by Justin Raimondo
This entry will not be posted until sometime late Sunday night or Monday morning: we had to give Eric, who does the posting, some time off. I am not even supposed to be writing this, but making entries in this Diary had become addictive, a necessity if not always a pleasure: I sit at my terminal, the television blaring, waiting for the nightly bombing to begin. I cannot just sit there and watch it: there is a need to record it, to bear witness to the evil and, simultaneously, to convince myself that I am fighting it.
SPRINGTIME IN BELGRADE
It is springtime in Belgrade, a clear moonlit night. At 4:30 in the morning a huge fireball lights up the sky, and our old friend MSNBC correspondent Ron Allen is jolted out of bed. Flames shoot up twelve or fifteen stories high. As the flames rise higher, Serbian antiaircraft guns, which have so far been silent, open fire. My spirits rise. Is this treason -- or admiration for those who refuse to submit. Perhaps it is both. Allen's whole perspective is civilian-oriented. He tells us that the fire is very close to a residential area, after the anchor says "well, it sounds like it wasn't near a residential area." NATO is striking a the heart of downtown Belgrade again. The ever-present analysts speculate that it looks as if they are trying to knock out Serbian communications, especially television and radio. If only the Serbs could counterattack, and knock out our television -- they would have the undying gratitude of the American people. Just think: no more propaganda, no more Christiane Amanpour rooting for her Muslim brothers, no more "experts" telling us why we must kill more and faster, no more John Fund of the Wall Street Journal trotting out the conventional wisdom, no more Kosovar refugees performing for the cameras! What ecstasy that would be!
Ron Allen tells us that the fire is raging out of control, threatening a residential area; not military targets, but infrastructure -- obviously designed to demoralize the civilian population. This will, he says, only increase the anger and bitterness toward the West. Ron is a voice of reason amid a bloodthirsty chorus of war-whoops. But it occurs to me that it is not only the Serbians who will come out of this embittered and angry: the American people, or large sections thereof, will be enraged by the time the "endgame" is reached. As the Balkan war escalates, the country is becoming polarized around the issue. With the leftist equivalent of Richard Nixon in the White House, a new antiwar movement emerges on the Right. The age of complacency gives way to a new radicalization -- and not a moment too soon.
Who can forget Winston Smith, the protagonist of George Orwell's 1984, sitting at his desk rewriting history? It is a memorable scene in that classic novel: Smith, an intellectual of sorts, sits there musing on the gigantic act of forgery that the Party is committing: "As soon as all the corrections which happened to be necessary in any particular number of the Times had been assembled and collated, that number would be reprinted, the original copy destroyed, and the corrected copy placed on the files in its stead." Books, pamphlets, cartoons, photos: all documents were subject to revision and "correction." "Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date." The Party was right, and had always been right: there was no documentary evidence to prove otherwise.
Absent the dictatorship of Big Brother, such a literal rewriting of history is impossible. Yet what Orwell called "the mutability of the past" is achieved by our own democratic rulers by means of the public's forgetfulness. Who, today, remembers a November 1, 1987 New York Times article by David Binder, which takes a radically different line on the causes of the conflict in Kosovo than we are now used to seeing in the gray pages of the newspaper of record. While today the Serbs are routinely demonized in its news columns as well as on the op-ed pages, back then the Times was telling its readers that "ethnic Albanians in the Government have manipulated public funds and regulations to take over land belonging to Serbs." Under the subhead "Vicious Insults," Binder relates that "Slavic orthodox churches have been attacked, and flags have been torn down. Wells have been poisoned and crops burned. Slavic boys have been knifed, and some young ethnic Albanians have been told by their elders to rape Serbian girls."
In an interview with KLA leaders, Binder reveals that their political goal is "an 'ethnic Albania that includes western Macedonia, southern Montenegro, part of southern Serbia, Kosovo and Albania itself.'" This Greater Albania is to be ruled, we learn, not from Tirana, but from Pristina, a vision to be achieved by what we now call "ethnic cleansing": "As Slavs flee the protracted violence," writes Binder, "Kosovo is becoming what ethnic Albanian nationalists have been demanding for years, and especially strongly since the bloody rioting by ethnic Albanians in Pristina in 1981 -- an 'ethnically pure' Albanian region."
In one incident, a leading Albanian politician "joked" at an official dinner in Prizren "that Serbian women should be used to satisfy potential ethnic Albanian rapists." In 1987, 200,000 Serbs and Montenegrins still lived in the province, but 20,000 had fled since 1980 because of Albanian violence, "often leaving behind farmsteads and houses, for the safety of the Slavic north."
The Kosovars now being rousted out of these same farmsteads and houses are deemed victims of "ethnic cleansing" even by many opponents of NATO's war on Serbia. But if we look at what is happening in Kosovo in context, the Serbians are simply reclaiming what has been stolen from them. Tens of thousands of Serbians, Montenegrins, and Gypsies were driven out of Kosovo in the 80s, and doubtless many of them are ready to reclaim their homes. Does this make them guilty of "ethnic cleansing"?
"All history was a palimpsest," wrote Orwell, "scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary."
YOU READ IT HERE FIRST
In the April Fool's Day entry of this Diary, I noted the criminal history and proclivities of the KLA, their prominent place in Europe's booming heroin trade, and predicted that "several hundred-thousand of these model citizens are now headed straight for Western Europe, and America -- Milosevic's gift to the West." This morning the U.S. State Department announced that 20,000 Kosovars would be granted "temporary" asylum in America, and perhaps be housed at Guantanamo alongside the Haitians.
But surely Guantanamo will be too small to house the hundreds of thousands of Kosovars (and others in the region) who, on hearing the good news that America is opening its gates, will now pour through. "Temporary" my eye! Can you see the United States forcibly deporting tens of thousands of screaming and weeping Kosovars, their misery recorded and broadcast all over the world by CNN? Christiane Amanpour would soon be denouncing the deportations as "ethnic cleansing," liberals would cry "racism," and the uproar would be so loud and so costly to the administration that they would soon back down. Those 20,000 Kosovars are well on their way to becoming Americans -- and the numbers are bound to go up dramatically. If you were a poverty-stricken peasant in the poorest region of Europe -- and not just Kosovo -- what would you do if presented with a golden opportunity to come to America? If the State Department is intent on accomplishing the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo faster and more thoroughly than Milosevic could ever hope for, then it could not have constructed a better scenario. We will soon be up to our ears in Kosovars -- and God knows how many others. For the Serbs are supposedly taking away the Kosovars' identity papers: if a bedraggled peasant shows up at a refugee camp with his wife, ten bawling kids, and no papers, who is to say he hasn't been a victim of "ethnic cleansing"? Stand back, folks -- the floodgates are opening.
OF THE WAR PARTY: