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Samizdata quote of the day

More recently, Herman has disgraced himself even further by being the most prominent of a tiny band of polemicists who deny the genocide of 8,000 Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica in July 1995 – though the remains of the victims have been located, excavated and identified.

I need hardly add, but will anyway, that Corbyn too has disputed that the documented Serb atrocities in the Balkan wars of the 1990s ever happened. He put his name to an early day motion in the House of Commons in 2004 that explicitly denied the war crimes of the Milosevic regime in Belgrade, referring to the “the fraudulent justifications for [Nato] intervening in a ‘genocide’ that never really existed in Kosovo”.

Oliver Kamm

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46 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • The left talks of a reality-based consensus – but they’re actually living in a consensus-based reality.

  • NickM

    Yup, Ellen.

  • John Galt III

    Yes, those dirty Serbian Orthodox Christians fighting back against the adherents of the religion of peace. Have they no shame?

  • Chester Draws

    Yes, those dirty German Christians fighting back against the adherents of the religion of Abraham. Have they no shame?

  • Mr Black

    I was unaware of world politics back then so I assumed we were on the right side because everyone said so. However a little more awareness now has illuminated the fact that we were not and now we are under attack by the very same group we mistakenly saved from retribution. If western civilisation survives the muslim onslaught, this episode will be a rather embarrassing event for the survivors to add to the history books.

  • However a little more awareness now has illuminated the fact that we were not and now we are under attack by the very same group we mistakenly saved from retribution.

    So are you saying it would have been better to acquiesce to Bosnians being slaughtered in Bosnia at the behest of the government in Belgrade (and presumably Kosovars being slaughtered in Kosova by the same) because Bosnians and Kosovars are attacking ‘us’ now? Really? And what are your views on Croatia & Slovenia’s secession from Yugoslavia within that context, I wonder, or was that different because those are Christian nations? How about Herzegovina?

    As for the hilariously mis-pseudonymed John Galt III, I think Chester’s riposte is on the money.

  • Mr Ed

    IIRC, at the time the Serbian government controlled the rump Yugoslavia and thereby the Yugoslav Peoples Army, the ones with the natty red stars that Mr Corbyn finds so intruiging. The Serbs in Bosnia had their breakaway faction with support of the rump Yugoslavia, so I suppose that they were the progressives back then. However, some Trots in the UK thought Bosnia the progressive society because it was ‘multi-ethnic’. These days, the closest we have to the Serbs of yore in Left-wing fantasy land is the Transnistria breakaway from Moldova.

    In terms of it being a genocide, wasn’t it simply a huge, bloody massacre? If they had intended a genocide, they would have killed the women instead, thereby curtailing future population growth? This is simply a biological point, not a cheapening of the crime.

  • bobby b

    Perry de Havilland (London)
    August 5, 2017 at 5:36 am

    “So are you saying it would have been better to acquiesce to Bosnians being slaughtered in Bosnia at the behest of the government in Belgrade . . . “

    Slightly OT, but maybe explains something here . . .

    I’d bet that maybe 5% of the US population could point out on a map of Europe where any of these places are. (“They’re near Yugoslavia, right? Now, where’s Yugoslavia . . . “)

    I’d bet that maybe 2% of US the population knows anything about who was doing what to whom, who our military supported, who won, who should have won, who was which religion . . .

    I’d bet that maybe 0.1% of the US population thinks “religious war” in connection with this.

    This entire conflict occupied next to nothing in our national awareness, and this hasn’t changed much since.

    If anything still exists in American minds concerning this conflict, it’s likely a very fuzzy feeling that the UN sucks, that Europe is useless and very willing to stand by and watch as masses are slaughtered, and that it would be nice to see some recognition from Muslims that we helped them.

  • MichaelR

    I have lived in Croatia for nine years now, a Brit ex-pat, and have found negotiating the byzantine complexity of ethnic and national sensibilities that abound here simply beyond me. I was advised when I arrived that I should refrain from ever getting involved in bar-room discussions of the homeland war because… “You can never tell if you are talking to a Serbian Croat, a Bosnian Serb, a Croatian Serb etc.I have lived here all my life and still have no clue as to what the hell was going on” A friend of mine who was involved in the war as a sniper’s spotter informed me that in his opinion Srebrenica happened because Serbian regular forces got gut-sick of finding villages where the entire population, men women and children had been stripped naked and crucified by the Bosnian Black Swans.Croatian television regularly replays documentary footage of the war. How odd it seems to see war kicking off in villages that look exactly like those one passes through on a daily basis, likewise war memorials to folk who were killed in the early 1990s. The homeland war was horrific.

