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(E) NOW is the time to talk about CROATIA ...
By Nenad N. Bach | Published  02/21/2002 | Opinions | Unrated
(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, 
Davor Pavuna 
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 
the enemy? 
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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