The Rape of Serbian Women
by Stella L. Jatras
(Letter to Phyllis Chesler of Chesler Chronicles)
I apologize for the length of my letter, but there is so much to be covered on this subject in order to do it justice.
In your commentary of 28 July entitled, “Is Marital Rape a Crime in America or Is It a Muslim Religious Right?,” Chesler Chronicles, you wrote: “In this regard, rape was declared a crime against humanity by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. [ICTY] I was tentatively supposed to testify about Rape Trauma Syndrome in the case in The Hague, but there was no funding to either protect or relocate the women who were prepared to testify, and thus, these trials were canceled.”
My concern is the distorted application of the rape declaration by the ICTY. Anything from the ICTY, a bought and paid for tool of the western powers, can only be seen in light of the objectives of those powers, especially Washington. A major objective — which was achieved — was to make the Muslims the victims in Bosnia and Serbs the villains. Paradoxically, that contrived victimization is itself a weapon in depicting any concerns about Islam here — including victimization of women, not as helping protect human rights, but as a propaganda tool to justify discrimination, racism, etc.
In that context, the accusations of mass rape – and specifically of “Serb rape camps,” which were never shown to have existed anywhere — was part of a calculated campaign of depicting Muslims-white-hats and Serbs-black-hats. I draw your attention to a letter written by Herb Brin of Heritage Southwest Jewish Press to President Clinton on 14 April 1994: “When I visited the Serbian front a year ago, I learned to my dismay that the rape story was a total concoction. In wars, rapes occur–but in the hundreds of thousands and as a means of so-called ‘ethnic cleansing?’ This was incredible and false.” Certainly rapes are committed in wartime, even worse in communal wars. There is no evidence that Bosnia was any worse (or better) than anywhere else where comparable conflicts have taken place. Tragically, the crime of the actual rapes that occurred was compounded by the use of false accusations of rape as a propaganda weapon, which is what the west and the Muslims did. Such false accusations both paste a damning accusation on the party not guilty of the wrongdoing, while devaluing the horror of actual rapes committed.
The fact that the ICTY declares rape a crime against humanity — a fact obvious to any normal person, ICTY or no ICTY — should not be given much weight, given the source. In fact, it serves to devalue the problem of rape during wartime because the ICTY shamefully used what should have been a principled legal finding as a blatant political propaganda weapon.
There is no question that even one rape is unspeakable, but with all due respect, I would like to present the other side of the story regarding the rapes that occurred in Bosnia, specifically the rape of Serbian women which were deemed to be insignificant by the media and by The Hague. Instead of being honest brokers in a nasty civil war, we took sides against the Serbian people. Here I quote Yohanan Ramati, Director of the Jerusalem Institute for Western Defense, “This organized anti-Serb and pro-Muslim propaganda should cause anyone believing in democracy and free speech serious concerns. It recalls Hitler’s propaganda against the allies in World War II. Facts are twisted and, when convenient, disregarded.”
I offer the following:
“Former Yugoslavia: MANIPULATED HORROR. (Translated From French) ‘Ethnic cleansing, rapes: the war in the Balkans is already sufficiently horrible without the need to exaggerate the consequences’.” [Source: Le Point, March 13, 1993, page 34]
For Envoye Special, Jerome Boney went to investigate on the spot by going to Tuzla, the city mentioned in all the reports. He confided his astonishment in the last February 4 broadcast: He reported, “When I was 50 kilometers from Tuzla, I heard: ‘Go to the Tuzla gymnasium, there are 4,000 raped women.’ At 20 kilometers the figure went down to 400. At 100 kilometer there were no more than 40. And on the spot I found 4 women who agreed to testify.” – Jacques Merlino (France 2).
Unnoticed by the media was the submission on December 18, 1992, of the length report #S24491 by the UN Security Council to the General Assembly. The report included depositions by Serb rape victims. Yet while that report was receiving minimal circulation at the UN, the news media were focusing on undocumented claims that Serbian soldiers had committed as many as 60,000 rape of Muslim women.
The Jan 4 1993 issue of Newsweek reported that up to 50,000 Muslim women had been raped in Bosnia. Tom Post, a contributor to the article, explained that the estimate of 50,000 rapes was based on interviews with 28 women. #S24491 which was filed three weeks before this January 4th 1993 article appeared in Newsweek was not mentioned.
So which is it, 60,000 as reported by the majority of the news media, or 50,000 rapes as reported in 1993 by Newsweek, considering both exaggerated the numbers, or whatever number the spin doctors felt would make the best headline?
