7 , 2002
In Wishful Thinking
Balkans in Empire's shadow
the past several weeks, news from the Balkans has grown scarce,
overshadowed by reports of disasters elsewhere and apprehensive
analyses of the Emperor's
Big Speech from last Tuesday. Alas, this does not signal
the arrival of peace and prosperity, but merely a calm before
some new storm can arise. Balkan winters being harsh and hostile,
most of the physical fighting waits till the spring. Politics,
however the continuation of war by other means, as Clausewitz would have
said is by nature an indoor activity, and thus exempt from
few news snippets that managed to find their way onto the
net only confirm that the ongoing political war in the Balkans
is far from over, and shows no sign of calming down.
TIME IN MACEDONIA
surprisingly, Macedonia offers the most striking portent of
clear and present danger waiting in the wings of winter. As
Macedonian political parties fragment under the fallout from
the disastrous Treaty of Ohrid,
their Albanian opponents are actually unifying
around Ali Ahmeti, leader of the UCK bandits, no less. Additionally,
Arben Xhaferi, still the
senior Albanian politician in Macedonia, in a recent interview
sought to disabuse the Macedonians of any notion that the
Ohrid surrender would actually spell an end to Albanian demands.
Macedonians resist new Albanian demands, the rumors of war
come spring might be more than just corridor-talk of idle
European political hacks.
a peep has been heard from Kosovo recently, though problems
with electing a local "president" and replacing the outgoing
UN governor had received quite a lot of press coverage earlier.
The new governor, Michael Steiner, was appointed on January
21st, but little has been heard about him since.
Similarly, there is still no "president of Kosovo," as Albanian
parties seem unable to reach a power-sharing deal even with
the gentle persuasion of Imperial envoys.
thing that did get reported was the arrest of two Kosovo Albanians
in Pristina, on January 28. After lengthy preparation by the
NATO occupiers, the two were arrested on charges of murdering
fellow Albanians loyal to the Serbian state during 1998 and
1999. Reuters broke the story on January 29, but it seems
to have disappeared
development makes certain sense in the twisted logic of Kosovo's
overlords. Since everyone just knows that only the
Serbs did the killing in Kosovo, Albanians could be nothing
but innocent victims or at best mistaken, angry vigilantes
attacking the remaining Serbs (who probably deserve it anyway).
To suddenly discover that Serbian claims from 1998-99 (before
NATO's attack) were true and that the KLA really did kill
Albanian civilians whose only sin was associating with the
Serbian and Yugoslav governments, would blow a hole in NATO's
official history big enough to sail the Sixth
Fleet through. Yet it seems the KLA assassins who did
such work continued to practice on Hashim Taqi's political
opponents namely Ibrahim Rugova's party officials to the
extent that began to bother Rugova's foreign backers. Last
week's arrest was probably a warning to Taqi and the rest
of the KLA not to push any further. The real story got out
by accident and, well, the rest is blissful oblivion.
DAY IN "COURT"
ever-so-slow unraveling of NATO's Kosovo myth must have been
judged as beneficial to its designated villain and his persecutors.
It must have galled the best and most loyal agents of the
Hague Inquisition to read that their case against Slobodan
not hold water. After pretending to have given him a fair
hearing, they decided to merge
the trials for Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo into one big
ball of pseudo-legalistic yarn.
Inquisitor DelPonte argued
that the trials should be combined since the conflicts in
all three regions were parts of Milosevic's "criminal enterprise"
to create a "Greater Serbia." Needless to say, DelPonte hasn't
the slightest intent to offer any evidence proving the supposed
"Greater Serbia" was ever more than a wet dream of anti-Serb
propagandists. Not only is the assumption of guilt quite enough
for the Inquisition, but its decision to bundle the trial
is a de facto validation of DelPonte's sick fantasy.
long before it becomes obvious that DelPonte & Co. have
overstretched their imagination in the cases of Bosnia and
Croatia as well? Empire's role in both those conflicts is
based on myths similar if somewhat less developed to that
of Kosovo. Allegations of "Serbian aggression" can in both
cases be easily refuted, and further delving into the truth
would strip bare the unpleasant evidence of Croatian forces'
doings in Krajina,
Slavonia, Herzegovina and Central Bosnia, none of which their
"advisors" and sponsors care to hear.
