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ANALYSIS AND STUDIES ABOUT WAR AGAINST BOSNIA
The War in Bosnia - part one
Dr. Muhamed Borogovac
THE WAR IN BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA 1992-1995
"THE BOSNIAN CONGRESS"
Published by Dr. Vahid Sendijarevic
Typographical preparations: The Bosnian Congress - USA
Tel. (617) 783-8796, (810) 828-3193
FAX (810) 828-3069
The Ethnic Structure of Bosnia-Herzegovina........
Bosnia-Herzegovina within Yugoslavia....................
Bosnia-Herzegovina before the "Agrocomerc" matter
The "Agrocomerc" matter
The Party of Democratic Action - SDA
The First Congress of the SDA
How Yugoslavia Died.........................................
The Yugoslav Peoples Army and the Territorial Defense
The Assembly, Presidency and Government of Yugoslavia
The War in Slovenia
The War in Croatia
Tudjman's understanding of "Sensible Borders"
The New World Order.........................................
The War in Tuzla Region.....................................
The Patriotic league in Tuzla
Attack on the Offices of the SDA in Tuzla
Tuzla before May 15
May 15, 1992
The First Negotiations with Territories
Core Politics of the SDA during the War....................
Influx of New Members
Pohara in Tuzla
Second Conversation With Izetbegovic
The International Law or the Negotiations
Agreeing to Negotiate
Consenting to Karadzic Participating in the negotiation
Consenting to Negotiate the Bosnian Constitution
The Consequences of Negotiating the Bosnian Constitution.....
Questioning the Recognition of Bosnia-Herzegovina
Destroying the Motivation for the Struggle
"Demilitarization of Sarajevo" -- Betrayal of Gorazde
Polemic about some of the Izatbeogivic's Statements.........
The Bosnian Congress........................................
Balog's and Sendijarevic's correspondence with Izetbegovic
The Bosnian Congress Accusation
The Activities of the Bosnian Congress
The Bosnian Congress Vs Izetbegovic's Press
Questions and Answers
The Betrayal of Bihac
Reaction of the Bosnian Congress to the request from
Milosevic to recognize Bosnia-Herzegovina
The Fall of Zepa and its Consequences.......................
The Fall of Srebrenica
The Betrayal of Zepa
Political consequences of the Fall of Zepa and Srebrenica
The Cetniks were Defeated Militarily
The Army and the Politics
Others Comments about the War in Bosnia
The Announcement by the Bosnjaks Organization
The Message from The Bosnian Congress to the Bosnian
Assembly following the "American Initiative"
The Message from Professor Francis Boyle to the Bosnian
Assembly following the "American Initiative"
The explanation by the Studio 99
The Analysis by Dr. Zdravko Tomac
The reaction from The Tuzla's Intellectuals
How Could he Get Away with it?..............................
The Technology of the Deceit
The Role of other Participants within the Government
About Izetbegovic's Motives
"We are going to Drina river"
(Refers to pushing the Serbian aggressors back to the
traditional border between Bosnia and Serbia)
Captain Hajro Mesic, Commander of Teocak and Zvornik
"The war will end when "Lilies" fly over Banja Luka and Grude"
(Refers to the Bosnian flag flying over the territories currently
occupied by the Chetniks(1) and HVO (2))
Sefer Halilovic, past supreme commander of the Bosnian Army
"Bosnia doesn't need peace, Bosnia needs freedom"
Zaim Imamovic, The Commander of Gorazde
"The "safe heavens" are those where the Bosnian Army is in control"
Atif Dudakovic, The Commander of the Fifth Core
"We (Bosnian Army) are going to have a parade in Banja Luka"
(Referring to the final liberation of the occupied territories)
Mehmed Alagic, The Commander of the Seventh Core
I dedicate this book to the heroic Bosnian Army
Bosnjaks is the official name since October 1994. of the most numerous
ethnic group in the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Before October 1994.
the name was "Bosnian Muslims". Hence, "Bosnian muslim is a name of the
ethnic group, rather than religious group.
"Brotherhood and unity" was a way of living (modus vivendi), promoted by
Tito, based on tolerance between various ethnic groups in the diverse
Ustashe, Croatian nationalists who considered the Serbs as enemies and
"Muslims" as allies against the Serbs. They committed genocide against the
Serbs. in the W.W. II. After the W.W.II "Ustasa" was a pejorative name for
Croats used by Serbs.
The war in Bosnia-Herzegovina is an unheard of tragedy. Before the eyes
of the entire world, a state is disappearing, and the people (population)
of a nation are also disappearing. All of the principles of humanity,
morals and international rules have been trampled. The question most
often asked is how could that happen today, when the Genocide committed
during W.W.II is so well known (The Holocaust) and when the International
community had the will and the means to protect The Republic of
Bosnia-Herzegovina (RBH)? The International community has shown that it
is not the enemy of The Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina and that it accepts
this State in to its membership when it recognized RBH on April 7, 1992.
