Letter: Bosnia's division echoes that of Yugoslavia

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The Independent Online
Sir: By concentrating solely on the 'repulsiveness of dividing Bosnia along ethnic lines', Bojan Bujic (letter, 15 November) fails to see that this is a direct consequence of partitioning multinational Yugoslavia into mostly unviable new statelets (Bosnia, Croatia) that can only count on the loyalty of the largest national group within them.

Attributing problems solely to 'nationalist megalomaniacs' diverts attention from the crucial issue of citizens' loyalty. At the Bosnian multi-party elections in 1990, 85 per cent of the electorate voted along ethnic lines, a division in people's heads well before it manifested itself on the ground. It is evident that Bosnian Croats want to live in the same state as Croatia, Bosnian Serbs in the same state as Serbia, and that Bosnian Muslims don't want to be a minority on somebody else's territory. These three different aspirations were met when Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia were within the same sovereign state. When a German-led EC decided officially to promote Yugoslavia's dissolution and dismemberment along former republic lines (Hague, September 1991), Bosnia's fate was sealed.

The madness of manufacturing a new state, purely on the result of a hastily called and unconstitutional now-or-never referendum, and against manifest resistance of at least one-third of Bosnia's population, is apparent at every level. That an anti-Serb Croat/Muslim coalition was the sole basis for creating a state that never existed before is breathtaking.

The perversity of the exercise is visible every day in Mostar, where Muslims and Croats, designated founders of a new Bosnian state, have inflicted a tenfold damage as that suffered by Sarajevo. The destruction of Bosnia's best-known symbol, the ancient bridge across the Neretva, in a battle between the very forces the EC-UN was counting on to hold the new state together, underlines a failure to appreciate an elementary issue. No Yugoslavia means no Bosnia.

Yours sincerely,

M. GAVRILOVIC

Teddington, Middlesex

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