Edmonton Journal, Zac Farnden, April 12, 2010
Many parties share the blame for atrocities in the Balkans
Re: "Serbia begins to come to terms with its dark past; Legislators condemn massacre of Muslims, but refuse to call it genocide," by Srdja Pavlovic, Ideas, April 7.
The most disappointing aspect of Srdja Pavlovic's views expressed in this article is not that they are biased against Serbs, but that he teaches at the University of Alberta and therefore has a forum to spread his personal views and influence young people.
His article is full of quotes that are mere hearsay; he imputes motives to the Serbian government for its declaration and he attempts to denigrate the Serbian nation for failing to "face the recent past and draw the lessons from it."
It is too bad that Pavlovic doesn't have the power to define the "recent past" for readers; or, better still, erase that inconvenient past, which is in living memory of many Serbs.
A more balanced approached would have been to also talk about Jasenovac death camps and the 700,000-plus Serbs, Jews and Gypsies who were slaughtered there.
A thoughtful, scholarly approach might have been to identify how this event defines people's psyche and how this contributes to the complexity of the situation.
Or if this "past" is too distant for Pavlovic, he may have taken into consideration the present and the few remaining Serbs in Kosovo who haven't been killed, or escaped as refugees and who now live in containers with hardly anything to eat and in constant fear for their lives.
The civil war that erupted in former Yugoslavia was as vile and inhumane as any war is, and no side is blameless.
However, Pavlovic is only interested in blaming one side. He is not capable of presenting an unbiased view that would shed some light on the unfortunate situation in that part of the world. He has taken it upon himself to single-handedly identify and name the culprits.
Zac Farnden, Edmonton