And the Next Balkan War
Saturday's electoral farce in occupied Kosovo turned up entirely
results. Albanian separatists got their victory, though no
single faction triumphed outright. The UN and NATO got exactly
what they wanted: an official acceptance of their occupation
by both the Kosovo Serbs and official Belgrade. Even the Serb
politicians had the chance to present this as a great victory
for their policy of groveling appeasement.
post-election euphoria was rife with careless statements,
many of which offered insight into the real purposes behind
the fiction of "meaningful self-government" that Kosovo's
occupying authorities have tried to establish.
after his party won the plurality of votes on Saturday, Albanian
leader Ibrahim Rugova demanded
immediate recognition of Kosovo's independence. A veteran
politician, Rugova was well aware that his demand, and not
his largely symbolic electoral triumph, would make the headlines. He
even resurrected the fabled scarf he had worn around his neck
as a symbol of Kosovo Albanians' "bondage" under "Serb rule."
desire for independence is not new. Albanians have claimed
Kosovo as their own ever since 1878, and used every opportunity
– and all means – to strengthen that claim. If there is one
issue on which all Kosovo Albanians agree right now,
that is the desire for an independent, Albanian Kosovo – or
Kosova, as they call it. What makes a difference
now is that Rugova's demand is lent credibility by the virtue
of his election. While the EU dismisses
Rugova's demands, it is only "for the time being."
POWER OF PR
is not the only evidence that Rugova knows the power of words.
He recently penned a
commentary for the Daily Telegraph, fully endorsing
the Empire's Afghan War. While mostly parroting the official
line of the Bush Administration, Rugova does so as someone
whom the US and NATO "saved" from the Serbs, whom he conveniently
portrays as the moral equivalent of Al-Qaeda. In a bizarre
convergence of circular logic, this lends credibility to both
Rugova and the US, the Kosovo War and the Afghan war.
rising influence is also in part due to the fact that the
powerful Western media machine routinely refers to him as
a "moderate," "pacifist,"
and even "Gandhi of the Balkans." These words carry powerful
images and associations, but in and of themselves are meaningless
in the Balkans, "moderate" is routinely used to describe whoever
complies unconditionally with the Empire's diktat.
For example, Oliver
Ivanovic of Kosovska Mitrovica, formerly routinely derided
as a "hard-liner" and even "thug" by the US and NATO, became
a "moderate" the moment he accepted the occupation and took
part in the elections.
for his relative merit over the KLA, it is worth noting that
it was Rugova's parallel government that made the KLA possible,
his propaganda that made it popular, and his pacifist posturing
that lent them credibility. Rugova and the KLA have used different
means, but their goal has been the same. Comparing him to
Gandhi would imply that Gandhi worked hand-in-hand with an
army of drug-dealing terrorist thugs.
in all, Rugova's eventual triumph in securing independence
is by no means a foregone conclusion, but his newly elevated
stature makes such a scenario all the more likely. So does
another important effect of Saturday's vote.
before the election, Kosovo's UN satrap stressed the importance
of Serbs voting. The "important issue was Serb participation,
rather than the number of voters," he told Reuters, adding
that "sufficiently big numbers of Kosovo Serbs will participate."
By voting, Serbs would bestow legitimacy on both the occupying
authorities and the Albanian-dominated "provisional
government." Just in case of a substantial boycott, though,
the satrap reserves the right to declare any number of Serbs
who voted "sufficiently big" for the purpose of that legitimacy.
that conclusion were pronouncements made after the election:
lack of Serb deputies in the new parliament would undermine
the legitimacy of the new institutions in the eyes of the
officials made much of the fact that Kosovo Serbs took part."
participation in the elections …lends greater credibility
to the entire democratic process."
46 percent Serbian turnout on Saturday… was a real shift,
and one that in many ways validated the election process."
(The New York
one report noted, with
shocking honesty, "by participating," some Serbs "believe
they are more or less endorsing the ethnic Albanians' dearest
wish to have some form of self-rule or independence in Kosovo."
