Zoran Petrovski on Mon, 05 Apr 1999 22:31:40 +0200

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Re: Syndicate: Re: URGENT call for AID to Blace! (fwd)

Adele Eisenstein wrote:
> dear all,
> i got a response to my urgent plea which is shocking - and asks to be
> anonymous...
> Adele
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> Date: Sun, 04 Apr 1999 17:41:20 +0200
> Blace is 23 kilometres from Skopje. If people are dying in fields, it is
> partly the responsibility of the Macedonian government. They are obviously
> prevented from walking to Skopje.

About the responsibilities, let's not be single minded. Why there's no a
single word to whom belongs the other part of it and how big it is? I
don't want at all to exclude the possibility that it goes partly to the
Macedonian Government, but the assumption that it won't allow
50.000-70.000 people to walk to Skopje is not a case for making an
argument. Can you name one Government in the world allowing just like
that so many people from one country to come in the capitol of another
country in a single day? So, speaking about responsibilities its in the
first place irresponsible to make statements like this. Its a very
suspicious denunciation when you name only one responsible and  skip the
others. It becomes even more strange when it comes from an anonymous
person. Why the fear? 
I admit that I feel a little silly to stand here for the Macedonian
Government, but finding this issue of responsibility important first and
foremost for the tragedy of all those tormented people, and for their
immediate future, I'd like to give you my personal view about this
complex problem.             

1. There's no need to say that first of all, the responsibility for the
refuges goes to Slobodan Miloshevich. We are witnessing such a practice
of ethnic cleansing for many years now.

2. Long before this war, it was quite clear that for this regime one of
the best possible scenarios for resolving the problem of Kosovo could be
its separation and the strategy of ethnic cleansing. One of the first
expected moves taken under the umbrella of the air strikes, was exactly
the refuge counter strike.  

3. It is a little strange when now NATO countries and the media appear
to be surprised by the flow of refuges. Those poor people could be used
through the media for a faster approach to certain solutions needed by
NATO, but the responsibility for the further suffering of each of them
should be taken in return. It's obvious that this burden can't be simply
put on the neighboring countries, and that is on Macedonia and Albania.
Speaking about Macedonia, it could be easily destabilized, and a new
circle of the hell could be opened.    

4. Macedonia does not take part in this war. It houses approximately
15.000 NATO troops with a mission to be deployed in Kosovo if the peace
agreement in Paris was reached. Now this troops, according to the
Macedonian media, CNN and some other media, are trying to help the
Macedonian Government in finding shelters and delivering food and other
needs to the refuges. However, since their mission is different, all
this goes so far, as it seems, in a somewhat confusing manner. I guess
it happens also with the Macedonian authorities, but when you are
dealing all of a sudden with so many humiliated human beings I can only
imagine what are the troubles. So, I suppose that there should have been
a previous plan of what to do in order to prevent such a disaster. And
Macedonia didn't plan this conflict.        

4. Before the Strike, Macedonian Government said that it could accept
only 20.000 refuges. At the moment they number approximately 120.000,
and some estimated 70.000 are waiting on the Yugoslav part of the
border. For this sudden burst of people, Macedonian Government wasn't
prepared, and one might ask whether it should or could have been
prepared. Macedonia itself is one of the poorest European countries,
dealing daily with its own enormous problems of existence. As was
recently seen in front of the US Embassy in Skopje, rage and violence
can be easily produced in those circumstances of high tensions, which
are most strongly felt right here in the neighboring countries. So, when
speaking about the domino principle in spreading the war outside the
Yugoslav borders, it's not necessarily that Miloshevich must attack. In
a strongly multiethnic country, with collapsed economy (which is
collapsing even deeper because of the war, and with 1 1/3 of the working
population being unemployed), rage and intolerance could become a very
dangerous potential.  

5. Is there anyone who can say how many refuges are still to come? Is
there anyone who can predict how long this crisis will last? (As far as
I know, in Macedonia there are still refuges from Bosnia). 

6. Just until yesterday, general position of the most of the EU
countries was that the refuges should remain in the neighborhood.
However, Bulgaria as one of the neighbors claimed that it won't accept
more than 3.000 and only for seven days. Greece is ready to accept
approximately 4.000. Of course, everybody is promising different forms
of aid. Taking over part of the responsibility, but only from a distance
is such an elegant way of being morally correct.  

7. Yesterday and today Germany (10.000), Norway (6.000), US (40.000),
Turkey (30.000) and maybe few other countries finally (and I guess after
the reconsideration of the responsibility issue) announced acceptance of
refuges. But again, not too many of them. 

Zoran Petrovski
Skopje, Macedonia

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