Ivo Skoric on Sat, 24 Apr 1999 00:07:29 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> ivogram 042399.2

Ivo Skoric <ivo@reporters.net>
         Kosovo: medical emergency
         (Fwd) WSWS on the war against Yugoslavia
         (Fwd) Women In Black New York Vigil on Wedesday April 28

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From: "Ivo Skoric" <ivo@reporters.net>
Date: Fri, 23 Apr 1999 15:27:05 +0000
Subject: Prevlaka

Does Milosevic want to re-open the war with Croatia? And does he have 
the means to pursue it?

(the only thing that Mark T. misinterpretes in his article bellow is 
that the principal deep-water port of Yugoslavia today is Bar and not 


------- Forwarded Message Follows -------



Since 1992, this disputed peninsula has remained quiet, but effectively
blocked, and talks got nowhere--leaving Milosevic another card to play
against Croatia and Montenegro. This week, he checked his hand.

By Mark Thompson

Yugoslav soldiers entered a demilitarised zone separating Croatia and
Montenegro on Tuesday, April 20--demonstrating that Belgrade still has
plenty of potential to cause trouble away from the main theatre of Kosovo.

Since October 1992, Prevlaka, Croatia's southern-most peninsula, has been
closed to everyone except 28 UN monitors. While Croatia's ambassador to the
UN, Ivan Simonovic, has complained to the Security Council that up to 300
Yugoslav troops had moved into the DMZ, the UN monitors themselves numbered
only 20.

This southern-most tip of Croatia lies about 40 kilometres south of
Dubrovnik and only 2 kilometres from the border with Montenegro. A couple
of kilometres in length and half a kilometre wide, Prevlaka projects part
way across the mouth of the Kotor Bay, Yugoslavia's principal deep-water

Prevlaka had been a military base for decades before Croatia won its
independence, and the Montenegrin headland on the opposite, southern side
of the bay is riddled with military installations--allegedly including
missile sites.

When Yugoslav forces withdrew from Croatia in 1992, they refused to abandon
Prevlaka and its hinterland before they had secured an agreement to keep
the area demilitarised, under UN supervision, until the two parties reached
a final settlement to ensure security between Dubrovnik and Kotor.

The wider demilitarised zone agreed in 1992 stretches to a depth of 5
kilometres on either side of the Croatian-Yugoslav border, which extends
for some 79 kilometres between Kotor Bay and the border with Bosnia and

In practice, neither side fully respects the DMZ. Yugoslav troops have
never withdrawn from positions near the Bosnian border, while Croatian
"special police" occupy bunkers beside Prevlaka, where they have no
business being. Both sides retain heavy weapons near the border.

Nevertheless, the area has remained remarkably stable for a long time.
Despite occasional minor incidents or provocations, no shot has been fired
since 1995. Every six months, the Security Council reviews the situation
for two or three minutes before authorising a further extension of the UN
monitors' mandate there.

The main responsibility for the failure to resolve the issue lies with
Belgrade, which has resorted to a variety of time-wasting tactics to
forestall serious talks. Presumably, it has done so to retain potential
leverage against both Croatia and Montenegro which is may be seeking to
call upon now.

Belgrade insists that Prevlaka is a territorial dispute to be solved by
changing the international border--a position rejected by Croatia and the
rest of the international community.

For its part, Zagreb has kept fairly quiet on the issue. This is 
partly because President Franjo Tudjman has previously entertained a 
possible land deal exchanging Prevlaka for territory in Herzegovina, 
behind Dubrovnik. But by putting paid to any such schemes to change 
Bosnia's border, the Dayton Peace Agreement effectively opened the 
way to serious bilateral negotiations. Despite this, Zagreb and 
Belgrade have agreed a statement in 1996 on normalising relations, 
but nothing more on the issue. Meanwhile the border remained closed.

