Thursday, 27 December 2007

About Milošević

This is a blog post I began last month, but have only now finished.

Slobodan Milošević, unless you haven't heard of him (there are such "lucky" people!), was the man who set off the domino effect causing the break-up of Yugoslavia, resulting in widespread distruction and loss of life, not to mention over a million displaced people. It was his policies that led to unnecessary and yet avoidable misery and suffering for all the people of the Former Yugoslavia who were affected, directly or indirectly, by the wars of the 1990s.

Nicknamed "Slobo", he supported the genocidal régime of the Bosnian Serbs with Radovan Karadžić at the helm, and is believed to have agreed with Croatian nationalist president Franjo Tuđman that the "Republika Srpska Krajina" should fall, leading to the widespread exoduses of my people, the Croatian Serbs, among whom were many of my own relatives.

In all, he made fools out my people; he made us Serbs look like idiots in front of the WHOLE WORLD, something we Serbs would never let anyone do to us. And yet he successfully pulled it off! That's just incredible. And he was so successful in deceiving the Serbian public at home in Serbia into thinking the whole break-up of the Former Yugoslavia was the fault of other people, namely secessionists in the western republics of the federation and "the West", and not him, that the ordinary citizen of Serbia could truly never guess - GUESS! - that he was actually responsible for starting the process. And he was successful because he understood his subject people well; he basically abused my people's nature, good and bad.

However, I have a confession to make to you, the readers of this blog, whether familiar with the recent history of my part of the world or not.

I haven't always thought this way about Slobo. In fact, I'll tell you straight‪…

‪…I used to like him!

Now bear two things in mind with me:

  • my parents are pro-socialist in political orientation, and

  • remember that we Serbs have a long history of being attacked by other countries as opposed to the other way round, ie. our victimhood throughout history.


  • You will see how relevant these two points are in how my parents and other Serbs perceived the recent wars and political turmoil affecting our people and our former Yugoslav brothers all around the former Yugoslavia.


    ======================================================================

    You see, I am a diaspora Serb, and I remember the extremely negative media spin as a child during the early nineties - especially regarding Bosnia - and as a young adolescent in the late nineties about Kosovo. And for a long time after all that, the BBC, for instance, continued to relate the wars from a perspective that cast us Serbs in a negative light, whenever the wars or the current peace are mentioned. I rarely - if ever - heard anything about what us Croatian Serbs went through.

    Also, I and my parents had access to satellite back then, and even today we have digital satellite. And we regularly watched the Serbian state Radio Television Serbia, along with the terrestrial British channels (I remember my parents watching Bosnian and Croatian TV via satellite back then too). And being a state TV and radio channel today in more democratic times, you don't have to guess whether or not it was a state TV and radio channel back then under Milošević. And it is through Belgrade's satellite channel that my parents heard many stories that were either not mentioned or sparsely mentioned on the Western channels.

    Of course, like I mentioned at the beginning of the article, he knew his people very well and made sure that our people back home in Serbia - and even us in the diaspora - would blame the West and Croatian and other secessionists for everything that was going wrong. In fact, we would never even work out that HE was actually to blame for all the turmoil in the Western Balkans. I see this now.

    However in the past, I deeply resented the Western media - especially British - for continuing to portray us Serbs in a negative light, because back then I didn't think they put the recent history in a more neutral perspective that would allow its Western viewers to understand the war from both sides. Of course, not all Western media reports showed us up in such a vehemently negative light. But then again, I was living in Britain, the land of Political Correctness, and it seemed as though these British correspondents didn't think any Serb would complain about the way they described the contemporary post-war political issues affecting our people and our neighbours back home today. Doesn't P.C. apply to us Serbs?

    It's like they didn't think any Serbs lived in Britain, so they didn't care if we felt offended by their reporting or not! There aren't many of us here, true, but there are between 10,000-50,000. Many came following the Second World War, some a couple of decades after that, many more came more recently due to the recent turmoil that was messing up everyone's lives.

