27 July 1995 – France 2 – Rony Brauman, MSF: Démission Mazowiecki/ Mazowiecki Resignation FRENCH

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Translation: 

TV journalist: Our guest is Rony Brauman. Rony Brauman, a year ago you were still head of Médecins Sans Frontières. You’ve now been able to get a little bit of distance. Do you think the decisions taken by lawyer Henri Leclerc on behalf of the League of Human Rights and the Polish prime minister to condemn the UN and its incapacity to confront the barbarity of the Serbs are helpful decisions?

Rony Brauman: Yes, I particularly think that Mr Mazowiecki’s resignation – well, it’s not for me to judge the League of Human Rights’ decision, which will have to show if it’s legally admissible –, but of course, I understand the rationale. But Mr Mazowiecki’s resignation, who throughout the conflict showed courage, loyalty and determination in standing up to the inertia and cynicism of the UN, is proof that the fiction and the sham have been smashed by the evidence in Bosnia. I think there’s a very close link between Mazowiecki’s resignation and the process of the gradual lifting of the embargo that’s being decided in the United States. This is when we realise that this sort of diplomatic and humanitarian arrangement, an arrangement with virtual soldiers as one perceptive observer put it, doesn’t work anymore.

TV journalist: Does this mean that you, Rony Brauman, the defender of the humanitarian cause, are pro-war?

Rony Brauman: I’m not pro-war. War exists, and I have to live with it like everyone else.

TV journalist: But this isn’t about taking action after war, but making war.

Rony Brauman: It’s about making war for those already fighting on the ground. I don’t think western democracies or the world’s powerful countries can go and fight in Bosnia for objectives they aren’t able to properly define. But, what I see is that, in the name of a humanitarian ideal, in the name of a very honourable aspiration for a peaceful resolution to the conflict, we have skewed the balance of power, tied the Bosnians’ hands behind their backs and paved the way for the Serb aggressor. It must be remembered that peace starts first with a trial of strength before going on to become a concept. Well, this trial of strength needs to be restored and I think that lifting the embargo, this increasing support, this process that is a move towards re-establishing the balance of power, could therefore possibly offer the Bosnians a resolution to the conflict.

TV journalist: And the withdrawal of the UNPROFOR, if the embargo were to be lifted.

Rony Brauman: That goes without saying. As it is now, the UNPROFOR is meaningless.

TV journalist: Does Polish Prime Minister Mazowiecki’s decision, and thus a politician’s decision, reconcile you the humanitarian with the politicians who often instrumentalise you on the ground?

Rony Brauman: Generally speaking, I don’t have a problem with politicians but I do with those who use humanitarian aid as a kind of media gadget, a communications technique that absolves them from assuming their political responsibilities. That’s what I and quite a few other humanitarians criticise. But thank goodness for people like Mazowiecki and others like him, in governments and in positions that are difficult, because nobody can claim to have the key to the conflict in Bosnia; that’s simply not true, it’s a lie. We don’t live in cloud cuckoo land anymore. So it’s a complex issue and western governments don’t have a ready solution to solve it. On the other hand, they can facilitate a process through which this balance of power could be restored and, consequently, a political solution negotiated. Mr Mazowiecki is one of these people and I find his decision extremely courageous.

TV journalist: One last question. Although it doesn’t really look like it, last year you gave up Médecins Sans Frontières.

Rony Brauman: As president.

TV journalist: As president, so you’ve taken a step back, so to speak. Rwanda last year, and now Bosnia. Isn’t there part of you that wants to throw up your hands and say, "it’s just not possible anymore”?

Rony Brauman: You know, I’ve been working in humanitarian aid for almost 20 years and there’s never been a today or a tomorrow. There have always been several emergencies, major tragedies, happening at the same time, but that’s pretty much the history of humanity. The history of humanity is made up of conflicts and horror but also of people who try to fight them and the horror in their own way, using their own methods. I don’t think the situation today is any more tragic.