Letter: Bosnia is fighting for a pluralist society

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The Independent Online
Sir: You make several valid points in arguing against pulling out of Bosnia (leading article, 21 January). However, in addressing the issue of relaxing the arms embargo, you state:

Unfortunately, the Bosnian forces are no longer fighting for a multi-ethnic state; they are driving Croats out of central Bosnia to create a 'cleansed' Muslim state. That is the cause the West would be espousing if it channelled weapons to the Muslim side.

This statement is inaccurate for the following reasons:

1. Since the beginning of the war, even in Croatia, Western policies and actions have demonstrated nothing but a firm espousal of the concept of ethnically pure states.

2. The Bosnian army still has many Serbs and Croats fighting within its ranks for the dream of a multi-ethnic state.

3. We must distinguish between the aggressors who established the practice of ethnic cleansing (ie, the Serbs, followed by the Croats), and the Bosnian factions who were driven to practise it mainly by the West's indifference to their plight. We must distinguish between those who act out of wanton brutality and those who act out of desperation.

4. The Bosnian dream of a pluralist society will be enormously strengthened were the arms embargo to be lifted. Desperation would be replaced by determination to accomplish what Bosnia and its leadership have long stood for.

Yours faithfully,



21 January