NEWS that Radovan Karadzic was arrested would not bring enough cheer to the Bosnian Muslims who had suffered the atrocities during the Bosnian Serbs 'ethnic cleansing' of the mid-90s. It will be months, maybe even years, before Karadzic can be sentenced for the genocide he had sponsored.
Reports that Bosnian Muslims were in jubilation in the street of Sarajevo would not wash away the pain, agony and trauma that they had suffered when Karadzic's forces were killing away mercilessly in many parts of the country.
Memories of the massacres in Srebrenica, Gorazde, Tuzla and Mostar are still clear and fresh in the minds of the families and friends of the victims. They wouldn't believe that justice is served until Karadzic is removed from the face of the earth.
I was in Sarajevo last year, attending a seminar on how best to help rebuild Bosnia-Herzegovina, a country rich in history with plenty of beautiful tourist sites. I took a ride to Mostar and saw buildings pockmarked with bullets and gaping holes left by cannons and heavy artillery fire.
Way back in the 90s, I was with an NGO called Barisan Bertindak Bosnia (BBB) which took on months of public campaign to create awareness of the plight of the Bosnians and the humanitarian struggle faced by the peoples of what was once a country called Yugoslavia.
We initiated a campaign called the Save Bosnia Campaign and urged everyone to donate RM1 each to a fund meant to ease the sufferings of the people there. In the end, Malaysians donated more than RM5 million which were handed to the Bosnian leaders at the United Nations.
We held rallies at the Merdeka Stadium; held a karyawan concert at the Shah Alam Stadium; undertook roadshows throughout the country; hyped the ethnic cleansing in the newspapers; and made everyone realised how fortunate we were living in a plural society. In fact, the rallies were for the Bosnians as much as for us Malaysians.
The hunt continues for Ratko Mladic, another military chief who has been indicted for war crimes. Mladic has been at large and attempts are still being made to track him down. He must be made to pay for his sins.
I'm reminded of two grafitti on the walls of a factory in Srebrenica. They are:
'i'm your best friend
i will kill you for nothing...'
'killing is my business
and business in good...'