    And as you can guess, when it comes to the Hague, I used to think the International Criminal Trinual for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) served to depict the Western side of the story, in which the Serbs are most to blame for the wars and committed the worst crimes, while the other sides that also committed crimes were let off the hook, something I found quite insulting. I was also displeased to see so many more Serbs being tried and fewer of the others.

    Therefore, I admit that I did admire his performance at the tribunal, and genuinely thought he was revealing information regarding the wars that the Western media kept quiet about. And if you were to watch his proceedings, you would indeed hear many facts of various credibility - I stress "various" credibility - you would never have heard from many Western channels.

    Also, the wars happened at the time of the "Collapse of Communism", when the Soviet Union disintegrated. A time that was said to mark the victory of Western Democracy over Soviet Communism. Of course, us Yugoslavs, being pro-socialist and sympathetic to Soviet Russia, were critical of the West. We were suspicious of their motives an' all. So when our Yugoslav federation started falling apart, us Serbs saw many politicians from the Western republics advocating secession, namely Slovenia and Croatia. This was a time of rising nationalism, particularly Serbian and Croatian. And it seemed to us that the secessionists advocating Western-style Democracy in the geographical West of the federation were backed by the West. And this is why even today many Serbs blame the West for the break-up of Yugoslavia, and not Milošević's politics accompanied by Serbian nationalism. Indeed, we really didn't see - let alone think - that it was Milošević who caused the political crisis throughout the federation; we blamed secessionists in Slovenia and Croatia.

    Now bear in mind that Marshal Tito's Yugoslavia was not a satellite state of Moscow like Poland and the former Czechoslovakia except for a few years following World War Two. Indeed, he famously left the Warsaw Pact, and was thus respected by the West. And what you've got to remember about Tito's Yugoslavia is that, regardless of its faults - REGARDLESS OF THEM, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!!! - it was actually a decent socialist society, in which people like my mother and her generation lived very decent and wholesome lives. Such a country like Yugoslavia didn't deserve such a terrible fate, of course. In fact, I believe Yugoslavia without the Communism could have, would have and should have continued to exist to this day as a democratic and, dare I say, cosmopolitan Yugoslavia within the European Union.

    But back to the media portrayal during the war, what's interesting is how the Western media would wholeheartedly condemn war crimes committed by Serbs, even go as far as writing "Serb monsters" on the newspaper, which smacks of RACISM (!), and yet show the public no understanding of what motivated these crimes in the first place. Don't get me wrong readers, neither I nor anyone else is suggesting that one should justify any war crime whatsoever. But I really think the Western public - or at least the British public during the nineties, was not aware enough of the history of the Balkans. If they did have as much knowledge of Yugoslav history as they have of Israeli/Palestinian history, they would have had a much better understanding of the motivation of the Bosnians Serbs to commit war crimes against their fellow Bosnians. Indeed, as much sensitivity as applied in reporting other conflicts around the world would have been exercised in this case, but not just during the wars, after the wars in the Balkans during peace as well. And of course, they would have condemned those war crimes in a more correct and appropriate way.

    The Balkans are a part of the world that not many people in Britain have any connection to, of course. But what is surprising when it comes to the Second World War in Europe, is that not that many people have heard of the Jasenovac concentration camp, run by Croatian Ustaše in which the main victims were Serbs. In fact, Serbs were the main victims of the Ustaše throughout the "Independent State of Croatia" (Nezavisna Država Hrvatska) during the Second World War in Yugoslavia.

    Yes, it's true that not many people have heard of many concentration camps other than Auschwitz, Treblinka, Dachau and Belzec, but that's NOT the point! The point is a recent war happened near a particular extermination camp in which one of the most horrendous crimes that man could commit against his fellow man were committed. And if the British public understood the Serbs' victimhood and their wars against the Croats and Bosniaks as much as they understand the Israelis and their treatment of the Palestinians in the Holy Land, then once again I tell you my dear readers, they would have condemned the crimes of the Bosnians Serbs in a more sensitive manner, without leaving their Bosniak audience feeling that they were not condemned enough.

