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The March of Folly Continues…

From The Ottawa Serbian Heritage Society

March 24, 2000

An Open Letter to the Parliament of Canada on the Anniversary of NATO’s 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 victims—people 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 allege—in a haunting echo of nineteenth-century colonialism—to 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 NATO’s own negotiators in Rambouillet, that the so-called "agreement" was carefully crafted to be unacceptable to the Yugoslav government—an 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. NATO’s 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 infirm—ordinary people—many of them burned alive or torn to pieces. The massive devastation of the country’s 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 Danube’s international waterway, the largest and most significant commercial waterway in Europe.

What else do we know—now 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 NATO’s 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 NATO’s 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 NATO’s 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:

  • That an open debate be initiated in Parliament, with the objective of establishing the extent and nature of Canada’s participation in the bombing of Yugoslavia and the actual damage inflicted upon the civilian population and infrastructure of Yugoslavia;
  • That Parliament instruct the Government of Canada to:
  1. apologize to all innocent civilian victims of the NATO bombing and to establish mechanisms and make available resources for justly compensating them for damages and losses incurred as a result of the bombing, proportionate to Canadian involvement;
  2. demand, through the UN Security Council, the immediate cessation of the killing and ethnic cleansing of the non-Albanian population of Kosovo, including specific instructions to KFOR military commanders and UN administration in the province;
  3. insist on immediate and full implementation of all elements of UN resolution 1244 on Kosovo;
  4. initiate negotiations for a peaceful and equitable solution to the Kosovo problem, with full respect of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Yugoslavia, leading to complete and safe return to Kosovo of all its inhabitants, regardless of their ethnicity; this political process must exclude militants and extremists on all sides.

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. Canada’s children must never be ashamed of their history.

Yours respectfully,

The Ottawa Serbian Heritage Society
3662 Albion Rd. South, Gloucester, Ontario, K1T 1A3, serbian.heritage@ottawa.com

***

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Thank you for reading emperors-clothes and thank you for helping us do this work. All of us who are fighting to pierce the fog of lies - all of us are a team. A growing team.

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