Help stop hate speech-The Los Angeles Times denies WWII genocide

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A Review or REFUTE of History? (NA SRPSKOM DOLE)

To Robert Abele and the Los Angeles Times,

On Thursday, February 4th, your review of ‘Dara of Jasenovac’, titled as “A Holocaust Drama with an Agenda” was published. 

You begin by accusing the film of having a thin veneer of historical reality that “will test the patience of even the most rigorous students of cultural representations of genocide.” In this opening statement you make quite clear your agenda for this article; not to review a film based on a detailed analysis and assessment of the film – which you have every right to do – but to engage in historical revisionism and genocide denial. The reason we can make this claim is because you spend most of your article denying war crimes that, at this point, are common knowledge and not something anyone can legitimately refute.

Before presenting some basic facts about Jasenovac, I would like to share a deeply personal experience from my childhood. One of my earliest memories is sitting with my grandfather as he told me what happened to his family in what is known as “The Glina Massacres.” As you demonstrate to know, the Ustashe, led by Ante Pavelić, established a pro-Nazi government with Adolf Hitler's support shortly after the invasion of Yugoslavia, ruling an enlarged “Independent State of Croatia (NDH)”. The Ustashe’s racial policy towards Serbs was “kill a third, expel a third, convert a third.” The creator of this policy was Mile Budak, a high-ranking NDH official and one of the chief ideologists of the Croatian fascist Ustasha movement. To note, this movement began long before the creation of the NDH.

The policy was put into effect immediately. Hundreds of prominent Serbs from the Krajina region of Croatia were arrested and shot by Ustashe soldiers. The majority of the Serb population went into hiding. The Ustashe responded by offering an amnesty to Serbs if they converted to Roman Catholicism. Many Serbs, wanting to spare their families' lives, responded and turned up at the Serbian Orthodox church in Glina. The exact numbers are disputed, but, just to note, the Nuremberg Trials heard that 250 had arrived at the church. The Serbs were herded inside and the doors of the church were locked shut after the last had entered. The Ustashe massacred everyone using clubs and knives. The bodies were taken by trucks to a burial pit, and the church was then burned down. 

Words cannot describe the way I felt after hearing this story for the first time. I had never seen my grandfather cry until that day. 

The following are some basic facts about Jasenovac: 

Jasenovac, known as “The Auschwitz of the Balkans”, was a concentration and extermination camp where, according to the Jewish Virtual Library, an estimated 700,000 people were killed. The Jasenovac Research Institute estimates between 300,000-700,000 and the former director of the Belgrade Museum of the Holocaust, Milan Bulajić, estimated the total deaths at 500,000 to 700,000. Other organizations estimate smaller numbers, but there is no need to engage in a political debate about the number of deaths. That is not what this petition is about. The focus here are your actions.

For example, you stated in your article that the “massive Jasenovac complex of camps was one more hell on Earth for Jews. But what director Peter Antonijević’s epic of barbarism and sentimentality wants to drive home is that the annihilation of ethnic Serbs was the real focus, and that children got their own camp.” Clearly you have done some research on the subject. However, the majority of victims were Serbs (as part of the Genocide of the Serbs), but also included Jews, Roma, and some political dissidents. Therefore the annihilation of ethnic Serbs was the real focus of the Ustashe. It is evident that you intentionally disavowed Serb (and other) victims. In doing so, you engaged in genocide denial.

Furthermore, there was a separate camp for children in the NDH. In fact, there were many. Most children were held at the Stara Gradiška camp within the Jasenovac complex. It was specifically designed for women and children. Other children were held at associated camps in Jablanac and Mlaka, while others were also held in other Ustashe concentration camps for children in the NDH (such as Sisak and Jastrebarsko). By rejecting these facts in your review, you are abnegating genocide and the trauma of an entire nation.

As the film’s release poster reads, “the human spirit will not be erased.” It is because of people like Dara in the movie, that Serbs have the strength to walk in grace and defend our history against people like yourself who are ignorant and neglectful in your journalistic and personal practises. 

On behalf of the Serbian diaspora, I, Juliana Pandurević, and all who have signed this petition, implore you to remove this publication for its historical revisionism and denial of genocide. 

NA SRPSKOM: 

Pregled ili opovrgavanje istorije?

Započinjete optuživanjem filma da ima tanki sloj istorijske stvarnosti koji će "testirati strpljenje čak i najrigoroznijih učenika kulturnih predstava o genocidu". U ovoj uvodnoj reči sasvim ste jasno istakli svoj dnevni red za ovaj članak; ne da pregledate film na osnovu detaljne analize i procene filma - na šta imate svako pravo - već da se uključite u istorijski revizionizam i poricanje genocida. Razlog zbog kojeg možemo izneti ovu tvrdnju je taj što veći deo svog članka trošite negirajući ratne zločine koji su u ovom trenutku opštepoznati i nisu nešto što bilo ko može legitimno opovrgnuti.

