War Correspondence: Responses
During the 1999 Kosovo war, JURIST readers offered the following responses to e-mails and other submissions from our Yugoslav correspondents. Names of some respondents have been omitted because the names were withheld or because they were not included. Any opinions expressed in these responses are solely those of their authors.
- [May 25] I just read some articles and letters sent to JURIST by some Serb academics and I am disgusted by their complaints about lack of water, electricity and light in their cities, caused by NATO attacks. They don`t mention enormous suffering of Albanians, who were and are massively killed, raped, tortured and expelled from their own homes.
My only comment on this monstrous attitude of the Serb professors and assistants... is to remind them that the real darkness in Serbia is not caused by NATO, but the light there was switched off ten years ago by Milosevic. It is Milosevic, supported by the Serb Academy who created enormous hatred between people in former Yugoslavia and who commited ethnic cleansing twice in ten years.
How poor are these Serb academics now complaining ... about the lack of light. How miserable are their attempts to cheat the world with their cheap propaganda tricks.
- [May 25] Yugo-FAQ: [I] respond to your Yugoslav disscussant[s] soundly in 28 most frequent Q's and A's.
Q: How it is possible to attack urban and civilised Internet fellows in Belgrade?
A: Don't forget that they are the [only] ones with Internet connections now. Others haven't a chance to disscuss the issue with you, because they struggle for their bare lives. There were a low hundreds of Internet-connected Albanians in Kosovo before airstrikes begun. It is hard to believe that there is a sole Albanian capable for lasting e-mail communication in Kosovo now.
Q: Isn't it ilegal to attack a sovereign state?
A: Yugoslavia is not recognized as a sovereign state. It pretends to continue previous Yugoslavian federation, but that one ended in 1991.
Q: Is it unhuman not to have a proper sleep, retreating in the basements, and to listen awful sirens over Serbian cities?
A: Indeed it is. But remember that others are deprived of their lives now, as well as in neighbouring countries many others were before. Also, remember that somebody from your street caused it to the others in 1990-1995 wars.
Q: We have no electricity! We have no water! Why are you doing this to us?
A: Among cities with water supply cut by Serbs for three consecutive years, biggest were Sarajevo (Bosnia, pop. 500,000) and Zadar (Croatia, pop. 140,000). Electricity plants were among first targets, as well as the complete water dam at Peruca undermined in 1993. Why didn't you raised your voices at the time needed?
Q: How this airstrikes could happen at the midst of Europe, at the eve of 21st century?
A: How an apartheid-based state could exist at the midst of Europe, at the eve of 21st century, in Kosovo before the airstrikes?
Q: Is it too harsh allegiation?
A: Try to buy a leaf of bread in Kosovo now, as an Albanian, and you'll guess an answer. During nineties, it was the same story for an Albanian to get a job, educate or medicate himself or herself.
Q: Is it just and effective to cure the crisis with use of lethal force?
A: Ask your father or grandfather about Normandy of 1944. Probably it could be disscussed peacefully with Germans then, don't you think so?
Q: How it could be that Allies intend to help Albanians while Serb civilians are killed also?
A: It is sorrowfull to see civilian casualties aside of military instalations. How it could be that Serbians intended to help themselves by killing 11,000 civilians in Sarajevo alone?
Q: All Albanian sufferings are caused solely by airstrikes.
A: False. IDPs [Internally Displaced Persons] were in move for a year and a half before, and current offensive started three months before the first airdrop, using forces unallowed by arrangements of October 1998.
Q: My baby bleeds! My parent is killed by shrapnel in the kitchen!
A: That is sincerely awfull to happen. Wasn't your son, husband or friend extending "West-Serbian" borders in 1990-1995? He can tell you how it feels to cause it to somebody else's children and parents.
Q: Airstrikes made a perspectives for Serbian democracy worse.
A: Please, name a single statement made by Serbian parties which regarded Albanians as humans and partners in a common state? In this issue there were no differences between authorities and the oppositionaires.
Q: Kosovo must stay inside Serbia by all means.
A: OK. After two generations, the majority of Yugoslav Army's conscripts will be Albanians. Then what?
Q: At least a partition of Kosova will serve the purpose of peace.
A: Possible partition request will show the true nature of interest for Kosovo: are prestige monasteries or prestige mines to be chosen?
Q: Any military approaching Kosovo must be Russia-led.
A: This is the help asked from a fellow butcher. Remember the war crime in Samashki, Chechnya, of April 7-8 1995, when 103 villagers (all Muslims) were murdered. Easterns will also make sure that the attack principle of Allies couldn't be repeated in their troubled empires.
Q: Albanians will use Kosovo and western Macedonia to make a wider Albania, and serious war could happen over Macedonia itself.
A: Serbian ruling over federal province didn't work. Appartheid didn't work either. So the only way left is to demonize the inevitable processes which are to come. Serbians showed their own recipe for Macedonia, annexing it as "The South Serbia" in 1918-1941 period.
Q: Is there a hypochrisy between responses to Serbs' Krajinas and Kosovo?
A: Both Krajina in Croatia and Srpska in Bosnia were invented in 1990-1992. There were no such administrative forms earlier. Kosovo, on the contrary, was nearly equal to Serbia itself as stated by last Yugoslav constitution, enjoying this status from 1974 to 1989.
Q: World didn't react upon expulsion of 200,000 Sebs from Krajina in 1995. Why it had to react now?
A: Those Krajina Serbs caused the refugee tide in Croatia as high as 600,000, finishing their ethnic cleansing in 1991 and reprieving not a single returnee back. World reaction lacked then in Serbs' favor. Krajina Serbs were evacuated under the pression and organisation of their separatist administration, which is uncomparable with deportations and mass liquidations of 1999.
Q: How could Serbians get rid of their authorities, and earn a better outcome? Wasn't it impossible to beat autocracy?
A: Imagine 20% votes more against Milosevic at last, or any elections. Was it really so impossible?
Q: But we don't like Milosevic, and we protested against him at streets so many times!
A: Why didn't you finished the job by his overthrow? Why didn't you protested against the apartheid ruling in Kosovo? Why didn't you made your point after all the anomalies and massacres of previous Serbian campaigns? Why your military stood aside of your protests?
Q: Finally, everybody else are as bad as we are. Look at our neighbours. Look at history. Look at all surpressed minorities in the world.
A: Where were bad guys sitting in 1988 and 1989, declarating essentially a same message (all Serbs in one state, Serbia's borders are marked by Serbs' graves, anticipation of armed conflict)? This message went uncontested through elections, making the voters' responsibilities different from those of the history evoked.
Q: We are brave. Everybody who will come in ground assault will die.
A: False. All military victories made by Serbs in the nineties were results of distant shelling by overwhelming military hardware (btw, which was earned by all the former Yugoslav peoples). UN helped with arms trade embargo, so this manner could be practised for years.
Q: Serbians defend whole Europe of menacing Muslims.
A: What about Christians? Not all of Albanians are Muslims. Not only the Albanians were attacked in the nineties by the same army.
Q: Kosovo is our Jerusalem.
A: As outspoken from a mouth of a Christian, this is a blasphemy. There is no sanctity as important as The Holy Sepulchre is in Jerusalem, and not a slightest metaphore of it in Kosovo.
Q: Our suffering is similar to those of Jews.
A: If you mean of Jews' life in Serbia during WW II, that it really is comparable. But not a single one of 5,000 Jews in Albania at the time was betrayed by their neighbours and hosts.
Q: Kosovo is historical cradle of our Empire and Church.
A: False. Ask any Serbian to declare a historical cradle of Serbian state between Rashka (Rascia) and Kosovo, and you will hear the answer. Also, the Patriarchate was founded outside of Kosovo.
Q: Kosovo is eternally ours.
A: Kosovo was anexed militarily to Serbia in 1912, becoming its nominal part for the first time in its history.
Q: Albanians have no significant memories and historical monuments at Kosovo.
A: In fact, the very state of Albania was founded in Kosovo, by the League of Prizren in 19th century.
Q: Our heritage, extremely rich in Kosovo, depicts us as very important European people.
A: In a whole history, there were nine Serbs' monasteries in Kosovo. While dealing with uniqueness, please remember that Albanians are the sole surviving outcome of its Indoeuropean branch of peoples, which is very different situation regarding Serbs' heritage. But this is a false point - does Eskimos deserve to stay alive if inhabited in Kosovo?
Submitted anonymously via the
Kosovo Privacy Project
- [May 24] It is amazing to me that people, especially here in America, have gone on with life like nothing is happening in the world. They talk of Albanians and Yugoslavians as if it were some type of soap opera. Our people (the majority) seem to lack the ability to look beyond the newspaper and the television for their truths. The history of the Yugoslavian peoples and country is never mentioned in discussions of the present. Any interested person would be overwhelmed (as I am) with the amount of information available for review. It seems anyone with a strong opinion one way or the other must be close minded because an open minded person would be lost in the amount of contradicting information. As an American, I feel helpless in what is happening to Yugoslavia (to Albanians and Serbians). The NATO machine is to big for any people to control. I am obviously sorry for Albanian human suffering and Serbian human suffering. I do not agree with the bombing of Yugoslavia. I do not agree with the destruction of a country's infrastructure. It is only a country that we will pay to rebuild (in our own vision of course). I do not agree with the murdering of innocent Albanians or innocent Serbians. I do not agree with Milosevic or his army. I do not agree with the KLA or it's army. I do not respect the American President and I do not know the individuals involved in the NATO machine. I feel that we are out of touch and I feel helpless to change anything. This must be why the majority of people just shut their eyes and go on with their daily lives. We are overwhelmed at our helplessness. Does this make it right? No, but what can we do? We must be strong, educated and speak our minds. But we must ALL do this, not just those at the top. Stop the killing - Milosevic, NATO, KLA and all those responsible. But how?
