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Dr. Death, Karadzic, finally brought to justice.
While watching the trial of Karadzic, let’s not forget the victims of genocide
By Aladdin Elaasar – (New York City, NY) Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic has long been one of the most wanted men in the world. The notorious Karadzic, also dubbed as Dr. Death, was accused of leading the slaughter of thousands of Bosniaks and Croats, and twice been indicted by the United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague. The UN estimates that his forces killed at least 7,500 Muslim men and boys from Srebrenica in July 1995, as part of a campaign to “terrorize and demoralize the Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Croat population”.
During Bosnia’s bitter and bloody war, Srebrenica was declared a United Nations protected safe haven. But in July 1995, Serb troops entered the town and over the following days, thousands of Muslim men and boys were killed. Srebrenica witnessed the worst single atrocity in Europe since World War II.
“The mind of Srebrenica was destroyed. The intellectuals were killed: 200 teachers, engineers, doctors. It can’t recover without people,” says Fadila Efendic who lost her son, her husband, in the massacre 10 years ago. “I don’t have a future. I only have a past. But I still think the town has a future, maybe in 70 years…
There is only one mosque in Srebrenica now. Before the war, there were five. There were also around 27,000 Muslims living in the town and its many outlying areas. Now they number just 4,000, among them 73-year-old Sija Mustafic, who lost her husband and one of her sons. One by one, she points to the empty houses around hers, where other Muslims once lived. “They simply attacked the village and killed them all. The attackers were our neighbors, our contemporaries, from Srebrenica. My father and brother were killed and my uncle, all on the same day.”
After the death of former Yugoslavia’s strongman and the end of the cold war, Karadzic’s party, supported by another war criminal, Slobodan Milosevic organized Serbs to fight against the Bosniaks and Croats in Bosnia. A vicious war ensued, in which Serbs besieged Sarajevo for 43 months, shelling and terrorizing the Bosnians civilian population with relentless bombardment and sniper fire. Thousands of civilians died, many of them deliberately targeted.
Bosnian Serb forces – assisted by paramilitaries from Serbia proper – also expelled hundreds of thousands of Bosniaks and Croats from their homes in a brutal campaign of “ethnic cleansing”. Numerous atrocities were documented, including the widespread rape of Bosniak women and girls. Reporters also discovered Bosnian Serb punishment camps, where prisoners-of-war were starved and tortured. The terrible ethnic cleansing machine involved thousands of paramilitary troops, party members and even some of the civilian Serbian population. Karadzic, who was a psychiatrist, ironically sworn to care for patients, personally oversaw and masterminded the massacres, and used his knowledge to wage a psychological warfare to terrorize the Bosnian population and establish Greater Serbia!
What Karadzic has in common with other war criminals is the total lack of respect to the sanctity oh human life. As a power hungry demagogue, he would say and do whatever it takes to boost his popularity and ego, in the usual hyper nationalistic hysterical climate. It’s all too familiar in the Middle East, Arab countries and Third World Countries. Similarities can be even found in some rightist Western movements and parties.
As humanity, we seem that we have not learned the lessons from the Holocaust. Neo- Nazis and Fascist groups are all over. Demagogues like Ahmedinajad of Iran, Gaddafi of Libya, Castro of Cuba, Assad of Syria, Saddam of Iraq, Nasser and Mubarak of Egypt, Basheer of Sudan, Suharto of Indonesia, Pinochet of Chile, Chaves of Venezuela, Ismail Hannyieh of Hamas and Hassan Nassrallah of Hezbollah have enjoyed popularity playing on national pride and emotions while leading their countries into the abyss. There should be no tolerance to human rights abuses. War criminals and ruthless dictators should be brought to justice regardless of political considerations or interests. It should be Never Again, Never Again; otherwise nobody is safe.
(Aladdin Elaasar is an award winning Arab American journalist and author of several books including “Silent Victims: The plight of Arabs and Muslims in Post 9/11 America.” Elaasar is also a member of the National Arab American Journalists Association.)
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Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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