michael.benson on Thu, 5 Mar 1998 09:15:10 +0100 (MET)

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<nettime> Re: Serbian 'concern'

Richard wrote:

> Of course it's
> possible to have a discussion about Servian rights in Kosovo, and about the
> what is allowed in resistance by etnic Albanians, but I don't think nettime
> is the propper place to conduct this discussion. Or am I wrong?

An interesting question, especially given the more expansive 
parameters recently called for in nettime (more fiction, rants, 
raves, etc.). Way back in the background of certain paintings by 
Pieter Bruegel the Elder, little tiny events can sometimes be seen 
taking place -- a little splash in the water, for example, where 
Icarus fell, or a small insignificant guy dragging a cross through 
the dirt, even a murder or two. In the foreground, usually, 
is a big turbulent blare of humanity, frequently seen collectively 
trying to out-shout each other. The striking thing, in sifting the 
infosphere the last couple days, is how downplayed Kosovo has been. 
The feeling seems to be, 'oh no, not more of THAT. We saw that movie. 
It wasn't very entertaining the first time around.' I'm certainly not 
suggesting this is Richard's view. I'm just responding to the idea 
that this type of discussion would be more suitable -- well, 
elsewhere. And given the nature of the 'OK Richard van den Brink... 
Be serious... my atrocity photos are more valid than yours' response 
from Andrej Tisma, I can certainly understand why he would think that 
maybe nettime wasn't really a bar big enough for the discussion.

Still, I do think that there's a danger, sometimes, of getting lost 
in the digitized foreground while yet another front opens up in what 
has been the most disgusting revival of fascism in post-war European 
history. I guess we probably do all have better things to talk 
about, and in calmer tones. It's instructive that in their new 75th 
anniversary issue, Time magazine lists (under the heading "Misses") 
as one of their all-time worst selling covers, the May 17th "Anguish 
Over Bosnia" issue. Up above, we see that the best sellers (the 
"Hits") were two Death of Di covers -- way at the top -- and a War in 
the Gulf cover. Leaving aside the target-oriented metaphor of the 
headlines, the "miss" that I cited -- well, it's not a dud because 
it's about death, or about war either, really, is it? Rather it's a 
matter of packaging and production values.The death of a glamorous 
princess and surgical strikes from the sky by the full force 
of the almighty US Air Force have, let's admit it, more entertainment 
value than another tedious low-budget police action by Serbian 
paramilitaries to quell the secessionist/terrorist activities of all 
those inconvenient foreigners who have been encamped on their 
territory for the last couple thousand years. So probably we should 
all thank Andrej Tisma for his 'concern', and even for reminding us 
all that "In two days policemen could kill at least 2000 unarmed 
civilians". (While I get the feeling it might be unwise to quibble 
over such statistics, given the evident relish of the opinion, I 
assume that he means either: A. policemen not armed with  
of heavy artillery, in which case the numbers, as previous recent 
'police actions' in a nearby region have shown, can be far higher, or 
B. policemen not supplied with a steady stream of terrified prisoners 
packed into trucks, in which case the numbers, as previous recent 
'police actions' in a nearby region have shown, can be far higher.) 

Andrej Tisma says "Terrorism has to be destroyed. There should be no 
sentimentality." Well there it is, all inconveniently frothed up, 
written down and mailed out to the nettime list. The thing that keeps 
me up at night is that I completely agree with him. 

Michael Benson

website: http://lois.kud-fp.si/kinetikon/ 

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