A Small American Drowning in Information
(spoiled and comfortable is a death sentence in itself)
- [May 21] I have spent several hours reading from your links. I do not hear these clear views and questions from the media here. The e-mail has stimulated questions of secession, soveriegnty and separatism, which I [could identify with] here in the USA. Of course no one dare seperate here or dare to become autonomous. Ethnic groups abound with friction: will NATO come to solve our problems?
Our news seems consistently one-sided with the presumption we are naive children.
Thanks for your use of the internet to spread another view of the news...
- [May 20] What do I say to the fellow people in Yugoslavia and to the suffering they are experienceing? I have no words. There doesn't go a day by that I don't think about my family that lives in Macedonia and my friends and extended family through out Yugoslavia. I am learning not to expect anything better from the countries and people who are capable to watch the news and the bombs hitting their targets in Yugoslavia over their dinner. This society that claims to be civilized has no feelings left. What matters is the Star War movie. People are standing in lines for tickets for days at a time. They don't care about what the bombs are doing to the people in Yugoslavia. Apparently it is OK to miss here and there. Please continue to tell the world of your experiences. There has to be an account on what is going on. I'd like to believe that there are other people who care. I appreciate each voice and their time, but one that stands up comes from "Insomnia" the Assistant Professor of English and American Literature at the University of Novi Sad. Thinking of all the people in Yugoslavia,
- [May 18] I've been following the Jurist site for a few weeks now (I print your articles and share them with friends on occasion - trying to bring balance to the perspective). The fact is that the US/NATO alliance is destroying a large part of the Yugoslavian environment and infrastructure required to support a modern and prosperous nation - just exactly what benefit is the Albanian minority supposed to derive from a land where you can't drink the water, the soil will be poisoned w/ toxic waste for several generations into the future, and all the public facilities have been levelled? ...
Here in Austin, TX, the city council (in response to a lawsuit alleging police misconduct) recently initiated some training for community leaders, the police, and minority neighborhoods, focused on dialogue building and mediation. The workshops they've held are being facilitated by mediators from South Africa. I wonder if the peace plan finally agreed to between NATO, Yugoslavia, Serbia and the Albanians (o, please - let it be soon!) might include this type of focused effort on building understanding and dialogue between the diverse ethnic groups residing in Kosova and other parts of the world, where people really must learn how to accept - and CELEBRATE - our uniqueness!...
I think that independence for the Kosova Albanian majority in that region is not the larger issue; the larger issue remains our ability to accept and work together with those who have the same goals in life (peace, prosperity, spiritual freedom, health and the security of our children), but just have different and necessary paths to those goals. Simply granting autonomy to Albanians in Kosovo will only result in a new minority to be oppressed. Can we halt the cycle of prejudice and find REAL peace - REAL justice - for ALL?...
Austin, Texas, USA
- [May 17] "Homeless nomads drifting into Germany, utterly foreign to everything German, the Jews repaid the traditional hospitality shown them by our naive ancestors by slowly sucking us dry with their usurious rates of interest, and by poisoning our Christian Kultur with their depraved scribblings, our science with the phantasms of the Jew Einstein, our Germanic traditions of leadership and loyalty with their democracy and our youth with cocaine, with the nigger jazz they imported from an Amerika enslaved by Jewish Wallstreet and with the obscene ravings of the Jew Freud. To achieve world rule, the Jewish Bolshevist commissars of the USSR now are directing subhuman slavic hordes to encroach on our Great German Reich. But we have woken up to the danger and shall regain all these ancient Germanic heartlands, from Dantzig to the Ukraine and beyond, where our colonists will raise a new generation of free Germans. Slavic hordes will no longer be allowed to drift around there and to multiply like vermin; they will have to serve their Germanic masters. After the Bolshevist chaos they will be happy to live under German discipline. The most obedient among them we shall even teach to read and write (German, of course)..."
This was what we learned in primary school, in the time of A. Hitler. This was the ideology behind the Nazi concentration camps. How would you feel about a German lawyer like myself propagating this kind of criminal drivel? Would you start a scholarly discussion with me about it?
In the mails from Serbian colleagues on this site, I read:"The first mention of the Serbian name in sources is connected with the 9th century, while the Albanians were for the first time mentioned in 11th century sources...The origin of Albanians are still disputed in the science...[they were] nomadic shepherds..., while Slavs were mainly ... farmers... incorporated closely into Byzantine state, as they accepted Christianity quite early... In the 16th [century,] Turkish records put Orthodox Christians in an absolute majority over Moslems (Turks and converted Albanians)...." (Prof. S.Avramovic, U. of Belgrade)Albanians here are described as a nomadic, uneducated Islamic people living behind high (equally nomadic?) walls, following barbarian rules of their own, ordering their women to multiply like vermin, while terrorizing the original Kosovars, namely the civilized Christian Serbs, and encroaching on their lands. This is the ideology behind the present genocide of the Kosovar Albanians. In my paper published on JURIST I claimed that this view was shared by many Serbs. The remarks of these Serbian colleagues now prove this. I suppose I should be grateful to them. I am not. I would much prefer to have been wrong. It both saddens and sickens me to read their mails.
"Albanian women were forbidden (as they still are) to go to school, ...locked in their homes behind walls 5 feet high, married early and ordered to give birth to one child per year. Do not think Serb authorities denied education and contraception to them. Their husbands, fathers and brothers did it...denied profession and contraception, [they] live in dark ages. " ("Insomnia", U.of Novi Sad)
"After 50 years of WWII large number of people took refuge from Albania ...mostly on Kosovo...at least 300.000 inhabitants from Albania...they don't even have the most basic documents like birth certificates...They live ... in houses that have big walls, mostly 5-4 families under one roof. They are very closed, they use the custom rights and laws and sheriatic laws...(Dr. Z. Ristic, lawyer, Novi Sad)
"Before WW II, Kosovo was more then 50% ethnically Serbian but after it, about 400.000 Serbs were not permitted to return to their homes by communist Tito. At the same time the border with Albania was deliberately left open, as a result of which many Albanians (a nomadic people with an incredibly high birth rate) illegally crossed over to Kosovo... "(I.Vuskovic J.D., Cardozo School of Law, now a postgraduate at Belgrade School of Law)
"Yugoslavia has a legal and legitimate right to fight against terrorism on its own territory. For decades there has been a systematic persecution of the Serbian population on Kosovo by the most brutal terrorist methods and all of this changed the ethnic composition of the region." (Ms. Prof. Lj.Krkljus, Dean, Faculty of Law, U.of Novi Sad)
I well remember how difficult it was for us Germans after the war to wake up to the fact that we had been part of a murderous gang. My generation, being still children in 1945, at least had the excuse of ignorance. But those colleagues are neither children nor ignorant. They not only have access to the internet and foreign radio stations. They might also look up information on Albanians and on Kosovar history in serious books in their own libraries, e.g. in the Enciklopedija Jugoslavije. But evidently, they are not interested in such information....
Even more unpalatable than the arguments of our Serbian colleagues I find their corresponding silences.
Not one of them mentions that the Kosovar refugees are allowed to pass the border only after having been robbed of all their personal documents - probably to make them appear the nomads of uncertain origin the Serbs claim the Kosovars to be. (In fact, our Serbian colleagues hardly mention these refugees at all.)
Not one of them mentions the Serbian efforts to eliminate in particular the Kosovar intellectuals and teachers - probably because such may not exist in a nomadic, uneducated people.
Not one of them mentions that presently 300.000 or more Kosovars have been chased into the mountains and are being starved to death .
Prof. dr. Frank Muenzel
University of Goettingen Law Faculty
- [May 14] I was born in Vietnam, the country passed much in pain and loses under Vietnam war. This is the lesson no one can't help thinking about, especally in recent days, the same things being happened in Yugoslavia. Is it necessary to use boombs to kill people to solve the problems that conflict between some country's leaders, including big countries. What do think if any conflict lead to solve by war by powerfull countries. ...
So, the war in Yugoslavia must be stoped and all army activites in Kosovo must be stoped too. The leaders have full abitilites to do that. We hope one day the peace back to Kosovo and in the world, and peoples live together happily.
Hoang Thai Son
- [May 11] I am amazed to see how well the Yougoslavian people are brainwashed by their leader and his companians. They just don't seem to know how treacherously mr.Milosevich has acted in the past and is continuing in the present. Unfortunately, he is a very intelligent person who will continue to use the media in a extremely clever way to stay in power. But the people of Serbia should learn that he is the only reason why the international world no longer trusts Serbia and why the leaders of the western world have been willing to let act their NATO as an international policeman to counter the brutalities of the Serbian army, police and paramilitary groups against the muslim inhabitants of Kosovo. Why don't Serbian lawyers and professors in law not ask themselves what could be the reason why a great deal of the world is so much against them? Don't they see that the only way to correct the situation is to get rid of mr.Milosevich? If they really would have the courage to do so, I am sure NATO would immediately stop its actions. Milosevich and his wife are a very power hungry couple, and unfortunately the Serbs are so naive to beleive them. But what happens is that NATO goes on with its actions and the Serbian people are punished for the belief in their leader, just like the Germans were punished for their belief in mr.Hitler. Each day a greater part of their country will be destroyed and like sheep they keep asking "what did we do wrong?". Well, what they do wrong is trusting Milosevich and not getting rid of him. It is true, to deal with a person like Milosevich is very hard. He plays the media very well and he will certainly have a whole lot of trustworthy followers around him, yes-sayers that depend on him. But in some way the Serbian peolple should be smart enough to get rid of this evil person. A person who in many different ways has shown that he cannot be trusted, a person who many times has broken his word or the word of his predecessors. It is time that the Serbian people take the future in their own hand.
