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Yugoslav auto workers appealed to NATO's humanity
'We did not believe they would bomb us.'

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Below is the statement issued by the auto workers from  Kraguyevatz, known as Automobile City, in Serbia, before NATO bombed their factory:

Letter from
Workers at the Zastava Plant

In keeping with our decision, we, the employees of ZASTAVA and citizens of freedom-loving Kragujevac, made a live shield of 8,240 men in the ZASTAVA factory area at 2 p.m. local time yesterday. And even at the shift end, even at the alarm sound, the ZASTAVA workers did not leave their workshops, but remained to protect with their bodies what provides for their and their families' living, that which they have built in years-long honest work in order to provide for their better future. Herewith we advise you that also henceforth, as long as the war operations go on, we shall remain within the factory area of 305 hectares, at 44 N and 20 E. We took the decision to occasionally go out of the workshops and hold rallies and protest walks in the factory yard.

Workers, citizens of Kragujevac, and members of their families are availing themselves of this opportunity to publicly announce on behalf of their colleagues and co-citizens of Kragujevac what they think about this insane act [i.e., the NATO bombing] and what they believe in.

Therefore we want you to know that the attack on our factory shall mean a direct death to thousands of men and an enormous spiritual and material loss to their families.

We, the citizens and workers of Kragujevac, cannot understand how governments of your countries think that the air raids, wildly conducted upon our country, destroying not only military premises but also important economic and civil premises, including even schools and hospitals, would contribute to the humanitarian goals that they verbally advocate. We cannot indeed understand how the pulled down schools and hospitals, destroyed factories and gross civilian victims would contribute to a general idea of humanness.

We do not know how to explain to our children, already years-long famished by sanctions, whose schools are being pulled down now, and their lives brought into the question - what do the ideas of humanity, freedom, and equality mean, the ideas that the great minds, precisely from your cultures, were so nicely explaining in their works and supporting also by their deeds, often at the price of own lives.

Have this great freedom-loving and philosophical ideas dispersed with the NATO strategy prepared for the end of this millennium? We do not want to believe that this had happened because we wish that all which has been great in human civilization since its nascent to this date be conveyed into the new era in which we should all live better in the now already quite a global world.

We feel encouraged because the public we are addressing has consciousness and expresses indignation at this trifling with the fate of the entire humanity, considering the destructive power of the threatening weapons.

We are appealing to this already awakening public, wishing them to still more loudly raise their voice against the destruction of the human quality in men, of the achievements that all the generations since Egyptians, Assyrians, peoples of ancient China and India, over all European and non-European peoples, have been creating to these days.

Signed,
EMPLOYEES AND MANAGEMENT OF ZASTAVA AND CITIZENS OF KRAGUJEVAC - March 27, 1999

***

Below is a news report published two weeks later:

Car Workers
Condemn NATO Murderers

KRAGUJEVAC, Yugoslavia, April 11 (South News)

Car workers wore black targets and carried placards condemning "NATO murderers" for the bombing of its production plants early on Friday in this central Serbian town.

The car factory ''Crvena Zastava'' (Red Flag) in the city of Kragujevac, the largest manufacture of cars in Balkans,120 kilometers south of Belgrade, was protected for days by a "live shield" consisting of factory's employees and their children and families.

Employees with their families and children formed the "live shield" attempting to save their workplace from destruction. They stayed in the factory 24 hours a day, after their work shifts and during the air-raid alert as well. Tens of those forming the shield were killed. 23 of the124 suffering injuries were still in the hospital, while six were in the intensive care units, Slavica Djukic Dejanovic of the Kragujevac hospital, said Saturday.

Five of Zastava's 50 production plants where Zastava's most popular car, the Yugo, were demolished after NATO bombing, its general manager said today.

"The bombing was like a micro-surgical operation. They hit in the center of each plant. Look what damage they did with six bombs in 10 seconds,'' said Zastava's general manager, Mr. Milan Beko.

He said painting, power, truck and blacksmith plants had also been demolished. Walking around the 60-hectare plant was made foreign journalists saw freshly painted car bodies lying in ruin, while engine parts protruded from debris and broken glass.

Mr. Beko estimated the damage would cost hundreds of millions of dollars as the 150-year-old factory had been "paralyzed''. Mr. Beko denied that Zastava, also known for arms production, had built any military weapons or two years.

"It is nonsense to call this factory a military one,'' Mr. Beko said, pointing to the destroyed Yugos. "Judge for yourself if this is a military target.''

Beko said that 38,000 of Zastava's workers, and 60,000 from 200 companies linked to it, were now out of work.

Beko estimated the damage at "a couple of hundred million dollars", but added it could be more because the "whole factory, founded 150 years ago "is paralyzed."

"We are out of bread now. I hope that NATO will stop bombing us," Jelena Vuckovic, one of the injured workers, said. Dejan Popovic, 30, who was injured in arms, said: "We did not believe they would bomb us. It is impossible to describe."

The region of Kragujevac has been a target of NATO raids several times, since the start of the bombing campaign on March 24. Beside the factory, a power plant also provide heat to some 11,000 apartments in this central Serbian town. Hospitals, schools, nurseries, housing facilities and other objects in the town are left without heating.120 kilometers (75 miles) south of Belgrade, officials said.

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It is Time We Were Told the Truth...

'JUDGMENT'

Video Available now

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On August 6th, 1992, twenty minutes after the pictures were shown on TV, President Bush held a press conference. With the world horrified by what they thought they saw, President Bush demanded "tighten[ing] economic sanctions on Serbia so that all understand that there is a real price to be paid for the Serbian government's continued aggression."

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It is ironic that by slandering the Serbian people and their moderate Muslim allies, British ITN aided the Islamist Bosnian government. For that government was based on fanaticism. It worked closely with Islamist terrorists like Osama bin Laden.

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