Andreas Broeckmann on Fri, 16 Apr 1999 19:36:39 +0100

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Syndicate: (fwd) European Movement in Serbia


H. E. Mario Soares President International Organization of the European
Movement P - 1200 Lisbon Rua.. S. Bentos 176 Fax: (351-1) 396-41-56

Belgrade, March 31, 1999

Dear Mr. Soares,

The European Movement in Serbia condemns the violence of Europe and USA in
Yugoslavia! We did not believe that it would ever be possible for this
sentence to be written.

We are addressing you, as personification of all the best in the European
tradition, as a man who has performed the leading role in creation of
peace, stability and democracy in Portugal, a small imperial power, whose
colonial strength was destroyed in a dirty war. A war that had exhausted
the country and ruined the grounds of the Salazar's authoritarian regime.
We are addressing you as a man who has helped his country in joining
proudly the European community of people, after all the disasters.

Today, you are the head of the European Movement, the organization that
has just last year celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. The European
Movement in Serbia has, since 1993, been a part of this giant and noble
effort of generations of Europeans who found strength in them to confront
the war and the destruction on their continent and to bring it to peace
and prosperity.

Please help us, Mr. Soares. We are asking for help from the International
organization of the European Movement, to which we also belong. Help us
understand why Europe has accepted to solve the crisis in Yugoslavia in
such manner. Have the numerous European institutions not had any
possibilities to act in another way?

The ongoing NATO action is destroying the fragile fiber of democratic
values and institutions - which were built due to efforts of many NGOs and
other democratic forces in Serbia and Yugoslavia, over the past years,
within highly unfavorable conditions. There are over 20,600 different NGOs
in Yugoslavia today. Among them, there are about 1,000 new, autonomous
NGOs dealing with the deep social crisis, promoting social activism and
social change, addressing new social issues, mobilizing various social
groups. Their number dramatically increased in the nineties, focusing on
anti-war, humanitarian, human rights and feminist issues, as well as media
strengthening, alternative educational, research and cultural activities.

The enormous energy which emerged in the civic protests against the
electoral fraud at the local levels, during the winter of 1996/97 has not
been lost, despite great frustration and dissatisfaction with the
political leaders of the opposition parties, who were not able to channel
the wide-grass roots support and benefit from it. The reaction was the
flourishing of genuine local third sector led by many dynamic,
imaginative, young NGO managers.

The European Movement in Serbia has played a significant role in the
process. We have cooperated with the Association of Free towns and
municipalities, where the opposition has won the 1996 elections. We use to
have a friendly and sincere cooperation with many organizations and
individuals of Kosovo, Montenegro and of the neighboring countries. The
wide, yet fragile structure had predominantly been built at the local
level - and is now destroyed by the NATO intervention. We are constantly
being questioned - "Where is your Europe now?" - by all sorts of skeptics
and doubters in good intentions of the European institutions and of the
countries mediating in the Yugoslav crisis, since 1991. How could we
preach now the faith in the European institutions and good intentions in
this region? Is Europe aware of the fact that what is going on now in
Yugoslavia represents the seed of the new wars?

Does Europe believe that this helped the Albanians? Or, did it help the
democratization of Serbia and Montenegro? Have a look at the revolt and
absolute homogenization of a defending nation! How do we confront the
growing anti-European and anti-American mood? Is there something you could
do to make Europe help Serbia the way it helped your Portugal to overcome
the difficult period of transition to democratic society and to modern
market economy?

In 1905 Miguel de Unamuno stated: "If the 20th century is to be a century
of struggle among the great nations, and not the century of their tempered
dissolving in order to prepare for a universal federation based on ethnic
units, it is better not to witness this century. I, on the contrary,
believe that it is the surplus of evil that will bring the cure". Europe
is entering the 21st century with horrid wars on the Balkans, while the
cure remains the same.

Is Europe capable of preserving its complex being or will it be arranged
to fit the new monoliths of the "clash of civilizations"? We are asking
you to struggle for, and not against us. Do not let the monster-states
ruin the being of the Europe we all loved so.

Mr. Soares, please address the nations of this country, first of all the
Serbs and the Albanians living in the inferno of mutual conflicts and
devastation, now encouraged by the NATO intervention. As the country is in
war, the laws of war are in power. And still, the idea of the European
Union emerged during the war and saved Europe from further wars. Make us
believe that the new Europe will not be a new imperial power, executor of
a discretionary justice.

Conscious of the arduous state of affairs, confident in the fact that
peace and democracy here require a remedy other than the lethal one,
please, grant the words of encouragement to us. To us who, in spite of
everything, see our future in Europe and in peace with our neighbors.

Dr Jelica Minic Secretary General

Greek Helsinki Monitor
P.O. Box 51393
GR-14510 Kifisia
Tel. +30-1-620.01.20
Fax +30-1-807.57.67

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