The Muslim people of Bosnia were exposed to ethnic cleansing and genocide before the eyes of the world.
ISTANBUL: TBT News Desk--Bosnia went through a very bloody time in the three years between its declaration of independence in 1992 and the NATO intervention in 1995. The war against the Serbs saw exile, migrations, rapes and slaughter. The Muslim people of Bosnia were exposed to ethnic cleansing and genocide before the eyes of the world.
Both during the time of the Yugoslav Federation and during the 1992-1995 war, the Serbs followed a policy of assimilating the Bosniaks. The Srebrenica Massacre that took place during the war was a savage attack aimed at the very existence of the Bosniak population. The Serbs’ second strategic aim in the war was the historic Bosnian archives that had been carefully preserved since Ottoman times; they made many attacks in order to seize those archives, but the Bosniak people protected them, even at the cost of people being martyred. Although …
Federal buildings and the Presidency were the object of arson attacks during street protests which took place in Bosnia last month. Although it looked like a protest movement, it was surprising that the Presidential building that was burned housed the Bosnia-Herzegovina archive that nationalist Serbs had wanted to destroy for many years. Let me immediately state that through that burning, young Bosnians made the Serb’s greatest dream during the war a reality.
So, what was it that led to the protests and to the Bosnian people taking to the streets? The Dayton Agreement, signed by all sides in 1995, established a complex administrative system that was impossible to put into practice. The idea under the plan was to put an end to the war and instill the concept of brotherhood by eliminating the nationalistic extremes in the country. Western countries named this social structure they sought to establish the “Open Society”; however, the main obstacle to the strategy of establishing an “Open Society” was the Bosnian Muslims’ devotion to their faith.
Orthodox Christians and Catholics also live in Bosnia, in addition to the Muslims and the concepts of nationalism of the peoples in Bosnia are shaped by that religious division. In other words, contrary to the usual picture, theirs is a nationalism based far more on religion, not on tribe. The Bosniaks in Bosnia are Bosniaks because they are Muslims, the Croatians are Croatians because they are Catholics and the Serbs are Serbs because they are Orthodox. Apart from that, everything in society, such as everyday life, culture and customs, are very much the same.
There have been attacks on the Muslim population in the country for a very long time. It is important for the Muslim identity to be protected and grow for the survival of the Bosniaks and Bosnia. Mladi Muslimani (Young Muslims), the youth wing of the late Alija Izetbegović’s SDA party, is doing important work aimed at giving young Bosniaks a religious foundation in the face of Croatian and Serbian nationalist propaganda.
I have already mentioned the “Open Society” that they sought to establish in Bosnia. The European Union’s plan in Bosnia is to eliminate young people’s nationalist and religious infrastructures under the guise of globalization and brotherhood and they have made quite some progress on that. That is because young people adopt the lifestyles of the foreign troops and other foreigners as a model; that life seems very attractive to them. Instead of staying in the country and fighting difficulties, young people dream of going to other countries and living in comfort there.
Since the political system bestowed on the country by the Dayton Agreement was highly complex, it renders it all but impossible to take decisions in the country. In addition, under the system imposed, more than 60% of the national budget is spent on the bureaucracy and salaries. Such large numbers of bureaucrats of course make the state structure lethargic. The unemployment level in the country is also exceedingly high; one out of every two people in Bosnia, with its population of 3.8 million, are unemployed. The heavy industry that was very powerful in the time of Yugoslavia has almost ground to a halt because of privatizations.
I have spoken of street protests in Bosnia and of the resultant burning of an archive that had survived from the Ottoman era. When we look at those involved in the protests, we see young people no older than 25. There were no hungry or unemployed, no war veterans or war victims among them: The people inciting the events in Bosnia were not the heroic people of Bosnia, but young people produced by the intervention of Western powers, the youth of the Open Society, raised with no feelings of nation or religion.
The guns have long since fallen silent in Bosnia today, but the spiritual war is continuing. After the Dayton Agreement, Izetbegović said that that one part of the war had now ended, but that the really difficult fight, the war of growth, had only just begun. That is the form of the struggle going on in Bosnia now. The European Union thinks that if the Muslim nature of the Bosniaks can be eradicated, the conflicts in the region will come to an end. The real target behind the concept of the Open Society is therefore Muslim consciousness among the Bosniaks. The Bosniaks are responding by maintaining their nature, faith and culture with great resolve and self-sacrifice.
There are many different views among the Bosniaks. There are those who say, “Our history and nation are irrelevant, so long as we progress to the Open Society as desired by the European Union and become world citizens with a prosperous life” as well as people who hold radical Islamic views. Yes, there are divisions among the Bosniaks; uncertainties and the economic crisis in the county are encouraging those divisions but these problems are not insurmountable.
The EU and the USA must adopt policies that encourage the Serbs, Croatians and Bosniaks in Bosnia to live together by maintaining their national characters. The internal disputes among Bosniaks must come to an end and efforts must be made to establish unity in the country. The peoples of Bosnia must come together to solve their problems together. The way to do that lies in establishing understanding and solidarity among them.
Turkey is always very sensitive to events in Bosnia, a legacy from Ottoman times, and feels great affection and compassion for the Bosnian people and is very active in the physical and spiritual rebuilding of Bosnia. Turkey’s support for the Bosnian government, its civil society and its people, and the continuation of that support, are very important if life is to return to normal and peace and long-term stability are to be established.
It is the people of Bosnia who will solve the problems in Bosnia, in which the administration and the operation of state are currently blocked by the Dayton Agreement. The Bosniaks must strengthen their young people spiritually in order to protect their national unity. The priority, of course, is for Muslims in the country to come together and abandon their political conflicts and work for a unity in which the good people of Bosniak, Croatian and Serbian ethnicity can all live together in peace and comfort.
Adnan Oktar's piece on The Bosnia Times: