Book Reviews
Stjepan Šiber (2000). Deceptions, delusions, the truth - 1992 war diary
(Volume 1, Number 3-4, Autumn-Winter 2000.)
30 ruj 2000 03:18:00
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Sarajevo: RABIC Publishing Co.
pp. 348

Šiber's 348 page book was published by the Sarajevo-based RABIC publishing company in the fall of 2000. It discusses prewar events, the beginning and course of the war in Sarajevo and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and provides a summary of the author's role in these events. An account is also given of the complex relations between the defenders of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, who were of different religious and national backgrounds, and the reasons for the creation of the Croatian Defense Council, the Patriot League, the Croatian Liberation Forces (HOS), and the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The author also tries to identify reasons for the confrontation, and later the restricted (but cruel) armed conflict between members of the B&H Army and the Croatian Defense Council. Various documents, reports, and maps appended at the end of the book serve as evidence of authenticity and enhance the book's documentary quality.

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The book is based on authentic entries from the diary of Stjepan Šiber, M.A. in military science, who in 1992 placed himself at the disposal of the presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the defense against the aggression being perpetrated on Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He served as Chief of Staff of the B&H Territorial Defense, Deputy Commander of the Territorial Defense, and later Deputy Commander of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The author relates his personal evaluations of the reasons for and course of the aggression of the so-called Yugoslav National Army against the sovereign Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, describing the huge and sometimes insurmountable difficulties encountered in the defense of individual and national freedoms of citizens, and in gaining the independence of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He also identifies and emphasizes his own and other people's delusions during the struggle for the survival of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which were often caused by deceptions to which he himself had fallen victim.

In his book, the author has made an ambitious attempt to write the truth about the "agonized, betrayed and deceived people, people of different religions, political and cultural orientations." This quote from the introductory part of the book identifies Šiber as a man who believed in and defended a united, civil Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a man to whom chauvinism and extremism were foreign.

One must interpret the author's introductory address to the reader in the same context, where he describes the deceptions and delusions as "a shameful betrayal, a shameful history of sub-humans and inhumanity which needs to be severely condemned, but never forgotten."
The book provides numerous excerpts from the author's conversations on the crucial issues of the country's defense and future, as well as his impressions of his interlocutors and individuals from the political, religious, military and civil segments of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. For instance, he relates conversations and gives evaluations of specific actions of Alija Izetbegović, Cardinal Vinko Puljić, Ejup Ganić, Alija Demustafić, Mate Boban, Stjepan Kljuić, Mile Akmadžić, Jovan Divjak, Sefer Halilović, Jerko Doka, Tihomir Blaškić, Dario Kordić, Zlatko Lagumdžija, Avdo Hebib, JNA Generals, Kukanjac and Gver, Ismet Bajramović-Čela, Juko Prazina and others.

Particularly interesting are conversations, negotiations, and agreements with UNPROFOR representatives deployed in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Generals Nambijar, McKenzie, Razek, Morlion, Simpson and others.

Despite the fact that the author sometimes loses objectivity in his approach to the resolution of problems on military cooperation between the B&H Army and the Croatian Defense Council, I recommend this book to the readers, because it provides an understanding of the goals and significant events which occurred in the defense of freedom and sovereignty of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Even though these political and military events took place only recently, one can observe that the author's approach to the defense of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina was never implemented, as the Dayton Agreement divided the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina into Republika Srpska and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, based on exclusively national criteria.

Željko Sačić, M.A. 

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