This balance was disturbed by Montenegro's election results in 1998, which
installed a leadership keen to rebuild commercial relations with Croatia.
Late in 1998, encouraged by Podgorica's positive signals and pushed by US
diplomacy, Zagreb tabled a proposal to settle the disputed issue through
bilateral demilitarisation. The Security Council commended the move.
Podgorica and Zagreb then agreed to open the main border-crossing, despite
Belgrade's objections. Belgrade responded by excluding Podgorica from the
Yugoslav team in the on-going Prevlaka talks.

This was how matters stood until earlier this week when Yugoslav troops
took up positions on the last road junction before the border-crossing,
close to the peninsula but still within Montenegro. Croatia promptly
complained to the Security Council that 200 to 300 soldiers had moved into
the DMZ.

It is more than likely that the incursion is indeed intended only as a
signal that Milosevic could indeed make trouble in this little-regarded
corner of the Balkans should he chose to do so. But sideshow or not, great
vigilance should be shown by Croatia, by NATO, and above all by Montenegro,
if Belgrade's symbolic act is not to result in a general heightening of
tensions on all sides.

Mark Thompson, author of The Paper House: The Ending of Yugoslavia
(Vintage, 1992) and Forging War: The Media in Serbia, Croatia and
Bosnia-Herzegovina (Article 19, 1994), was part of the UN mission to
Prevlaka until December 1997.

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From: "Ivo Skoric" <ivo@reporters.net>
Date: Fri, 23 Apr 1999 15:27:20 +0000
Subject: Kosovo: medical emergency

April 22, 1999

For Immediate Release

Contact: Barbara Ayotte (617) 695-0041 ext 210/(617) 776-8020


Eighteen leading ethnic Albanian physicians from Kosovo who have fled to
Macedonia today called upon NATO to employ at once all possible measures to
bring food and medical supplies to the population left in Kosovo. They urge
NATO to arrange for the immediate air drop of food and medicine to the
populations trapped in the countryside within the next two weeks or else it
may be"too late". "Mass death may be imminent" unless help reaches them in
that period, they say.

"Only these two measures, in the view of these respected, senior Pristina
physicians, will offer any reasonable possibility of saving the remnant
populations of Kosovo and effect the return of those who have been forced to
flee," said Jennifer Leaning, MD, a member of the board of Physicians for
Human Rights (PHR) who just interviewed the physicians, now living in Skopje
and Tetova, Macedonia,  arriving since March 24.

"These physicians experienced terrifying threats to themselves and their
families as they fled or were forcibly expelled from Kosovo. Their main
concern, however, is how to avert mass death among the hundreds of thousands
who are still left in Kosovo," said Leaning.

The Kosovar Albanian physicians from the Pristina area report that in the
city of Pristina there is very little food left in the homes and
neighborhoods where people are trapped.  People are unable to leave their
apartments because of armed forces patrolling the streets, snipers, and
marauding gangs of armed Serbian civilians.

A physician who left Pristina on April 15 said that his friends had reported
having reserves of food for their families of only two days to one week.  All
the Albanian stores in Pristina have been looted or burned.  Ethnic Albanians
who dare to go out for milk or bread are turned away by the Serbian police
and are told that only Serbs can wait in line for food.

The Pristina physicians, many of who traveled regularly throughout the
countryside before they were expelled, say the situation now is even more
desperate.  One physician made contact two days ago by cell phone with a
friend in Peja (Pec) who said that 15,000 internally displaced people had
just come to three small villages outside Peja, and there was absolutely no
food or medicine to support them.

Several physicians reported that there are now no medical supplies, surgical
supplies, or medicines of any kind left in the countryside. People in the
cities cannot seek care at the hospitals because it is too dangerous to go
out in the streets and because the hospitals are effectively closed to
Albanians since the Serb authorities dismissed all Albanian staff and
expelled all Albanian patients in late March.

The eighteen physicians interviewed by PHR call upon NATO to employ at once
all possible measures to bring food and medical supplies to the population
left in Kosovo.  They urge NATO to arrange for the immediate air drop of food
and medicine to the populations trapped in the countryside.

