Two significant letters, one from England, the other one from Macedonia, regarding Stephen Gowans's article, Massacre Or Not? It Depends On Which Side Of Washington's Ledger You're On (May 6, 2002)
To the Editor:
Stephen Gowans quotes Martin van Creveld, Israel's leading military historian, as saying that Washington would turn a blind eye should Sharon ever carry out his plan to "drive Palestinians across the Jordan."
Van Creveld's claim is not far fetched. There are recent precedents.
In August 1995 Croatia's American-trained military murderously expelled the Krajina Serb nation. There was no outcry from Washington nor subsequent pressure brought to bear upon Zagreb to allow the return of the Krajina Serbs. The expunging of the Krajina Serb nation qualifies as genocide under international convention. Yet The Hague tribunal has not indicted any Croatian for genocide.
Then in the early summer of 1999 the KLA expelled most of Kosovo's Serb, Roma and other non-Albanian communities. This took place under the noses of occupying Nato troops. This was treated as a mere instance of collateral damage arising from Nato's "humanitarian" bombing.
The Lord Byron Foundation for Balkan Studies
Twickenham, Middx TW1 2AP
To the Editor:
Stephen Gowans' article was an interesting read, and rang too true. I have been living in Macedonia for nearly four years, and have watched it transform from a quietish country into an international warehouse for Kosovo and a near civil war last year. I remember the Racak massacre, and at the time had never liked the BBC's coverage; little did I realise that two years later, the BBC amongst others would be dragging up Racak as a symbol of Slav' oppression of Albanians, with that Paul Wood's line "The Macedonians are worse than the Serbs!" At least Mr. Gowans' article has taken some of the sting out of that (for me anyway) and helped pacify my anger and disappointment.
As for the US foreign policy, people here still feel bitter over the US paratrooper-covered withdrawal of 450 NLA soldiers (and 17 MPRI operatives), with weapons to be re-deployed for further fighting; an interesting peace move... Also, national security adviser Condaleezza Rice's pressure on the Ukraine to prevent arms exports is another thing that people here see as a way victory was taken from them.
The international community has finally lost some of its blind love for the 'Albanian victimhood' -- the penny has dropped, and they feel a little bit cheated. They can see that the very people they helped in 1999 as victims are now the oppressors who started two subsequent campaigns (in southern Serbia and Macedonia) against another group of people. Realistically, the Macedonians and Serbs of some villages here are not going to be able to return to their homes, and no matter how much one dresses it up, the international community and especially America has assisted ethnic-cleansing: the NLA even had a Commander Solana in charge of ethnic-cleansing and were foolish enough to put that on paper! And still, every so often an ex-NLA commander will speak of pursuing the war if the US continues its support. This, I cannot fathom, only that perhaps some elements of some department in the US administration have become rogue...
Finally, it is interesting to note that amongst Albanians here, who clearly love America and 110 percent believe that the US supports their cause (whatever that is), there is intense bewilderment by and resentment for America's support of Israel (they cannot reconcile America's support for an anti-Moslem campaign -- as they see it). As a result, one hears some very strong anti-Jewish rhetoric from some Albanians. All said and done, can anyone really fathom the US State Department's criteria for them or us? (Yes, but does it really help?)
Anyway, keep up the good work as it always gives me a little hope (a spurious emotion, according to Spinoza).
Stephen Gowans: Massacre Or Not? It Depends On Which Side Of Washington's Ledger You're On (May 6, 2002)