As a citizen of the Bosnian diaspora in the US I write to seek your support in condemning, and urging the cancellation of, the screening of the controversial film “Srpska: The Struggle for Freedom” in our city.
The war in Bosnia was the most violent conflict in Europe since the end of World War II. During the war, the world witnessed war crimes and genocide committed by Bosnian Serb police and military forces in the name of Republika Srpska (RS). Following the war, most of the high-ranking RS government, police and military officials were convicted of war crimes by the ICTY. This film is another attempt at historical revisionism, as it seeks to redeem and glorify RS, which was founded on war crimes, genocide and ultranationalism.
The film distorts historical facts by suggesting that Bosnia and the US “opened the gates of conflict” in the Western Balkans, while showing RS as the victim in a “struggle for freedom.” Furthermore, the film attempts to portray the extermination of “Muslims in Bosnia”, to make space for Serbs as a morality tale, avenging centuries of perceived injustices at the hands of the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires. These falsehoods are a deceitful attempt at “othering” and silently introduce radical, revisionist and ultranationalist ideas to Americans across our nation.
Furthermore, RS was founded on war crimes, genocide and Serb ultranationalism, which is rampant in the Western Balkans and is slowly spreading across Europe and the rest of the world. It is important to note that Serb ultranationalist ideology inspired the Christchurch shooting in New Zealand, the first ever live streamed mass shooting, which in turn inspired a string of other mass shootings around the world, including the recent Buffalo, NY shooting. We are facing unprecedented levels of radicalization in the US, as evidenced by the January 6th insurrection in DC. Allowing the screening of this film across the US poses a potential threat to all of our communities, as well as national security. Those of us who lived through the Bosnian war know that films such as this are created to inspire hatred, radicalization and ultranationalism.
Finally, the title of the film is highly manipulative and misleading. The highest levels of the RS government were convicted of implementing a systemic and systematic program of terror, war crimes, rape and genocide over non-Serb populations in Bosnia. Thus, while Mr. Malagurski states that the film “denounces all war crimes that took place,” the title of his film nevertheless misleadingly attempts to “whitewash” rape, war crimes and genocide and falsely labels such actions as a “struggle for freedom.”
This screening of this film was quickly halted across Europe. As such, I urge you to join me and over 35,000 people who signed an online petition to ban the screening of this film. I urge you to condemn this revisionist propaganda and call for the cancellation of the film’s screening in our city.
▶ First sent on March 14 by Congress of Bosniaks of North America