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Michael Sells: The Bridge betrayed

Written 01.12.2009. 11:36
Michael Sells’s overpraised pamphlet (there is a story that former US president W.J.Clinton was so fascinated with this sloppy fiction that he (in his intimate circle) referred to it as one of his favorite contemporary politics/history books. Bearing in mind that Clinton, during his “rake’s progress”, listed Marcus Aurelius as his mind/psyche formative reading experience and Koestler’s hero Rubashov (from “Darkness at Noon”, describing Stalin’s purges) as a fellow victimized individual-one should better abstain from a comment.) had achieved its purpose: it sold well and had had some influence on GRP.
This book possesses at least two peculiarities: the author’s presumed genealogical “credentials” and the cartoon “paradigm” of three villains and one guileless victim. As far as “genealogy” is concerned, Sells’s much publicized partly Serbian descent served as *the* shield from attacks on his biased pseudoscholium (his tenure as Arab-Islamic scholar and translator at Haverford College gave him no expert authority and informed insight into ex-Yu and Bosnia & Herzegovina collapse causes and effects). One might add (cynically) that Sells’s case is a good example illustrating the triumph of “nurture” over “nature”- his life career, studies and sympathies centred on Islamic “oikomena”/Dar-al-Islam, he probably couldn’t had done it otherwise than in a glaringly partisan way.
So, the three principal villains are Serbs, Croats and the “international community”. While they have their own separate agenda, the first duo is, in author’s view, at least partially united in the “Christoslavism”- neologism signifying a quasireligious genocidal ideology no one has heard of until Sells made this archaeideological “discovery”. The reality of multicentenary Islamic theocratic oppression in Bosnia under Ottoman rule (now resurfacing within Bosnian Muslim community in the series of (largely ignored by the Western press) atrocities grounded in Islamic fanaticism- one can see a gruesome example at the address http://www.hercegbosna.org/engleski/christmas.html ) - this reality is simply glossed over as a trifling compared to the ogre of the “Christoslavism” phantasm. The banality of the fact that so radically conflicting ideologies like Croatian and Serbian national unification programs cannot be subsumed under one “umbrella”, mutually neutralizing “Christoslavism” mindset- didn’t bother Sells at all. The only pathetic excuse of balanced approach he attempted at consisted in laying more burden of blame and guilt on the Croat side- in his myopic vision of the chain of violence, Serbs got a partly “extenuating circumstances” excuse in one respect: they are portrayed as victims of Croatian villains.
This reviewer has not found in The Bridge betrayed a single reference on Croat martyrdom in Bosnia and Herzegovina, both at the hands of Serbs and Bosnian Muslims. An uninformed reader may get the impression that Croats tried to cleanse Muslims from Central Bosnia and Herzegovina. Numbers speak the opposite: intercommunal fighting ethnically "cleansed" 150,000 Croats from Muslim-held areas & 50,000 Muslims from Croat-held areas. Civilian victims of coldly calculated massacres: circa 200 Muslims and 960 Croats. In Central Bosnia, Croatian forces (HVO) fought (successfully) an uphill battle-they were outnumbered 12/1 by Muslim soldiers.
In short, this book can be summarized thusly: the “international community” are admixture of dupes, hypocrites and machinators; Bosnian Muslims are pure and innocent victims; Serbs are the biggest villains, but with the redeeming quality of being victimized by Croats (both in WW2 and wars for Yugoslav succession); at the end, Croats are genuine and unrelenting Fascists with no positive trait whatsoever.

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