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GENOCIDE ON THE RIVER DRINA (NA DRINI GENOCID)

June 16, 2009

In her latest book, “Na Drini Genocid” (Genocide on the River Drina), Edina Becirevic contends that genocide against Bosniaks was committed not only in Srebrenica, but in the eastern Bosnian towns of Zvornik, Vlasenica, Bratunac, Rogatica, Foca and Visegrad.

Nidžara Ahmetašević, Sarajevo – “Denying genocide is almost a certain sign that a country that has committed one has not gone through an awakening, which means that a danger of repeating genocide still exists.”

Such is one of the uncomfortable conclusions of this book by Edina Becirevic, noting the fact that the reality of genocide is still denied in those very regions of Bosnia where it was committed and where most people were killed in the war.

Her book, an adapted doctoral dissertation, sets out convincing evidence that genocide was committed against Bosniaks in eastern Bosnia in 1992 and 1993. By presenting hard facts, she confronts all those who claim that only the mass murders committed in Srebrenica in July 1995 can be considered genocide.

Becirevic gives an overview of genocide history, touching on the destruction of the city of Troy, the wars of Jingis Khan, the medieval Church’s crusades, the Nazi Holocaust and the slaughter in Rwanda in 1994. To prove that genocide was committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992 and 1993, Becirevic refers to a number of key documents of the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal, ICTY, and testimonies given before the tribunal, as well as other documents pertaining to the establishment of the Republika Srpska and the connections between the Republic of Serbia and the territory controlled by the Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic during the war.

She contends that genocide was committed not only in Srebrenica, but in the eastern Bosnian towns of Zvornik, Vlasenica, Bratunac, Rogatica, Foca and Visegrad.

“The genocide methods were identical in each of these towns and villages,” Becirevic writes, mentioning that the places were first shelled, weapons confiscated from Bosniak citizens, and then civilians deported, detained in camps, or killed.

“A genocide is characterized by the lack of sanctions, but it often also refers to the international community, which frequently becomes an accessory in genocide by taking a role of a passive observer,” the author asserts.

Becirevic, who teaches at Sarajevo University but has also worked as a journalist for years, manages to elaborate an extremely difficult topic in a way that is highly readable. Her literary skills make it possible to read this book almost as if it was a bestseller.

By advancing convincing arguments and drawing on a deep knowledge of genocide theory, Becirevic will surely persuade most unbiased readers of the validity of her thesis. In doing so, she calls on a number of interviews with survivors or witnesses who used to live in the towns she wrote about.

The forward, by Professor Robert Donia, recommends the book to “all those who wonder how thousands of common human beings can transform into genocide perpetrators, attacking their former neighbours and friends”.

Becirevic dedicates part of her book to those who helped other people. One interesting example that she cites comes from the village of Rasput Njive, where the local Serbs rescued their Bosniak neighbours.

Years after the end of the war the author interviewed some of those Serbs. Asked why they helped their neighbours, one told her that he did not know why, but he would do the same again if need be.

This book represents a valuable source of information for those researching genocide history and the horrific events that took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region in the early Nineties.

It also contains a wider message for all those pondering human nature in evil times. We must not forget what happened, it says. At the same time, any research into, or mention of, crimes such as genocide, needs to be done carefully and supported by strong arguments.

Autor: Edina Becirevic

Genocide on the River Drina is published by Buybook – Memorija Library, Sarajevo, 2009

Translation from English into Bosnian language follows:

NA DRINI GENOCID

Nidžara Ahmetašević, Sarajevo – “Negiranje genocida je gotovo sigurno znak da narod u čije ime je država počinila genocid nije prošao fazu osvještenja, te da postoji opasnost da se genocid ponovi”, jedan je od zaključaka koje iznosi Edina Bećirević u svojoj knjizi Na Drini genocid (Sarajevo, Buybook, 2009).

Edina Bećirević upozorava i da je negiranje genocida prisutno u Bosni i Hercegovini, i to baš u dijelovima gdje je on i počinjen i gdje je možda najviše žrtava stradalo tokom rata.

