Hope on the Balkans Kosov@ Crisis 1999
Free Serbia: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
April 10th, 1999
* Why are we against NATO intervention?
* Why are we against Milosevic?
* So, why don't we overthrow Milosevic now?
* What awaits Serbia when the intervention ends?
* Why do the Serbs hate Americans?
* Then how come so many people take part in anti-NATO protests in Yugoslavia every day?
* Why is Kosovo so important to the Serbs?
* Why do we think that criticizing the government at this particular moment does not constitute a betrayal of the state and its interests?
* Who are we?
Why are we against NATO intervention?
Primarily, because violence never brought a lasting peace. Violence coming from one side provokes violence from the other side. If you think that forcing the "who started first" issue may bring us to the right track, you are wrong. That can only lead to an endless spiral of violence and brutality where only few can return from. It's unnecessary to go into details such as: why does bloodshed lead to nowhere, why nobody likes to spend nights in shelters, worrying about the very lives of their dearest and friends, or why is the use of force for solving an internal problem of a sovereign country an extremely dangerous precedent in international law.
Why are we against Milosevic?
Because his rule is not democratic. He rejects even any thought of introducing democracy. He actually introduces elements of democracy only when forced to, in practice a mercifull tossing of crumbs off his table to the citizens of Serbia. Whenever he gets a chance to withdraw these concessions, he does - without any remorse at all. All in all, the regime in Serbia stops short of nothing to reinforce its power, and all the decisions of any importance to the state are made by one man - Slobodan Milosevic. We don't accept that, and never will.
Why don't we overthrow Milosevic now?
Because we have a state of war declared here. Under the shield of this stat, the last remainders of independent media, where the people could be told about some anti-regime protests, were removed. The government issued an array of commandments which put limits to basic human rights - like the police being entitled to search apartments without a warrant, open any mail, keep anyone under arrest for more than 24 hours... Anyone who thinks differently is automatically and publicly declared as a defeatist and a traitor, which makes a case for a court martial. Needless to mention that it's so easy to "disappear in the dark", because the extreme right and the regime have opened a hunting season against any other point of view in Serbia.
What awaits Serbia when the intervention ends?
One great nothing. It will be ruled by one-mindedness, overall poverty, it will turn into a grand building site, and the universities will become party schools. There won't be any Albanians in Kosovo, and tens of thousands of Serbs will have been shot. If we survive, we will live in a land without any free media, insulated from the world and its culture. Travelling abroad will be an ancient dream. In a word, a ghetto. A ghetto for 10 million Europeans not wanted by Europe... no chances for a change... only two years before the 21st century.
Why do the Serbs hate Americans?
They don't. It can't be generalized like that, aside from dangers of such a generalization. It is, of course, clear that in any conflict, the leaders of the conflicting sides try to impose exactly this kind of generalization to their own public opinion, to justify the conflict.
Then how come so many people take part in anti-NATO protests in Yugoslavia every day?
We've probably answered part of this already. It's that all the citizens of Serbia feel endangered by NATO, because they're neither attacking just military targets, nor are they so precise as their officials say. But is an anti-NATO feeling also anti-democratic? Does "I'm against NATO intervention" mean "I'm against human rights"? Some Western officials are trying to sell this theory to the world's public; we can't possibly buy that.
Why is Kosovo so important to the Serbs?
Beyond the obvious reason of Kosovo's being a part of the Serbian territory, there are also extremely strong historical reasons. To skip the involvement with detailed historical considerations, it may be better to, if you are curious enough, look for the answer to this question in "The Myth of Kosovo" , a text by William Malins, who was a London representative of a Swiss non-government foundation "ARCH", which, among other issues, investigated the chronology of wartime destruction of cultural monuments in Croatia and Bosnia. Also, you can look Kosovo - Why is all this happening by Zoran Milutinovic, Belgrade University professor.
Why do we think that criticizing the government at this particular moment does not constitute a betrayal of the state and its interests?
Our opinion really is that, regardless of the country's state of war, we have the right to criticize the government - from tragicomical appearances of official Yugosalv representatives in foreign media (praise the exceptions!), through managing of state affairs during the state of war, to the policy which led the country into this state... Of course, we have no doubts that we will be denounced as greatest traitors of the Serbian nation, thus accused of undermining the defense ability of the country, being foreign mercenaries, and anything from the well know regime arsenal of accusations against those who think differently. We've gotten used to that already ;-)
Who are we?
We are a group of mostly younger people, have been fighting for democratization of Serbia and Yugoslavia for ten years now. We are not an organization in any meaning of the word, though among us there are members of several parties, non-government and student organizations, but the troubles have forced us to get organized in this virtual space, and to represent our attitudes, when it was not possible to do it "properly", to domestic and global public by means of this web site. We know that our attitude - against NATO intervention, but (maybe also in spite of this ;) against Milosevic's regime as well - is not popular by either of the sides taking part in this conflict, but at the moment we feel threatened by both NATO and Milosevic. We hope that, with your help, we'll succeed in spreading the voice of reason to those who are held most responsible for the whole present situation in Yugoslavia - the NATO countries' leaders and the leading set in Serbia.
Free Serbia - Other Voices From Serbia Web team
(c) Copyrights Free Serbia, 1999.
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