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IGC sends Letter to the HR Schmidt

IGC sends Letter to the HR Schmidt

Dear High Representative Mr Schmidt,

We welcome your readiness to discuss the changes to the election law you made on election day and are looking forward to the round table discussion you promised to Mr Dervo Sejdić. We (IGK) are ready to send our delegate to this discussion.

You are perceived as the personification of “western values” in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as such, we hope that you appreciate transparency and open dialogue.

Furthermore, as the embodiment of western values your actions have global resonance and are not only limited to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Your treatment of different ethnic and religious groups (Roma and Sinti, Jews, Orthodox Christians, Catholics, Muslims, etc.) in Bosnia is seen globally as the official position of the European Union, if not of the whole west, towards them.

The country you come from Germany and Bosnia have many similarities: both are post-genocide societies, both countries have foreign troops stationed in order to preserve peace, both are very important for the genocide research and its prevention. From the research point of view we are very interested in the de-genocideification process in your country after WW2. The major distinction between Germany and Bosnia and Herzegovina is that in your country genocide was punished and in Bosnia it was legalized and rewarded.

Your mid-election decision was criticized by prominent figures as an introduction of apartheid, you were personally labelled as a racist, and on social media even as a Nazi.

We don’t believe you are a Nazi, because Nazis did not share the same Christian values you have. We want to communicate that to the broader Bosnian public. Our common goal is to make Bosnia more efficient and to de-block it. Having a high representative labeled as a racist is an obstacle and challenge for both yourself and for Bosnian civil society.

Broader Bosnian public has not been familiarized with the development of multicultural, multiethnic and interreligious thought in your country after the Holocaust. These developments are highly important because they shaped your decision making process, therefore, we need to familiarize the Bosnian public with them.

Our research team received a set of questions we are analyzing. We see it as a setting of the stage for the coming round table discussion. We hope you won’t mind answering those basic questions and assumptions of the Bosnian public prior to the promised discussion in order to make that discussion more efficient.

The term Antiziganismus is used in Germany (Anti-Gypsyism in the EU) as a term to describe racism against Roma and Sinti. In Bosnian language the term Gipsy is as derogatory as in German language. Major Roma and Sinti organizations in Germany complained about it as a derogatory term. It is understandable they complained, imagine the term anti-(N-word)ism being used to describe racism against blacks in the United States.

The N-word has been established to be a derogatory, degrading, dehumanizing word for a black person, same as the term Gypsy for Roma and Sinti.

The opinions and feelings of the Roma and Sinti organizations were simply ignored in Germany and in the EU.

Can you tell us why?

Does Bosnia and Hercegovina have to adopt and implement the same term to describe the election law discrimination Mr Sejdić is experiencing in order to be in accordance with the EU policies, rules, norms and values?

What would the appropriate translation in Bosnian language be:

Anticiganizam, Anticiganština or Anticiganluk?

Member of the International Expert Team of the Institute for the Research of Genocide Canada

Esad Širbegović