Channel: The Deen Show
I'm in charge here. In the level of denial. I never said there was no massacre. Of course there was a massacre to call a massacre. I'm not sure if is a charge on the statute boots, but you want to hang me because I say this was not genocide. You want to hang me you want to crucify me because I say this was not genocide. Massive ethnic cleansing had been carried out by the Serbs, particularly against the Muslims, the praising of these war criminals.
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Milan 100 Allah Assalamu alaykum greetings of Peace, welcome to the D show me your host and my next guest, Robert McNeil had a 40 year career in pathology in Scotland. As a mortuary Operations Manager in 1996. He volunteered to travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina on behalf of the Physicians for Human Rights and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia to help gather evidence against suspected perpetrators indicted of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. As a forensic technician. He gathered evidence from the victims bodies from hundreds of mass graves, around 70, TSA and other parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also in Croatia and Kosovo, he carried
out similar work in Africa to Ireland, Ireland and France. And in 1999, he was honored by Prince Charles for his work. He has now written a book called grave faces, about his work in Bosnia, and Kosovo, and he's here with us. How are you doing, Robert? Hello, Eddie, thank you for inviting me. Thank you very much for accepting the invitation.
So are you are you are you currently residing in the UK?
Yes. I live in in Glasgow in Scotland. And that's where I'm speaking to you from from my home. So tell me give us a very simple understanding of the kind of work you're an expert in starting from pathology to the forensic technician, for the average person. They haven't heard these type of expertise that you were involved in. Can you break it down for us for the layman?
I was, as you say, said, The I was the mortuary Operations Manager for covering all the mortuary is in Glasgow, and for for many years, I've worked alongside the pathologist work together very closely establishing the causes of death that autopsies, mainly from people who had died of natural causes, but also in murder, suicide and medical negligence cases. And so I had a lot of experience, before being asked to go to the former Yugoslavia to start when the as far as the first international team of forensic specialists, including pathologist, anthropologists, police officers, and a videographer from from all over the world really. And that's, that's how I ended up in in Bosnia after being
invited by PHR, the charity based in in Boston, who had appealed for forensic specialists throughout the world, to volunteer to go to Rwanda. I actually initially, and I had volunteered to go there at first until I was contacted by phone to change my plans, and instead to go to Bosnia. Have you had much experience with Bosnia before? Have you ever visited Bosnia before? Did you know much about it at all? No, that's a good question, Eddie. I'm ashamed to say it No. But I had honestly never heard of Bosnia. I knew all about the former Yugoslavia and the breakup of of the six countries, the
early 1990s. And But gradually, I knew when I became aware of the conflicts that were going on, and the former Yugoslavia, Bosnia was increasingly being reported on in the media and all I knew about the former Yugoslavia.
was how beautiful a country it was and that
tourism was one of the main industries. And so and certainly from people in Europe would often travel there on vacation. And so that was about as much as I knew.
I had been reading up on, excuse me, the bigger pardon. I've been reading up on the history of the genocide in Rwanda. And that was quite clear on, on what I was going to be doing there. But I have to see that the war in Bosnia seem to be so complicated, that I left it until I went out there to try and learn from myself exactly what had happened over the previous couple of years. We are, of course, Slobodan Milosevic, the President of Serbia, had decided to carve up
the former countries in the Balkans and create a greater Serbia. And countries in the former Yugoslavia decided differently that they wanted to be independent countries and run them themselves.
So tell me now, when you got there, you get on the ground? What's the feeling like? What are you seeing describe to us? As soon as you get there? What's going through your mind your body, your soul?
Yeah, well, we arrived eventually arrived in Zagreb, in Croatia.
And we were taken by by vehicle, down through Croatia, and crossed into Bosnia, and almost immediately, there were clear signs of the war. In fact, we had to stop at one point at
a gas station to fill up the vehicle. And
the UN driver pointed to a pooled had been stuck in the ground where he explained that that Muslims had been impaled, and was Paul's in order to prevent them from entering those particular areas, because I had learned that massive ethnic cleansing had been carried out by the Serbs, particularly against the Muslims.
And there was many, many signs of destroyed buildings.
Not only destroyed, but had been surrounded with names and and apparently, we were told that the the sailors would throw grenades into the house and in order to blow the roof, the roofs off them, and just completely destroy them to make them uninhabitable. But as we drove further into boys, the Ember becoming more and more aware of the destruction, we began to see refugees, I should explain that this was in 1996, shortly after the date in
court, and people were trying to find their way home, or indeed to find somewhere else to live. And so the roads were full of poor people who had obviously suffered. And what struck me,
Eddie was when I saw people living in buildings with no roofs on them, and the frontage of the buildings had been been destroyed. And it was a surreal sight because people were cooking on fires and children were playing with toys and so on. And it reminded me actually of a child playing with a doll's house, except that it was so awful. And the other thing that we noticed quite often and our drive down there was that religious buildings in particular, mosques had been totally destroyed by the Serbs. And I learned later that this was a way of trying to destroy not only the Muslim population, but their culture and religious places as well. And so when we arrived in the city of
Tuzla where we were going to be based.
We were we were billeted with various local people who would volunteer to, to to let us live in their homes. Well, we went out to the mass graves and and I soon realized that you could hardly find a single person in the city who hadn't been affected by the by the war. The couple we lived with World War Two woman a mother and daughter. Were waiting.
In vain I should see for the woman's house
husband and two daughters father to return home he had been in Srebrenica and the family were told it would be questioned and then sent, sent out Australian eats that next safe area, which was Tuzla. And I find it very sad that each night she would say, at a dinner plate, a service dinner service empties plate for husband and the hope that he would return home and, and certainly while we were there, it never did. And so that was my first reaction was one of great sadness about the suffering that people had had experienced. Tuzla as well, of course wasn't,
you know, wasn't exempt from the horrors
because it was much disruption of the structure there. So you've pretty much traveled through the whole country.
More or less from from Zagreb directly down to Tuzla, it was quite a long drive. And, as I see, in a way, I'm glad that did that there was no flights available at that time, because the
the UN in the so called wisdom had created a no fly zone. And so this, of course, had a major effect of those people who had been ethnically cleansed to escape the country, because all passenger flights had been canceled. And so they were left to their own devices for a long time. The areas that the huge numbers of people being ethnically cleansed, I mean, eventually there were up to 2 million people trying to find a sanctuary. And another thing that the the UN did to try and help, I suppose but wasn't really much help us to create safe areas, six safe areas had been created in Bosnia, where those who had been ethnically cleansed, were told that they should go there, and that
they would be protected.
And I should see, it's quite important to see this because the word area, when described as a safe area, puzzled me because why did they call it a safe haven if they were going to protect those people? And the answer is that they didn't want to commit themselves to fighting against the Serbs. And so this made up this word through many meetings about how they could disclaim that, these places, and they called it safe areas, which really meant nothing at all. The mandate behind that, that the UN had was not to fight for the Muslim population of fight against the Serbs. It was really to observe, first of all, and to provide humanitarian aid for those areas. Because the population of
Srebrenica, one of the first safe areas, had been around something like 7000, mainly Muslim people. And that had grown to over 30,000 people, almost all have having nowhere to live. And the humanitarian aid was a political failure as well, because we'll learn that the the Coronavirus of food and medical aid that was being sent to those areas.
