May 15, 2012
Dr. Sharat G. Lin
San Jose Peace and Justice Center
48 S. 7th Street, Suite 101
San Jose, CA 95112
Dear Dr. Lin,
On behalf of the survivors of the genocide and aggression that took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and the 350,000 individuals of Bosnian descent that reside in North America, we welcome the decision of the San Jose Peace and Justice Center to cancel Michael Parenti’s lecture on Thursday, May 31 2012. We appreciate your willingness to meet and take into account the stories of the Bosnian community members in California who are survivors of genocide and war crimes.
The decision that you have made is just and supports the peace and justice around the world. Thank you once again.
Professor Emir Ramic
Director, Institute for Research Genocide, Canada
Haris Alibasic, MPA
President, Congress of North American Bosniaks (CNAB)
Ajla Delkic, M.A.
Executive Director, Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina (ACBH)
Dr. Smail Cekic
Director, Institute for Research of Crimes Against Humanity and International Law, University of Sarajevo
Dr. Senadin Lavic
President, Bosniak Cultural Association, Sarajevo
Sanja Seferovic-Drnovsek, J.D, MEd
Director, Bosnian American Genocide Institute and Education Center
Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina Organizations in Australia
Secretary General of the Society for Threatened Peoples, Germany
The San Jose Peace and Justice Center (California) scheduled a May 31 fund-raising event featuring a speech by Michael Parenti, who was the US chair of the International Committee to Defend Slobodan Milosevic.
Parenti is a well-known Leftist denier of Serbian war crimes in Bosnia and Kosovo.
He minimizes the extent of the Srebrenica massacre of 8,000 men and boys by Serbian forces.
He questions the fact that Serbian concentration camps in Bosnia were death camps.
He plays down the rape camps in Bosnia that were used as official Serbian policy for ethnic cleansing.
Dissidents in the peace group protested, forcing the group’s officers and board to reconsider, but twice they voted to go ahead with the event.
In the meantime, however, local Muslim and Bosniak groups mobilized to pressure the group to cancel Parenti. Supporters of the Bosniaks in at least 24 countries wrote over 500 letters to the peace group, expressing their feeling that Parenti’s denial undermines peace and justice because the way to reconciliation is to acknowledge the truth and punish those responsible. Survivors of the Bosnia war met twice with representatives of the peace group, who were moved by their experiences.
The opposition from within and outside of the peace group, along with the group’s meetings with the Bosniaks, led the group to cancel the Parenti event on May 14.
Following are some of the numerous letters sent to the organization.
Judith Armatta letter (PDF)
Parenti’s book To Kill a Nation is reviewed by Kirk Johnson, beginning June 2007. Twelve installments, linked from sidebar on the cited page.The book is also discussed in
Nothing Is Left, by Marko Hoare, Bosnia Report, October-December 2003,
Dubious Sources, by David Walls, New Politics, summer 2002