Sunday, January 20, 2008

Not My Turn To Die: By Savo Heleta

A memoir by Savo Heleta on the siege of Gorazde, the Bosnian war and ultimately, reconciliation.

For more information on Heleta and his book-check out his website, and in particular, this article from the South African Weekly Post


Anonymous said...

On a different topic, Nerma Jelacic has been appointed the new spokesperson for the ICTY.

Daniel (Srebrenica Genocide Blog Editor) said...

Owen... really?

Daniel (Srebrenica Genocide Blog Editor) said...

Actually, his name is SAVO Heleta.

Thank you for putting this piece of garbage as a Serbian propaganda activist against Gorazde people who almost suffered genocide by Serb fascists.

Anonymous said...

Dan, re Nerma Jelacic:

Anonymous said...

Dan, if you've got reasons for challenging Heleta's veracity, tell us what they are.

Shaina said...

Dan, What is your reasoning for calling this book a piece of "Serb propaganda?"
And how exactly is this a book "against Gorazde people?"

Savo said...

Daniel, were you in Gorazde during the war? Were you there to see what happened to the people of Gorazde and also my family? Could you please tell me what really happened, 'cause it looks like you know it.

You haven't read the book, so how do you know that it's propaganda?

This is what Dr. James Lyon from the International Crisis Group had to say about the book after he read it:

"Savo Heleta's account of life in pre-war and war-time Bosnia, and his experiences as a minority Serb in the besieged Muslim enclave of war-time Gorazde is a gripping and compelling story of the nobility of good and the banality of evil. Through the eyes of young Savo we watch the collapse of human moral values under the onslaught of hatred, propaganda, desperation and lies, while also seeing the attempts by some to maintain their humanity in the face of overwhelming odds. It is a fascinating piece of memoir literature from Bosnia that is certain to outrage the reader, while at the same time offering an exciting narrative."

Is the International Crisis Group also a Serbian propaganda machine?

Savo Heleta

Kirk Johnson said...

Daniel, sometimes I'm afraid your (absolutely justifiable) righteous outrage gets the better of you.

Please don't take this as condemnation; but if Bosnia is ever to heal and come together as a viable multiethnic state of equal citizens, Bosniaks like you are going to have to listen to what Serbs like Savo Heleta have to say. His story has value and truth as well.

Daniel (Srebrenica Genocide Blog Editor) said...

Why do you care about his suffering? What about 100,000 Bosniaks who suffered in enclaves around siege? Why are you focusing on 1 Serb? This is ridiculous. This is outrage. Why hasn't he paid respect to genocide victims? Why hasn't he condemned what his people did to us? If "Muslims" threatened to him, so what? You were not in Gorazde under the siege when Serb fascists kept people in one of the biggest concentration camps in Europe - without food, electricity, under constant bombardment. If "Muslims" threatened to him, so what? Put yourself in "Muslim" shoes. At least "Muslims" didn't harm him.

Why do I have to explain myself to these fascists? Why? They should be explaining themselves to me.

Shaina said...

What do you mean by this line?
"You were not in Gorazde under the siege when Serb fascists kept people in one of the biggest concentration camps in Europe - without food, electricity, under constant bombardment?"

Savo was in Gorazde during the siege. He & his family were among the small minority of Bosnian Serbs who remained in Gorazde, and experienced the siege along with their Bosniak neighbors & the thousands of refugees.

Anonymous said...

Dan, we know how far your tolerance has been stretched by the onslaught of propagandists and genocide deniers taking up the Trifunovic cause but think about how you feel being at the receiving end of their sweeping generalisations about Bosniaks.

Savo Heleta deserves to be treated as an individual the same as all of us. Whatever other people have done individuals deserve respect. There are plenty of examples of the way people on all sides behaved bravely and honourably in perilous circumstances -

It's the fact that those individuals behaved as they did and think as they do that tells us that moral choice is possible. That's what underpins the prosecution of genocide.

Alan Jakšić said...