  • Patrick Crozier

    From Oliver Kamm’s article:

    “It’s a tragedy that the Labour Party – which played a crucial historical role in forming Nato”

    The same Labour Party – nay! government, lest we forget – that failed to invite the Poles who fought for us to the Victory March and sold jet engines to the Soviets.

  • Kamm can be a pompous arse at times, and at The Times, but on certain issues he’s bang on. This is one of them.

  • Patrick,

    Indeed. Kamm’s view of the Labour Party often seems at odds with its history. And its present, for that matter.

  • NickM

    Patrick,
    I think the engines in question – RR Nenes? – had not yet actually entered service with the RAF. The Soviets almost couldn’t believe it and the US was not best pleased.

  • Stephen K

    What seems peculiar is that Corbyn’s Islamist friends in Hezbollah etc. don’t seem to have ever asked him any pointed questions about his fondness for Milosevic and associated gangsters.

  • I would have to disagree with MichaelR that the breakup of Yugoslavia and subsequent bloodshed is hard to understand. It really isn’t hard at all.

    A friend of mine who was involved in the war as a sniper’s spotter informed me that in his opinion Srebrenica happened because Serbian regular forces got gut-sick of finding villages where the entire population, men women and children had been stripped naked and crucified by the Bosnian Black Swans

    With all due respect to the bloke-in-a-pub (or perhaps bloke-in-a-konoba might be more appropriate), the evidence does not back that up. For sure there were atrocities carried out by all sides, as is always the case in quasi-civil wars (in fact I know someone residing in the Hague on that basis on rather shaky grounds), but it was only the Serbs, the Centiks, who were doing them on a widespread & systematic basis as a matter of policy over many years. So the Whataboutism accusing the Crni Labudovi of having provoked the Serbs is pretty much unsubstantiated BS (and I do not have a dog in this race, my involvement and affinity was very much with Croatia between 92-96, so I am broadly indifferent to BiH)

  • and that it would be nice to see some recognition from Muslims that we helped them.

    Bill Clinton is very highly regarded in Kosova actually, so there is a high level recognition for the role the USA played in their independence. But if you mean recognition within the broader muslim world, then you probably misunderstand that the vast majority of Balkan muslims see themselves as Bosnian, Albanian or Kosovar, they see themselves Balkan rather than part of some hypothetical greater muslim world.

  • bobby b

    But does the greater Muslim world see themselves as kin to the Balkan Muslims? Does that greater (i.e., Middle Eastern) Muslim world have the view that we did help Muslims somewhere, sometime?

  • Alisa

    Bobby, not every faith carrying the Islam sticker contains the same stuff. The Bosnian and Kosovan versions of Islam are said to be materially different from the nasty Sunni and Shia strains we have all come to know and appreciate. However, I’ve seen comments citing evidence that this has changed in the recent years, and that the Nasties have effectively infected or even invaded some of those formerly mostly peaceful populations.

    But anyway, the answer to your question is most likely a resounding ‘no’.

  • Jacob

    Perry,
    The conflicts in the Balkans are centuries old.
    Surely the Serbs have some grievances against the Turks who conquered their lands and ruled bloodily and cruelly for centuries, and settled some land with Turks. Same happened in Romania, Bulgaria or Greece. Not to mention the frequent Turko-Russian wars.

    So, claiming that all the blame rests on the Serbs seems to ignore history.

  • Laird

    To me, bobby b’s description of the average American’s knowledge of Bosnia and that war seems spot on. We didn’t understand it at the time (it’s just two vague groups of people somewhere in eastern Europe killing each other) and don’t remember it now (except that, for a few of us, there is a vague recollection that Clinton may have acted unconstitutionally in getting us involved in it). We’ve been involved in so many wars (or “police actions” or whatever you like to call them) over the last 50 years that that little one hardly registered at all.

    Anyway, the linked article isn’t about that war as much as it is about Corbyn being yet another “useful idiot”, which is clearly true. (Incidentally, I liked Kamm’s description of Corbyn as “intellectually nugatory”; that jab will resonate only with persons who aren’t such!) His distinction between anti-communists and pro-liberty advocates is an important one. The enemy of my enemy isn’t always my friend!

  • Ljh

    Jacob: an excellent point, the Ottoman occupation and its tithes of Christian children for the caliphate are intrinsic to understanding the Balkans but so too more proximately the Second World War when the Croatian Ustache,assisted by Waffen SS containing Bosnian Muslims within its ranks, struggled against Serbian Chetniks and Tito’s partisans.

  • So, claiming that all the blame rests on the Serbs seems to ignore history.

    The claim the breakup was not down to Milošević’s ‘Greater Serbia’ policies is unsupportable. The fact the Turks once conquered the Balkans meant jackshit in 1992 because the Turks were not in control of any of any part of Yugoslavia. Previous Balkan wars were an excuse, not a meaningful rectifiable grievance that justified anything. One large hint that what the Ottomans are irrelevant to anything is that Milošević tried to do the same to the Catholic Croats as he did to the Muslim Bosnians and Kosovars.

  • The Balkan moslems are mostly descendants of a group who, during the Ottoman conquest of the region, turned moslem to save their landholdings, avoid having to contribute to the slave quotas, etc. As is usually the situation in such cases, they were not much liked by the majority who refused that choice. This is the origin of the separation of the two groups.

    The serbs were the “imperialists” in Yugoslavia post-WWI (before that, caught between the Ottomans and the Austro-Hungarian empire they did not have much chance to be): that is, they were the ‘state’ people, with other ethnic groups feeling somewhat left out of Yugoslav power structures – with more or less cause at various times.

    The Balkan muslims (and also the Croats – the Ustasha), were allies of the Nazis, sent (tiny) forces to fight alongside them in the east, assist their holocaust, etc. (To be fair, the Nazis backed groups who then claimed to speak for their whole ethnicity without the tedious formality of having a vote to see how far they did.)

    So, at the start of this millennium, both Milošević’s ‘Greater Serbia’ policies (seeking to keep the borders if the Serbian state as large as possible) and Germany’s precipitate and inept support for the breakaways merely repeated older trends.

    I quite see where bobby b (August 5, 2017 at 6:40 am) is coming from.

    Corbyn of course was clueless about this too.

  • ragingnick

    When will we learn that there is no such thing as a moderate or peaceful Muhammadan? Ever since NATO and the criminal Clinton Administration engineered the Muslim takeover of Serbias ancient cradle of Christian Kosovo there have been numerous Christian places of worship in Kosovo destroyed and non muslims murdered. The Serbs were defending themselves from extermination by what was a kind of early European ISIS.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-EQJA8Ahac

  • Mr Ed

    Corbyn of course was clueless about this too.

    Mr Corbyn is not clueless, I am sure that he is fully aware of the GULAGs, the NKVD, the Checka, the KGB and the MVD, the Stasi and the niceties of the former Peoples’ Republic of Yugoslavia. He is also fully aware of what is going on in Venezuela. As to how he would act differently to Stalin, Tito, Yezhov, Fidel Castro, Mao or Brezhnev given the unbridled opportunity, I am clueless.

  • Mr Ed (August 5, 2017 at 6:10 pm), I agree Corbyn is anything but clueless about the fact that Stalin had a secret police, camps, etc., and believes whatever he wants to believe about deaths in the Ukraine famine then or in Venezuela now. However I’m sure he is pretty clueless about many things, including the history of the Balkans.

  • When will we learn that there is no such thing as a moderate or peaceful Muhammadan?

    Fortunately some us disconnect the drip feed of Mark Steyn’s hysterical doom juice so we can go outside and look around ourselves, thereby discovering there is indeed such a thing, doubly so in broadly secular places like Bosnia.

    Ever since NATO and the criminal Clinton Administration engineered the Muslim takeover of Serbias ancient cradle of Christian Kosovo

    Hate to break it to you, but the majority of the population of Kosova was muslim long before anyone ever heard of Bill “Blowjob” Clinton. And one of the main reasons is Kosova was the economic shithole of Yugoslavia, hence Serbs had been leaving for other less crappy parts of the country long before the psychotic Milošević destabilised the entire place by tearing up Tito’s carefully constructed compromises.

  • Chester Draws

    But does the greater Muslim world see themselves as kin to the Balkan Muslims?

    The “greater Muslim world” is a myth. The Saudis get on fine with the West, but hate Iran. Al Quaeda bomb Saudi Arabia as much as any non-Moslem country. The Turks are happy to work with Israelis to keep the Kurds down. The lone extremists target the West, but the countries always squabble with one another, rather than co-operate.

    The idea that there should be one great big Islamic caliphate always falls down on who is going to run it. There’s no reconciling Sunnis with Shias, nor Turks with Arabs, nor Arabs with Iranians, nor modernists with traditionalists. Pakistan was founded as a solely Moslem country to try and give some sort of stability to it, but instead it fell apart into two states, and then both of those are riven with tribal and religious factionism.

    Europe is one big happy family, Brexit or no Brexit, compared to the Moslem world.

  • Paul Marks

    We live in an inverted culture.

    Opposition to the doctrines of Islam is called “Islamophobia” and may soon be illegal – in Canada and perhaps in Britain to.

    Yet the de facto denial of the MURDER of Muslims (by Mr Corbyn and his friends – who defend the then socialist government of Serbia and its paramilitary allies) is considered fine.

    The message is as simple as it is horrible – “it is O.K. to murder individual human beings – but it is forbidden to attack the doctrines of other cultures”.

    Frankfurt School Marxism has led to moral bankruptcy.

  • Quaif

    The fact that some Muslims are civilised – and certainly the Bosnian variety seemed perfectly decent to me – does not mean that Steyn is wrong about Islam representing a threat to Western civilisation.

  • The fact that some Muslims are civilised – and certainly the Bosnian variety seemed perfectly decent to me – does not mean that Steyn is wrong about Islam representing a threat to Western civilisation.

    That that sums up why, whilst I agree (in at least a general sense) that ‘Islam represents a threat to Western civilisation’, I am not a great fan of Steyn, because he overstates things (when the reality is actually bad enough) and is prone to blanket statements. My view is that ‘Islam represents a threat to Western civilisation only because cultural opposition to it in the west is prevented by non-muslims on the political left’. Islam on its own (which it ain’t unfortunately) is essentially a toy poodle with rabies.

    Too many of Steyn’s fans (of which I was once one) start cleaving to preposterous notions about the strength and universality of Islam and its values (which much as the likes of Osama Bin Ladin & Caliph Baghdadi wish were true, they are manifestly not).

    Speaking as someone who spent a good chunk of the 1990s in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, to see the Yugoslav wars as wars between the Christian West and Islam is beyond preposterous, even if that narrative suits the very people who gave us the term ‘ethnic cleaning’. It was a war to establish a Greater Serbia under the control of the Socialist Party of Serbia, upon the corpse of multi-ethnic and multi-confessional Yugoslavia, which predictably triggered all manner of counter-nationalisms in order to prevent that from happening.

  • Schrodinger's Dog

    Ellen, you wrote: “The left talks of a reality-based consensus – but they’re actually living in a consensus-based reality.”

    I nominate that for SQOTD.

  • Laird

    “Islam on its own (which it ain’t unfortunately) is essentially a toy poodle with rabies.”

    I think that seriously understates the danger. Islam isn’t one toy poodle with rabies; it’s a large pack of them. Islam is the second largest religion in the world; how you can equate that to a single tiny dog is beyond me. (The “rabies” part I accept!)

  • Alisa

    If all the Western governments combined are one large wolf, then Islam is indeed a toy poodle. It’s all about the frame of reference.

  • You do see some Middle Eastern and Pakistani Muslims – and British Muslims – cite Kosovo as a factor in people becoming radicalized. Not that they thank the NATO countries for intervening, but they cite it as an example of oppression of Muslims. I also heard that Novak Djokovic gets booed in places in Turkey for being Serb, related to Kosovo.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Of wolves and poodles: Even a toy poodle, if rabid, can ruin your entire week unless you see a doc toot sweet.

