Actually, Osama bin Laden was Bosnia’s Osama bin Laden, given that he laid a still-operating network there. But get a load of these “Bosnian-Americans”; they just won’t quit. As Geoff, who’s from the area and sent me the item below, put it: “The St Louis Bosnian refugees can do no wrong…they are like royalty here as you can tell from the story.”

St. Louis Bosnians have awaited Mladic’s arrest (And we await theirs.)

For many Bosnians living in St. Louis, he is the epitome of evil.

Mladic was in command on July 11, 1995, when nationalist Serb police and military forces attacked the United Nations-declared ’safe haven” town of Srebrenica and began the massacre of about 8,000 Muslim men and boys.

More like 700. Which I guess can be “about 8,000″ if you compare it to, say, a billion.

The attack, considered the worst act of genocide in Europe since World War II [victory!], prompted the flood of refugees that in time would lead St. Louis to become home to one of the largest Bosnian communities outside of Europe. [Congratulations, St. Louis!] An estimated 70,000 Bosnians now live in the metro area. Within that population are 4,000 to 5,000 survivors of Srebrenica (sreh-breh-NEET-sah), the largest such concentration anywhere outside of Bosnia.

Oh boy — this is the first time I’m seeing the St. Louis press include an actual language legend for how to pronounce the word. They’re getting serious about their Bosnification.

“What happened today will give a lot of peace to the families whose relatives were killed and whose lives have been destroyed,” said Ajlina Karamehic-Muratovic, an assistant professor at St. Louis University.

Mladic was the last of three Serbian leaders wanted for war crimes. Former Yugoslav and Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic died in 2006 while on trial in The Hague. Ultra-nationalist Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic was captured in 2008 after a decade on the run and is currently on trial.

I guess they haven’t heard about the latest last Serbian leader added to the list — Goran Hadzic. Or about whoever will be the last one after him. (It reminds me of the way Kosovo is referred to in news reports as “the last stage of the breakup of the former Yugoslavia,” which ignores the other last stages to come, such as Presevo, Sandzak, Vojvodina…)

“It’s very safe to say that Milosevic and Mladic together are Bosnians’ Osama bin Laden,” Karamehic-Muratovic said.

So Osama bin Laden wasn’t Osama bin Laden for Bosnians? She’s saying he wasn’t an enemy to Bosniaks? Given that her president at the time — the fundamentalist whom she clearly objects the Serb leaders having fought back against — issued bin Laden a Bosnian passport, and given that bin Laden and his mujahedeen were (and are) nestled in Bosnia, she’s admitting he was on their side. And so she’s practicing a wee bit of projection here.

Just hours before the 1995 attack, Mladic appeared in a now infamous video stroking the cheek of a terrified child and telling the crowd, “Don’t be afraid, no one will hurt you.”

After women and children were loaded onto buses and transported out of the area, the killing began. It went on for days.

(The above paragraphs appear to come from an almost identically worded AP report: “Just hours before the massacre, Mladic handed out candy to Muslim children in the town’s square, assuring them everything would be fine and patting one child on the head. Then the shootings began and the bodies of the victims were bulldozed into mass graves.”)

So, in other words, the kid got on the bus with his candy.

(And, yeah right — “the killing” began — just like that! One-way killing being implied, of course.)

Rusmin Topalovic, whose wife lost several family members in the massacre, said, “Finally, justice has come to where it belongs.”

“It’s not just important to me,” he said. “It’s important to the whole world.”

Yeah, I’ve been lying awake thinking about it. As for the rest of the world to which it really is important that we got him, that’s because they hope it means Muslims will be generally less pissed off, and kill us less often.

Like many Bosnians here, Topalovic, who lives in St. Louis County and operates a cleaning business, believes the Serbian government sheltered Mladic and is angry that he remained free so long.

Mirza Bajric, who fled Bosnia in 1994, is angry that a man alleged to have slaughtered thousands would now get free medical care while he awaits trial. Mladic is reported to be in poor health and unable to communicate.

Oh shit, they’re still angry.

“I wish the Navy Seals took care of them like they took care of Osama,” said Bajric, who owns South City Meats and Deli in St. Louis. [Today’s Special: Pickled Serb (No Serb Roast substitutions.)]

Zuhrizt Dzananovic, 47, lost three brothers at the hands of Mladic’s forces.

“It’s a big day for Europe,” said Dzananovic, who immigrated in 2005 and does janitorial work at St. Mary’s High School in south St. Louis. “This is a big day for me. … For 15 years, I waited for this.”

Aziz Salohovic, 46, fled his home near Srebrenica just before the killing began. [There’s that poetic “the killing began” bit again — are we in an M. Night Shyamalan movie?] Among the dead were his father and brother-in-law. He now lives with his wife and children in south St. Louis and works as a machine operator. […]