That was a place to pay to the Serbs to follow them through. And that meant that the Serbs would search each convoy used truck. And the belief on the the story they gave was that was to search for weapons and needed weapons to be provided. And the place they charged the UN for that was to take up two thirds of the contents of the trucks. And these aides were stopped in numerous times with the same place to be. And so by the time they reached Srebrenica and other safe areas, there was very little left to the population who were held under siege for up to three years. And that included at least two winters. So your job, if I'm correct, if I understood is to come on to see now and to
identify help families identify their bodies help put pieces together to understand how a person actually died. What happened to this individual, amongst other things, is this correct? Well, almost our job was simply the brief that we were given by the International Criminal Tribunal was to gather evidence, after quite cutting meticulous autopsies on each victim to provide evidence, physical and scientific evidence to for the prosecutors to produce in court. I see. Yeah, identification was something that we weren't asked to do. However,
And, of course, anything that we could do to help with the identification process, we would, this was in 1996. And DNA batching. At that time, wasn't really available. clothing that was on victims couldn't be used as primary identification. Because, as I said, there were people who'd been under siege for so long that the clothing could have belonged to anyone, someone may have died and passed on those clothes and but nevertheless, the clothing was a helpful indication. It's important to note that all the women who were
whose who was expelled from from Srebrenica,
they had to find a way to Tuzla, the next safety area, and record the adage, the military commander had assured them that the man would be taken for questioning, and it would be with them soon. So the women and certainly when, when I was there, many of them, it didn't make us unwelcome. But they didn't want to hear that the loved ones were dead, they still believed that they were alive and would be returning home at any time. But gradually, the woods arrive at the temporary and watch for the gates, looking for any information about them. And it was heartbreaking.
To tell them the stage, we couldn't identify the bodies properly. And that might take some time. And of course, it took many years for the identification but but we did, of course, gather as much evidence on that first deployment as possible. But there were many interruptions
mainly from the media, because it was a major international story at the time. But also,
there were those whose and whose interests it may be to disrupt her work and and at one point, they had to abandon the temporary mortuary because we were under threat. So so we carried on with the word were you under threats from?
Well, from the Serbs, because although the the war had effectively stopped, there was sporadic fighting still going on. And
and the military informed us that there's the heads intelligence to see that they were going to try and prevent us from doing our work. And we assumed that that meant violence. And so we had to abandon was actually for a few days until we got proper full security, when after that we could carry on. But that was a feature. Certainly in the early days of deployment to Tuzla.
In 1997, I had I should say that when I returned home to Scotland,
I was quite depressed because we hadn't really achieved very much the post mortem, the autopsies had to be carried out meticulously, we couldn't make any mistakes, because we knew that would be high profile people who had been indicted for these crimes in need of some pretty good defense lawyers, etc. And at that same time, bodies were coming in all the time from the graves which were being discovered, you know, quite often and I decided in 95, so 96 After that first trip, that I would return the the following year.
And when I returned the committed more time, the less time to try and carry on with the victims from Srebrenica. However, once again, there were interruptions
when there were bodies being discovered mass graves and Theodore area were selves had created a number of concentration camps, including the notorious Omarska to Napoli and Cata term camps. And we learned that up to 150 Men and women are being tortured and murdered and thrown into mass graves in those places. And so we've been pulled in different directions to deal with. With those. There was bodies and on top of that there was a neato Chinook helicopter crash in the vicinity and that the passengers they were high profile military needs NATO people and from different countries and we were asked to do to identify those bodies as well. But the worst
First, delete came from a different source, which turned out to be particularly awful for the victims families. We were told that during the winter graves that hadn't we hadn't secured had been reentered by the Serbs, the bodies, these were the primary graves. The bodies were then removed, torn apart using mechanical diggers. And those body parts are then distributed in much harder places defined further into Republika Srpska. And so as I said, the families must have been completely devastated by this because by no and by 1997, the had began to believe that the men were dead, and all they wanted was to have their bodies returned to them for a decent burial. Instead of the eight
and a half 1000 men and boys from Srebrenica, we're now faced with up to 17,000 body parts, many of those body parts had been buried in multiple secondary graves in the belief, as I see that we'd never find them. And if we did, we would never be able to put them together again, or indeed identify them. And in that score, they were wrong. Because the ICT way decided to up the ante as far as personnel were concerned.
And I was relieved to learn that forensic specialists from up to 32 countries worldwide, were able to provide many more forensic specialists to carry on with the work because this this job we all knew was going to take years and and I returned there every year up until 2001. When, by which time the ICT, ye had more than enough evidence to prosecute those who were charged. Tell me, Robert, how long did it take for the international community to confirm that this was indeed a genocide and a genocide, as we know, by some definition is a deliberate killing of a large number of people, or a particular nation group with the aim of destroying this nation or group? How long did it take for
you to be convinced as an expert for the international community to confirm that, indeed, this was a great this was a genocide. And is the statement true that this was the greatest genocide that was committed since the war since World War Two? Yeah. Yeah. Well,
as a as a forensic technician, and indeed, all of the specialists, we are trained to be completely objective in our work. In fact, our heads what, with several victims and Croatian victims,
who had been killed as part of the wars there. And but what struck me working with the particular the Muslims from, from Lebanon, Uzzah, and those from Theodore, was the brutality that was meted out against them.
In slavery, so for example, many of the men and boys had been badly beaten, their hands tied behind their backs and blindfolded. So it was clear that this was at the very least war crimes because these men and boys were mainly civilians.
And when I tried to be objective, I found that sometimes most of us found is sometimes challenging because of the nature of the of the deaths. And it's up to the courts, of course, to decide, you know, what the judgment would be regarding the category of crime.
I personally believed, although I'm not qualified to see it, that that's the that's Milosevic and Khadijah in Milan adage had focused on the Muslim population in particular, they use that as, as a weapon of war, if you like. Because this war in the West was being described as a civil war of
people fighting one another. They've been doing it for centuries and so on. I personally came to the conclusion after working there on hundreds of 1000s of bodies, that this was a war of aggression against
people who believed in Islam and and follow that faith. And so, one of the things that surprised me i
Guess Edie was when the judgment is finally came against the main perpetrators. Unfortunately, Milosevic should probably know died whilst he was on trial. But candidates and melodics and Kostich and others,
they were the architects of this, it was clear that the Muslim population were being targeted. They were being forced out of, of Europe, basically, I think that was that was the plan.
What does that mean, are we but I guess was that the the charges of genocide against the main perpetrators was limited to surrendering itself, which was absolutely correct. And to some extent, in Saudi evil because of what was happening there. I know. And I have friends, for example, in the pre Adoree area, we were very, very upset when the same charge was handed out about the deaths in the camps and in deeds in other parts of Bosnia.
I remember at the time that the judge is ruling that they would explain the judgment later on, and I've never had, what that explanation was, but
and so on, at the time, when when the guilty charges were passed on, on candidates and malediction particular there was sadness plus cheating, particularly
around the Bhattacharya area, we have the beautiful cemetery know is that contains
over 6000 of the men and boys from celebrities and from other parts of Bosnia. But in PATA chatty, there was sadness, great sadness in the field, they felt a bit led down in the guilty charges were were bad enough, it was war crimes, crimes against humanity, and many other charges, also, including multiple rape. And, you know, that, too, was was disturbing. And it's up to 50,000, mainly Muslim women who are systematically raped in Bosnia,
in an attempt to humiliate them, and sadly, many of those women died or committed suicide, they were forced to take the pregnancies to Phil town, and, you know, caused mayhem, you know, in families and so on. So it was, it was a dreadful time and but it did at least establish that rape was indeed a war crime and could form part of a genocide in future and
but that doesn't help those who suffered. During that time. I want to get your thoughts and expert reaction from someone who spent time on the ground there and was a key figure here in Bosnia, so I want to share something with you and get your thoughts on this. Okay, but you will not accept that there. Sorry. No, I don't want to hear any more. I've heard your question I'm answering you. Yes. Thank you. I've heard your question. Let me answer you.
I'm fed up.
What I said was
the dish was not genocide.
I didn't say it was not a massacre.
Let me say mistake place.
Let me see, please.
I'm in charge here.
I never said there was no massacre. Of course there was a massacre.
But you want to hang me because I said this was not genocide. You want to hang me? You want to crucify me because I say this was not genocide. I said there was a massacre.
I said all these Muslims were killed. I know who did it but you don't know. I know who did it. You know, on judgement day you will not or is it enough? Now this is a
a person about Imran Hussain respectfully. You know, we just wanted to show this he's, he's a specialist in the area of eschatology. And he's a well known figure. He's also traveled down there with we assume good intentions to try to bring and this is something we commend, you know, good relations between Orthodox Christians, Muslims is very commendable, but in this area, is this sufficient to say it was a mass massacre and to deny that it was a genocide?
