Bosnia again

Jukka Laari jlaari at kanto.cc.jyu.fi
Thu Jul 20 12:36:53 MDT 1995


Discussion on Bosnia made me feel uneasy. I don't know what to say...

I remember that perhaps the highest ranking religious leader in Istanbul
was very disappointed and pessimistic (that was first war spring), when
the first Bosnian muslims had fleed to Istanbul. He was very polite and
careful about what he was saying, but the message was: western world
don't care because it's muslims, not christians, who suffer. Now - after
we've learned about 'ethnic cleansing', all that's included in it, and
the reactions of the west - it seems that his pessimism was realism.
Unfortunately. Of course there's nothing new, think about eastern Timor
or Kurdistan... The same helpless feeling again - right from the start
western countries have acted in a way, that has one-sidedly helped
Serbs, as Rony Brauman thinks. Brauman was a leader of humanitarian
'Medecins sans Frontieres' organization until he quit in 1994.

That Brauman guy has some very interesting ideas on modern war and
representation of it in media: all seems to become one continuing
disaster in media, misery and overpopulation as well as war and famine.
And that disaster is (always?) a question of third world. Ergo: it
doesn't concern us, after all.

Brauman didn't sent MSF to Bosnia in 1992. There was enough food and
medicine in Bosnia at that time. He thought that humanitarian help was a
way to avoid the responsibility (to give military and political help to
the government of Bosnia).

I'm afraid that it is too late to do much anymore. The most powerful
western countries can't make clear decisions (to get rid off arms embargo
and, perhaps, to deliver concrete help to Bosnian government). There are
no powerful civic movements in west that could push their governments to
action. The war has continued so long that bad news from Bosnia doesn't
affect people anymore, it's just another media happening. It seems that
acts of western governments have been interpreted as one, continuing
green light by Serbs.

I believe that one important 'factor' is the lack of pro-Bosnia
movements. That is a sign to politicians that citizens don't care about
Bosnia, therefore politicians are afraid to take clear positions - it's
reckless to sent own men to Bosnia to die either as UN peace troops or
as allays of Bosnian government troops. Result would be that they won't
be re-elected. Situation would be different if people go out to the
streets...?

Jukka Laari


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