Decalogue for the abandonment of Bosnia

Torner, Carles
Revista Literatures Núm. 3 1999

I shall only be able to speak of our relation, as Catalans, with Balkan literary traditions and cultures since the war. With the war in Bosnia, my generation has experienced in Catalonia, the first great political conflict. A European conflict, which goes to the root in questioning the present political project of our continent. The absence of political mechanisms at the level of European economic unity has meant our abandonment of the war victims. Catalonia has intensely experienced, on the basis of its own memories, this crime against humanity. The culminating moment in the movement in support of the war victims around the platform "Europe x Bòsnia" (Europe for Bosnia), was the demonstration in Barcelona's Plaça Sant Jaume following the Srebrenica massacre, at which José María Mendiluce, with the explicit support of the President of the Generalitat (Autonomous Government of Catalonia), the Lord Mayor of Barcelona and the President of the Parliament of Catalonia, said publicly, "This is not a war; this is genocide," and "We do not want to be neutral". But the next day there was no echo of this popular mobilisation and the need for humanitarian aid defused the political debate. Before this deafening silence, now is the time for memory. A time for serious work, such as that done by the International Court of Justice in the hope that one day the winds of political volition will turn and that Milosevic will be detained, tried and condemned. But it also continues to be, I believe, time to meditate upon the anti-decalogue I wrote in 1994, during the war:
"First Commandment: Thou shalt be neutral, although thou becomest the amalgam of aggressor and aggressed upon. Second Commandment: That shalt insult the victims, calling the Bosnians Muslims and thereby insinuating the threat of Islamic fundamentalism, and thou shall associate all today's Croatians with the Ustashi faction which reigned fifty years ago. Third Commandment: Thou shalt forget the word "genocide"; and shalt not mention the construction of the first racially-based state in Europe since the Third Reich, and dissolving the daily crime in the "complexity" of the situation. Fourth Commandment: Thou shalt deactivate Europe's memory and to he who links the Munich Agreement with the present refusal of the West to stop the aggression, though shalt say that he only wishes to feel guilty. Fifth Commandment: Though shalt praise humanitarian aid at any price, even when the victims ask not to be fed but for the right to defend themselves. Sixth Commandment: Thou shalt take pleasure in thy impotence and shalt maintain in an evident state of vulnerability the UN forces of intervention. Seventh Commandment: Thou shalt preach tolerance to the genocidal, seating at the same table he who bares his neck and he who wields the knife. Eighth Commandment: Thou shalt become drunk on history, and, before a carved-up Bosnia, thou shalt invoke the former Yugoslavia, without thinking of what might be done from now on to keep the ethnic purifiers from their butchery tomorrow in Kosovo or Macedonia. Ninth Commandment: Thou shalt create an illusory world of impossible peace plans, making it appear that you swallow the break between Belgrade and Pale, subscribing to the belief that Milosevic has abandoned his Greater Serbia project and bowing before the Serbo-bosnian "parliament". Tenth Commandment: Thou shalt not speak out and in silence shall witness the revenge of reality."