That this was not genocide.
I didn't say it was not a
What are your thoughts on that?
Well, as I say, I'm not a lawyer, and I'm certainly not a judge. But
I think that the evidence that was provided to the ICT, why to the prosecution?
Click clearly alongside witnesses witness evidence, showed that yes, there were 1000s of people killed.
Now, it's it's one explanation to call it a massacre. But the judges and they were international judges should see, came to the conclusion. But to prove genocide is the most difficult charge to prove, really, because they have to show evidence that this was planned. It was against a particular group of people. And those plans to a great extent, had been carried out.
So as far as the evidence that we provided, as I said earlier, Eddie, we're experts from including from America and mercy, some of the most eminent experts in the world had traveled there to provide the evidence that, that I can't believe that, that people will see that,
that the evidence that was provided was inaccurate or wrong. But it was hard to, for us to see, you know, what, whether it constituted a genocide or not, but I firmly believe that that many of us believed that this was a systematic destruction of a particular population, that were easy targets really, and people that couldn't defend themselves. The UN didn't help by creating an arms embargo, where the Saudis and the Croats had huge armies and had plenty of weapons. The the boys did, Bosniaks didn't have an army at all, and the weaponry that they had to defend themselves was often world war two rifles and so on. And so
this was mainly a civilian population that were systematically destroyed. And and I understand why people would challenge the court rulings, but they are there. And as I said earlier, it would take an awful lot of evidence for the judges to agree on a charge of genocide. And one of the things that disturbs me and why I wrote this book was
that genocide, denial is rampant, just know, in Republican SoundScan in particular, and Serbia, as is the glorification of the war criminals. There is a whole gambit of explanations as to why people deny, and I understand that but the genocide, genocide denial that's going on just know is so dangerous, that people in the Muslims and Republicans Serbs gun in Bosnia, are now terrified. That's because the leaders of Republican salesgirl want to secede from Bosnia. And that could start up another war. And and so I believe that what we should be doing is challenging the genocide denial to call it a massacre. I'm not sure if there is a charge on the statute books that people can be
prosecuted for a massacre. That was quite clear what the rules were, the terms were wide and varied, but the main ones really were war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, but in between
those they were they were perhaps a column lesser crimes but you know, I mentioned sexual abuse and so on, but there were many claims that put together could be argued, I guess, that this was a deliberate attempt to rent part of Europe from the Muslim population.
Just to touch upon this also, before we get deeper into your book, and hopefully God willing, we call our elders shifts. So Imran Hussain he can make a change for the better because he has a voice and a lot of people listened to him so hopefully him listening to this and hearing you and hopefully you can change it. You may have a change of heart maybe come down to visit Bosnia and get on the ground and talk to the to the people
Pulling the scholars there and people like yourself, but he also mentions how there's a deep regret. You know, that's one of the reasons why he also makes this decision.
And they tell me that they are sorry for what happened. But you mentioned the word criminals being paraded in most cases I've seen where they have stadiums where people are chanting Rajkumar ditch and these other war criminals in Belgrade.
They are angry that the Bosnian sub wartime general, Ratko Middleditch has been arrested.
Many came by bus from across the country for the evening rally in the Serbian capitol.
For them luggage is a hero a defender of the Serb people.
The 69 year old has been indicted for genocide over the siege of Sarajevo and the massacre of 8000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica. Support for alleged war criminal Ratko Mladic isn't restricted to Serbia. Fans of the former army chief are out on the streets of palette in Bosnia Herzegovina on Thursday night. The town was the administrative center of the breakaway Republic has served skirt during the Bosnian war. People were also showing their support in the form of capital Banja Luka.
And Serbs gathered in the eastern town of by Lena on Thursday to voice their support for Ratko melodic and their anger at Serbian President Boris Tadej.
Many of the protesters carried Serbian flags and photos of Madej, who they regard as a war hero rather than criminal. And these are these are not like 10 to 15 people. This is like I always compare it to imagine if you had a whole stadium and people are like chanting for Daesh, or ISIS, some of these radical extreme groups, and then the government did nothing about it, and they let them go on. So what kind of regret is that? That's, that's seems like a hypocrisy. So let's touch upon that. I mean, so you've seen that you've seen where the praising of these war criminals?
