Welcome to Srebrenica Historical Project
What we can and cannot do
Srebrenica Historical Project: OUR MISSION STATEMENT
With regard to our objectives
Our broad purpose is to collect information on Srebrenica during the last conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina, defined not as July 1995, but more broadly as 1992 to 1995. That means that we shall be creating a comprehensive and contextual, as opposed to a selective, record of the violence between the communities in that area during the conflict. We shall focus also on crimes committed against the Serb civilians not because we favor them but because so far they have been ignored. We wish to redress that balance, but we will not work under any ideological limitations. A corollary goal will be to launch something along the lines of the South African Truth and Reconciliation commission, with emphasis on truth as logically coming before and as a precondition to reconciliation. That is another reason we wish to do a great deal of empirical work on the neglected crimes against the Serbian population. We shall then proceed to explore reconciliations strategies.
The fundamental objective of our project is to rise above politics and propaganda and to create a contextual record of the Srebrenica tragedy of July 1995 which can serve as a corrective to the distortions of the last decade and a half and as a genuine contribution to future peace.
Some general considerations
With regard to the unfortunate events around Srebrenica in July of 1995, we fully recognize that a terrible massacre of prisoners of war took place there, and that it was contrary to the laws and customs of war. We do not challenge that. But we want that event to be placed in its proper legal and moral perspective. That would probably exclude calling it “genocide” or regarding the Serbian people as a whole or in part being in any way responsible for it. It most certainly does not allow for it to be used as grounds for the abolition of the Republic of Srpska, which was established under the internationally recognized Dayton Agreement in 1995, and which is the safe haven of the Serbian people in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In addition to a desire to reframe the Srebrenica debate and to critically reexamine some of its purported legal and political implications, it is also our goal to raise the issue of the several thousand innocent Serb civilians from villages surrounding the supposedly “demilitarized” Srebrenica enclave who were murdered by Naser Orić’s forces between 1992 and 1995, whose property was pillaged, and whose villages were burned. Only by raising that ignored issue can we put the terrible events of July 1995 in their proper moral and psychological perspective: an act of revenge [which we do not support], but certainly not a step in a plan to exterminate the Moslem community in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In addition, our goal is to counter the misuse of a human tragedy on both sides for low political and propaganda purposes. It is to that end that we would like to launch in parallel a reconciliation programme between the Serbian and Moslem communities with the help of international experts who already have experience in that area from their own countries. But, as the title of the South African commission [Truth and Reconciliation] says, truth must come before and be the foundation of reconciliation.
What we can and cannot do
There is no dispute as far as we are concerned that something terrible happened to Moslem prisoners of war during three days in July of 1995. But in order to properly understand what happened then, and why, it is necessary to take into account what was happening to Serb civilians in and around Srebrenica during the preceding three years. It is conventional wisdom, and an irrefutable moral truth, that two wrongs do not make a right. But by amputating the record, and then inflating the amputated part, we shall never approach the whole truth, achieve justice, or lay the foundations for lasting reconciliation between two communities which must live together unless, indeed, one does succeed in genocidally exterminating the other.
That Moslem prisoners were massacred in large numbers by Serb forces in July of 1995 is something about which all reasonable people will agree. Such agreement is not only possible but can also serve as common ground for further investigation and dialogue. Unfortunately, this appears to be insufficient for some on the Bosnian Moslem side who feel obliged to go beyond provable facts and who wish to reshape and “enhance” reality in order to promote their political agenda. They have two rigid demands:  the mass killing of Moslem prisoners in July of 1995 constituted genocide; and  the mass killing of Serb civilians that preceded it is either a lie or it is statistically insignificant and should therefore be disregarded. Whoever refuses to bow to these demands is ostracized as a “genocide denier,” which is obviously a pathetic attempt to hitch a ride on the coattails of Shoah, the demonstrable genocide of European Jewry, an event that really did take place and the denial of which is genuinely immoral.
An example of the unreasonable zeal with which this agenda is pursued is something that appeared on the pages of Moslem-sponsored Srebrenica Genocide Blog quite recently: “We will never forget, and we will never forgive” . What hope for a tolerable life does this position offer to the Serb and Moslem communities in Bosnia in general, and in the Srebrenica area in particular? If we Google this lunacy, we will quickly discover how Hindus, who are similarly unreasonable, neatly turn the tables on their own Moslem neighbors. On the Hindu site we read that after a massacre in their part of the world when “60 Hindus [were] butchered, 200 injured by Islamic terrorist in Jaipur”, now it is the Hindus who are saying to their Moslem neighbors: “never forgive, never forget”.
It is not difficult to see where this “road map” leads: to endless hostility and homicidal strife which may leave very few human beings alive to tell the tale.
That “road map” to hell is something that we cannot accept. Our mission is to oppose it on behalf of all people who are endowed with reason and good will.