bosnia report
New Series No. 9/10 April - July 1999
Milos Vasic


Nothing personal, but I don't accept or support your appeal, for at least two reasons:

First, because in your letter there are so many factual errors, and of such a kind, that it's a bit too much for my delicate stomach: - the statement is not true that this is the first case, since this last cycle in the series of `liberations of Serb lands' began, of shooting at journalists just because they are journalists: I can list for you at least three media centres, along with the given and family names of plenty of people who fared better or worse in just such circumstances - I myself belong to the latter group;

- it is not true that the people involved at RTS were journalists and media pro fessionals; the people from RTS long, long ago lost any right to call themselves that (though I can see that your criteria for this and mine may differ);

- the charge is not quite accurate that NATO alone was guilty of killing an as- yet-unknown number of people [in the RTS building]; without wishing to elaborate here upon the responsibility of the Milosevic regime (not just for destroying the TV building, but for the whole `aggression against FRY'), I shall merely mention today's report in The New York Times in which the following story is told: on the previous afternoon, a call had been made from Brussels to RTS director Milanovic informing him about `what was going to happen'; when Mi lanovic was going home from work that afternoon, he made the threat to one of his henchmen on duty that he would sack anybody `absent from duty that evening'; I grant the objection you may perhaps raise that one may, but is not obliged to, find convincing this story from the prestigious newspaper; but I cannot agree with your total lack of any critical relation towards Milosevic's team, which over the past ten years has shown and proved itself countless times to be made up of criminals and cynics.

Secondly, because I cannot at all agree with your `timing':

- if it is a matter of being obliged to defend our common profession, I must hold it against you that you did not react against the chronologically earlier, and in my opinion far more terrible - though you do not have to agree with this judgement, of course - abuse of who knows how many tens or hundreds of Kosova Albanian journalists, who ought still to be your `electoral base' if I'm not mistaken. I do not know what you have heard about what they have been going through during the past year, and especially the past month; I have heard truly dreadful (and credible) stories - just as terrible as the previous ones from Croatia and Bosnia - about the `games' the Chetniks play with questions of jour nalistic (let alone human) freedom. For understandable reasons I say nothing here, of course, about the record over the years of Serbian journalists towards their colleagues in Croatia and Bosnia, since for me that has long been a closed chapter. I must tell you that I am always saddened by death, sad for the dead as human beings, sad for their families (even though I am well aware how much, and what kind of, sympathy was addressed from Belgrade to Dubrovnik, Vukovar, Sarajevo or Srebrenica). But I cannot and will not be `shocked' at the fact that these people have died defending what, for ten years already, has in such an uniquely awful manner falsely borne the name of a media organization. I do not know who among them personally, and to what extent, `rode on gun barrels down the slopes above Dubrovnik', described `the [impaled] head of young Jovica', or reported on how `Davorin Popovic-Pimpek threw an innocent Serb child into a cage of ravening lions in Pionirska dolina' [Sarajevo zoo]. I do not know and I no longer want to know. For my part, let them rest in peace. Finally, I regret that NATO had to use such `dirty' means, but it was doing something that in my view itÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÔ was absolutely obliged to do. Therefore, you must not hold it against me but, for the reasons mentioned above, I cannot and do not wish to sign your appeal.

Comradely greetings,


This exchange is translated from Svijet, Sarajevo, 2 May 1999


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