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December 12, 1994
. Vreme News Digest Agency No 168
A Personal View

Of Frogs and Men

by Arnold de Homont

Bihac is another "safe zone" like Gorazde, one of interest to the Serbian military. Civilians and soldiers, the old and the young, even children die here. This may sound cynical, but perhaps these children have a better fate in a world in which the life of one person means so little. For three years, Serb soldiers have turned everything that isn't Serbian in Bosnia and Croatia into dust and ashes: they expel, torture, rape and kill tens of thousands. The world responds with concern, appeals, "sharp condemnations", and in the worst case, by bombing empty tanks and airfields; the planes are spared for another attack. Serbian military circles really can't complain. So far, no single aggressor has received such encouragement from abroad.

In the meantime, all are wondering what the United Nations really want in Bosnia and why they are still deployed in Bosnia, when their only concern is to protect their only soldiers and not to protect the people in the "safe zones". These soldiers would be best protected if they were to go frog collecting. A magnificent picture: ten thousand UN soldiers collecting frogs all over the world and carrying them over some roads, a truly humane act, and a very appropriate task - they are not angering anyone, they are not preventing others from butchering and killing.

Russia believes that it must warn us of the further spread of the war in the event of a NATO attack. As if this war hasn't entered its third year; as if there is anything in this war that could spread anymore; as if some new instances of inhumanity are imaginable; as if a continuation of the practice of watching quietly can prevent new attacks against other "safe zones" in the coming weeks and months.

However, there is something that we should fear more: the United Nations' many years of making wrong assessments, their ignorance, their blind faith in hundreds of conferences with repeated violations of promises, and their agreements with the Serbian political and military leadership. All of this cannot be termed just the failure of a policy. The United Nations have brought themselves into a politically absurd situation. Only aggressors can rely on their policies, purposely or not. And then who is to trust this international gremlin?

It probably won't be long before other aggressors (with absolute safety and minimal risk) attack other nations and massacre them. International policies, especially the system of resolving conflicts, will thus be, as in the Stone Age, dictated by those who are stronger. In less than three years, centuries spent trying to teach people humaneness, enlightenment and education have been bombed, tortured and raped. We are starting once again from where the first Neanderthal man killed his brother out of power lust. There is one difference today - today's cave men have napalm and destructive bombs instead of wooden clubs and they can kill many people before their arms start aching.

For a long time now, there have been no words which would express the feelings which follow this complete breakdown of human culture. Sorrow and anger have long been inadequate - reality has long surpassed them. And the fact that the Serbs' greatest enemy are not Croatia, nor Bosnia, nor the UN, but they themselves, is no consolation or satisfaction. And the fact that political leaders once again sacrifice their people to their personal insanity is one of the results of this war against humanity, culture and civilization. And once again those without voice or power to stand up against such leaders will be made equal with the criminals. At present, in many places no difference is being made any more between the leaders and the misguided, between the Power wielders and the Subjects. Even now, there are voices which condemn a Serb just because he is a Serb, without asking if or how he might be involved in these events. In the Old Testament story of Lot's wife, the Lord wished to save Sodom if only he could find a decent man in it. He found none. In Serbia, and in the part of Bosnia controlled by Serbs, there are surely many decent men; it is tragic that they will no longer be able to help.

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