With that act, the International community stud up against the Serbian
nationalism, which only started to bloody its hands in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
So how come that in the Fall of 1995, after the innumerable atrocities
committed by the Cetniks, revolted the world, the International community
crossedover to the side of to the side of the criminals, giving them 49%
of Bosnia-Herzegovina with its "peace proposals?" Who was the mastermind
who succeeded to change the world opinion and what methods did he use?
This book answers some of those questions. The reading of this book has to
be approached with having faith in no one but a clear mind. Besides that,
from the reader who comprehends what is truly happening in Bosnia, it is
expected that he/she spread the truth. The ultimate goal is to help in
the fight against the forces of betrayal and the division of
Wishing to arm the Bosnian patriots as soon as possible with the knowledge
of what is really happening, this book is being written in a hurry. I
still hope that this book will reach Bosnians and friends of Republic
Bosnia-Herzegovina all over the world before it is too late, while it is
still possible to say "NO" to the division of homeland. That is why I ask
you to overlook any imperfections contained in this book.
Boston, November 5, 1995
Author: Dr. Muhamed Borogovac
6 CHAPTER ONE
ETHNIC STRUCTURE OF BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA
The war in ex-Yugoslavia started back in 1987 with the arrival of Slobodan
Milosevic to power in Serbia. Milosevic was brought in to the highest
ranks of Serbian leadership by the liberal Serbian communist Ivan
Stambolic, who considered him to be a good banker. Stambolic dreamed that
after the fall of communism, the Serbs will turn towards improvement of
their economy, as was being done by the rest of the nations from the now
defunct communist world. He was wrong. He paid for his mistakes at the
historical 8th conference of the Serbian Central Communist Committee (CK
SKS) by being removed from all of the positions he held. He didn't know
his people well enough. Let's try to explain where Stambolic made his
mistakes, that is, what makes the Serbs so different from the majority of
The most important characteristic of the Serbs is their exaggerated
collective conscience. The strong Serbian national conscience evolves
from the Serbian Orthodox Church, which has always not only protected the
souls of its disciples, but it was always active in politics. The outcome
of that is that the Serbs talked more about the "Serbian bravery and the
Serbian heroism" in their church than have prayed to God. That was also
happening before this current war. Let's remember for example the
ferrying of the "remains of the Czar Lazar" throughout the "greater
Serbian lands west of the Drina river."(Czar Lazar was the last Serbian
medieval ruler. After the defeat of his army on the Kosovo Field in 1389.
Serbia became a part of the Ottoman Empire until 1812.) That "pilgrimage"
with the remains of the Czar Lazar became the ritual marking of the
"Greater Serbia" and the awakening of genocidal hate towards neighbors
prior to starting the war. Because of such strong showing of love towards
Serbian ethnicity, the Serbs are known as either great patriots or great
nationalists, depending on the interpretation of those terms. How does
such collective consciousness affect the "brotherhood and unity?"
("Brotherhood and unity" was a modus vivendi based on tolerance between
various ethnic groups in the diverse Yugoslav society promoted by
communists. ) I'll use the example of Bosnian universities. Working at
different Universities in Bosnia-Herzegovina, I noticed that most of the
employees were Serbs, although the Serbs were a minority among the
students. How did that come about? When a Serbian student appeared
(although he might have been average), all the Serbian professors and
instructors were making believe he was extraordinarily good and did
everything possible to place him as a faculty member. To any Serbian
professor it was quite normal to sacrifice some of his own teaching hours
just so that "their" faculty member would be hired by the University. The
important thing was to employ as many Serbs as possible, in order to
control the University. (All schools in Bosnia belonged to working force
of the school.) On the other hand, the Bosnjak and the Croatian professors
were looking to maintain as many teaching hours in order to increase their
income. That's how it happened that the faculty was composed of average
graduates, while many excellent Bosnjaks and Croats were forced to toil in
some provincial industries.
