A World's Veteran

A WORLD’S VETERAN

Dave Maat is a Dutchbat III veteran who served during the fall of the Bosnian enclave at Srebrenica in July 1995. Many Europeans recall the images of mass deportation of Bosnian Muslims from the enclave at the time, by Serb order, for its resemblance to Jew concentration camps and genocide during WWII. One by one, mass graves were found in later years (…).
Under UN command, Dutchbat III soldiers had to maintain the humanitarian mission of peacekeeping by observation. Even during the deportation. Whoever has a heart, imagine the human torment for both exiles and soldiers.
Nine times, UN air strike support had been requested for protection. Eight times it was denied for safety measures; the lives of too many refugees were at stake (…). The ninth time a fog kept the fighter jets from air support. However, their peacekeeping mission implied insufficient armour anyway for the Dutchbat soldiers to protect the refugees lives. Or their own lives, for that matter.

Years later, Dave Maat finds himself suffering from a Post Traumatical Stress Syndrome (PTSS), along with many other Dutchbat soldiers. Other veterans I’ve met as a prison counsellor, for some were charged for extreme violence. A few managed to only wreck up their lives with drugs.
Dave Maat is one of the few PTSS veterans who kept a clean record and found his way to therapy. Then again, imagine the irony to cope with individual therapy for an international matter of guilt.

On August 30th 2007 the state called Dave Maat to court for high appeal. Before, he had sew the state for causing his PTSS by lack of proper personnel healthcare. And he won. Quite unique, especially considering no lawyer would represent him at the time. No media was interested either. Yet the sentence implications are politically profound. For the national state is held responsible for soldiers healthcare, regardless of acting under UN command. Politicians have to think twice before sending their troops on international peace observation missions, lacking proper armour or care. Imagine the impact on missions like Iraq or Afghanistan.

I hope my secretive boosting at court and the orgonite I brought, did the cause some good. I got instant confirmations anyhow.
One of the three judges eyed me piercefully from time to time. The three state representatives and a man behind them in the public shoved and turned on their chairs, whenever I boosted them. The three even simultaneously took a sip of water, when I turned on my vortex boost. And they turned around in their chairs to look me in the face regularly! They seemed to be connected energetically, as they leaned over to each other whenever I did the stuttering one.
I really got the attention of the man behind them in the public. He eyed and turned around to me the most, though I was sitting behind him to his right. I can assure you I am not that handsome. I got the impression he was the energetic leader of the pack. When I was done with him, the atmosphere in the courtroom changed to the positive.

The high court will rule in 12 weeks time. Usually it takes 6, I guess some people need time to get their stories straight before the media cavalry rolls in. In an interview Dave Maat said the remembrance of his deceased pals who suffered from PTSS (…) kept him going. I felt like meeting a general in him. What an honourable, fearless guy. Please give him a boost, will you?

Carolien

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(translated article http://www.dutchbat3.nl/)

JUDGE MEETS ‘DISMISSED’ DUTCHBATTER HALFWAY
Monday, November 19, 2007
‘Now the Ministry of Defence has to answer’

"It would adorn the State Secretary to finally surrender�

By CHARLES SANDERS
At last there’s hope for Srebrenica veteran Dave Maat after a long battle with the Ministry of Defence. The highest administrative court in the Netherlands ruled that the Secretary of State within three months should show whether and how aftercare was applied to the former soldier 1st class of air brigade.

“Now the Ministry of Defence has to answer, finally,” says the 31-year-old Maat. "I wish that justice will be done. For me, for my perished comrades, and for all the other boys who after the Balkan disaster came home in trouble, sick or committed suicide. "Dave Maat served on July 11, 1995 in the frontlines, when hordes Bosnian Serbs flooded the enclave Srebrenica. The doomed Dutchbat III troop had no chance, sent on duty by The Hague with fragile mandate and lousy armaments. And entirely without UN backing.

The then 18-year-old soldier was hit physically and mentally, when his Alpha observatory was fired at, five miles from the compound in Potocari, by Serbian howitzers, tanks and mortars. An incoming grenade made a wreck of him, his mental downward spiral reinforced by the criticism upon Dutchbat in the years to follow.
Maat: "The sickening celebration that General Couzy thought necessary to organize in Zagreb. We had not asked for this, but were held accountable anyway. The allegations that followed; Dutchbat III as being personally responsible for the death of 7000 Muslims. The lack of understanding, support and aftercare. Once home I got a post traumatic stress disorder (ptss), but nobody listened. A social worker of Defence dared to claim that I had not endured any shocking experiences. "

There were never debriefings, according to Maat. At the barracks in Assen (Holland), the soldiers of the 13th battalion air brigade were interrogated by the Royal Military Police, but the interrogators only wanted to know where the Dutchbat soldiers left behind their weapons and how many corpses they had seen. Maat, and with him many other Srebrenica veterans, became ill while neglected by the Ministry of Defence.
The military trade union ACOM supports the former fighter since his rearguard battle with Defence began. Chairman Jan Kleian: “Dutchbat III is discarded, there was no aftercare. Thanks to the decision of the administrative court, the Ministry of Defence now really has to show what it has done for Dave Maat. Look at him and you have the answer: Absolutely nothing.”

According to the union chairman, in ACOM alone, there are “dozens Dutchbat soldiers” with similar experiences. "Everybody closely followed this ruling. I am not yet cheering, for now we are put on hold again for another three months. "The veteran lawyer, Mr. Geert-Jan Knoops: "I see this temporary verdict as exceptional judgment of the administrative court. The Dutch state has avoided its responsibility for many years now and dares to say that my client’s ptss has no relation to their provision of aftercare. How did it all escalate? No effort or costs has been spared, State Defence spent many lawyers in this argument. Where aid had been in place. It would adorn the State Secretary to finally throw the towel in the ring (admit losses). "State Defence is silencing all publication of this matter while still under courts ruling – fearing final defeat in the courtroom. Because huge financial claims will follow. Dave Maat to the administrative court: “All these delaying tactics and negative energy of the Ministry of Defence against me….If the same effort had been invested in order to help me, this issue had long been resolved.”

The ill Dutchbat soldier sits at home, discarded and burned out. After Srebrenica he applied to the Commando Force Troops and the Royal Air Force. But his energy was gone. He also failed to make existence in civil society. Personal relationships stranded, he encountered law, drank too much, had rage attacks. “The fate of many in our battalion”, says the young veteran. “We went to Srebrenica for camaraderie, the red beret, loyalty. But our lives became a mess. Rise and fall, for twelve long years now.”

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