The moment I knew things went wrong in Yugoslavia was when I heard that Tudjman had said that the Serbs should leave if they didn't like it in his Croatia. This is the language of ethnic cleansing. This is how it usually starts. The minority no longer has full citizenship rights and once departure is an option some "prodding" to make that departure more likely is only a small step. I have always considered it one of the main Western failures that it didn't react at all to this statement by Tudjman.
I had the same feeling over the recent statement by Silajdzic that “If someone does not like Bosnia-Herzegovina they are free to leave, but they cannot take any part (of the country) with them”.
In the Western press this was brought as just a tit-for-tat after Dodik had said that "peaceful divorce" should be discussed. I disagree. Many borders have changed in former Yugoslavia and I don't see why we should see Dodik's demands as different from all those others - even if we don't want to give him what he wants. Dodik doesn't want to rob people of their houses and Silajdzic does. That is a very big difference.
For these reasons I believe that a strong Western reaction to Silajdzic 's statements is absolutely necessary. Ignoring this will further diminish the West's already reduced credibility in Bosnia.
Those who believe that this is an exception I encourage to listen to this interview of Silajdzic with Al Jazeera. I found it disgusting. It reminds me of our Dutch extremist Geert Wilders: the same depressive toneless way of talking, the same endless stream of accusations, similar distortions and the same lack of a positive vision of hope. Just as I don't expect Wilders ever to speak positively about Muslims I don't expect Silajdzic ever to speak positively about Serbs - no matter how much they change. These men thrive not on hope but on resentment.