» (E) NOW is the time to talk about CROATIA ...
|(E) NOW is the time to talk about CROATIA ...
|By Nenad N. Bach |
(E) NOW is the time to talk about CROATIA ...
Dragi Hrvati(ce), oprostite sto je ovo na engleskom,
ali trenutak je povijesno vazan, nadasve ...
... u engleskom medijskom podrucju ...
Dear Croats in North America and elsewhere,
With all the attention of the media now focussed on our Golden Janica
and with the 'Butcher of the Balkans' now under trial ... it is a rather
favorable moment that we INDIVIDUALLY use our media-related talents
and do as much as we can, individually and jointly, at removing
years of lies concerning Croatia(ns) in the English-speaking media ...
or simply - to enhance the positive image of Croatia(ns).
Whether you will write a brief letter to your local journal
or talk to the people in your Parish or just to a few friends,
please notice: NOW is one of those magic moments in time
when we all have to ACT - that will surely results in brighter future
for our children everywhere (as north American media are powerfull).
It is nice to celebrate Janica's victories, but we ALL count and
given the fact that we have far too many enemies and that the
old dream of greater Serbia is still alive (ses the message below)
now is the time to act, positively and responsibly.
Thanks in advance, on behalf of all our children,
WELCOME TO IWPR'S BALKAN CRISIS REPORT, NO. 319, February 20, 2002
COMMENT: SERBS IN NO MOOD TO REPENT
Western leaders are kidding themselves if they think the Milosevic trial
will prompt Serbs to reassess the former Yugoslav president's nationalist
By Petar Lukovic from Belgrade
A not particularly intelligent journalist from the West might be impressed
by the fact that Slobodan Milosevic is defending himself, just like in the
film "Home Alone".
But having lived all these years under Milosevic and his wife Mira, not a
single word said by SM at The Hague comes as news to me. I have heard it
all a thousand times.
I have heard how he defended Yugoslavia, believed in peace and tried to
find a solution for all its peoples and nationalities. That he is neither
a nationalist nor a racist. That he did nothing bad in Kosovo, nor in
Bosnia and Croatia. That he was against the bombing of Sarajevo. That it
is not true that the Serbian army and p olice killed a single civilian.
I get a distinct feeling of "deja vu" hearing all this. It is as if
Milosevic had come back like a boomerang, repeating all the specious
remarks that tripped off his tongue when he ruled Serbia for all those
In addressing the Kosovo conflict first, the tribunal began with the wrong
topic. That clumsy act gave Milosevic the chance to attack The Hague with
all the weapons he has at his disposal.
Now, every time Milosevic is questioned on Serb crimes against the
Albanians, he'll immediately counter with evidence of NATO crimes against
Serb and Albanian civilians. He is not going to let the court off the hook
over the alliance bombing, which is, let's face it, his trump card.
The impression given by the court is that Kosovo was the start of
Milosevic's own jihad. But where are Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia and the
events that took place earlier? A debate on NATO's bombing can only make
sens e after a debate on the previous wars.
So what now? Since Milosevic's fictional account of himself as a
peace-maker directly collides with the Balkan casualty toll - more than
300,000 killed, more than 2 million expelled, more than half a million
wounded - one logical question is whether this trial will help the Serbs
confront his legacy?
You might think this was a real opportunity, if not for total catharsis,
then for the start of a settling of accounts for all the lost years. To
begin with, one might imagine there would be a reassessment of the roles
played by some of the nationalist academics, such as Dobrica Cosic,
Vasilije Krestic, Mihajlo Markovic, other intellectuals who were so imbued
with chauvinism, like Momo Kapor, Dragos Kalajic, Brana Crncevic and
Matija Beckovic, and of war-mongering criminals such as Vojislav Seselj,
Milan Lukic and Veselin Sljivancanin.
Serbs must at some stage come to terms with their recent past. But it
won't be any time soon. Suffice it to say that they will not be switching
on trial coverage to experience some sort of catharsis. At least, it would
be naļve to think so. The feelings of the average Serb, who nowadays is in
love with the new nationalist Yugoslav president Vojislav Kostunica, are
that Milosevic is not guilty.
If he is guilty, so they will tell you in strict confidence, it is only
because he did not deliver what he promised. We are dealing with a loser.
Why don't we have a Serbian Zagreb, a Serbian Rijeka, a Serbian Karlovac,
or a Serbian Dubrovnik, they ask? Where are the Serbs in Croatia? Did we
bomb Sarajevo for all those years just so it could fall into the hands of
Today's Serbia is marketing itself as a modern, democratic country,
dedicated to the ideas of transition and globalisation. But it is still
very far from meeting European standards, not only because it refuses to
extradite the war c riminals who freely stroll around Belgrade, such as
Milan Milutinovic, Dragoljub Ojdanic, Ratko Mladic and Veselin
Sljivancanin, but because Milosevic's spirit, like it or not, still rules
It is incapable of facing the past, and above all, incapable of facing the
reality that Serbia is not Yugoslavia, that it has no claims to Croatia,
Bosnia, or, to everyone's deep sorrow, to Kosovo.
To hope that The Hague might pave the way for a collective Serbian
catharsis is about as realistic as thinking that Kosovo will remain in
Serbia or that Slovenia will be so good as to ask to rejoin some form of
There can be no reassessment of Milosevic's legacy as long as the new
authorities maintain their ambivalent attitude to the criminal past; as
long as the question of responsibility is seen as relative; as long as
Momcilo Perisic, the "Knight of Mostar" and an ex-general who brought
misfortune to so many cities, sits in th e Serbian government; and as long
as the extreme nationalist Vojislav Seselj propounds his extreme version
of Kostunica's own policy.
As the Milosevic trial gets underway, I see little sign that ordinary
Serbs are remotely interested in drama unfolding in The Hague. People go
about their business as usual. The cafes are full. The few people who are
employed go to work. The beggars work in three shifts.
And as far for me, I see no reason why I should sit at home in front of
the TV and listen to Slobodan Milosevic when I was forced to do so for the
passt 14 years.
Petar Lukovic is a leading Belgrade commentator
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