[August 12] the Albanian rebels surrounded
a patrol of Macedonian police as helicopter gunships flew
to the scene to attempt a rescue. On Wednesday, 10
Macedonian soldiers were ambushed even as rebel commanders
and their parliamentary sock puppets at the negotiating table
were declaring their fulsome support for the "peace process."
Meanwhile, we hear news, from
Human Rights Watch, that rebel Albanian fighters kidnapped
and tortured 5 Macedonian road workers on the outskirts of
Tetovo, subjecting them to a very imaginative and even elaborate
series of sexual abuses. The rumor that the Albanian commander
is planning on entering the International
Mr. Leather Contest is unconfirmed, at this point, but
we'll keep you posted.
PEACEKEEPERS, BUT NO PEACE
hundreds of "Kosovo Protection Corps" fighters – their guns,
ammo, uniforms, and training paid for by US taxpayers – crossed
the border with Macedonia in what amounted to an open
invasion, without running into any trouble, apparently, from
the 20,000-plus NATO troops supposed to be on "peacekeeping"
duty. As the editors of Reality Macedonia – an
excellent website offering often-updated coverage and
commentary on the conflict – put it:
thing is not clear: If NATO troops were supposed to protect
the Macedonia–Kosovo border, how and why is possible for the
Kosovo Troops to cross the border and openly attack Macedonia?"
SEARCH OF AN ANSWER
good question, raised
by Macedonian Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski, and one
NATO and the US haven't bothered to answer. While the
US issues pro forma pleas to both sides to stop the violence,
everybody knows that it is the Americans who armed and trained
the Albanian "rebels," many of whom spilled into Macedonia
in the wake of the Kosovo war. Pointing to the military reality
of rebel "National Liberation Army" forces firing shells from
bases within Kosovo, Georgievski threw down the gauntlet
in a letter to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan:
personally, consider this an official declaration of war by
the international protectorate of Kosovo and by the Kosovo
Protection Corps (KPC), which is unfortunately part of the
UN civil administration in Kosovo. This is an unprecedented
event in international politics, in which a sovereign and
democratic country has been the object of aggression from
an international protectorate of the United Nations."
quite unprecedented. Bosnia, a UN protectorate, was used as
a launching pad for the conquest of Kosovo, much as it is
being used today for a similar campaign directed at Macedonia.
And can there be any doubt, at this late date, about whom
is doing the directing? Georgievski is right, however, in
one sense: this level of brazen arrogance is unprecedented
in human history.
AMANPOUR, CALL YOUR OFFICE
cutting through the elaborate pretense of UN-US neutrality,
Georgievski has already earned the enmity of the powers that
be: news accounts of the Macedonian Prime Minister's pronouncements
now routinely describe him as "the hardline Macedonian leader,"
although his party, the VMRO-DPMN, has signed on to the peace
accord. He has earned this unflattering moniker, it seems,
by demanding to know the exact value of a truce during which
the gunfire accelerates, and by daring to state the reality
clearly and simply: that Macedonia and Kosovo are at war,
even as 600 Albanian fighters pour across the border. No doubt
Carla Del Ponte and her International Star Chamber are keeping
a file on Mr. Georgievski. Reading what he has to say I can
only think: here is a man slated by the "human rights" crowd
for the role of the Macedonian Slobodan Milosevic.
pro-Albanian drumbeat has already begun. Christiane Amanpour,
grab your shawl and get on a plane – Part II of the Kosovo
war is ready to be filmed and your services are needed. Already,
in spite of the escalating level of violence initiated and
sustained by the Albanian rebel forces, the Western media,
particularly in Britain, are carrying stories that invariably
portray the Albanians as the victims. The [UK] Independent,
which opposed the Kosovo war editorially and was a rich source
of contrarian fact and opinion during that conflict, has mysteriously
switched sides and now takes a vehemently pro-Albanian interventionist
example, this story about the alleged "ethnic cleansing"
that is supposed to have taken place in the Macedonian village
of Rastan, in central Macedonia.