A very concerned inhabitant of the Netherlands
- [May 11] I would like to know if there is still someone in Yugoslavia who thinks and feels in a simmilar way as I do. I grew up in Yugoslavia (Croatia), until the 1990 I did not know anything about the nationalism. I was born in 1969, my generation was growing with no worries. I am a mixture, my mother is Croatian, my father is Serb, they raised me offering me the whole world. When the war started, in 1991, I lived abroad. I came back in an instant. I still live abroad, in Italy, which is close to Croatia, and to be honest I do not know where exactly I live, I'm more often home (Pula) than here. It has been ten years that the problems of my nation are eating me, I am one of those fortunate people who can say that hasn't tasted the war in a physical way. I would like to ask some questions to the people who are under the bombs now, those are the questions and thoughts that I have been dealing with for a decade.
We are all brain-washed, Croatian news are manipulated and false, Serbian as well, West (the rest of the world) has lost the clue long time ago. We all are creating our own realities, because we have to hope and to believe in something, but we must not to forget TO DOUBT, and to leave breathe and to respect everybody. People in Serbia shouldn't have strong believes in anything, because the fact is that they live under the regime of Milosevic for ten years, now, which is serving them a lot of lies. Their TV is trasmitting old films, from the WW II, big Serbian pride, medieval battles, folk songs, ideas of big nation, Jesus, WAKE UP, do you really think that the last ten years of the various wars in Balkan were for protecting the Serbs because they were attacked? The first excuse to start the war was to protect Serbian minority in Croatia, and they (I'm one of them) had all the rights, we all lived happily together, and we wanted to separate from Yugoslavia and to remain in Croatia for all sorts of reasons; standard here was better, we wanted the separate government, economy, resources, which does not mean that we wanted the war. It is like the marriage, I don't love you any more, I have my job and earn enough money, I want to try on my own, let me go and let me be, it's my right to decide what will I do with my life under the circumstance that I'm not harming anyone and I was not going to. Serbs didn't like it. Like a jelaous husband who went mad. And that is a shame. Why don't you think about all the massacres you did in Croatia, now you are wondering how can someone give away Kosovo territory where Serbian monastaries are, how can they bomb God's house, and all the churches and mosques bombed in Croatia and Bosnia? Do you know what your soldiers were shouting when they hit those targets? Bingo! They were raping systematically our women (age: 6-96), closed for monthes just for make them have serbian child, and so on and so on and so on...It is useless to continue to name all the crimes that are still going on in Kosovo (why none from you is feeling pitty for albanian people, why nobody addmits the crimes-are you so mad to believe that the whole world is against you, you now that the war is dirty and everybody is wrong and doing nasty things so why are you trying to justify your nation, do you feel better afterwards? Don't you feel sorry for ANY dead person? The same question I am asking to the West as well, no crime can justify the crime and this is valid for everybody) You will never believe even if thousands of witnesses and people like me stand in front of you and accuse you, what would you say, that we lie, that we were dreaming, that our political regime told us to say so? I am so ashamed of Balkan, everybody is completely crazy, all the values are gone, we become worse than beasts, and it is easy now to blame the West or somebody elese, nothing will wash the blood away. We were so small nation and after the separation we become even smaller, do you really think that somebody out there in the world cares? Why should they? They all have planty of dirty pants to wash and hide, bombing you is just the way to hide in front of the real problems. Why should anyone have intersts in Balkan; it has no petrol, the important strategic positon doesn't exist any more, because we're not in a cold war from the 80's, Russia is weak, your "friendly" countries are poorer than you, there is only one block now in the world, so we don't have to be affraid of George Orwell's "1984", there are only Americans, brain washed and narrow minded (I'm talking about the masses here), Euorope doesn't exist, it just pretends, they do everything America wants, EC is a simple utopy, they treat their Turks, Yugoslavs, all the NON EC like gettoed problem not to face with, unless they really have to. The world is full of crap, face it, don't be closed in your medieval shell full of local patriotism. Run away, mix with other people, live many different lives, try to love...
Have you ever asked yourself why you have never talked to an Albanian before the war, why you have never shared the classroom with them, why didn't you ask yourself those question ever? I have, but only now and I feel ashamed. I don't see any hope because the last News said that in Vukovar was a massacre. 10 little children, serbs and croatians where fighting amongst them, with their feasts, spreading blood from their noses around their classroom. They are the war children, born in 1990, raised with hate towards the opposite nationality, obviously because their parents lost everything and sufferd a lot, blaming one another and harming one another, THIS IS A REAL PROBLEM, if we don't stop with this crazy hate, if we don't stop to inject those everyday portions of poison one to another, this war will never stop, it will just cancel the population of Balkan off the face of the Earth. And nobody will even remain to remember, is this the solution?
- [May 10] I'm not a lawyer, nor some emminent figure in this country. I'm a teacher (not such an 'important' role these days...). I read some of the letters you have recieved from Serbia, and I would like to give you my comments on them...
Dr Sima Avramovic, School of Law, University of Belgrade -- among other things this person wrote:'Of course, an explanation that the use of new weapon was directed against military equipment primaraly and not against civilians is so ridiculous and hypocritical. But, we are almost used to hear explanation of that kind by J. Shea - only the question remains can an ordinary man of the West swallow those stupidities?'
I wonder, where was Dr Avramovic during these last 10 years when different 'weapons' were being used on Kosovar Albanians? Where was he when Albanian kids were being bitten by the Serbian police just for attending Albanian schools? How did Milosevic's lies tasted all these years when Dr Avramovic swallowed them? Where was he when hundred of thousand people were being forced to leave their homes? Did he really 'swallow' the lie that Albanians left Kosova because of NATO strikes? Does everyone who doesn't 'swallow' the Serbian politics have a 'bad taste'?
'Insomnia', Assistant Professor of English and American Literature [at Novi Sad University] wrote:'When I came back to the flat, reluctantly, I could not fight sleep. So I fel asleep with my gym shoes on and with my lamp in my hand. The ray of light at hand - just in case........I am having my coffee black and cold. I am rediscovering the typewriter'She mentiones the 'ray of light'; and that made me think about the darkness my people have been living in in the last 10 years. Did this person ever think about my Albanians? Can he tell the Albanians, who are hiding under the open sky, where they can find a 'flash light' - just in case? Or, do they have to be satisfied with the moon light at night and the sun rays at daytime (the only two things Milosevic didn't manage to get away from them)? She also mentiones his 'balck, cold coffee'. How ironic! Lindi, a 4 months old baby died last night because he was unfed for a long time....maybe a cup of liquid could have saved his little life, even a cold liquid.
Insomnia complains that she has to rediscover her typewriter. Well, can she tell me what is left for the Albanian children to 'rediscover'? Will they ever be able to 'rediscover' their childhood?
And my last comment is related to the petition signed by 27 people (activists for a democratic and anti-nationalist Serbia) -- Such an impressive list, I must admitt. I just wonder what took them so long to raise their voices? Those thousands of dead Albanians can not hear 'the democratic pleadings' of these people, just like these 'democratic activists' never took time to hear Albanians' pleadings. Isn't it a little late to ask a dead person for a political solution?
And my personal views: I do feel sorry for Serbian, ordinary, people & I hope they will never have to go through the things that my poeple are going through right now. I hope that every child, no metter what language s/he speaks will be able to have a real childhood--filled with toys and laughter...not with tears and pain....
- [May 10] When we saw the planes going to Germany during the war 1940-1945, we felt encouraged by the fact that the people responsible for the atrocities under the leadership of Hitler were not spared the consequences. I hope that one day, but hopefully soon, the Serbian people will have a government by decent people, like the Germans have now.
When some of the allied missions in world war 2 went wrong and many hundreds of our people were killed or suffered, we realized that this was the consequence of not having opposed effectively Hitler, when there still was time. Similarly now is the time to stop Milosowich, even at the cost of many innocent victims. After all the number of innocent victims of Milosowich is of another order of magnitude!
- [May 7] The notion that bombing is a humanitarian act is both absurd and obscene. I am particularly appalled by the propaganda being broadcast by the US and NATO to conceal a grab for power. Equally, I do not approve of deportation or 'ethnic cleansing'. But to try and end the practice by applying an even more brutal force is counter productive. How can such actions bring peace in the near or forseeable future? We must all seek a negotiated settlement and oppose such blatant propaganda and misinformation (from either side) at every turn.
- [May 6] I don't know exactly what to say. I'm quite far from Yugoslavia, in northen Europe, but I can feel the pain and anger all people in Yugoslavia must be feeling. I haven't seen any war, in real life I mean. Everything that is going on around us, far enough, is like a dream, well rather nightmare in this case. When the war began, I thought it would end very fast, but look now. I don't feel very strong in expressing my feelings and sympathy, but I feel like screaming for help for all the people who suffer. It obviously won't help you guys, but know that God created us to be together, we are thinking about you, that's least we can do.
With love to people of Yugoslavia
Law student from Estonia
- [May 5] I am a University student from Queensland, Australia and am in the process of desperately trying to understand what is happening in your country.
The mails I have read on this site, have opened a window for me into the lives of the Serbian people suffering at the forefront of this horrible war, for as you probably already know we really only hear accounts of Albanian terror. I am trying not to take sides in this conflict as I can not even begin to say that I have a full understanding of the situation inside Serbia. I hope you can appreciate how hard it is for Australians to comprehend a war like yours as we live in a country that has thankfully been blessed by peace.
My strong desire to understand was is going on in Serbia at present and what took place in Bosnia in the early part of this decade has prompted me to choose an assignment topic on the subject. It addresses both the wars and asks to relate them the concept of state sovereignty in contemporary international affairs. I am focussing on the ever increasing conflict between the international laws of human rights and state sovereignty.
Initially I thought the task was clear cut, Serbia for sovereignty and NATO for human rights. But increasingly I am beginning to understand that this assignment is far removed from being simple. I have so many unanswered questions, whose land is whose? and why is the world turning their back again on the human rights of Serbian people. If anybody could help enlighten me on this I would be extremely appreciative.
Please don't think that the whole world is against you, I know I am only one person but the war is a huge topic of debate here and I swear that I will endeavour to read this site as often as possible and present the human side of Serbia as often as I can. I will continue to pray for peace in your country.
- [May 4] A short summary could be extracted from all those e-mails, regardless of their writers' "intelligent" and "civilised" approach:
1. When bombings and civilian sufferings are pronounced, it is always meant of only one side.
Kosovars do not suffer, they are not percepted under bombs, i.e. it is implied they are not humans worth of concern.
2. When something wrong still can be proved in the writers' own nest, evasive and widening rethoric are proved effective. Human rights of Afroamericans, East Timoreses, whoever, are just as good to evade the question.
Most oftenly the Krajina Serbs' evacuation of 1995 is mentioned following this meaning. Here is an omittence: they were not expelled, nor deported as Kosovars are; and they already did their hard job of cleansing in 1990 and 1991. Their state and society did not permited a return of a single one expelled non-Serb. Now the returnees' houses, burned by victimised refugees of 1991, are rebuilded due to the state funds. Can you imagine that in Kosovo?
3. Every single loud accusation heard in Slovene, Croat or Bosnian ear (because of previous wars of 90's) is simultaneously translated in circumstances of 1990-1995. Some examples of this double-talk about themselves:
targeting children (remember Sarajevo siege and its snipers), heritage (Dubrovnik), elected president (air-attack at federal president, prime minister and state president, all non-Serbs, in Zagreb 1991), bridges (Pag, including air-attack at the car-ferry; Sibenik, Sarajevo, Brod), electricity plants (mined Peruca dam), water instalations (lasting water-supply cuts for Zadar, Biograd), huge inhuman bombs (remember winged torpedoes unprecisely dumping over Bosnia), or truth itself (murdered reporters, including Russians; TV-transmitters).4. As a consequence, everything declared is meaned just as history started at March 24th 1999. The direct public announcement by the commander himself is some ten years older, and the very latest offensive did really started at 24th, but December last year.
Is there anybody unable to imagine the reasons because people from Sarajevo, Vukovar, Srebrenica, Dubrovnik , did not stick the "target" badges, protecting their bridges by gatherings and making open-air concerts? The subjects of nowadays public happenings are in real life spouses, friends and relatives of those who were the reasons not to act like this during previous wars. And they all know the difference.
So it is easy to pick up just some precedents (e.g. Aug. 1995), forgotting to mention the causative part of the story. If it must be evoked, we have further widenings by calling into 1940's, 1389, whatever. In effect, while talking about the apartheid of Kosovo in late 80's and 90's everybody aside of the ruling nation is named fascist.
5. And there is often calling upon the damages for democratic processes, parties which must consolidate with the authorities now, etc.
Recall a mere existence of the civil protest upon situation in e.g. Vukovar, Sarajevo, or Pristina, at its highest stands during 1997 or 1991. In its core, protesters percepted such issues univocally with the authorities. There are no democratic processes that we have to regret. Much more braver mental turn must be made meanwhile. Shall we see Serbian Brandt kneeling at some of the numerous Serbian Warszaws?
[It] is easy to omit subtle dimensions of email reporting. But, be aware that one side (and there were not much more than a few dozens, or hundreds, of Kosovars with email connections inside Kosovo) is now struggling for its life and has no condition to write its side of the story.
Conclusively, for us who know our fellow neighbours and agressors of 90's, such loudness is unsincere and, above all, selfish. Were we not bleeding before? Weren't you applauding then? And weren't you repeating it in worse and worse manner until somebody stronger appeared? Seems that the core message is something like "why don't you leave us (as you regularly do) to finish with them, now for the rest of the history?" If there could be some law in it, please elaborate.
Submitted anonymously via the
Kosovo Privacy Project
- [May 1] Your letters and responses are heart warming and touching. However they do not comprise exact quotes from legal references. It is one thing to say what a supporting document says. But another to take a quote and recite it in your letters and twist the truth. You viewpoints are very one sided and portray Serbians as "Angels." Your people have committed atrocities and have attempted ethnic cleansing on not only Kosovo, but in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, etc., the list could go on.
I wish Tito were alive today! He held the balance together, like brothers and sisters that couldn't get along. He knew that there were differences, but held your country together. Simply because Milosevic has convinced you that you have rights to take over central Europe doesn't mean you have legitimate rights over it.
Keep in mind also, that the world takes issue with your attitude, not only the United States. The US simply holds most of the balance of power and therefore has responsibility to protect people from atrocities. If you think the Russians would seriously consider a war with the United States and spill their blood over Serbia, please think again.
...Turn your thoughts and attention to what Milosevic is REALLY saying. He knows the actual truth, but is afraid to confront it. When will this conflict end? When you stop your uncivilized and indecent methods of control over smaller countries.
- [April 28] Dear neighbors,
I write you from Bucharest. I follow very carefully what it happen with you and sometime I believe is a nightmare. It is unbelievable what they do to your country how they kill people and destroy a country build in hundreds of years. I try to read some of your messages sent by net and try to put me in your place (what is not impossible to happen no?). I understand that is very difficult but you must be sure that many people of allover the world are with you. To me, like Romanian is more sad because we fill you like our brothers and friends. You must be sure that what Romanian Government say and do about this war not represent our opinion. In a recent ask about situation of Yugoslavia, 86% of Romanian population want to stop immediately bombing Yugoslavia. Of course is very hard to say no when your country expect money from western countries. But be sure, Romanians remains your friends even they are force to don't say this loud. We are very impressed for your courage and proud and wish you to resist at this unbelievable aggression. Even informational embargo about the truth of this war make by americans works in Romania, we can understand what it happened and who lie. We are with you! Resist and defend your rights and country!
- [April 26] Among the answers I read that all refugees should return to Kosovo. My question is:return to what? What I read daily is that their homes are in flames everywhere burned by Serbian forces or do you claim that Nato did that too? It is made sure that those people will never have a desire to return when this is all over. A clever and heartless way to alter the population balance. I read claims that the Albanians are fleeing Kosovo because of the Nato bombing.Then why don't they take their belongings with them.Do you deny that they are robbed, some killed and some raped. Or are all these Nato propaganda? Also why were they fleeing before the bombing started? NATO is trying to avoid bombing residental areas not only in Kosovo but in Yugoslavia too. It is hard to immagine that they would be fleeing from the bombs and according to your reports a hundred thousands fled to Belgrade. Some of these professors must think that they are dealing with dummies.
- [April 25] The reactions to the pompous statement of Belgrade law professors are appropriate, but too harsh, especially that of 5 April, calling them "evil". They are not evil, they are cowardly. Furthermore, remember that the Faculty of Law of the Belgrade University has been subject to periodic purges, the last time after the adoption of the 1998 University Act, when a quarter of lecturers and associates were affected. The signatories are what remains. According to that Act, not all members of the teaching staff are included in the Faculty Council, which obviously adopted this appeal. The Dean was appointed by the government, without any consultation of the professors, and the Governing Board of the Faculty is composed of party dignitaries, among them Vojislav Seselj, the leader of the ultra right Radical party and vice prime minister of Serbia.
Have some understanding for the poor guys.
Verica Blagojevic, LLM
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
- [April 25] I am British and living in Rotterdam and am extremely angry with NATO on the subject of Serbian TV. My question is:
Just after the bombing of refugees by NATO a week ago the TV station of Serbian TV was bombed and I just heard that [after] the second attempt...Serbian TV has now also been put out of action. Is this a way of NATO to stop Serbs showing also the enormous mistakes being made by [NATO] as a cover up? I find this not acceptable and I am even outraged that western journalists do nothing to attack... NATO in press conferences on this subject and also react to there own governments. In the freedom of speech issue its up to the viewer to determine what he thinks is true or not and not... NATO. Its quite evident that not all the information coming from western journalists is always true.
- [April 23] I just left reading the emails. The reality its hard to accept..but if I try this site its because I wanted others news than TV....In my countrie, France, nobody try to understand the reality - just they absorb the TV news after dinner....Everybody give helping for kossovo - eating, medicaments, clouthes etc. - nobody thinking for serbia civils, and I think its beginning to be very hard n'est ce pas?...I hope people open their eyes and manifest to stop the bombs...
- [April 22] Can we not agree on the following facts ?:
1.After Tito nationalist feelings and prejudices and anxieties, that have been latent, reemerged: Many Serbs hate and apparently despise the Albanians, many Albanians hate and fear the Serbs and want their own country. Milosevic has made a political career by exacerbating these tensions.
2. Efforts by the Serbian/Yugoslav government to curb nationalist sentiments of the Albanians by repression have been totally counterproductive, leading to an escalation up to the emergence of the Kosovo Liberation Army [KLA] and armed attacks on police posts and in a few cases on civilians and the brutal onslaught by Serb security forces last autumn with massacres and driving hundreds of thousands of civilians into the forests. At that point NATO threatened, Milosevic withdrew his forces and KLA returned to open provocation with fighting ensuing again in January, massacres of families of suspected KLA militants beginning.
3. Rambouillet a somewhat flawed attempt to stop this process. NATO made a mistake to seek approval of KLA. But note: the political text does not provide for a referendum for independence - is only says vaguely that among others things the will of the people will be taken into consideration in final status talks. And otherwise it provides more or less for a return to autonomy as it existed before 1989. And while the military annex does have a strange clause about manouvres the rest is similar to rights usually granted to foreign peace troops. This clause could have been deleted through negotiations and never was.The main point is however: With clever negotiations Milosevic could have had international guarantees for the territorial integrity of the Serbian state, withdraw his troops and leave it to NATO to transform KLA into a law abiding police force. With economc assistance and all efforts of transforming political institutions in a democratic manner and maybe an extension of the "Interim Situation" for a few more years there is just a chance that tensions might have died down and possible coexistence between Serbs and Albanians reestablished. At the last moment Holbrooke urged Milosevic to withdraw the large contingent of Serbian troops that had in the meanwhile entered Kosovo and to continue with the negotiations - but Milosevic refused , already bent on crushing the KLA and in the process getting rid of as many Albanians as necessary to restore some imagined ethnical balance.
4. NATO did not go to war over the right of Albanians to secede but over their right to live and not be murdered, robbed, driven out of their houses. Bombing is wrong but also based on a naive mistake: NATO expected that Milosevic would not put Serb people in harms way for any extended period when a peaceful solution that keeps Kosovo in Serbia is available. (And by the way: A peace accord could have included a committment of European Unions and Contact Group to do all it can as long as it takes to facilitate the return of the Krajina Serbs - no Serbian negotiator ever mentioned the issue.)
5. There is no doubt that atrocities of all kinds are presently committed against Albanians in Kosovo - the evidence is simply overwhelming. How can Serbs live with this fact that these atrocities are committed in their name? (Neither NATO bombing nor the fate of the Krajina Serbs are a logical or ethical excuse for this). The destruction of the productive base of the rest of Yugoslavia - particularily considering the longer term consequences - and the killing of some people in the wake of it , is, of course, also evil, if not quite on the same scale. It could, however, be stopped immediately by offering and implementing withdrawal of troops and paramilitary from Kosovo. While some of us here in Germany are working hard to get our government to push for a cessation of bombing it really would be helpful if those of you who have a connection to government circles in Serbia would also quietly press for an early peaceful solution. We know you cannot do this publicly.
6. There can be no military victory on either side. Without a genuine peace treaty there will always be sufficient numbers of KLA to make Kosovo unsafe for Serbs or sufficient Serb paramilitary to make it unsafe for Albanians (even if NATO would introduce ground troops) - so why continue with the carnage?
Prof. M. v. Freyhold
University of Bremen, Germany
- [April 21] I commend the intellectuals of Belgrade who are protesting the violence of war. Signing their names can be 'risky' in a country controlled by an dictator. Be careful. Milosevic may get all of you before NATO does.
I have one question of Borka Pavicevic. As Director for the Center for Cultural DeContamination, how does the Center function? It is hard for me to conceive why such a Center would be needed.
- [April 21] Can the pro government colleagues from Serbia comment on the decision of the Federal Constitutional Court of Yugoslavia quashing all Montenegrin legislation unpleasant for Milosevic?
alumni of the Faculty of Law in Belgrade
now in Fairfield, Conn.
- [April 20] It really hurts seeing and hearing what is happening from all sources of media and reading experiences of Serbian people in these e-mails. Every day you hear that Yugoslavia has suffered yet another "most intense NATO airstrike since the beginning of the conflict" and you think "How much more intense can it get?" Half a million refugees are out there - is that not intense enough?
What is exactly happening at this particular moment in the Balkans? NATO stubbornly proceeds with airstrikes while other members of NATO strongly oppose to them and insist on a peaceful solution to be found. Greece does not hide its passion about the conflict even at Prime Minister level, Germany is begging for a ceasefire or any delay of strikes in order to come up with an alternative. It turns out that the NATO countries which are mostly affected in the Balkans region cannot do much to stop this downward spiral. There is no way on earth NATO is going to give up its intended plan of action until Milosevich does the first move. How is the world going to look into NATO's eyes if they admit to their mistake? Troops will almost definitely be used in order to wipe Milosevich out of Kosovo - and that's when casualties that the media won't be able to hide will follow. Yugoslav troops have been getting their military experience for years and they know their own terrain well enough to give a convincing resistance. The bloodbath will just be starting. But what is more important is that no hired private (even the most trained one) can have the indignation and outrage that any Yugoslav soldiers will have...
One possible interpretation for the persistent bombing of Yugoslavia could lie within the core objectives of NATO 'peace-keeping' mission. You would hardly think that the US generals who are in charge of NATO operations would not understand the fact that the airstrikes were not going to resolve the conflict. They probably knew that very well, but what will never be publically disclosed is that the US administration was looking for a reason to start a destructive process in the heart of Europe, of course, preferably in the Eastern side. The damage already incurred is going to lead to major environmental disasters and disruptions of economies of several European countries, not just Yugoslavia. And United Europe is the only economic power that can rival the economy of the United States. Maybe the US is going to have other gains as well - the country has got better employment figures - the economy is still booming, and maybe destroyed refineries in Yugoslavia would bump the oil price a little. However it becomes clear that NATO's current actions are by no means 'peace-keeping' and probably were not intended to be either.
The Americans are too far from the conflict to have such an important role in it. How can the polls of public opinion on the streets be used to justify NATO's intervention into Kosovo? And the amount of propaganda that goes into that public in the first place Even such persuasive eloquence of NATO spokespersons or British politicians is not going to work much longer. On the 19th of April NATO's live press- conference was trying to convince the world for hours that the attack on the moving refugee unit has been justified by various circumstantial factors at that particular moment. Yugoslav media immediately presented a ground recording of pilots in charge of that mission and the whole press-conference seemed like a waste of time
You might consider that the examples I've included are rather one- sided, however, I used a variety of sources (press, TV, radio) from different countries to come up with the current picture (and I have kept my emotions to the minimum). What is the next move? Russia's intervention? Possibility of WWIII? Russians do have enough red buttons that can get out of control. It is up to NATO's European members to initiate a turning point and place an end to this tragedy, because it will not originate from the US officials; and Milosevich (or any other sensible leader) will not agree to give up their land into the hands of NATO's troops till the last soldier goes down.
- [April 18] I am a retired professor of electrical engineering at the University in Belgrade, now [living] in the USA. I cannot help but put some questions to Professor Avramovic and other former colleagues from the Faculty of Law in Belgrade writing letters to your site.
1. I share their indignation over the aggression on Yugoslavia and have joined in all appeals to those who can do something to stop bloodshed and destruction. Have my colleagues/jurists addressed similar appeals to the other party in the conflict, President Milosevic?
2. Are they aware of the restrictive legislation of FRY and the new emergency decrees? Have they reacted to them? How many of them have participated in their drafting, as they had done before with the laws on information and higher education?
3. Have they protested against the violation of the FRY Constitution by the Government of Momir Bulatovic, which had issued restrictive emergency decrees and subsequently failed to submit them for approval to the Federal Assembly, as provided by the FRY Constitution? The Federal Assembly did meet, but devoted all its time to the accession to the Union of Russia and Belarus. Have our jurists reminded the Assembly and the Government of their duties?
4. Are our professors of law aware that the regime has closed all the remaining independent electronic media in Serbia (B 92, Cacak, Soko Banja, Nis etc) violating its own laws? Have they protested? How does this reflect on the unity of the people in resisting aggression, if some are not allowed to join, even in the protest?
5. Are they aware that the prominent Belgrade publisher and journalist Slavko Curuvija was assassinated and that there are no reports on investigation in his death? Have they joined in the protest against this brutal deed against a famous Serb? Has any one of them attended Curuvija's funeral, which attracted a huge crowd of Beogradjani, as a gesture against lawlessness?
6. Last but not least, what have the letter-writers done to resist the destruction of the Belgrade University by the 1998 University Law? What have they done to protect their dismissed and otherwise punished colleagues?
- [April 18] The Serb forces' brutality in Kosovo is parallal with the German troops atrocities during World War II....As human beings, Serbian people should recognize that the horror its government and military have caused is unforgivable, and should stand up with the rest of the world to denounce it. As a Chinese, I am against my Chinese army and government's atrocities in Tibet and other human rights violations in the rest of China. I just can not believe the Serbian people can not review the atrocities beyond the race and religious heritage....
Southwest Missouri State University
- [April 17] I have yet to see a single [Yugoslav] law professor or other respondent acknowledge that the vast numbers of refugees in Kosovo were created by President Milosevic's forces. Law faculty and students who have answered questions ask us to believe that it is the NATO bombings that have driven these people to Macedonia and Albania. My question is, why do Serbia's legal faculty as here represented value their professional credibility so poorly as to continue the lie propagated by their government? I write as someone vehemently opposed to the bombings yet dumbfounded by the callous indifference of Serbs to the plight of Kosovo civilians at the hands of Milosevic's forces.
- [April 17] [This is] from California, USA in response to Emilija Karajovic (April 14): I am glad you wrote as your letter puts a human face on the results of the Nato bombing. This is something we don't hear too much about. I am an ordinary American grandmother. We tend to be one-sided in favor of the ethnic Albanians because of what we see and hear on TV, newspapers and the internet. What we see are hundreds of thousands of refugees, some walking for days without food or water, the paralyzed and sick being carried in wheel-barrows, tens of thousands living in fields of mud and rain amid the stench of excrement because of no sanitary facilities, children crying, separated from parents who have been shipped to other countries, women crying because their sons, husbands and fathers were taken away to an unknown fate, many refugees who all say the same thing: ordered at gunpoint to leave their homes by Serb police in black masks and the military, & those who refused to leave, shot; then robbed of all their money & identity papers. Some, who didn't have enough money were shot. Their houses burned. Men crying everywhere. Mothers giving birth on the ground. Tens of thousands shivering in the cold & rain. Desperate hands reaching for bread. Parents searching through the masses of people, calling out the names of their children who have been lost in the crowds. A 15 year-old girl who wished she were dead after being gang-raped by Serbs: "One held my arms while one was hitting me and the 3 others kissing me". Do you in Yugoslavia, see these images? Are you aware of the magnitude of this horror? Today I sent money to help these people who would otherwise be starving in the mud and filth. If there was an organization to help the Nato bomb victims, I would send money there, also. My heart goes out to you, Emilija Karajovic, and all the bomb victims, as well as the ethnic Albanians. I hope your daughter's 13th birthday will be better than her 12th. I send her love.
From a grandmother of 12
- [April 16] I observe with dismay both the position taken by the Yugoslav Government towards the ethnic Albanians, and the response by NATO. I sincerely believe that diplomatic bungling hit new heights in relation to this crisis. However, I do believe that ultimately the only solution must be diplomatic and not military.
