This week has seen one of the biggest thorns in the side of equality brought to justice. Radovan Karadžić was the leader of a breakaway Serbian Republic within Bosnia during the conflicts between 1992-1995. During this period awful atrocities such as the Srebrenica massacre and Siege of Sarajevo were carried out. The Judge in his trial ruled that amongst other charges he was guilty of being culpable in the deaths of over 9,000 Bosnian Muslims, and Bosnia Croat’s in the Srebrenica massacre. His army general from the time Ratko Mladić is still awaiting trial.
Such barbarity within Europe had not been seen since WWII, and much like Hitler, everything Karadžić stood for was the polar opposite of equality. Here we have a man who choose not to allow all man equal rights, but instead choose to build his state based on ethnic make-up. He didn’t want Croat’s or Muslim to be part of his Serbian controlled state of Bosnia, and he wanted to eliminate them in the worst possible way.
It’s saddening to see that despite everything history has taught us, views of this nature can still be held. More concerning is that individuals who hold these views can ever come to positions of power.
It’s with disappointment that this topic needs to be covered in the context of equality in the UK today, but the point does need to be made! During times of economic uncertainty fringe ideologies are often presented as an alternative to austerity. Austerity does not work, people want an alternative and the blame game gains media interest. This has seen a swell of support towards leftist policies, which is no bad thing, however as the left mobilises, so does the right. Money, jobs and prosperity are all currently in short supply. It is of no coincidence that during the downturn of the UK’s economy we’ve seen a rise in parties such as UKIP, who will continue to push their narrative that much of the downturn could be remedied by ‘taking control of our borders’ and creating ‘British jobs for British people’.
Also in the world today we’ve seen the rise of ISIS, who within the last year, have claimed responsibility for two indiscriminate acts of terrorism in Paris and Brussels. ISIS will use examples such as the crimes committed by Karadžić & Co. in their propagander, to sell their story of how Muslims around the World are persecuted and victimised. It’s a lethal mix, especially to young, confused and disenfranchised Muslim’s who may also be the victims of reprisal attacks, as happened following the tragic murder of Lee Rigby in Woolwich. This is the aim of terrorists, they want to create a feeling of hostility towards Islam as it helps them sell their narrative to more new recruits. Fueling the flames with nationalist tripe serves no purpose other than the compound a jurassic tribal mentality of us vs. them.
The real solution to these tensions is simply equality. What has happened has happened, and as regrettable as it is, harbouring hostility towards entire nationalities or religions is not the answer, it only breeds more hatred. It’s time to stand side by side as man regardless of faith, ethnicity, nationality or religion and all say we want peace, don’t kill in the name of my religion or country!
It’s only when all are religions are treated equal, without hostility can the war on ISIS be won. Blaming Islam for the crimes committed in its name by ISIS wouldn’t be so different from blaming Christian’s for the crimes committed by Karadžić. In actual fact it is Karadžić himself who has more in common with ISIS than your average British Muslim, in as much as he and his cronies are nothing more that ideological idiots intent on inciting religious hatred.
As a final thought, one man who was most certainly not an ideological idiot, but instead a bastion of peace among all men was Asad Shah. He was a Muslim shopkeeper in his home city of Glasgow who it appears was violently stabbed to death by an extremist for wishing his christian homeland a happy Easter. It’s his message that should be continued to be shared by all in the face of Karadžić, ISIS and the extremists who oppose our vision of a harmonious society for all.
R.I.P. Asad Shah