"Please don't take this as condemnation; but if Bosnia is ever to heal and come together as a viable multiethnic state of equal citizens, Bosniaks like you are going to have to listen to what Serbs like Savo Heleta have to say. His story has value and truth as well."


Bosnia's Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats really do have to listen to one another (LISTEN AND NOT JUDGE AND NOT ASSUME). In so doing, this will help restore and develop TRUST between them, something these traumatised nations LOST under such devastating circumstances. They will develop HEALTHIER OPINIONS about people from the other groups, and this will also pave the way to RECONCILIATION, which is what the people of B&H need if they hope for their country to ever move on from the gross war that has given their country such unjust worldwide fame, a process which will not happen over night, of course.

And of course, we shouldn't forget about justice for the victims, who really did lose so much. But for me, that Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks can sit around the same table - or sit in front of their computers like, this via the Internet - and discuss in a cultured fashion without offending one another is a very sweet and beautiful form of JUSTICE. And I'm sure many others will agree.

Kirk, for what you've written above, you should receive the Nobel Peace Prize!

Alan Jakšić said...


People like Shaina really do care about the suffering of other people, WHATEVER their nationality/religion et al.

And try to remember: 1 Serb = 1 Croat = 1 Bosniak = 1 Italian = 1 Hungarian = 1 Frenchman and so on. It's not ridiculous in the least, let alone outrageous. For crying out loud, one Serb, Croat or Bosniak war victim is a tragedy and a massive loss to many, and yet none of them are alone, even if they were alone at the point of death.

You ask "Why hasn't he paid respect to genocide victims?", and you ask it ASSUMING (!!!) that he hasn't!

When you say "genocide victims", I assume (!) that you mean the victims of Srebrenica, the memory of which your blog is dedicated to maintaining, even though the term "genocide victims" can refer to other victims elsewhere.

Well Daniel, I don't know if Savo has or hasn't paid respect to them. Maybe he has privately, in his own personal way. I don't know. You could have invited him to your blog so he could read through your work like I have and give feedback to you. But instead, you've attacked him branding him a "Serbian propaganda activist" and not just that, one "against Gorazde people".

His people are the people of Gorazde. And it looks like you're assuming that whenever Bosnian Serbs speak of their suffering in the past war, it's aimed at diminishing YOURS, as if all they did and can do is hurt others and not be hurt. Assuming, assuming, ASSUMING!

Maybe I'm assuming, but I think this Savo guy is a decent guy, whose family, like so many others throughout your country, went through some kind of hell. Not some cruel, hateful thug in soldier's uniform, who doesn't care about other people's feeling.

All the best Daniel,


Shaina said...

Savo, thanks for coming here to comment. Somewhat off topic, but I've read your articles on Darfur; and I'm very impressed, not only with your knowledge of the region, but your commitment to human rights-across the board.

Anonymous said...

Dan, what Alan says is very wise.

Savo said...

Shaina, if you want to receive an advance copy of my book from my publisher for a review, please email me your address. My email is

Thanks for your comment about my Darfur articles. I'll go to Darfur soon to conduct research in refugee camps.

Alan, thanks a lot for your comment!

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Anonymous said...

Dan, you were right in finidng him suspect. I've been at his blog. He misrepresents the situation about the number of deaths in Kosova (29 May 2008). Writing in 2008 he selectively quotes an article from 1999 to support his case of Western bias. While being careful with his words he manages to get across the message that the number of deaths in Kosova was exaggerated by the Western estimate of 10,000 dead. No reference to the traditional local practice of concealing evidence of dead bodies.

Anonymous said...

For someone who claims respect for RDC and its revision of the figure for the dead in the Bosnian war, it's surprising to find Heleta posting a link at his website to Michael Averko's review at Serbianna that refers to the figure of 3000 Serb dead at Srebrenica that RDC has discredited. No health warning given with the link.

Michael Averko said...

Daniel of the very misinformative "Srebrenica Genocide Blog" once again reveals himself to be a hate mongerer, with a great difficulty to ineteract with others; who he disagrees with.

It's most ironic for him to call others "fascists."

At his site, he posts comments like: "I hate Serbia," while blocking those that take legitimate issue with him.

