“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Mucky Paws.

with 13 comments

This is a rather good post, Srebrenica deniers get their mucky paws on Rwanda.

Written by modernityblog

07/09/2010 at 14:37

13 Responses

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  1. Still, I’m rather bemused about the *lack* of coverage that the following received –

    In 2003, Kouchner visited Izetbegovic on his death bed, where the following exchange, (as recounted by Kouchner in his Les Guerriers de la Paix, Paris, Grasset, 2004, pp.373-374.) took place in the presence of Richard Holbrooke:

    Kouchner: “You remember President Mitterrand’s visit? In the course of that conversation you spoke of the existence of ‘extermination camps’ in Bosnia. You repeated that in front of the journalists. That provoked considerable emotion throughout the world. François sent me to Omarska and we opened other prisons. They were horrible places, but people were not systematically exterminated. Did you know that?

    Izetbegovic “Yes. I thought that my revelations could precipitate bombings. Yes, I tried, but the assertion was false. There were no extermination camps whatever the horror of those places.”

    Ho hum…


    08/09/2010 at 18:40

  2. Sorry, your wider point being?


    08/09/2010 at 18:55

  3. Thanks for the link, Mod.

    The subtext of Frunobulax’s comment is that ‘Serb fascism and ethnic cleansing weren’t as bad as they’ve been made out to be’. That, I believe, is the point he’s trying to make. It’s an extremely distasteful response to a post about genocide denial.

    Marko Attila Hoare

    08/09/2010 at 20:17

  4. Actually, Marko it’s rather to the point. You’re the one whose parallels between Trnopolje and (Nazi) concentration camps have been torpedoed by Izetbegovic/Kouchner. Indeed, your earlier ‘dismissal’ of Izetbegovic’s ‘confession’ was spectacularly limp. I suggest you step out this minuscule blogsphere comfort zone and engage with the wider ‘community’ of Balkan historians. You may find it quite an eye-opener.

    I further suggest you read “Interview by Semir Mujkic with Matthew Parish” Zurnal magazine ( 26 August 2010. Just the sort of thing I imagine that a ‘blog devoted to political commentary and analysis with a particular – but far from exclusive – focus on South East Europe’ would have got round to, but somehow never quite managed it.


    08/09/2010 at 21:39

  5. Marko,

    You’re welcome and it seems you were right about frunobulax and his inclination.


    08/09/2010 at 21:51

  6. The mentality of Serb fascists is very strange – they’ll explain away any amount of evidence of their murderous crimes by reference to some supposed global ‘anti-Serb conspiracy’, of which any Western politician or journalist who condemns or reports on these crimes is supposedly part. Yet they expect us to believe that their concentration camps were actually rather nice places, simply on the basis of the unsubstantiated testimony of a politician who belonged to a French government that colluded with their side during the war !

    Of course, a genuine scholar would have a rather better appreciation of what constitutes genuine historical evidence. But I have never seen any evidence that ‘Frunobulax’ is a genuine scholar. I’m prepared to wager a rather large amount of money that I interact rather more with the ‘wider community of Balkan historians’, and receive rather more conference and lecture invitations from colleagues in Serbia, Bosnia and other former-Yugoslav countries, than does this anonymous individual.

    Frunobulax doesn’t stop at defending Serb concentration camps. He has tried to discredit the brave Serbian human-rights activist Sonja Biserko by suggesting she isn’t of racially pure Serb stock, but may have some Croat blood in her veins (his ‘sources’ for this racist slur were – in his own words – ‘a wiki page’ and ‘a poster on some forum’).

    Frunobulax is a nasty little chauvinist who posts smears on genuine scholars and human-rights activists behind the cover of anonymity. His cowardice is entirely characteristic of the political tradition from which he stems.

    Marko Attila Hoare

    09/09/2010 at 00:02

  7. Dear me, Marko, as disingenuous and mud-slinging as ever.

    Firstly, I have made it quite plain that I am not a historian. Duh. Perhaps you recall the exchange which included the none-too-stellar RAE result for your department. I do however work in a university, travel a fair bit and quite by chance have stumbled into a few professional historians who have concentrated to varying degrees on the Balkans. As for anyone being a “genuine scholar” with an “appreciation of what constitutes genuine historical evidence”, are you seriously claiming that Kouchner (and Holbrooke!) fabricated Izetbegovic’s statement? Wow, let’s have that on record here Marko.

    Next, please identify even one “racist slur” in any post of mine. The exchange re: Biserko resulted because I pointed out (quite reasonably) the problematic nature of your characterisation of Biserko as a “Serbian human-rights activist” given that (a) her dislike of Serbs is quite evident; (b) Her brother died on the Croat side fighting the Krajina Serbs [see (a)]; and, c) her sister it seems refuses to speak to her because she is so anti-Serb. At no point did I try to “explain away her human-rights advocacy by painting her as an ethnically impure element in Serbia.” A patriot is, in the general understanding, an inspirational figure that one should have some potential to identify with. Given that hardly anyone in Serbia falls into that category with regard to your depiction of her, it seems at least ‘eyebrow raising’ that you should call her a ‘Serbian patriot’.[1] Think: what if someone was to claim that, say, Gilad Atzmon was an ‘Israeli Patriot’?

    It also seems that Biserko held positions in the cabinet of Budimir Loncar. If so, there’s some baggage there that should be owned up to.

    So, ‘modernity’ (or anyone else) claim whatever ‘inclination’ you want, but please provide evidence rather than inference.

    Back to history, and what “what constitutes genuine historical evidence”, there is more than sufficient to indicate that the US played a key role in Izetbegovic’s withdrawal from the Cutileiro peace plan. Footnote 20, p110 in ‘First Do No harm’: ‘Marko Hoare misleadingly implies that Izetbegovic rejected the Lisbon agreement on his own initiative; but Hoare neglects to mention the US role in encouraging Izetbegovic’s decision.’ Hardly a small point, Marko. Given the vast amount of energy that you expend on minutiae when it suits, it seems remiss to gloss over what was a pivotal moment in the destruction of Bosnia.

    Finally, Parish’s Zurnal article is one of the most powerful pieces of analysis on Bosnia in recent years. Yes, chilling in parts – but the only hope for the region is to engage with the issues highlighted in the article. I’d hope that blogs such as yours, Marko, would have at least made note of it. Better still, have recommended its wider dissemination.

    [1] We’re talking about everyday Serbian folk here, the 95th percentile, not the vile thugs (visible when hounding Biserko, less so when hounding Drakulic).


    09/09/2010 at 22:06

  8. ‘Firstly, I have made it quite plain that I am not a historian.’ You can say that again. I’d expect a pupil studying A Level history to have a better appreciation of what constitutes evidence than you do. Wiki pages and anonymous posters on unnamed discussion forums, for goodness’ sake !

    The case against Gilad Atzmon rests on the fact that he has made anti-Semitic statements, which people have cited as evidence of his anti-Semitism. You, on the other hand, have produced not a single shred of evidence that Biserko has ever said or done anything that could remotely be construed as ‘anti-Serb’. You are simply attacking her on the basis of her alleged ethnic background, and what her family members are alleged to have done, according to some anonymous poster on an unnamed forum.

    If someone were to try to discredit a prominent Israeli human-rights activist, and accuse them of ‘anti-Semitism’, purely by claiming that they were ‘not properly Jewish’, but had Arab blood in their veins, I would call such a person a racist. If they were to base their racist slurs purely on the testimony of anonymous posters on internet discussion forums and wiki pages, I would find any claim they might make to being a scholar or academic rather comical.

    ‘her dislike of Serbs is quite evident’. No, her dislike of Serb chauvinists is quite evident. It’s just that Serb chauvinists like to pretend that dislike of them amounts to dislike of Serbs in general.

    The real similarity is between those German nationalists in the 1920s and 30s, who tried to discredit their left-wing domestic opponents by accusing them of being Jewish, therefore ‘un-German’, and Serb nationalists like yourself, who try to discredit Serbian progressives like Biserko in the same way.

    ‘I do however work in a university, travel a fair bit and quite by chance have stumbled into a few professional historians who have concentrated to varying degrees on the Balkans.’ Yes, I’m sure that is indeed the extent of your knowledge of Balkan academic circles. Last spring, I stumbled upon a neurosurgeon in a pub in Dublin, and had quite a friendly chat with him. But I don’t think that gives me much of a right to lecture other neurosurgeons on neurosurgery, do you ?

    The fact that you rely on an error-ridden propaganda tract like Gibbs’s book, to defend what would have been the 1992 equivalent of the Munich Agreement, just confirms you to be the sad, ignorant little national chauvinist you have already revealed yourself to be.

