nettime's_indigestive_system on Sun, 2 May 1999 20:29:57 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> geertogram 050299: wallerstein, reasons, b92 files in engl, star wars

Geert Lovink <>
          Immanuel Wallerstein: "Bombs Away!"
          Top Ten Reasons for being a Serb
          JURIST: English translations of B92 legal files
          [putting Star Wars in context]

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Date: Sun, 2 May 1999 08:00:20 +0200 (CEST)
From: Geert Lovink <>
Subject: Immanuel Wallerstein: "Bombs Away!"

Immanuel Wallerstein
"Bombs Away!"

When I was young, I saw many a war film in which the heroic American
pilot, flying over hostile territory, shouted "bombs away!" The enemy was
destroyed, and peace restored. The good guys won. President Clinton sent
U.S. and NATO pilots on just such a mission against the Yugoslav
government and its leader, whom Clinton compared to Hitler. When a war
breaks out, and this is a war, there are three levels at which to judge
it: juridically, morally, and politically.

Juridically, the bombing is an act of aggression. It is totally
unjustified under international law. The Yugoslav government did nothing
outside its own borders. What has been going on inside its borders is a
low-level civil war into which the U.S. and other powers intruded
themselves as mediators. The mediation took the form of offering both
sides an ultimatum to accept a truce on dictated terms, to be guaranteed
by outside military forces. At first, both sides turned this down, which
upset the U.S. very much. They explained to the Kosovars that they
couldn't bomb the Serbs unless and until the Kosovars accepted the truce
terms. The Kosovars finally did so, and now the U.S./NATO are bombing.

National sovereignty doesn't mean too much in the real world of power
politics. The U.S. is not the first nor will it be the last state to
violate some smaller country's sovereignty. But let us cut the cant. Doing
so is aggression, and illegal under international law.

The juridical situation tells us nothing about the moral situation. The
U.S./NATO have justified their acts by asserting that the Yugoslav
government is violating fundamental human rights, and that they have a
moral duty to intervene (that is, to ignore the juridical constraints). So
let us talk about the moral rights and wrongs.

I have no doubt myself that the Yugoslav government has been guilty of
atrocious behavior in Kosovo, as they has been previously, directly or via
intermediaries, in Bosnia-Herzogovina. To be sure, their opponents, the
Kosovo Liberation Army in this case, and the Croatians and Bosnians in the
previous war, have also been guilty of atrocities. And I for one am not
going to do the arithmetic to figure out who has done more atrocities than
the other. Civil wars bring out the worst in peoples, and the Balkan wars
of the last five years are not unusual in that respect. But it does weaken
the moral justification for intervention when the immoralities are not

Furthermore, if Serb behavior in Kosovo is to be reprimanded, then the
moral authorities who take it upon themselves to enforce moral law must
explain why they have been unwilling to intervene in Sierra Leone or
Liberia, in northern Ireland, in Chile under Pinochet, in Indonesia under
Sukarno, in Chechnya, or even for that matter in the Basque country. No
doubt each situation is different from the other, and perhaps of different
dimensions, but civil wars abound and atrocities abound. And if we are to
take moral enforcers seriously, the least one can ask is that they are
minimally consistent and minimally disinterested.

So, in the end, we are thrown back on a political analysis. Who did what
for what reasons, and how much do particular actions aid in the reasonable
solution of the disputes? Let us start with the local participants in the
conflict. In the geographically and ethnically intertwined and overlapping
zones of the Balkans, the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was
probably the optimal structure to ensure not only internal peace but
maximal economic growth. But it came apart.

This was not inevitable. There were some key turning-points. One was in
1987 when Milosevic decided to build his political future on Serbian
nationalism rather than on Yugoslav nationalism/Communism and moved within
two years to suppress Kosovo autonomy. This gave the excuse for, and
perhaps instigated, the wave of successions: Slovenia, then Croatia, then
Bosnia-Herzogovina, then the attempted secessions within Croatia and
Bosnia by the Serbs, then the Kosovars. No doubt, non-Balkan forces also
played a role, especially Germany in supporting, if not more than that,
the idea of Croatian independence.

Still, Milosevic's initial moves were a grievous long-term political
error. We now find ourselves in one of those nasty, violent struggles in
which everyone is afraid, paranoiac, and unwilling to contemplate any sort
of real political compromise. And the fascist Ustashi in Croatia and
Chetniks in Serbia are once again a serious political force. Nor will it
end soon. The war in Northern Ireland went on for over twenty years before
anything was possible. The war in Israel/Palestine has gone on even
longer. Sometimes a civil war just has to exhaust itself before any one is

But what about the politics of the U.S.? Why has the U.S. government
singled out this civil war for active intervention? In the case of the
Gulf War, there was at least the rationale of the importance of oil (and
the defense of an invaded sovereign state, Kuwait). But in economic terms,
the Balkan zone is marginal. Nor can it be argued that there are immediate
geopolitical concerns, such as shoring up an area politically so that some
other power cannot take it over. This was the rationale, or at least one
rationale, for the U.S. support of South Korea. Behind North Korea, argued
the U.S., lay China or the Soviet Union. The rationale was that of the
Cold War.

