The Swedish Academy defended its decision to award the Nobel Prize for Literature to the Austrian writer Peter Handke, specifying that the latter issued proactive statements but did not support bloodshed.
The recognition for Handke has raised many criticisms especially among the survivors and relatives of the victims of the Srebrenica massacre in the 1995, since the writer is known to have been a sympathizer of Slobodan Milosevic, a name that has brought so much death and pain in the region of Balkans and Kosovo Albanians.
Milosevic, a former Yugoslav president, was charged with genocide and other war crimes in connection with the Yugoslavian wars of the 1991-1995 by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia before his death.
At the funeral of the former Yugoslav president, in 2006, Handke had given a touching speech in Serbian in which he described himself as "close to Yugoslavia, near Serbia, near Slobodan Milosevic". Handke also supported the Serbian leaders of Bosnia, Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, convicted of the Srebrenica genocide.
The comment of the Academy
For the Swedish newspaper "Dagens Nyheter", Mats Malm - president of the Academy - accepted the fact that Handke "made provocative, inappropriate and ambiguous comments on political issues". However, he stressed that he never supported bloodshed, clearly condemning the Srebrenica massacre.
"The Academy has found nothing in its writings that constitutes an attack on civil society or towards respect for the equality of all people."- said Malm.
The Swedish Academy also cited an article in the German newspaper "Sueddeutsche Zeitung" of the 2006, in which Handke had pointed out that the Srebrenica massacre was the worst crime against humanity in Europe after the Second World War.
The awarding of the Nobel Prize by the Academy to the Austrian writer has provoked reactions in many institutions and personalities from all over the world. Hanke was praised and chosen by the Academy for "linguistic ingenuity in exploring human experiences".