Remembering the other victims of terror
Comments on this post are now closed (the comments section on previous and future posts remain open). Unfortunately, one of our serious, right-wing bigots - jeff (or Jeff G*** - name removed at the request of another innocent person bearing this name - as he is known in Edmonton) - has decided that this is the appropriate place to post anti-Muslim diatriabes and lies. Well, he's had his free speech. I've tolerated him and his filth for three days. I will no longer tolerate someone who appears to condone murder and repression simply because the victims are not Christians. Read the comments and judge for yourself. If you think I'm out of line, let me know. If Mr. G*** would like to continue to spew this garbage, he can start his own blog.
While London bravely recovers from the July 7th attack on the tube, it is appropriate that we remember that terror and terrorism take many forms and doesn't discriminate. So while some pundits are ready to blame Islam and Muslims for terrorism in general, let us reflect on this day:
July 11, 1995, in Srebrenica, Bosnia, more than 7,000 unarmed Muslim men where murdered in cold blood by Serbian paramilitaries under the command of General Radko Mladic and by the orders of Radovan Karadzic and problably then-Serbian President Slovodan Milosovic, who is currently standing trial in the Hague for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Mladic and Karadzic are still at large somewhere in the Serb areas of Bosnia.
The 7,000 were not combatants. They were the innocent men - brothers, fathers and grandfathers, all aged 12 to 77 - that had fled to this so-called 'UN Safe Zone' with their families in an effort to avoid the atrocities and ethnic cleansing occurring in Bosnia. In the days preceding the massacre, Srebrenica was surrounded and shelled by the Serbs. The small contingent of of Dutch peacekeepers are threatened with death and the slaughter of the those Muslims already in Serb hands. Lightly armed and getting little or no support from the UN HQ (an airstrike was delayed by 4 to 6 hours because the Dutch commander filled out the wrong form when making the request), the greatly out-gunned and outnumbered Dutch relented, and tried as best they could to rescue people and to simply bear witness for the future (counting buses carrying the Muslim men away, counting the dead in the hills after the Serbs shelled refugees as they tried to escape).
These people were killed because of ethnic hatred and as a message to the rest of the Muslims in Bosnia. These horrendous deaths are as much an act of terrorism against the Muslims of Bosnia (and Europe) as subway bombs or airplanes flying into buildings. Remember, terrorism isn't a following of one particular people or religion, it is a cold military tactic: kill or maim innocent people, randomly or indiscriminately, for political ends.
Today as we search for answers in London and elsewhere, let us honour the memory or innocent people - European Muslims, trying to simply live and raise families in peace - who also paid the price of terrorism and religious and ethnic hatred. Let us not, in our anger and grief, forget them or let complacency and narrow minded thinking allow such an outrage to happen again.