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by Jared Israel
The other day I attended a protest teach-in on Kosovo, a sort of post mortem held in Cambridge, Mass. I have a fondness for protest teach-ins because I am old and remember the ones held during the Vietnam war. I even spoke at a few.
One of the speakers was Paula Gutlove, who described herself as having been a "mediator in Macedonia." Apparently she is well placed in some Non-Governmental Organization (NGO). NGOs, in case you haven't heard, are a fairly recent development, part think tank, part international social worker. They make their money off grants. They intervene in other countries to teach the locals how to get along, followed by civil war.
(For a fuller explanation of NGOs, see Note #1 at the end of this article)
MEDIATORS AND OTHER MYSTERIES
Paula Gutlove ran through a 600-year history of Serbian-Albanian relations with impressive speed; the theme of it all was that sometimes Serbs were "up" and Albanians were "down" and sometimes it was quite the other way around. Listening to her my mind drifted.
I wondered, "Why do these Macedonians need an American mediator who knows nothing about ethnic relations in the Balkans? Why do they need any American mediator at all? Haven't Macedonians been around since the Dawn of Time? Don't they have mediators of their own?"
Fondly I recalled the Macedonian-Americans I have known. They were intelligent; they remain intelligent. They are up on all the latest trends. They have cellular phones.
Yet not one of them uses a mediator.
Does becoming a U.S. citizen curb the need?
Or is "mediator" a euphemism, as when Madeline Albright called the U.S. the "indispensable nation" meaning of course, the New Rome? Do American "mediators" in places like Macedonia derive influence not from their own skill or the Macedonians' need for mediation but from the fact that they are citizens of New Rome? Is there an unspoken (or perhaps spoken?) understanding that the Gutloves represent the American Empire just as English people of no particular talent once represented the British Empire? And does this power, which derives from U.S. economic and military might, not from Gutlovian intellect or culture, give "mediators" a stake in Imperial domination?
GUTLOVE REVISES MILOSEVIC
Ms. Gutlove then commented on the important speech, which Yugoslav Pres. Slobodan Milosevic delivered to a crowd of hundreds of thousands in Kosovo Field in 1989. She said Milosevic whipped the attending Serbs into a frenzy against Kosovo Albanians and swore that "never again would the Serbs be ruled by Islam." Quite dramatic, except I had read the speech (it is published at Emperors-clothes). It is not hysterical; rather, it is professorial in tone, reflective. And Milosevic never uses the word "Albanian" or says a thing about Islam. If anything, the speech is anti-nationalist. Gutlove's misrepresentation is not unusual, alas. The socially accepted way to describe this speech is: let the imagination soar. Thus do Milosevic's critics escape earthly constraints, such as his words.
I, A HECKLER
Because I think it's an excellent speech; because none of the speakers had said a word about the vicious attacks being carried out by the KLA, under NATO supervision, against Serbs and other ethnic groups in Kosovo; and because I had been listening to an hour and a half of baloney, I yelled from the back of the hall: "That's a lie. I have the speech."
Gutlove was stunned - not, I think, because she was being heckled for lying about the Serbs at an antiwar gathering but because it was so unlikely that she would find herself being heckled for lying about the Serbs at an antiwar gathering. Just so would the Pope be stunned if he were heckled during Mass. The Left has been bombarded with Serbophobia till the Left is gaga. Anything said against Serbia is accepted on faith.
Ms. Gutlove composed herself and defended her version, saying that a "reliable source" had heard the speech and told her Milosevic said exactly those things.
A reliable source? The Tooth Fairy?
(If you would like to read the speech, see note #2 at the end)
HOWARD ZINN: THE UNCRITICAL CRITIC
Howard Zinn, an icon of the Left, spoke that evening as well. The term 'icon' is not hyperbole. The kids at that meeting clearly adored Zinn. I knew Prof. Zinn a long time ago. When I was an antiwar organizer in the 1960s he was a teacher at Boston University. After that he wrote a kind of popularized left-leaning history of the US. I was amazed to learn the other day that - if this is indeed accurate - Zinn's book has sold 500,000 copies. 500,000 seems like a lot of leftist books to sell in a country where there are so few leftists...
Be that as it may, Zinn began by asserting that by now nobody disagrees with the media's contention that the Serbs committed widespread anti-Albanian atrocities before the bombing of Serbia, and that after the bombing began the anti-Albanian atrocities got much worse.
Contrary to Zinn, much of the anti-war movement in this country, and for that matter most of the people in the world (for instance most of the people in India, China, Russia, Vietnam, much of Italy, virtually all of Greece, much of Latin America, most of Africa, etc., etc.) do disagree with the media hype on Kosovo and do dispute the atrocity stories. That's several billion people. The reason they disagree is that they are not exposed to the intensity of lies about Yugoslavia found in the NATO mass media. They read honest reporting which contradicts our mass media's baloney. (Even 'Agence France Presse' is better than the U.S. media on Serbia.) And by the way, despite the big role Germany has played in helping destroy Yugoslava, the anti-Serbian lies have been challenged by internal documents from the German Courts and Foreign Ministry. See Note #3 at end.
