopefully things have gotten better for you since you made your post.
Very interesting discussion, learned a lot from it. I am a Serb and as a matter of fact it happened that my family suffered a lot from Croats in the past (from Nazi period onwards). But still I don’t hate Croats. In my surrounding I was taught that people are not divided as Croats, Serbs, Black, Jewish, Chinese, Muslim, Catholic, Eskimo or whatever else, but as Good or Bad, and Stupid or Smart.
And if you are Stupid enough you can be manipulated by Bad people, and vice versa.
I have many Croatian friends, even Croatian relatives and all of them witnessed same propaganda agains Serbs as we did against Croats, which was obviously useful to some bigger players (Divide et impera).
Normal people (although it is difficult to remain normal in those circumstances) knew what was true and didn’t wait CNN to tell them, nor did they start hating people for what they saw on tv. This is why I am always glad to hear people who put an effort to actually find out and know what they are talking about before they start talking, especially if they are not from here and were likely to get selective information. On the other hand I will never understand such a hatred coming from people who obviously don’t know really understand what they are talking about. Unfortunately happened a lot of times in history, not only in Balkans but in whole Europe and beyond. In the meantime everybody chooses how to live. I have a lot of Croatian friends studying and living here in Serbia and I go there every summer for holidays. Never had any problems, and I don’t see any reason why I should feel bad for being a Serb.
From my personal experience I would say the text on Serbia is pretty much true, and would like to invite all the haters to come and face their fears, as hate is likely to be rooted in some sort of fear.
Greetings from Serbia
Thank you, Jovan.
Great article as always Justin, as you know I’m half Bosnian and half Serbian and I believe like Jovan in Tito’s old paradigm of “burying the hatchet” and trying to all get along, as we are all South Slavs in the end. Jugo = South & Slavia = Land of Slavs
I feel an affinity to all slavs, not only my ethno cultural kin from the south, but the Eastern and Western slavs too. I “hate” none of them. As you know I’m currently in Ukraine and now the two great eastern slav countries (Russia and Ukraine) here are fighting in the East of Ukraine. It really makes my heart sink that things have become the way they are here. As when I was in Western Ukraine you could speak Russian or Ukrainian and no one thought anything of it, but if, here in Donetsk Oblast, you where to say “Dyakuyu” rather than “Spasiba” or “Dopo Bachenye” rather than “Dasvidanya” you would get some weird looks or even maybe cause a lot of trouble for yourself….get abused or even beat up possibly…
We lie to deceive ourselves, to console others, we lie for mercy, we lie to fight fear, to encourage ourselves, to hide our and somebody else’s misery – Dobrica Cosic
…and after the deception, the consolation, the lies for mercy, the fear and hiding misery, there is only one truth, that is to bury the hatchet and move on, that is what Tito always wanted and it worked while he was alive…but that now that metaphotical “hatchet” has been dug up.
I saw Četniks on the news in Crimea last year helping the Russians. My wife is Ukrainian, we don’t hate Russians, we hate Putin…it is ironic that the only Soviet leader to be more cruel to Ukrainians since, Krushchev, Brezhnev, Andropov, Chernenko and Gorbachev was Stalin…