Book Reviews
Dr. Muhamed Borogovac (2000). War in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Political Aspects
(Volume 1, Number 3-4, Autumn-Winter 2000.)
30 ruj 2000 03:16:00

Zadar, Narodni list

"It's high time to come to the aid of the patriotic forces fighting against the forces of betrayal and division of Bosnia...I am writing this book in haste, before it is too late, while it is still possible to say NO! to the division of our homeland...."

Quote from the introduction to Dr. Muhamed Borogovac's book.

In a number of books which have appeared in recent years about the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, its causes, goals, resolutions, and perpetrators, the Bosniaks, including Dr. Muhamed Borogovac, have created facts, distorted reality, and "invented myths and legends", according to Mladen Ancic (author of Who is to blame for Bosnia), in order to legalize their political desires for their own state. In the event that this goal should prove unattainable, they attempt to accuse others of treason and of dividing the state.

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This book represents another of the hastily prepared interpretations of the recent political history of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and its goal is to convince the readers that a conspiracy and sellout of Bosnian interests exist. It is written in a superficial manner, is poorly documented, and lacks credibility. The author's use of crass language seems intended to cater to the tastes of the "lower classes". The book is a consequence of the political battle between various Muslim political groups struggling for power and position in a future state of Bosnia. Dr. Borogovac is a member of an opposition group operating on a different continent, and his political activities directed against his country's government appear tailored to please the host country, and not to persuade his readers. The book sets the goal of proving the thesis that conspirators and traitors are endangering a unitary and sovereign Bosnia and Herzegovina. The role of chief conspirator and traitor is played by the present, charismatic president of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Alija Izetbegovic. Facts and events are either invented or analyzed on the basis of invalidated theses. The proofs offered are impossible to verify, perceptions are highly subjective, personal military experiences are rarely provided, and experiences of others are related secondhand. The book is intended as testimony, but lacks an academic, persuasive explanation of the war, and neglects the historical-political influences. It follows the current mode of books on the Bosnian issue, written by native and foreign authors, who wish to use their short-lived experiences and engagements on former Yugoslav territory to form evaluations, offer advice, and share their feelings about a war which is incomprehensible to them and thus can only be explained in very general terms (most consider it a noble struggle based on atavistic passions).

Dr. Borogovac's book reveals itself in its intentions, language, and structure as a book which has been written "on orders", as it indefatigably repeats certain basic ideas about indivisibility, sovereignty, historical opportunity, and so on. The Bosniacs are represented as the only nation that opposes the division of the state, the only nation capable of democracy and building a civil society. Borogovac further states that, along with the two main enemies, Serbs and Croatians, Alija Izetbegovic and his cohorts have transformed victories into defeats by signing treasonous capitulation treaties and agreements, dividing and giving away parts of the state, and therefore depriving the Bosniacs of their state, which belongs to them based on God's (Allah's) decree and historical rights.

Dr. Borogovac is an educated mathematician, who participated at the onset of the war in the formation of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Tuzla. Later he fled in fear and uncertainty to Croatia, and then to the United States, where he teaches college mathematics and is active as a member of the Bosnian Congress, which operates outside Bosnia. He is an opponent of Alija Izetbegovic and his policies, which led to the Dayton Agreement and the current blueprint for Bosnia and Herzegovina. Borogovac considers Dayton and all other signed agreements a form of capitulation, leading to the disappearance of the state in which apparently only one nation resides: Bosniacs. He holds that the interests and existence of the "thousand year long state and Bosnian nation" (sic) have been betrayed, and unsystematically utilizes alleged "evidence" to reveal the pro-Serbian politics of Alija Izetbegovic, which expose him as a false Muslim believer, a declared Serb, and a Bosnian traitor. The main basis for the right of the Bosniacs to a state is, in his view, the international recognition of Bosnia and Herzegovina: if the world has recognized the state, then it exists as one state, one nation, language, history, and culture. He considers the desires of the Serbs and Croats for equality nationalistic, because their civil equality in Bosnia and Herzegovina is ensured by Bosnian tolerance and openness. Borogovac further argues that Bosnia and Herzegovina, because of Dayton and other actions of Izetbegovic, has been divided and no longer exists. Republika Srpska is only a temporary entity; when the right moment for secession arrives, it will first secede from Bosnia and Herzegovina and then join with the Serbian Republic of Yugoslavia. He finds the causes for the war in the past, in the Second World War, when Bosnia and Herzegovina was a victim of nationalistic incursions.

The same themes are constantly repeated: one state (unitary), in which the most populous nation (Bosniacs), rules. His goal is to appeal to the emotions of the Bosniacs by means of the most simplistic political messages, and to encourage them to be exclusionary and radical as well. All agreements and discussions on a state framework satisfactory to all three constitutionally protected nations are considered traitorous and in violation of the international principles prohibiting change of borders. The only solution, therefore, is a Bosnian civil state in which one citizen has one vote. All the agreements, Washington and Dayton and others, are capitulations and invalid. Everything should begin anew, from the moment of recognition of Bosnia and Herzegovina by the international community, as this represented complete freedom to create a Bosnian (Muslim) state. Such a simplistic interpretation of the historical-political situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina cannot be considered a serious analysis of more current Bosnia-Herzegovinian history, but only as a superficial, reader-friendly pamphlet in service of political goals. The Bosnian Congress and its members participated in the last elections and have joined the Alliance for Change bloc. Borogovac's book has apparently served as election propaganda material and not as a serious academic investigation of the continuing burning issue of Bosnia.

Miroslav Međimorec

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