From The Ottawa Serbian Heritage Society
March 24, 2000
An Open Letter to the Parliament of Canada on the Anniversary of NATOs Bombing Of Yugoslavia
To: All Members of the House of Commons and the Senate of the Parliament of Canada
Twelve months have passed since NATO initiated its bombing campaign against Yugoslavia. The time to reflect is long overdue; we must understand not only what happened, but also what must be done next.
One year later, it is patently obvious that the war was a colossal blunder of historical proportions. It has resulted in millions of innocent victimspeople who are and will be paying a heavy price for a long time to come for misguided decisions made in far away places such as Washington and Ottawa. A festering sore has been opened up in the heart of Europe and the world is clearly a far more dangerous place than before. The principle of using force in international relations was decreed by the very countries who allegein a haunting echo of nineteenth-century colonialismto be the most enlightened and progressive of all. We are seeing the ramifications already: the brutal war in Chechneya, the ominous rumbling of mainland China towards Taiwan, and the exporting of KLA terror into Serbia proper. Might makes right. Sadly, this generation of politicians continues the destructive march of folly.
We know now, directly from the testimony of NATOs own negotiators in Rambouillet, that the so-called "agreement" was carefully crafted to be unacceptable to the Yugoslav governmentan ultimatum woefully reminiscent of the one presented to the Serbian government on the eve of the First World War. That this war was premeditated is now without doubt. How could the Government of Canada agree to embroil this country and its people in such an obviously dishonourable affair without even consulting Parliament? Where did it get the mandate to abandon our long established and widely respected foreign policy based on peace, dialogue, and respect for international law?
History teaches us that ethnic conflicts, such as the one in Kosovo, have never been successfully resolved through military intervention by external powers. NATOs ham-fisted intervention, which transformed a low-scale internal conflict into a major humanitarian and environmental catastrophe, has confirmed this yet again.
The aftermath of 78 days of bombing has left thousands of civilians dead, maimed, and homeless. The victims are of all nationalities and include young children, the old and infirmordinary peoplemany of them burned alive or torn to pieces. The massive devastation of the countrys infrastructure ensures a state of perpetual misery for these people and their descendants well into the foreseeable future. More than 300,000 people are without work and they and their families are left without a source of income (a recent UN report estimates that the Yugoslav GDP has fallen to one third of its pre-war level, making it the poorest country in Europe). The use of radioactive weapons and the wanton destruction of chemical factories in highly populated areas have also resulted in an ecological nightmare, with major rivers contaminated and significant percentage of arable land made unsuitable for agriculture for a very long time. This situation threatens the wider Balkan region as well; it has caused a closure of Danubes international waterway, the largest and most significant commercial waterway in Europe.
What else do we knownow that the perpetrators have wound down their Orwellian propaganda machine and would much rather have us forget that any of it ever happened (after all, it is an election year)?
First, we should note that there was no genocide. This, after all, was one of the primary justifications for NATOs intervention. At one time we were told that over 100,000 people were presumed killed by Yugoslav forces. The latest results of the detailed investigation in Kosovo by a number of forensic experts from NATO countries have confirmed that a total of 2,100 bodies have been found. This number includes all the victims of the conflict: Kosovo Albanians (including KLA rebels killed in action and civilian victims of the bombing campaign), Serbs, and members of other ethnic groups.
Second, it is also clear now that NATOs intervention has mainly served the purpose of establishing the KLA as the undisputed (but unelected) ruler of the province. In pursuit of their publicly proclaimed goal of an ethnically pure Kosovo, the KLA have undertaken a systematic campaign to cleanse the province of its entire non-Albanian population: Serbs, Turks, Moslems, Gypsies, Gorans, and others. This objective has almost been fully achieved by now. The most recent report by UNICEF states that between 200,000 and 300,000 refugees have left Kosovo, making mockery of NATOs claim that they would stop ethnic cleansing.
Given the false premises behind the war and the convincing failure in attaining the proclaimed objectives (while creating large-scale devastation), what should the Parliament of Canada do to help redeem the situation?
To that end, we recommend following:
As peaceful and law-abiding Canadians, we feel that these steps are essential to sustain the democratic principles on which this country is founded. They are also crucial to restoring the hard-earned respect that our country has enjoyed in the past both internationally and among its own citizens. Canadas children must never be ashamed of their history.
Ottawa Serbian Heritage Society