Two Letters in Liberal Democrat News - B Gallagher/D Orchard
You will recall a letter I had published in Liberal
Democrat News a few weeks back. A Serb sympathiser
replied, and you can get the gist of what she said
from my published response below. However, not only my
letter was published, but also one from Mr David
Orchard, which is better than mine! Mr Orchard and I
have been in touch and below his letter is an
interesting anecdote regarding Radovan Karadzic. Proof
positive that not everyone in the UK is anti-Croat as
some may think.
Re: The forgotten war, letters, 13 August 2004 Cllr
Peacock implies that I ‘condone’ brutality against
civilians. This is quite unjustified, and cannot go
Roy Gutman, the Pulitzer Prize winning Newsweek writer
who exposed Serb run concentration camps in Bosnia has
also written on concerns over UN indictments for
Operation Storm - an action certainly not aimed at
civilians. His record on human rights is
Cllr Peacock calls my justification for Operation
Storm - saving Croatia and Bosnia, stopping Milosevic
“astonishing”. Most revealing. Her criticism of
‘condoning brutality’ is perhaps more applicable to
herself. Operation Storm stopped genocide and the
concept of ‘Greater Serbia’, after all.
Croatia and Bosnia had every right to recover their
territory - which the Serbs had murdered over 200, 000
people to occupy. Some abuses did occur, but they were
relatively few and hardly comparable to Serb acts.
The tragic Serb refugee problem is the fault of the
Serb leadership. They have publicly admitted that they
ordered and coerced Serbs out of Croatia. They were
used to fill up Serb held areas in Bosnia and Kosovo.
Given “tolerant” Serbia’s many elected extremists,
worries over minorities is not “prejudice” - but
Advocating a “neutral perspective” sounds reasonable,
but history tells us a “neutral perspective” allows
the Serbs to do as they like - as seen at Srebrenica.
If anyone wants further information on these issues,
please email me.
Brian Gallagher London email@example.com
Frances Peacock (13 August) defends Serbia's behaviour
towards civilians in the 1990s conflicts. But there is
another - and darker - side to the coin.
Two episodes will suffice:
a.. In Vukovar (Croatia) I visited a mass grave of
over 4000 civilians slaughtered by the Serbs in
hospitals and child nurseries in 1991, amidst the
ruins of a once prosperous town which had the
misfortune to lie too close to the Serbian border in
Slavonia. Hard to forget.
b.. During the journey there, my Croatian colleague
told me how she frantically had to shelter - with her
children - in late 1991 under the counters of the
Zagreb food market while "their own airforce" -
Yugoslav fighters manned by Serb pilots - mercilessly
machine-gunned the Croatian civilians shopping for
lunch. This left something of a lasting impression
upon her, previously a Yugoslav federalist, and
subsequently a Croatian nationalist.
Meanwhile, indicted war criminals such as Radovan
Karadzic are still sheltered from justice by their
gang of outlaw warlords in and around Pale in the Serb
enclave in Bosnia.
So I can't agree that Serbia is quite as advanced
towards democracy and tolerance as Frances Peacock
Personally, having myself recently visited Serbia,
Croatia, and Slovenia (the new ex-Yugoslav EU
member-state to the north of Croatia), I think our
Party might best start in Slovenia for a civilised
approach to Balkan relations; the Slovenes know their
neighbours well and have local credibility that Brits
can't easily match.
Also from Mr Orchard: “I personally encountered
Radovan Karadzic and his thuggish retinue in Warsaw in
1995 or so, as they were occupying a floor of my
slightly sleazy hotel (the Europejski). They were
thoroughly disliked by the Poles, not least by the
hotel's "working girls", who crossed themselves
whenever they saw them, refused to provide the Serbs
with the usual services, and finally deserted the
hotel en masse when they found out the Serbs were
staying some time. (The Serbs thus managed to achieve
what the Polish Citizens' Militia had never achieved
in Communist days, namely ridding the hotel Europejski
of prostitutes ! About the one positive Serbian
achievement that I can think of....) “