Friday, July 28, 2006

Arts & Culture: Bosnia Film Retrospective

An article that provides overview of a history of Bosnian film. I hate to admit it, but I'm mostly familiar with Bosnian films about the war; and certainly films & documents on the war are an important part of Bosnian cinema. I would like to see some earlier films though, particularly the "red kitsch" era films and Kusturica films; partially because of the constroversy surrounding him, partially because he and his films have become so identified with the region and he is one of the legends of film & culture in the Balkans.

Bosnia Films


Srebrenica Massacre said...

Hi Shaina,
I left you two comments on your blog, you can find them here

Also, check this out, Bosnia is featured on Yahoo! Adventures, here is the link:

Srebrenica Massacre said...

Hi again,

I have put your name is "Special Thanks To..." section. Owen does not have a blog, so I put a link to his profile. And I also put link to your profile. If you would like me to put link to your blog instead, please let me know!

Thank you!

Srebrenica Massacre said...

Your argument is flawed, quote:

"It must be understood that all sides in the war committed war crimes, and that people of all ethnicities suffered greatly (and still continue to suffer) as a result of the war. Bosnian Serb civilians were without a doubt, victims of war crimes & murder in the Srebrenica area. To deny that the Srebrenica Commander, individual soldiers or at times individual civilians committed war crimes & atrocities and to deny the very real suffering of Bosnian Serbs in the Srebrenica area is a denial of an historic truth."

First of all, Serb civilians did not suffer greatly in the Srebrenica area; that is simply not true. Around 400 Serbs died in the Srebrenica area, 300 of them soldiers. Another 100 civilians died as a result of counter-defensive operations led by Naser Oric.

How can you say that Serb civilians suffered greatly, when on one side you had 30,000 Bosniaks starving in Srebrenica (under siege) and another 8,100 Bosniaks slaughtered in Srebrenica? How can you compare 100 with 8,100?

Shaina said...

First of all, thanks for your comments.
Secondly, yes-please put a direct link to my blog thanks.

I wasn't trying to compare the losses of the Bosniaks as a community, with the losses of the Bosnian Serbs, as a community.
Nor was I trying to compare the culpability of the Bosnian Serb Army to the 28th Division.
In fact, the entire point of Essay III was to do the opposite (and perhaps I could have done a better job with that). To combat the claim by revisionists that massive war crimes caused Mladic to attack the enclave; and the claim by revisionists that the crimes committed by the 28th division were equvalent to the crimes committed by Mladic in 1995.

In essay II I have tried to point out that before any Bosniak counteroffensive or war crimes took place, there was a massive ethnic cleansing campaign against them. And that the UN in their report said ethnic cleansing was a form of genocide.

In essay III I have tried to point out the massive difference between genocide and war crimes.
I have pointed out that any Bosniak war crime was reactive.
I have also pointed out that the attacks/forages into Bosnian Serb villages were a direct result of Mladic purposely starving the enclave. In essay III I have also pointed out the VRS launched a massive siege/atrocities on the people in Srebrenica in 1992-1993.
I have also pointed out that the majority of Bosnian Serb casualties were soldiers.

At the same time, there were Bosnian Serb individuals who suffered in the war, and who were victims of war crimes. As individuals, their suffering should be acknowledged. And all war crimes must be condemned.

Shaina said...

Here is another response: I am posting it because it actually is more eloquent and better thought out than my first response was.

(cross posted by me from my response on the Srebrenica genocide blog)


(very long post ahead)

Before I read this response, I have responded to you on my own blog.
However, Owen has managed to explain my position much more eloquently than I did.

The entire purpose of my article was not to create a sense of moral equvalence between the two "sides". In fact, perhaps ironically, my point was to do the complete opposite.

The first point was to combat the assertion that the genocide was an act of "vengence" for Bosniak war crimes. I tried to do this by noting that Srebrenica was the key piece of land for Greater Serbia; and that even before any Bosniak counteroffensive/and/or/war crimes occurred; there was a massive ethnic cleansing campaign against the Bosniaks in Eastern Bosnia; and that the UN had equated ethnic cleansing with genocide (Essay II). This was to establish several key factors that are ignored by genocide revisionists:

1. That Srebrenica was ALWAYS a target for Mladic; and that he tried to attack the enclave since 1992.

2. In 1992, Bosniaks were already victims of a genocide, all over Bosnia, but with particular brutality in Eastern Bosnia. I also made in clear that it was only thanks to Naser Oric and co. that a massive ethnic cleansing campaign was stopped. And that while Oric is a *very* constroverstrial figure (even amongst Bosniaks who have supported him against the allegations in the Hague) it should be acknowledged that he saved thousands of Bosniak lives in 1992.

The second point of the essays was to specifically combat the claim of moral equvalence between the sides; and to combat the claim frequently leveled by genocide revisionists; that the crimes committed by the 28th division were equvalent to the crimes committed by the VRS troops.

I tried to do this by showing in essay III:

1. The vast difference between war crimes & genocide.

2. The fact that the forages/attacks on Bosnian Serb villages were searches for food-a direct result of Mladic trying to starve the civilian population within Srebrenica.

3. The fact that any 28th division war crimes were re-active, and cannot be compared in terms of calculation, scope etc. to the genocide being perpetrated by the VRS.

