Only love can overcome fear

Back when I still lived at home, my family hosted a Serbian exchange student. This wasn’t really your typical exchange student situation. He wasn’t really here to learn our language or our culture or any of the things students who normally participate in these programs come for.

Love overcomes fear

He was here to escape the war.

He was maybe 15. OK, so maybe he was older. He could have been older. I hope he was older because he was escaping the draft and I would hope that even Serbia wouldn’t draft 15 year olds. But his family didn’t want him drafted. Partly for the same reasons any family doesn’t want to see their son drafted into a Civil War but also because there is no way he would survive. He lacked maturity. He lacked a certain sense. He was . . . maybe 15.

My friends and I took him to the mall once. That great center of American culture. And America, being for the underdog, was decidedly pro-Croatian. As was the mall. It almost led to a fight between him and one of those people who set up little shops in the walkway because he had a whole display of Croatian flags.

I remember him spitting right there on the floor of the mall and in his thick accent and broken English,

“Pigs. They are not human. They are pigs.”

Yeah, that’s a scene you want to be in the middle of at the mall. Between a hot headed Serbian kid and a kindly Croatian gentleman. In the US. Where everyone knew about the ethnic cleansing perpetrated by the Serbs in Bosnia. We all knew what kind of hate Serbians were capable of. And right next to me, traveling with me, being cautiously led away by me, was exhibit A.

We hadn’t actually talked to him about what was going on in Serbia before that moment. Chalk it up to a certain liberal sensitivity. Everyone “knew” what was going on in his homeland. His family wanted him out. We, I think, had assumed that like in any conflict, the individuals in the conflict do not necessarily agree with what is happening around them.

Then again, maybe they do. So we had a little talk. First. This is America. America is decidedly pro-Croatian. You might get away with calling a Serbian a pig, but you won’t get away with calling a Croatian a pig. Second. You just don’t talk about people like that. Period. They’re human. They’re involved in a horrible conflict. And you just don’t talk like that. His answer?

“Because you don’t know what they are.”

The statement was chilling. Maybe it was the accent. Maybe it was what had just transpired. But there was something in his voice that was more than just hate. And he gave me my first personal glimpse at the horrors of Civil War.

Because he was right. I didn’t know what “they” were. I knew “they” were being tortured. Raped. Murdered. It was, after all, genocide. The UN and United States Congress agreed. Genocide. Not just a conflict or a war or a break up of Yugoslavia, but genocide. The eradication of a people simply for being.

I only vaguely knew that Croatia had been guilty of the same crimes. Not just back in World War II, when they had actual concentration camps set up for their Serbs and Gypsies. In the early nineties, the Croatians were guilty of murder. Rape. Shelling civilian areas. They killed unarmed civilians. Children. Families hiding in basements. This is from Bojana Isakovic’s  exhibition Genocide against the Serbs. Croatian forces killed 24 men and women with guns, knives and sledgehammers. Then burned their bodies. The other images were too graphic for me to share.


(Note: The image comes from a Marxist site. The exhibition was not banned as they state, and the atrocities were not fully unknown. It was complicated by the fact that there was an embargo, but the exhibition itself was not the subject of censorship.)

Now this exchange didn’t make me suddenly pro-Serbian. It gave me a very human face to a terrible and bloody Civil War. And it made me think. When the vanquished become the victors, they often turn on those who oppressed them, punishing them in kind. Seeking justice is rare. Seeking vengeance is not.

It seems to be part of human nature.

Fear and hate are the darkest of human emotions. And they aren’t overcome by laying out behavioral expectations, banning touchy conversations and simply telling someone that hate is not OK and that vengeance serves no purpose.

Because fear and hate cannot be overcome by reason. By love, grace, mercy . . . eventually. But not by reason.