The Serbian collective ethnic conscience insured that their favorite
subject was history, but mainly that history which glorified the Serbian
nation. There is a saying :"The Serbs live in the past." Some of the
other favorite Serbian activities was the Serbian traditional epic
literature which glorified the "Serbian manliness and bravery." There was
a constant expression of longing for a Greater Serbia, strong Serbian
army, strong police, and all else that could be used in creating the
Serbian nationalist hegemony over the neighboring people. The
individuality among the Serbs is discouraged. In cases where the
individual characteristics, such as morals, honesty, compassion and
conscience clash with the Serbian Nationalism , in the great majority of
cases, the "national interests" will overrule individual sentiments. That
caused tragedies within the Serbian neighbors wherever they lived. For
centuries, Serbia was a diverse community, as long as it was ruled by the
Ottoman empire and the Slavic Muslims. The latter built all of the
Serbian cities, in which they were also the majority. Under the term
"city" I consider the business and commerce centers, not some medieval
castle, of which there were several even before the controlling of Serbia
by the Ottoman empire. In those cities, there lived quite a few Greeks,
Jews, Gypsies, Armenians and many other peoples that comprised the Ottoman
empire. For example, the well known Turkish historian "Evlija Celebija,"
whose works were used in many doctorate thesis, such as was the case of
Ivo Andric, wrote in 1660: "Belgrade is a port on the Danube, with 38
Muslim neighborhoods, three Greek, three Serbian, three Gypsy and one each
of Jewish and Armenian. (Urban Development in the Western Balkans, by
Francis Carter, London, 1977). But as soon as the Serbs took power in
1812, they eliminated all the non-Serbs and created an ethnically pure
Serbia. The surviving Muslims from Serbia mainly escaped in to Bosnia.
However, no revenge against the Serbs living in Bosnia took place. A very
similar circumstance is taking place today. The massacred people of
Srebrenica, Zvornik or Bijeljina are not revenged in places where the
Serbs live under Bosnian Army control, such as Tuzla, Sarajevo Zenica and
other places. The Bosniaks call that "Merhamet." The rest of the world
calls that "individualization of guilt."
As opposed from the Bosnjaks, the Serbs in similar situations always act
collectively, as a whole composed from many parts. For example, if the
Serbian soldiers are killed in fighting near Bihac, the Serbs take their
revenge on the Bosnjaks, a.k.a. Bosnian Muslims, in Prijedor, a city under
Serbian occupation. Well known is the case when Serbs buried alive tens
inhabitants of Prijedor in 1994. when several Serbian policeman were
killed in a battle near Bihac. Also, when the Serbs lost a battle in
Croatia, the Serbs took it out on the Croats left in Banja Luka. There
are many such examples, a better known example was Serbian revenge over
the Croats in occupied Banja Luka because of the loss of Western Slavonia.
The world took more notice of that mistreatment of Croats living under
Serbian control in Bosnia because the Bishop of Banja Luka Mr. Franjo
Komarica was on a hunger strike at that time.
Here I mentioned Ivo Andric, a very important man for the understanding
the Serbs. Ivo Andric was a famous Serbian writer whose "historic" novels
spread hatred against "Turks" i.e. Bosnian Muslims. He described Bosnian
medieval heroes as either stupid, homosexuals, or maniacs who mistreated
Serbs. He described Bosnjaks as an evil people. His "historical novels
were exploited in Yugoslav school system in order to destroy any dignity
of Bosnjak students. Nobody ever told the students the truth about events
described in his "historical" novels. Ivo Andric won the Nobel prize for
literature in 1960. His novels were both literature and politics,
something like Solzenjicin, but targeting not a political regime, but a
whole people. He is the man who signed the alliance between the Serbs and
Nazi-Germany in 1941. Even though he is a good writer it looks like that
prizing him with the Nobel prize was a political act.
Let's go back to other events that took place in Serbian history. After
the Second Serbian Uprising and liberation of Ottoman empire at the
beginning of the nineteen century, as Serbia was expanding, so were the
Serbs "ethnically cleansing" the "new" Serbian territories of all the
non-Serbs, not only of the Muslims. That is readily apparent in
Vojvodina. For many centuries, that region was an integrated, mixed
society with a small Serbian minority, while it was ruled by the
Austria-Hungary. But since Vojvodina became a part of Serbia in 1918,
almost all of the Vojvodina's non-Serbs have disappeared. Completely gone
are the Germans, most of Croats, Hungarians, Slovaks and others.
In the traditions of other people, a hero calls out an opposing hero to a
duel. The Serbs are the only people in the world that consider it heroism
when a group of them kill a single opponent in his sleep. This Serbian
"heroism" is depicted in the historical poem "Death of Smail Aga Cengic."
Two centuries have passed since that cowardly act took place, yet the
Serbs still celebrate that as an act of heroism. Because the Serbs have
so concentrated themselves on their nationalism, their culture is also
exclusively nationalistic. Actually, the Serbs have no artistic and
cultural heritage, except for a few "cycles" of traditional epic poems, in
which the Serbian "heroes" are honored, such as when they attack a
"Turkish" wedding from an ambush and slaughter all its participants. The
word "Turkish" is in quotes because in the Serbian mythology, the word
"Turk" is designation for all hated Muslims, no matter what ethnic group
or nationality they are.
