- Title: Srebrenica massacre survivors want Handke's Nobel prize revoked
- Date: 11th October 2019
- Summary: TRAFFIC PASSING ON STREET
- Embargoed: 25th October 2019 17:20
- Keywords: Nobel Academy Nobel Prize for Literature Austrian author Peter Handke Balkan countries Balkans
- Location: SARAJEVO, KAMENICA AND POTOCARI, BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA / BELGRADE, SERBIA / INTERNET
- City: SARAJEVO, KAMENICA AND POTOCARI, BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA / BELGRADE, SERBIA / INTERNET
- Country: Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Topics: Books,Arts / Culture / Entertainment
- Reuters ID: LVA003B0NMEYV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES
Survivors of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre called on Friday (October 11) for Austrian author Peter Handke's Nobel Prize for Literature to be revoked, saying it was "shameful" to recognise a man who denied the killings happened.
Their anger echoed criticism of Thursday's (October 10) decision in many Balkan countries over Handke's open support for late Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, who led his country during the Balkan Wars of the 1990s.
Munira Subasic, president of the Mothers of Srebrenica association, which represents survivors, said Handke's win had shocked and hurt the survivors of the massacre.
Handke could not immediately be reached for comment. The Swedish Academy, which choose the Nobel literature laureate, did not respond to requests for comment.
Anders Olsson, an academy member, said after the award was announced on Thursday: "It is not a political prize, it is a literary prize."
Handke spoke at Milosevic's funeral in 2006 after the Serbian leader died while in detention awaiting trial at the United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague for his role in the wars.
The Austrian also voiced support for Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, both of whom were convicted of genocide for the killing of more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the UN-protected enclave of Srebrenica.
Though much of the reaction to the prize was negative in the Balkans, it won some applause in Serbia. Newspapers on sale in Belgrade on Friday described Handke as a friend of Serbia.
In 1996, Handke wrote an essay called "Journey to the Rivers: Justice for Serbia" in which he sided with Milosevic's administration.
He denied that the Srebrenica massacre happened and said the 43-month siege of the Bosnian capital Sarajevo by Bosnian Serb forces was staged by Bosnian Muslims.
The decision has been widely criticised in Albania and Kosovo, where an estimated 10,000 ethnic Albanians were killed and almost 1 million put to flight during a 1998-99 war waged by forces under Milosevic.
Kosovo President Hashim Thaci said Handke had chosen to support and defend perpetrators of genocide. Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said the decision made him feel like vomiting.
An online petition launched by an Albanian citizen called for Handke to be stripped of his Nobel prize and had been signed by 30,000 people in less than 24 hours.
(Production: Zeljko Debelnogic, Branko Filipovic, Suzana Sabljic, Lewis Macdonald)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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