They also request that NATO act with the greatest urgency to bring ground
forces into Kosovo in order to rescue those now living in hiding and under
siege, and to locate and liberate the large numbers of men and boys who were
separated from their families by Serb forces and taken to unknown locations.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) has a nine member delegation in Macedonia
and Albania conducting a comprehensive survey of some 1,000 Kosovar refugees
about human rights abuses suffered over the past few weeks. Three members of
the team, led by Dr. Jennifer Leaning, are interviewing physicians about
conditions leading to their flight out of Kosovo. For the past six months,
PHR has reported on the systematic pattern of abuses against ethnic Albanian
physicians and their patients by Serb authorities in Kosovo. PHR has
documented murder of at least three physicians, and harassment, detention,
and torture of physicians-with abuses occurring as far back as the fall of
1998.  Dr. Leaning conducted a training for ethnic Albanian and Serbian
physicians in mid-March on human rights and humanitarian law.

Barbara Ayotte
Physicians for Human Rights
100 Boylston Street, Suite 702
Boston, MA 02116 Tel. (617) 695-0041 Fax. (617) 695-0307
Email: bayotte@phrusa.org http://www.phrusa.org
Submitted by
Nalini Lasiewicz

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From: "Ivo Skoric" <ivo@reporters.net>
Date: Fri, 23 Apr 1999 15:27:22 +0000
Subject: (Fwd) WSWS on the war against Yugoslavia

American left is predictably against NATO intervention:

------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
From:          "Andreas Kuckartz" <A.Kuckartz@ping.de>

Date:          Fri, 23 Apr 1999 09:33:43 +0200

I would like to recommend the articles published by the World Socialist Web
Site on the war.

There are English, German and Russian language topic pages and also a
Serbo-Croatian page.

I especially commend a reply to one of the former opponents of the war
against Vietnam who now supports the bombing of Yugoslavia. This article
deals with most of the arguments of these people in detail.


Selected articles

The Munich Agreement and the US-NATO war against Yugoslavia:
The real lessons of appeasement in the 1930s

Amidst the media propaganda: Key facts in press accounts
refute official rationale for Balkan war

IMF "shock therapy" and the recolonisation of the Balkans

What would be the consequences of a US declaration of war on Yugoslavia?

Behind the war in the Balkans
A reply to a supporter of the US-NATO bombing of Serbia


Topical pages

[English] WSWS - The NATO Attack on Yugoslavia

[German] WSWS - Krieg im Kosovo

[Serbo-Croatian] WSWS - Srpskohrvatski

[Russian] WSWS - War against Yugoslavia

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From: "Ivo Skoric" <ivo@reporters.net>
Date: Fri, 23 Apr 1999 15:26:56 +0000
Subject: (Fwd) Women In Black New York Vigil on Wedesday April 28, from

------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
From:          "Indira Kajosevic" <Ikajosev@afsc.org>



We stand on the last Wednesday of each month, in front ofthe New York Public
Library from 5.30-6.30, 5th Ave. between 41st & 42nd Street.

Please wear black.

For more information contact Indira at 212-560-0905.

