Editor’s Page

Czeslaw Milosz’s poem Sarajevo begins with the lines ‘Now, when a revolution is really needed, those who were once fervent are cool / While a country, raped and murdered calls for help from the Europe it trusted / While statesmen choose villainy and no voice is raised to call it by its name.’ It was against this background that the desperate Bosnian Muslims, besieged by a murderous Serb imperialism, reluctantly accepted the aid of Mujahedin who arrived with arms and military experience. Apologists for Milosevic have long exploited this fact. Marko Attila Hoare reviews Evan Kohlmann’s study of the episode and finds ‘as eloquent a refutation as one could hope to read of the idea that Izetbegovic’s Bosnian Muslims were in any way ideological fellow travellers of Al-Qaida, or its partners in terrorist activity’. Nonetheless, warns Hoare, there are salutary lessons to learn. If democrats do not support Muslim peoples facing oppression, be they in Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya, Palestine, Kurdistan or Kashmir, ‘we drive into the arms of our enemies those who would rather be our allies.’

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