I wanted to share with you a response I received today to my call on behalf of women in black and our obligations as human beings and a global community as it concerns genocide and specifically Srebrenica. (Please see below).
Please don’t forget to send your responses and statements of solidarity – however brief they may be – as soon as you can to:firstname.lastname@example.org
(And if you didn’t see it before, the letter on behalf of Women in Black and the call for messages of solidarity is attached)
In response to the letter of Professor Christina Morus on behalf of Women in Black, Serbia:
As the son of one who escaped the Nazi genocide 70 years ago, I must respond to the demand of “Never Again,” which must be applied to all victims of genocidal acts, Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, Jews and any others. What often occurs after such acts is that the perpetrators (and their audience of support – usually co-ethnics of the perpetrators themselves) pretend that the mass murders never took place – thus perhaps with the intention of holding open the hope for a repetition. Nazi Holocaust deniers are the best known examples of this phenomenon, but not alone: many of the Japanese ruling classes still pretend Nanjing never happened, not to mention other wartime atrocities; Turks still officially cannot admit to the Armenian genocide; and much more recently, a large fraction of Serbs pretend that Srebrenica never happened.
But Srebrenica did happen and some of the criminal participants may well be among those who, in cowardly fashion, scream obscenities at and even threaten the brave Serbs, mostly women, who are the conscience and the redemption of their nation – those who put their own safety on the line to remind their fellow citizens of a collective culpability and to help assure that such atrocities will not happen again.
But they likely will happen again, unless the international community takes far more responsibility for rapid action when genocidal acts threaten in the world. NATO bears a full measure of responsibility for Srebrenica, having offered a false safe haven to the eventual victims. The Dutch have apologized and have expressed regret, but a formal admission of weakness, guilt, and failure from NATO – which did not provide Dutch forces with sufficient weaponry to prevent the massacre – is required for that organization to regain its honor and credibility. Then, the question of restitution to the victims’ families must be addressed and satisfied – this is at least as important in rendering justice as is the Hague Tribunal.
The United Nations also has been guilty of hesitancy that led to genocide, and on more than one occasion. For example, in Rwanda, the UN lacked the courage or the sense to shut down inflammatory racist radio broadcasts that helped stimulate and even enabled the genocide there. Regrets were expressed years later – even the President of the United States later expressed regret for not intervening – but a system of accountability must be established in that international body as well as in NATO and in every other regional security association (ASEAN, for example) to provide ironclad assurances that genocidal acts will not be tolerated— indeed, will be actively prevented – by regional and world security groupings.
Christina M. Morus, PhD
2009 Fulbright Scholar, Serbia
Assistant Professor of Comparative Genocide & Rhetorical Studies
Division of Arts & Humanities
The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey
Pomona, NJ 08240