Balkan wars spill over onto Facebook - Balkan News & Politics

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Balkan wars spill over onto Facebook

Balkan wars spill over onto Facebook

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ne: 19-12-2008, 13:13:56
Balkan wars spill over onto Facebook
14:16 Thu 18 Dec 2008 - Rene Beekman
A Facebook row shows the fragility of the Balkan ceasefire, was the conclusion Nenad Pejic of RFE/RL reached in her commentary published on December 16.

A day earlier Reuters reported that social networking site Facebook had taken down the page of a group called Noz Zica Srebrenica (Knife Wire Srebrenica), taking its name from a nationalist chant.

The page of the group, which at the point it was taken down was said to have less than 1000 members, allegedly contained strong nationalist and anti-muslim texts, as well as texts in support of fugitive former Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladić, accused of genocide in the United Nations-protected enclave.

The group page said it was dedicated to "all those who respect the acts of Ratko Mladic," referring to the Srebrenica Massacre, the July 1995 killing of an estimated 8000 Bosniak men and boys in the region of Srebrenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina by units of the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS) under the command of general Mladić during the Bosnian War.

According to a report in The Financial Times, the web page boasted pictures of young and fashionable Facebook users rather than angry war veterans.

In her commentary on December 16, Pejic described how she, tired of the daily shelling of the city, left Srebrenica for Belgrade to stay with a relative. "She was happy to see me, but incredulous when I told her why I was there. Despite my stories, she chose to believe Serbian State Television, which told her all was quiet in Bosnia-Herzegovina," Pejic said.

"Today, more than 16 years later, she is fully aware of the crimes that were committed in her name. But there are many others in Serbia and across the Balkans who are not," according to Pejic.

On December 8, a second group was created on Facebook, called Close Group Noz Zica Srebrenica, which demanded Facebook would take down the Noz Zica Srebrenica page.

This second group grew to 15 000 members within three days, a week later it had reached 25 000 members.

When Reuters first reported on the Noz Zica Srebrenica page on December 10, it said no one at Facebook was available for comment.

After Facebook had removed the group's page, Reuters quoted a Facebook spokesperson as saying that although controversy alone would not be a reason to stop online conversations, "when content violates our terms of use, we will not hesitate to remove it."

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