Dayton Agreement for Aleppo
December 14th, 2016 marks twenty-one years since Slobodan Milosevic, Franjo Tudjman and Alija Izetbegovic signed the peace treaty know today as the Dayton agreement. This agreement divided my country, conceding a large amount of territory to Bosnia-Serbs who carried out genocide that was the worst Europe has seen since the Second World War. Even though the country is still known as Bosnia and Herzegovina, a small part of it known as Republika Srpska (a Dayton agreement concoction), wishes it did not belong to it. For Bosnian Muslims Republika Srpska is a constant reminder of what happened twenty years ago. We still vividly remember the atrocities and the vacuum that we lived in for three years.
It is hard to carve a path forward when half of the population denies that the loss of one hundred thousand people was anything but genocide. Healing cannot begin while there is denial and animosity on one side and sorrow and loss on the other side, etched so deeply in those who still remember the lack of food, water, shelling, concentration camps, and rapes. Dayton agreement was a botched attempt of the Clinton administration to fix the feckless attempts to negotiate ceases of fire with the aggressor while standing aside watching my people being killed, tortured and humiliated. Nonetheless this treaty did bring cease fire into effect and the killings have stopped. Somewhat normal life returned to my country, albeit divided and still deeply wounded.
On this day with the reports from Aleppo flooding the news I am reminded of how little importance human life holds for the world’s leaders. Women, children, boys, men, young and old, weak and strong are just a collateral, disposable resource to be used for the purposes of establishing power and strong arming the opposition, winning elections and domestic approvals. People of Syria, just like the Bosnian-Muslims twenty years ago, are toys to toss around in the constant tug-of-war and muscle-flexing game of those military powers who plot the lines of territories to their liking, all while their factories back home are pumping out weapons and selling them to both sides involved in the conflict. It is all a money game, political game, game of power and influence. It’s been five years and little to nothing had been done to stop the massacre in Syria. NATO’s and UN’s ignominy equals now that of the UNPROFOR in Bosnia after the fall of Srebrenica.
And people of Syria and Aleppo are left to flee their homes in hope to find safety and shelter in Europe and America, while Europe and America who are standing silently watching them die are denying these refugees access to that what we all consider basic human rights. People in America are angry at these refugees, calling them ISIS, terrorist, wanting nothing to do with them. They do not want these people in our neighborhoods, but they are not angry at the politicians who have done nothing to stop the slaughter of the innocents, the humanitarian crisis that is Aleppo.
I blame the big media houses such as CNN, Fox, BBC, NBC and others for their lack of proper reporting in Syria. I blame them for producing the news that suite the message that they want to convey, whether it fits the right or the left wing. We know so little of the truth. We are unsure of the sources used for the news, we are unsure of what is really happening. Big media houses are no longer unbiased journalists out reporting the real news. They are big marketing houses, out to make money. It is all about speed reporting and sensationalism. There is only one thing that I am certain about from everything I’ve seen and it is that people are dying.
Aleppo is Srebrenica, Syria is Bosnia from twenty-one years ago. If America was able to sit down with Slobodan Milosevic and Franjo Tudjman, the war criminals, to patch a half-assed peace treaty to stop further killings of the innocents in Bosnia, why can’t they now sit with Assad and the rebels and do the same? One has to wonder, what type of a power play is in place now?