Owen has done his share of distorting over the course of time. A number of respected analysts (Srdja Trifkovic and James Bisseett among them) have cited Bosnian Civil War related Serb casualties in the Srebrenica area at 3,000 or a little over. In turn, I termed that figure with a "perhaps."

I've my views as do others. In comparison to many others, I think I do a much better job at being even handed.

The same can be said of Savo Heleta's excellent book.

The pro-Bosnian Muslim nationalist/anti-Serb propagandist Marko Attila Hoare questions certain aspects of the RDC Report. He does so in a very dubious way, by suggesting that deaths from disease and starvation aren't included. Really? Bosnia was clearly not a Biafra like situation of noticeable starvation. It didn't have jungle like conditions subject to a greater likelihood of disease outbreak. There's no evidence showing that a significantly greater number of additional deaths (from the now generally accepted 100,000 figure)could've likely resulted from some unknown occurrence of disease and starvation.

Much remains factually unknown on certain specifics pertaining to Bosnian Civil War related casualties.

Kindly provide a conclusively factual (not opinion based) ethnic breakdown of casualties at Srebrenica in terms of

- males and females killed

- how they were killed (whether by summary execuation, collateral damage or as armed combatants)

I never denied that a summary execution of Muslim males took place there and that it's a war crime.

I also know that some Bosnian Muslim nationalists blatantly trumped up casualty figures to get sympathy for their cause. Reference bogus claims of tens of thousands raped and total Bosnian Civil War casualties ranging anywhere from 200,000 and over.

John Epstein said...

Daniel of the Srebrenica Genocide Blog and Marko Attila Hoare are liars.

Daniel (Srebrenica Genocide Blog) said...

Wow. Michael Averko (aka: Mike Averko), discredited Serbian propagandist and a well known Srebrenica genocide denier. You have no credibility to open your mouth, let alone to challenge genocide!

As to your baseless accusations that I "hate Serbia," for your info - I don't. Genocide denying comments are always blocked, I don't need them on Srebrenica Genocide Blog - visited by 20,000 to 40,000 readers monthly.

I am not going to waste my precious time with you and you Serbian war crimes apologists.

Nobody can deny the Srebrenica genocide. It's a fact.

Even the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum recognizes the Srebrenica genocide, watch some videos, educate yourself, maybe you become smarter (but I highly doubt it). Here are the Srebrenica genocide videos by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum:


Michael Averko said...

In point of fact, the very misinformative Daniel of the Srebrenica Genocide Blog is involved with a venue (his blog) which has blocked substantive comments running contrary to his own.

This includes having posted one comment that read as "I hate Serbia." So much for his cyber sewer.

Despite all of his self proclaimed bravado and deceit, Daniel has been unable to successfully refute my fact based observations.

Unlike your truly, Daniel chooses to carry on in a disingenuously sleazy manner, which includes misrepresenting the views of others.

In a reasonably objective and intelligent setting, these points are very clear cut.

So much for his demagoguery.

Daniel (Srebrenica Genocide Blog) said...

Michael Averko (Mike Averko), poor Michael Averko - collumnist. A man without any credibility - discredited by his own filthy genocide denial activism.

QUESTION FOR AVERKO: How do you feel now after the US Holocaust Memorial Museum recognized the Srebrenica genocide? How do you feel now? Did you watch videos published by the USHMM on their web site? Can you deny the Srebrenica genocide now? Michael Averko (Mike Averko), you filthy little genocide denier (smile). You probably don't even have any friends and your parents think you were a mistake. Judging how ugly you look in that photo, you probably aren't even married. You have no life, and you hate Muslims. You showed your full support for Serbian war crimes, rapes, and massacres against the largely unarmed Bosniak (Muslim) civilians. You are also on record as spitting on the victims and survivors of the Srebrenica genocide by denying their suffering. You filthy little rat (smile). But we won, you lost. Opinion is worthless, anybody has it. The Srebrenica genocide is a fact: two highest World courts confirmed it. Even the United States Holocaust Museum recognizes Srebrenica genocide. You cant deny it.

