In respons to ‘Eastern Ghouta is another Srebrenica, we are looking away again‘ by Simon Tisdall in the Guardian
Simon Tisdall’s latest fact-lite, emotionally manipulative lament that the West isn’t doing enough to save the lovely terrorists in Syria makes one unintentionally accurate claim. “Eastern Ghouta,” he says “is turning into Syria’s Srebrenica.”
We agree with him on this, but not for the reasons he offers in his article.
Let’s remind ourselves about the real story of Srebrenica and the wider context of the break up of Yugoslavia.
Srebrenica didn’t happen in a vacuum. It was part of the “civil war” that shattered the former Yugoslavia into warring regions. NATO supported the civil war and encouraged the secession of Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo. It saw chaos in the region as advantageous to its interests.
Srebrenica was not the de-militarised civilian “safe zone” portrayed in the western media. It was “a protected Bosnian Muslim military base that had been used to decimate the local Serb population.”
The alleged “massacre” in Srebrenica of Bosnian moslems has been disputed and qualified many times often in great detail. At best this tragedy has been decontextualised, exaggerated and simplified. Some claim the entire thing was a “political fraud“.
Throughout the entire period of “civil war” the Serbian population and its leaders were routinely vilified and demonised in the western media, while terrorists such as the KLA were celebrated as heroes and victims and actively supported by NATO.
Throughout the same period Serbian civilian deaths were dismissed, suppressed or elided. Bosnian and Croatian civilian deaths, on the other hand, were deplored universally as evidence of Serbian brutality rather than acknowledged as the inevitable result of the civil war the West was actively promoting.
Edward Herman and David Peterson summed up this pervasive moral relativism in their 2007 study “The Dismantling of Yugoslavia” (our emphasis):
From 1991 on, Yugoslavia and its successor states were exploited for ends as crass and as classically realpolitik as:
(1) preserving the NATO military alliance despite the disintegration of the Soviet bloc—NATO’s putative reason for existence;
(2) overthrowing the UN Charter’s historic commitments to non-interference and respect for the sovereign equality, territorial integrity, and political independence of all states in favor of the right of those more enlightened to interfere in the affairs of “failing” states, and even to wage wars against “rogue” states;
(3) humiliating the European Union (EU) (formerly the European Community [EC]) over its inability to act decisively as a threat-making and militarily punitive force in its own backyard;
(4) and of course dismantling the last economic and social holdout on the European continent yet to be integrated into the “Washington consensus.”
The pursuit of these goals required that certain agents within Yugoslavia be cast in the role of the victims, and others as villains—the latter not just belligerents engaged in a civil war, but evil and murderous perpetrators of mass crimes which, in turn, would legitimate military intervention
– Edward S. Herman & David Peterson, The Dismantling of Yugoslavia (Part I) A Study in Inhumanitarian Intervention (and a Western Liberal-Left Intellectual and Moral Collapse)
The demonisation and dehumanisation of the Serbs also involved blatant and proven media fakery. In the early 2000s the website Emperor’s New Clothes produced a documentary entitled Judgement! exposing the activities of the British news outfit ITN in faking footage of an alleged “Serbian death camp.” Here is an extract from their article on the subject (our emphasis):
In August 1992, millions of people were shocked to see photographs of a supposed Bosnian Serb death camps. The death camps were in fact refugee centers.
The photos were produced by ITN, the British TV news giant, from footage shot by an ITN film crew which spent a long day in Bosnia. The film was shot in a refugee center in the town of Trnopolje. (Pronounced Tern-op-ol-yay)
Most of the photographs featured a tall, emaciated man with a deformed chest, stripped to the waist, apparently imprisoned behind barbed wire. Do you remember those pictures?
They were a hoax.
To start with, the barbed wire was staged. As you will see, the ITN film crew went inside a storage area surrounded by a chicken wire and barbed wire fence. They filmed through the fence, thus creating the false impression that the people they were filming were fenced in.
That was only their first cute trick…The fabricated photos were broadcast worldwide starting on August 6th, accompanied by captions and comments comparing Trnopolje to Nazi death camps.
Anyone who has been following the media roll out of the “Syrian civil war” will find all this very familiar. Once again we have the infantile reductionism of “baddies” and “goodies.” Once again we have dubious footage of alleged atrocities. Once again we have the a priori assumption from the media that only some of the death is worth reporting. Once again we have the decontextualised portraits of suffering being used to create a “need” for “action” by the West.
In short same familiar playbook of lies, racism and fakery is being used again.
This is why eastern Ghouta is Syria’s Srebrenica.