Intellectuals, associations: Karadzic should be remembered for evil deeds only

NEWS 29.01.2020 15:37
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Source: Peter Dejong/Pool via REUTERS

The only thing that matter about convicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic and he should be remembered for are his evil deeds and the invention of tertiary mass graves, said an open letter published by Advisory Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in response to the book by American author Jessica Stern which, according to the signatories of this letter, portrays Karadzic in a completely wrong manner.

As they underlined, the letter is written on behalf of the Bosnian-American community, friends of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the organisations and individuals who “firmly believe that genocide, and the war criminals who orchestrated such heinous acts should not be romanticized in any way.”

The New York Times recently published an excerpt from the book titled ‘My War Criminal: Personal Encounters with an Architect of Genocide’, which sparked a storm of reactions mostly for the way in which Karadzic was presented by the author. 

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In her book, Stern portrays Karadzic as a healer and hero, which the signatories of the open letter find wrong, and not only that.

“Throughout the book, Dr Stern bestows upon Karadzic otherworldly-like qualities such as that of a mythical healer and hero, often writing about his good looks and height – “tall and handsome, with flowing brown hair. A Byronic figure.” By presenting the convicted mastermind behind the Bosnian Serb policy of genocide, ethnic cleansing, torture, and rape in an Adonis-like manner, Dr Stern empowers Karadzic and gives him a platform to once again deny established facts about his crimes,” said the letter, signed by representatives of victims’ associations, intellectuals and activists.

The book reveals more about Stern than her study, they said, adding that the American author's work “seriously questions the academic nature of her work.

“Her work reveals an author grossly uninterested in the horror that Karadžić unleashed on Bosniaks and BiH (Bosnia and Herzegovina). Because innocent men, women, and children were raped and murdered by Karadžić’s underlings, the author makes her readers believe that somehow this exonerates him of his crimes,” they underlined.

Urging the institutions to reconsider any plans to promote Stern's “hagiography of the convicted war criminal,” the signatories of the letter said that Karadzic should be only remembered for the invention of tertiary mass graves and his evil deeds.

“Instead of unequivocally standing with the victims of Karadžić’s crimes, Dr. Jessica Stern decided to stand in the ranks of genocide sceptics and deniers, and individuals who spread dangerous Islamophobic hatred – the very hatred that Karadžić used to mobilize the perpetrators of genocide,” they underlined.

The open note was signed by Ajla Delkic, President of the Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ida Sefer, President of Bosnian-American Genocide Institute and Education Centre, Tanya Domi, international relations professor at Columbia University, Mustafa Ceric, Grand Mufti Emeritus of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Munira Subasic, Head of ‘Mothers of Srebrenica and Zepa Enclaves’ Association, Waqar Azmi, Chairman of Remembering Srebrenica, UK, Hariz Halilovich, genocide scholar at RMIT University, Emir Suljagic, Srebrenica Memorial Centre Director, Reuf Bajrovic, US-Europe Alliance Co-Chairman, Metodija Koloski, President of United Macedonian Diaspora, and Murat Tahirovic, head of the Victims and Witnesses of Genocide Association.