Letter: Placing blame for unspeakable crimes

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The Independent Online
Sir: I write to you in connection with the article by Robert Fisk, ' 'Cleansing' Bosnia at a camp called Jasenovac' (15 August).

I am sure that all the horrific crimes which were mentioned in this article and which, I am sure, are well documented, are true. However, time is long overdue to make an important distinction. These horrific crimes were not committed by Croats - they were committed by Ustashe.

Ustashe, I believe, make up about 2 per cent of the Croatian population. They were in power during the terrible years of the Second World War. Today, 50 years on, the world is not at war.

The explanatory sub-heading at the beginning of the article says of the victims: 'Most were Serbs, their oppressors Croats and Nazis.' You do not say 'Croats and Germans'. You do not realise the effect of such a sentence on us, the Croats. We are not the monsters you paint us. On the contrary, we are a quiet, peace-loving people. We cannot be blamed today for what Ustashe did during the Second World War. Are all the Germans blamed today for the unspeakable crimes committed against humanity by the Nazis during the Second World War?

Will all the Serbs be blamed tomorrow, for ever and ever, for all the unspeakable crimes, killings of innocent children, murder, rape, relentless bombardments of Vukovar, Dubrovnik, Osijek, Zadar, Sarajevo, Gorazde, Bihac?

I sincerely hope not. The cloak of responsibility would be too heavy. And today, the world is not at war - there is more room for protest from within Serbia. And that is our hope.

Yours faithfully,

JADRANKA BERESFORD-

PEIRSE

London, SW1

17 August

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