    NB: you will find that some people compare modern-day Serbian nationalism and the war crimes committed by the Bosnian Serbs with WW2 Fascism as practised by collaborationist forces amongs the Serbs, and even with Anti-Semitism that was promoted by the leaders of such forces. Now it is true that memory of these collaborationist forces did play a part in the recent wars. There's no doubt about that. However, what doesn't seem to occur to them is to explain to their readers how these Bosnian Serb war criminals may have been inspired by the very real suffering that their grandparents and great-grandparents endured during the Second World War, whatsoever. Radovan Karadžić certainly didn't feed the Bosnian Serbs much in the way Anti-Semitism during the nineties, if at all; instead, he fed them kilograms of anti-Croat propaganda, and most importantly, tonnes of anti-Muslim propaganda.

    Again, no one here is suggesting that war crimes should be justified. No one. Rather, we should try to understand what motivated ordinary people to engage in such dreadful criminal activity against their fellow citizens, just like any criminal investigator would intend to discover the motive of a particular murder in times of peace.

    ======================================================================

    And so, yes I used to respect Milošević, I admit that. But now, of course, I know better.

    You see, I changed my opinion some time at the beginning of this year. And I did so with the help of a medium (via their website on the internet), a medium I used to consider as anti-Serb medium in Serbia backed by the West financially. Actually, this medium consistantly fought against Milošević's disastrous rule throughout the nineties. Of course, it is B92, the bastion of free speach and democratic values in Serbia. And it is through the information their website divulges and opinions of liberal-minded individuals at their blogs section, not to mention other individuals associated with that medium, that I learnt why B92 and the people linked to it opposed Milošević so faithfully.

    They are the people who lived under Milošević's régime. They lived in a Serbia whose society was collapsing and degenerating from within; falling apart and stagnating. They also lived in a Serbia whose leaders were waging wars against Croatia and Bosnia, formerly sister republics and its peoples formerly fellow Yugoslavs, as their federal country Yugoslavia was falling apart and dying. They are the conscious witnesses to the bad politics of Milošević's régime.

    It was B92's radio (that's how it started out) that broadcast to Serbia informing its citizens of the wrong-doing their leaders were committing inside their country and outside in the newly-independent republics. B92 was often suppressed during Milošević's time, and many ordinary people with right-wing sentiments were understandably distrustful of the station, one, because of the news it was reporting, and two, it was considered "unpatriotic"! And yet in the end, Milošević finally departed office following a massive uprising of people in response to election fraud in the first round of elections in 2000. B92 is still with us, Milošević isn't, and better that way.

    And it's thanks to the B92 website, that I can now understand what truly happened throughout the nineties, thanks to all that testimony as seen through Serbian eyes.

    I now see that he really did cause a nationwide crisis when he revoked Kosovo's autnomy, not just a crisis in the province itself, which lasted for ten years. I understand that this caused alarm in the other republics leading the people of those republics to question whether they should stay within a Yugoslav federation with Serbia being more dominant than acceptable. It could be debated whether the politicians in those republics capitalised on this alarm for their own personal ends. Nevertheless, people in these republics saw how Serbian nationalism spread and most importantly, also noticed how Milošević somehow supported its rise.

    But there's another point that must be mentioned, 'cause it concerns many Serbs. You see, Croatian nationalism also rose at that time, which is something that many Serbs in Croatia noticed at the same time Serbian nationalism was rising among them. In fact, Croatian nationalism started rearing its head even when Tito was still alive in the early seventies, during the "Croatian Spring" (Hrvatsko proljeće) in which Franjo Tuđman personally participated, long before Milošević came around.

    But here's the difference between the manifestation of Croatian nationalism in the early seventies and the rise of Serbian nationalism in the late eighties. The Communist authorities of Croatia at the time of the "Croatian Spring" did not support this movement, while the Communist Slobodan Milošević - even before he became president of Serbia and afterwards continuously - did in some way support and foster Serbian nationalism.