The best description of the Serbian nationalism and "culture" is the
madrigal "Gorski Vijenac", by Petar Petrovic Njegos, in which he describes
and glorifies genocide committed over the Muslims during the reign of
Vladika Danilo. The Serbs too the "Gorski Vijenac" as the inspiration for
all the later genocides they committed against the Muslims. The Serbs
have constituted their nationality based on the genocidal ideas described
in the "Gorski Vijenac." All children in Yugoslavia had to know "Gorski
Vijenac" in details if they wanted to graduate. "Gorski Vijenac" has
actuality been accepted as the Constitution of Serbs in the ethnic sense.
Because of such reverence by the Serbs for the "Gorski Vijenac," Njegos is
considered by Serbs the father of the Serbian nation, even though he is
It is interesting to find out how do the Serbs succeeded in developing
such a strong nationalist view in their young. There are four pillars of
the Serbian nationalist consciousness. I mentioned the first one, hate of
the "Turks," the so called Kosovo myth. The Serbian hatred of the
"Turks", including Bosnjaks, Albanians and ethnic Turks, is the oldest and
the most important pillar of Serbian ethnicity. Second and third pillars
of Serbian ethnicity are directed towards the Croats and the Germans.
Lately, there has been the formation of the "Jasenovac myth" and of the
"Kragujevac myth" in the Serbian "culture," which are used to intensify
the flames of hate towards the Croats and the Germans. All of the
government holidays in ex-Yugoslavia were occasions for reading from anti
"Turks", anti Croats and anti-German books, such as "historic" novels
about the "Turks" from Ivo Andric, or the "Jama" from Ivan Goran, which
depicts the Ustashe (Croat extremists in the W.W.II) Terror over the Serbs
and Krvava Bajka (The Bloody Fable) by Desanka Maksimovic, which tells of
the German mass execution committed in Serbian town Kragujevac during
W.W.II. The fourth pillar of "Serbianism" is the love for fellow Eastern
Orthodox Russians. Over the last few decades, as the result of the
Russian confrontations with the West, there has been a development of hate
towards the "decaying West." The west will never understand why Serbs
killed so many French soldiers (more than 35) by snipers in Bosnia, even
though the French politics helped them so much. Killing by sniper is not
an accident. A murder sees a victim clearly. The Bosnians will newer
understand why French were so devoted to their murderers. It is because
of so much hatred that the Serbs appear as paranoid to the rest of the world.
Something like the meeting of one million Serbs on the Kosovo Field in the
summer of 1989 could only happen to them. Mostly drunk, they gathered at
the place of the greatest Serbian loss on the battlefield, so they could
get incited towards one more revenge towards the "Turks," their mythical
enemies who defeated them in the Kosovo battle six centuries ago, 1389.
After two days of travel and after half an hour of rallying around with
their leader "Slobo" (Slobodan Milosevic), they returned to their homes
psychologically ready to launch a new Serbian style reign of terror;
killing of their unarmed neighbors, robbing of all the non-Serbs, rape and
also killing of children. A normal person hates to take the two hour trip
from Tuzla to Sarajevo, unless he must. To the Serbs it wasn't difficult
to make the two day trip from Knin to the Kosovo field, just so they could
reconfirm their hatred of others. The "Serbianism" that was re-awakened
on the Kosovo Field is responsible for some of the most gruesome sights
ever seen in Europe. The Serbian soldiers love to kill, whether using a
knife, the garrote, sledge hammer or the butt of the gun. In the beginning
of this war they invented "the string for cutting throats". They surpassed
the cruelty committed by the Nazis. That is why the Serbs, who are for
centuries obsessed by genocide against their neighbors, will have to carry
their shame forever.
Croatia wasn't occupied by the Ottoman Empire for as long as the Serbs
were. In Croatian history, a much bigger role was played by Austrians,
Hungarians, Venice and eventually the Serbs. There has never been as much
hate towards the Turks and Muslims in Croatia, mainly because the period
of occupation by the Ottoman Empire was relatively brief, and only a
smaller part of Croatia was ever occupied (Slavonia and Lika). Somewhat
more negative emotions towards the Austrians, Hungarians and Italians have
also pretty much evaporated, so that the principal Croatia enemies have
become the Serbs. Starting in 1914, many Croats have developed a sense of
closeness and unity of purpose with the Bosnjaks, during their fight with
their common enemy, Serbian expansionism. But there always have been also
those Croatians who felt that an accord regarding Bosnia-Herzegovina
should be reached with the Serbs, of course, at the expense of the
Bosnjaks. However, towards the end of 1980s and the beginning of the
1990s, there were many more of those willing to cooperate with the
Bosnjaks and work together against the common enemy, the Serbian
expansionism. The Bosnjaks bad luck was the fact the Croatia's current
president, Mr. Tudjman, is a fan of the division of Bosnia, along the
lines of "Cvetkovic/Macek" ("Cvetkovic/Macek" was the deal between Serbs
and Croats about division of Bosnia-Herzegovina reached before the W.W.II.
