The picture that fooled the world

Serbian FBReporter in English

Thomas Deichmann

The picture that appeared in several tabloids reproduced on the facing page is of Fikret Alic, a Bosnian Muslim. Emaciated and stripped to the waist, he is apparently imprisoned behind a barbed-wire fence in a Bosnian Serb camp at Trnopolje. The picture was taken from a videotape shot on August 5, 1992, by an award-winning British television team led by Penny Marshall of ITN. Marshall was accompanied by her cameraman Jeremy Irvin, Ian Williams of Channel 4, and reporter Ed Vulliamy from The Guardian newspaper.

For many, this picture has become a symbol of the horrors of the Bosnian war—”Belsen ’92,” as one British newspaper headline captioned the photograph (1).  But that image is misleading. The fact is that Fikret Alic and his fellow Bosnian Muslims were not imprisoned behind a barbed-wire fence. There was no barbed-wire fence surrounding Trnopolje camp. It was not a prison, and certainly not…

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