    Marko Attila Hoare

    10/09/2010 at 12:25

  9. “The fact that you rely on an error-ridden propaganda tract like Gibbs’s book” – please point out some of these errors. The hundreds of footnotes/references etc. should give you plenty of opportunity. And while you’re at it, please identify anything that I have ever posted that is “chauvinistic” or making a “racial slur”. To help you out with what some might consider chauvinistic, does the following look familiar?

    “They [the Serbs] have shown themselves to be amongst the most cowardly fighters in the history of modern warfare. Unwilling to fight the Germans or even the Italians in World War II, then routed by the Yugoslav Partisans; beaten by the Slovenes in ten days of fighting in 1991; beaten by the underarmed Croatian Army in 1991-92, and rescued from defeat by the hated ‘Western imperialists’; driven from the whole of central Croatia in a mere few days in 1995; beaten by the Bosnians and Croatians again in the autumn of 1995”

    Surely a ‘blog devoted to political commentary and analysis with a particular – but far from exclusive – focus on South East Europe’ would have something to say about Parish’s article. Given that it presents a discourse that goes somewhat beyond “Serbs: mad, bad, etc.” you should find it quite er. refreshing?

    By the way, I’m sure that you’ll insist (again!) that what follows is another spiteful “slur”, but honestly, for me this article about your fellow traveller Stephen Schwartz was simply a hoot to read and nothing more:

    I guess it’s part of what makes Balkan commentary so lively, many of the ‘pros’ have such er. colourful backgrounds.


    10/09/2010 at 14:49

  10. frunobulax,

    What is your argument here?

    Please could you be precise about what you are trying to say.


    10/09/2010 at 15:14

  11. What I wrote:

    ‘Of course, one can understand why physically harrassing and intimidating a sixty-year old woman might be appealing for the fascists in Serbia. They have shown themselves to be amongst the most cowardly fighters in the history of modern warfare.’

    How Frunobulax quotes me:

    ‘They [the Serbs] have shown themselves to be amongst the most cowardly fighters in the history of modern warfare.’

    Comment would be superfluous.

    ‘And while you’re at it, please identify anything that I have ever posted that is “chauvinistic” or making a “racial slur”.’

    I wrote a while back ‘I support Serbian anti-nationalists and human-rights activists like Sonja Biserko’, to which Frunobulax replied: ‘Serbian, eh? Funny thing is, Sonja Biserko keeps her biographical details well hidden. A wiki page lists her as Croatian,’

    Biserko is a Serbian citizen who was born and grew up in Serbia. Frunobulax is trying to discredit her as a Serbian human-rights activist by claiming that she isn’t ‘really’ Serbian. The basis for this smear is, presumably, the fact that her family was originally from Croatia. Biserko’s father is an ethnic Serb. But even if her parents were ethnic Croats – or Jews, or gypsies, or Muslims, or West Indians – it wouldn’t make her any less Serbian than any other native-born Serbian citizen.

    However, the likes of Frunobulax like to denigrate Biserko, a prominent anti-nationalist human-rights activist, by painting her as somehow ‘un-Serb’, on account of her family background. This is racist. They also frequently accuse her of being a ‘lesbian’. If you google Sonja Biserko, you’ll find numerous chauvinistic attacks on her alleged ethnic background and sexual orientation.

    There is unfortunately nothing new in such demonisation of anti-nationalists as being ‘foreign’. During World War II, the Nazi-collaborationist Chetniks in the former Yugoslavia frequently denounced the Communists as being ‘Jewish’ or otherwise foreign. The leading Serbian Communist Mosa Pijade, who really was Jewish, was a particular target.

    That is the tradition in which Frunobulax stands.

    Marko Attila Hoare

    10/09/2010 at 16:14

  12. Here we go again. Marko, you invoked Biserko’s ethnicity so that the phrase “Serbian patriot” would have a particular resonance – at least for your readers over here. To any reasonable person, the fact that her brother died fighting Serbs makes the pronouncement at least problematic. You’re doing pretty much was Biserko does and that is play to an audience that is outside Serbia. So, the ‘case against Fruno’ is based pretty much on your inferences. You’ve indulged in a fair amount of name calling along the way. I don’t recall ever having returned any of that, but I might be wrong. Given that I posted the link to your ‘Fascism and hatred of women’ article you can hardly accuse me of selective quotation.

    You seem loathe to back up your claim that Gibb’s book is an “error-ridden propaganda tract” with any evidence.

    And surely you must have something to say about Parish’s article — I can’t imagine that anyone interested in Bosnia wouldn’d.


    10/09/2010 at 18:55

  13. Actually Marko, Gibb’s book may need to be updated:


    14/12/2010 at 18:44

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