Andrea Szekeres on Wed, 28 Apr 1999 17:17:40 +0100


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Syndicate: academics against the war


[Forwarded message follows]
Date: Mon, 26 Apr 1999 23:43:17 -0700 
Subject: academics against the war 

I'm emailing you to ask if you would be willing to sign an open letter from 
academics/intellectuals against the war in Yugoslavia. We have adopted the 
text of a letter sent by Pierre Bourdieu and other French intellectuals to 
Le Monde in late March and hope to use it as the basis for an open letter 
in Britain, the US and elsewhere. We hope to publish the letter at some 
point in the near future. The translation of the French letter is attached 
below for you to read. I'd also be grateful if you would forward this to 
anyone you think might be interested. 
To add your name to the open letter, email Kirsty.Reid@Bristol.ac.uk 
With best wishes 
Kirsty Reid 
************************** 
Dr Kirsty Reid 
Department of Historical Studies 
Kirsty.Reid@bristol.ac.uk 

ACADEMICS AGAINST NATO'S WAR IN THE BALKANS 

We reject these false dilemmas: 
- Support NATO intervention or support the reactionary policy of the 
Serbian regime in Kosovo? The NATO air-strikes, forcing the withdrawal of 
the OSCE forces from Kosovo, have facilitated and not prevented a ground 
offensive by Serb paramilitary forces; they encourage retaliation against 
the Kosovar population by the worst Serb ultra-nationalists; they 
consolidate the dictatorial power of Slobodan Milosevic, who has crushed 
the independent media and rallied around him a national consensus which it 
is necessary on the contrary to break in order to open the way to peaceful 
political negotiations over Kosovo. 
- Accept as the only possible basis of negotiation the `peace plan' 
elaborated by the governments of the United States or the European Union - 
or bomb Serbia? No durable solution to a major political conflict internal 
to a state can be imposed from the outside, by force. It is not true that 
`everything has been tried' to find a solution and an acceptable framework 
for negotiations. The Kosovar negotiators were forced to sign a plan which 
they had initially rejected after being led to believe that NATO would 
involve itself on the ground to defend their cause. This was a lie which 
maintained a total illusion: none of the governments which support the NATO 
strikes wants to make war on the Serbian regime to impose the independence 
of Kosovo. The air-strikes will perhaps weaken a part of the Serbian 
military apparatus but they will not weaken the mortar fire which, on the 
ground, is destroying Albanian homes, or the paramilitary forces who are 
killing the fighters of the Kosovo Liberation Army. 
NATO is not the only or above all the best fulcrum for an agreement. One 
could find the elements of a multi-national police force (embracing notably 
Serbs and Albanians) in the ranks of the OSCE to enforce a transitional 
agreement. One could extend the negotiations to include the Balkan states 
destabilized by the conflict: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Albania _ One 
could at the same time support the right of the Kosovars to self-government 
and the protection of the Serb minority in Kosovo; one could try to respond 
to the aspirations and fears of the different peoples concerned by links of 

co-operation and agreements among neighbouring states, with Serbia, 
Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Albania _ 
None of this has been tried. 
We reject the arguments which seek to justify the NATO intervention: 
- It is not true that the NATO air-strikes are going to prevent a regional 
flare-up, in Macedonia or in Bosnia-Herzegovina: they are going on the 
contrary to feed the flames. They are going to destabilize Bosnia-Herzegovina 
and without doubt menace the multi-national forces responsible for applying 
the fragile Dayton accords. They are already setting Macedonia alight. 
- It is not true that NATO is protecting the Kosovan population and its 
rights. 
- It is not true that their bombing of Serbia opens the way to a democratic 
regime in Serbia. 
The governments of the European Union, like that of United States, perhaps 
hoped that this demonstration of force would compel Slobodan Milosevic to 
sign their plan. Haven't they thereby displayed naivete or hypocrisy? In 
any case this policy is leading not only to a political impasse, but to the 
legitimation of a role for NATO outside any international framework of 
control. 
This is why we demand: 
- an immediate halt to the bombing; 
- the organization of a Balkan conference in which the representatives of 
the states and of all the national communities within these states take part; 
- defence of the right of peoples to self-determination, on the sole 
condition that this right is not fulfilled on the back of another people 
and by the ethnic cleansing of territory. 
EDWARD SAID, COLUMBIA 
ALEX CALLINICOS, YORK 
NOAM CHOMSKY, MIT 
PETER LINEBAUGH, TOLEDO 
GREGOR MCLENNAN, BRISTOL 
GEORGE DAVEY-SMITH, BRISTOL 
ELLEN MEIKSINS WOOD, USA 
DAVID HOWELL, YORK 
CHRIS NORRIS, CARDIFF 
ROBIN BLACKBURN, CAMBRIDGE 
MALCOLM POVEY, LEEDS 
This is the very slightly edited translation of a letter signed by Pierre 
Bourdieu, Daniel Bensaid, Pierre Vidal-Naquet, and other leading French 
intellectuals and published in Le Monde, 31 March 1999. 
************************************************************************ 

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