Monday was the 90th anniversary of the Sarajevo assassination, the event that sparked (but did not cause) World War One. Though most media were trying to deal with the early transfer of bogus sovereignty to the puppet regime in Iraq, wire services found time to note the anniversary. Some, like the Associate Press, used boilerplate propaganda denying Austria-Hungary’s aggressive designs and instead claiming that Gavrilo Princip, the young assassin, was one of the “Serb nationalists who saw their own nation as the rightful master of the region.”
AP even quotes a former Izetbegovic henchman, Muhamed Filipovic, saying that “the same force drove Princip in 1914 as drove Milosevic and his henchmen in 1992 – ‘the idea of using force to create … a greater Serbia’.”
Austria-Hungary has been dead for 86 years, but that Vienna-spawned lie not only lives still, but has grown in the telling.
On the other hand, Agence France-Presse (AFP) put together an article entirely devoid of propaganda. Found thanks to Google News , it was published in the Philippines’ Manila Times. No indication any US paper picked it up, though it is possible; at least three US papers carried the AP story.
The AFP reporter (a Bosnian local, by the way, just like the AP yokels) put together a calm, objective historical overview of the wars that book-ended the XX century, eschewing propaganda in favor of facts.
She did take a couple of shortcuts, saying that Austria annexed Bosnia in 1878 (it happened in 1908, in violation of the 1878 mandate to occupy the province, extorted by Vienna at the Congress of Berlin) and that the war destroyed only the Austrian and Turkish empires (forgetting German and Russian), but otherwise the article can comfortably grace any history schoolbook.
Consider this: instead of taking the easy way out and blaming the Serbs for “starting the war,” the reporter quotes one Bosnian historian thus:
“The conflict was inevitable and even if there was no assassination something else would have sparked the war.”
Commenting on the 1990s violence, she again avoids the canard about “Greater Serbia” and simply says:
“The conflicts sorely tested the ability of the Western powers, still smug with their ‘victory’ in the Cold War, to maintain order in the new world that emerged after the fall of the iron curtain.
United Nations and NATO interventions in Bosnia and Kosovo were among the first of their kind and their merits are still a subject of historical argument.”
Well said. Finally.