    And yet in Kosovo during the eighties and of course before, some Serbs there - not ALL, but a significant number of whom - did experience ethnically motivated intimidation from their Albanian neighbours, and it's unfortunate that it happened. Such intimidation was not "invented", but exaggerated by the Serbian media, which at that time was motivated to inform the Serbian public of what was considered at the time "repressed common knowledge" of the suffering of Serbs caused by Albanians in Kosovo and the resulting migration of Serbs from the province because of which.

    But the way Milošević dealt with this plight of Serbs was completely the WRONG way. Such an issue should have been dealt with sensitively by his régime. Instead, his way of dealing with the issue merely encouraged distrust between the two communities to fester. And by revoking Kosovo's autonomy, something the Albanians in the province treasured, he basically treated these people like children. For instance, when a child misbehaves, one way you chastise him/her is to take away his/her favourite toy. And yet what he did to them was many times worse than that. I now see how his policies in the late 80s caused a lot of fury amongst Albanians. And in the end, it lead to catastrophe ‪…literally (!), and for all of Kosovo's people.

    Beyond Kosovo and particularly in Bosnia, Slobodan Milošević basically supported a fascist régime that lead genocidal policies against one particular group in the country, the Bosnian Muslims who today call themselves "Bosniaks". His régime in Belgrade both politically and militarily supported Radovan Karadžić's aims of securing circa 70% of Bosnia & Herzegovina, in the hope that this territory would later become a part of Serbia, the new "Western Serbia". There is even evidence that Milošević actually advised - or perhaps commanded - the Bosnian Serbs on what actions to take during the fighting.

    And when it comes to Radovan Karadžić, I can now see how he, and others like him, manipulated ordinary Serbs; he used their painful memories from the Second World War and even the folk memory of the Ottoman period to create precisely an atmosphere conducive of the ethnically-motivated violence that we saw.

    And as for the Serbian people in Kosovo and the short-lived Krajina, he gambled with their lives. There is no doubt about that. He truly betrayed these people; he offered them false hope and they in the end became victimised in response to either his actions in the case of Kosovo, or the actions of those he supported in the case of Krajina. And like I said in a previous article, my fellow Croatian Serbs were victimised a second time last century, fifty years after Jasenovac and the genocide committed against our grandparents and great-grandparents by the Ustaše.


    ======================================================================

    Having "disowned" Milošević, it is nevertheless my opinion that NOTHING Milošević, Šešelj, Karadžić, Babić, Martić and all the other idiots did in the recent history has anything to do with our respectable identity, wonderful culture and my dear people. Those people are in my opinion NOT my Serbian brothers! Full stop.

    And even though I understand the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia much better than I did before, I still deeply resent it when Western and even Serbian reporters, speakers, etc. say or write how the crimes these individuals committed were done so "in our name". Well, you know what I think, guys? I think they weren't actually. That's right, no. No they were NOT committed in our GOOD name! Not a SINGLE crime that was committed by those criminals was committed "in our good Serbian name"! THANK you very much!

    All crimes that were committed by Bosnian Serbs, Croatian Serbs or Serbian Serbs were committed by MANIAKS, even DRUNKS, or just all-round CRIMINALS whose crimes don't deserve to be dignified with our good name; the people who committed these crimes don't deserve to be called our "Serbian brothers".

    (There is ample evidence that many crimes committed by Bosnian Serb troops were committed in a state of drunkenness. NOT that it subtracts from the seriousness of the crimes committed; merely explains what kind of state many of these criminals were in when they did what they did.)

    And what about the fact that Ratko Mladić treated Srebrenica, where he committed an internationally recognised genocide against the Bosniaks, as a "gift to the Serbian people"? Well you know what they say about gifts, you don't have to accept them. And you can guess what I think. I don't accept the town of Srebrenica or her villages around her, and I'm sure that there are many other Serbs who think exactly the same way as me.