A group of us in London co-ordinate occasional actions as 'Women in
Black' (footnote). Although I am actively involved I do not speak 'for'
Women in Black London. What follows is no more than a few personal
thoughts. Just as Women in Black has no formal membership or
spokes-people, neither can it really be said to have a line. But from
all the occasions women have demonstrated together under this name on
the streets of many different countries it is possible to work out what
we are standing against and standing for.
First, Women in Black is against the whole continuum of violence, from
male violence against women, to militarism and war. It is for justice
and peace.  It is clearly for multi-ethnic democracy.  It is for
non-violent, negotiated, means of resolving differences. And there is an
implicit analysis that a certain kind of masculinity fuels and is
fuelled by militarism and war, and
that this is harmful not only for women but also for men.
At the time of writing, as the ethnic aggression intensifies in
Kosovo/Kosova and as NATO bombing shows no signs of ending, a situation
has arisen in which there is very little space indeed for this kind of
politics by women. Even less than usual. The little space that is
sometimes there has closed right down, not just in Yugoslavia, but in
the UK too. What is happening is polarization, a kind of 'either/or'
Take, for example, the big demonstration on Sunday April 11 called by
the Committee for Peace in the Balkans, largely framed by the Socialist
Worker Party, at which the speakers included many well-known names from
the British Left. Some of us took the Women in Black banner along. Many
of the Women in Black network in London want to oppose NATO bombing. Our
opposition (I feel safe in saying) is not to protect Serb nationalist
extremism but precisely
because we would see the bombardment as strengthening not weakening it.
For that reason we have been holding vigils in London. But, on April 11,
even as the march assembled on the Embankment, I was feeling uneasy.
Because there was this ocean of pre-planned Socialist Worker placards
that simply said 'stop the NATO bombing'. Any messages opposing the
ethnic aggression of the Milosevic regime were overwhelmed by this
uniform and singular demand.
Then we reached Downing Street, where the march was joined by a strong
contingent of Serb nationalists and their supporters. We were surrounded
by the Serb national flag, the characteristic three finger salutes, and
many people wearing the new 'target' symbols that have been adopted in
Belgrade since the bombing.  At the bottom of Trafalgar Square things
got very confrontational. To the left, held back behind barriers, was a
militant Kosovan counter-demonstration supporting the bombing. And
shouting back from 'our' side of the road were angry Serb nationalists,
some of them carrying a scaffold with an effigy of Clinton. At that
point I took down and folded up
the Women in Black banner. It seemed the wrong place to have it. Some of
us women decided that we wanted to go and meet people on the Kosovan
demonstration. We wanted to find out whether they were all Kosova
Liberation Army, to see what other groups might be represented there
behind the macho front, and talk with them. We wanted at least to let
them know that there
were some people on the main march who, although you wouldn't know it,
not only opposed bombing, but also opposed Milosevic and what his regime
was doing in Kosovo. The police tried to stop us crossing to the other
side of the road. And one of them said 'You can't change your mind now,
you chose this demonstration, you've got to stick with it. Don't you
know which side you're on?' That seemed to epitomise the situation.  We
went over there anyway. What was worse, though, was that the same kind
of message we were getting from the police was also coming across from
the speeches in the Square. It was clearly a difficult situation for the
speakers to deal with, addressing an audience in which the thing mainly
visible was Serb flags. One woman speaker on 'our' platform did
criticize Milosevic. She got boo-ed by the crowd. Perhaps this warned
off the other speakers. I did not hear the word Milosevic mentioned
again. The impressiogiven was that there was one 'enemy' and that was
NATO. People spoke of
'the humanitarian disaster in Kosovo' but, since Milosevic was not
named, the implication could have been that it was the result of the
bombing. Nobody that I heard speak acknowledged the presence of the
Kosova demonstration across the road, or expressed any discomfort in
being separated in this way from the victims of 'ethnic cleansing'.
Instead, the speakers dwelt on the bombing, referring to the Second
WorlWar blitz of London and to our wartime alliance with valorous Serbs.
It seemed to me (although I know views are divided on this) that the
organizers allowed the rally to be hi-jacked by Serb nationalism. You
had the feeling they were thinking: 'One thing at a time. You can't
