THE death of the Bosnian state is not the most important issue. The real tragedy is the destruction of a civilizational structure, the end of the Bosnian way of living.
The West's acceptance of a three-way carve-up of Bosnia amounts to an acceptance of ethnic cleansing. The plan divides not just the state, recognized in spring 1992, but a civilization in existence on the territory for centuries.
Many voices in the Western media now ask if the war was "necessary." If Bosnia were to be carved up, wouldn't it have been preferable to do it peacefully? Under this logic, Bosnian unitarists are blamed for war for refusing to recognize "reality" from the start. Rather than a failure to back the civic-based political solution, the West's mistake was trying too hard to keep Bosnia together. This view not only rewrites recent international diplomatic history. It also neglects to recognize the difference be tween authentic reality of Bosnia before the war and supposedly inevitable reality after ethnic cleansing.
From the pre-war perspective, any idea of division was nonsense because regions, towns, streets, apartments, and their occupants were so mixed.
In Bosnia today it is impossible to consider the idea of division. After ethnic cleansing, Bosnia is like a blank piece of paper. The existing structure has been erased. "Realities" are created. The version now given by Lord Owen is this: A typical Bosnia town may have had 70 percent Muslims and 30 percent Serbs and today has no Muslims. No one will change that new reality. So under present logic, the town is given to Serbs. The new reality imposes division as the only logical solution, and as a natural consequence it becomes self-perpetuating. Division directly produces masses of political emigres, refugees without a country.
Traditional Bosnian-ness has been destroyed and replaced by an artificial "reality" based on genocide. The worst crime in Europe this past year has been the premeditated, scientifically precise elimination of a civilization. Europe will learn the price of its shameful collusion in the years ahead.