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UN – Aleppo Srebrenica etc.

Adisada Dudić (TV image) speaking on Srebrenica from United Nations in New York 2015 (WPP)

United Nations Charter - coverage (WPP photo File)

UN on East River (Photo by Hajat Avdovic Webpublicapress)

UN on East River (Photo by Hajat Avdovic Webpublicapress)

Analysis by Erol Avdovic – UNITED NATIONS – When one after the other, the British ambassador to the UN Matthew Rycroft and then his US colleague   ambassador Samantha Power at the UN Security Council compared the suffering of Aleppo with Srebrenica – for many it has evoked heavy images of Bosnian war between 1992 and in 1995.

At the same time it initiated the discussion weather such comparison of war in Bosnia with the current one in Syria is diplomaticlly effective. And, most importantly – whether it helps people suffering in Aleppo.


Arena for equality


The UN is arena where such comparisons must be made because United Nations does represent the context of a unified humanity, award vinning Chicago based writer Aleksandar Hemon, originalily from Sarajevo told Webpublicapress.

“But there is always problem with simplification, because there is a need to attach a sign, an emblem that will be understood without any special explanations of that suffering,” Hemon, author of the book on the United Nations told Webpublicapress in a separate interview published in “Avaz” newspaper based in Sarajevo.

He pointed that that’s the way how diplomats are feeding media, and “how the media work, especially in the West,” since American public pay “poor attention” to the rest of the world.

“To that extent it is understandable and can be expected,” he said.

Famous American writer of Bosnian origin - Aleksandar Hemon (WPP photo archive)

Famous American writer of Bosnian origin – Aleksandar Hemon (WPP photo archive)

But Hemon also insisted that the whole situation with Syria is much different than it was in Bosnia during the war in that small European country (1992 to 1995) with about 4 million people.

“There are of course the similirities because we see the war that produce destructions and millions of refugees, but the similarity is only there if we look at it from far a way,” Hemon pointed. He said “those comparisons are applicable only as a part of mentioned media discourse, but it doesn’t have particular value.”


No apstraction at all


Other think after many calamities Humanity doesn’t read all the right signals at the time and the histoty reapeats itself.

“Srebrenica is admonishment for all of us, and is meant to serve as an example of what can happen if we don’t prevent it,” Adisada Dudic, a lawer from Washington, and human rights activists – originaly from that Bosnian town told Webpublicapress.

But, Ms. Dudic who came to US with her family as a child, also said — “some politicians have personal interests when talking about the genocide in Srebrenica.”

She mentioned the previous US presidential campaign where Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton called for imposing of a no-fly zones in Syria, knowing how it it didn’t work in Bosnia, where, in July 1995, in Srebrenica a genocide occurred despite the fact – this town was a “UN safe-haven.”

“Hillary’s proposal for no-fly zone in Syria can only confirm we didn’t learn the lessons of Srebrenica,” Ms. Dudic said, adding: “Hillary should have known better.”

Dudic said – those politicians and diplomats who like to simply boast their statements with examples from Bosnia are actually not taking enough account – that these comparisons inflict further on the victims.

Adisada Dudić (TV image) speaking on Srebrenica from United Nations in New York 2015 (WPP)

Adisada Dudić (TV image) speaking on Srebrenica from United Nations in New York 2015 (WPP)

“Even if we didn’t really learn the lessons of genocide in Srebrenica – we should be carefull when we speak about present situations, since they upset victims of Srebrenica,” Dudic, a frequent public speaker at US universities and United Nations told WPP.

And, when diplomats translate sombody’s suffering to a specific rhetoric apstraction – “it is only natural” for people who have experienced something like that, directly or indirectly – those words to get on their nerves, because”that abstraction” bothers them a lot – Aleksandar Hemon suggests.

“It is difficult to understend for those who live outside of that experience,” he said.

“But whoever was in Srebrenica, or in Bosnia, or was related to all of this – an abstraction violates their experience by simplifying and eliminating the complexity of their whole experience,” famos Bosnian writer said.

“To people who tested in on their bodies, on their families, on their loved ones that can not be an abstraction,” Hemon concludes.


Tragic comparison


Asked why did she chose to compare Aleppo with Srebrenica at the UN Security Council, and weather she did it because of her Bosnian war experience as journalist reporting for American magazine, outgoing US ambassador Samantha Power told Webpublicapress correspondent – the siege of Sarajevo, like the siege of Aleppo was of iconic proportions.

Having those sufferings  “captured imagination of all world,” ambassador Power felt an additional obligation to turn world attention on suffering of Aleppo.

“In Aleppo we almost didn’t have Western journalists to report from,” Power reminded on simple facts.

“In Aleppo we didn’t have (CNN) Christiane Amanpour or Samantha Power, but only mobile phones, and people captured horrified images like journalists did in Sarajevo where there were many witnesses,” Power told WPP correspondent.

So the reason is there.

“After mentioning of Srebrenica or Rwanda at the UN, or other

US ambassador United Nations (UN photo by Mark Garten)

US ambassador United Nations  2013 to 2017 (UN photo by Mark Garten)

similar tragic places, after Aleppo, I think every Russian diplomat will have a harder time to feel good about Syrian or Russian positions regarding war in Syria,” Power said, pointing to the facts that atrocities indeed have happened to many Syrians.

And she added that those who have the power to shape the history with their decisions, should be reminded – this way.

This sentiment was shared by Aleksandar Hemon who commanded Samantha Power’s direct talk to Russian UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin. At one of the UN Security meeting Power asked Churkin “are you incapable of shame” relating that question on Russian bombing civilian targets in Alepo.

“I think it was righ what she did,” Hemon said: “UN is the stage where those kind of questions actually should be asked.”

Talking about “right contest” and weather it is helpful to those who continiue to suffer in Syria – to compare Aleppo with Srebrenica – with almost same phrases like during the war in Bosnia — the ambassador of the United Kingdom to the UN, Matthew Rycroft told Webpublicapress – it is important to talk that way.

“As Kofi Annan (former UN Secretary General) said, Srebrenica will forever haunt the history of the United Nations,” Rycroft said. “I fear that Aleppo will do so too.”

Ambassador of UK also recognized the “two situations are different,” including, “around the role of the international community – who were on the ground in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but are not in Syria in the same way.”

“However, mentioning Srebrenica in the Council in the context of Aleppo is important. We cannot forget what happened in July 1995, and the memory should serve as a reminder for the Council to learn from the past,” Rycroft said.


Need for UN reforms


One thing is for sure: people who suffer in Syria cannot wait any more, as they used in Bosnia – for the United Nations to negotiate endlessly about their fate.

“I am very disappointed in the whole world,” Adisada Dudic told WPP.

United Nations Charter - coverage (WPP photo File)

United Nations Charter – coverage (WPP photo File)

“Our humanity is in question again. How many times do have to say “never again. This situation is a disgrace to all of us,” she said talking about Aleppo.

Dudic concluded: “Emergency action, without any excuse is needed in Aleppo with no hesitation and unwise compromises with only result in higher number of further suffering of Syrian people.”

Knowing, however, that any international action that the Security Council should approve the in accordance with Chapter seven of the UN Charter, can be vetoed by Russia – it is pertinent to ask: Why all this big talk until something fundamentally and morally wil not be changed in the way how the UN operates.

Some specify this to the UN Security Council reforms.

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