But Yugoslavia has no oil, and there is no longer a Cold War with the
Communist world. So why doesn't the U.S. ignore the situation the way it
ignores the Congo (at least these days)? To be sure, the U.S. doesn't
really ignore any country, but it does not intervene militarily in most
situations. A curious argument has been made in the last few months. It
has been said that the U.S. had to bomb the Serbs, or else NATO's
credibility would be undermined. This is a curious argument because it is
circular. If NATO threatens something, and then doesn't do it, of course
its credibility would be undermined. But it didn't have to make the threat
in the first place.

Or maybe it did. Perhaps the political issue for the U.S. is precisely the
need to justify the very existence of NATO, which no longer has an obvious
role as such now that the Russian army seems to be so much weakened. But
why would the U.S. want to have NATO at all? There seem to me to be two
main reasons. One is that its existence in turn justifies the current
military expenditures and indeed build-up in the U.S., which has economic
and internal political advantages for the government. The second is that
NATO is necessary to prevent the west Europeans from straying too far from
U.S. control and above all from establishing an autonomous armed structure
separate from NATO. The Yugoslav imbroglio seems ideal for both purposes.

But will it work? If the Yugoslavs hold fast, and it seems likely they
will, further military action would involve ground forces. Can the U.S.
afford a second Vietnam? It seems doubtful. And will the west Europeans
really continue to play the game? There are rumblings in the NATO ranks
already, and the war is only a week old.

We have all entered the bramble bush. The Yugoslavs will be bombed until
it hurts. The Kosovars will be driven out of their homes. Many will die.
Neighboring countries may be drawn into the armed conflict directly. And
if the war is prolonged, there will be internal social turmoil in the U.S.
and western Europe. "Bombs away" may have been worse than a crime; it may
have been a folly.

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Date: Sun, 2 May 1999 08:38:39 +0200 (CEST)
From: Geert Lovink <>
Subject: Top Ten Reasons for being a Serb

