“A fool always finds a greater fool to admire him,” 17th century French Poet Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux said, making a timeless observation of human nature of which examples can be found anywhere at any time. Perhaps the international community witnessed one of the greatest examples this week when the Nobel Committee awarded the author Peter Handke, a well-known supporter of the "butchers of Bosnia" and the Bosnian genocide.
The movement created a wave of surprise at first, followed by a flow of reactions, questioning the stance of the Nobel Committee and Europe in general, as well as the meaning of the prize itself. Bosnian youth are trying to move on from the scars of war, but this move has left a deep sense of disappointment and betrayal.
“I think Europe has failed many times in a test called Bosnia-Herzegovina. The first time around it witnessed the genocide against the Bosnian Muslims and did nothing about it, then the second time it failed by belittling, downplaying and even denying the genocide itself,” said Ehlimana Veledar, a 22-year-old Bosnian student studying in Istanbul. According to Veledar, the mere fact that Europe has awarded the Nobel Prize to a man who denies the genocide against Bosnian Muslims shows Europe’s disinterest in the Bosnians and their suffering.
Tuesday night witnessed an event defined as "shameful" by many for praising an author who openly defended the bloodshed of Bosnian Muslims by the Serbs during the 1990s on World Human Rights Day.
As expected, the international community reacted to the decision and the ceremony held by the Swedish Academy. Seven countries – Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Croatia, North Macedonia, Turkey and Afghanistan – boycotted the event, as hundreds of people staged a protest outside the event venue carrying banners reading: "Apologize to the victims of Srebrenica."
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