Friday, January 27, 2006

AI, UPI and "job cleansing"

Amnesty International warned this week that ethnic discrimination in employment is still a problem in Bosnia. Specifically, the advocacy group said, the issue of unlawful terminations in 1992 prevents many people from returning to their homes and resuming their lives.

AI names both the Serb Republic and the Muslim-Croat Federation as culprits, saying that neither have done much to resolve the problem. But to hear United Press International (UPI) tell the story, AI has placed the blame squarely on the Serbs, who "block Muslims" from returning home and to work (see here).

I can see how it happened. The UPI story quotes this part of the AI statement: "Discriminatory dismissals were in many cases the first step in aggressive campaigns of 'ethnic cleansing'....which included killings, forcible transfers and deportations." So, since everybody knows that only Serbs engaged in "ethnic cleansing" and that Muslims were solely their innocent victims...

The truth, of course, is rather different. I know it from personal experience. In those chaotic early months of the war, every side was systematically purging "undesirables" from all public posts. The Muslim regime in Sarajevo kept some Serbs and Croats around for propaganda purposes, but they had no actual authority. After establishing the perception of "multi-cultural, tolerant" Muslims being victimized by "racist, genocidal" Serbs, Izetbegovic purged even those token infidels from his government.

While the media and "human rights" groups often cry crocodile tears about the refugee returns in the Serb Republic, the fact that Muslim and Croat parts of Bosnia are conspicuously devoid of Serbs even now, ten years after the war's end, is often ignored completely. After all, everybody knows...

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