Bosnian NGOs campaign to ban fascism

Several NGOs in Bosnia and Herzegovina want fascist organizations and hate speech to be banned. – The attempts to revise the history and rehabilitate the forces that had been historically defeated in the Second World War, has increased the past few months, the organizations warn. (14-FEB-05) 
 

Several NGOs in Bosnia and Herzegovina want fascist organizations and hate speech to be banned. – The attempts to revise the history and rehabilitate the forces that had been historically defeated in the Second World War, has increased the past few months, the organizations warn. (14-FEB-05) 

Read the statement below

– UNION OF ASSOCIATIONS OF THE VETERANS OF THE PEOPLE?S LIBERATION AND ANTIFASCIST WAR of Bosnia and Herzegovina (SUBNOAR BIH)
– UNION OF JOSIP BROZ TITO ASSOCIATIONS of Bosnia and Herzegovina (SAVEZ DRUSTAVA J.B. TITO)
– CIRCLE 99 (Krug 99)
– ACADEMY OF SCIENCES of Bosnia and Herzegovina  (ANUBIH)
– COUNCIL OF THE CONGRESS OF BOSNIAK INTELLECTUALS (VKBI)
– SERB CIVIC COUNCIL ? MOVEMENT FOR EQUALITY (SGV ? Pokret za ravnopravnost)
– CROAT PEOPLE?S COUNCIL (HNV)
– PEN CENTRE (PEN Centar)
– HELSINKI COMMITTEE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA (HELSINSKI KOMITET U BIH)

– ON THE PHENOMENA OF REVIVAL OF FASCISM –

The attempts to revise the history, hand in hand with unabashed efforts to rehabilitate the forces that had been historically defeated in the Second World War, occur with increasing frequency for the past few months. Both in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in its immediate environment, the forces that are trying to revise the historic facts, in an attempt to relativise the role of anti-fascists and anti-fascist movement from these spaces and their contribution to the victory of the Allied Forces over the fascism, are now on the offensive. We are witnessing to ever more frequent attempts to rehabilitate historically the once-for-ever defeated forces of nazi-fascism by equating the Chetniks to the partisans, Ustashas to the partisans, the Quislings who fought in the ranks of the SS Waffen Handjar Division to the partisans.

Toward year-end 2004, the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia passed a law under which, in terms of the merits and entitlements, the veterans of the People?s Liberation Resistance Movement were equated to the combatants of the Ravna Gora Chetnik Movement. Although this law has no relation to Bosnia and Herzegovina, it has encouraged the Chetniks in our country to come forward and claim that the anti-fascist combatants and fascists should be equalized in everything, which unfortunately has been done by the Republika Srpska. It will be recalled that during the Second World War the Chetniks were not only the allies of the WW II Axis Powers,  but also followed in the footsteps of Hitler?s ideology in committing their crimes.  In the same way that Hitler condemned the Jews, Roma and other ?lower races? to perdition, the Chetniks also tried physically to exterminate the Croats, Moslems and those Serbs who did not adhere to their policy in order to expand the space of their Greater Serbia.  Their historical impact in the territories of former Yugoslavia was equal to the impact of Nazis in the global world arena.

The attempts at rehabilitating the Chetnik ideology in Bosnia and Herzegovina too, manifest themselves in the existence of Ravna Gora Chetnik Movement and similar organizations, erection of monuments and other memorials celebrating Draza Mihajlovic and his followers, in religious ceremonies dedicated to the memory of certain individuals who were members of the Chetnik Movement, and commemorating the dates and places associated with the massacres committed by Chetniks in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The biggest memorial that the Chetniks have succeeded in erecting during the recent war is the very territory of our land of Bosnia and Herzegovina, conquered and shaped by force, the ethnic cleansing from everything that is not Serb and Orthodox, the naming of the territory as Serb  as a way to creating the preconditions for instauration of a Greater Serbia, a long time desired for goal  of the Chetnik ideology, which is, unfortunately, even today being in a way  tolerated  by the international community.

 Apart from Chetniks, there are also endeavors to push into oblivion the atrocities and heinous crimes committed by Ustashas in their role of the Quislings. At this moment still, with the approval and active participation of the authorities, some streets bear the names of the notorious Jure Francetic and Mile Budak, while Ustasha criminals and their national entities are being freely glorified at concerts and election campaign rallies of certain parties.

No less ominous are the attempts at rehabilitating the Quisling formations like the Handjar Division and similar units. Underhandedly,  the names of the soldiers of such military units, which were under the direct command of the Third Reich, are being propagated and glorified, and even certain streets in some towns bear their names. Certain individuals from the ranks of the Young Moslems are being extolled and misrepresented as antifascists, although some of them were the ideological inspirers and supporters of collaborationist formations.

