Slobodan Markovic on Sun, 2 May 1999 22:55:31 +0200 (CEST)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> Accidental KILLINGS

    is a terrible thing and should be treated as a topmost crime. The following
    article is not written by me, but by one other Slobodan (working at the
    Belgrade University as a teaching assistant).

    So, please REMEMBER: There can be no justification for killings!


            Slobodan Markovic   | http://solair.eunet.yu/~twiddle
            Internodium Project |



    It certainly seems like this from the western point of view. On the other
hand, according to Serbian official media it seems totally different: NATO is
killing civilians intentionally and Serbian military by accident. Is the truth
only on one of these sides, or is it somewhere in between?

    For example, Serbian officials from the beginning of the conflict have been
claiming that all they have been taking precausionary measures in order to
avoid any civilian casualties. In real life, in conflicts with the KLA (which
is operating usually from Albanian villages), Serbian security forces blow up
from a safe distance with grenades the houses from which the KLA are defending
and most oftenly killing much more civilians, women, children and elderly
people than the armed KLA soldiers. This is justified by the fact that the
security forces do not want to risk the lives of it's members by sending them
to fight from house to house.

    On the other hand, NATO is claiming that they are bombing only military,
communication and infrastructure targets and that they are undertaking all
possible means of precaution in order to avoid any civilian casualties. In real
life, NATO pilots are bombing from high altitude and before the attack they do
not fly low so they could, for example, checked whether the target on the road
is a civilian or military. Or before hitting the rail bridge to fly over the
railway in order to check to whether a train is not near crossing the bridge.
This is justified by the fact that NATO does not want to risk the lives of it's
pilots, because if they were to fly low the bigger is risk that the Yugoslav
Army would shoot them down. In both cases a great number of civilians are
wounded. Sometimes, NATO hits only civilian villages by accident, sometimes
not. Sometimes the Serbian forces by accident hit the houses in which only
civilians are, sometimes not.

    Serbian authorities claim that they are fighting in Kosovo against the
Albanian terrorists and not against the Albanian citizens, with a humanitarian
cause to secure a peaceful life and to protect the human rights of all the
people who live there. In real life, mostly civilians are wounded and suffer
and the KLA strengthens.

    On the other hand, NATO claims to be fighting against the regime of
Milosevic and not against the Serbian people, with a humanitarian cause which
was at first supposed to stop the humanitarian catastrophe and when the
catastrophe happened, to secure the return of the refugees, a peaceful life and
to protect the human rights of all the people who live there. In real life,
mostly civilians are the ones being wounded and suffer and the regime of
Milosevic is strengthening.

    NATO sometimes admits, as it was the case with the Serbian TV, that they
are hitting civilian targets on purpose and causing civilian casualties
(technicians, auxiliary staff). That is justified by claim that the television
is propaganda machine and legitimate military target. When the question of
civilian casualties is raised it is said to be 'a target of great value', so it
is easier to accept civilian casualties.

    By targeting strategic, infrastructure and communication targets NATO hits
civilian population in 99% of the attacks. Bridges, railways, tunnels,
factories, electric and water installations are used mainly by the civilians
and seldomly by the army. But, if NATO estimates that something has even a
slight military significance it becomes a legitimate military target. In real
life, it is not important that the civilians are being wounded and suffer. In
real life NATO is expecting that the sufferings and woundings of the civilians
come to a dissatisfaction which would result with a pressure on authorities in
Belgrade.  That may help the NATO to achieve its military and political aims.
That, is obviously not working.

    The authorities are claiming that the kosovar refugees are not running away
from the Serbian military but only from NATO bombing. But, anyone with a
reasonable mind can not fall for that story. But, following NATO's logic of
magnifying its military's significance, the ethnic cleansing can be viewed from
a totally different angle and may gain a positive and even a humanitarian mean.
Every successful military commander who has the aim to oppose any ground troops
shall, in case the local population is hostile toward his forces cleans the
territory.  That was unofficially confirmed by many Western experts and
commentators but hardly anybody dares to say such a 'heretic' thought on the
leading western media since NATO's strongest propaganda trump-card is the
disaster of the Albanian refugees by which they are justifying their attacks on
Yugoslavia. In that case, it seems that the ethnic cleansing, from the military
point of view, is legitimate. So someone may say (for example Jamie Shea, in
case he was the spokesman of the Yugoslav Army) that the ethnic cleansing
besides the military even has a humanitarian justification since in that way
the population is protected from mass killings in case of the invasion of NATO
ground troops in Kosovo. The fact that the Serbian forces, according to
unofficial sources, kill or rape someone so the other would be in the refugee
convoys, someone could justify by the fact that it is better to sacrifice some
in order to save the majority. In real life, the fact that the civilians are
suffering and being wounded is not so important. The most important thing is
that there is a military or political justification.

    In real life, the Serbian authorities are expecting that the tragedy of the
kosovar refugees shall bring to a dissatisfaction in western media which would
result with a pressure on the NATO to stop the bombing of Yugoslavia in order
to help the refugees which are still inside of Kosovo and which are suffering
the most. But obviously this is not succeeding. Nor do the Serbian authorities
nor does NATO care alot for the civilians. In real life, when things are viewed
from an objective point of view, there is not much difference between NATO
forces and the Serbian authorities.

                             Slobodan, age 30, university teaching assistant

#  distributed via nettime-l : no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a closed moderated mailinglist for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  URL:  contact: