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Muslim perspective on the Balkan conflict

By Ahmad Saad Nasim
Arizona Daily Wildcat
March 30, 1999
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To the editor,

It is interesting to see a great deal of protest against the Kosovan bombings. From a historical perspective, we must realize what happened in Bosnia.

During the latter part of the civil war in Bosnia, Serbian soldiers under Slobodan Milosevic and Radovan Karadzic, the Bosnian Serb leader, held a campaign of ethnic cleansing. Under these same men, General Arkan of the Serb-led forces basically held a systematic execution of any Muslim Croat Bosnian in Srebrnica. Even U.S. spy satellite images showed "yellow spots" of massive dead bodies. Bosnia as a whole became an Auschwitz. This form of ethnic cleansing was supported by the current Serb government.

By learning from the mistakes of forgetting the Bosnians, the NATO forces took the right step in hitting military targets in all of Yugoslavia. Just like Saddam Hussein, one cannot negotiate peace with people like Milosevic. They have repeated their ethnic cleansing and must be stopped.

Although one may say, " better late than never," the NATO response was late. Not in terms of what will happen to the Kosovars, but rather what the Bosnians needed the most from the world was a few years ago.

By bombing and military intervention, we may have temporary peace in the area, but will the inevitable happen? World War III. I don't know.

The United Nations needs to work the hard way as well and try to get people of different faiths to work together. Like getting Catholics and Protestants in Ireland together, Hindus and Muslims in India, Jews and Arabs in occupied Palestine, and, well, in Kosovo the Albanians and Serbs together.

Ten years ago no one would have imagined peace between Israelis and Arabs

- they still have a long way to go. Similarly, the Serbs who are mostly Greek Orthodox, must try to respect their Albanian neighbors who are mainly Muslim and vice versa.

Ahmad Saad Nasim
German studies and molecular and cellular biology junior
President, Muslim Student's Association