May 15, 1999
I have written two columns about the logic of war in the past month (April 10 and April 24). I just read them again. I certainly could add to what I have already written, especially about the facts, you know those little facts that refuse to disappear, and the fabrication of facts.
For instance, I could write about the PR firm Ruder Finn that lists among its clients "[the] Republic of Albania, Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Republic of Croatia, Republic of Kosova" in its Tourism & Economic Development - International Relations section. I could direct your attention to the Albanian spelling of Kosovo and ask you whether by any chance you see what those so-called republics have in common. I could review the fabricated 50,000 mass rapes allegedly committed by the Serbs in 1992-1995 or the fabrication of the famous "concentration camp" and the emaciated body of a prisoner that made all the front pages of your press and the morning and evening TV news at the time. I also could remind you of the PR firm Hill & Knowlton and the fabricated story of the babies pulled out of their incubators by the Iraqi soldiers in Kuwait City.
Or I could give you some history about the KLA, its funding, its charter, its activities, its composition.
Or I could review with you the various ethnic components in Kosovo (this is the proper spelling and its etymology is Serbian, I am afraid... Ah those little facts...), more particularly the actual numbers of the Kosovo population of Albanian "heritage" who are Yugoslav citizens.
Or, how by 1984, long before Slobodan Milosevic became the President of Yugoslavia, the danger of the country's disintegration, its re-balkanization if you will, was evident, and certainly, definitely not created or fabricated by the Serbs.
Or again, how we, the Western Powers, can conveniently ignore all international laws and conventions.
Or I could talk about the systematic and intended devastation of Yugoslavia, including the civilian population, not least by the medical, food, and ecological impact of the bombing and by the leveling of an entire economic and industrial structure.
But you know what?
First, all those little facts are out there. Not on CNN or in The New York Times, what I usually refer to as "Officialdom", but they are out there in force, on the Web and in your libraries. And they will still be there tomorrow, and next year, and long after we have finally "prevailed" and brought Serbia back to the Middle Ages.
Second, you will not believe me and you will not believe the facts. Me, obviously, because you must conclude that since I defend the facts over the Western Powers' disinformation, I am in the Pro-Serbia camp, therefore in the Anti-Albania camp and Anti-Bosnia, etc.. Great logic!
You know, I wonder, perhaps am I an Anti-Humanitarian or a na´ve, or both? What do you think? Yes? No?
Anyway, for the facts you'll feel more at ease with the couple Rubin-Amanpour, that is, US State Department spokesman James Rubin and CNN Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour. They are such a nice, clean-looking married couple who supply you with such in[ter]dependant news. They are the "officials," the "experts." They can be believed!
Third and finally, do you really care? After all, this is far away and there are those pictures of those poor Internally Displaced People (IDC, the latest acronym of our New World Humanitarian Order) and all those stories of mass graves and rapes. And then, after all, it's just another video game, and Littleton hits closer to home where you stay barricaded with your alarm systems and your Budweiser. Eh, it's Saturday, what's on TV today? Basketball? Great!
So, I won't disturb your comfort with my little facts any longer today. But I want to leave you with a couple of texts to facilitate your digestion.
The first one was received from an old French friend who was born in Belgrade (I translated the text to English) It shows a man in great despair, yet able to keep his humanity alive in spite of the tragedy that has besieged him and his motherland. I found the second one on the Web, on a site called beograd.com. I did not ask permission from the author but I hope he won't mind. I just want you to get a touch of the deep sentiments felt by the Serbs. Finally, I'm reproducing my own answer to my friend (also translated to English).
Here is the first text:
My dear Gilles,
Many thanks for your messages.
What to say that you do not already know? The war in Yugoslavia is shattering me to such an extent that, sincerely, I cannot find the words to express my feelings. I am bleeding alive and I'd rather not linger over this.
I bow with compassion before all the victims of this war, whatever their ethnic or religious origin. For a mother, the death of a child is immeasurable.
I also think that the bombs that are falling on the population of Serbian, Albanian or other origins are in fact falling on all of us, but we are not conscious of it. Very quietly, in all serenity and with good conscience to top it all, we are digging our own grave.
I feel that after this war things will never be the same. We have opened Pandora's Box and no one knows what we will end up finding.
Obviously, I respect everybody's freedom to think and act as their conscience dictates. But reciprocity is also true or, rather, it should be true.
I do not wish to start a polemical debate.
Born in Belgrade, I think of the millions of Serbs who looked upon France like their mother, their sister, their friend. I think of the countless living evidences (street names, public monuments, books, paintings, sculptures, etc.) that have survived both Nazism and Communism and prove how much France was loved, in the depth of the Serbian people.