U svojoj knjizi, koja je adaptirana doktorska disertacija, autorica dokazuje da je nad Bošnjacima u istočnoj Bosni tokom 1992. i 1993. godine počinjen genocid. Ovom tezom se suprotstavlja onima koji tvrde da se samo masovna ubistva u julu 1995. godine u Srebrenici mogu smatrati genocidom.

Bećirević daje pregled historijata genocida dotičući se i uništenja Troje, ratova koje je vodio Džingis-kan, Križarskih ratova, holokausta i Drugog svjetskog rata, Ruande… Da bi dokazala da je u BiH genocid počinjen tokom 1992. i 1993. godine, na samom početku rata, Bećirević se poziva na niz haških dokumenata i svjedočenja iz Tribunala, ali i dokumenata o osnivanju Republike Srpske, te veze što su u vrijeme rata postojale između Republike Srbije i teritorije koja je bila pod vlašću Radovana Karadžića, kojima uspijeva uvjeriti čitaoca u svoju tezu.

Genocid dokazuje na primjerima gradova iz istočne Bosne – Zvornika, Vlasenice, Bratunca, Rogatice, Foče, Višegrada i Srebrenice. Autorica tvrdi da je priprema medijske scene u istočnoj Bosni počela još 1991. godine.

“Metode genocida bile su identične u svakom od ovih gradova i sela”, piše Bećirević, navodeći da su mjesta prvo granatirana, potom je od Bošnjaka oduzimano oružje, civili su masovno ubijani, protjerani ili zatvoreni u koncentracione logore…

“Genocid karakterizira odsustvo sankcija, ali se to često odnosi i na međunarodnu zajednicu, koja je, kao pasivni promatrač, često saučesnik u genocidu”, navodi se u knjizi.

Dugogodišnja novinarka, danas docentica Univerziteta Sarajevo, Bećirević je uspjela izuzetno tešku temu napisati na način da je laka za čitanje. Njeno spisateljsko umijeće čini da se knjiga čita gotovo kao bestseller.

Uvjerljivim argumentima, izuzetnim poznavanjem same teorije genocida, Bećirević uspijeva čitaoca uvjeriti u svoju tezu. Da bi to uradila, poziva se i na niz intervjua s preživjelim ili svjedocima događaja u gradovima o kojima piše.

Autor predgovora, američki profesor dr. Robert Donia, naglašava da bi ovu knjigu “trebali pročitati svi oni koji se pitaju kako to da se tisuće običnih ljudskih bića mogu preobraziti u počinioce genocida protiv njihovih bivših susjeda i prijatelja”, i to jeste jedan od jako bitnih aspekata ove knjige.

Iako piše o svim užasima počinjenja genocida, Bećirević pronalazi prostor i za ljude koji su pomagali drugima. Jedan od zanimljivih primjera jeste priča iz sela Rasput Njive, u kojem su Srbi spasili svoje komšije Bošnjake. Godinama nakon rata, autorica knjige je pričala sa mještanima Srbima, da bi joj jedan od njih, na pitanje zašto su pomagali komšijama, odgovorio da ne zna zbog čega, ali da se isto desi, uradili bi to ponovo.

Ova knjiga je vrijedan izvor za sve one koji izučavaju povijest genocida, ali i dešavanja s početka devedesetih u BiH i regionu. Također je vrijedna za sve one koji postavljaju pitanja o ljudskoj prirodi u zla vremena. Na Drini genocid šalje poruku da se ne smije zaboraviti ono što se desilo, ali da se izučavanju, ali i samom spominjanju zločina kakav je genocid, mora pristupiti pažljivo, s puno argumenata i uz puno poštovanja prema žrtvama.

Autor: Edina Bećirević

Naslov: Na Drini genocid

Izdavač: Buybook – biblioteka Memorija, Sarajevo, 2009.

  1. Frendica
    June 16, 2009 at 11:43 am

    Sad sad sad.

  2. Anonymous
    June 20, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    The most important thing about this issue is that it was a genocide against BOSNIAKS, not citizens of Srebrenica.

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