Sarajevo, Kosovo Declare Nobel Laureate Handke 'Persona Non Grata'

Austrian writer Peter Handke

Protesters from the Balkans and worldwide are expected to descend on Stockholm today as the Nobel Prize for Literature is handed to an Austrian author accused of supporting the genocidal Serbian regime of Slobodan Milosevic.

Austrian author Peter Handke has been declared unwelcome in Kosovo and in the capital of neighboring Bosnia-Herzegovina in the latest protest against his induction as a Nobel literature laureate.

At the Nobel banquet, Handke is the laureate seated furthest from the king and queen at the head table, while Tokarczuk will be seated between the king and Prince Daniel, the husband of Crown Princess Victoria.

But another committee member, Peter Englund, disagreed.

"Justification of war atrocities during the Yugoslavia break-up must not be rewarded", he said, adding: "This will exclusively strengthen the state of denial that must be overcome and strongly condemned".

The 76-year-old avant-garde writer and playwright have been accused of played down the Serbian war crimes.

However, the decision has been getting a great deal of criticism as Handke is known to be a great admirer of former Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic, who died in 2006 at the global tribunal in The Hague on trial for war crimes and genocide.

Mothers, who lost their children and spouses in the genocide, said that what happened in Srebrenica is known by everyone and the criminals of it received their punishments by the global courts.

Handke has visited Velika Hoca at least five times and donated almost 100,000 euros ($110,000) to the community of 500 people, whose village is nestled among the rolling hills of southern Kosovo.

A defiant Handke refused to answer any questions regarding his support for Milošević during a news conference held on Friday in Stockholm. "It's literature", he said.

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Handke is also noted for the influence he has had on literature, while he has had extraordinary attention on the material world.

But in an interview with German weekly Die Zeit in late November, he defended his writings. Tokarczuk will, however, attend.

"Not one word I have written about Yugoslavia can be denounced, not a single one".

Rebecka Kärde said she didn't want to "apologise for the hair-raising things that Handke has undoubtedly said and done".

He said that at the time "reporting about Serbia was monotone and one-sided", Handke told Die Zeit.

Representatives of the Association of Victims and Witnesses of Genocide hold a picture of the victor of the 2019 Nobel Prize for Literature Peter Handke in Srebrenica, during a protest in front of Sweden embassy in Sarajevo.

He said he would decline the award since the Nobel Committee has stooped itself to a political and ideological organization.

"I witnessed the genocide first-hand 27 years ago when I was there". Swedish King awarded Handke the Nobel Prize.

Swedish Academy's pick for Nobel Prize in Literature 2019 has received a pouring backlash worldwide over the winner's denial of the 1995 Bosnian genocide.

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