Inke Arns on Mon, 05 Apr 1999 11:49:38 +0200

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Syndicate: Fwd: A letter by Lev Kreft, 26 March 1999

[I am forwarding this from a friend; all headers are cut, greetings, -i]

A letter by Lev Kreft, published in Slovenian daily "Dnevnik" on March 26,
It is addressed to friends in Yugoslavia.

We are sending it to you as a very accurate picture of what is happening to
the pro-democratic and anti-war forces in Yugoslavia.


It is embarrassing to contact you in this way, through the press, 'cos I'm
not quite sure whether you will take to the idea of public correspondence.
It seems that you are unable to respond in the same way as your paper
stopped coming out when the Americans began with the mention of strikes
against Yugoslavia in October last year, your radio was taken away from you
last night, and yesterday you were left without foreign correspondents as
well. I'm afraid that now you are in greater danger than Kosovo Albanians,
since there is noone protecting you from Sloba and if a postmodern bullet
should shoot you, for the Westerners it'd be just a tax you pay for being
born at a wrong state in a wrong century. As if you didn't know it before
they bombed.

All of a sudden the two of us have become mismatched and uncomparable even
though we may be speaking the same language. While I'm able to speculate
what to do and how to do it, you find yourself in a state of war. You've
already been a surplus locally and now you became redundant globally as
well. Ever since 'the happening of people' you've not been a true Serb, yet
it was sufferable even though you've been hit, persecuted and harassed.
Since 'the happening of NATO', you've been declared a false target and
offered condolences in advance in case you are shot for no reason
whatsoever. Since universal moral imperatives are at stake, you are just
another acceptable global moral risk falling under the category of civil
casulties. You've been an opposition in your own house, and now you are to
become merely a h/sapless accidental passer-by.

It is inconvenient that I should get in touch in this way. People here get
the creeps and frown even if they detect a wrong accent in an everyday
Slovenian conversation in the streets from McDonnalds' to Dairy Queen, god
forbid letters clumsily put together in Serbian and printed in the
newspapers. Luckily, you made yourself more accessible by insisting that
all the letters should be printed in Latin alphabet. Yet, having realized
that this attitude was a part of your defiant political attitude, I was
presented with inconvenience; perhaps I should insist that the letter be
printed in
Cyrillic. That would desturb 'true Slovenians' more than the bombing of
Belgrade, believe me.

You suppose I've been listing all TV programming in all languages, keeping
the radio at home and in the car switched on and reading all the newspapers
I can get hold of, the way I did ten years ago when the wall was being torn
down and the new states were formed. One always thinks of himself first.
Close following of what's going on brings back the memory of summer 1991
when I was lucky. You will need much more luck than we did, but being aware
of what you've been through this year, I believe in you. I only wish NATO
guys wouldn't shoot you and the  Sloba guys wouldn't put you in the old or
a new Banjica...The one far away always thinks of another. I don't know
why, but when I think of how it is for you right now and when I try to put
myself in your shoes, a memory of Dimitrije Tucovic keeps reappearing. No,
no, not the one who wrote about the Serbs and the Albanians even during the
Balkan wars, resisting chauvinism and enslavement, ethnic cleansing and
prejudice. Not the one who said this: "If the old Serbia were to join
Serbia, then one free Serb would topple two enslaved Albanians, Turks etc.
We want the freedom of our people without destroying the freedom of others.
This can be achieved only if what we have in the Balkans is a politic
entity where all the peoples would be equal no matter which emperor ruled
which provice a couple of centuries ago." This was the admonition Tucovic
had for us ten years ago,  but how are we to adduce him when "we want"
refers to Socialdemocrats at the time when the ruling socialdemocracy of
Europe has just concluded that the Balkans should be entirely turned into
small national states and even wages a war in the name of it along with
Americans. What power is Milosevic suddenly invested with! Namely, their
military objective is to make the potentate sign the agreement, meaning
that war they wage is entirely dependent on his free will! But this is not
all. If Sloba signs, they will have to go to Kosovo and turn it into their

Therefore, all of this reminds me of another Dimitri Tucovic who responded
to ultimatum of Austria-Hungary as a man who raises his voice against the
imperialism of the powerful and, having done that, he calmly went with his
friends to the Serbian Parliament, where he voted against the military
credits - practically, the only man in Europe to do so - although his
country was attacked. He considered it to be his moral duty. After having
fulfilled both obligations, he put on the uniform and  went to fight as a
Serbian soldier and an officer and lay down his life for the country. 

It is not the situation you find yourself in that reminds me of him and it
is not that this Serbia reminds me of the one which emerged as a winner
from the Balkan wars only to suffer in the WWI. Both of us know that in few
years time they will probably ascertain that the WWIII began day before
yesterday. He reminds me of you because during all these years you have
remained an opponent of memorandum strategies, but also a critic of
international trade-offs with the Balkan peoples. Now that you are wedged
between Sloba and Bill (by the way, I had a vision that Clinton was walking
the streets of Pristina saying: "As long as I'm with us, noone's gonna beat
you!"), your possiblities are limited and you might be forced to choose
between defending
the country and becoming a refugee. If you decide in favour of the latter,
you are always welcome here at my place. What I don't know is how to get
you here. While Sloba lets nobody out, here nobody can get in. Everything
you've been through entitles you to a political azylum, only, the law in
question is pending, so the azylum would not be granted even to our friends
Rugova, Maljici and Azem, let alone you.

Have you heard of ours in Podgorica? I was convinced that Clinton would
spare Montenegrins and now it seems to me now that the bombing gives free
hand for starting a civil war against the current Montenegrin authorities.

All the Westerners I've been listening say the war will be ended the moment
when Milosevic signs the peace deal. Yet, what do you think the Serbian
people are going to do if Sloba gives in in the face of bombing?  Shall
anyone in his right mind (leave us, the cracked ones, aside) be able to
assume the duty imposed by the signature extracted with the loaded gun?
Leaving all of this aside, what's up?



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