4. The horrific conditions within Srebrenica (where I have cited the entire Oric case-which I have actually read most of the transcripts for), the Oric judgment, and individual articles).

5. The military superiority of the Bosnian Serbs.

6. The fact that genocide revisionists have purposely over exaggerated 28th division crimes: ie-over exaggerated death toll, ignoring that most of the Bosnian Serb deceased were soldiers; ignoring attacks being committed out of Bosnian Serb villages.

The lack of a qualifier "some" or "indvidual" before the term, Bosnian Serbs suffered war crimes; was implicit. I probably should have been more explicit and used a qualifier such as "indvidual" in front of the term "Bosnian Serb suffered war crimes." But again, I felt that it was implied. Perhaps, I should have also have explicity stated that the suffering of the two communities, the Bosnian Serbs and Bosniaks, cannot be compared. But the reason I did not explicity state this, is because I felt this was also implied.
This was perhaps an oversight on my part. But the fact that I mentioned that the Bosniaks were being starved, under siege, and faced a "holocaust"-direct quote from Dr. Simon Mardel which I have quoted in my essay, made that point redundant(I felt). It is obvious that trying to starve to death 40,000 civilians is a war crime in an entirely different league than the very worst war crime committed by any Bosniak troop or commander.

Owen has explained my purpose in my headline "War crimes did occur" perfectly.

1st: it is the truth war crimes did occur. The killing of just one civilian is a war crime; and I am sure you will agree, should always be condemned. (And of course there numerous crimes which do not rise to the level of killing, but which are still war crimes) Any individual who suffered from a war crime, has suffered horribly. Their families also suffer-and are most probably still suffering today. My point is that it is important to acknowledge the sufferings of indvidual Bosnian Serbs.

Sheri Fink has written perhaps the definitive book on Srebrenica (at least in English) "War Hospital." More than any other major book on Srebrenica: "Endgame" and "Blood & Vengance", "War Hospital" shows the true horror of life under siege. And much more than "Endgame" or "Blood & Vengance" she has also shown some of the good qualities of divisive figures-like Naser Oric.
In fact, her book was heavily cited by Oric's defense team throughout his entire trial. Because much of the evidence regarding the horrific circumstances in Srebrenica, comes from her book.
Her book talks about (as do other books on Srebrenica as well)that the civilians committed much of the destruction to Bosnian Serb villages, and that the regular Bosnian Army couldn't stop the civilians (which is one of the reasons Oric was acquited for destruction of Serb villages; not because Serb villages were not attacked-but because the trial chamber found, it was impossible for anyone to control thousands of starving people.)
One of the main doctors featured in "War Hospital", Dr. Eric Dachy of MSF (Doctors Without Borders) and a very idealistic and respected humanitarian doctor; actually testified as a witness for Naser Oric. Dr. Dachy testified to the horrific conditions in Srebrenica; and the fact that Oric frequently visited the wounded in the hospital, and that he was always "very kind" to them.
However, Fink, who more than any other book gives a detailed view of life under siege; and Fink whose book was cited by Oric's defense team as evidence, also says unequivocally that some members of the Srebrenica forces committed atrocities and killings against some Bosnian-Serb villagers. It is important to acknowledge all of it.

2nd: The second reason for my title "War Crimes Did occur" was exactly as Owen said. To establish my own credibility in assesing the events of 1992-1993. I can not be seen as credible and objective (and objectivity is completely different than equvalent) in assesing the events of 1992-1993, without first mentioning the fact that all sides committed war crimes.
From that base line assertion, I was able to move on to the main arguments I made in essay III. Which were:

1: Genocide revisionists have greatly embellished Bosniak war crimes to justify Srebrenica.

2: The crimes committed by the VRS cannot compare to the crimes committed by the 28th division. I specifically mentioned the fact that the attacks on Bosnian Serb villages were a direct result of Mladic starving the people of Srebrenica to show this. Obviously, a crime committed as a result of trying to find food after being starved; cannot in any way be compared to a crime committed as a result of a massive ethnic cleansing campaign whose goal is to create an ethnically pure state.

If I did not acknowledge that war crimes occured than I could not be seen as being honest or trustworthy when I go on to list the false arguments by the genocide revisionists.

I enjoy reading your blog, and I hope you have enjoyed, and will continue to enjoy reading my blog. The reason I started posting here in the first place is that your blog was literarly the first blog/opinion site I have found that did not support a genocide denial/revisionist view of Srebrenica-which is rampant on the internet. You are doing important and worthwhile work by fighting genocide denial; and I really do appreciate that.

The very purpose of my blog is to help keep Bosnia in forefront, and to keep combat arguments of moral equvalence that as the UN said (which I did quote in my article)"which for too long has dominanted how people have seen the war in Bosnia." (paraphrase)


Owen said...

We know the evidence of advance planning so the idea that revenge justifies or even partially explains what happened at Srebrenica is not worth bothering with, nor does the idea that the organised killing of 8,100 captives within a few days is comparable to the killing of 100 civilians over years of skirmishing.

But Shaina you are absolutely right to make the point that those Serb civilians lost their lives and at least some were the victims of war crimes. No victim of a war crime deserves to have their fate dismissed as insignificant, however many others may be ranged alongside them.