ON IDEOLOGICAL WARS IN AND OUT OF SERBIA



R.K.Kent


For sometime now one has had the opportunity to witness heated
discussions in and out of Serbia about its future. Two positions seem
to predominate. One uses the Serbs as a battering ram with which to pry
open the behind-the-scenes Capitalist conspiracies and prevent them
from having a global success. The other wants the Serbs to stop being
Serbs and ditch even patriotism in favor of becoming "normal" by
adopting a "free market" economy , "entering into Europe" and even
forming a "strategic alliance" with the United States.


The anti-Imperialist Left, best represented in the U.S. by Jared
Israel , wishes the Serbs to stand tall against the current U.S.
Corporate Fascists, bring their drive for the New World Order to an
insurmountable Balkan obstacle, put to shame NATO’s cowardly bomber
leaders and be prepared to suffer beyond the sufferings already
inflicted after eight years of economic sanctions, eleven weeks of
bombings, and the "cleansing" of some million Serbs from other parts of
the ex-Yugoslav space. Slobodan Milosevic remains the point man of this
tendency because he is regarded as a leader who would continue Serb
resistance to the U.S. Imperial domination and stick to a socialist
model of Serb economy.in contrast to the socially and economically
destructive Capitalist incursions through IMF, WTO and the like. The
Opposition to Milosevic has been quite simply bought with dollars and
marks carried in with suitcases. Most of its members, save Kostunuca as
a transient phenomenon, have "betrayed" the Serbs as a whole. To even
think, after being savagely bombed for eleven weeks by NATO, that this
major war crime under the Open Skies ought to be forgiven and forgotten
in favor of ingratiation with the "West," represents an unacceptable
degree of national humiliation.


At the other end of the spectrum one could easily find Zoiran Djindjic
in Serbia itself He advocates policies rooted in the premise that if
"you can’t lick’em join’em." Bust up the Yugoslav centralist
Federation, making Kosovo, Montenegro and Vojvodina Serbia’s co-equal.
Eliminate the position of "Federal" Presidency (out goes Kostunica by
eliminating his job). Become a partner to the U.S. "strategic
interests," with Yugoslavia as a NATO base ready to assist the coming
control of Eurasian Hartland with its vast oil resources. Put through
all of the G17 reform proposals. Let the German and U.S. corporations
take Serbia over. Turn the Serbs into a most desirable work force at
once skilled and cheap. Let them become avid consumers of imported
products many of which amout to no more than conspicuous consumption.
Long Live Capitalism in Serbia and milk and honey will flow. The
"Russkies did not stand with us" anyway, let’s have a new patron, Uncle
Sam, with maybe an insatiable Fritz der Katze right behind him. There
will be no more sanctions, no more suffereing. Period. The Serb people
want to join Europe. That is why they revolted.



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If the choice were a simple one, trading the current suffering for a
period of immediate relief and some prosperity against a possibly less
comfortable economic future (without a certain date) , any logical
person would accept temporary relief against an uncertain future. Large
numbers of the unemployed with families to feed spell an irresistible
attraction not to think about new types of social and economic
dislocations. With a million refugees, with a per capita income fallen
to a pitiful level "The Economy Stupid" takes precedence over other
considerations. Who wants to go on forever resisting the remaining
super-Power when it is willing to reward dependency and punish
iundependence? No need to opt again for the "Heavenly Kingdom" through
repeated defeats as in 1389. Let’s go for the "Kingdom on the Earth"
this time and maybe, just maybe we will be laughing on our way to some
real banks.Fortunately , neither of the two action scenarios for the
future (Jared/Zoran} is full-proof and, as historians know only too
well from the study of history, predicting the future with accuracy
is, at best, a matter of luck and not of science.

As the finger- pointing goes on in Belgrade as to who is who’s "agent,"
it is necessary to mention a few cardinal facts. While the punitive and
basically cowardly NATO attacks came about and went on, Milosevic’s
refusal to knuckle under and yell "Uncle" makes him at once an
anti-Imperialist hero and a defender of the Serbs. If the second role
were unquestionably true no one in his right mind should fault him on
the former. Where one falls on this issue is of basic importance. Did
everything he has done really "defend the Serbs" or has he used this
role to maintain himself in power The basic facts are simple. His
amassing of power involved, inter alia, the stabbing in the back of his
mentor and friend, Stambolic. Until Yugoslavia started to break-up
Milosevic did not have the pedigree of an ardent Serb Nationalist.
After assuring the Serbs of Krajina and Bosnia of his unflagging support
not to live under Franjo Tudjman’s neo-Fascist Croatia or in Alija
Izetbegovic’s Islamic Republic he did not follow through. At Dayton, he
accepted the NATO occupation of Bosnia as well. Did he or did he not
have much choice once the U.S. joined the side of Croatia and the
Bosnian Muslims? Only fine historical tuning, with the proper chronology
and full documentation (written and oral) can provide the definitive
answer. But, the feeling among the Serb refugees from Krajina and Bosnia
is that Milosevic had abandoned them.

After 78 days of bombings he accepted the NATO occupation of Kosovo, an
integral part of Serbia and truncated Yugoslavia. Unprotected , despite
the presence of NATO troops and a U.N. Administration under a prominent
French Serbophobe, the Serbs were and are ethnically cleansed by
Albanian terror. Less than 100,000 remain today, encapsulated in ghettos
with a quasi-KFOR protection. No true Serb leader could have turned
Kosovo over to a NATO protectorate and an Albanian Colony of the United
States(now with its second bastion in Europe at Camp Bondsteel) without
losing support of his own people. Kostunica’s recent statement that
independence for Kosovo would destabilize the region reveals a profound
understanding of the problems involved precisely because he is a Serb
defender, a patriot as Kostunica describes himself. His request for the
return to Kosovo of Serb and other refugees turns the tables properly on
the NATO forces and puts him on the same moral pedestal occupied for so
long by Western Humanitarians who demanded everywhere the return of
refugees except those Serbs expelled from Kosovo via "justifiable
retribution." The Nationalist cacoon around Milosevic was crafted

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to shield and perpetuate his hold on power , nothing much more. When the
anti-Imperialists find it necessary to line-up behind Milosevic (without
saying so openly) they are doing the same thing that the Imperialists
have done by constantly using him as a substitute for Serbs as a
whole.In short, Milosevic has never been nor is he now to be equated
with the Serbs as a people.


Throughout the years of punishments that hurt mainly the Serb people,
leaders of NATO, spearheaded by a pontificating U.S. Secretary of State
and the hysterical evangelist of 10 Downing Street, claimed repeatedly
that they are not "against the Serb people" but only against
"Milosevic." Now that he has fallen from power two major demands are
already throwing doubt
on this claim. To be eligible for re-inclusion into the Human Race the
Serbs must stop denying the atrocities committed by the Serb miliary and
para-military. They must not complain at the same time about what was
done to them to incite such atrocities. Moreover, they must deliver
Milosevic and other Serb "war criminals" to the Hague Tribunal. The only
division between the U.S. "strategists" and those of Western Europe
involves timing. The Europeans are for greater patience. Neither will
easily admit that the Hague Tribunal is a sham until and unless it
becomes increasingly painful and counterproductive to use it again and
again to "punish the Serbs." Its contention that the Serbs were mainly
indicted because they committed the earliest and numerically most
significant atrocities cannot withstand serious scrutiny.


This provides a rare opportunity for the new Serb Government to do
something that needs to be done. Yes, we are prepared to abandon the
denials but would you be willing to admit that the78 days of bombing
civilian targets constitute a war crime and a crime against humanity,
always assuming that you do regard the Serbs as humans? Next, all of
the accusations come from the NATO members. For example, the third
market-place massacre at Sarajevo, immediately attributed to the Serbs,
led, within hours, to the NATO bombings of Bosnian Serb positions. In
the same sense, the massacre attributed to the Serbs at Racak,
"galvanized" NATO to go into its "air war" over Yugoslavia. Now, it is a
known fact that a U.N. report in situ exculpated the Serbs for the third
-market- place massacre but the text was ordered into the "Secret" U.N.
file by the then Ambassador Mdeleine Albright. It is still there. At
Racak, the Serb police notified actually the U.S. special envoy Walker
that an attack will be launched on Racak as a KLA stronghold. The next
day, there were 47 bodies in an open mass-grave to which Mr. Walker and
the TV cameras were brought by the KLA. He declared at once. "this is a
masacre." After being routinely accused of re-burying bodies to hide
their massacres, the Serb suddenly did not even bury the bodies.
Moreover, the bodies had been moved as there were no spent cartridges at
the site. Ambassadsor Walker has a long record of involvement with
bodies and real massacres in Latin America

Items of this nature and their obvious proximity to acts of war against
the Serbs cannot condone a passive Serb acceptance of claims made by the
very people that bombed them Minimal fairness and logic would require
that the Serbs themselves undertake an investigation of claims made by
the NATO sources. If they prove to be accurate, no denials are in order.
The perpetrators should

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be arrested and tried in Serbia’s courts without undue delays. At the
option of Serb judiciary, the guilty parties, sentenced at home ,
could be given the same range of sentences applicable to the Hague
Tribunal and up to 20 years. If the accusations prove to be unprovable
or yet false NATO owes the Serbs some apologies in these two particular
cases. Even Srebrenica requires a mixed fact-finding commission as there
are a host of questions never answered and a context never kicked -in.
How can a Democratic West refuse the right to the Serbs to investigate
its allegations against the Serbs before abandoning the denials, as
requested?


