INTO THE DARKNESS
ago, the mental fabric of the Balkans began to rip and unravel.
Wars, massacres, sanctions, bombings and separatism have all
taken their toll not just in lives and property destruction,
but in sanity and reason. Few principles could have survived
those unprincipled wars, and fewer still could stand in their
aftermath. Just as nothing grows in the shade of the great
oak, little can thrive in the dark shadow of unbridled imperial
power that now holds sway over once-prosperous Balkan lands.
told, histories of the last decade abound with betrayals,
underhanded deals, broken promises, lies and more lies, and
often senseless slaughter and sacrifice for as little as some
fleeting political gain. I almost think a medieval scholar
would understand current events in the Balkans better than
anyone in modern academia. What used to be Yugoslavia is today
much more akin to Machiavellian descriptions of European princedoms
than to Locke's (and Jefferson's) vision of modern statehood.
such as limited government, national sovereignty and individual
liberty have no meaning. Governments of ex-Yugoslav states
are subordinate in all matters to foreign masters, and compensate
for it with near-unlimited power over their citizens. In such
a climate, individual liberty is as likely to survive as mountain
dew in the desert.
to seize and retain power, leaders of these vassal satrapies
are all too eager to give up everything their people have
ever held dear. In that they are aided by an unscrupulous
Empire, whose only principles are order and obedience
or, in Newspeak, "stability" and "compliance." Conversely,
understanding, responsibility and liberty are dangerous concepts,
to be routinely and brutally repressed.
look at this nightmarish social laboratory is enough: this
is how people are broken, and how slaves are made. For future
been said here about Zoran Djindjic's treacherous
actions, almost more than paper can bear. Those who have
rejoiced in his betrayal smugly pointed out that it was motivated
by American blackmail and joint Euro-American promises of
splendid riches. The price of Slobodan Milosevic's head was
estimated at almost $1.3 billion. Eager to lay his paws on
that pot of gold, Djindjic shattered the fragile shell of
laws that held his country in a semblance of order, abducted
Milosevic from prison and delivered him to the Empire's Hague
money never came.
of it never will. In a macabre twist of international
politics, the EU and the U.S. froze Yugoslavia's foreign assets
during the nine years of international sanctions, yet the
exorbitant interest on its foreign debt (held by the US and
EU governments) grew unimpeded. The debt thus grew from $4.7
billion in 1992 to some $12 billion today. Of the 300 million
euros Djindjic was to receive from the EU, for example, 225
million will go to service the debt. The other 75 million
in new loans might reach Belgrade by November.
the irritated Prime Minister vented
his spleen to the German magazine Der Spiegel,
calling the promised aid a "farce" that "shocked" him. He
also added, in exasperation, that the fall of his government
could cost the "international community" some "$10 billion."
the Euro-American "international community" really invested
that much money into Djindjic's regime, or this figure represents
the potential spoils resulting from its continued existence,
is yet unclear. Other numbers, cited by every player on the
Balkans' stage, are equally confusing; nine-figure amounts
in dollars, euros and German marks plundered from the citizens
of the US and EU countries are being invoked as if they were
petty change. But, so far, not a dime has actually materialized,
from the 3 million German marks in cash Djindjic
claims the EU promised him for toppling Milosevic last
October, to the $40 billion in war damages from NATO's 1999
aggression against Yugoslavia.
is simply not there.
drove a better bargain. At least he got paid.
efficient than brute force, bribes are still a rather expensive
way of enslaving nations even when they fail to materialize.
When it bombed Yugoslavia in 1999, the Empire demonstrated
that its military arm can pulverize any country in the Balkans
with near-absolute impunity. The Empire can now bank on the
terror this act induced in other denizens of the region, to
the point where neither bribes nor force are necessary to
achieve the conqueror's ends. Mere fear will do.
was openly defied by Milosevic at his arraignment on July
3, the Hague Inquisition moved to improve the illusion of
its legitimacy by demanding the heads of two Croatian generals.
Firmly convinced of the absolute rectitude of its soldiers,
Croatians nearly toppled
their coalition government. By Saturday, though, the government
received a strong vote
of confidence in the parliament. One party leader opposed
the extradition; his party colleagues forced him to resign,
then rejoined the coalition government.
two generals indicted by the Inquisition have been involved
in atrocities. Many Serbs were killed in both the 1993 Medak
offensive, in which Croatians even clashed with Canadian
peacekeepers, and the 1995 "Operation Storm" which,
incidentally, resulted in almost complete eradication of Serbs
from Croatia's present territory. By indicting people supposedly
in charge of these massacres, the Inquisition is hoping to
assure the Serbs of its impartiality.
it is plain as day that the two men are scapegoats, indicted
not for what they allegedly did, but for who they are. General
Gotovina, reported to be one of the indicted, was high up
in the Croatian Army's command during the 1995 ethnic cleansing
spree in Krajina. General Ademi, who led the 1993 Medak operation,
is a Kosovo Albanian.
is in fact a test for all those who oppose the Inquisition.
Would they stand on principle and contend that whatever Gotovina
and Ademi might have done, the Inquisition has no legitimate
right to put them on trial, or will they accept this token
of imperial "justice" in exchange for recognizing the ICTY
"court" and its main goal pinning the blame for the
1990s Balkans wars squarely on the Serbs?
principles involved don't concern the regime of Ivica Racan.
His government has already decided that fear of imperial retribution
was reason enough to violate the Constitution and sacrifice
the two generals. Also, Croatia's state coffers are perennially
empty, despite (or because of?) the heavy taxes levied on
just about everything. Perhaps its leaders thought they could
benefit from some fictitious aid, too.
of the deepening darkness across the Balkans would be complete
without the events in Macedonia. For almost six months, that
country a paragon of obedience, yet also an oasis of
relative freedom has been racked by a lethal infestation
of separatist violence. For months, Imperial envoys have threatened,
persuaded, ordered and cajoled the government of Macedonia
not to resist this peril. Right now, they are concocting a
ghoulish plan to "resolve" the crisis, by having the Macedonians
in to demands of Albanian racists.
diplomacy in Macedonia looks more like a rerun of its 1990s
Greatest Balkans Hits. The new "peace plan" was authored by
Robert Badinter, the same lawyer who, in an instant of cosmic
wisdom, decided that self-determination
in the old Yugoslavia was reserved not for peoples, but
federal states. Since the subsequent secession wars were fought
not over the principle of secession, but over those states'
borders, Badinter bears grave responsibility for them.
He is joined
Leotard, a veteran of "peacemaking" in Bosnia, and the
Kosovo veterans: James
Pardew, Javier Solana and George Robertson. Just a cursory
look at these people's biographies ought to be enough to convince
the Macedonians to keep them away from peacemaking with sharpened
wonder, then, that the "negotiations" conducted in Skopje
are between the Macedonian government and the political wing
of the Albanian separatists. Why else would the UCK bandits
lay down their weapons, if not because their demands had already
been fulfilled in a treaty with Albanian political parties?
Indeed, the talks focus not on whether Macedonia should
capitulate to the UCK/PDP-DPA, surrendering its nationhood
and sovereignty, but to what extent.
people sense this betrayal, and are voicing
their discontent. Unfortunately, their leaders are either
or unwilling to resist, likely gripped by fear and despair
in the face of overbearing imperial pressure.