    But what is important to consider, and this is hardly ever suggested, is how Milošević didn't even have the moral courage, since he obviously knew he was gonna stay in the Hague, to explain why he did all the things he did. Why he deceived his people; led his people into wars; gambled with his people's lives; and all the while, supporting nationalist forces that were victimising other people? Why? Why didn't he just come clean and confess to the people of the Balkans, instead of repeat the same lies at court he used to keep his citizens back home in Serbia in the dark?

    Who knows? Maybe he did want to come clean at the end of the trial, at the verdict stage perhaps. But then again, since it was alleged that he was taking improper medicine deliberatly to undermine the effects of the drugs supplied to him by the Hague - even the Hague was accused of poisoning him! - maybe he really couldn't have cared less.

    Glad I've disowned him!

    13 comments:

    Anonymous said...

    Kome solis pamet? Amerima? Jebote covjek vise nije ziv. Ubili su ga.

    Anonymous said...

    actually what milosevic and other serbs in power were saying even in '89 or earlier amounted to a declaration of war unless all other states accede to serb demands: serbs must be in control of croatia, bosnia, montenegro, kosovo, voyvodina, kosovo, and macedonia.

    their vision of yugoslavia consisted of de facto at least 5 serb countries. tnx.
    bozhidar

    Anonymous said...

    serb leadership knew, i suggest, that at least 40k croatian soldiers were slain in '45 by partizani.
    in add'n, croat partizani have slain many croats thruout croatia who collaborated with ustashe, italians, and germans.

    chetniks and serb partizani have killed each other as well.
    chetniks have slain croats and bosnians.

    so, alan is mistaken when he suggest we shld understand serb rage and their new collective punishment of innocent people by killing at least 100k of them.

    serbs have gotten their revenge. in fact it had been serbs who terrorized croatia and other parts of yugoslavia '18 to '41 and from '89 to '95.

    how about understanding what we croats had to go thru knowing how serbs felt about other peoples and their proclamation that they wanted to obtain a greater serbia.

    does alan think that chinese wld be justified in slaying, say, one million japanese in order to get even.
    how about 'jews"? wld they be justified slaying 200k serbs, 30 mn germans, 200k croats because of what was done to them from '37- '45! tnx
    also spricht bozhidarevski!

    Alan Jakšić said...

    Hello Bozhidarevski. Thank you for your comment. Let me answer your comment.

    "so, alan is mistaken when he suggest we shld understand serb rage and their new collective punishment of innocent people by killing at least 100k of them.



    how about understanding what we croats had to go thru knowing how serbs felt about other peoples and their proclamation that they wanted to obtain a greater serbia."


    Bozhidar, I don't see how I'm mistaken here. My intention when writing this article was to explain what I used to think about Milošević and how I changed my opinion. I also wanted to explain how a lot of Serbs felt about what was happening in their homeland. I wasn't justifying "serb rage and their new collective punishment of innocent people", nor do I excuse vengeful politics. I'm sorry that you felt that way, Bozhidar.

    I see that you want people to see things from the Croatian perspective, and I believe that we should see what people from both sides felt and thought during the '90s. However, what are you referring to when you say, "serbs … terrorized croatia and other parts of yugoslavia '18 to '41 …"? Are you referring to the Serbo-centric politics of the "Serbian bourgeoisie" during the Kingdom of Yugoslavia? As far as '41 is concerned, the Ustaše terrorised many parts of Yugoslavia massacring around a hundred thousand Serbs in cold-blood, including many of my own relatives on my mother's side in the region of Lika where I'm from.

    I hope we can continue this exchange of opinions; I await your reply!

    Anonymous said...

    alan,
    have u not only brought up how serbs felt about ustashe crimes, but have also said that one can understand that.

    i'd have to reread ur piece in order accurately transcribe what u said about such an understanding; i may yet, tho!

    understanding [of some serb undestandings-rage-wish to get even] is a generalized statement; as such it means too much or too little to offer an elucidation.

    but if one is going to talk about how some serbs felt and intended to do, while in toto ignoring how bosniaks, croats, kosovars, volksdeutscher, magyars felt-intended to do, then that amounts to arbitrary selection of not only [non]facts but also about intent, and causative factors for what had occurred in the balkans.

    we need to study all salient factors-actors which played a role during the the last century.

    it goes w.o. saying that neither chentinks nor ustashe wld do that. but do we have to also evaluate events only from '41-45 period?
    beginning such a study from just the period '41-45 cannot bring us any enlightenment.

    once again, u put words and intentions in my mouth.
    i am not talking and thinking in name of croatia nor pushing croat'n point of view.

    i am strongly an egalitarian; most croats are supremacistic and not only on personal, but also on cultic, and nat'l levels.

    may i ask why did u bring up how some, say, 70% felt against croats

    and why have u omitted what serbs have been doing for the last 100 yrs and crimes they have committed and against 'balije', 'ustashe', and shiptars and a vicious and vitiating spread of hatred towards people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time for panserbs to set up a serbia stretching all the way to slovenian border.

    and u have not stressed an universal: no collective punishment under any circumstance, basing it on a fact that individuals in the past have committed crimes in their respective people's name.

    similarly, serbs shld not have been collectively punished in '99 because of what individuals did in kosovo.
    nor shld they be puinished for whatever some serbs did to bosnia.

    to end this post, i strongly suggest u evaluate only what i have actually posited and then proclaim that such and such stattement is accurate-adequate or no so or not always or whatever.

    it'l mak eu better journalist if u avoid reading minds or putting words in other people's mouths
    believe me i am onto every verbal trick there is. bozhidar! tnx

    Anonymous said...

    alan,
    croatian spring, as far as i know, had not been about ousting serbs from croatia nor curtailing their rights.
    nor was it, being led by some communists as well, about setting up a greater croatia.
    it had no trace of ethnic hatred. the protest was entirely about restructuring economy.

    and neither serb or yugoslav army supported what croats wanted in '70s.

    the protest was so innocuous and quiet that hardly anyone knew of it.
    and tito did adopt suggested or demanded changes.

    chetnik {?ueber}nationalism was supported or even commanded by at least 40% of serb pop, all of serb army, and most serb intellectuals but no in order to change anything but in order to slay-expel croats and bosniaks in case croats and bosniak wld not accept serb tacit ultimatum: either stay in yugoslavia or else.

    actually, even a slovene and croat'n general, who swore to tito that they'd guard his yugoslavia, were involved in serbia's aggressions.
    they assumed that they defended yugoslavia!
    i still don't know what happened to them!

    imo, set up of a sate of serbs, croats, and slovenes in '18 was a noble idea.
    serbia felt much more secure regarding any hungarian and bulgarian threat.

    croatia also obtained greater security. slovenes feared being swallowed up by germans; thus, yugoslavia offered them much protection.

    however, to serbs, the new yugoslavia or much of it was greater serbia they wanted since mid-19th c.

    however, cvetkovic-macek deal solved the problem in '39 and wld have avoided german and italian invasions of yugoslavia.

    however, serbs have deposed elected yugoslav govt; annulled the agreement; broke the pakt with germany

    obviously, peace wld not do for chetniks nor utashe.
    it shld be noted that ustasha org arose only after 3 croat'n parliamentarians were slain in SHS parliament.
    king proclaimed dictatorship in '29 and changed arbitrarily the name SHS into yugoslavia

    from this-- and much more-- i conclude that serbs which mattered either before joining the state of SHS or soon after decided that they want nothing else but greater serbia.

    and as well as in '90. however having failed, they fell back on plan B: defending endangered serbs and preserving yugoslavia.

    later cooking the books to 'prove' that that's what they were after all along!
    i am not amused! tnx, bozh

    Anonymous said...

    alan,
    if i recall correctly, croatia had been ruled by communists till beginning of '91.
    the balvan revolution and occupation of croatia by serb army happened in aug '90.

    croat'n communists swore to preserve yugoslavia. at no time prior to serb occupation were they for separation from yugoslavia.

    once croatians voted by a vote of 95%+ to separate from yugoslavia, their govt accepted it and had i duty legally and morally to seek u.n. recognition.

    slovenia was the first to leave yugoslav presidium. it wld not accept the fact that serbia reserved had four votes in the presidium, while other republics ha done each.

    at present panhuman development, there is nothing wrong with ethocentrism; thus, croatia, macedonia, and slovenia had a legal and moral right to act in best interests of their respective peoples.

    once a country, province or a region is occupied, its people--whether in palestina or afgh'n are morally and legally obligated to fight the occupiers by any means whatever.

    in case of serbs, who turned against croatia in'90, i wld have if i cld, expel them from croatia and never ever allow them to return.

    for croatia to allow chetniks and other veleserbs to return to croatia wld amount to great injustice to the living croats who lost loved ones which chetniks have killed in cold blood from '90 to 95.bozh tnx

    Alan Jakšić said...

    Bozhidar, I didn't mean to "put words and intentions" into your mouth, like you say. I did assume that you were "talking and thinking" from a Croatian point of view. However, looking at your later comments, it looks like you are.

    but if one is going to talk about how some serbs felt and intended to do, while in toto ignoring how bosniaks, croats, kosovars, volksdeutscher, magyars felt-intended to do, then that amounts to arbitrary selection of not only [non]facts but also about intent, and causative factors for what had occurred in the balkans.

    we need to study all salient factors-actors which played a role during the the last century.


    I 100% agree with that Bozhidar, and that's exactly what I'm trying to do with this blog! That is my honest aim!

    Also, I did not intend to omit mention of Serb crimes against other people or even the hatred of others promoted by some Serbs; not only have I mentioned some of those crimes on other articles I've published on this blog, I've also been very keen to point out the hatred that various nationalists, including Serbian ones, have spread amongst ordinary people and still try to. Believe me Bozhidar, I have no intention to ignore such horrible facts; they must be known to anyone who seriously wishes to know the history of the former Yugoslavia.

    Alan Jakšić said...

    And let me answer a couple of other points you raised, Bozhidar.

    You state that there is nothing wrong with ethocentrism, since countries like Croatia, Macedonia and Slovenia "had a legal and moral right to act in best interests of their respective peoples". But then again, what do you call the politics of Greater Serbia, which the leaders of Krajina pursued in the interests of their people, other than ethnocentrism in opposition to other ethnocentric politics?

    (By the way Bozhidar, I don't think "Greater Serbia" was in the best interests of the Serbian people in the '90s, nor do I think Serbian politicians had a moral or legal right to pursue it!)

    Another point you raised, which caused me slight consternation, was this one: you said you would never allow "chetniks and other veleserbs [sic]" to return to croatia, as that would "amount to great injustice to the living [C]roats who lost loved ones which chetniks have killed in cold blood from '90 to 95".

    Morally speaking, you have as much right to prevent Serbs from returning to their homes, as Milan Martić had when he expelled Croats from their homes, which is no right at all. What the Krajina leaders did in '91 was both immoral and unjustifiable.

    Bozhidar, let me reiterate my opinion: I do NOT excuse war crimes, crimes against humanity or even genocide committed by Serbs. What some Serbs did in the '90s was wrong and evil — not to mention that the whole Greater-Serbian project was fundamentally flawed on a moral level!

    The nationalism mixed with statism — which is what ethnocentrism is all about — that I see maintaining hatred created in the recent wars and also sustaining hatred from previous wars in the former Yugoslavia, insults my intelligence and depresses my soul. I find all that hatred morally disgusting, and IMO, it deserves NO place in our future or our children's future!

    And FYI Bozhidar, it's because of the recent past in the Balkans, and because of many other moral issues around the world, that I choose to be an Anarchist; compared to all the nationalism, statism and tribalism in the Balkans, I believe Anarchism is a true moral alternative worthy of consideration.