oppose bombing AND oppose Milosevic in the same breath.' But all the
time I was thinking: there must be people here in Trafalgar Square from
the democratic opposition to Milosevic. There are sure to be some men
here in the crowd who have deserted from the Yugoslav National Army.
They, like us, must feel silenced by this atmosphere. What are they
Nor was the problem only one of polarization. There was a parallel
problem of homogenization. In bombing 'the Serbs', NATO are effectively
being racist about Yugoslavia. It is as if they think the 'pure Serb
nation' is a reality in Yugoslavia in the way Milosevic would like it to
be. Governments' failure to see beyond ethnicism is one thing, but the
organizers of this demonstration, called to oppose governments, seemed
to fall into the same trap of talking as though the people beneath the
bombs are 'Serbs'.  In reality, the Yugoslavia that Milosevic governs is
not much more than 60% Serb. There are twenty other nationalities living
there, Hungarians, Romanies, Croats, Sandjak Muslims, Montenegrans.
There are people of mixed
marriages and mixed parentage. Probably many of these were present in
Trafalgar Square on April 11 too. What were they feeling about being
addressed as if all of them were holding Serb flags?
By now I was full of doubt and confusion. We had folded up the Women in
Black banner. But should we be here at all? I remembered a message I had
a few days before from a (so-called Serb) woman friend living in Canada.
She had written, 'The stage is set right now as if anti-NATO is for
ethnic cleansing, Milosevic and radical nationalism. And that is very
dangerous'.  Because of this, she said, 'many people have problems with
protesting'. I was beginning to see what she meant.  So if there was not
any space for our politics here with the Left in Trafalgar Square, then
where? And with whom? And I began to think about the women we work most
closely with in Yugoslavia: the Women in Black group in Belgrade. They
have demonstrated against the Milosevic regime, in rain and shine, in
Republic Square once a week since 1991. Now what rains on them is bombs.
And I went home after the demo and read through the many e-mail messages
we had had from them in the preceding weeks. I did it to recover a sense
of direction and belonging. I remembered that during the equally dark
days of the Bosnian war, when we had had difficulty unifying women in
London (who were not only British but also from every Yugoslav ethnic
group), the one thing we had always been able to agree on was supporting
the women
peace activists in Belgrade. And what follows is what I read. I cannot
use the women's real names, but I shall give a date for each of their
First, I read how they have persisted, against increasing odds, in
keeping in daily contact with our women colleagues in Pristina, Albanian
Kosovans, and have tried to keep supporting them. March 28: 'My moral
and emotional imperative (no matter how pathetic it sounds) is to spend
hours and hours trying to get a phone line to Prishtina.' They passed on
to us news of how
ordinary Serbs and Albanians there are still trying to befriend each
April 1: 'In some buildings, in a few cases, neighbours speak, Serbian
and Albanian. They have agreed: "If the police come we will speak up for
you", say the Serbs who stay. And "If the KLA comes, we will speak up
for you", say the Albanians.'
On March 27 I heard from a (so-called Serb) friend who has now fled the
country. She was not thinking of her own situation so much as that of
Kosovans. 'What disturbs and terrifies me most is the news that the most
prominent Albanian intellectuals are being taken away and nobody knows
what is happening to them... Is that how the NATO air strikes are
supposed to protect the lives of innocent Albanian (and Serbian)
civilians in Kosovo?'
April 9, more news from the women in Belgrade. 'I talked to 'X' two days
ago (a women's human rights worker in Prishtina). She is in Skopje with
her family, sixteen of them and they have gone through inferno for six
days and six nights and now she is a little recovered and called me and
told me some part of her story. And I told her that I am so thankful
that she called because we were worrying every day. And she said "I knew
you and 'Y' will worry. It was my duty to call you to tell you we are
all alive and healthy".  And I had tears on my face, because those words
meant so much among the horrible hatred against Albanians that is going
on in the last fifteen days, and much more than before. Thanks for
The women of Women in Black Belgrade are opposed to the bombing, but
they have it in perspective. April 1: 'All those bombs don't bother me
so much because I see the problem of it in smaller terms than the Kosovo
problem.' They see the bombs as bad not because they are an aggression
against Serbs but because they weaken the opposition to Milosevic.
April 1: 'The bombings are installing Milosevic as king for life, not
