Srebrenica Genocide Denier and Milosevic’s Darling Kicked from French Theatre
… and then Awarded $50,000 EURO Literary Price – guess where? – in Germany (country with rich Nazi past, never-ending Holocaust denial, incurable Anti Semitism & Islamophobism). To award Srebrenica Genocide denier with $50,000 is same as awarding Adolph Hitler with Nobel Prize for Peace.
Peter Handke is controversial because of his pro-Milosevic stance during the Balkan wars, and his support for the Serbian regime. Recently, French national theatre Comédie-Française removed the play “Voyage to the Sonorous Land or the Art of Asking” from its 2007 season lineup, after Handke spoke at the burial of former Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic in March.
Handke, who lives in France, said in an essay in the French newspaper Libération: “Let’s stop laying the massacre … on the backs of the Serbian military and paramilitary. And listen — at last — to the survivors of the Muslim massacres in numerous Serbian villages around Srebrenica.”
By calling the casualties of eleven Serb civilians in Kravice in 1993 a ‘massacre’, the Austrian playwright Peter Handke is trying to justify all the previous and later slaughters of tens of thousands of Bosniak civilians by Serb forces, including the genocide of 8,106 Bosniak civilians in supposedly UN ‘protected’ enclave of Srebrenica. Of course, this is not the first time this Austrian ‘intellectual’ and Srebrenica Genocide Denier has exercised such extreme views and warped logic in his overly pro-Milosevic stances. What Handke, Milosevic’s darling, does not know is that numbers of alleged Serb victims around Srebrenica were extremely inflated by both Serbian media and Srebrenica Genocide deniers and revisionists. Read Myth About Serb Victims Around Srebrenica and Example of Serbian Propaganda: Rade Rogic and the Effect of Imaginary Serb Soldier.
One of Handke’s greatest plays, The Art of Asking was scheduled by the French public theatre company, the Comédie Française.
On April 29, 2006, the daily Libération reported that Marcel Bozonnet had decided to scrap the play after having read a snippet published on April 6, 2006 in the Nouvel Observateur, a weekly magazine published every Thursday. The snippet called a sifflet (a “whistle”) — by the journalist Ruth Valentini read:
Peter Handke in Pozarevac
“I am happy to be close to Slobodan Milosevic, who has defended his people,” said — in Serb — Peter Handke on March 18 on Liberation Square, in Pozarevac. The guest flaunted his grief along with 20,000 fanatics. Loyal to the “Butcher of the Balkans” and to his own revisionist position, the Austrian writer, author of Justice for Serbia, had come as a “truth seeker.” Thus Handke, for whom “to be pro-Serb is a honorific title,” persists in his defense of “Slobo,” considers that the Serbs are “the real victims of the war,” approves the Srebrenica massacre and other crimes done in the name of ethnic cleansing. Waving the Serbian flag, squeezing forward to touch the hearse and lay his red rose, Handke looks a sorry sight. With his tribute to the despot, the poet has definitively dug the grave of his lost honor.
Deeply disturbed by Valentini’s report, the general administrator reached the conclusion that his personal conscience could not allow him to let Handke’s play be shown at the Comédie Française. He scrapped the play. It was a “personal decision,” said Bozonnet.
Handke, who reduced himself to being Srebrenica Genocide denier, said he was “disgusted” with the decision by company administrator Marcel Bozonnet to pull the play, while Bozonnet shot back that he has been scandalized by the playwright’s eulogy at Milosevic’s graveside. “For my soul and my conscience it was impossible to welcome this person into my theatre,” Bozonnet told a press conference, adding that to host someone’s work in the theatre was “an act of recognition, of love.”
“For three weeks . . . I have been plunged back into the horror of ethnic cleansing,” Bozonnet said as he confirmed that Handke’s Voyage to the Sonorous Land or the Art of Asking would not be staged in January.
Bozonnet took the decision after reading reports about Milosevic’s funeral in Serbia on March 18 at which Handke, 63, gave a eulogy saying he was “happy to be beside Slobodan Milosevic, a man who defended his people.” One wonders who did Milosevic defend his people from when he was the one destroying them?
Bozonnet, who has held the post since 2001 and is hoping to win a second and final term as theatre administrator, denied his decision amounted to censorship.
“This is not censorship. It is one theatre director who has decided not to put on a play, but all the others can stage it. [Handke] is allowed a lot of freedom, so give me some too,” he added.
In his article in Liberation Mr Handke goes on to write: “Let us stop comparing Slobodan Milosevic with Hitler. Let us stop drawing parallels between him and his wife Mira Markovic on one hand, and the Romanian dictator Ceausescu and his wife Elena on the other. And let’s stop calling camps established during the secessionist war in Yugoslavia, concentration camps.”
Those who, unlike Handke, were eyewitnesses to the horrors of Serbian concentration camps in Bosnia, like an American journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner, Roy Gutman, called these camps concentration camps and death camps.
Following his warped logic, Handke appealed to the wider public to stop making connection between Serbian military and paramilitary forces and slaughters of innocent civilians in Bosnia, including the most notorious one in Srebrenica, where at least 8000 Bosniak civilians, were killed by regular Serb forces under the command of Ratko Mladic.
Bozonnet gave a press conference on May 4, 2006 to expand on his decision:
For three weeks, I reviewed European history, from 1990 to date. I reviewed this terrible film! I reviewed it in my mind, ladies and gentlemen! I plunged back in this horror that ethnic cleansing was, the planning of these facts, of these crimes. I learned about all that Peter Handke had said, which I did not know . . . . I was scandalized by what Peter Handke said. In part I knew it but I did not know the extent: the work of historians systematically questioned, of war correspondents, of your papers, ladies and gentlemen, that have admirably informed us for years, that thanks to their work, their courage, pierced the wall of indifference. This is I found out what Peter Handke ridiculed….These are no longer suppositions, one cannot doubt Milosevic’s actions….it’s unbelievable, he does not know where is the world, he does not know where is the truth, he does not know where is history, he does not believe in the accounts from witnesses: that’s what he said on Milosevic’s grave!
Peter Handke was awarded the city of Düsseldorf’s Heine Prize for literature. The Heine Prize, endowed for 50,000 euros ($64,000), is one of the three highest-paying literature prizes in – guess where? – Germany, country with rich nazi past and never-ending Hitler supremacist nostalgia among young and old. The jury said Handke — like Heinrich Heine, the German poet after whom the prize is named — obstinately follows the way to an “open truth.” He puts forth his own poetic world view, in contrast to broader public opinion, they said.
The prize will be awared on Dec. 13.