Dino F. Avdibegović

Don't be neutral

Categories: [english], [misc]

Russian army has invaded Ukraine 45 days ago. It shells civilian targets, hospitals, train stations, apartment buildings. Russian soldiers are killing civilians in the Ukrainian cities they've occupied. Bucha, Borodyanka, Kherson... The list will unfortunately be long. It all reminds me too much of war crimes and atrocities Serbian paramilitary formations supported by Serbian Army committed against Bosnian (non-Serb) civilians in the war (1992-1995).

Russian haven't learned anything from the wars in the Balkans thirty years ago. First, wars about territory are meaningless, backwards and stupid, especially the territory that doesn't belong to you. Besides, Russia has way too much land. Secondly, the Russian army is committing war crimes that begin to look like an act of genocide in certain areas of Ukraine. They are pillaging and looting Ukrainian homes and factories in the same way Serbian forces looted countless Bosnian homes and hundreds of Bosnian factories and companies. Most of it ended in Serbia. I predict a similar scenario in Ukraine.

It is sad that people are still killing others (all over the globe) just because they have wrong ethnicity, nationality or name. I am sad that young Russian soldiers are dying in a foreign land, and many of their remains will stay forever in the Ukrainian soil. I am especially devastated by countless Ukrainian civilian losses. All the mothers that won't see their sons, wives their husbands, children their fathers.

War is ugly, war is cruel. This is why it is important not to stand by and be neutral. As the writer and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel wrote: "We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must - at that moment - become the center of the universe."

I am glad to see a large portion of the free world supporting Ukraine both with arms and moral support in their defense against Russian oppressor. If only Bosnians received one percent of that some thirty years ago, we wouldn't have had genocide in Srebrenica, thousands of killed Bosnian civilians in Brcko, Prijedor, Zvornik, Bijeljina... It seems, the world learned at least something, even though Russians and all their supporters have not.

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