just president. Kosovo will, with a large amount of victims, get an
international protectorate or state. But Serbia will be in shit for the
next thirty years.  That's what pisses me off and what I can't deal
with. Talking to other activists these days I realized that some of them
are frustrated that their whole work, life project, whole peace
orientation is falling apart.' The atmosphere in Belgrade is getting
more and more sexist and misogynist. The women write that there are many
placards on the streets saying things like 'Fuck you Chelsea' (of
Clinton's daughter), and endless references to Monika Lewinsky, calling
'Come back Monica', so that Clinton might 'screw her instead of Serbs'.
And so on. The little space there was for active and autonomous women is
narrowing down, along with tolerance of any other kind of
March 28: 'This conspiracy of militarism - global and local -
dangerously reduces our space, and soon there won't be this space. How
to denounce global militarism if we don't denounce the local? How to
denounce bombing if we don't denounce the massacres, the repression?
With the horror the people of Kosovo are living through with this NATO
intervention, they are paying a
price even greater than before. NATO in the sky, Milosevic on the
ground'.  The writer added, 'At the moment our human ghetto functions
well, with mutual support. Your support strengthens us, it means a real
lot. I embrace you with the deepest friendship and tenderness.' As the
bombing ended its second week, things were clearly getting tougher for
women and other peace activists in Belgrade. On April 9: 'Our problem
here is that we cannot say a word anymore, all human rights are
suspended. Only anti-NATO appeals can be published. So Women in Black
Belgrade have decided not to make any appeal, at least for the time
being, because we cannot as well state that we are against Milosevic...
So I live with a mask on my face, if I talk to other people. Everything
changed here, and fear is everywhere'.  But here in London we do not
have to wear that mask. We can speak out both against the bombing AND
against the Milosevic regime without any kind of
risk or fear.
On the demo on Sunday April 11 that was not happening. One statement had
been allowed to silence the other. And I really think we have to keep
both clearly there together. Even if it seems contradictory. There is a
saying that 'the first casualty of war is truth'. I am feeling that
casualty in this war, right now, is the willingness to live with
ambiguity and contradiction, to say 'not this (not ethnic cleansing),
but not that (bombing) either'. Another casualty is the ability to say
'I don't have an answer'. Preparing for Women in Black vigils in London
we are having a lot
of difficulty just now knowing what positive demands we can put on our
banners and placards. But maybe we have to admit that we can't have very
concrete answers at this moment, because the mistakes were begun years
ago.  There are political principles we can suggest, of course. The
trouble is these things do not translate easily into short, snappy
slogans. I have felt the temptation to sloganize too. We have sat up all
night wondering how on earth to write, all on a couple of pieces of
cardboard, 'work through the United Nations, support genuine
international peacekeeping and strenthen independent monitoring'.
But the thing I most feel I want to do is just keep listening to the
women who are there, the ones who are taking the risks, and whose
political judgment we have by now got eight years of knowing we can
trust. And the things they do clearly model for us is: keep talking,
keep the channels open, cherish mixity, believe we can live together,
refuse military solutions. And choose a way of doing things that
ridicules and counteracts all the sexist, masculist posturing that goes
with militarism on every side.
FOOTNOTE: Women in Black was started in Israel in 1988 by women
protesting against Israel's Occupation of the Palestinian West Bank and
Gaza. It was they who established the characteristic form of action, of
mainly silent vigils, by women standing alone as women, wearing black,
in public places, at regularly repeated times. There are Women in Black
groups now in many different countries, and an e-mail network is
developing in Spanish and English (the address in Spain is
roal@nodo50.ix.apc.org and, in the UK,
In recent years Women in Black London have demonstrated against bombing
and sanctions in relation to Iraq and the Gulf War, against US/British
bombing of Sudan and Afghanistan, and against ethnic aggression in the
former Yugoslavia. To be included in the WIB London mailing list please
send your street and e-mail addresses and phone number to WIB c/o The
Maypole Fund, PO Box 14072 London N16 5WB.
Linda Gordon tel 608-263-1777
Professor of History fax 608-251-0595 home
University of Wisconsin/Madison fax 608-263-5302 office
455 N. Park St.
Madison, WI 53711

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