in 1939. Bosnia-Herzegovina was reestablished by Bosnian anti-fascists of
all ethnic groups on November 25. in 1943.) Tudjman belongs to the small
minority of those Croats who are convinced that an agreement can be
reached with the Serbs, and thus get a large chunk of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Judging by the current policy of the Croatian Government, dividing Bosnia
is more important than liberating all of Croatia. Because he couldn't
find enough support in Croatia proper for the policy of aggression towards
Bosnia while a third of Croatia has been occupied, Mr. Tudjman relied on
the "Herzegovina lobby", which he created himself in order to hand over
many of the functions of the Croatian Government and of his political
party, the HDZ. Why were the Herzegovinian Croats Tudjmans main
supporters of the division of Bosnia? One of the reasons is that the
Herzegovinian Croats were under the Ottoman rule before 1878, so that they
have (just as the Serbs have) accumulated a lack of tolerance towards the
"Muslims". The word "Muslims" is in quotation marks because in this case
it is designation of the ethnic group rather than the religious group.
Namely, in former Yugoslavia the official name of Bosnjaks was "Bosnian
Muslims". Working at the "Dzemal Bijedic" University in Mostar, I learned
that the Herzegovinian Croats had much more ill will towards the "Muslims"
than towards the Serbs. Afterwards, during the war, they properly
conducted Tudjmans policy towards the Bosnjaks. The second reason that
the Herzegovinians were the headquarters for the division of
Bosnia-Herzegovina is because in a few counties of western Herzegovina
Croats were in a majority, so it seemed natural that those regions become
incorporated with Croatia proper, in case there is a division of Bosnia.
As opposed to the Herzegovinian Croats, the Croats of Bosnia were
supporters of a unified Bosnia-Herzegovina. That occurred mainly because
Croats in Bosnia are minority and, hence, they realized that if
Bosnia-Herzegovina is divided into ethnically purestates, they will loose
their homes and property. That is why they were in support of a unified
state of citizens in which the rights of all will be protected equally.
Another important fact is that there are many more Croats in Bosnia than
in Herzegovina (because in Bosnia lives a ten times larger population than
in Herzegovina). Additionally many Croats from Bosnia-Herzegovina were
real Bosnian patriots, especially among the intellectuals. The examples
are: Branko Mikulic, Hrvoje Istuk, Stjepan Kljuic, Dr. Ivo Komsic, Dr.
Miljenko Brkic, Dr. Ivan Lovrenovic, Miljenko Jergovic and so on. That is
why Tudjman has a lot of hard time installing "his" people, the
"Herzegovinians." The word Herezegovinian is in quotation marks because
it also designates the political currents of dividers of
Bosnia-Herzegovina among the Croats, rather than just the regional
identity. We must remember that Davorin Perinovic, Stjepan Kljuic and Dr.
Miljenko Brkic were one by one replaced by Tudjman until Tudjman's men,
Hercegovinian, Mate Boban didn't finally take control of the Croatian
affairs in Bosnia, i.e. until Mate Boban didn't become the leader of the
"Croatian Democratic Party for Bosnia-Herzegovina" (HDZ BiH). It is very
interesting to note that Davor Perinovic was replaced when it was
discovered that one of his grandparents was a Serbian priest. In an
interview in "Globus," (1994), he admitted that he was in favor of
preserving the unity of Yugoslavia. Reading that interview, I remembered
that some rumors from the times of the formation of the nationalist
political parties in Bosnia. It was said that KOS ( The ex-Yugoslav
intelligence service which was completely under the control of Serbs) is
the one that organized the all main political parties in Bosnia, after the
fall of communism just so they could control them. However, there could
be some justification for doubt towards Perinovic, but there could have
been no doubts about Kljuic and Brkic.
In its insatiable hunger for a big and powerful Serbia, throughout all the
wars the Serbs have expanded their territories by eliminating its
neighbors, while during the periods of peace, they tried to assimilate
them. In that regards, the Serbs came out with a new theory in which they
claim that all of Bosnjaks are really just Serbs who converted to Islam.
