Letter: Mostar's bridge between faiths must be built afresh

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Sir: Like other of your correspondents, I have written to you from time to time over the past six months to express my overwhelming sadness, my deep personal shame and my profound contempt caused by the callous indifference of our own and other Western governments towards the appalling fate that in central Bosnia confronts the victims of the wars and banditry that have spread over such a large part of former Yugoslavia.

There are plans for a war crimes tribunal to try those who may have been responsible for atrocities in former Yugoslavia. But the real criminals are we ourselves in Western Europe and North America. We should be charged with atrocity by neglect. Our pusillanimous failure, over the past 18 months, to use the considerable forces available to us to ensure the safe passage and distribution of humanitarian aid to those who need it so desperately amounts, in my submission, to criminal neglect and a conscious denial of the moral principles that should guide policy making.

The horrific situation in central Bosnia is met by official silence - a silence which seems to me to have lasted many months. Apart from admirable if sporadic press reporting, only the representatives of the UNHCR seem to have the guts to tell us the facts of the situation.

I appeal to the Government to give us some indication of what, even at this late stage, it and other European governments plan to do about an estimated one and a half million freezing and starving people a few hundred miles away. This matter would properly be the subject of a parliamentary debate - if anyone in political circles cared sufficiently about it. But at the least could we not have a statement from No 10 or the Foreign Office?

Yours faithfully,


London, SW1

17 November

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