    Thank you for your comments Bozhidar, and feel free to leave comments elsewhere!

    Živio!

    Anonymous said...

    alan,
    i am not in agreement that serb in croatia wld have ever rose up in arms against croatia had there not been serb army in croatia.

    the uprising, imo, had been joint labors of many serb communists and chetniks.
    u can substitute label "serb army" by the label "yugoslav army"; however, croat or an hostile to wholeness of serbia yugoslav army did not occupy serbia in aug '90.

    and then used local magyars, croats, kosovars to further undermine peace in serbia and its wholeness.

    i do not think that serb leaders' A plan included looking after local serb best interests.
    A plan solely looked after panserb or veleserbian interests; which, perforce had to include military role, burning croat villages that were situated between serb villages or small towns, killing about 3k croats and expelling at least 100k croats.

    a country's minority, such as tyrol in italy, magyars in romania, and slovakia, just to mention these three, cannot join mother countries by a military venture and call that "looking after an ethnic's interests" for that wld be suicidal.
    unless, of course mother countries were much bigger and stronger militarily and invaded other lands.

    of, course, the same serbs who were gungho for set up of greater serbia by military means [how else to do it?], later fell on B plan: we only wanted autonomy, we were for peace, ustashe wld not talk to us. tnxbozhidar

    Anonymous said...

    alan.
    note please, that canada and u.s. in '41 had transferred all of their japanese pop to internment camps.
    yet they were very loyal to canada and u.s.

    unfortunately we cld not do that to serbs. my plan wld have been to ask serbs to swear allegiance to croatia.
    those that refuse i'd have interned!

    however only few serbs outside cities were loyal to croatia from '18- 95.

    rejection of Z [zagreb] 4 plan, put together in '94 by russia, u.s. and germany/france, acting on behalf of europe, serbs did not even read, according to peter galbraith,

    yet the rights they were offered exceeded by far the rights of any minority anywhere else.

    i do not think that serbia abandoned them in aug '95.

    i think that serbia was much afraid of reinvading croatia.
    there is no way serbs cld have beaten croatia.

    it shld be noted that been reported that serb govt advised martic to accept Z-4 plan.
    however did not force it on croat'n serbs.

    obviously, serb govt was afraid of losing kosovo because that plan wld be more that valid for kosovo.
    so, in a way he did abandon croat'n serbs by simply not forcing croat'n srbs to accept Z-4 plan or else.

    it had been reported that early in the war, 400k young serbs run off to other countries rather than fight 'ustashe'.

    thus, serb propaganda that all croats were fearsome and blood thirsty ustashe actually back fired on veleserbs. tnx bozh

    Anonymous said...

    alan,
    i am distinguishing between ethnocentrism and ueber ethnocentrism.

    i am glad to hear that u think and probably good [30% of panserbs also] that gathering all serbs in one country was not a good undertaking.

    examples of acceptable ethnocentrism teem in u.s., just to mention one region.
    yes, i call u.s. a region; a region with thousand and one voelker.
    their inhabitants i call regionals.
    as to why some other time!
    nazis were uebernationalistic. they, too, wanted to gather all theiri people in one land.

    practically every euro land that cld be imperialistic or overnationalistic, was so.

    if one only knows serbian language it is natural for serbs to gather together to talk to each other, read own papers, love their heros/lore/culture, defend their land, and the like.
    bozh thanks for ur Right Ear

    Anonymous said...

    alan, i did no say that i wldn't let serbs back to croatia-- i said only that i wld bar all those serbs from returning to croatia who are for establishment of a greater serbia.

    those serbs who left for any reason croatian cities under croat control, save because they wanted to create a greater serbia have the ROR.

    i honor the ROR of all those who for whatever reason left their habitat.
    that includes serbs, palestinians, et al.
    alas, chomsky does not. at least for pals.

    i got that admition from him in his fourth reply to my query about that universal. u can ask him, too! thanks for replying to me.
    we need truth so badly! and let chips fall where they may!