ON A HIGH HORSE
to the author, Justin Huggler, an Albanian family was set
upon by Macedonian ethnic cleansers, and a 13-year-old child
was ruthlessly slaughtered: "The ethnic cleansing has begun,"
intones Huggler, but there are no facts offered as evidence
as to the identity of the killers. The premise of the article
– that paramilitary groups are targeting Albanian civilians
– is merely assumed, as Huggler gets up on his high horse
and lectures the NATO-crats on their moral duty:
is the reality of what is happening in Macedonia, while the
West flounders for a way to contain the growing crisis. NATO
insists it will send troops to Macedonia to collect the rebels'
weapons only if they agree to hand them over voluntarily.
A peacekeeping force is out of the question."
this the reality of what is happening in Macedonia? For a
different perspective, go
here: Reality Macedonia takes the same incident
and spins a few more facts in the opposition direction, against
an entirely different backdrop. While Huggler maintains that
Rastan "used to be a mixed village" and "now it has been ethnically
cleansed," Reality Macedonia calls the village Rashtani,
and, as for its ethnic composition, describes it as "a village
predominantly inhabited by Macedonians, but two ethnic Albanian
families also live[d] there for a long time." While there
can be only one explanation for these masked intruders as
far as Huggler is concerned, Reality Macedonia proffers:
explanations on who performed this disgusting act. The Macedonian
version is that is performed by the Albanian terrorists, with
the sole intention to inflame the neighboring ethnic Albanian
villages, so they rise to arms. The Albanian version is, as
official DPA internet page claims, that the attackers were
ON THE LOCALS
to believe, some Fleet Street hack or the locals? Without
denying a certain low level of violence directed mostly against
Albanian merchants, who have had their shops looted and burned
by opportunistic mobs seeking revenge, I'll put my money on
the locals, in this case. And I would take seriously the question
of whether this was a staged event: it wouldn't be the first
time such an attempt was made. Remember
when Bosnian Muslims bombed their own marketplace in Sarajevo,
just to make it look like a Serbian "atrocity"?
any case, most of the anger on the ethnic Macedonian side
is directed, not at Albanians per se, but at the US
and their own government. Ordinary Macedonians, bewildered
by their government's willingness and even eagerness to give
in to terrorists, took over a government building in Skopje,
forcing the Western envoys and the various negotiators to
flee out the back door. The other day, they marched on the
US embassy, but were prevented by police from entering. The
Macedonian government's response to popular outrage at its
conduct of the war has been quite odd, to say the least.
if to underscore the point that, in the Balkans, we have entered
a zone where the ordinary rules and laws of human behavior
have been repealed, and the actors are guided by some mysterious
code forever inexplicable to outsiders, we hear this
astonishing news: "In order to give peace a chance, the
government has declared a unilateral ceasefire," averred some
anonymous Macedonian government official today.
GET THE IDEA
I want to know is: how is this different from before? Why,
it seems like only yesterday that the former commander in
chief of the Macedonian army resigned in protest, claiming
that he wasn't allowed to do his job. He was replaced rather
hurriedly, but the replacement was himself replaced after
the deadly ambush in which 10 Macedonian soldiers were picked
off by Albanian snipers. An army that has had three commanders
in as many weeks is more than likely to be demoralized – and
isn't that the idea?
is going on in Macedonia is the mugging of a nation, and it's
a crime. As the US and its NATO allies hem in the Macedonians
on every side, the Albanians, armed to the teeth by their
American sponsors, move in for the kill. It reminds me of
happened to Kitty Genovese, killed on a New York City
street in full sight and hearing of dozens of onlookers, all
of whom did nothing. That incident, which occurred in Queens,
New York, in the 1960s, became emblematic of the violence
and fear that was beginning to envelope the new urban landscape.
The city, the living symbol of human evolution and civilization,
was reduced to a primordial jungle. The very public mugging
of Macedonia imparts the same atmosphere to the international
landscape. Windows shut, and lights go out, as the screams
of the victims rise up in the night, and everyone wonders:
Who is next?
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