Bosnia: Crying shame, crying for help.
The year 1994 will be remembered as the most vicious attempt to exterminate a nation in Europe since the Second World War.
A collective death sentence has been pronounced upon a people simply because of its Islam. The world watches and waits as the blood ebbs from the people of Bosnia. Ever since the murderous attacks by blood-thirsty Serbs emboldened by European helplessness and, in some instances, connivance, the genocide continues unabated.
Towns and villages have been destroyed by the ceaseless bombardment of Serb gunners. Two years have passed by during which the modern day Sykes-Picots, Vance and Owen, delayed every effort to get a just settlement for the Bosnians. Their hands are as bloody as those Serbs who slaughtered children and cut them to pieces.
The world watches and does nothing. Why? We can never understand. The self appointed guardians of freedom, democracy and civilization try to blot the image of these bloody massacres within a day's drive of other European capitals.
The genocide or, if I may dare use the word holocaust, is happening right in their backyard. Yet a criminal silence prevails.
The victims writhe in pain and scream in agony as they die. Those who are not so lucky are ethnically cleansed.
The Serbs have made it a point to target clinics and hospitals, and in one attack, threw ten grenades into a hospital operating room. Their lust for blood continues, as evidenced by their decapitation of wounded Bosnian women and children.
What is very obvious about the whole ordeal of the Bosnian people is the deliberate targeting of women and children. It seems that there is a planned campaign to exterminate the entire child-bearing population. Over 17,000 children have been killed. Yes 17,000 and please do not forget this number. That is, hundreds of happy, playful school yards obliterated by deliberate and murderous bombardment which makes Dresden look like a picnic.
For those children who have survived, the 'nightmare' has taken away the best part of their lives. It has taken away their innocence and happy hours. While our children play and prepare for vacations, Bosnian children spend their days in basements, in hospitals and in grave yards staring at dead bodies.
It is doubtful if any Bosnian children will survive. There are hundreds of cases where the hair of the children has become gray. Many have lost their eyesight, their limbs and their hearing. And yet the bombings continue and the world watches and waits.
The new year dawned a few days ago and many heralded it with long hours of celebration. To Bosnian children there was no such thing as new. It was a carbon copy year of death and destruction. They had nothing to celebrate for.
Their tragedy continues. The war has deprived them not only of food, shelter and family but also of their education and dignity; a tragedy which will haunt their lives long after the buildings are repaired and farms are again productive.
Do you know how many children have lost their minds and become insane in Bosnia as a result of this unending slaughter? More than six thousand children. Yes, and this is also a conservative figure.
As we read in the papers or watch on televisions the horrors being inflicted on these innocent people many of us just shrug our shoulders. Others blame the West. Some talk of conspiracies. But the question arises as to what have we done apart from uttering some words. Has anyone of us done something to help mend some of the broken lives of the innocent children of the conflict? Have we donated anything except hollow words? Did we embark on a program to give back these children both their sense of identity and the skills to rebuild their shattered homeland? Have we helped these poor innocent people who, despite the atrocities committed against them, will not retaliate?
Did anyone of us give a strong consideration to the opportunity to help the suffering children of Bosnia recover some chance to build their lives and their communities. Did any of us think that we could make a critical difference.
Many people ask me what can we do.
I say to them to donate money and supplies for the purchase of school supplies and education. Do not let the Serbs have their way. Make a concerted effort to save the children of Bosnia from a life- long sentence of ignorance. Bear in mind that there are over 300,000 students who are in real need of pencils and notebooks. Each student requires an average of ten notebooks and five pencils or pens. If this educational material is supplied in time and delivered to the Bosnian children by us we would have done our good deeds for quite a long time.
The crucial importance is timing. Let 1995 be a year of education for the children of Bosnia. Let us mobilize ourselves for this noble and humanitarian act for which there will be a divine reward. Let us make valiant and tireless efforts to alleviate the suffering of the people of Bosnia - especially of the children. The world has abandoned them. Can we afford to do so? Even a small effort can make a difference. A thousand dollars donated buys 23,000 pencils!
Why don't we buy ten notebooks instead of purchasing a video cassette? The whys can go on and on.
Many of us are preparing for our vacations with our children.
But let us remember other children - the children of Bosnia - scream through amputations without anesthesia, dodge sniper fire. Young girls stammer and sob as they try to describe outrages committed against them. Children are made orphans, victims and combatants. These children are children no more.
If we don't act, then looking back from our graves, we will wish that we in our luxurious lives had shared what was a loan to us from God with our fellow human beings who had nothing.
By then it will be too late.
Topics: Bosnia And Herzegovina