The strategy of that claim was to convince the Bosnjaks that they are
descendants of the Serbs who became separated from Serbs that's to the
betrayal by their ancestors. Generations of Bosnjaks were forced to learn
how during the Ottoman empire, their ancestors, who were Serbs, were
converting to Islam; some because of the incentives offered, some from
fear. According to that theory, only the staunches and the most honorable
Serbs stayed faithful to their religion. There are many clichés in the
Serbian language. that constantly keep insulting those who converted to
Islam. Young Bosnians were exposed to such humiliation and abuse since
During the Serbian language and history classes (the teachers were in many
cases from Serbia, usually spouses to the Serbian and Montenegro officers
stationed in Bosnia) the teachers were "explaining to the little Bosnjaks
that they are descendants of the worse turncoats. Such education had as
its goal to embarrass the little Bosnjaks in to abandoning any ethnic and
national pride they might have been developing. To ease the loss of
ethnic and national identity, during the period of communist Yugoslavia, a
new ethnic identity was invented; "Yugoslav." To all the ethnically aware
Bosnjaks it was clear that the name "Yugoslav" was invented just so that
the assimilation of the non-Serbian people proceeds as painlessly as
possible, and, hence, as successfully as possible. That kind of
assimilation, which was thought in Bosnian schools throughout the Kingdom
of Yugoslavia (1918-1941) and during the communist era (1945-1992) brought
the loss of any national identity for many Bosnjaks. It is well known
that the writer Mehmed Mesa Selimovic declared himself as being an ethnic
Serb, of Muslim descent. There were many Muslims who felt they were ethnic
Serbs, but just didn't declare that publicly. It is also interesting to
note that many Bosnian Muslim politicians and almost all of the top
leaders of the Bosnian Islamic community considered themselves as being
ethnic Serbs. Why is it that almost only such Muslims were able to attain
such high positions? That is explained with the fact that the Serbs
perceived them as such, and under those condition allowed them to advance
in their fields, where they were in position to represent all Muslims,
including Bosnian Muslims. Many such "Muslims" were described by Alija
Nametak in his book "The Sarajevo necrology", published in 1994 by Globus
and the Bosnjak Institute in Zurich. The best known recent example of a
Bosnjak who converted to a Serb is the film director Emir Kusturica.
Hiding behind his Yugoslav ethnic designation, he placed himself to the
side of the Serbs, thus best proving that the new ethnic designation,
Yugoslav, was only a synonym for Serb.
It is interesting to note that Alija Izetbegovic also kept declaring
himself to be a Serb. Before the 1990 elections several documents from
nineteen sixties were published in which Alija Izetbegovic stated in his
own handwriting that he was a Serb. It is also known that Izetbegovic
proclaimed himself to being a Serb during the population census in 1961.
That discovery, made by Croats, endangered Izetbegovic's nomination for
the Presidency of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1990. Considering
that on the eve of the 1990 elections, the Serbs were in charge of the
national TV and radio, Izetbegovic was given a half hour program to
explain to Bosnian voters such pro-Serbian statements. He defended his
actions claiming that the Bosnjak ethnic identity wasn't recognized before
1970. as such so he had to declare himself as a Serb. However, that is
not true. He could have joined the majority of Bosnians who rather than
calling themselves Serbs wrote "non-committed to any ethnic designation"
on their census papers. Some Bosnjaks have done as a sign of protest,
some as a joke, but many have written in the place where their ethnic
designation is asked: "Eskimo, Martian, Chinese, Japanese, and so on.
Finally, the religious designation Muslim was allowed. He could simply
declare himself as being a religious Muslim and leave blank his ethnic
designation. Hence, Izetbegovic declared himself as the ethnic Serb
rather than religious Muslim. I always declared myself as being a Muslim,
yet I too lived in the same state as Alija Izetbegovic. All the Muslims
descents that I know have declared themselves as being the Serbs did so
because of their affinity towards the Serbs. Realizing that Alija
Izetbegovic was politically very knowledgeable, he was very
conscientiously declaring himself to being a Serb. Those who didn't know
much about such things didn't differentiate between their religion and
their nationality, and since declaring oneself to being a Muslim was
permitted, they claimed to being Muslims, without any damaging aftereffects.
Later the HDZ withdrew the proves that Izetbegovic declared himself to be
a Serb. Namely, Croatian President Franjo Tudjman realized that, for his
goal, division of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, it is better to have
the Serb Izetbegovic as Bosnian President, than a real Bosnian patriot.
While I am still on the subject of the Bosnjaks identity, I would like to
add a few more details. As opposed to the rest of the Southern Slavs who
came to the Balkans towards the end of the seventh century and converted
to the Eastern Orthodox church, and who later in the nineteenth century
identified themselves as Serbs, there are also those who accepted the
Catholic faith and in nineteenth century identified themselves as Croats.