That happens yearly, I believe, is that is that correct?
Yeah, kind of the commemoration of people such as Raj Kumar did the butcher and and the others that you mentioned, that's very sad. It's very sad to see that I I'm bewildered like, how do you praise people like this? It's like people praising Hitler or whatnot. Yeah, yeah, that's absolutely right. And every time there is an anniversary of
a terrible event, for example, in
white armband day, for example, there's recognition of that in in certainly in the UK. And this represents where, where people from Northeastern Badia Bosnia were evicted from their homes. The Serbs had told every warned every nonself to wear away armband and Hank white sheets from their homes. And you can relate this going back to the Holocaust and what happened to the Jewish people where they had to identify them as known selves. And, and there has been great denial from Serbia about that. They said it never happened. And I've actually spoken to members of Bosniaks who suffered that experience and
and I don't know if you can see the painting behind me, but that is about a typical family being evicted from their homes, waiting quite armbands and behind them is the concentration camp Omarska where the woman's husband was incarcerated. So so there is great denial about that, in July 11. Every year,
the Serbs and certainly those in Republika Srpska celebrates that that event where up to eight and a half 1000 men and boys Whoa, I helped me. So say that again. Repeat repeat that what you just said so every July 11. That's when the and who celebrates what? Well, the Serbs are some sales not all of them but particularly those in Republika Srpska hold rallies and the Celebrate the fact that Milan each had taken celebrity needs for the sale population, whilst at the same time there is the memorials and commemorations going on throughout Bosnia and certainly in the UK.
To commemorate the deaths in Srebrenica and in other parts of Bosnia.
And of course, there are Muslims who live in Republika Srpska who brave people who return to their own homes, who are having to witness that. I know that for example, a friend of mine whose
uncle and brother were murdered by the Serbs on July 11, when he eventually got his father and brothers body returned to them, by the ICT ye for burial, along with, I can't remember exactly how but there was up to 600 people being buried and put a charity on that day. And he describes how, when carrying the coffin along the streets of Srebrenica, there was lines of people on either side,
bearing in mind, it's rare, but it's as part of the Republic of South Africa, who were taunting them spitting on them, and so on. And abusing them really was this young man was simply trying to bury his loved ones. And, and this happened to all of the people there and and you have to be very careful when going to rebel in itself, about what you see and who you see it to. Because there is a rawness about those who have been accused of war crimes, and many of them, particularly police officers,
who are responsible for this back on duty again, and it's quite threatening back on duty again, many of them are Yes.
This is what Sheikh Imran was saying he should go to Republicans Cisco, we invite him he should come down and go ahead come to the boss and have them take him there. And I actually I went to speak to a commander in the Republican service can army he's an older gentleman. He was with the likes of some of these individuals. I went to his church, actually, you can see the video in front of the Orthodox Church. Yeah, Honor your father and your mother.
pushed towards a mic and love your neighbor, it will.
As us we have to deliver the message of la ilaha illa Allah there's nothing worthy of worship except the Creator Allah we have to do that with compassion with love. But I say to you, here love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you
I can go to the Hellfire God will punish me if I say one bad thing of Jesus. It's true. bucho acquista cousin Lucia was in Islam says that we also worship one and only one God Cody's story Islamia monotheism
reading an article where you said correct me if I'm wrong jepto summit and Solana distributor click is protinex unplugged issue that you felt like you lost your soul in the state my Lucid Chart This is Google lose. Did you ever hear or study the life of Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings be upon it so out of His love and mercy, He sent the messengers Baslow it was London UK soil and they all came with the same message
and they all came with the same message for human beings to submit their will to the one God and I would also I would sincerely humbly I would request that you look more into the life of the last and final messenger sent to mankind Prophet Mohammed who came with the same message is Jesus calling people to La Ilaha illa Allah there is nothing worthy of worship but the one God and Muhammad is the Messenger we would say if you had the Old Testament New Testament the Quran is the last and final testament early on was a murder Chukwuma Story on iserbyt You know visa with the Quran posted
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when you have deliberate attempts of denial praising commemorating you know such criminals
then how are you can you move forward and then you have another side here? Who are do we see
The other is from who are, are they a minority who will accept this as something evil that happen to go ahead and come against because as a Muslim, I will condemn any other Muslim who uses kills innocent people. This is something forbidden in Islam. And we would condemn that the killing of innocent men, women and children, clearly, and I don't shy away from that. Do we have other others out there? Who will go ahead and come against these techniques and others, these extremists to go ahead and try to protest? These commemorations like you had mentioned that happened?