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9 Responses

  1. It’s a twisted world here on earth. Ego has stepped up before anything else and blinds people from the truth. If more people stopped the hate, dropped the ego and actaully saw one another for who they are which is actaully ” themselves” they’d stop the hate. We are one another- but sadly people do not see that…

  2. Yes. But it’s harder when you are the victim and the first step forward may be to let go of that. And by victim, I mean actually hiding in a basement while your family is murdered. Those kinds of things complicate peace. And forgiveness. And love.

  3. Sadly, those war mongerers who hunger for war and destruction, often do it from the comfort of their high office. They don’t have to deal with the lingering nightmares.
    As a survivor, I know that war is not the answer to disputes and hate fuels the memories. May we all find the road to peace inside.

  4. The U.S. and west pushed lies and demonization of Serbs from the start. The U.S. and western countries, such as Britain and Germany, were meeting with non-Serb separatists BEFORE the war and shipping weapons to them.

    In Bosnia and Herzegovina, their president, Alija Izetbegovic, was a zealot who desired a Bosnia under Islam. He even published a book called “Islamic Declaration” in 1972 which spelled that out.
    He stated that Islam could not co-exist in a state with other religions.
    As a youth he was in a pro-Nazi Muslim division. The Bosnian Muslims were a special project of Himmler. They formed the SS Handschar. It was known for killing Serbs and Jews.
    The west covered up for their proxies/clients in the war and muted what they were doing.

    It was the Bosnian Muslims who first struck in Sarajevo – shooting at Sarajevo Serbs celebrating a wedding. They killed the father of the groom and injured several others. This was about a month before the “official” start of the war, according to the west, but this action caused Sarajevo to divide up between Serb and Muslims parts.
    During the war that city was DIVIDED and the front lines ran through the middle.

    The Muslims were decapitating civilian Sarajevo Serbs and throwing their bodies down Kazani gorge. The west was silent on that. The Bosnian Muslims were putting Serbs in GRAIN SILO concentration camps such as one in Tarcin. The western media was silent about that.

    Also, Croatia sent in 40,000 troops into Bosnia and they were there throughout the entire war – with some still in there AFTER the Dayton Accords.
    This was an OPEN SECRET of the international community serving there.

    The Bosnian Muslim commander in Srebrenica, Naser Oric, was creating a SCORCHED EARTH campaign against Serbian villages all around Srebrenica (that’s after murdering and cleansing Serbs who lived in Srebrenica, including a Serbian judge personally killed by Oric at the very beginning of the war).

    This Bosnian Muslim commander was showing VIDEOS of his and his army’s attacks on the Serbs. The videos showed Serbs fleeing, homes and buildings burning, and many scenes with dead Serbs’s bodies strewn about. Those who witnessed these videos in his home in Srebrenica in January 1994 were John Pomfret of the Washington Post and Bill Schiller of the Toronto Starr.
    In one scene of dead Serbs, Commander Oric, mentioned how they had killed Serbs in that town with explosives: “We shot them to the moon!” is how Oric described it.
    While for another scene of dead Serbs he said, “We had to use cold weapons that night.”

    Furthermore the claims against Serbs were often very exaggerated, biased and even completely false.
    Most of the dead in that war were SOLDIERS not civilians and around 91% of the dead an missing were MEN, not “women and children”.

    Also, the Bosnian Muslim army ARBiH was the largest in Bih by far. They greatly outnumbered the Serbs who were suffering a manpower shortage and stretched thin.

    The Bosnian Muslim side had 200,000 while the Bosnian Serbs were around 40,000. So the Bosniaks were about 5 times greater.

    Plus the Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats turned against each other and fought for about 17 months – and it was some of the most intense fighting during the war. It left Mostar the most destroyed city in all of BiH, while the Croat population in central BiH was heavily ethnically cleansed.

    The Croats claimed 150,000 Croats were cleansed from central Bosnia by the Bosnian Muslims in the summer 1993 alone.

