Bosnian journalist compares Khojaly and Srebrenica and other news

By | Rachel Brooks

March 4, 2021

Above image of Srebrenica graves exhumed. Image credit: “Srebrenica Massacre – Exhumed Grave of Victims – Potocari 2007” by Adam Jones, Ph.D. – Global Photo Archive is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

A Bosnian journalist has drawn a direct parallel comparison between the genocide of Sbrerenica in 1995 and that of the Khojaly genocide in Azerbaijan in 1992. The two genocides stand as pillar testaments of the bloody decade that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union. Comparisons between the two genocides were made by the Bosnian Nova Zora news portal via the article “Parallel between genocides in Khojaly and Srebrenica” authored by Faruk Tudzhakovich. The article sparked a commentary by Trend News agency Azerbaijan reflecting upon the mirror image of Azerbaijan and Bosnia in the days following the dissolution of Soviet control. 

The article was originally written in Bosnia and published via Nova Zora on February 25. 

“Although the disintegration of the Soviet Union largely took place without significant conflicts, the attacks on Armenia and the occupation of Azerbaijani territories were a tragedy and an exception in the events of the time,” wrote Tudzhakovich. 

The article then goes on to explain how the Soviet Union established an autonomous Armenian province within Azerbaijani territory in 1920, which led to disproportionate treatment among ethnic populations. This was the breeding ground for the bitter feud that would follow. 

The Bosnian journalist described how, at the close of the fraught 20th century, Khojaly was razed down to the foundations. The complete decimation of the surrounding area, including Aghdam, continues to haunt human history and carries over into the present as Azerbaijani has returned to the reclaimed territory at the pronounced end of the Second Karabakh conflict. 

Tudzhakovich noted how the Armenian government has excused or denounced the Khojaly genocide, brushing over the facts of genocide in favor of the narrative. The author compares the narrative to a “recipe.” A recipe that would lead to the poisoning of minds and the eventual bloodletting in both nations. 

“According to the same recipe in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the aggressors with a similar ideology accused the victims, the victims of the Markale massacre, and even “faked” the number of people killed in the genocide in Srebrenica.

According to the same recipe, when asked about the genocide in Khojaly, similar statements of denial come from Armenia today,” wrote Tudzhakovich. The author then went on to highlight the rhetoric that emerged from Armenia following the Khojaly genocide, and how Armenians used the events of Khojaly to “break the stereotype” that the Armenian forces would not come after civilians if they deemed it necessary to their agenda. 

Today in Bosnia, rhetoric continues to present itself against the Bosniak Muslim population of the Muslim and Croat federation. Bosnia and Azerbaijan appear to stand in solidarity over the ethnic superiority rhetoric that both Serbs and Armenians had extended to them. The clash of ethnic tensions in Bosnia led to the bloodiest episode of mass killing in post-World War II history, states Radio Free Europe.

“Srebrenica is regarded by some as a potential flashpoint for ethnic tensions because of the massacre, the worst mass killing in post-World War II Europe.

The massacre was labeled as genocide by international courts, but Serbian and Bosnian Serb officials refuse to accept that wording,” wrote Radio Free Europe, in its report on the victory of the Bosnian Serb Mladen Grujicic amid a recent Muslim boycott of the vote for the reelection of a Bosnian Serb in Srebrenica.

Foreign Brief reported that Bosniaks had boycotted the Srebrenica elections on February 21 due to the lingering ethnic tensions that remain in the city for the 25 years since the events of the massacre that made the city’s name live in infamy. The elections in February 2021 were a retrial of elections last November. The results of the previous re-election were tossed out due to allegations of voter fraud. Bosniaks believed that the election should be boycott due to restrictions on the recast of absentee ballots. They also argued that mail-in voting should be annulled. Despite the Bozniak protest, the relection was certified in February.

“The episode came at the end of the 1992-95 Bosnian War pitting the Serbs against Bosniaks and Croats that claimed some 100,000 lives,” the outlet continued. 

The Khojaly episode may have numbered less than 1,000 lives, and yet the travesty of those crimes that were committed against the victims of the horrific episode place it in league with the other major genocidal episodes of recent history. This is the grounds upon which the Bosnian journalist makes the direct comparison between the two events.