The demolition of Josip Broz Tito?s monument in Kumrovec is the climax of a series of attacks against the personality and legacy of the man who organized and victoriously led the People?s Liberation Movement and the struggle against fascism. This act of vandalism adds to the efforts to minimize the historic role Tito played and to equate him and the partisan movement to war criminals and their military formations, and to present Tito and the movement in totalitarian light. The attacks against Tito are also visible in the attempts to rename the streets that were named after Tito.

Lately, we have also seen typically revisionist articles appear in part of the press published in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In these articles, it is being denied that concentration camps ever existed, and that Jews, Roma and antifascists were subject to mass suffering, with intention to rewrite historic facts that are irrefutable. 

The internal social system of our state and the territorial division created in bloodbath and through ethnic cleansing in the recent war favor the malignant situation that we are presently living in. For years already we have been living in utter material and all other kinds of poverty, with little chance to extricate ourselves from it, since the state is run mainly by incompetent, and corrupt people, among whom there are many who have their hands stained with blood, and who, in order to enrich themselves even more and to rule as long as possible, continue daily to stir up ethnic and religious hatred among the population, and instigate peoples against each other, provoking divisions among them, which under present circumstances provides a fertile soil for emergence and development of fascist ideology and its application in practice.  
  
Under the circumstances in which we are witnesses to the re-emergence of the vampires of the past in Bosnia and Herzegovina and its immediate neighborhood, who are by all means striving to restructure the history, minimizing the role of the anti-fascists and trying to secure recognition for the darkest ideologies and their proponents, all the anti-fascists are confronted with imperative task to actively and strongly speak out and stand up against revisionism. The WW II veterans gathered around the Union of Associations of the Veterans of the People ?s Liberation and Antifascist War, together with the broadest circle of NGOs and other organizations that embrace anti-fascism and the ideas of humanism and humanitarianism, all those that oppose racism, xenophobia, all manifestations of intolerance, have historical duty to reassert all the values of the People?s Liberation Movement and the accepted values of the modern democratic societies founded on respect for human rights and freedoms.

As heirs to the cause of anti-fascism, the Union of Associations of the Veterans of the People ?s Liberation and Antifascist War of BiH, Union of Josip Broz Tito Associations of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Circle 99, Academy of Sciences of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Council of the Congress of Bosniak Intellectuals, Serb Civic Council ? Movement for Equality, Croat People?s Council, Pen Centre, Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina have a duty to insist on historical facts and their correct interpretation, relying on the support of the science of history. We owe it to the broad public of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the young generation to oppose the attempts at forging the history and contribute to the development of a society that would rest on the foundations of genuine values. The recent past, marked by the aggression and reappearance of the evil spirits of fascism entitles us and obligates us, in the name of preservation of peace in these territories, not to let fascism loom again on the horizon and threaten the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Because of that we will try to strengthen the anti-fascist front, comprised of our organizations, by gathering together all those organizations and individuals who are ready and willing to oppose nazi-fascism in all its forms.

On the basis of our commitments, we recommend and propose that:

1. The Presidency of BiH, Council of Ministers of BiH, Parliamentary Assembly of BiH ? House of Peoples and House of Representatives, immediately initiate a procedure to adopt a law to ban all neo-fascist organizations, and to prohibit the use of their emblems, including the ban on Ustasha and Chetnik organizations, and those organizations that continue the tradition of the Handjar Division;

2. The political parties and other protagonists in public arena, including the media, refrain from using the language of hatred, racism, xenophobia, anti -semitism, chauvinism or any other form of instigation to intolerance  and extremist views and ideas, in order to prevent the fueling of the darkest nazi -fascist ideologies and manifestations;

3. The representatives of international community, and notably the representatives of the member countries of the anti-fascist coalition, apply against the proponents of fascist ideas in Bosnia and Herzegovina the same measures and sanctions that the civilised world is applying against any other form of fascism in elsewhere in the world.
    


SUBNOAR BiH                                               SAVEZ DRUSTAVA J.B. TITO
Jure Galic                                                     Raif Dizdarevic 


ANUBiH                                                        Krug 99
Prof.dr Bozidar Matic                                   Prof.dr Mirjana Malic


VKBI                                                            SGV ? Pokret za ravnopravnost
Prof.dr Sabira Hadzovic                               Prof.dr Mirko Pejanovic


HNV                                                            PEN centar                                                                 
Fra  Luka   Markesic                                   Prof. dr Zdenko Lesic


HELSINKI COMMIITTEE IN BH
Srdjan Dizdarevic                           

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