    A Jewish-American, David Mladinov, originally from Yugoslavia but left as a small boy during WWII, did translations for some Bosnian Muslim refugees in 1993. He discovered that they were held in a Croatian concentration camp. He said they also mentioned how they started the war as allies with the Croats and ethnically cleansed and killed all the Serbs from Capljina, until the Croats turned on them.

    The Bosnian Muslims and Croats turned on each other in areas after they cleansed the Serbs or in areas where there weren’t many Serbs to begin with.

    The Bosnian Muslims would severely mutilate those they killed. The Serbs have photos and autopsies of this and a British mercenary, John McPhee, was witness to the aftermath of Croatian villages which had been attacked by the Bosnian Muslim army – he witnessed murdered mothers and babies.

    The west totally covered up the brutality of the Bosnian Muslims and made them seem so innocent – when they had the largest army and they were even known to stage attacks on their own people.

    The UN was stationed in BiH the entire war and had several permanent contingents in Sarajevo. UN officers have testified at the ICTY and/or written in books that the Bosnian Muslim forces did mortar/shell people inside their own lines as well as snipe at civilians and the UN.

    The UN officers testified that the Bosnian Muslim forces used “several buildings” in the infamous Sniper’s Alley. That plus the fact that they regularly sniped at civilians and the UN shows that Serbs were often being falsely accused of what the Bosnian Muslims did.
    It served the Bosnian Muslim government to have Serbs demonized and blamed.

    Also, the UN records and testimony state that the Bosnian Muslim government in Sarajevo was continually diverting the food meant for the civilians to their army – 40,000 strong in Sarajevo alone.
    The rest of the distributed food was seen on the black market.
    But most of the food 60% was NOT being distributed at all. The UN believed the government was warehousing it.

    The Bosnian Muslim government purposely withheld most all the UN food which was sent to Sarajevo to “sell” the war and their propaganda. It also interfered with the utilities more than the fighting itself.

    So the Sarajevo government was going out of its way to make things much worse for the civilians in Sarajevo to push the victim-hood and sell the war.

    Fact is that the UN was continually trucking food, fuel and other supplies into Sarajevo (and many other parts of BiH) during the entire war. The British mercenary who fought with the Croats I mentioned earlier was amazed by all the UN supply trucks circulating in central Bosnia during the war.

    Serbs did NOT stop the food and fuel deliveries – they were constantly passing through Serb lines. Only occasionally there’d be a temporary hold up when Serbs discovered weapons or other things for the army. The UN was involved (or did allow) weapons smuggling to the Bosnian Muslims in the war.

    That tunnel under the airport, which Muslims show tourists as a “lifeline” was NOT for civilians. It was controlled by the military and was to smuggle weapons and soldiers from the UN-controlled airport in Sarajevo (the Yugoslav/Serb forces handed the airport to the UN early in the war), to Bosnian army controlled territory.

    There is a lot more information and evidence I have.

    As for Croatia: it was Serb civilian bodies (which had been tied, tortured and shot) which were washing up on the banks of Croatian rivers in Osijek and Vukovar – dozens of them – NOT Croat bodies.

    If Serbs were the aggressors then why was it only Serb civilian bodies found and identified on the banks of Croatian rivers and NO CROATS? Explain that!

  5. I also want to add that it was the Bosnian Serb women who first sent documented testimony of rape camps to the UN Security Council in the fall of 1992. These were 800 fully documented cases – first and last names – and high quality and details.
    Before this, neither the Bosnian Muslims nor the mainstream media had anything on rape camps. But once the Serbs sent these documents, the Bosnian Muslim government, suddenly and with no documents at the time nor hard evidence TO THIS DAY, started making a huge claim of 50,000 Bosnian Muslim women raped.
    And the mainstream media pushed this accusation, as well as any other accusation make by the Muslims and Croats, against Serbs without any proof whatsoever.

    The timing shows the Bosnian Muslims were trying to drown out Serbs’ accusations or stealing their thunder (not that they actually had to worry about the west mentioning what was happening to the Serbs).

