Statement on terrorist bombings
and letters of support from the Balkans
September 17, 2001
Please forgive me for not writing sooner regarding the tragic
events of last Tuesday and also forgive the very personal
nature of this letter to the Friends of Bosnia email list.
Between 8:45 and 10:30 a.m. on September 11, the world became
a different place and it will be a long time before we know
what the contours are.
I grew up in a community in New Jersey overlooking the New
York skyline and watched as the World Trade Center was built
and then became a permanent fixture --or so I thought--of
the New York skyline. To watch it come down live on television
was almost too much to bear. My pain and fear was excruciating,
and to a degree still is.
First, I could not imagine the tragic carnage occurring before
my eyes. Next to a nuclear holocaust, this is about as bad
as can be imagined. Then for a few moments my fear was for
my own personal safety. I ran outside to see if the few tall
building in downtown Boston were still standing. Thank god
Then my fear went to our future--what this will mean for us
in America, our friends in the Balkans, our friends and foes
throughout the world, and innocent civilians who will undoubtedly
be caught in the crossfire. I am fearful for our civil liberties,
and as the rhetoric and fighting escalates, for our personal
And then my deep sadness for all those personally effected
by the terror. There is hardly anyone who doesn't know someone
who knows someone who was not in the World Trade Center, the
flights, or the Pentagon, or in some way directly effected
by this tragedy. In addition to the tragic loss of life, many
people lost their jobs overnight (my sister-in-law's law firm
across from the World Trade Center may never open again).
Other's will loose their jobs in coming weeks as the result
of business failures such as airlines, in flight services,
curbside baggage handlers, etc.
Friends of Bosnia then started to receive emails of concern
from the Balkans. A close friend in Pristina called to see
if we were OK and to tell me that there were blood drives
at the hospital and huge rallies in Kosovo in support of America.
I then read on B92 from Belgrade that the Kosovo Protection
Corps (KPC) offered their services to provide protection in
New York. Below I have included some of these emails from
the Balkans in addition to a statement from Chris Bragdon,
FOB's Outreach Bosnia director. I have also included two jpg
attachments. One is from the front page of Koha Ditore newspaper
of a rally in Pristina. The other is of a poster in Pristina.
As my thoughts turn to the Balkans, I wonder what the connection
is between a world that did little for three-and-a-half years
in Bosnia and 6,000 people were killed in a few days during
the siege of Srebrenica and the events of this past week.
While around the world atrocities of this proportion have
occurred too frequently, America has been insulated from this
reality. Over the past week we have heard over and over, "it
wasn't suppose to happen here." Our innocence is now
shattered, but perhaps we will become a bit more compassionate
towards others who are suffering, be they Africans, Europeans,
Asians, or Americans. The perpetrators of this crime must
be found and punished, but the vulnerability they have exposed
in us can have beneficial results if we become less isolationist
and more willing to fight against tyranny wherever it occurs.
It may also have grossly belligerent results as the US prepares
for and predicates a war without a clearly defined enemy or
Friends of Bosnia came into existence in 1993 as ultra-nationalists
in the Balkans executed a campaign of genocide against Bosnians
Muslims and others who supported a multi-ethnic state in Bosnia.
FOB has always refrained from assigning collective guilt for
these war crimes and supports the ICTY as a means of prosecuting
those individually responsible. FOB now calls on the Bush
Administration and the U.S. public to be equally judicious
in assigning guilt for the attacks on Tuesday. While there
is a high likelihood that the crimes have been committed by
people sympathetic to Osama bin Laden, this has yet to be
proved, but more important, this in no way assigns guilt to
the entire Muslim faith. This would be no different than Jews
holding Christianity accountable for the crimes committed
by Adolf Hitler.
This week thousands of New Yorkers are posting photographs
of missing loved ones throughout the city. This is eerily
reminiscent of Kosovar refugees fleeing their homes in 1999
and looking for loved ones in refugee camps in Montenegro,
Albania and Macedonia. Now rescue workers in New York are
disinterring the largest mass grave in history as they look
for forensic evidence and survivors. It is no wonder that
Friends of Bosnia has received an outpouring of support from
our friends in the Balkans.
I know that all of you on the Friends of Bosnia email list
are there because of your connection to the Balkans and to
people who have suffered tremendously in the recent past.
Many of you have experienced the terror in the Balkans first
hand and have even come to the United States to flee the bloodshed
in your own country. I hope you will all continue to struggle
for peace and justice and join Friends of Bosnia in a prayer
for the victims of this tragic terrorist act and for our future.
Director, Friends of Bosnia
Letters of Support
In these very difficult moments for United States of
America and entire world, in my personal name, in the
name of my family, many friends and colleagues, allow
me to express my condolence and commiseration for the
innocent victim of this madness. This evil act is a
terrible attack against all those values we believe to
be the fundament of humanity. However, I am deeply
confident that you will find enough strength to
overcome this tragedy and continue on the road we will
like to be your co-passengers.
Luan and Vlora
I use this opportunity to express my deepest condolence to
you and to all
Americans with hope that your great spirit will prevail in
moment for your great nation, and that those who are responsible
horrible action will be founded and brought to justice.
I have to say that my mind is with all of you my good friends
tragic moments for all of you.
Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina
We all hope you are OK, and all of your friends are
OK. We are deeply sorry for everything that happened
to your people. We don't have words for it.
Hope that all of your friends are well.
Radio kameleon staff,
love Majda, Zlatko and Bato
Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Kosova Albanians are deeply saddended by this
senseless terrorist attack. we feel condolence and
sympathy with American nation. Those attacks against
innocent people and American institutions is also
attack against the democracy and freedom. We, Kosova
Albanians, think that such terrorist acts committed by
those medieval thugs should be stopped once forever.
We will never forget the America`s and its allies`
help to us, Kosova Albanians, during our most
difficult hours, therefore, we stand by American
nation and support your actions in protecting the
values of democracy and freedom throughout the world.
Lot of people from our community donated blood for the
victims of that mad act. In every town of Kosova three
minutes of silence was held, and candles where lit up
in remembrance of innocent victims.
God Save America and American nation.
The Bosnian premier, Zlatko Lagumdzija, [...] offered assistance
not only in protecting US citizens in Bosnia but also in tackling
"Today is a new day in history," Lagumdzija said.
He warned Bosnians that they may have to adjust themselves
to possible changes in US foreign policy, as other concerns
take precedence over the Balkans.
From the Institute of War and Peace Reporting
No. 280, 14-Sept-01
From Chris Bragdon
Director, Outreach Bosnia
Friends of Bosnia
I believe that if we are to avoid a tit-for-tat
escalation that will ultimately one day lead to
nuclear terrorist attacks against the United States,
we must achieve a world-wide unity and dedication to
civilization that we have never seen before. I see
hope for a new global unity in the opening prayer at
the National Cathedral as all of our leaders listened,
"God of Abraham, God of Mohammed, Father of Jesus
Christ, we pray to you." I see hope for that in the
expressions of love that we are receiving from Bosnia.
I see the potential for that in each and every
individual who is reading these words. May we all move
forward and contribute to this world-wide effort to
build an international civil society.