Also: recent evidence, beginning with a press conference by Spanish forensic scientists, proves that the NATO claims of mass graves, which Howard Zinn uncritically endorsed, are lies. See note # 4 at the end.
ZINN SAYS: DON'T QUESTION MEDIA ATTACKS ON THE SERBS
I challenged Zinn from the floor. I said the purpose of the anti-Serbian atrocity stories in the press was to blind people in this country to the genocide that's going on right now, aimed at creating an ethnically pure Kosovo. I said I was frankly shocked that he accepted the media hype so uncritically. Though he had argued against NATO intervention, though he said the media had an interest in lying to build support for intervention, he never questioned the validity of the anti-Serbian atrocity stories which were obviously the key to building support for intervention. Why not?
Zinn answered that if one got too nit-picky about such details [is the question of whether 'the Serbs' are mass murderers a detail?] the public wouldn't take one seriously. It would be counter-productive.
Those were his words. He didn't argue that I was factually wrong. He didn't attempt to defend his statement that:
He said nothing at all in defense of the above arrogant slander of a people. He said that delving into the truth would be counter-productive.
Counter-productive in what way? How can we build a real movement against the new imperialism if we don't challenge the media lies that are spread to justify intervention?
Counter-productive for whom? He couldn't explain. What kind of deal have these people made, with what devil?
AN UGLY FACT ABOUT KOSOVO
If Zinn was distressing, Gutlove was remarkable. Her history of Serbian-Albanian relations consisted of a string of misrepresentations, as when she rewrote World War II. It is a shameful fact that during the Anti-Fascist War many ethnic Albanians helped the Fascists. Not just some leaders. The Fascists had a big base in the Kosovo Albania community, especially in Drenica, which is now the stronghold of the KLA. Describing the difficulty anti-Fascists had winning Kosovo Albanians to the anti-Fascist movement, Svetozar Vukmanovich-Tempo, a leader of Tito's Partisans, reported in 1943 that:
WORLD WAR II, REVISED
Gutlove avoided this World War II unpleasantness with a verbal maneuver. She said: "During the period from 1941 to 1945 the Albanians were 'up' and the Serbs were 'down.'" That was it. Albanians up, Serbs down and poof! - the slaughter of tens of thousands of Serbs, Roma ("Gypsies"), Jews and others by Fascists among the Albanians vanishes. History is improved.
Gutlove is a proponent of the Humpty Dumpty school of liberal revisionism, so called because Mr. Dumpty, who appears in the works of Lewis Carroll, teaches that outer reality should conform to (his) inner desires.
Thus Mr. Dumpty's much-quoted remark: "When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean neither more nor less."
And thus, for the liberal followers of Mr. D., if something ugly was done by people who are currently allies of the U.S. and therefore humanitarians, and if that something was done yesterday or earlier: "Just lie, sucker!" I mean, what's the problem? Americans don't know what happened yesterday; they barely know what's happening today. Nobody will care.
"WELL SAID, MR. ISRAEL,"
commented Mr. H. Dumpty. "A concise presentation of my views; admirably devoid of principle. Very nice. We may make a Mediator of you yet, or at least a Reliable Source. Of course you'll never be a match for Mr. Zinn or Ms. Gutlove (not to mention the editors of the 'New York Times'); nevertheless, you may, if you work smart, profit from my teachings. Go forth and form an NGO of your own, my boy, and always remember Dumpty's Diktat: 'The bigger the liar the fatter the grant.'"
When my Yiddisha grandfather (maternal side) staggered off the boat and for the first time gazed at the shores of this Brave New World, he shook his head and remarked, hoarsely, but in his own delightful version of English:
And he was right.
Note# 1 - Diana Johnstone's eminently readable piece, 'Yugoslavia Seen Through a Dark Glass,' not only explains NGOs, she explains why and how they played such an awful role in Yugoslavia. Go to http://www.emperors-clothes.com/articles/Johnstone/1yugo.htm
Note # 2 - Nobody actually reads what Milosevic said at Kosovo Field in 1989; they just attack it. Would you care to buck the trend? Click here or go to http://www.emperors-clothes.com/articles/jared/milosaid.html
Note # 3 - Last year, before the NATO bombing, the German Courts and Foreign Ministry investigated refugee claims that the Serbian government engaged in ethnic persecution. The verdicts totally contradict NATO's claims. Read these 'German Documents' for yourself at http://www.emperors-clothes.com/articles/german/Germany.html
The eye-opening report of the British Helsinki Human Rights Group's trip to Serbia during the bombing can be found at http://www.bhhrg.org/serbia/serbia1999/serbia1999.htm
Note # 4 - Spanish forensic scientists sent to Kosovo by NATO to provide evidence of Serb wrongdoing came home several months ahead of schedule and went public, in effect accusing NATO of lying. So much for Prof. Zinn's statement that "nobody doubts there were massacres by the Serbs." Read their report: 'Spanish experts: Serbs Not Guilty!' at http://www.emperors-clothes.com/news/sp-news.htm