Serbs are Southern Slavs. They are Slavs, that is, they move back and forth from total despair to the greatest joy. But they also are Southerners, able to dribble their opponents (like in soccer or in basketball) or to surprise them with their imagination and their wit (see Kusturica's movie, "White Cat, Black Cat).
De Gaulle, if memory serves, used to tell his interlocutors "that one should not insult the future for it belongs to God."
I agree with General de Gaulle.
And now, the second:
Hannibal ante portas
Barbarians are at our gates.
They are using their largest and smartest bombs to
destroy our schools and hospitals, our museums and
ancient monasteries, our heating plants and food
factories, our bridges and dams.
They shout for us to yield and let them in: "We are
the United States. Resistance is futile. You will be
At the end of the twentieth century we live in a world
where one country controls all the weapons, all the
money and all the media.
It can maim and kill and starve populations at will, and
then, through the complacent media, deny fault.
It can create kangaroo courts that selectively
prosecute those who oppose it, courts that issue secret
indictments and send armed troops into sovereign
countries to kidnap and murder the accused.
It can select with impunity which international laws
and agreements are politically expedient to adopt or
honor, or which to ignore.
It decides which terrorist organization should be
bombed and which given money and arms; which mass
expulsion of populations to aid and which to label
genocide; which economies to support through loans and
trade, and which to destroy through sanctions and
Its goal is to assimilate all the world's cultures, all the
world systems of value, all the world resources.
War in Yugoslavia is nothing less than the fight for the
twenty first century. It will decide whether we are going
to live as drones with the consciousness of a hive
controlled by the Queen and enforced by NATO, or
whether we are going to live as sovereign peoples with
distinct cultures, religions, languages, morals, and
Yugoslavia is the moral conscience of mankind. This
small country, fully aware of the consequences, decided
that the line must be drawn.
This far, no further.
Bombs may turn us into rubble, but we will not be
Resistance is not futile.
Copyright (c)1999 by beograd.com. All rights reserved.
And the answer to my friend in France:
Thank you for your message.
I suffocate. Since May 24, I am ashamed to be French. I am ashamed to be a Human. I want to scream and only tears bear witness to my helplessness.
You need to forgive my violence. In my weakness I was praying, literally praying, that you, my friend, could act to stop the slaughter of our civilization, yours, mine. You who have the sensitivity of the poets and the knowledge of the scholars, I believed, I wanted to believe, that you could achieve the impossible; talk to [French President] Chirac, talk to the media, turn the public opinion around, bring the howling dogs back to their kennels, smash the criminal stupidity and remind humanity that we are supposed to be Homo Sapiens.
Please, forgive me.
America, I understand. For her, everything, absolutely everything, is "business". "Your Life, Incorporated" combines the lack of historical perspective and the necessity to open markets for her goods and services. It is not a matter of territorial domination, simply a commercial and financial logic.
Germany, I understand. The broadening of their zone of influence in the name of freedom. In other circumstances this would make one smile.
England, I understand. Where America goes, she follows.
Anglo-Saxon domination, I understand.
But France? LA FRANCE? How can she forget the Southern Slavs (Yugoslavs), how can she forget the field of the black bird (Kosovo), how can she forget the cradle of Serbian soul? France? The country of the Declaration of Human Rights?
"Ethnic cleansing", genocide, holocaust, "mass rapes", insults to intelligence that explode and multiply like fireworks. We fabricate a crisis, enjoy the spectacle, and the next day life goes on.
That Iraqi children die or that Serbs die, or Albanians, or that monasteries and museums and an entire economic infrastructure of a friendly country, an ancient ally, are destroyed by bombs thrown from 15,000 feet, so what, the spectacle goes on. Five minutes in prime time. Some are talking about the new morality of the Twenty-first Century.
I have been struggling for almost fifty years now, with all my will and weaknesses, to reach the shores of sensitivity, shying away from all power and honors. A shore beyond the great seas where comprehension gives way to acceptation, where epitaphs in the cemeteries simply read: "He was, he created, he did no harm. He was a man [human]." Is death my only companion?
I am ashamed to be alive, still.
A. Malraux was correct. "Any active and pessimistic man will become a fascist, except if he has a loyalty behind him."
Liouba, I am loyal.
Dear readers, I have no way to know whether you will ever understand but I can assure my friend Liouba and Mr. Andjelic that I do and that Jan, an American, does.
We have lost all sense of decency.
Note: What disgusts me the most, really makes me vomit, the saddest of all, is that the Albanian Kosovars are our pawns, their obvious suffering manipulated for our own greed and materialistic comfort.