The Croatian Serbs
Colin C.M. Campbell, PhD
ugust 4 is the anniversary of Operation Storm, in which, in 1995, the Croatian army, with massive American support, killed 14,000 Serbs, expelled 200,000 and destroyed three-quarters of their homes, without a word of protest from the Western press. Many of these refugees found their way to Canada. Hundreds of them live in this city, yet their story remains unknown to most of us. The received wisdom is that, in the countries of the former Yugoslavia, Serbian President, Slobodan Milosevic, caused the war by invading the Yugoslav republics to create a Greater Serbia. Parallels were drawn to Hitler and the Third Reich and staged photographs appeared to confirm the existence of concentration camps in Bosnia. The true story is the complete opposite of this one.
During WWII, Germany’s ally, the Croatian Ustashe, murdered 600,000 Serbs in Jasenovac concentration camp. The Bosnian Muslims and the Albanians in Kosovo raised battalions for the Waffen SS and Mussolini united Kosovo with Albania. The Serbs were our courageous allies, whose support of us caused them terrible suffering. In the 1990s a pro-Ustashe government in Croatia, an Islamist president in Bosnia, and Albanian nationalists in Kosovo began the ethnic cleansing of Serbs from areas in which they had lived for hundreds of years. During EU negotiations to resolve the conflict, Germany unilaterally recognized the independence of its wartime ally Croatia, despite warnings that this would make peace impossible. Henry Kissinger stated, “Premature recognition called into being a civil war, not a country.” Premature recognition resulted in a bloodbath. The Serbs did not cause the war. Nazi admirers did. For this reason, it is ludicrous for Canadian public opinion to equate Serbs with Nazis.
There were two peace agreements negotiated by the EU and the US, both of which the Serbs adhered to. The Vance Peace Accord curtailed hostilities between Croatia and Serbia. The accord was broken by Croatia and a lightly armed Canadian battalion of peacekeepers was engaged in a firefight to protect three Serb villages from ethnic cleansing. Its commanding officer, Col Jim Calvin, is a true Canadian hero, yet few of us have heard of him or his battalion. The Bosnian Muslims broke the second peace agreement, the Lisbon Agreement, designed to secure peace in Bosnia. The Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic then warned, “Abandoning the Lisbon Agreement will lead to hundreds of thousands dead and hundreds of towns destroyed.” Once again, the Serbs kept their word, whereas their opponents did not.
The demonization of the Serbs in Canadian minds is pervasive and unjust. Ante Gotovina, Ivan Cernak and Mladen Markac, the Croatian generals who planned and executed Operation Storm, were indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Next time you meet a Serb, please remember this article and greet them with respect. Our slander and ignorance has put them through a very great deal.