Srebrenica massacre a du.., p.1
Srebrenica Massacre: a Dutch fairy story, p.1W H Oxley
Published by Smudgeworks
Srebrenica Massacre: a Dutch fairy tale
W H Oxley
Copyright 2013 W H Oxley
By the same author
A Hanging Job
An Accidental Millionaire
The Missing Gun
The Dutch soldiers’ contemptuous name for Srebrenica was Goat Country. Srebrenica was a part of Bosnia populated by Muslims, and in 1995 it was the scene of one of the worst massacres in post-war Europe.
In the course of the Bosnian civil war the countryside surrounding Srebrenica was occupied by Serbs. The United Nations persuaded the Muslims in Srebrenica to disarm, having first assured them that they would be protected by the Dutch Army. Result: up to eight thousand Muslim men and boys were massacred by the Serbs. This fairy tale is inspired by the official Dutch Army report on events in the Srebrenica enclave – and it’s all there in the report, right down to the last piece of soft tissue toilet paper…
Table of contents
By the same author
A well-known nursery rhyme
Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep
And doesn’t know where to find them
Leave the alone and they will come home
Bringing their tails behind them
‘Trust me;’ said Bo Peep brightly. ‘Just handover all your weapons to us and we will look after them for you.’
The old Billy goat looked at Bo Peep suspiciously. ‘But we need our guns to protect ourselves from the wolves,’ he protested.
‘Don’t be a silly Billy,’ chirped Bo Peep. ‘We are here to protect you from the wolves.’
The old Billy cast a cynical eye over Bo Peep’s flock. They were scattered about the meadow in a variety of recumbent poses, smoking exotic cigarettes. ‘How are lambs going to protect us from wolves?’ he sneered.
‘Ah, but these are Frisian lambs,’ countered Bo Peep, rustling her knickerbockers.
‘I thought Frisians were cows,’ he muttered.
‘They’re a breed of sheep as well!’
‘So what’s so special Frisians?’ grunted the old goat.
‘They are bred with armour plated fleeces and are trained killers,’ said Bo Peep, moving upwind: for she did not like the smell of goat.
‘So how are you going to protect us?’ The Billy persisted. ‘We’ve got the nannies and kids to think of.’
‘Simple! We will build watchtowers all round the borders of Goatland.’
‘Watchtowers?’ The goat eyed her with added suspicion. ‘You’re not planning to try and convert us to Christianity, are you?’
‘Of course not, silly! Trust me; these will be observation posts manned by killer lambs. Wolves would never dare attack a Frisian lamb.’
‘I’d be a lot happier with cows,’ grumbled the goat.
‘Well I’m not a cowherd: I am a shepherdess. So you’ll just have to make do with lambs. Don’t forget, we have air support.’
‘Air support, hmm … what sort of air support?’
‘At first sign of trouble,’ said Bo Peep, carefully adjusting the pink ribbon tied around her crook, ‘a flock of Falcons will sweep in and bomb the wolves.’
After the old Billy goat had chewed this over very carefully, he grunted reluctantly. ‘Okay it’s a deal.’
At first things went swimmingly; there was plenty of food in the meadow and an unlimited supply of hot water, enabling the little lambs to enjoy a nice warm sheep-dip every day. The lambs in the watchtowers would sit in them watching the countryside, smoking and chilling out. The goats may have grumbled about not having enough to eat and the wolves eating an occasional goat, but then goats do have a reputation for grumpiness.
However, as time wore on Bo Peep experienced more and more difficulty in obtaining supplies for her flock. Soon, there was only sufficient hot water for one warm sheep-dip a week. So, the poor little lambs had to make do with a cold dip on the other days (a real hardship in June). Then the supply of soft tissue toilet paper ran out: this had a devastating effect on moral – as did the shortage of Flatland tobacco, obliging the lambs to smoke locally grown weed.
Moral rose on the 20th of June with the news that a supply convoy was on the way, but collapsed when the wolves confiscated twenty T-shirts, and the tragedy was further compounded when they ran out of sandwich filling and most of the food delivered comprised of French gourmet meals, but the worst was to come. On the 26th of June, Bo Peep wrote to her superiors in Flatland informing them that they had run out of cigarette papers. Now, anyone who knows what a wonderful Sunday joint a lamb makes will appreciate the gravity of the situation. Admittedly, the bulldogs at Gorazde were in a similar situation and the little bears at Zepa even worse off: surviving on a diet of canned potatoes and ketchup.
Deprived of their Sunday joints, the little lambs stopped gambolling and sat lethargically in the watchtowers grumbling about Goat Country. One day a pack of wolves approached a watchtower.
‘We’re going to huff and we’re gonna puff and we’ll blow the place down,’ they chorused.
So the killer lambs radioed HQ asking for orders.
‘Fire a warning shot over their heads!’ ordered HQ.
‘We tried that it didn’t work!’
‘Then shoot to kill!’
‘But we can’t do that!’
‘We might hurt them!’
‘But you’re supposed to hurt people you’re killer lambs!’
‘Er … well yes … that’s what it said on the job application, but…’
‘But we thought you were speaking metaphorically… You were weren’t you?’
‘No we were not! So you can shoot them!’
‘But they might shoot back.’
‘Well, shoot them anyway!’
‘But they might hurt us!!!’
‘Shoot them: that is an order!’
‘We won’t obey the order!’
‘Oh … er … um … in that case the order is withdrawn. Have a nice day.’
Then a big grey wolf shouted. ‘Times up, boys, what’s it gonna to be?’
And the little lambs bleated. ‘Can’t we talk it over?’
‘Trust me,’ said the said the wolf. ‘We’re really a bunch of nice guys. We just love sheep – but don’t worry we only eat goat. All you’ve gotta do is hand over all your weapons and let us clip your armour-plated fleeces. Then, trust me, we’ll leave you alone and you can go home, bringing your tails behind you.’
A short time later, fleeceless and weaponless, the little lambs set off down the lane happily frolicking their way back to Bo Peep’s meadow. Unfortunately the whole scene had been witnessed by a herd of goats who barred their way, shouting. ‘Get back to that observation post. You’re supposed to be goatherds not cowards!’
Finding the way blocked by the goats, the flock panicked and, one by one, started jumping over the hedge. The last one was a bit slow and one of the goats butted him up the backside.
Back at the meadow, in spite of Bo Peeps best endeavours the poor little thing expired: the shock had been too much. His body was shipped back to Flatland where he received a state funeral and was posthumously awarded the Purple Buttock.
The killer lambs got the message very fast: next time a big bad wolf said, ‘Boo!’ they promptly surrendered, handi
But when the wolf said, ‘For you, Cloggy, the war is not yet over; you may go back to Bo Peep.’
The little lambs bleated. ‘We’d rather the war was over. Can we go with you please?’
‘Sure, no problem,’ said the wolf. ‘You guys can come with us if you like; trust me, we’ll take care of you.’
‘Have you got any cigarette papers?’
‘Trust me, as many as you need.’
‘Hot sheep-dips and sandwich fillings?’
‘Soft tissue toilet paper?’
‘Er yes, I think so…’
As soon as word got around to the other lambs in the observation posts, about the nice warm sheep-dips, sandwich fillings, cigarette papers and soft tissue toilet paper, they were queuing up to hand over their weapons and be shorn. And soon the wolves had a meadow full of them (fifty-six to be precise), all chilling out, smoking and eating sandwiches.
With no one in the observation posts, the wolves began to overrun Goat Country. When the old Billy goat marched into Bo Peep’s meadow she was not very pleased to see him as she was busy varnishing her nails. He protested loudly. ‘Our valley is being overrun by wolves and your killer lambs are deserting their posts!’
‘We don’t call it desertion in Flatland,’ pouted Bo Peep. ‘Their mothers wouldn’t stand for us calling it that.’
‘I don’t give cowpat what their mothers call it. Just give us back our weapons and we’ll defend ourselves?’
‘Sorry no can do.’ Bo Peep giggled. ‘You’ll have to submit an application in triplicate and I’ll pass it on to my superiors. But fear not; we will protect you: we have air support.’
The old Billy goat spat out the cigarette that he had been eating and stormed off in disgust. But air support really did materialise: a flock of crows flew over the wolves and shat upon them.
This upset the wolves so much that they sent Bo Peep an ultimatum. It read:
“Little Bo Peep you’ve lost some sheep, and we’re the ones that found ’em. Leave us alone or they won’t come home, and their tails are all you’re gonna find of ’em.”
Bo Peep, having no desire to see her fifty-six joint-makers become Sunday joints, complied, giving the crows very strict instructions not to shit on wolves.
And so it came to pass, that the wolves did begin to overrun Goat Country, gobbling up dozens of goats in the time it would take your average joint to roll a lamb, and causing great panic throughout the land of the goat.
One of the toughest duties of a shepherdess is keeping up appearances, and Bo Peep was exasperated to espy a great multitude of goats streaming into the meadow at the very moment that she was hesitating between the white bonnet trimmed with red plastic roses or the pink one with blue ribbons. She flounced out into the meadow and stood hands on hips confronting the herd of goats, most of them nannies and kids, all smelling very strongly of goat.
‘What do you think you’re doing here?’ she squeaked. ‘Don’t you know this is a sheep meadow?’
‘Well, dear,’ answered a matriarchal old nanny goat, ‘if you hadn’t been so busy doing your nails you might have noticed that the valley has been overrun by wolves. So we are seeking refuge in your meadow. After all, we’ve got the kids to think about.’
‘I wasn’t doing my nails I was choosing a bonnet,’ snapped Bo Peep, stamping her little foot so hard on the ground that that her knickerbockers shook.
‘Well we’re asylum seekers, and this is the asylum we’re seeking,’ grunted the nanny as the goats swept into the meadow.
This was the last straw for the remaining flock of killer lambs, who grumbled, ‘Bang goes our last bloody chance of even a cold shower; we’ll soon end up smelling like them.’
Bo Peep, having determined that it was time for action, decided that the best thing to do would be to go and have a little chat with the wolves. Having plumped for the pink bonnet with blue ribbons she set off at a frolic.
As soon as she was shown into the wolves’ lair she was confronted by a fierce looking wolf, who roared, ‘I am God and you are nobody!!!’ When Bo Peep realised that this was the big bad wolf himself, Mladic the Malevolent, she did what any normal shepherdess would do in the circumstances, she wet her knickerbockers.
‘Oh dear,’ murmured the wolf. ‘I didn’t mean to upset you, my dear. Here drink this.’
Bo Peep gratefully accepted the proffered glass of champagne, and as she and the wolf drank a toast a photograph was taken to mark the occasion. If you have ever seen that famous photograph and been mystified by the odd expression on Bo Peep’s face, you now know the answer: the poor little poppet was wearing wet knickerbockers – well how do you think you’d look wearing wet knickerbockers?
‘Er … th-th-thanks for the drink, stammered Bo Peep. I-I’d b-better be on my way. Time to be moving my sheep to fresh pastures, ha ha.’
‘Sorry to see you go,’ said the wolf. ‘Trust me; if you need any help with transport etc we will be delighted to assist the departure of you and your flock.’
‘Er … w-would mind awfully if I take the goats with me? After all I did give them … m-my w-word that I’d look after them, and all of them are nannies and kids.’
‘Please do, and please take the fifty-six lambs that we have been entertaining as guests. They have used up our entire supply of soft tissue toilet paper – not that I begrudge them of course.’
And so great happiness ensued in the meadow, and the little lambs jumped up and down in excitement at the prospect of leaving Goat Country and returning to Flatland. Admittedly, the goats mooched about muttering about not trusting wolves, but as I have said before goats have a reputation for being grumpy.
Nevertheless, the wolves were as good as their word, and the transport duly arrived. There was however, a teeny-weeny problem and the wolf had to reproach Bo Peep.
‘You’ve been a naughty little shepherdess,’ he purred.
‘Oh have I?’ Bo Peep blushed, as she desperately tried not to wet her last pair of clean knickerbockers. (Bo Peep has asked me to make it clear that the cause of dampness in the knickerbocker region is not because she fancies the wolf.)
‘Yes you have. You told me that the goats were all nannies and kids.’
‘W-w-well aren’t they?’
‘Two thousand of them are Billy goats!’
‘Ah um … er please can I take them with me?’
‘Of course, no problem…’
‘Er … thanks…’
‘Trust me. We will even ship them out of Goat Country for you.’
‘No no please don’t bother. I’ll take them with me.’
‘Ah, but we have to process them first.’
‘Process them?’ Bo Peep stopped checking her nail varnish and looked at him suspiciously. ‘What do you mean, processing?’
‘Oh nothing really; an ID check; just a formality; a minor bureaucratic procedure; it’s all there in the bylaws.’
‘There in the small print: subsection IV paragraph 15… see?’
‘I’d rather they came with me.’
‘You shall have all of them tomorrow. Trust me; it’s a very simple bureaucratic process, a mere formality, but as I am sure you will appreciate I have to keep my paperwork in order.’
‘Paperwork? Ah yes paperwork! Paperwork is very important; you’d be amazed how much paper it takes to stiffen my bustle. But, do I have your word that you will deliver all of them tomorrow?’
‘Trust me, you have my word.’
‘All of them?’
‘All of them. I promise.’
‘You won’t hang on to one single goat?’
‘Trust me; you have my word as an officer and a gentleman. Every single goat will be delivered to you tomorrow as soon as we have completed the processing formalities.’
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