Bosnia is still divided and this has betrayed victims and the entire country, which is still not functional, says Ed Vulliamy, a British journalist famed for his reporting from the Bosnian war.
However, after everything that has happened in this region, Vulliamy feels that Bosnia is a land where people have big souls, a lot of love and laughter and where people will always find a way to move on.
“This would be a wonderful country if politicians did not do what they are doing. When I say this, I mean politicians from all three sides”, said Vulliamy.
Vulliamy is in Sarajevo for the commemoration of 20 years since the start of the siege of the city, and on April 7, he will promote his book “The War is Dead, Long Live the War”.
|Omarska Camp | Photo by Wikicommons|
The book is about the prisoners he met as a war reporter in August 1992 in Omarska, Trnopolje and Keraterm camps in the area of Prijedor and about their lives 20 years later. The book also talks about the war in Srebrenica and Visegrad.
“The book is a about the loss those people suffered. What it means to survive a holocaust. It is a story about the amazing phenomenon of Prijedor and about people who survived horrific things, who are now living scattered around the globe,” says Vulliamy.
As the first journalist who told the world the truth about the Omarska, Trnopolje and Keraterm camps in Prijedor and about the crimes committed there, he remembers entering into these camps as if going into another dimension.
“Sometimes I feel as if it were only yesterday, and other times as if it were 200 years ago. Going to Omarska was like another dimension - it is very hard to imagine a concentration camp in the 20th century. On the other hand I met people there who amazed me and some have remained my friends, ” said Vulliamy.
The celebrated “Observer” and “Guardian” journalist claims the most difficult thing for him was the fact that his reports on the camps had no effect, and that the Srebrenica genocide happened afterwards.
“Everyone was shocked, but what was hard was knowing that it had no effect. We found those camps at the start of the war, not the end. Knowing that those things happened much earlier than the Srebrenica genocide – is what hurts and it is something I cannot get over,” says Vulliamy.
He says he is especially angry at those who have tried to present Omarska as a lie.
“They are supporting Milosevic and Karadzic with talks like that. It is pathetic. I have tried to prove that very thing to the people at the Tribunal who were sitting by their computers but they do not care.”
|Trnopolje Camp | Photo by Wikicommons|
“However, I support my friend Idriz Merdzanic – who survived Trnopolje camp – and who said that he is trying to live on as best as he can and has no comment for those that lie about the camps,” he added.
Ed Vulliamy feels that those who committed crimes in Bosnia have yet to apologize to their victims, even after everything that the Hague Tribunal’s verdicts have proved, in the same way Germany apologized to Jewish victims.
“This is what former camp detainees from Bosnia will never get. People were not given closure,” he explains.
Vulliamy testified at the trial of Radovan Karadzic, former Republika Srpska president, who is charged with genocide in Srebrenica and other crimes in Bosnia.
He adds that the Hague tribunal had a goal to promote justice and reconciliation, but that this word “is a lie made up by revolting politicians and bureaucrats”.
“As far as justice goes, the Hague tribunal did a good thing, and I will testify again if they call me. However, reconciliation is a lie and it is a word that rings in the ears of post conflict societies. It was made up by revolting politicians to shadow the misery of human lives in this country,” said Vulliamy.
Asked whether journalists should be tried for wartime propaganda, Vulliamy says that journalists cannot be war criminals, because they just “sit by computers and write”, but that they support criminals when they do not do their jobs.
Vulliamy lives and works in London, but says coming to Sarajevo is always a pleasure.
“I come from London where the biggest mafia in the world is based. People are rude to each other. It is a financial corruption nightmare. This is why I feel great in Sarajevo. I go to my favorite bar, order a Jack Daniels or Sarajevo beer and know this is a wonderful place,” said Ed Vulliamy.
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