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Media and Politicians
Questions Feared by Silajdzic
Hrvatska Rijec, Sarajevo, Federation Bosnia-Hercegovina, B-H, February 24, 2001
He is frequently arrogant and unpleasant in communications with people. They say that the leader of the Party for Bosnia-Hercegovina (SBiH) is like that and that is not a secret. Nothing else can be expected from the man who, as some claim, is convinced that he "knows everything". People differ in their temperaments...
Knowing that, we were not particularly surprised when Silajdzic very arrogantly rejected several very polite invitations to give an interview for Hrvatska Rijec, not even dignifying us with a negative reply to our repeated written requests. Finally, we used an informal occasion to ask Silajdzic what was going on with our interview request. "I shall not give an interview to your magazine. I think that it is absolutely clear why," he quipped, mentioning that that was the end of our communications and that he was not willing to provide any additional explanations.
Naturally, Silajdzic has the right to decide to whom he is willing to give an interview and whose request he will reject. However, we similarly have the right to assume which questions are feared by Silajdzic and how our magazine may have angered the leader of the Party for Bosnia-Hercegovina, so that he does not want to give an interview for us, unlike to the "independent" media in which, obviously, he can both ask questions and give answers. Let's see:
- Edhem Edo Zilic, the former commander of the concentration camp Musala near Konjic, stated in an interview for Hrvatska Rijec that the representatives of the International Red Cross were allowed to enter that "collection center" of the Army of BH only with written permits signed by Silajdzic. Testimony repeated by Zilic in front of an investigator of the Hague Tribunal implies that Silajdzic either knew or should have known about the events in that concentration camp in which prisoners were brutally beaten, denied food, robbed, and forced to give blood. Perhaps Silajdzic, by refusing to give an interview for our magazine, actually wanted to avoid unpleasant questions related to that camp.
- However, we may have angered Silajdzic by writing about Beriz Belkic. He is one of the favorite politicians in SBiH, and our magazine discovered that his brother Bekir was employed by the Sarajevo Police without public notice regarding a job vacancy, which was most likely used by the former minister Ismet Dahic for blackmail. Our magazine, let us reveal that on this occasion, has obtained a tape of a conversation during which Beriz Belkic admits that he knows how his brother got a job with the Police.
- On the other hand, perhaps Silajdzic was angered by the fact that our music-section editors revealed the identity of the producer of the CD "Seherezada" by Sarajevo singer Selma Muhedinovic. But, we do not understand why that would anger him. What could be wrong in mutual attraction of a young singer and a politician who is several decades her senior, and who maintains his enviable charm by frequently dying his hair.
- And perhaps the former Minister of Foreign Affairs wanted to avoid the question about the "strongman" of his party in the Zenica-Doboj canton, Ekrem Ajanovic. Namely, about the circumstances under which the verdict against Ajanovic's son had been "lost". Ajanovic junior was accused of killing doctor Husedzinovic in Tesanj during the war. Evil tongues even today claim that Ajanovic junior avoided death sentence or a long prison sentence thanks to the influence of his "daddy", at the time a senior official of the SDA and today one of the top officials of Silajdzic's SBiH. Yes, this is the family of an official of one of two leading parties in the purported Alliance for Changes.
- However, what if Silajdzic wanted to avoid the question about his role in wartime negotiations about the exchange of Srebrenica and Zepa for Sarajevo suburbs which were then controlled by the Serbs?
- Perhaps the popular politician does not want to recall the action of disarmament of the Sarajevo HVO in early November 1993. He was then a Prime Minister, and the forces controlled by his government during the action brutally and primitively insulted Croats and Croat symbols, including the burning of a Croatian flag, and forced Croatian defenders of the city to swallow religious symbols such as crosses, rosary beads and other.
- Silajdzic would probably not like the question about Safet Halilovic, who during his ministerial tenure in the cantonal government refused to financially assist the only written medium in the Croatian language in Sarajevo, while at the same time assistance was given to those media that had not even requested it.
- What about arrogant, brutal and insolent behavior of Silajdzic's bodyguard and driver who threw out Hrvatska Rijec journalists from one pub meeting of the so-called and purported Alliance for Changes? Even though journalists of Muslim media (to make sure there is no confusion - those that are not published for Bayram [Islamic religious holiday] for three days but are published on Christmas) were allowed to normally do their job, photograph participants in the meeting, take statements and so on, that bodyguard, openly lying, referred to the order of his boss (Silajdzic) according to which journalists were not allowed into "Capri" (true, but that only applied to Croat journalists). Until today we haven't received an apology for that scandalous incident.
- Silajdzic could also be bothered by the question about "his" governor of the Sarajevo canton Mustafa Pamuk and other cantonal officials from the Party for Bosnia-Hercegovina. Namely, even though that party is supposedly the most forceful advocate of the abolishment of entities, sovereignty and constitutional character of all nations everywhere in the country, all insignia, above all signs at the entrance to the cantonal buildings, and cantonal institutions are written exclusively in the Roman alphabet [Serbs use the Cyrillic alphabet, while Croats and Bosniaks use the Roman alphabet]. Who are we kidding, Mr. Silajdzic?!
We could continue like this for a while, including the questions about the "work and character" of his cadre such as Semsudin Mehmedovic, Matija Lapenda, Esma Hadzagic... But even a superficial glance at the mentioned questions clearly indicates why Silajdzic said: "I think that it is clear why I won't give you an interview"!
Translated on April 10, 2001