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Protest letter to Governor Perry regarding factually incorrect and insulting resolution language on genocide in Bosnia

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The Honorable Rick Perry
Governor of the State of Texas
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, Texas 78711-2428

The Honorable David Dewhurst
Lieutenant Governor of the State of Texas
Capitol Station
P.O. Box 12068
Austin, Texas 78711

The Honorable Joe Straus
Speaker of the House
Texas House of Representatives
Room CAP 2W.13, Capitol
P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768

Dear Governor Perry, Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst, and Speaker Straus:

On behalf of the Congress of North American Bosniaks (CNAB) and the Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina (ACBH) which represent the interests of over 350,000 Bosnian American citizens in the United States as well as the Institute for Research of Crimes Against Humanity and International Law and the Institute for Research Genocide, Canada, we are writing to express grave concern and dismay at language used in the Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 39 of 2011, signed on June 17, 2011. Lines 19 and 20 of page 1 state that “in April of 1992, the siege of Sarajevo began, leading to the deaths of more than 2,000 Bosnian Serbs.” The aforementioned quote is a flagrant disregard for historical facts and an insult to the victims of genocide committed by Serbian forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). We urge you and your appropriate state agencies to act swiftly to amend this resolution and disallow Serbian revisionists to rewrite history in the most brutal and insulting way. While there were Bosnian Serbs who died as a result of the Serbian siege of Sarajevo, they were victims of a larger scale attempt by the Serbian forces to eliminate the majority Bosniak population of BiH.

Genocide in BiH was the brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing in which one million Bosniaks were displaced and half a million were permanently removed from their ancestral land.

Over 100,000 Bosniak civilians were killed during the 1992-95 war of aggression on BiH. The Bosnian Genocide was characterized by a policy of systematic rape of Bosniak women and girls, horrific and prolonged siege and shelling of Bosniak cities, including Sarajevo, and the starvation and terrorizing of the Bosniak population in the besieged enclaves. The brutal siege on the city of Sarajevo resulted in 10,000 killed, 1,500 of those being innocent children, 56,000 wounded civilians and the destruction of Bosniak culture and history.

We are fully in support of the idea and intent of the 82nd State of Texas Senate and House Legislature to declare the month of April as the “Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month” in tribute to all of those whose lives were touched by genocide, and as a reminder of the need for the protection of human rights and for vigilance against the forces of intolerance. However, it is imperative that such intent takes historical facts into consideration.

We respectfully request that you fully acknowledge the historical facts and rescind the SCR 39 of 2011 in the interest of promoting the full truth and correct a grave insult to the victims of genocide in BiH.

It is important to note that during the war of aggression on BiH, not one city was under siege by Bosniak forces; in fact, the majority of Bosnian Serb civilian casualties were killed by the Serbian army commanded by Gen. Ratko Mladic, a convicted war criminal, in the process of sniping and shelling multiethnic Bosnian cities like Sarajevo and Tuzla. The Serb people and the Serb culture were not deliberately targeted for ethnic cleansing, rape, siege, shelling, and destruction in Bosnia. The war of aggression on BiH was the Serb project of a “Greater Serbia”, modeled on a Nazi policy of ethnic purification that inflicted tremendous suffering on the Bosniak people between 1992 and 1995.

The four international judgments acknowledging that genocide indeed did take place in BiH other than in Srebrenica include: Prosecutor v Nikola Jorgic in the Doboj region, Prosecutor v Novislav Djajic [Dzajic] in the Foča region, Prosecutor v Djuradj Kuslic [Kusljic] in the city of Kotor Varos and Prosecutor v Maksim Sokolovic in the city of Kalesija and the Zvornik region. All three cases were tried in Germany at the request of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) to ease caseload of the ongoing trials at The Hague.

We need not remind you of the horrific outcome of Serbian ultra-nationalistic plan to annihilate and ethnically cleanse the Bosniak people in Bosnia and Herzegovina. After the Holocaust, the civilized world made a promise to never let such atrocities happen again, yet because of unchecked rhetoric and appeasement, the unthinkable happened again in the heart of Europe. It is therefore of utmost importance that we increase the awareness of the dangers of genocide denial in order to prevent a genocide from happening again elsewhere in the world.

We owe it to the victims of genocide everywhere, not just in Bosnia, to honor them by remembering them. We stand ready to provide you with adequate language.

Thank you for your attention to this urgent request.

Sincerely,

Haris Alibasic, MPA
President, Congress of North American Bosniaks (CNAB)

Ajla Delkic, M.A.
Executive Director, Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina (ACBH)

Dr. Smail Cekic
Director, Institute for Research of Crimes Against Humanity and International Law, University of Sarajevo

Dr. Senadin Lavic
President, Bosniak Cultural Association, Sarajevo

Dr. Emir Ramic
Director, Institute for Research Genocide, Canada

Sanja Seferovic-Drnovsek J.D, MEd
Director, Bosnian American Genocide Institute and Education Center