    Plus there is never any hard evidence – the UN never found any of these Serbian-run rape camps, nor was any Bosnian Muslim rape victim rescued and taken to the hospital – this would have given solid evidence – but there is not such case. Plus there is a total lack of medical evidence.
    There also was no increase in birthrate – which there would have been if the Bosnian Muslim claims were 1/10th true.

    It was pure propaganda and blaming the true victims – the Serbian women who were being raped by the Bosnian Muslim and Croatian soldiers – who often operated together against the Serbs, until they turned against each other in the middle of the Bosnian war (from October 1992 through February 1994 when the west forced a peace deal on them – wanted them to unite and go after Serbs again).

    The Serbian women were given birth to sickly babies – some who died – because they were STARVED while pregnant in the camps. Some lost weight while pregnant.
    And they do have medical and hospital records and these women often needed months of hospitalization because of their condition. There is no such medical records to back the Muslim nor Croat claims against Serbs.
    The media’s hype claims – and it was after they made their initial claims that the Bosnian Muslim government and the mainstream media discovered it had reignited interest in the Bosnian war (which was already started to flag) and in general whipped up a lot of interest.
    So they ran with it. Never mind that their stories were false/impossible.
    For instance, in early January 1993, a major U.S. magazine had a picture of a woman with a full-term 2 month old with a claim that she was raped in late April 1992. Journalist math. That baby pictured would be born in mid-November, so conceived in mid-February – BEFORE the war.
    The woman and baby were just PROPS for the propaganda – not proof.

    And then there was a pregnant Bosnian Muslim refugee girl in Austria who was featured throughout her pregnancy. Then, around the time she was due, there was nothing more on her and she was never spoken of again by western journalists. Those who went to the local hospital to investigate learned she had a BLACK baby – allegedly the child of some black French UN officer.

  6. Here’s a WWII picture of Bosnia’s wartime President as a youth:

    Alija Izetbegovic Handzar Nazi SS division

    He was also jailed a few times after WWII for violence against Serbs and was seeking help from Islamic countries and terrorist groups in 1982 to help with an independent Bosnia even then. He was jailed for several years after that, but when he got out, he and the others he was jailed with formed the party that led Bosnia to war.

    The west was supporting the non-Serb separatists before the war started. The U.S., Germany and Britain had long wanted to break Yugoslavia up a Serbs’ expense. They had to wait until the Soviet Union weakened/retreated and Germany reunited.

    The U.S. and Britain also put Serbia under communist Tito in WWII because it didn’t want Serbs free. The Serbs would be put on ice until while the Soviets were strong and taking over half of Europe to be dealt with later – and the 1990’s was when the time was ripe.

    U.S. and Britain acted as Tito’s air force and were bombing civilian Serbs – who did not want communism – instead of the Germans. The Gestapo headquarters in Belgrade was untouched by American and British bombers, while Serbian civilian apartments and homes were directly bombed by the U.S. killed several thousands and destroying industry which the Germans didn’t already bomb.

    You say U.S. likes the “underdog” Croatia – No! The U.S. uses death squads and terrorists to suit its worldwide agenda. U.S. backed the terrorists against Syria because it wants to overthrow that government and install a U.S.-puppet government.

    U.S. kills millions of civilians around the world with impunity. In Vietnam it killed millions of civilians; in Korea it killed millions of civilians; in Iraq it has caused the death of a million civilians. It is currently aiding Saudi Arabia’s genocidal bombing campaign on Yemen.

    U.S. sponsored death and torture squads in Central and Southern America to get its puppet governments.

    Serbs were the targets from BEFORE the wars actually started. Most everything the U.S. mainstream and its poodles in Europe published about Serbs in the wars were LIES or grossly biased, while it covered up a mountain of crimes against the Serbs – including all the mutilating, decapitating and roasting alive by the precious Bosnian Muslims.

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