Opinion: Not a sincere Serbian gesture

Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic apologizing for the Srebrenica massacre is a turning point and a step forward to reconciliation. Full Story
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“Jebo sam Srbiju”

Since: May 08

Winnipega, Canada

#1 Apr 27, 2013
Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic apologizing for the Srebrenica massacre is a turning point and a step forward to reconciliation. But it's not a heartfelt show remorse, says DW's Verica Spasovska.

It's indeed remarkable that Nikolic, of all people, apologized on Bosnian television for the most appalling massacre of Bosnian Muslims by Serbian war criminals in Srebrenica. Unlike his pro-European predecessor Boris Tadic, who had made similar comments in the past, Europe wasn't expecting such a comment from the ultra-nationalist Nikolic. Just a couple years ago, Nikolic publicly opposed the extradition of Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic, who are on trial for war crimes; he also criticized the war crimes tribunal in The Hague for being biased.

An apology from a member of the political right-wing also sends a strong message to Serbian nationalistic forces. It's no surprise that these groups don't hold back when criticizing Nikolic's statement.

Did Nikolic really mean it?

But how does his apology impact the victims? Their reactions are quite reserved, and rightly so. The victim's association "Mothers of Srebrenica" has criticized that Nikolic did not bring himself to call the massacre in Srebrenica a genocide. That has yet to be proven, the Serbian president said, adding that all conflicting parties in former Yugoslavia had carried out atrocities that would qualify as genocide. It is such additional comments that cast doubts on his sincerity.

These doubts are fuelled by another point: While saying "I kneel and ask for forgiveness for Serbia," he was sitting comfortably in his armchair. Sincere remorse certainly looks different. German Chancellor Willy Brandt's spontaneous move to kneel in front of a monument for Nazi-era victims in Warsaw, Poland, two decades after World War II, was a convincing and touching gesture. This silent, humble gesture was genuine and made history.

Actions need to follow words

Nikolic's words need to be put into context of Serbia approaching the European Union. Pleasing Brussels is a top priority as the European Commission has recommended starting accession talks after an agreement between Serbia and its former province Kosovo. Due to the worst economic crisis in years, which has been fuelled even further by the European financial crisis, getting EU membership status is considered more important the Belgrade government than clinging to national sentiments. These sentiments include the common perception of Serbians being the Yugoslav Wars' true victims and the notion that the UN war crime tribunal is biased against Serbia.

It takes more than words to change this widespread attitude and open up the path to reconciliation. A genuine examination of recent history and Serbia's own responsibility in the Yugoslav Wars is necessary. Enabling an exchange for young people that are willing to change their perspective is also required. It is not until words become action - action to showing that reconciliation is genuinely wanted - that the Bosnian war victims be able to accept the apology.
Serbonazis

Buffalo, NY

#2 Apr 27, 2013
servian butchers
Serbonazis

Buffalo, NY

#7 Apr 30, 2013
servian butchers from 1991 onward
Tula

Portland, OR

#8 Apr 30, 2013
Serbians r not bad
Verboten

Netherlands

#9 Apr 30, 2013
Verboten! Heil!
Serbonazis

Buffalo, NY

#10 May 1, 2013
Tula wrote:
Serbians r not bad
servian butchers since 1991
markalistis

Athens, Greece

#11 May 1, 2013
Serbonazis wrote:
<quoted text>servian butchers since 1991
malaka!
Nandrelle

Saint Louis, MO

#12 May 1, 2013
Its definatly NOT a sincere Serbian gesture,its an empty gesture as everything else that comes out of a Serbian!
Mustafa Kemal Gay Hayvan

Athens, Greece

#13 May 1, 2013
Nandrelle wrote:
Its definatly NOT a sincere Serbian gesture,its an empty gesture as everything else that comes out of a Serbian!
malaka!
Nandrelle

Saint Louis, MO

#14 May 1, 2013
Mustafa Kemal Gay Hayvan wrote:
<quoted text>
malaka!
Malaka your mother you stupid cigo Greek!! Why dont you pay attention to your own country first and provide your people with money..Why do you rely on Germany and the rest of the countries to help you..Foolish incompetent sh*t!
simon says

Pascoe Vale, Australia

#16 May 1, 2013
I wonder when will bosnian stinkers apologize for their crimes. We didn't even hear their apology for Jasenovac Camp massacres and other ww2 butcherings of Serbs together with their croat nazi pals, let alone the 90's
Serbonazis

Buffalo, NY

#17 May 2, 2013
simon says wrote:
I wonder when will bosnian stinkers apologize for their crimes. We didn't even hear their apology for Jasenovac Camp massacres and other ww2 butcherings of Serbs together with their croat nazi pals, let alone the 90's
are you still in 1389 instead of 1991 and after, you dumb servoslave????
KemalGayMustafaG ayAtaGay

Athens, Greece

#18 May 2, 2013
Nandrelle wrote:
<quoted text>
Malaka your mother you stupid cigo Greek!! Why dont you pay attention to your own country first and provide your people with money..Why do you rely on Germany and the rest of the countries to help you..Foolish incompetent sh*t!
malaka!
square_1

Pascoe Vale, Australia

#20 May 2, 2013
your comment makes no sense, like always, you sick Down Syndrome mental parrot
KemalGayMustafaG ayAtaGay

Athens, Greece

#21 May 2, 2013
Salta kai gamhsoy
Serbonazis

Buffalo, NY

#22 May 3, 2013
square_1 wrote:
your comment makes no sense, like always, you sick Down Syndrome mental parrot
applicable to the servians since 1389 parrots
Nandrelle

Saint Louis, MO

#23 May 6, 2013
KemalGayMustafaGayAtaGay wrote:
<quoted text>
malaka!
Useless brainless Greeks!

“Hello”

Since: Jul 09

Belgrade

#24 May 6, 2013
Balkans can ONLY move forward when all the leaders, presidents of the ex-yu countries apologize and express shame for what their countrymen did. All must do this.
Serbonazis

Buffalo, NY

#25 May 7, 2013
Shomi wrote:
Balkans can ONLY move forward when all the leaders, presidents of the ex-yu countries apologize and express shame for what their countrymen did. All must do this.
only servia must do this, the aggressor
Albanians Say Sorry

Australia

#26 May 7, 2013
Cíkemi si jeni
Mua me quajne Abdul.
I am a Melbourne Albanian and I just want to apologise for the crimes my people have done against the Serbs of Kosovo.
Me fal and Te dua to all the Serbs. Sorry.
Kosovo je Srbija

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