Keith Sanborn on Wed, 7 Apr 1999 08:11:09 +0200 (CEST)

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 Yesterday, I saw on TV couple more crashed bridges and rails,
    this time in central Serbia. I think I start to realise why
    NATO is doing this. They are probably preparing the occupation
    of Vojvodina (northern Serbian province) from Hungary. Downing
    bridges in central Serbia is probably aimed to disable the
    reinforcements in case of Kosovo occupation... Looks nice on
    paper... Soon, everybody will forget why NATO started this
    whole operation and whole Yugoslavia will be occupied by foreign
    troops for the third time in 20th century...

There is flawless and sad logic here, but the key words, "reinforcements"
and "occupation," make me ask of whom and by whom. I don't support the
oppression of anyone, but that makes me oppose of the attack on the
Albanian-speaking residents of Kosovo murdered or forced from their homes
by the Serbian army and paramilitary forces. That is worse than the
"humanitarian catastrophe" to which you allude; that is "ethnic cleansing."
What about the camps on the border of Macedonia? Are those not an
"humanitarian catastrophe"?

I am certain there are many people in Yugoslavia who oppose both. How is it
they are paralyzed? How do broken bridges and broken windows compare to
broken bodies? That is not a rhetorical question. I don't think they
compare at all, but we are forced to confront both. It is a sad balance
sheet that results. So many broken lives.

Ironically, I can only suppose that the Albanian-speaking people of Kossovo
felt occupied by foreign troops as the Serbian army and paramilitary troops
entered Kossovo. Kossovo had been abandoned to them as undesirable; an
industrial wasteland. I know that Kossovo has a deep place in the Serbian
national myth; the site---not a website--of a great massacre in the 13th
century. I know something of the bitterness against Moslems among Serbian
Christians that has lasted 700 years or more. Happy Easter!!! Let us
celebrate!!! Kossovo is once more safely Serbian and Christian!!!

I am reminded of the sad situation of the Palestinians in Israel. They live
in concentration camps. Yes, I have seen them with my own eyes: 20 ft high
barbed wire fences with armed Israeli solidiers to patrol them. I know what
it is to have one of those soliders exercise the gentle persuasion of
sticking a gun in my face. But if I try to work through the analogy, I am
at a loss. I see who the oppressors are and yet their claims go back even
further than 700 years. Their loss of a nation state brought a terrible
diaspora. Would the"loss" of Kossovo do the same?

The nation state and nationalism are one of the causes of the greatest
evils of our time, but what should replace them? and how? Edward Said has
called for a multi----shall we call it "ethnic"---Palestine/Israel. Would
someone explain to me why this is not possible in "Yugoslavia"? Several
decades of evidence says it is.

Keith Sanborn

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