    I’m not sure that even wolves are entirely immune to the attack of a rabid anything.

  • Alisa

    Every predator is also a prey to some other predator, rabies aside.

  • Mr Ed

    How could someone like Mr Corbyn support the likes of Milosevic and Hizbollah?

    If the criterion applied is ‘Are they enemies of the West?’, then it matters naught what they think of each other.

  • Rich Rostrom

    Some years ago, I was biking down Western Avenue in Chicago, and saw an establishment called the “Pyramid Restaurant”. I thought it would be an Egyptian restaurant, so I rolled over to see what interesting stuff was on the menu.

    It was obvious, looking through the window, that it wasn’t really a restaurant at all – no kitchen, a lot of small tables, a big music stage, and a very large and well-stocked bar. Some people were outside smoking; they told me it was a Bosniak club.

    Such rigidly observant Moslems…

    (Moslem communities in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Macedonia have been infected by Wahhabi/Salafist radicalism in recent decades. Saudi money buys influence, paying for mosques and clerics and teachers; and in combat areas, jihadi volunteers with arms are understandably welcomed.)

    In any case, the notion that Serbian paramilitary violence against Bosniaks was “self-defense” is rubbish. It was practiced equally against Croats. The violence in Yugoslavia was deliberately fomented by the corrupt ex-Communist Serbs who controlled the federal government, to perpetuate their hold on power. (There is evidence of collusion in this operation by the corrupt ex-Communists who controlled Croatia.)

  • Mr Black

    Perry, you have what I regard as the rather bad habit of assuming all people are freedom loving libertarians until they prove otherwise. There were many cultured Nazis and Communists who would have happily chatted with you in a bar like you were old university friends without ever giving away the fact that they’d murder you as a counter-revolutionary if they ever gained power. Just as there are no doubt many cultured muslims who you know, but who would never, ever reveal to an outsider what they say to other muslims. Everywhere that islam goes, violence and religious wars follow. Everywhere. They rely on useful idiots to provide them cover until they have the strength to take political power in their own right.

  • Alisa

    We all have bad habits, Mr. Black. Yours is where you just can’t take opinions that go against your preconceptions, on issues of which you have no first-hand knowledge – from people who do happen to have it.

  • Perry, you have what I regard as the rather bad habit of assuming all people are freedom loving libertarians until they prove otherwise

    Well getting wasted on loza and šljivovica with a bunch of Bosnians (some wearing micro-miniskirts) just outside Sarajevo in the 1990s makes it hard for me to see them as the thin end of the Islamic wedge. I am aware that the vile Wahhabis have somewhat pissed in the pool since then, but I am in still touch with that part of the world enough to know they remain a broadly secular society.

  • bobby b

    Perry de Havilland (London)
    August 7, 2017 at 8:13 pm

    ” . . . getting wasted on loza and šljivovica with a bunch of Bosnians (some wearing micro-miniskirts) . . . a broadly secular society.”

    I don’t think we’re supposed to call them “broads” anymore.

  • Julie near Chicago

    There is nothing like a broad–
    —>Nothing in the world<—
    She probably isn’t a fraud,
    So she's welcome if she's a broad!

    😉

  • NickM

    “It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained-glass window.”

    ― Raymond Chandler, “Farewell, My Lovely”.

    One of the greatest prose stylists in English – ever.

    “It was social justice worker. A social justice worker to make an Abbott shag a Corbyn”.

    Me – working on it. But gimme material!

    A few years back I went to Turkey and was mainly in Istanbul (I also went to Troy and Gallipoli). It was grand and seriously cool – me with my hookah and a few jars of Efes (which tastes disturbingly like chain US lager but what the Hell!). There were folks in the bars who’d knocked-off from work and after Friday prayers repaired to a bar. Alas for Turkey they now have Erdogan who wants nobody to have any fun at all, ever.

    It is a tragedy. Allah knows what Atatürk would think. Atatürk was a very flawed character to put it very mildly but he knew secularism was the only way forward.

    I never touched raki. Not until earlier this year on Crete when we got a bottle with the room. It’s not too bad, really.