"Shooting fish in a barrel" is an English language idiom to express something that is simple, effortless, with guaranteed success. Not only is the visualization of the image espressive of that characterization, but Mythbusters has tested the reality. If the bullets don't kill the fish, the shock waves from the bullets impacting the water do.
The recent arrest of General Ratko Mladić in Bosnia has reminded the world of the Srebrenica Massacre in July 1995, part of the ethnic cleansing of Bosnian Muslims perpetrated by Bosnian Serb Orthodox Christians during the Bosnian War (1992-1995) . Mladić was the military executioner (in both senses of the term) responsible for the realization of a political agenda set by the Serbian President Slobodan Milošević, and the Serbian President of the Republika Srpska [Bosnian Serb Republic] Radovan Karadžić.
To that end, Mladić laid siege to Srebrenica, a Bosnian Muslim city near the border with Serbia. The takeover of Srebrenica and the forced displacement of its 75% Muslim populace was to be the cornerstone of an ethnic cleansing of all of Bosnia's Muslims. However, forced displacement proved insufficient, or rather, inconveniently difficult.
Once the city was taken, it was easier to round up almost 8000 unarmed Bosnian Muslim males between the ages of 8 and 77, hold them in places like schools, and then take them out on buses to isolated fields, where shoeless, blindfolded, and with their hands tied behind their backs they were lined up and shot. The "resisters"--that is those who somehow didn't die on the first round--were re-shot, individually, up close and personal. All were buried in mass graves. In a cover-up attempt, they were later reburied in 70 smaller mass graves.
The women of Srebrenica, still seeking answers, 15 years on, in July 2010.
The well-planned and methodical execution of such massive numbers of one ethnicity by another is reminiscent of the Nazis. Indeed, the Srebrenica Massacre is the largest mass killing in Europe since the Holocaust. It was similarly efficient: nearly 8000 in few days, particulary in the first 30 hours.
It was particularly shocking to the outside world, as this sort of thing wasn't supposed to happen in Europe, white on white, especially after the Holocaust, especially after the formation of the European Union. Then again, as Frantz Fanon wrote about the Holocaust itself, genocides in African countries, white on black or black on black, were common and relatively ignored--part of the offensiveness of the Holocaust was about it being a genocide within "civilized" Europe.
The Srebrenica Massacre, like the Holocaust, has other layers of offensiveness and horror. 25-30,000 Bosnian women and children were bused out of the city to designated safe zones--that is, the land the Bosnian Serbs designated as where Bosnian Muslims would be allowed to live. Except some of the buses didn't reach their destination.
Srebrenica was itself a UN designated safe zone for Muslims displaced by fighting in other parts of Bosnia. More Bosnian Muslims than usual had "conveniently" gathered there under the protection of Dutch UN forces. As a condition of their safekeeping they were required to hand over what few arms they had. Thanks to a mid-war UN embargo on arming the region, the Muslims had been prevented from arming, while the Serbs and Croats were already fully armed.
As conditions deteriorated in Srebrenica, the Muslims asked the Dutch for their arms back in order to defend themselves. This was refused. On the other hand, the desperate pleas for reinforcements and proper defensive abilities by the Dutch were refused by the UN. NATO airstrikes against the Serb cordon around Srebrenica were belated, few, and halted by bad weather. President Bill Clinton has said that his failure to act faster and better in the Bosnian War is the major regret of his Presidency.
Deportation and massacre were 2 methods of the planned ethnic genocide of Bosnian Muslims. Another was systemic rape of Bosnian Muslim women--to defile them in their own eyes, to disrupt the social order of the enemy, and to create a legacy of traumatized women, humiliated men, and children no one would want. Attempts to refute this, to argue it was part of the strategy of all parties in the Bosnian War, or part of a massive pro-Bosnian Muslim propaganda campaign have proven futile.
I know of a scholar married to a Serb who tried. I have read the documents of her plan for her summer of research and the resulting article. She went to prove it wasn't happening, or not the way the press was saying it was. She came up with some Serbian women who had been repeatedly gang raped in Bosnian Croatian war camps. Her final article didn't mention the original research hypothesis or her "negative results".
There are many gruesome, and gruesomely accurate photos of the Srebrenica Massacre. I have chosen not to include them here. If I were to do so, I would highlight this one, of an exhumed Bosnian Muslim-- blindfold, ligatures, and horrified expression still intact.
Shot like a fish in a barrel.
Your comments, thoughts, impressions?
Any other instances of "shooting Muslims in a barrel" come to mind?