It all started in February 2017, when Katarina Ristić, then an eighth-grade student at the Emerson School in the Chicago suburb of Park Ridge, along with four other schoolmates, was given the task of doing a project on “Bosnian Genocide.”
A seminar paper by a 14-year-old girl of Serbian origin, Katarina Ristić from Chicago, on the topic of “Bosnian genocide”, stirred the spirits in her primary school, but also opened the way to fight for justice, which resulted in removing propaganda that portrays Serbs in a bad light. and accuses Serbia of committing genocide and killing 200,000 people in Bosnia.
Naturally, Katarina turned to her father Ranko Ristić, born in a small Bosnian town, Zavidovići, for information about the civil war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, who came to Chicago as a refugee 24 years ago, where he started a family.
Ranko Ristić said that he did not intend to interfere in her work, but fatherly promised to help “if he gets stuck somewhere”, but, he says, he wanted his child to “just get to the truth”.
However, when Katarina brought available literature for her project from the school library, he realized that it would not be so easy.
“The first thing that caught my eye was that the books said that Serbia had carried out an aggression against Bosnia and killed 200,000 Muslims, ie Bosniaks. It was also stated that President Slobodan Milošević was responsible for the genocide in Bosnia. I tried to I advised her that the war in Bosnia was a civil war, not aggression, and that the death toll was inaccurate, and I advised her to try to investigate the information on her own, but to use only non-Serb sources of information, to be impartial, she worked on the project with four other friends, of different nationalities.” said Ristić.
Katarina, however, was diligent and determined to push the truth to the end. The result of her work was a booklet on the “Bosnian genocide” which on one side had inaccurate media information cited by her friends, wherein one place there are even pictures of Saint Sava, Tesla, Divac and Đoković as Serbian war leaders who “committed genocides” in Bosnia. On the other hand, there was information that the first victim of the war in Bosnia was a Serb groom in Sarajevo and that the war in Bosnia actually began with attacks by Bosniaks on Serbs.
Ristić realized that after that, it was his turn to do “his homework”.
Soon, the parents were invited to a parents’ meeting, and Ristić asked to talk to the history teacher, who admitted to him that it was very interesting what Katarina had done and that her part of the project was different.
“I took advantage of that, so I was indignant that propaganda was used as a source of information at school, that they confused students to such an extent that Serbian saints, scientists, and athletes were described as war criminals. She shrugged and said, ‘What are you going to do?’ “Americans don’t know history… But why don’t you complain if you’re unhappy with the school program?”
A few days later, Ristić did so and filed an official complaint as a parent whose child, as he pointed out, was “exposed to false propaganda.”
He also asked to check the sources of information used in the school program. The school principal soon replied that a group had been formed to investigate and that the school would seek the advice of a professor of history at the University of Chicago, who is considered an expert on Yugoslavia, Dr. Thomas Mockaitis.
The name interested Ristić, so he learned that Dr. Mockaitis was funded by the US Institute Of Peace, which was headed by Madeleine Albright, and that Mockaitis had written several articles that were highly anti-Serbian and in which he compared Milošević with Hitler.
In the end, as he said, Professor Mockaitis, faced with the facts, had to admit that the information in the textbooks was incorrect and should be excluded from the school curriculum.
Ristić stated that the following changes were made to the textbooks:
– The number of Bosniaks killed during the war in Bosnia is not 200,000, but all three sides had a total of 80,000 to 100,000 victims;
– The word “genocide” is dropped and replaced by the word “atrocity”;
– It is confirmed that President Slobodan Milošević was not convicted of war crimes or genocide …
The verification of internet information used in the education of this district was also introduced, and the documents and sources that Katarina, now a high school student, used in her investigation were introduced into the program.
Ranko Ristić points out that this victory of his and Katarina’s can have a great significance because it sets a precedent for all future appeals in all districts in America. He says that he will not stop at this, but will ask for the removal of Professor Mockaitis from the position of school district advisor.
After the media reported that high school student Katarina Ristić changed the school’s program of false history about the war in Bosnia, she and her father are constantly receiving death threats from Islamic organizations and individuals who claim that the change of material because of it represents – the denial of the genocide in Srebrenica.
Ranko Ristić, Katarina’s father, says that he cannot even talk about abominations, open threats of physical injury, and even death. He expected reactions to the change of textbooks from modern history for high schools in the Park Ridge district, but that his life would be in danger because of that – he did not.
We do not want to react in the same way as Muslims, with abominations and threats during Eid, now the most important thing is to explain to the school what is really happening because the administration is flooded with emails claiming that we are actually changing history, he told Sputnik.
Islamists are threatening to kill a Serbian woman because she told the truth about the war
“Recently, the director also changed, now she is a woman who doesn’t really understand what happened three years ago. And it all happened three years ago and that’s the finished story. We changed the program, the controversial information about the war in BiH and that’s it. They can’t do anything about it now, but the new director has certainly received 50 letters from all Bosnian organizations and from the Bosnian consulate. She responds to them based on the version they serve her and then publishes it all in their media.
In one of the Muslim media in the USA, the portal sejl.org, a statement of the Consul General of Bosnia and Herzegovina Elvir Resić appeared, that “the truth about the war against Bosnia is not a matter of personal interpretation, but is determined by final judgments of international courts and very precisely defined by US resolutions. parliaments’.
The text further notes that the consul sent a letter to the management of the Emerson school and informed him of this information.
War leaders Divac and Đoković
Katarina’s father has prepared a response for the consul and will request admission to hand him documents confirming that only falsified historical data were removed from the textbook, that Serbia attacked Bosnia and Herzegovina and committed genocide in which it killed 200,000 Bosniaks, that Slobodan Milošević was convicted of genocide against Bosniaks, and it was explained that Saints Sava, Tesla, Vlade Divac and Novak Đoković were not Serb war leaders who committed genocide in Bosnia.
“The Bosnian consulate is not only Muslim, that consulate here also represents me, I am also from BiH, so we have already informed the ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina. That is all in the process now, ” Ristić said.
He adds that several articles about Katarina and her activities have been published in the Serbian media, which are positive but have no real connection with this topic, which can be very dangerous and nullify all efforts to let future generations in America know the real truth about the war in BiH… That is why he appeals to the Serbian media to be careful.
“If we start spreading the topic globally, I am afraid that the value of what we have done will be lost. Our goal is to change the school program in more districts, to change at least some lies. “If we start blaming each other, and describing the war to savages who threaten us, and who haven’t even seen it, I think that our work will be lost in all this,” says Ristić.
No fear of internet warriors
He adds that he has not addressed the police yet, because, as he says, he is not afraid of internet warriors, but if the threats continue, he will certainly do so.
He also received a lot of letters of support from Serbian organizations and people in general who offer help to his family, and when asked how Katarina, who is still going to high school, received the threats, he answered:
“She surprised me very, very much. She is basically a shy girl, she is not loud, she is not exposed, but she is very intelligent and she is an excellent student. I thought she would be scared, but she didn’t, she didn’t respond to any message, but she did screenshots and she keeps it “, says Ristic and adds that she will do everything so that his response to threats and new lies does not provoke new hatred.