Bosnia Solidarity Campaign

Chris Burford cburford at
Mon Aug 14 07:50:41 MDT 1995

Bosnia Solidarity Campaign

Yesterday, Sunday, I passed Trafalgar Square where a rally for
Islam had been called. It was perhaps full to only a quarter of
its capacity.

Outside Downing Street there was a small non-religious picket about
Bosnia. I extract from a leaflet:


To Support Multi-Ethnic Bosnia Herzegovina is to Build
the Fight Against Fascism in Europe.

"The fall of Srebrencia to the Serbian Chetnik forces under the
command of General Mladic shocked and saddened thousands of people
throughout Europe and the world. Most people thought that this and other
towns, like Zepa, Bihac and Gorazde were safe in UN hands! And if
anyone had doubted that genocide was being perpetrated against the
people of Bosnia-Herzegovina, these doubts were tragically ended with
TV pictures and eye-witness accounts of the barbarism in Srebrenica."

The Chetnik forces rampaged like wild beasts raping women and young
girls, maiming boys. Now we are hearing the reasons why observers were
kept away from the Srebrenica stadium - thousands of men and boys
herded together and massacred in small groups by murderous machine
gunners and then buried in a mass grave.

This genocide is the main part of the evil plan of Greater Serbian
Nationalists led by Milosevic and Karadic to create a nation for only
Serbs and therefore exterminate Muslims and all those who uphold the
principles of a multi-cultural society. "

The leaflet goes on to accuse the main western governments and the media
with complicity in a strategy that would destroy the multi-ethnic state
and leave muslims in a small area, or allow them to be exterminated. It

"We should not be surprised. This is a government which has racist
asylum laws, keeps asylum seekers locked up for years without even a
hearing; puts thousands of people out of work and forces thousands
of young people onto the streets; breaks up the National Health Service
and state education. Even worse, apart from a few notable exceptions,
so-called Labour party - the loyal Tony Blair opposition has supported
the policy of the government of John Major and Douglas Hurd on Bosnia
from the beginning.

That is why we have a Non-stop picket. We are all Bosnians! Like the
Bosnians we want a multi-ethnic society. We salute their intransigent
fight against fascism. We do not support the British government,
the United Nations and we do not accept that their policies represent
the majority of ordinary people. We support multi-ethnic Bosnia-
Herzegovina as the fight against fascism in Europe.




I do not think the population movements forced by terror ("ethnic
cleansing") is necessarily "genocide", though both sides feel this is
the case. At first reading I thought this leaflet was wrong on this
point, but considering the treatment of the muslims so far, and the
implications on both sides that if they are to be left any land it
will be a ghetto, then we might be only a certain distance away from
genocide. After all the Nazi "final solution" policy was taken only in
in 1942.

I don't think the leaflet is right in lumping together Milosevic and
Karadic. I think Karadic is a leader of Greater Serb Nationalism. I think
Milosevic opportunistically played with it in the later 80's to get
elected, and now under pressure of sanctions, is distancing himself
from people like Karadic and Martic, realising they have little mileage.

I am not sure I would call for the UN to get out, but completely to
change the basis of its intervention to one of conflict management and
conflict reduction.

That said, the leaflet seems to me to make a case that should be
supported by marxists in word and deed, apart perhaps from some of the
imagery, which is understandable enough.

I would ask posters to say what is unmarxist about it.

Chris Burford, London.

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