Son of a Croatian mother and Muslim Bosnian (or Bosniak) father,

A conversation with Demir Mahmutcehajic, a prominent Bosniak human rights activist

Demir Mahmutcehajic (44) is a prominent Bosniak (or Muslim Bosnian) human rights activist and politician based in the old town of Stolac, Bosnia and Herzegovina. As a teenager in 1992, he and his family fled hthe Serbian-controlled Bosnia to his mother’s Croatian hometown named Vela Luka. From Croatia they had to leave in a year for safety first in Kuwait and subsequently to Slovenia when Croatian troops began their attacks on Bosnia and Herzegovina. After drifting as a refugee in Kuwait, Slovenia and later Italy for several years, Demir was resettled in UK where he resumed his high school education, and completed BSc in internet engineering at Southbank University in London. In UK, he began his human rights activism and went on to become a founding member of the Islamic Human Rights Commission. In 2005, with a group of other human rights-minded Bosniaks. He started a civil rights movement DOSTA! (Enough) in Bosnia, and Demir and his family returned to Stolac in 2011. He has been active in local electoral politics in Stolac, campaigning against corruption and electoral frauds and conducts genocide educational programs in Srebrenica, Prijedor, and other places of mass killings.

The conversation covers:

  • The dangerous myth of racial and ethnic purity
  • The historical dynamics among ethnic and religious communities in the former Yugoslavia, founded as an anti-Fascist bloc of six different ethnic nations in the Balkans
  • The International Court of Justice ruling in 2007 that the State of Serbia did not commit genocide, and that only the mass-killing of nearly 8000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica constituted an act of genocide
  • The phenomenon of formerly persecuted ethnic and religious groups turning murderous towards other minorities in their midst
  • Some lessons for Rohingya people

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