Tomorrow, the 9th of January, the Bosnian Serb Republic or Republika Srpska – the half of Bosnia that was awarded to the Serb aggressors in the Bosnian conflict – celebrates its foundation. It was twenty-two years ago that the Republika srpskog naroda Bosne i Hercegovine (Republic of the Serb People of Bosnia and Herzegovina) was proclaimed to be part of ‘Yugoslavia’.
But there is nothing to celebrate.
Apologists for the murder and destruction carried out in Bosnia revel in the false legitimacy accorded to Republika Srpksa by the Dayton peace agreement. They take advantage of its de facto status to demand recognition and respect.
I do not, however, have any respect for genocide denial. I do not recognise a political entity that was founded with the intent of annexing parts of Bosnia to create an ethnically pure Greater Serbia.
Some Serbs disingenuously argue that Republika Srpska cannot have been founded on genocide because it was proclaimed prior to the beginning of the war. This is akin to someone arguing that the Third Reich wasn’t founded on genocide because its inception was before the Nazis herded millions of Jews (and others) into concentration camps and exterminated them. Many Serbs also note that there is no evidence for genocide. This is, of course, complete poppycock and ranks amongst the most ludicrous of conspiracy theories.
The victims of the Srebrenica genocide, for example, have been painstakingly individually identified using DNA. The same processes continue to be used even now, so many years later, as more victims are unearthed in places such as Tomasica (pictured above). I shouldn’t have to even mention this evidence. Tomasica is recent news, not some event of generations ago. Our recognition of the genocide that occurred in Bosnia should be as commonplace as the recognition of the Holocaust or Shoah last century.
The reality, of course, is not as it should be. Tomorrow’s anniversary recognises a political entity that was not only founded on genocide but which continues to this day to deny the genocide even happened. So, tomorrow, please join me in remembering the victims of Republika Srpska. Stand in solidarity with the families of those who perished. There will be no genuine peace or justice in Bosnia while genocide denial is not only countenanced but propagated by those in leadership roles.
This is my ‘postcard’ to the world. What message will you send? Tomorrow, will you celebrate or will you mourn?
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord….