February 19, 2001
No one knows everything and there are always two sides to a story. These two precepts, often unobserved, have been entirely ignored, utterly discarded by our decision makers and our opinion makers, media pundits and anchors, during the dramatic turmoil that engulfed Yugoslavia for the past decade. The absence of these two most basic rules considerably limits the likelihood that a citizenry can reach an informed opinion.
Social critic and historian Michael Parenti tells the other side of the story and brings to light with great details the knowledge that will allow the readers to form a balanced assessment of what really happened in the Balkans. This is not a book for aficionados of conspiracy theories. It is an exercise in investigative reporting and a brilliant analysis of the events that brought the wrath of our Western gods to the peoples of Southern Europe, and more precisely to the Serbian people. Neither is it the work of a "Serbian apologist," as anyone who has relentlessly combated the demonization of the Serbian people and culture, including this reviewer, is generally tagged. This is a fully documented examination of the decisions made in the eighties - decisions that took a sense of urgency after the Fall of the Berlin Wall and the disintegration of the former Soviet Union - to dismember the socialist Federation of Yugoslavia and to carve it into powerless statelets, to complete the privatization of its entire economy and to achieve the "Third Worldization" of the Balkans.
Those familiar with Michael Parenti either personally or through the reading of some of the 15 books and countless articles he has written over the past 25 years know that he is blessed with a sharp mind and a pair of eagle eyes. He performs with the precision of a surgeon to map the destruction of Yugoslavia. He does it with ample evidence documented in more than 20 pages of notes that he assembled with minutia from well-established Western sources, from international organizations (OSCE, NATO, ICTY, USDEA, European Commission, etc.) to major news organizations. It is another side of the story that was always there in the open. One just had to turn off the TV set and take the time to look for the clues. Parenti's merit is to have brought forward all these threads together, knitting in the process a powerful quilt with swatches of evidence that never came to the fore.
Kosovo cannot be fathomed without appreciating the strategy devised and implemented for at least an entire decade. By 1992, attentive observers could sense that the road the Western carvers were taking would probably lead to Belgrade through Kosovo-Metohija. By 1995, the probability had become a certainty. Parenti must have been one such observer as, instead of merely focusing on Kosovo and the illegal war against Serbia in the Spring of 1999, he reviews each step of the dismemberment, starting with the secession of Slovenia and Croatia under the "sponsorship" of Germany (and the Vatican) in a series of short chapters that lay bare the policies put in place in Bonn and Washington. As Parenti puts it in the introduction of the book, "Top policy makers are intelligent, resourceful, and generally more aware of what they are doing than those who see them as foolish and bungling. US policy is not filled with contradictions and inconsistencies. It has performed brilliantly and steadily…" Here again Parenti shows with persuasive argumentation backed by documented facts that indeed the policies were steady…and bloody. He convincingly replaces the conflict in the realm of the end of the Cold War (has it really ended?) and the ineluctable march Eastward of the Western Powers in the name of democracy and free-markets. Each chapter brings new details and new revelations of the deceptions put in place toward the achievement of the final breakup of Yugoslavia; and while some, particularly the chapter dedicated to Bosnia-Herzegovina, could have used further exploration, they significantly facilitate the understanding of the whole Yugoslav tragedy.
For years most people have only read and listened to a one-sided story; a story repeated ad nauseum, filled with insinuations, PR campaigns, deceptions, slander, all with remarkable effectiveness. The consequences of this story will be with us for many years. No one can even apprehend how extensive the repercussions will be, not just in the Balkans, but in the entire world (notice already the direct impact on Russia, China, India, and possibly even in Europe). Honest-minded people, whether they agree or not with Parenti's conclusions, will want to read To Kill a Nation in order to draw their own informed conclusions. They finally will have heard the other side of the story.
Parenti dedicates the book "To the people of the former Yugoslavia with the hope that they may be allowed to live in peace with justice."
TO KILL A NATION, The Attack on Yugoslavia
by Michael Parenti
Publisher: Verso - 2000 - ISBN 1-85984-776-5
TO KILL A NATION will be in your local bookstore on February 22, 2001. You can also order it from People's Video/Audio, toll-free order: 800-823-4507 (VISA, Mastercard or American Express) or by check or money order to: People's Video, PO Box 99514, Seattle WA 98199
Please, DO NOT steal, scavenge or repost this work without the expressed written authorization of Swans, which will seek permission from the author. This material is copyrighted. All rights reserved.
Related External Links
Michael Parenti's Website
Related Internal Links
The Media and their Atrocities - by Michael Parenti
Open Letter to Richard - by Micha
Answer to Micha's Open Letter - by Richard
Kosovo - The "Banality of Evil" - by Gilles d'Aymery
Explaining Nukes to a Martian - By Deck Deckert
Resources on the War in Yugoslavia and its Aftermath
Articles Published on Swans Regarding the War in Yugoslavia and its Aftermath