LETTER : Have we forgotten Srebenica already?

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From Mr Stuart Wood

Sir: Your leading article of 14 August exhorted the world to exact "full punishment" for the slaughters of Srebenica, "one of the most hideous atrocities of the Yugoslav conflict". The opening lines of that essay,

The speed at which news is reported, consumed and then forgotten made it almost inevitable that the horrific story of Srebenica should drop from the headlines barely one day after it dominated our television screens and front pages

now appear ironically apt.

The Independent's very own European commentary on Saturday ("Restraint is the order of the day", 26 August) appears oblivious to the lessons of Srebenica. For the most "ardent supporters" of the Bosnian government, the UN withdrawal from Gorazde represents

further damning evidence of Western governments selling out the long- suffering Muslim population of Bosnia,

writes Tony Barber.

Readers are then informed that the "realist" view supports the withdrawal, as this opens the way to Gorazde's "re-allocation" to the Bosnian Serbs, which could facilitate a peace. Without any armed UN presence, the Bosnian Serbs would presumably find the task of "re-allocating" this territory even more straightforward than they did at Srebenica, little more than a month ago.

Those who can lose no sleep over such politically expedient decisions as removing armed peacekeepers to allow "re-allocation" of territory (the civilians do not even earn a perfunctory mention) from the Bosnian government to Bosnian Serb control are, of course, entitled to their views. In fact, they are welcome to them. But please spare us the categorisation of this policy as one of "realism": the words "wicked callousness" would be a far better description.

Yours faithfully,

Stuart Wood

Beckenham,

Kent

27 August

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