The men and women behind the 78 days of destruction from the air over
Yugoslavia know that they have committed a war crime and a crime against
humanity but will never admit to have so done. They know that the
bombing of Serbia took off the Imperial mask and earned a lot of
resentment around the globe. They are aware that a host of Citizens’
Tribunals in Europe and North America have found them guilty. The power
of these mini-Tribunals is entirely moral. They have no funds and no
chance for legal redress. In order to pull the moral rug from under them
and still justify their crimes as a "virtuous war" they are not likely
to be stupid enough to jump on "the Serbs" with a list of immediate
demands that simply restate all the Serbophobic desiderata before the
fall of Milosevic. A recently proposed Congressional bill by the
"two Joes," Biden and Lieberman wanted to do just that but was derailed
for the time being.


After a decade of structured, deliberate cerebral terror against them
the Serbs must be aware that thousands of men and women in the West, at
all levels, are infected with Serbophobia and make a good living through
Serb bashings. The Serbs still face the tyranny of scribal and
audio-visual clerks. It is the hardest kind of tyranny to cope with Many
people in the Western media not so infected simply parrot the same
unproven allegations without even knowing what they read or caring about
their adverse impact. Adverse first at home by promoting ethnic hate and
adverse
in the effect they continue to have on the bruised Serb psyche. There
has to be a counter attack in this area. Serbs in the diaspora must
amass by donations funds to engage a Public Relations Firm (other than
Ruder Finn) to go after the Serbophobes, clerks and all. Americans of
both Serb and other descents must be willing to bring class action suits
against any one or group engaged in hate-mongering against the Serbs as
a people. A number of laws already on books can help in that endeavor.
Congress should be urged to ban donations to its members by ethnicities
which promote hate-mongering and military interventions against other
ethnicities, as the Albanian PAC have done in the U.S., along with
Croatian and Bosnian Mulsim lobbies before them. Characteristically, no
Serb PAC donations came into play. The Public Relation firm of Ruder
Finn ,which sigle-handedly persuaded many Americans of Jewish faith that
the Serbs are neo-Nazi butchers, once proposed to defend the Serbs from
a poor image abroad but it was turned down.


The time has come to stop ideological struggles and accusations. Let us
concentrate on three basic goals. Getting substantial Reconstruction aid
from the West to undo the physical damage caused by NATO to the tune of
$100 billion should be one priority. Lifting all the sanctions

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without delay instead of incrementally is the very next priority. Both
of these measures were firmly promised once Milosevic steps down, no ifs
and buts.It is delivery time. While the claim that Serbia under
Milosevic has had a socialist economy is at best a bad joke, let us all
work for a humane alleviation of Serbia’s economic woes while opposing
rapacious globalization.The Serbs have been traumatised enough. It is
healing time.The third basic goal must be the dissolution of the Hague
Tribunal for Yugoslavia. A substantial literature revealing its origins,
practices and nature should assist this endeavor but the American People
willhave to be informed about the truth in some very wide ways. They
need to be told that the only sure way to avoid future tragedies in the
ex-Yugoslav space is to help each of the major ethnicities to punish its
own "defenders" who did, in fact, commit war crimes and crimes against
humanity.


Apart from his devotion to the fight against U.S. Imperialism, Jared
Israel is admirable in his indefatigable digging for documentation. More
than anyone else, he has warned everyone that the Serbs are far from
being out of the Imperialist "drang nach Osten." This writer would like
to conclude on a note about Jared’s recovery of Milosevic’s "infamous"
Kosovo speech. After doing historical research for over three decades in
archival (and other) sources, if anything can be learned about written
documents it is that these almost invariably show how interpretations
and claims about their real contents seldom even approach what is in the
texts..But, to arrive at the value of any written source it must be
placed in its context. The Milosevic speech did not incite
hate-mongering against Kosovo’s Albanians.He did not make a fiery
nationalist speech meant to incite Serb revenge. He played the "Yugoslav
card"instead.


Equally, Milosevic did not abolish Kosovo’s autonomy as has been
constantly claimed. He suspended it in 1989, pending a return to some
sort of a pre-1974 modus vivendi between the Albanian ethnic majority
and all the other minorities at Kosovo. Just under a decade later, this
act was twisted so that Albanian separatists and the international drug
cartel that supports them could have the pretext for a guerrilla war
Their inspiration and hope for U.S. support came from the patronage of
Bob Dole but even more from Dayton. Since the constitutional revision
of 1974 the Kosovo Albanians used it to terrorize local Serbs and
induce them to leave Kosovo in ever greater numbers. But, that has been
the real practice since World War II as well as during Tito’s rule. It
even has much older antecedents which explain why a predominantly Serb
area, the birth-place of its culture and state. with an overwhelming
Serb majority, was gradually cleansed to reduce the Serbs to a minority
in their own home. It is a pity that the baby-boomers in the U.S. are
innocent of the true historical sequence of events at Kosovo. Yet, it is
far worse that they do not even care to know when they walk into a
situation as if nothing existed beforehand..

BERKELEY 11 OCTOBER 2000