Letter: Clinton did not fail Bosnia, Europe did

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your leading article 'Another Palestine in the making' (25 May) draws a suggestive parallel between the plight of the Bosnian Muslims and the Palestinians. But it fails to draw out the most significant implication of this.

Anti-Western sentiment in the Middle East can largely be traced back to the West's creation of the state of Israel at the expense of the Palestinians. It is impossible to stress too strongly the damage done to the Western image in the region, and hence Western interests, by that single disastrous policy.

Bosnia is already producing exactly the same effect. The Muslim world is filling up with fear and loathing of a West that loudly instructs the Muslims to respect minorities, and yet refuses so shamelessly to protect the largest Muslim minority in Europe.

The lesson is clear. European concern for human rights is mostly verbiage, an arrogant First World posture whose hollowness is shown whenever it is put to a serious test. And Europe must suffer the consequences.

Bosnia, more than any event since the creation of Israel, has weakened the position of pro-Western elements throughout the Islamic world, and strengthened the hand of the radicals. Many pro-Western regimes are already tottering, particularly in the Gulf, and only survive through the support of Western governments demonstrably more interested in oil than in human rights. Anyone familiar with global Muslim anger at the Western failure in Bosnia will realise that those regimes are now at real risk.

Is there any emotional space that Muslims sympathetic to the West can still occupy, faced with such overwhelming proof of Western indifference to genocide? I myself am trying to find it. Will anyone suggest how?

Yours faithfully,

HUSSEIN OWEIDAH

London, NW6

25 May

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