As the Nobel Prize Committee was handing over the prize in literature to Peter Handke, several hundred mostly Bosnians gathered in central Stockholm on Tuesday late afternoon to raise their voice against the decision to award the Austrian writer, known for his controversial stances on the 1992-95 Bosnian war, N1 reported live from the Sweden's capital.
“They killed several thousands of our children in Srebrenica in three days. More than 5,000 of our children who had watched their mothers and fathers being taken away feel no hatred today. They don't seek revenge. They got educated, they speak several languages. They're the best children, our children from Bosnia and Herzegovina. They're the pride and victory of the mothers who survived genocide,” said Munira Subasic, a representative of the Mothers of Srebrenica association, addressing the crowd in Stockholm.
Srebrenica victims' association were amongst the first to raise their voice against the Nobel Prize for Handke, the writer known for his controversial stances on the events from the early 1990s in former Yugoslavia and supporting Slobodan Milosevic, the late Serbian nationalist leader who died in 2006 in detention while awaiting trial at the UN war crimes tribunal in the Hague for his role in the 1990s wars in the Balkans. Handke spoke at Milosevic’s funeral.
Additionally, a feature published by 'The Guardian' in 1999 carried Handke's words saying that Muslims had staged their own massacres in Sarajevo and that he did not believe the Serb troops killed thousands of Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica in 1995.
The Academy, however, rejected the criticism, with the Academy’s head Mats Malm saying that, while it is true that Handke had made provocative statements on political issues, the author had never glorified bloodshed.
“The Academy ... has not found anything in his writing that constitutes an attack on civil society or on the respect for the equality of all people,” Malm wrote.
Handke refused to answer questions about his views of Milosevic at a news conference held in Stockholm last Friday.
The award ceremony was boycotted by Bosnia, Croatia, Kosovo, Albania and Turkey.