the regimes that led the secession of Croatia and Bosnia in
the early 1990s are officially out of power now, their leaders
dead or retired, both states continue to be hostages to the
myths surrounding their creation. This has proven a powerful
obstacle to the current Croatian government in its attempts
to purge the state apparatus of those loyal to late president
Tudjman's authoritarian chauvinism. It has also posed immense
challenges to the new government of Bosnia's Muslim-Croat
Federation in dealing with "guests" from Islamic countries
that the Izetbegovic regime invited in 1992-95 to fight a
jihad for a "multiethnic" Bosnia.
because of its success in ethnically cleansing its Serb population
and disenfranchising its few remains, Croatia can survive
the deconstruction of Tudjman's statehood paradigm. Bosnia
is in a different position altogether. Almost ten years after
the Izetbegovic regime decided to proclaim independence (provoking
a war), members of Bosnia's three main ethnic groups still
live in separate historical universes.
Bosnian Serbs fought for and got a piece of land to call
their own. Croats have changed their war objectives so often,
there is no way to judge whether any of them were achieved.
Muslims, on the other hand, have every right to be displeased
with the present situation. They fought for a unified state
with a Muslim majority, and definitely not an ungovernable
patchwork of federations, republics and local fiefdoms, occupied
by NATO troops and ruled by an Austrian viceroy.
the Dayton peace effectively torpedoed Alija Izetbegovic's
dreams of a monolithic Bosnia, his ideological successors
are doing everything in their power to repudiate Dayton and
resurrect the dream. If successful, they could destroy the
fragile tissue holding the festering wounds of war in stasis,
and plunge the land into another round of bloodshed.
the fundamental issue of the war whether there should be
a Bosnia at all, and if yes, how was never resolved, either
by arms or by words. It was simply ignored and swept under
the rug, seen as irrelevant to the Empire's mythological view
of the conflict. For over six years, Bosnia's languishing
existence has been blamed on corruption, loose war criminals,
insufficient government powers and lack of foreign aid, but
no one has ever bothered to point out the obvious, fundamental
flaw of Dayton that for many people it was not salvation,
but defeat. Having missed the point, Bosnia's various "benefactors"
have tried to change the situation through increasing application
of statist tyranny, with predictably pathetic results.
one is left with a distinct impression that Bosnia's foreign
occupiers know perfectly well that the entire structure they
imposed by force would inevitably collapse if they left
and consequently, find themselves in no hurry to actually
ONE, GET ONE FREE
descent into madness has, if anything, accelerated this winter.
Electricity bills have soared hand-in-hand with power cuts,
in a disgusting display of the old government trick called
"distract-and-plunder." While the people are distracted by
midwinter power shortages and the prospect of freezing or
by trying to comprehend the sudden 300% increase in utility
bills the government gets a free hand to sell most Serbian
enterprises to foreign investors for pennies on the dollar,
while lining its pockets with the utilities' profits. As in
elsewhere in the Balkans, Serbian utilities are state-owned,
and what good is a monopoly when it can't be used for extortion?
who did have power this past week could gasp in shock as Serbia's
current finance minister Bozidar Djelic actually praised the successful
policies of Bill Clinton in the Balkans. Given that Djelic
is a rich émigré who made his money by plundering Russia in
the service of Western financiers, and that the regime to
which he belongs is willing to pull out all the stops in
courting the approval of Serbia's former executioners, this
is hardly unexpected. That should say something about the
state of Serbian affairs, in and of itself.
this points to a depressing realization. Even if Imperial
occupation disappeared overnight and it won't there would
still be a mountain of trouble for former Yugoslavs to cross.
Perhaps as a legacy of decades of confusion, no one there
seems to know what they want. Instead, they offer their people
fancy-sounding delusions such as "partnership" with
the Empire. They claim membership in the EU would solve economic
woes, thus putting a vastly overrated cart before the nearly dead horse. Most of all, they seek solace in the sanctity
of two buzzwords, "free market" and "democracy."
Not only are their policies conducive to neither, but the
two concepts happen to be mutually
has been said and written about the need to understand and
accommodate others. Yet that is hardly possible without first
knowing and understanding oneself. If the Balkans could
get rid of the Empire's jackboot, if its inhabitants
prove able to rediscover or reinvent their collective and
individual identities, and if they succeed in creating
communities built on freedom, not force or servitude, then
their future just might look better. It is by no means guaranteed.
But it would be a good start.