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Forced cohabitation in Bosnia?


Ny Tid has run a very good series of articles about Bosnia-Herzegovina over several issues in connection with the tenth anniversary of the massacre in Srebrenica. Arne Johan Vetlesen accuses Thorvald Stoltenberg of agreeing with the Serbian extremists because Stoltenberg has stated "You can not force people to live together." In Ny Tid on 26 August, Stoltenberg receives support from Gunnar Garbo, who writes “But of course Stoltenberg was right. You can't FORCE people to live together. ”

But in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the people groups actually lived together. The Norwegian social anthropologist Tone Bringa stayed before the war in 1992-1995 in a village north of Sarajevo where people were either Croats or Muslims (interview in the Class Fight 05.09.1995). In the neighboring village, they were Muslims and Serbs. The people groups lived side by side and interacted. But they differed from each other by religion (of course), clothing, names and house types. And there were absolute contradictions and not full harmony. But they lived together. When the war came to these villages, others talked about how extremist Serbs forced village villagers to engage in expulsion and massacres on their Croatian or Muslim villagers. Similarly, extremist Croats and Muslims did, but there is no telling that it was the Serbs who started and led this process. And so the compulsion was not to force people to live together. No, it was power-hungry extremists who forced people apart. Therefore, Vetlesen is absolutely right that Stoltenberg's (and Garbo's) position was closer to those who would force the people apart than those who would maintain a multi-ethnic Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Vidar Eng, head of Tromsø SV

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