It also says that Belgrade urged the Serbs to vote only "under
extreme pressure from the West." Reuters,
on the other hand, claims that Belgrade and the West told
the despondent Kosovo Serbs that, "they can only improve their
lives by helping to shape the future of the province."
at gunpoint, torched out of their homes, terrorized into ghettos,
stoned and bombed out of even visiting their charred ruins,
the Serbs of Kosovo have had their despair cynically manipulated:
both by the Imperial occupiers, to manufacture consent for
their occupation of Kosovo (chiefly responsible for the Serbs'
misery), and by Belgrade, to score cheap points in the battle
for political power inside what remains of Serbia.
all honesty, being betrayed by the people whose aggression
and occupation are chiefly responsible for one's wretchedness
is not that devastating. Given these people's previous track
record, such a thing should even be expected. But to be manipulated
and betrayed by their own community leaders, as well as the
supposedly "democratic" government in Belgrade, now that
ought to hurt.
of the favorite chants by the angry youths at the forefront
of Serbia's "democratic revolution" in 2000 cursed Slobodan
Milosevic in rather explicit terms for "selling out Kosovo."
Such chants are heard no longer, even though the current regime
shows much more eagerness in betraying or otherwise selling
out the Serbs of Kosovo, the province itself, and – why mince
words – what remains of Serbia as well.
of the main Belgrade newspapers read as if they were written
by the National
Endowment for Democracy, extolling the virtues of wise
politicians who somehow accomplished greatness by doing exactly
as they are told by the US, UN and NATO. Apparently, it
has been readily forgotten that the US and NATO savagely bombed
Serbia in 1999, then occupied a portion of its territory with
UN blessing. It has also been forgotten that Slobodan Milosevic's
policy over the past decade has consisted entirely out of
appeasing every demand of the Empire (with the exception of
the outrageous ultimatum in Rambouillet), differing from the
current regime's basic policy only in the sense that Milosevic
had the temerity to hold the Empire to its word, or even (gasp!)
demand something in return for his obedience.
PRICE OF SUBMISSION
knows that bribes have a way of getting bigger because the
bribed party becomes more powerful each time, and can thus
demand more. Same goes with obeying orders. If nations in
the Balkans are really as rife with corruption as the Empire
alleges, how come none of its leaders – or its people – seem
to have realized this self-evident truth?
years ago, the United States forced Croatia's President Tudjman,
Serbian President Milosevic and the self-proclaimed Bosnian
President Izetbegovic to sign the Dayton Peace
Agreement at a US Air Force base in Ohio. At the time,
they agreed to accept an international "high representative"
with loosely defined powers to enforce the agreement. Today,
the High Representative is the viceroy of Bosnia in all but
name, the country's Constitution is routinely abused in the
name of bigger government, businesses are routinely destroyed
under the pretext of "funding nationalism," and "democracy"
has come to mean arbitrary rule by brute force, with extreme
consequences for political incorrectness. It is perfectly
normal for the current viceroy, Wolgang Petritsch, to demand the passage of
certain legislation giving more power to the unconstitutional
central government, "or else."
more evident is the example of Macedonia, which was forced
its Constitution and bestow special privileges on its
Albanian population, literally at gunpoint and under immense
pressure from the Empire. In order to pay for the "reforms"
thus imposed, Macedonia will have to beg
money from the West, dragging itself even deeper into
early as nine months ago, when its government was on the brink
of declaring war on Albanian bandits, the EU, NATO and the
US all verbally supported Macedonia's cause. A few months
and many seemingly innocuous concessions later, the Empire
had Skopje over a barrel, forcing it to sign its freedom away
in Ohrid. Macedonian officials are now routinely blasted in the media
as "hard-liners" and "nationalists," while Albanian violence
is excused, justified or simply dismissed
out of hand.
started as a few awkward clashes over Slovenian border posts
in 1991 has by now evolved into full-fledged colonial occupation
of the entire peninsula, through gradual escalation of both
warfare and diplomacy. Two sides of the same coin, as Clausewitz
noted, they have created a plethora of precedents that would
have been shockingly unacceptable a decade ago. No one could
have guessed that by 2001 Yugoslavia would be gone, replaced
by a pack of nonviable nonentities; that two of those nonentities
would be satrapies of the Empire, and others its sworn vassals;
that most people would actually live much worse than in the
worst days of Communism; or that the peoples who once offered
determined resistance to an overpowering foreign occupier
would now consent to grant legitimacy to foreign occupiers
by taking part in a staged election.
worst part is not that the Empire came into its own by manipulating
conflicts in the Balkans, nor that the local warlords had
very little idea of what forces they have unleashed; it is
the sinking feeling that the people of the Balkans have accepted
this abysmal reality, imposed on them by force, as The Way
Things Are – or even worse, The Way Things Ought To Be.
is against this death of hope, dreams and ideas, this reign
of chaos, despair and tyranny, that the next Balkan War will
be fought. It is hard to tell exactly how, where, by whom,
or even when. But it is only a matter of time.