Holdwater says: Am I being
unfair by drawing a comparison between the Serbs' behavior in Bosnia and
Croatia and the Armenians, in the way the Armenians handled themselves when they
embarked on their plan for extermination... that led to their 1915
relocation? If you read "Death And Exile The Ethnic Cleansing of Ottoman
Muslims, 1821-1922" (by Professor Justin McCarthy; here's a review), you'll find the
parallels chillingly similar, to the methods of extermination Russia began
long ago. A method ingrained in the Orthodox rulebook... followed, during
various historical periods, by Greeks,
Armenians, Bulgarians and.... in more eye-opening modern times.... the Serbs.
|'Serb Learnt Rape and Murder'
Europe's Betrayal of Truths: The Twisted Road To
Twentieth Century Europe
Source: 'The Times' - 14 December 1992:
'Serb Learnt Rape and Murder'
[A Report by Richard Beeston]
"Borislav Herak delivered his gruesome confession of murder, rape and butchery in a
clipped and awkward monotone which is as painful to watch as his story is to hear.
He learned hand-to-hand combat using live pigs and was taught how to throw them, hold them
down and slit their throats. Later he was told to practise on Bosnian prisoners of war and
rape and kill young Bosnian women.
'I did it because I had no choice, I had to obey orders,' said the captured Serb fighter,
whose deeds and his mitigation of them are chillingly reminiscent of the last time war
crimes were committed in central Europe, half a century ago. The account of his six months
service with Serbian forces north of Sarajevo is expected next month to be the basis for
the war crimes trial of the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, when he will be charged
with genocide, mass murder, rape and looting under Article 41 of the Yugoslav criminal
His eyewitness testimony, the first by a participant in the notorious 'ethnic cleaning',
should also offer a unique insight into how Serb forces killed tens of thousands of Muslim
and Croat Bosnians and drove hundreds of thousands from their homes in the past eight
months of fighting.
The most disturbing episodes of Mr Herak's activities began in June, soon after he left
his home in Sarajevo and joined the Biochanska Serb Militia where he received his basic
training. The first hint of the sort of work expected of him emerged when he and other
Bosnian Serb volunteers were shown a demonstration of hand-to-hand combat using pigs. Soon
afterwards, in the village of Donja Bioca, he was ordered to repeat the exercise on
Bosnian Muslims, Mr Herak, 21, said in an interview at Sarajevo's Victor Bubanj military
He killed three prisoners with a 6 inch hunting blade, an episode he recounted in a
detached, almost dispassionate fashion: 'They did not resist, but one of them told me he
had a wife and two children. His name was Ahmed Ziad Osman.' Mr Herak volunteered the
information readily and insisted that he had not been coerced or mistreated during his
captivity. Professor Aida Hasimbegovic, a clinical psychologist, said he displayed no
severe psychological problems that would make him unfit to stand trial.
That impression was confirmed when he described in a clear manner the grim saga of how his
unit took part in the 'cleansing' of the Muslim village of Ahatovic, north of Sarajevo,
last summer. This time he used a Kalashnikov rifle to shoot 20 civilians and he joined
other Serbs in looting homes.
'The order was that nobody should stay alive, we should kill everybody,' he said, adding
that the instructions had come down the Serbian chain of command from the area commander
in the town of Ilijas. 'We did not have any choice. He told us what had to be done, and we
In probably the most gruesome episode, he said that Serb fighters were encouraged to rape
young Bosnians at a prison turned military brothel where inmates were killed to make way
'They told us for the sake of Serbian morale that we should go to the prison at the Sonja
Motel in Vogosca where there were 80 to 90 girls', he said, speaking through an
interpreter. 'I went about 10 times in all, maybe two or three times a week. I was told by
Miro Vukovic, [the Serbian Commander of the brothel] to take the girls away and kill them
because there was no room to keep them or enough food to feed them.
'I raped the girls in the motel and then took them to the Zuc hill [north of Sarajevo],
shot them and hid their bodies. I raped 10 girls in their twenties and killed six of
them,' he said, identifying the victims by name — Anissa, Fatima, Maira, Sabina and
Senada. He insisted that he was forced to act against his will because of the threat of
punishment by his superiors. He added that Serb commanders continually told their men that
Bosnian troops were performing worse against Serbian civilians and that they were in a
fight for their survival.
What makes his account disturbing is the clear impression that his actions were by no
means an isolated but part of a widespread practise. The prospect of trial and execution
did not daunt the young prisoner, who said that he looked forward to the judgment because
he could no longer live with what he had done. But he doubted it would have any impact in
preventing further brutalities.
'All I know is that while I am here sitting and talking, these same horrors are going on
somewhere else,' he said."
PRIZREN, Yugoslavia (AP) Troops from Turkey
rolled in Sunday, and Prizren went wild: dancing in the street, waving crimson
banners and chanting slogans that evoked old glory in a reviving city studded with
Turkish mosque towers. The 130 soldiers, vanguard of a 1,000-man Turkish NATO
deployment within the German sector, symbolized the Serbs' worst nightmare. Turks
were pushed from Kosovo in 1912 after half a millennium of Ottoman rule. ''Happy!''
yelled Sgt. Hasan Ibrahim, as he snagged a flying bouquet of roses and added it to
the pile on his truck dashboard. ''We are very, very happy!'' Stuck in the crowd, he
leaned down to kiss a baby and squeeze a forest of hands. The 50 vehicles took two
hours to inch through town, hemmed in by ethnic Albanians and Kosovar Turks who
chanted, ''Turkey, Turkey, Turkey.'' Kids swarmed over the convoy, waving red
Turkish and Albanian flags. No one missed the meaning.
The cornerstone of Serb history is a
bad day in 1389, when Turks won a battle in Kosovo and moved in to stay. The memory
remains fresh. In Bosnia, Serbs still refer to their Muslim foes as ''Turks.'' Old
people wept. Teen-age girls beamed at the grinning soldiers and pelted them with
flowers. Two schoolgirls held aloft a huge photo of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the
father of modern Turkey. ''This means we will have peace, freedom, some happiness
again, and our lives will finally be better,'' said Murvet Troshalla. Her
14-year-daughter, Cennet, nodded enthusiastically next to her. Cennet had a large
Turkish flag painted on her arm. A smaller one was stuck to her forehead with scotch
tape. ''Maybe you can't see it,'' she said, ''but I also have a flag in my heart.''
Nearby, a cluster of flag-draped kids belted out a rhythmic, ''Kosovo-Turkey!
Kosovo-Turkey!'' Others chanted, ''The greatest soldiers are our soldiers.''
Although German NATO forces have been
in place for weeks, Turks felt the full force of liberation frenzy. Almost nine
decades after Serbs took over, many Prizren people still use Turkish as their
everyday language. Several German vehicles were interspersed in the convoy, and some
of their drivers got into the spirit. The Germans' main role was crowd and traffic
control for the Turks, however, and few were smiling on the job. ''I'm in a lousy
mood, so get moving,'' one large soldier bellowed in German, brandishing a sturdy
stick. When an Albanian youngster approached another to shake his hand, the soldier
muttered a curse and walked away. The Turkish contingent of mechanized infantry and
armor will be stationed in outlying areas near Prizren, under the overall NATO
mandate to keep peace until a civilian government can be put in place. Greece
objected to the deployment. But late last week, the column rumbled out of Turkey and
crossed Bulgaria, the first time armed Turkish forces have returned there since the
Ottomans were expelled in 1878.
An estimated 60,000 ethnic Turks live
in Kosovo, and many Albanians feel a strong religious and cultural affinity with
Turkey. Three men with grizzled Turkish faces went to the edge of town to catch an
early glimpse of the approaching convoy. Niazi Mahmuti, the oldest at 80, was born
only seven years after Serbia took control of Kosovo. ''My father used to tell me
how life was peaceful and happy under the Turks, how we could afford to live well,''
he said. ''Under the Serbs, we were no more than farm animals.'' His friend, Shefki
Talo, 79, whittled on the staff of his Turkish flag. He had also grown up in hopes
of seeing the white crescent and star on a red field waving in Kosovo. But Talo was
thinking more of the present. ''I am here to honor all of NATO, all the troops that
saved us,'' he said. The Germans arrived in the nick of time, according to Prizren
people, who believe the swift approach foiled a Serb plan to burn their city. ''For
three days at the end, we all thought we were dead people, that the Serbs would kill
us all,'' Talo said. ''The world saved us.''
For Drita Atallahu, an English teacher
born in Prizren, the arrival of Turks was a fitting end to a happy chain of events.
''All through the NATO bombing, we hid inside and told ourselves, 'Tomorrow will be
better,''' she said. ''Well, now it's tomorrow. And it's better.''
A Massacre is Acknowledged
(at the Hague)