Srebrenica, 7000 dead, nobody guilty
The 23rd Letter of an Autonomous Thinker

Amsterdam, April 15 2002

Dear reader, 

During the Balkan War the town of Srebrenica was declared a safe area by the United Nations. Dutch soldiers should defend the enclave. But Dutchbat did not shoot when the Bosnian-Serbian army attacked Srebrenica in July 1995, they got the order to withdraw.

The Dutch organisation NIOD just published a report about what happened. An English version is published on http://www.srebrenica.nl/en/index.htm. A critical report in Dutch but with an English press statement was published a week earlier by the IKV, a Christian organisation. .

When the UN declares a territory safe citizens could suppose that it will be safe to stay there. But in July 1995 more than 7000 predominantly male members of the Moslem community of Srebrenica were murdered. The NIOD report comes to the conclusion that something went wrong. Yes indeed, 7000 civilians were slaughtered! But nobody seemed to be personal responsible for what happened. The UN and the Dutch government had some responsibility but leading individuals who were involved in this tragedy are not accused of malfunctioning. On the contrary, some Dutch members of the political elite who were very much involved in this tragedy could continue their career.

The present Prime Minister Kok was vice Prime Minister when was decided to take part in the UN mission and Prime Minister when the tragedy occurred.
Voorhoeve was Minister of Defence and is now member of the Council of State (Raad van State) a very important council that advises the Dutch Government.
Van Kemenade who exonerated in an official report the top of the Dutch army was recently appointed for life as Honorary Minister (Minster van Staat).
The commander of Dutchbat, Karremans, was promoted to a higher rank.

When you belong to leading circles you will remain in higher circles even when you have done many things wrong.
But when a civilian does something wrong things are different. On April 13 about 25.000 people protested in Amsterdam against the slaughter of people in Palestine. The police clashed with the demonstrators. They did not withdraw like their counterpart in Srebrenica but used their weapons against the opposition. Several civilians were arrested and will have to serve a prison sentence. The elite knows how to punish people from the masses. Leading elitepeople do not even have to say sorry for their misdeeds. That is the reality in our elitist democracy.

In a month we have general elections. I do not understand why anyone should anymore vote. Many candidates were either involved in the process that caused the death of 7000 people in Srebrenica or did nothing to call to account leading individuals who were directly responsible for the withdrawal of the Dutch troops that was the direct cause of 7000 dead civilians.

The elite and the masses live in two different worlds. The elite is only called to account when they have sinned in their own world and never for crimes against people who live in the massworld.

Yours truly, Joost van Steenis


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24. Do not forget the elite
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