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Protest Letter to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum regarding Michael Dobbs’ genocide comments

November 17, 2011

Dear Members of the Committee on Conscience:

The Congress of North American Bosniaks (CNAB), the Institute for Research of Genocide Canada (IRGC), and the Bosnian American Genocide Institute and Education Center strongly protest the reporting by Michael Dobbs, a Committee on Conscience fellow, who openly questioned the classification of killing of more than 8,000 Bosniak civilians in Srebrenica as genocide. In his contribution to “The Mladic Files”, Mr. Dobbs shockingly stated the following in the post called “Defining Genocide:

“I must admit that I find it difficult to use the word genocide, which conjures up images of the Holocaust. “

It is appalling that anyone would question the use of the term genocide in this case, given that it has already been established by the International Court of Justice, as the largest case of genocide in Europe since WWII.  Of course, the Holocaust, in which more than 6 million Jews were killed by Nazi and Fascist forces was much greater in magnitude, but nevertheless the Srebrenica genocide fits the UN definition that genocide constitutes “the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group.”  More than 8,000 Bosniaks were deliberately executed in Srebrenica in a matter of days because of their ethnic and religious identity. Furthermore, more than 30,000 were forcefully expelled.   Prior to the war, Srebrenica’s population was more than 70% ethnic Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim).  After the genocide, the population is now less than 1% with only a handful of families returning.

It is even more disappointing and shocking to us that the questioning of the term genocide in Srebrenica would appear on the official website of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, an organization which we collectively admire and support. CNAB even published the announcement of the “Mladic Files” project and encouraged its members to spread the news.  Hence, it is very disheartening to us and all the Bosnian genocide victims whom we represent that we must once again defend the truth even to those who are supposed to help preserve it, the USHMM Committee on Conscience.  Even though you state on your website that “The views expressed are his own”, we strongly advocate that you have a moral responsibility to stop the open questioning of genocide because it is hurtful to the victims and undermines the integrity of your committee.  Just as it’s the case with Holocaust deniers, Srebrenica genocide and other genocide cases that occurred in Bosnia and Herzegovina cannot be questioned, as Srebrenica genocide is  one of the most documented and undeniable cases of genocide in modern history?

In conclusion, we believe it is your responsibility, according to the mandate found on your website (http://www.ushmm.org/genocide/about/ ) “to alert the national conscience, influence policy makers, and stimulate worldwide action to confront and work to halt acts of genocide or related crimes against humanity.”  One of the most important ways to prevent genocide is to stop its denial.  Thus, we respectfully ask that you remove Mr. Dobbs’ outrageous post from your website and prevent any future denial of genocide by people associated with the USHMM.  It is the least you can do to honor the victims and preserve the truth.

Sincerely,

Haris Alibasic, MPA, President
Congress of North American Bosniaks (CNAB)
www.bosniak.org

Prof. Emir Ramić, Chairman
Institute for the Research of Genocide, Canada (IRGC)
http://www.instituteforgenocide.ca/

Sanja Seferovic-Drnovsek J.D, MEd, Chair
Bosnian American Genocide Institute and Education Center (BAGI)
www.baginst.org

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