Pre nego što iznesem neke osnovne činjenice o Jasenovcu, želela bih da podelim duboko lično iskustvo iz detinjstva. Jedno od mojih najranijih sećanja je sedenje sa dedom dok mi je pričao šta se dogodilo sa njegovom porodicom u onome što je poznato kao "masakr u Glini". Kao što znate, ustaše, predvođene Antom Pavelićem, uspostavile su pro-nacističku vladu uz podršku Adolfa Hitlera ubrzo nakon invazije na Jugoslaviju, vladajući proširenom "Nezavisnom Državom Hrvatskom (NDH)". Ustaška rasna politika prema Srbima bila je "trećinu ubiti, trećinu proterati, trećinu pokrstiti". Tvorac ove politike bio je Mile Budak, visoki funkcioner NDH i jedan od glavnih ideologa hrvatskog fašističkog ustaškog pokreta. Da primetimo, ovaj pokret započeo je mnogo pre stvaranja NDH.

Politika je odmah stupila na snagu. Stotine istaknutih Srba iz krajiške regije Hrvatske uhapsili su i streljali ustaški vojnici. Većina srpskog stanovništva se sakrila. Ustaše su odgovorile nudeći amnestiju Srbima ako su prešli na rimokatoličanstvo. Mnogi Srbi, želeći da poštede život svoje porodice, odazvali su se i pojavili se u Srpskoj pravoslavnoj crkvi u Glini. Tačni brojevi su sporni, ali samo da napomenem, Nirnberški proces je čuo da je 250 stiglo u crkvu. Srbi su zatrpani unutra i vrata crkve su zaključana nakon što su poslednji ušli. Ustaše su masakrirale sve koristeći palice i noževe. Tela su kamionima odvezena u jamu, a crkva je potom spaljena.

Reči ne mogu opisati način na koji sam se osećala nakon što sam prvi put čula ovu priču.Nikad nisam videla svog dedu da plače do tog dana.

Slede neke osnovne činjenice o Jasenovcu: 

Jasenovac, poznat kao "Aušvic Balkana", bio je koncentracioni logor i logor za uništavanje u kome je, prema Jevrejskoj virtuelnoj biblioteci, ubijeno oko 700 000 ljudi. Istraživački institut Jasenovac procenjuje između 300.000-700.000, a bivši direktor beogradskog Muzeja holokausta Milan Bulajić procenio je ukupnu smrtnost na 500.000 do 700.000. Druge organizacije procenjuju manji broj, ali nema potrebe da se uključuje u političku raspravu o broju umrlih. O tome se ne radi u ovoj peticiji. Fokus ovde su vaše akcije.

Na primer, u svom članku ste izjavili da je "masivni kompleks logora Jasenovac bio još jedan pakao na Zemlji za Jevreje. Ali ono što epsko delo o varvarstvu i sentimentalnosti reditelja Predraga Antonijevića želi da prikaže jeste da je uništavanje etničkih Srba bilo pravi fokus i da su deca imala svoj logor." Jasno je da ste napravili neko istraživanje na tu temu. Međutim, većinu žrtava činili su Srbi (kao deo genocida nad Srbima), ali takođe su bili Jevreji, Romi i neki politički neistomišljenici. Stoga je uništavanje etničkih Srba bilo pravi fokus ustaša. Čini se sasvim očiglednim da ste namerno odbacili srpske (i druge) žrtve. Čineći to, uključili ste se u poricanje genocida.

Dalje, u NDH je postojao zaseban kamp za decu. Zapravo ih je bilo mnogo. Većina dece je držana u logoru Stara Gradiška u okviru kompleksa Jasenovac. Bio je posebno dizajniran za žene i decu. Ostala deca držana su u pridruženim logorima u Jablancu i Mlaki, dok su druga bila držana u drugim ustaškim koncentracijskim logorima za djecu u NDH (poput Siska i Jastrebarskog). Odbacujući ove činjenice u svojoj recenziji, vi odbacujete genocid i traumu čitave nacije.

Kako stoji na posteru filma, "ljudski duh neće biti izbrisan". Upravo zbog ljudi poput Dare u filmu, Srbi imaju snage da koračaju u milosti i brane našu istoriju od ljudi poput vas koji su neuki i zanemarljivi u vašoj novinarskoj i ličnoj praksi.

U ime srpske dijaspore, ja, Juliana Pandurević, i svi koji smo potpisali ovu peticiju, molim vas da uklonite ovu publikaciju zbog njenog istorijskog revizionizma i poricanja genocida.