Bosnian Presidency divided over Handke's Nobel Prize

NEWS 11.10.2019 13:08

As many times before, three members of Bosnia's Presidency again expressed opposing stances, this time on the Nobel Committee's decision to award Austrian writer Peter Handke with the Nobel Prize in literature.

Presidency Chairman Zeljko Komsic, who is on an official visit to Austria, strongly condemned awarding Handke.

“Imagine that someone who denies the Holocaust was rewarded after World War II. That’s completely inappropriate and opposes all ethical norms,” he stressed.

The news on the new Nobel laureate arrived after his meeting with Austria’s officials, Komsic said, otherwise he would have put it on agenda.

The Presidency Chairman announced sending a protest note to the Swedish Academy of Awards and the Nobel Committee next week.

“Because we are sure that the one who founded the prize thought about those who bring and spread the peace, and not the characters like Handke who spread hatred and deny crimes and genocide based on ethnic or religious hatred,” added Komsic.

But, Serb Presidency member Milorad Dodik thinks different.

The fact that the Austrian writer received the prize proves that “justice has not been completely lost,” said Dodik.

“You and your overall influential literary work deserved the prize,” he said.

Dodik thanked Handke for his stances and respecting the truth about the Serb people.

“We thank you once again for the understanding you showed by presenting the just Serb interests and thank you for your amazing literature,” stressed Dodik.

The controversy surrounding Handke refers to his stances on the events from the early 1990s in former Yugoslavia. While openly supporting convicted war criminal, late Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, the Austrian denied the slaughter of thousands of Muslim men in Srebrenica, which two international courts confirmed was an act of genocide.

“It is a shame that the Nobel Committee so easily got over the fact that Handke justified and stood up for Slobodan Milosevic and his executor Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladi, who were convicted for the most severe crimes, including genocide before the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia,” said Bosniak Presidency member, Sefik Dzaferovic.

The prize delivery also triggered a reaction of the ‘Mothers of Srebrenica and Zepa enclaves’ association who urged the Nobel Committee to revoke the decision.

“With this decision, they sent a message to others that they can win various awards and recognitions regardless of what they were doing in the past. It is very immoral and ridiculous for them to pass such decision without any previous review. With this decision they once again hurt and broke the hearts of Mothers of Srebrenica, who lost their sons, husbands, brothers,” said Association Head Munira Subasic.

Bosnia’s Islamic Community assessed that the award for Handke was “a bad message and insult for the victims of genocide and other war crimes against humanity in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Kosovo.”

“This is a horrible message which won’t contribute to facing the past, reconciliation on these territories nor to building a better future where there is no room for glorification of war crimes or criminals, something that Handke’s social engagement has been based on for years,” said Head of Islamic Community, Husein Kavazovic.