I won't be replying to your further comments as you are not worth my time. You are simply... worthless filthy genocide denier.Here is a background check on Michael Averko (aka: Mike Averko)

In attempting to portray the deaths of 8,000 to 10,000 Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) as an exaggeration or a fabrication, Srebrenica genocide deniers, such as Michael Averko, wildly manipulate geopolitical data, reference works, bedrock historical facts, judicial findings and other sources of information and reportage. Another centerpiece of “revisionist” propaganda attacks the objectivity and legal validity of the International Criminal Tribunal (ICTY) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ), where the general history of the genocide was first established. As such, Michael Averko’s credibility is shattered. Opinion is cheap, everybody has it. Srebrenica genocide is not a matter of anybody’s opinion, it’s a judicial fact.

Srebrenica genocide denier and a collumnist for the Serb-nationalist web site Serbianna, Michael Averko (aka: Mike Averko), has been circulating unsolicited emails trying to discredit a world renowned scholar, Dr Marko Attila Hoare. Apparently, he was upset because Dr Hoare condemned Averko's Srebrenica Genocide denial comments at Global Voices. After embarrassing himself on Global Voices and admitting that he has reduced himself to a Srebrenica genocide denier, he quickly run away to Guardian forums and opened a new topic attempting to rally support from other deniers, revisionists, and conspiracy theorists.

read more:

The Srebrenica Genocide videos by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum are located here:

visegrad92 said...

Please do watch the brilliant documentary called "Na Drini Grobnica" made with help of Slavko Heleta, Savo's father. Savo unfortunately didn't find time to watch the documentary so I recommend it to Savo and everyone else.

p.s. Savo Bosnia is far away but isn't. Let me known what you think of your father's "work".

Dan, don't waste your precious time on a scumbag like mike averko(Bosnian Genocide Deniers don't deserve capital letters).


Michael Averko said...

I take it that the last commenter is a sock puppet or troll of the feeble minded Daniel, who has yet to successfully refute anything that I said.

Whatever the case, that individual is the true "scumbag" unlike yours truly.

Posting expletives alone doesn't win the argument. Likewise with the less than truthful comments said about me in a most demagogic manner.

Marko Attila Hoare carries on like a hypocrite, who doesn't exhibit the spirit of having an earnest dialgoue. This includes him taking pot shots at his blog against others. Yet, in another instance he claims to be against such manner.

I prefer an earnest approach.

Tanya said...

If you "prefer an earnest approach", then you may start the dialogue by recognizing the genocide. Only then you will get respect and be taken more seriously.

Tanya said...

Michael Averko said: "Marko Attila Hoare carries on like a hypocrite, who doesn't exhibit the spirit of having an earnest dialgoue."

Mike, perhaps others would take you more seriously if you would first acknowledge the genocide at Srebrenica? Lead by example. :)

Michael Averko said...

I'm not into simplistic distortions that include some vulgar lying.

Meantime, none of my stated views concerning this issue have yet to be successfully refuted.

I'm taken "seriously" by a good number of intelligent and reasonably objective folks. In a certain sense, your "seriously" point seems to include some of the anti-Serb former Yugoslav nationalists, who've gone out of their way to distort things.

They seem to prefer carte blanche treatment, when it comes to some of their questionably stated views.

I don't take that route.

Michael Averko said...

BTW, note how Carl Bildt didn't get the propagandistic and inaccurate "genocide denier" tag put on him for having recently said things which have the appearance of contradicting the notion of 7,000-10,000 Muslim males being summarily executed at Srebrenica.

Like I said, previously stated Bosnian Civil War figures were later found to be highly inflated. I was among those who correctly surmised this from the get go.

I prefer dealing with reality as opposed to intentionally lie-filled comments, which are intended to disrupt and turn away some otherwise perfectly valid views.

Anonymous said...

I see that Elie Wiesel has dis-associated himself from the disgustingly vulgar pro-Bosniak nationalist stink tank, which the repulsive Daniel Toljaga and Marko Attila Hoare associate with.