Yeah, well, last time, I was been back to Bosnia, mainly, on behalf of the charities remembering Srebrenica, UK,
and have taken people all individuals from various faiths and educators and so on,
to Bosnia, to, for them to learn the story themselves, and to meet the people who were affected by it. And we always try to meet with some of the, the mothers of slavery. So that's a group who set up
to try and II find that their loved ones and and they often are at the cemetery to relate their sad stories to the visitors. And I remember asking one of the mothers or somebody asked,
Do you forgive the the Serbs for what they had done?
And Tara answer was very poignant thought she said that, well, we've never been asked for forgiveness.
And perhaps, if we, if we were asked to ticket forgive by the people responsible, or perhaps
they would do it. That was the mean, not forgive, but they will never forget, no matter whether they forget No. And that's powerful. She said that they never asked for forgiveness. So how can we forgive? Yes, they never asked for forgiveness. So how can we can forgive,
which underlines the denial, the level of denial, that's been that's been portrayed? Where, as I see, new generations have grown up. Since what happened in Bosnia, there was there was, I think, three versions of history been taught in the schools.
And of course, the Serbian educators talk about denial as well, and that they try to justify the actions they're so so to see you're getting young people who are growing up with with naturally, totally different stories of the truth. And and that's quite disturbing as well. Yeah. So how can you grow then if you don't admit the mistake? If you don't ask for forgiveness? How are you any you deny it, then? You're probably on your way to possibly do it again. Right? Yeah. So that's why it's important. You said here, your your July 11 is coming up. So my next question is, why is it important to not forget what had happened and tell us what you go into? In your book, your book,
that great faces? Before you answer that you were gonna say something, please?
Oh, yes, I was, I was going to see Eddie that, that many of the people who who suffered, I think the, the appreciate the fact that, that people from Europe and abroad, you know, have taken some Americas there, and of course,
many specialists what the
the population are
grateful. Maybe that's not the right word of outsiders coming to learn what happened there.
And I think part of it is that because they felt so abandoned at the time by the politicians in the West, and allowed
episodes like Srebrenica and many other atrocities to continue throughout the early 90s.
And I'm part of an ambassador for for rambling strategies. The UK is a sea and and I think that people like myself and other experts who, who witnessed the level of cruelty in barbarity meted against the mainly Muslim population can help people, as I say, educators and different faiths and so on, I'll be a bit late, but nevertheless, I know that the population are
Very grateful to the people are interested at last people are interested in Well, I would like to see as for,
for other countries in the world to recognize and to hold a memorial in July or whenever, in order to remember them, because my understanding is that the UK is the only country in the world that has regular
commemorations of the Srebrenica genocide and the war crimes and so on happened through Bosnia. And, in fact, next week, I'll be going to the the house Houses of Parliament and the foreign office who will commemorate because it's reached, you know, government level, we are the internationally we recognize what happened and also the failures that we're by the West and not preventing this terrible war to escalate.
Yeah, we just got a few more minutes left. Yeah, like you said, you had, like you started off in the beginning. It's like I call you over, I say, Hey, I got your back. I'm gonna take care of you. I'm gonna give you a safe haven a safe zone. And then you have the whole Dutch, Italian they take off. And actually let this happen is very sad. It's very sad. And I went there I saw it was like un and had under there. Yes. Said United nothing. Because they did, they did nothing. So I took a tour there. It was very sad. Tell me your book, your book, gray faces. Tell us. In that book, you talk about many of the things we're discussing, and what else do you highlight in his book? And why is it
so important that people who want to know more that they read and get educated on this and your book is a great resource grave faces? Tell us more about it?
Well, I kept a diary, for many of the deployments that went on Wow, you actually kept a diary while things are happening. This is live, you're recording, wow. Each day, I would spend an hour writing up for a done DM and it would be very boring to most people and but nevertheless,
was after I retired, actually, I decided that this all baton school GA could be turned into a manuscript because I was part of the remembering Srebrenica organization then, and a cut to me that that people might be interested in the story for a couple of reasons. One, the forensic side of it, the fact that we went out there in 1996. And it was really just a learning experience, because no one had been involved in anything like this before. But we learn very quickly and those protocol protocols that we after that first deployment, we improved on through time, and by the end 2001. It was a pretty smooth operation, I must see an a very successful one became the biggest forensic
investigation in history. And it's arguable that it was the most successful because many people feel let down because the perpetrators of the crime of their families crimes hadn't been hadn't been dealt with. And so also, I mentioned genocide denial, I felt that it might be something that could be used to challenge those who who deny what happened there. But I also write about my personal experience with the Bosniaks that I encountered there we lived with, as I said earlier with with local people,
both in Tuzla, and in Visoko. When we set up a proper mortuary there, and all of them, all of those peoples had suffered. And it was heartbreaking listening to their stories. And I wanted to write about them, because I knew I'm biased. Eddie, but I fell in love with Bosnia and the Bosnian Bosnian people. They were so welcoming, even though they had very little, they would share it with us. And I found that very moving. And since then, I've made a number of friends.
That protocol friends who we still communicate with the so I wanted to recognize them. And I also write about some of the quite eccentric characters that are worked with, you know, forensic pathologists are lovely people, but occasionally you come across
experts who have always had their own way in their own
universities or facilities and it was often a challenge for them to adapt to the great Spartan
conditions that we worked in. And there was a hope, an element of humor as well, because, you know, you couldn't, we had to do the job, it was depressing, the place smelled awful all the time. And
nowadays, Foods was was spot.
And it was, we had to become a family of our own, I guess, you know, because many of us were away from home for quite long times. And so, so we turn to one another for help and support and care, but humor could be injected into that as well.
And so I wanted to write various aspects of the book, in particular, about what happened to in the concentration camps and,
and the sexual abuse that was carried out in those camps against both women and men must see because we were asked to look for evidence of sexual assault and in men meal victims. And so just wanted to try and tell as much of the story that I had recorded, and summed it into a book that I'm proud to see that
be our publication for publishing have, have no published this book.
I want to
commend you, and God bless you for all of your amazing efforts that you've put forward, and people can go ahead and benefit from grave faces. So where can people pick this book up?
I believe it's available in America. No.
Not aside from from Bihar publishing, has showed me a photograph of boxes of books. So I believe that may be available on Amazon, Amazon. Yeah, I think so. Could I just add one thing? Yes, please, we go, please. And
I made up my mind a long time ago, I
wouldn't feel comfortable about profiting financially from anything I do. I'm an artist known as well. And I've been many paintings about Bosnia and my experiences there. But as far as the book is concerned, and an eating all of the proceeds for me, to the it's a wonderful organization run by a woman, a very brave woman called but Kira has a message from, from vicia grads, actually, but her organization, which is called the Association of Women, victims of war, and the Kira and her staff, continually support
women who have been so we have suffered serious sexual abuse, not just Muslims, but men with Muslims throughout the war and Makita herself as as a life commitment to tracking down rapists who were who are never convicted and exposing them. And so she's an extraordinarily brave woman. Some of them like you said, who have got their old jobs back. Yeah, exactly. God bless you. Thank you so much. I was honored talking to you, Robert. God bless you, and God willing, we can maybe meet sometime in the future in Bosnia. I hope so. I hope so. It's been a pleasure. Thanks very much for highlighting. Thank you very much. Right. We'll be in touch. Thank you. Thank you. Assalamualaikum. Everyone,
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