Filip David: I’ve never been supporter of collective guilt, but there is responsibility of authorities for Srebrenica

Nova.rs/ Goran Srdanov

"The International Court in The Hague, which we recognize, convicted General Radislav Krstic of the Army of Republika Srpska for genocide committed in Srebrenica. That ends the discussion. What is important is that the guilt is individualized and does not apply to an entire nation, as our government broadly interprets," said writer, dramatist, professor, and longtime editor of the Drama Program of TV Belgrade, Filip David, in an interview with N1. He was speaking about the proposed resolution on Srebrenica, which would declare July 11 as an international day of remembrance for the genocide. David added that he has never been a supporter of collective guilt, but that there was and is the responsibility on the part of the authorities. Pročitaj više

Always sharp-minded and a fierce critic of the government and the degrading social situation, David also discussed historical revisionism, genocide in the context of the conflict in Gaza, public service, education of young people, and writer Ivan Ivanji, who passed away at the age of 96 on Victory Day, May 9, in Weimar, just a few kilometers from the camp where he was during World War II, in Hitler’s favorite hotel.

Regarding his relationship with the late writer, journalist, and translator Ivan Ivanji, and the influence Ivanji had on his development, David said: „I respected Ivan Ivanji as a writer, a man with a dramatic biography, and an older colleague who gave me full support in my early steps in literature, which was undoubtedly invaluable and encouraging during the years when such support was important, perhaps even decisive for a young writer.“

Ivanji, as he mentioned in the show „360 Degrees“ on TV N1, survived World War II, the persecution of Jews, and Auschwitz. Today, there is less talk about World War II. Does David feel that this part of history is being neglected, and if so, is it being done deliberately?

„It is being neglected and without a doubt deliberately. Just look at our history textbooks. New generations are growing up with a false image of real historical events. True fighters against Nazism and fascism are being erased from memory, street and institution names are being taken away from them, they are being marginalized, and in their place, those who collaborated with the occupiers or primarily opposed the liberation partisan movement are being established. This creates an incredible historical reversal, where the great epic of true resistance to the occupier is replaced by glorifying the defeated forces in the great war,“ David assessed.

The Serbian public has been stirred by the proposal for a resolution on Srebrenica, which condemns the denial of genocide and the glorification of war criminals. This proposal is sponsored by about thirty countries, including the Quint countries and all former Yugoslav republics, except Montenegro, which announced its support. The draft resolution on the international day of reflection and remembrance of the genocide in Srebrenica will be on the agenda of the UN General Assembly on May 23. Serbian authorities are lobbying against its adoption, claiming that it accuses Serbs of being a genocidal people, which the international community denies.

When asked if he believes that genocide was committed in Srebrenica and whether the resolution on Srebrenica, which is to be voted on in the UN General Assembly, represents an attack on Serbia, as claimed by the Serbian government, David responded: „At this point, it no longer matters what anyone thinks. The International Court in The Hague, which we recognize, convicted General Radislav Krstić of the Army of Republika Srpska for genocide committed in Srebrenica. That ends the discussion. It is important that the guilt is individualized and does not apply to an entire nation, as our government broadly interprets it. I have never been a supporter of collective guilt. But there was and is the responsibility of the part of the authorities who provided political and moral support to those convicted of crimes, those who have never shown remorse and are still in the good graces of these authorities. Such an attitude towards convicted crimes and criminals says a lot about the overall state of society, about the lack of sincerity, courage, and the desire to accept the truth, which is necessary if we want a society free of hypocrisy and demagoguery,“ David stated.

On the question of how relevant the issue of genocide is today, especially in the context of the war between Israel and Palestinians in Gaza, David said: „I fear that raising the issue of genocide in this context revives anti-Semitism, the old anti-Semitism in a new guise. States and individuals are emerging who are rekindling that old fire. The conflicts in the Middle East are not new. Israel is constantly under attack from those who do not accept its existence. Such a situation has greatly militarized Israel as a state. The conflicts in the Middle East are tragic. Amos Oz, the Israeli writer and pacifist, wrote about this irreconcilable conflict, which is tragic because both opposing sides are right in their own way. ‘The conflict between Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs is not a story of good and evil. It is a tragedy, a conflict between right and right.’ When hatred and violence outweigh reason, then crimes or the use of excessive force occur. The biggest victims then are civilians, those who are least to blame. The road to peace, which seems distant, implies that neighboring Arab states and various armed groups recognize the state of Israel and abandon terrorist attacks and that Israel recognizes the Palestinians’ right to have their state. Today, that still seems like a utopia, but the alternative is new conflicts, new suffering and hardships, a war to mutual destruction,“ David concluded.

According to the latest data, the number of Palestinians killed in Gaza has exceeded 35,000, and nearly 80,000 people have been injured. Israel has continued its offensive on the Gaza Strip, despite a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire in the enclave. Since the beginning of the conflict, which followed Hamas’s attacks on Israel on October 7, large parts of Gaza have been in ruins, and there is an ongoing blockade on the delivery of food, clean water, and medicines. In December, South Africa filed a genocide lawsuit against Israel at the International Court of Justice, which Jerusalem strongly rejected, stating that if there was genocide, it was committed against Israel.

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