Jewish publication ISRAPUNDIT reported: “Such was the false tale spread of rapes by Serbian soldiers of Muslim women to supposedly increase the Serbian population in Kosovo and Bosnia. While rapes by Serbian soldiers were not proven in the end, there were rapes of Serbian women by the mujahedeen and members of the Kosovo Liberation Army. Both were funded by Saudi Arabia and Iran. You know the Saudis, they’re the ones whose ‘road map for peace’ is what Israel is adhering to as the same Saudis who fund Hamas (with the Iranians) to fire missiles at Israeli day care centers. The US State Department calls all that diplomacy.”
Jared Israel (Emperor’s Clothes) offers, “Susan Sontag and the rape of American thinking,” (5/30/00) where he states that Sontag claims that Bosnian Serb troops indulged in: “The rape by military orders of tens of thousands of women throughout Serb-captured Bosnia. By military order, mind you,” writes Israel. He continues. “Now keep in mind that the Bosnian Serb army numbered somewhere around 30,000 men, “many of whom were engaged in desperate military engagements.”
“Aside from the absurdity of this small, hard-pressed army, stretched out along a one thousand mile front, raping tens of thousands of women, the mass rape stories rely on a false impression, carefully cultivated by the Western media: that the Bosnian Serb army was an aggressive invading force that “captured territory”. This is wrong on both counts: they were mainly a defensive force and they were in fact defending their own territory.”
In her article ‘Yugoslavia Seen Through a Dark Glass,” analyst Diana Johnstone offers the following:
“No one denies that many rapes occurred during the civil wars in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, or that rape is a serious violation of human rights. So is war, for that matter. From the start, however, inquiry into rape in Bosnia-Herzegovina focused exclusively on accusations that Serbs were raping Muslim women as part of a deliberate strategy. The most inflated figures, freely extrapolated by multiplying the number of known cases by large factors, were readily accepted by the media and international organizations. No interest was shown in detailed and documented reports of rapes of Serbian women by Muslims or Croats. The late Nora Beloff, former chief political correspondent of the London Observer, described her own search for verification of the rape charges in a letter to The Daily Telegraph (January 19, 1993). The British Foreign Office conceded that the rape figures being bandied about were totally uncorroborated, and referred her to the Danish government, then chairing the European Union. Copenhagen agreed that the reports were unsubstantiated, but kept repeating them. Both said that the EU had taken up the “rape atrocity” issue at its December 1992 Edinburgh summit exclusively on the basis of a German initiative. In turn, Fran Wild, in charge of the Bosnian Desk in the German Foreign Ministry, told Ms. Beloff that the material on Serb rapes came partly from the Izetbegovic government and partly from the Catholic charity Caritas in Croatia. No effort had been made to seek corroboration from more impartial sources. Despite the absence of solid and comprehensive information, a cottage industry has since developed around the theme. See: Norma von Ragenfeld-Feldman, “The Victimization of Women: Rape and the Reporting of Rape in Bosnia-Herzegovina, 1992-1993,” Dialogue (Paris), No. 21, March 1997; and Diana Johnstone, “Selective Justice in The Hague,” The Nation, Sept. 22, 1997, pp. 16-21.”
And then there is also the case of a pregnant Bosnian Muslim woman who was registered in Switzerland as an asylum seeker and a victim of rape by Serbian soldiers who subsequently gave birth to a black baby. Nothing more was heard of the case.
Although I am not Serbian, I have complete empathy with the sentiments of a Serbian lady friend who wrote: “I still hurt whenever I remember all of the false accusations leveled against Serbs for having run ‘rape camps’ in various parts of former Yugoslavia. Those accusations were lies. Later on, life began to imitate the dark art of propaganda journalism, when slave-brothels and trafficking in women indeed began flourishing under the NATO/Muslim occupation. Nobody ever came back to apologize to the Serbs for those false accusations, even though the evidence was transparently concocted and thoroughly refuted.”
I believe you answered your own question regarding, “is it a Muslim Religious Right?” It appears to be so.
Stella L. Jatras
As a career military officer’s wife, Stella Jatras has traveled widely and has lived in many foreign countries where she not only learned about other cultures but also became very knowledgeable regarding world affairs and world politics. With the advent of the war in Bosnia, Mrs. Jatras immediately recognized the bias of the Western media and the Clinton administration’s flawed foreign policy in the Balkans and began her efforts to present to the American people a more accurate view of that tragic situation. Stella Jatras lived in Moscow for two years (where her husband, George, was the Senior Air AttachÃ©), and while there, worked in the Political Section of the US Embassy. Stella has also lived in Germany, Greece, including eight years in Saudi Arabia. Her travels took her to over twenty countries.