Just a few days after the National Geographic (NG) channel made Serbs in BiH very proud, the same channel angered them as much. The bitterness goes so far that some of the prominent Serbs want to sue Morgan Freeman, the famous actor and anchor of the National Geographic’s ‘Story of us’ TV show (documentary).
Serbs in Republika Srpska were proud because NG posted the short movie about extreme sports in the river Vrbas canyon, near Banja Luka. A bunch of young people set the wire over the canyon, 200 meters high, and thus created a ‘line of hammocks’. They spent a few hours there but the short film about them made by the NG team delighted them so much, that they published it on Facebook .
Morgan Freeman and the NG team visited BiH last summer, with the result of their work being published in the media. At that time, it had become known that he had met with Bosniak journalist, TV news anchor and TV station owner, Senad Hadžifejzović, and his son Feđa. They visited Sarajevo and Srebrenica, but no further details were given. Hadžifejzović had then said that he cannot speak about the filming because it would not be in accordance with his contract.
The ‘Story of us’ episode with Hadžifejzović was broadcast on Sunday night and triggered an avalanche of comments against Freeman, Hadžifejzović and NG.
In the episode, Hadžifejzović presented the events in Sarajevo and Srebrenica accusing Serbs that they committed war crimes and are guilty of war on the territory of the former Yugoslavia.
In Srebrenica, Hadžifejzović said that the border with Serbia is close and that the Serbs crossed the Drina river in order to kill everyone and annex this part of BiH’s territory.
It was repeatedly stated that the Serbs are guilty of war in the territory of the former Yugoslavia.
Feđa Hadžifejzović told Freeman that, at the time of the Srebrenica massacre, he was six years old and that “many boys of the same age were killed in the genocide in Srebrenica”. Hadžifejzović and his son did not mention that, only a few kilometres from where they were standing, there are villages where mostly BiH’s Bosniak Republic’s Army killed more than 3,000 Serb civilians during the war. In fact, they used the NG to blame Serbs for everything that happened in the 1991-1995 period. Freeman himself said that, “Serbs are guilty of war in the former Yugoslavia, genocide and ethnic cleansing”.
Head of the Republika Srpska Alliance of Former Prison Camp Detainees, Branislav Dukić believes that Freeman’s statement indicates that he does not have a clue about the history of the region, since the Serbian people have never led invasions, but exclusively defensive wars.
“Serbs have defended themselves through the history, as in the First World War; however, once great world powers recognised this, the Serbs did not redraw the borders (of their country) so that they would take something that belonged to the others; on the contrary, the borders of present Serbia is what they remained happy with,” Dukić said.
He stated that the efforts to portray the Serbs as a fascist people, responsible of genocides are totally unacceptable.
“It is well known that other nations committed genocide against the Serbs in WWI and WWII, as well as the ethnocide in the former Republika Srpska Krajina in the last civil war, within the territory of the former Yugoslavia,” stressed Dukić.
Head of the Association of Women Victims of War, Božica Živkovic Rajilić, said to the media that the Hollywood actor and the NG Channel deserve a lawsuit over the allegations that the Serbs are guilty of war crimes in the former Yugoslavia, genocide and ethnic cleansing.
“The accusations presented in this documentary are perverse, malicious, with the aim of defaming the Serb people and Republika Srpska,” Rajilić has said.
She also added that the last thing Freeman could do is to make a documentary on Serb victims.
“Let him listen to us, the female victims of war, while we are still alive, so we can tell him what crimes we have survived. Let him make a documentary if he is a hero and if he can listen to all these horrors,” said Rajilić.
Social networks were ‘on fire’ with debates over the issue. Ire was visible and felt in many of the comments, while a lot of people called Freeman insulting names. In fact, the NG broadcast the episode at a very sensitive moment for BiH, a time during which it is entering its pre-election campaign period. From that point of view, the NG documentary did everything possible to upset the already burdened people even more…/IBNA