I am a Canadian lawyer on sabbatical in Portugal. I have been a member of the bar of British Columbia for almost twenty years. I was the Chair of The Canadian Bar Association (Criminal Sub-section, New Westminster County) from 1991-1996. I appreciate the rule of law and respect the need for entrenchment of basic human rights. In the Kosovo crisis I see neither the Yugoslav Government nor NATO comprehending either the rule of law or basic human rights.
I do not see the Serbian population as demons and bellicose statements to the contrary by NATO leaders simply add to the rhetorical, and unhelpful, propoganda battle. As well, to compare this crisis to the Nazi suppression of the Jews is totally inappropriate.
I do not support Canada's participation in this campaign. For many years Canada attracted the respect of most nation's for our peacekeeping legacy within the UN mandate. This does not mean Canada could not participate in such a future role, and I hope that opportunity can be a reality.
I would very much wish to liase with a member of the Yugoslav Bar, to exchange views, and re-build bridges that may physically have been blown away, but philosophically will withstand the contrary efforts of military might and intransigent leaders.
Greg M. Rideout
- [April 15] It may not be too late to direct a calming voice directly to the Serb people. Rain leaflets instead of bombs on the two million who live in metropolitan Belgrade. Assure them that we have no desire to cut them off from their ancient roots in Kosovo. If Clinton likes apologizing for past mistakes, let him beg the pardon of the half million Serbs who poured into the streets of Belgrade demanding Milosevic's overthrow while Clinton propped Milosevic up.
We should oppose genocide consistently. That goes for China in Tibet, too. Instead, we joined in this massacre. We are destroying whole peoples to save them and to punish Milosevic. It sounds an awful lot like Vietnam. Is devastation all our strategic thinkers could come up with? Does Clinton really want to drag us back into the bloody divisions of the Vietnam War era? He cannot fulfill his pledge to restore a viable Kosovo without ground troops. Even with troops it is questionable.
Under Tito's Serb-dominated dictatorship, Eastern Orthodox married Catholics and Moslems. Once freed these same people went on killing sprees. It suggests the naivete of Wilsonian democracy as a panacea. Democracy demands responsibility as well as rights.
NATO has become irrelevant. Yet Clinton thinks history is on the side of expanding it. Hungary along with its old co-dominion Austria could have played the leading role in a broader Europe encompassing the Balkans. It would be a complementary marriage. Austria and Hungary have technology and capital but lack land and markets. The Balkans have raw materials and untapped demand but lack of capital and skills. It is not unlike our interest in China.
Andrew E. Carlan
Farmingdale, New York [Long Island]
- [April 15] My name is Amir and I am a college student in San Diego, California. I am majoring in Political Science and History. From the first day the bombing started I had a strong opposition to it and I have many reasons for it.
1. The mass media of the US is trying to portrait that all Albanian living in Kosovo want to separate from Yugoslavia. I live In Iran for 16 years and I have seen the propaganda of the Corporate owned media on the otherwise much smaller issue of the Kurdestan.
2. The Balkans is the place that WWI started over the ethnic groups fighting each other.
3. The way that U.S. government act in this situation is much too similar to the way they acted in Vietnam. Once anti-war Mr. Clinton and Gore are engaging in a Country's civil war, which is not a very good place to be in the first place.
4. Serbs have been a very honorable group during the First World War and they along with the Russians brought the Nazi Germany to it's knees in the Second World War, Now they have to fight another world war, one might wonder when it will end for this tortured people
San Diego, California
- [April 14] A question for the Belgrade law professors:
What should happen, and who should intervene under international law when a government systematically expels the population of a region inhabited by an ethnic minority using soldiers to terrify the population, by raping the women, and killing the young men?
Professor of Law
Director, Center for International and Comparative Law
University of Baltimore School of Law
- [April 14] I am from St. Paul Minnesota, US. I find it interesting to read about the feelings and opinions of the people from Serbia. It is heartbreaking to here about civilian casualties and the effects it has on the lives of those affected by the bombing. I am one that feels that no one "wins" in war. Yet, I also find it frustrating that people from Serbia continue to support their corrupt president. They complain about the problems and death which are being caused by NATO bombing, yet seem to be unaware of the death and distruction their country is causing to their own people in Kosovo. They call it an internal conflict. The Serbian people seem to think that it is just to kill and push innocent civilian populations out of Kosovo, burn the homes and steal their property.
If the Serbians don't know the truth about what is going on in their own country, then I can understand. If they do, then they are almost as much to blame as Milosevich himself.
Just to clarify, Nato offered to bring in a peace keeping force that would prevent fighting, which included stopping the KLA from its militant behavior. Nato also agreed to help keep Kosovo part of Serbia, but Kosovo would be able to maintain their autonomy, which is part of the Yugoslavia constitution. It is the LAW! It seems to me that there is a lot of hate between the Serbians and Albanians which results from a difference in religion. This is something that is simply not acceptable to mainstream Americans who strongly believe in freedom and human rights. Think about it, the U.S. has nothing to gain from this war. The only reason NATO is involved is because of the threat to human rights and freedoms which this country believes that ALL people deserve to have. Believe me, if the citizens of NATO saw another way to stop this conflict, it would be done. If the people of Serbia, cannot control their own government from commiting illegal acts against humanity then we will help them. If they wish to fight against this cause, we have and will fight with our lives to protect those freedoms. We hope that the people of Serbia will join us in replacing their corrupt government, with one that will care about the freedoms and rights of the people. (ALL people).
St. Paul, Minnesota
- [April 13] I am from Glasgow in Scotland. I will not pretend that I understand what is going on over there because I do not. I worry for all people caught up in this conflict - both sides. I fear that this will turn into another Northern Ireland situation and will go on and on for many years. The atrocities I have seen on TV are awful but I do realise that I am only being shown one side of the story. I pray that this situation is resolved soon.
- [April 13] It appears to me that the only way out of this mess in Yugoslavia (created by NATO under the direction of Madeline Albright, William Jefferson Clinton, Sandy Berger, William Cohen, Mr. Blair and others) is an immediate withdrawal of NATO forces, immediate cessation of the bombing, followed by a formal apology to those damaged parties and nations, all possible humanitarian aid as partial compensation for the act, and an honest and independent investigation of how this fiasco began, and the convening of a war crime tribunal for prosecution of those responsible for this reprehensible act of terrorism and aggression, without regard to their politics, their country of domicile, their political position, or their pecking order in the chain of power. Justice must be served and the criminals must be brought to justice, using the same standard as that used during the Nuremburg trials. When we return to the rule of Law, the new world order will be exposed for what it is, and fail miserably. Let's get with it!
- [April 12] I cannot believe that even a bunch of professors in an ivory tower could swallow the bilge I have just read from the University of Belgrade Law Faculty. It flies in the face of reason, and is akin to the Nazi theory that the Holocaust was shot on a back lot in Hollywood by a Jewish director from MGM. Give me a break. Those ethnic Albanian families pushing the grandfather in a wheelbarrow to the border; sitting in the back of open panel trucks, and slogging it on foot with only the clothes on their backs are not myth; they are reality.
What is a myth is the theory that the Yugoslav Republic is in solidarity with Milosevic. Actually it is NATO and President Clinton who have driven them into temporary solidarity. Before we started precision misbombing things 100 miles or so from where we aimed, we should have realized that the only way to stop ethnic cleansing is to clean out the cleanser. And that can only be done mano a mano, on the ground, inch by inch, leaving innocent civilians out of it. Indiscriminate bombing just helps Milosevic....
- [April 11] I am so very ashamed of my country. Many Americans -- no matter what our propaganda press says -- believe we should not bomb your beautiful country. I think it is a vicious act for our military. President Clinton is responsible for this and his Democratic Party is with him on this for the most part. There are, however, some Democrats and many Republican Party members who do NOT want us to be involved militarily in your country. Our efforts should be strictly peaceful and humanitarian....
I can only hope that, after this is all over (I hope it will be over soon and peacefully) your country could begin to forgive us. Believe me ... I have several friends who are sick about what we are doing to you. We see pictures on the front page of the St. Louis Post Dispatch newspaper -- the only newspaper in St. Louis -- and it showed the people of Belgrade with their candles on the bridges hoping to stop the bombs from hitting the bridge. You are so brave. We admire you. I would be so afraid. You have a kind of courage I think I could never have....
I have written to our two senators from the state of Missouri. They are Senator Kit Bond and Senator John Ashcroft. They are both Republicans. I asked them to please go to Kosovo with a peacekeeping group to meet with all the religious leaders of your country that are involved in these troubles. I believe a true effort at peaceful talks could help tremendously. Our President, no matter what he says, does NOT want peace. He has been criticized in the past for not serving in the military and escaping his duty. He wants Americans to think he is now a strong military chief because he can throw bombs at people. Of course, he says it is for humanitarian relief efforts but his actions prove that this is not true. He did not arrange for any humanitarian relief for the Albanian refugees. He only sent bombs. His plan was to show suffering Albanians living is deplorable conditions so that would legitimize his bombing. He knew Americans would not back a military attack unless we saw suffering victims. The more victims the better....
C-Span (a television network here in the States) has been very good about giving the Yugoslav people a forum. That is, you DID have a forum until our bombs hit your television tower. We brag so much about freedom of the press in this country and then we bomb another country's press. It is disgusting. It is always good to see both sides. It gives one a chance to decide fairly. A one-sided all-American view is, of course, biased and insults our intelligence. I realize that you want us to see your side of things and I can only hope that truth, whatever it is, will win in the final outcome.
St. Louis, Missouri
- [April 11] I have been reading the e-mails... from the [Yugoslav] law students, professors, etc. and I have found them all very interesting. I find it amazing to read all of the different perspectives--especailly coming from the serbian point of view. My comment is they are, as well as us, getting a narrow-minded point of view. The majority of what Americans are informed of is ethnic cleansing, ethnic cleansing and ethnic cleansing! We are told that is why we are are over there, etc. but yet reading what the students and professors have been saying there is another side to the story. I would like to know what kind of coverage they are recieving form their television, radio, etc. Obviously any country that is attacked is going to feel that it is wrong and that there is no reason--war is a terribly unnecassary thing and I can't understand why we cannot get over the "power thing" and leave each other alone. After reading their stories, I cannot decide what I feel about this attack. I feel I am not getting the right information or enough just from watching the news coverage. Who is to say we aren't being lied to about what is actually being done or targeted and who is to say they aren't being lied to, also? There is much more to say but that is all I have time for. Thank you!
18 years old
- [April 10] Tomorrow I will go to Church in Canada [and] I will pray to God for a peaceful solution to the conflict in Kosovo, and also Yugoslavia. As a Christian I cannot agree with the killing of any man on the face of this earth. If you call yourself Christian you must love your neighbours as yourselves. Canada has welcomed people from all over the world to live in peace within her borders....
Some half a million Yugoslav Kosovars have been expelled from their country. My fellow Christians I urge you to appose such unfaithful acts and follow the example of the good Samaritan and love those who do not appear to think like you, but they too have children and family and are part of a greater humanity. No leader has the right to lead his people against the word of GOD. Mr. Molosovic does not have that right. Please pray for what is right....
- [April 10] Like many Americans I am very concerned about the situation in Yugoslavia and in the world right now. It is fortunate that we have free press here, so even though the major television stations and the press is biased we can purchase newspapers from anywhere and have full access to the internet. However, most Americans, just like most Yugoslavians, are ignorant and easily convinced. What I do know from my very own eyes, after viewing many videos taken by many international journalists in Kosovo, is that at least hundreds (thousands if the reports are true) of ethnic Albanians have been killed in the last few days, and their houses have been burned. I also know that entire villages are homeless, and most of these families have lost beloved family members. Children just like our own are crying and sick and dying and motherless. Grown men are sobbing. Americans are not only materialists -- we have hearts too, and we are sick to our stomaches by what we are seeing, and we have been sick to our stomaches by what we saw over the last ten years in other places like Bosnia. I am very sad to hear that there were civilians hurt in the bombings, and I hope the numbers are small, but nobody is offering any other solutions. Attempts to reason with Milosevic have failed, even by nonpartisans, for ten years! If you do not like what NATO is doing, what should we be asking our government to do? I am not sure that NATO is doing the best job of putting an end to this, but if they are not, then what should they do? The entire world is ashamed that we could do nothing to stop Hitler from the atrocities. Would you have us stand by and watch it happening again?
For some reason there seems to be this obsession with the bombing of the bridge over the Danube. I understand the value of these things and the sad loss of it, but to be honest, it appears very embarrassing, ironic and inhumane to be comparing that bridge to the homeless and dead children of Kosovo. You may still be in a country where "nationalism" is very strong, and you are right that the rest of Europe, America and other modern developed countries do not understand that. For the most part, we have lost our boundaries and have become citizens of the world. When we see these children and these people, it is not a question of Serbian versus Albanian, it is an unbearable abuse of human life. For Europeans, this is not as far as Africa or the Middle East, it is in their backyard.
We want to stop the inhumane treatment of other humans, we do not want a world war. What should we be asking our government and NATO to do? I will read all of your responses...
- [April 10] I will write my opinion on the CNN and NATO bombing.
I watched live CNN press conferences of officials from Pentagon telling situation in Yugoslavia. They explained how NATO planes bombed Jugoslavia, what they hit, and how successful they destroyed everything according to plan. The Pentagon officials explain that it was very unhuman when Serbian forces captured and took three American soldiers and unprisoned them. They stressed that the captured soldiers must be treated according to Geneva treaty and released. Journalists ask questions: Did Serbia soldiers beat the three American soldiers? Have American soldiers good treatment? Mostly, all the other questions were similar ones. Everybody was very angry, because Serbian soldier unprisoned three American soldiers. CNN like to show unhappy parents of the American soldiers.
I watched several CNN live press conferences like that one. Nobody asks question: "How many Serbian people were killed by NATO bombs?" Nobody was even interested how people live, when there are bombed. CNN did not show unhappy parents of Serbian soldiers, killed by NATO bombing.
I compared TV broadcasting of Euronews, BBC, and other European TV news with CNN. I found that CNN is leader of brainwashing and as a news broadcaster it is the most primitive one.
My strong filling from the press conferences and coverage the Yugoslavia crises on CNN is: NATO at present behaves as Master race in the World. I am afraid that "The First Class Race" is forming, which will punish anybody, who does not obey them.
- [April 9] As a Mexican citizen I would rather prefer the intervention of a multinational force in the state of Chiapas or even the creation of an independent Republic of Chiapas than to allow the Mexican government army, paramilitary or police forces to systematicaly kill civilians in the State of Chiapas.
- [April 9] I have read with great interest the emails coming out of Yugoslavia. but can one of the distinguished professors on link explain to me whether there is also an opposition to Yugoslav politics these days among the intellectuals? I am always worried when confronted with so much unity, even at times of national crisis. So I would be thankful if any of the next emails coming out from Yugoslavia will address this issue.
Tel Aviv University
Tel Aviv, Israel
- [April 9] Are we in violation of NATO's founding charter? The e-mails from Serbia are very moving, they seem to be quite civilized and intelligent. Perhaps if I were a younger man the War would be like playing a video game, a bloodless coup carried out in cyber-space with no real casualties, only dots on targeting computer's that go out one by one. But this fifties' baby boomer knows better: 40 years on this Earth has taught me many lessons , the first and for many young men the harshest is that the seed we plant today sooner or later must be reaped , and that wrong options can make the fruit very bitter indeed.
- [April 8] I would like to know what the good people of your country feel about the ethnic cleansing going on with the expulsion, killing of children etc. Do they know but don't want to get involved and just let it go on? It's sad, very sad indeed, it's always the poor, the farmer, etc., who suffers, isn't it?
- [April 7] Please explain to all of us, your complete lack of compassion for the Albanians. Is your hate for these people so complete that you have adopted the former German attitude of relegating them to non-persons, as was done to Jewish families. Why such a blind eye to the barbarity committed on Kosovo? .... Our President Clinton keeps stating we have no quarrel with the Serbian people, but how can you expect democratic people to have any sympathy for a Serbian population who shares a state of utter, collective madness with a leader I can only consider utterly mad.
- [April 7] [This is to] let you all know that not everyone in the United States is in favor of the tragedy being perpetuated upon the Yugoslavian nation under the guise of NATO. We believe that during Holy Week the bombing should cease and that all hostilities by all involved should come to a halt. If Milosevic is sincere then no further action should be taken and a negotiation to settle the Kosovo question can be addressed. We are in deep sadness that during this Holiest of times for our Orthodox faith that there is such destruction.
- [April 6] I was interested and surprised when I read the e-mail message of Dr. Sima Avramovic, Professor of Legal History School of Law, University of Belgrade.
I hereby only wish to let you have my impressions.
First of all I refer to the paragraph where Mr. Avramovic affirmed that , under the opinion of the Serbian TV, Albanian refugees are still arriving in Belgrade stressing that they are trying to escape from the bombs instead of the slaughter of their people.
It seems to me rather peculiar that the Albanians are seeking recovery from the Serbians and are available to share with them the risk of being killed by the bombs thrown on Belgrade.
Mr Avramovic descibes the role that Serbian intellectuals can play in informing the Serbian people of the real proportions and of the awful conditions of the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo.
However, it sounds to me somewhat strange that the Serbian Government has not already numbered the satellite antennas (which could turn out to be devices dangerous for the success of its information policy) and tried to suffocate every underground movement.
Some Serbian intellectuals, in his view, argue that without NATO bombing such a volume of tragedy would have never occurred. Actually such volume would not have abruptly occurred but the result, in the long distance, would probably have been the same.
With the only difference that an undisputed Serbian intervention in Kosovo would have seemingly paved the way for the idea of a Big Serbia ruling the Balkans.
Also it is sustained that the fact of being the Kosovo reduced as an empty area would ease a NATO ground intervention.
It is true that NATO troops will face in Kosovo an empty region but this can not be attributed to the NATO itself.
Finally, I completely agree with Mr. Abramovic when concluding that, irrespectively of the side, the present war is the politicians' dirty game.
- [April 6] I must say that propaganda has certainly had an effect on intelligent Serbs. I speak for many Americans in that we sit here sadly as we watch innocent people die. Tell me why Serbs have turned their heads to the Ethnic Cleansing taking place in Kosovo? Almost a million Albanians have been driven out of their homes by cowards wearing black hooded caps. They have been robbed of their money, families, documents and dignity. Could it be that if it wasn't happening to you, it didn't matter?
As for the excuse that it's your country, keep in mind generation after generations of Albanians have lived it that region. The Albanians are being treated like cattle going to slaughter, by you very brave Serbs.
As for the innocent Serbians, it is with great disdain that I see the bombing in your country. The object is to cut the effectivness of the...Serb Army. The ability to move freely by the murderers must be severed. They must pay a price. As we speak,your army is being cut apart and there is more to come.
Our prayers go out to the innocent Serbs and all we wish is for your Dictator ... to be disposed of and people may live in peace no matter what their beliefs are.
Please don't be hypocrites. It isn't poor innocent Serbs.
- [April 6] (responding to the letter from the Faculty of Law, University of Belgrade) Just how are negotiations to be resumed according to the law professors step 2 when past negotiations have failed precisely because Milosovic has not acted in accordance with step 2?
- [April 5] Thank you for your service of posting the message from the Belgrade law professors. This message is very eye opening, and has convinced me these people are evil. Now the question has moved to whether Serbs can ever reenter the civilized world.
I previously assumed educated Serbs were embarrassed by the situation and potentially brain washed, but according to this note they think the bombing is a western or media plot! Wow!!! These people talk of European civilization, rule of law, and Christianity??? They clearly know nothing of these topics. They should expend their energies telling their countrymen in the military to mutiny....
I'd ask some questions:
(1) When these professors learn from Jurist that their posting leads civilized people to conclude Serbs are evil, what will they change? What specific steps will they take to limit or halt Serbia's atrocities?
(2) Has the web been effective at showing you what Serbia must change, which would confirm the web's value? Or will you remain obstinate, thereby showing there is nothing new under the sun?
(3) What will it take to wake Greater Serbia up, carpet bombing of Belgrade? Tanks? Infantry? Napalm?
(4) After justice prevails on the battlefield, what should NATO do to keep Serbs from every trying to exterminate civilization again?
(5) What would happen if there were no forces like NATO that have the power to exterminate evil societies like Serbia? What if the evil side had power over the good?
- [April 4] I have read [the] Belgrade law professors' appeal for help in ending attacks...and now I would like to comment.
I taught at universities in Albania and Ukraine, so I have some idea about the region. I worked with the Soros Foundation, an organization I'm sure you know well. I am interested in the Kosovo conflict and especially your response. You make good arguments, and I am not really in a position to rebut them from a legalistic point of view. I am actively involved in promoting the UN as a forum for regional conflicts, so I agree in general with your position. But I am disturbed at how your appeal ignores a demand to punish all soldiers involved in 1)forced evacuation of civilians, 2)seizing of human rights officials and intellectuals and people peacefully protesting the government, 3)brutal and unjustified attacks on these citizens, including killing. Your appeal has no value if it calls ONLY for NATO to stop its military actions.
You may argue that the Western media has exaggerated Serb responsibility. I think we could disagree about that. However, you don't even attempt to call for justice for any crimes committed by your own people.
Here is an idea: Call for your government to agree to an international war crimes tribunal. If Serbians feel that the accusations are unjust and that the Serb army is innocent, it should support such an idea. Both sides should agree to surrender any citizens indicted by the war crimes tribunal. This forum could be in a neutral country, and it could hear requests for prosecution against Serbs as well as KLA and even NATO forces. If both sides feel that their position is legally correct, they should be able to agree to such a war crimes court. Mr. Gorbachev last night said that the NATO position is illegal. But he never once suggested that perhaps the actions of the Serb army might have violated the International Declaration of Human Rights. For a lawyer to advocate justice for one side but not the other doesn't seem to provide legal rights; it seems to be granting legal rights as mere privileges.
I am also confused as to why Serbs can argue so passionately for outside forces to obey the UN charter and be so passive against the excesses of a proven dictator. It probably is very difficult for professors in your country to speak their true opinions. That is a very sad condition because it is clear that some professors in Serbia are passionately concerned with justice. Maybe your influence will eventually help your Yugoslavia to have reform.
Finally, your argument for respect for international law raises an interesting question. Does a country have the right to abuse, torture or kill its own citizens without justification and conviction? Your position seems to imply that a country has this right, and I don't think this right exists.
The other question is: do outside countries have the right to prevent a nation from killing, abusing, torturing its own citizens? You say that such authority rests only with the Security Council. I agree, by the way, that the UN and Security Council structure has many defects which need to be changed. I should mention that if we followed your argument, then no country would have a right to intervene militarily in Ukraine during Stalin's cruel persecution of kulaks and other people. (The Soviet Union could have used its veto). No one could have intervened to prevent the massive killing of life during China's Cultural Revolution. (China also has the power to veto). Is the world a better place and is the world's legal system a better place because the world allowed millions to die and did not try to save citizens from their own government?
I read an analysis in my city newspaper criticizing the Rambouillet agreement. Perhaps it was too harsh and a little unfair to the Serb side. But as I understand the negotiations, the Serb negotiators were unwilling to compromise on the vital point that NATO troops guarantee the safety of Kosovo people. The tragedy of the Peace Talks is that they could have produced some sort of peace.
Your Orthodox leader said today that in conflicts the innocent always suffer. That is true, and I'm sure your people have suffered in many ways. It is curious that American media and politicians sometimes ignore the Serbian victims of NATO bombings. I have still not heard a reporter ask a Pentagon person, "How many Serbians would be killed by this bombing?" I sympathize with all victims, but let me say that my experience in Albania gives me special sympathy towards the Albanian people. A week before the bombings began, I wrote a political statement that I wanted to be the official policy of the State Department. The statement has many dangerous implications, but it is the logical consequence of the problems now in Yugoslavia.
The Yugoslav government has said that it is the legitimate government in the Kosovo region. However, to be legitimate, a government must have the support of its people, it must respect international agreements and it must be restrained in handling internal security problems. In fact, the Serbian government hasnt accomplished any of these things. Therefore the American government concludes that the Yugoslav government is not the legitimate ruler of Kosovo and that its institutional and political structures make it incapable of achieving this legitimacy any time soon. At the same time Albanian groups within Kosovo have appeared to achieve a degree of legitimacy both inside Kosovo and outside. Therefore, as long as the Kosovo forces show reasonable restraint in responding to Serb aggression, American government will no longer oppose independence for Kosovo.
- [April 2] What percentage of the [Belgrade] Law professors have signed an oath of allegiance to Milosevic and his political deputies as a result of the new 1998 University Law which eliminated autonomy from higher education?
- [April 2] I wanted to contribute a few comments about the Belgrade law school appeal and the ensuing discussion.
I don't support the action by NATO but I'm even more concerned by the actions of Yugoslavia.
I think it is clear that the NATO action is illegal by international law. Subtle legal arguments about possible legal justifications don't help.
Yugoslavia now feels strongly victimized. Even though the NATO bombing is no small thing, I would like to remind the Yugoslav people that they are hardly the foremost victims of injustice in the world and that this is not the first clear breach of international law by major powers. I think it is important for the Yugoslav people not to get entrenched in a siege mentality.
About the present focus of concern in the western media: The expulsion of Kosovo Albanians from Kosovo. News have to be interpreted carefully during a war, but I believe that what is happening in Kosovo are systematic and massive crimes by the Yugoslav forces against the civilian population. At least 10 percent of the population have been forced to flee and it seems very unlikely that this is caused (directly) by the NATO bombs. Rather it seems that people are driven out by Serbian forces, regular or irregular more or less tolerated by the Yugoslav authorities. The consequences of this expulsion are grave and long term, it won't be easy to heal these wounds.
I therefore appeal to the authors of the Belgrade appeal:
Don't get entrenched in your mentality. Injustice is happening against you, but remember that also in the West there are people who understand this and you must see things in perspective. Even if hundreds of innocent Yugoslav civilians die from NATO bombs, this is not to be confused with an intentional campaign against civilians.
Speak out against the massive atrocities that Serbian forces are doing or allowing against Kosovo Albanians, what is happening is not just western war propaganda! The fact that Yugoslavia is a victim doesn't mean that it isn't doing even worse things itself. Remember Israel who did the same mistake: Justifying injustice against another people with earlier injustice against its people.
- [April 2] (responding to the Belgrade law professors' letter) Most of my information about the conflict comes from CNN. During the Gulf War CNN was sometimes accused of bias against the American military, and my impression is that most CNN correspondents are *trying* to be balanced, even if they sometimes don't succeed.
Accordingly, I am troubled to see that *every* refugee interviewed has referred to Serbian military or police units driving therm out of their homes. The harm this is doing to your county cannot be overestimated. You may note a recent poll in England, showing widespread public support for sending NATO ground troops into the conflict.
I must say that the pictures of obviously beaten captives doesn't help either.
Most of my family came from Yugoslavia many years ago. We can all be hopeful the war will end soon, and I strongly oppose any intentional attacks upon civilian areas. My greatest fear, however, is that the policy of ethnic cleansing (if the CNN reports are true) will isolate Yugoslavia from the western world many years, or decades. That hurts all of us, given what a truly free and democratic Yugoslavia could contribute to the world.
- [April 2] Does ethnetic cleansning come under the UN Charter. The [Belgrade] Law Professors should look to what their country is doing to other humans and raise questions about that. They should also be interested in freedom of the press in their country.
- [March 29] Thank you for the good work of colecting and publishing information on the situation in Kosovo. One can not but sorry for the plight of ordinary people of Yugoslavia at this trying times. However, we must face fact and do jsutice to humanity by saying that the present predicament of the Yugoslavs is brought about by the recalcitrant of their irresponsible leader, Slobodan Milosevic. He claimed to be a patriot by revoking the autonomy of the ethnic Albanians in kosovo thus upsetting the wish of the legendary patriot of Yugoslavia, Joseph Tito. This is neither patriotism nor nationalism but rather a folly and a grave lapse in judgment on the part of Milosevic which has inexorably set the people of Yugoslavia on the path of destruction. It is rather unfortunate for those apologetics of Serbian nationalism to egg on the Serbs in their futile bid to resist the overwhelming onslaught of NATO forces using the incidents of the two World Wars as precedents. The political geography of Europe has changed radically since the days of secret diplomacy and alliances reminiscent of the pre-World War II Europe. The Serbs are completely isolated and lacked the finnesse to win sympathy of their next-door neighbours let alone far away powers. Moreover, every fair-minded person can see that the Serbian policy in kosovo is unjust and holds no water at the twilight of the 21st century. Though the Russians might be cross with NATO's military action in Yugoslavia but this is as far as it goes. Their reliance on Russia to help them in their repressive policy in Kosovo is foolhardy and showed lack of sensitivity to the situation in Russia itself. If Russia can concede autonomy to Chechenya so as to let peace reign, what justification do the Serbs have to continue repressing the Kosovo Albanians? Let's face it, there is no justification for the repression of minorities and gross violation of their human rights anywhere in the world! It is not too late to reverse the current course of events in Yugoslavia. But the right thing must be done: Albanians must be recognised as a national minority in Yugoslavia and be accorded the fundamental rights beffiting human beings. This is the right and sensible way forward. A word here should be enough for the 'wise' Mr. Milosevic.
University of Fribourg
Return to JURIST's Kosovo & Yugoslavia: Law in Crisis
JURIST: The Law Professors' