As a Croatian-Australian I was disgusted and saddened to hear of the destruction of the Stari Most ("Bosnia's Hopes Fall With Historic Bridge in Mostar," Nov. 12), which was the symbol of the Bosnian town of Mostar. However, I was more disgusted by the Western response to this tragedy.
From day one of this war of aggression by Serbia upon both Croatia and Bosnia the West has not only been indifferent to the plight of Croats and Muslims, it has cared little for the "values cherished by the international community and dear to lovers of freedom." One only has to visit the towns of Vukovar, Dubrovnik and Sarajevo to see what the West feels for the eradication of these places' cultural history. If one looks at the West's decisions throughout this war, it has been an ally of the Serbs.
First, non-recognition of Slovenia and Croatia in 1991 gave Serbia the green light to begin its assault. Second, the placement of an arms embargo over all the Yugoslav republics guaranteed the Serbs would face no opposition from the Croats and the Muslims. Third, the deployment of U.N. troops in Croatia was done to solidify the Serbs' capture of a third of Croatia and the U.N. troops in Bosnia have guaranteed that the U.S. will not attack the Serbs. Finally, Croats and Muslims (former allies against the Serbs) began fighting. This enabled the West to simply claim that this is now a "civil war." And I haven't even mentioned the disgusting Vance-Owen plan!
The bombing of children and destruction of cultural monuments are indeed a tragedy. However, they are nowhere near as tragic as the West's policies in this war. Policies that will guarantee a "Greater Serbia."
I was shocked to read that the beautiful Ottoman bridge (built in 1566) in the Bosnian town of Mostar was destroyed by gunfire! Better they slashed the Mona Lisa, crushed Michelangelo's David, or destroyed some other item of artistic interest. To destroy this almost indescribable architectural treasure is just too much. Compared to the Eiffel Tower, the Lincoln Memorial, the Parthenon in Athens, the 16th-Century Ottoman bridge in Mostar was as near to perfection as can be imagined.
There were stores and a street market on the east side of the river at the time of our first visit, and the second time we visited they were completing renovation of old, old stone buildings at the west end of the bridge.
Isn't it almost a bigger shame that the destruction of a bridge has generated more indignation among all sides in that war than the deaths of tens of thousands of people?
JAMES T. HUMBERD