From: Vesna Manojlovic <>

> Top Ten Reasons for being a Serb
> 1. You are not a Croat.
> 2. Basketball team.
> 3. You can choose between several war criminals in Presidential
>    elections.
> 4. You can enjoy the positive media coverage of your country when
>    abroad.
> 5. You can fight 600 year-old battles against the Turks and their
>    domestic collaborators, be convinced that it's happening right now, 
>    and not  be entirely wrong.
> 6. You can always go to Greece and Cyprus and fear nothing.
> 7. Grilled meat and slivovitz.
> 8. You get to drink slivovitz and eat grilled meat even when under
>    economic sanctions.
> 9. You are the only European country which will be bombed by NATO.
> 10.Every now and then you get to fly to the Hague at someone else's
>    expense.
> Top ten reasons for being a Croat:
> 1. You're not a serb
> 2. Soccer team.
> 3. You get to pretend that your language is different from Serbian,
>    although it's really not.
> 4. Dubrovnik.
> 5. You get to dream about independent Croatia.
> 6. Every now and then you get to sing "Danke, Danke, Deutschland,"
>    and continue to dream about independent Croatia.
> 7. You have a thousand-year culture of which no one has heard.
> 8. You have a democratically elected President who is not ashamed of
>    being a Croat.
> 9. The glorious World War Two past.
> 10.You have a thousand-year culture....
> Top ten reasons for being Bosnian:
> 1. You can get asylum anywhere except in Serbia.
> 2. You can pretend that your state exists.
> 3. Kebab.
> 4. You can pretend that Sarajevo is a really cosmopolitan European
>    city when you know that it is not.
> 5. Great kebab.
> 6. You can be visited by Francois Mitterand, Bernard Henry-Levy,
>    Susan Sontag, and Bill Clinton and it still doesn't make a difference.
> 7. Free round-trip to any Moslem country.
> 8. You get to be bombed by a psychiatrist.
> 9. You can fly your flag in the UN but nowhere else.
> 10.Foreigners give you money and don't ask any questions.
> Top ten reasons for being Slovenian.
> 1. You can speak the beautiful Slovene language and know that no one
>    cares except you.
> 2. You can feel superior to all former Yugoslavs.
> 3. You can drink after work.
> 4. You can pretend to live on the "sunny side of the Alps," although
>    you know it's not that sunny.
> 5. You can pretend that you are as good as any German while secretly
>    enjoying the fact that you are a Slav.
> 6. Good relations with Italy and Austria.
> 7. You can afford to be Yugo-nostalgic.
> 8. You can marry a Slovene and have Slovene children who speak
>    Slovene.
> 9. You don't have to be ashamed when abroad.
> 10.No one bothers you because no one really cares.
> Top ten reasons for being Macedonian.
> 1. You can call yourself Macedonian and not get killed by a
>    Bulgarian, Greek, Serb or Albanian.
> 2. Fresh tomatoes, watermelon and tobacco.
> 3.You can pretend you are a descendant of Alexander the Great and
>   piss off the Greeks.
> 4.You get to be sad and suffer while listening to folk music. 
> 5. Good relations with your neighbors, especially Greeks and
>    Albanians.
> 6. American soldiers on your territory.
> 7. You get to call your country The Former Yugoslav Republic of
>    Macedonia.
> 8. Fresh tomatoes, watermelon, and tobacco.
> 9. You can successfully pretend your language is not Bulgarian.
> 10.Everyone is interested in the stability of your country except
>    your neighbors.
> Top ten reasons for being Montenegrin.
> 1. You can be proud of your heroic past and not being conquered by
>    the Turks for 500 years.
> 2. You can sing epic songs about your heroic past and not being
>    conquered by the Turks for 500 years.
> 3. You can think of Russia as your Mother, although Russia does not
>    know you are her son.
> 4. You can combine orthodoxy with Stalinism with love of Russia and
>    still think that you are better and more progressive than the Serbs.
> 5. Goat cheese, grilled lamb, and grappa.
> 6. You get to kill at least one person in a vendetta and defend your
>    honor.
> 7. If you are a woman you can kill your husband and everyone knows
>    why you did it.
> 8. You can smuggle cigarettes to Italy and live like a king.
> 9. You don't have to work even when you have to.
> 10.You don't have to work....
> Top ten reasons for being Albanian.
> 1. You can always swim to Italy.
> 2. You can choose between a president who stole your whole income,
>    one who killed all your relatives, or go fight the Serbs in Kosovo.
> 3. You can be proud of being from "the land of the eagle."
> 4. You can always swim to Italy.
> 5. You can take weapons from any army garrison and defend your honor.
> 6. You can get killed in a vendetta and be remembered as the hero of
>    the family.
> 7. You get to be called the poorest country in Europe.
> 8. You can live in the ecologically cleanest country in Europe.
> 9. You can always swim to Italy
> 10.You are proud of being "from the land of the eagle."
> Top ten reasons for being a Yugoslav:
> 1.You can be proud that you are neither a Serb, nor a Croat, nor a
>   Slovene, nor a Bosnian, nor a Macedonian, nor Montenegrin, nor an 
>   Albanian, although you are one or move of the above.
> 2.You don't have to feel bad about being "Yugo-nostalgic."
> 3.You can have a husband/wife from any part of Yugoslavia and still
>   feel like the country never fell apart, especially if you are abroad
> 4.You get to listen to Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, Slovenian,
>   Macedonian, Montenegrin, and  even Albanian music and feel that it's 
>   quite OK.
> 5.You don't have to be ashamed of your Titoist past.
> 6.You can sing Partisan songs from World War Two or rock-and-roll
>   from the 1980's.
> 7.You get to be cosmopolitan and spit on all the nationalists.
> 8.You get to be researched by foreign sociologists interested in
>   your identity.
> 9.You are invited to speak about Yugoslavia at conferences abroad.
> 10.You are a good candidate for a Soros stipend.

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Date: Sun, 2 May 1999 08:47:29 +0200 (CEST)
From: Geert Lovink <>
Subject: JURIST: English translations of B92 legal files

From: JURIST <>

JURIST has just posted English translations of B92's legal files (the
court decision on the closing, all the appeals by B92 and ANEM, etc.)

Best wishes from Pittsburgh!

Bernard Hibbitts
JURIST: The Law Professors' Network

Associate Dean for Communications & Information Technology
Professor of Law
University of Pittsburgh School of Law
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania USA
Academic Web Page:

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Date: Sun, 2 May 1999 09:04:02 +0200 (CEST)
From: Geert Lovink <>
Subject: [putting Star Wars in context]

From: Pauly <>

Let me introduce myself, my name is Paul Vinter, webmaster of The Phantom
Menace UK - the largest website in the UK dedicated to the new Star Wars
movie and one of the top 5 largest in the world.

My site was created in 1998 to cover the release of the much anticipated
new movie from George Lucas, and since our creation we have been getting
as many as 30,000 visits a day from Star Wars fans across the globe.

The release of Star Wars was meant to be a great event across Europe,
however the dreadful events of the past few weeks have, for many, placed
the movie in its correct context.  I recently ran a story on my main page
which related to the 'War Diaries' which have been posted on the internet,
perhaps you know of them.  I wanted my readership to know that great as
Star Wars is, it is still a fictional event, and that a very real war was
presently raging in Europe.  I feel that my responsibility as a webmaster
with a high readership is to inform for the greater good and with Star
Wars in the world media spotlight I feel I am well placed to provide help.

I have placed 2 of the links to B92 on my site and whilst the site is
still dedicated to Star Wars, I will continue to support you as much as I
am able until this conflict draws to a hopefully peaceful conclusion.

I am also currently trying to contact Star Wars fans in Yugoslavia, where
the new movie was planned to premiere in Spetember, if you can advise me
on this I would truly appreciate it.

Paul Vinter TPMUK

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