Besides those two denominations in Bosnia, a third, albeit "heretic"
church spread roots in Bosnia. It was the so called Bosnian or Bogumil,
or also called "the Christian" church. The Bogumil teachings sprouted
from the contradiction of unity of God with the teachings of the Holly
Trinity. They were strong believers in the afterlife. They believed
there is only one God, and that God is good, that He is not the source of
unhappiness on the earth, but rather that unhappiness is the result of the
material world, the world of evil, which is the work of the Devil. The
Bogumils believed that the death of a person frees a person from the
material world, the world of evil and in to the eternal world of truth,
which is the creation of God. Bogumils and the Muslims alike do not
accept the preaching of the Holly Trinity, which according to them,
destroys the image of the uniqueness of God. It was because of the dogma
similar to that of the Muslims, Bogumils voluntarily accepted Islam, later
in 15th century when Ottomans conquered Bosnia, some converting (to Islam)
before Bosnia was even occupied by the Ottoman. Before converting to
Islam, the Bogumils were exposed to the Crusades against them directed by
the Hungarians and also by the Serbs, in order to force them to renounce
their faith. As the result of those wars, the Bosnian Kings formally
accepted the Catholic faith, in order to protect the population and the
state, even though the majority of their subjects remained faithful to the
Bogumil religion. The academic, Nedim Filipovic proved in his works that
the majority of the Bosnian Muslims originate from the Bosnians who were
converted to Catholicism only one generation before converting to Islam.
During the Ottoman empire they used to call themselves "Muslims" while
they were in Bosnia, in order to differ from local Christians. Out of
Bosnia they used to call themselves "Bosnjaks" in order to differ from
Turks. As the result of such history in Bosnia-Herzegovina, we have
Catholics, Eastern Orthodox , who only much later in 19th century began to
develop their Croatian and Serbian identity, respectively, and Muslims who
rebuild old Bosnjak nation. Hence, the truth is opposite from the
teachings we have received in the Yugoslav schools: the ancestors of
today's Serbs and Croats have under pressure from "outsiders" and the
Crusaders abandoned their Bogumil religion. However, those questions are
of secondary importance. There shouldn't be any conclusions drawn from
the ethnic backgrounds and history of different groups in Bosnia that
would in any way impact any of their importance in Bosnia. All those who
honor and respect the Bosnian Constitution and its borders have equal
right to live there. For a long time, the Bosnian Muslims were forbidden
to use their traditional ethnic name of Bosnjaks., explained by the
following argument: The Muslims can not be the only ones with the right to
use the name of Bosnians. There are Serbs and Croats who also live in
Bosnia. They too are "Bosnians." In order to escape the confusion
between the word Bosnjak and Bosnian, Bosnian is a name for a regional
belonging, such as in America Midwesterner or New Yorker. On the other
hand, Bosnjak is descriptive of ethnic affiliation, such as Croat, Serb or
Albanian. The word Bosnian is also an abbreviation for a citizen of the
Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Because of that, the existence of the term
Bosnjak does not preclude neither the Serbs nor the Croats from Bosnia
from calling themselves Bosnians.
It is completely unreasonable to claim that the Bosnian Muslims are
descendants of converted (to Islam) Serbs or Croats. Until the later part
of 19th century, there was only the religious identity in Bosnia and not
any ethnic affiliation. Up to that point, people of Bosnia considered
themselves as being Eastern Orthodox, Catholics or Muslims, not Serbs,
Croats or Bosnjaks. In addition to their religious affiliation, the
Bosnjaks also had a very strong sense of belonging to Bosnia-Herzegovina.
During the period of Austro-Hungarian rule, only after 1878 did the
Bosnian Eastern Orthodox acquire their Serbian national identity, the
Catholics their Croatian identity and the Muslims rebuild their national
identity and the name of Bosnjaks, which was forgotten during the five
centuries of Ottoman rule. However, this rule has many exceptions. There
are well known examples of Catholics and Eastern Orthodox people who
identified themselves as Bosnjaks. But there are many better examples of
Muslims that acquired Serbian or Croatian identity. In 1918, Bosnjaks
again lost their ethnic identity and traditional name Bosnjak in
Yugoslavia. Their ethnic identity and name Bosnjak was forbidden.
Officially they were considered as Serbs or Croats of Muslim faith. For
the Serbian rollers of Yugoslavia problems occurred during ethnic
censuses. Great majority of unrecognized Bosnjaks did not declare any
ethnic designation. Those like Alija Izetbegovic, Mesa Selimovic, Emir
Kusturica and some others who declared themselves as Serbs or Croats or
Yugoslavs (in ethnic sense) were only a few. For the formal recognition
of their ethnic distinctiveness under the new name "Bosnian Muslims", they
had to wait until 1970. That recognition came about thanks to the Bosnian
patriots, formally members of the Communist party of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
such as Dzemal Bijedic, Hamdija Pozderac, Dr. Fuad Muhic. That was a very
docile political fight in which no mistakes would be tolerated. A role of
significant importance was played by the theoreticians: Dr. Atif
Purivatra, Dr. Muhamed Hadzijahic, Dr. Muhsin Rizvic, Dr. Kasim Suljevic
and Dr. Muhamed Filipovic. Bosnjaks returned their name of "Bosnjaks"
only during the current war, in October 1993. Important recognition for
that belongs to Mr. Adil Zulfikarpasic and Alija Isakovic.
Before the war, the Bosnjaks were the most vital of all the ethnic groups
in Bosnia-Herzegovina, but after the Albanians even in all of Yugoslavia.
That is the direct result of being completely disenfranchised within the
communist system. During the communist rule, all the "doors" were wide
open to the Serbs in all the large, government owned companies. The Serb
who got tired of the hard life on the farm came down in to the city.
There he always found a fellow Serb who would always find some kind of em
ployment for him. That is how it happened that all the factories were
full of illiterate guards and security unskilled workers, Serbs who
abandoned their farms in the mountains and came down to the easier life
and state apartments in the city. (Having a state apartment was a greatest
benefit. Rents were 5 to 10% of average wages and nobody could evict a
resident from a state apartment.) Getting acquainted to the city, they
usually only had one or two children. Many of them, separated from their
historical ambient, the farm, became alcoholics. The Serbian villages in
the mountain became deserted. On the other hand, Bosnjaks didn't have
those advantages and the possibilities of employment. That is how it
happened that Bosnjaks stayed on the farms. Living the traditional
country life, they usually had quite a few children, like peasants usually
do. As opposed to the Serbian villages, in the Muslim villages, the life
was on an upward path. The net result of that was the greater birth rate
among the Bosnjaks; fourteen per thousand, while Bosnian Croats had eight
and the Bosnian Serbs seven. Only the Albanians had a greater birth rate
in ex-Yugoslavia. The Bosnjaks were by far the youngest of all the people
of Bosnia-Herzegovina. During the pre war years, the number of Bosnjak
babies was 2/3 of the total number of babies born in Bosnia, although the
Bosnjaks composed only 44.3% of the population. That meant that
eventually, Bosnia would develop in to a predominantly Bosnjak (a.k.a.
Muslim) population. That is one of the reasons for the Cetnik genocide
and the insistence on the division of Bosnia in to ethnic territories.
The Bosnjaks in the city also didn't have many opportunities for
employment. That is why they turned to creating small, private companies,
as opposed to the Serbs who tied their future to the large, government
Croats, along with the Bosnjaks turned towards the small, privately owned
companies. The source of the starting capital was usually the savings or
the money earned working abroad, usually in Germany. During the last 20
years before the war, the small, private sector enjoyed prosperity, but
also the socialist downfall. That is how it happened that the economy of
the Croats and the Bosnjaks became more dynamic than that of the Serbs.
That was the second main reason for the genocide committed by the Serbs.
The Serbs couldn't stand that the "Turks" and the "Ustashe"( ) again
become economically superior. The Serbs knew that power belongs to those
who control the money. It was not by a coincidence that the greatest
targets of the Serbian genocide were exactly those Bosnjaks who succeeded
in the business world. It was the strategic interest of the Serbs to
separate themselves from the more vital and capable Bosnjaks. That is why
anyone who accepts the division of Bosnia is doing that for the benefit of
the Serbian national interest.
On the other hand, because the Bosnjaks lived so (almost) evenly spread
throughout Bosnia, the division of Bosnia will certainly signify the
disappearance of Bosnjaks in the foreseeable future. That is why the
mortal enemy of Bosnia is anyone who promotes its division. For the
Bosnjaks, there shouldn't be a higher and more significant goal of a
unified Bosnia, because the alternative is the question of life and death
of our people. That is why the unity of Bosnia can not be bartered away
for the promise of some economic aid, as is happening according to the
latest peace process. Seeking economic aid in order to sign the "peace
agreement" in whichever form it takes is the death blow to Bosnia which
can never be forgiven to those who committed it. The basis for existence
of a people, such as its sovereignty, territories and the national dignity
are priceless. There is no compromise there. The country's leaders should
not even bring in to question such issues. That is why in all the
countries of the world, during the inauguration, when the Leader takes
his oath, he swears that he will defend with his life, the sovereignty,
territorial integrity and the constitution of his country. Bosnia is
disappearing only because its president has abandoned those foundations,
acquired through thousands of years of experience about the state.
The end of the first part
[END OF PART ONE]
© Bosanski Kongres
Updated Aug., 1997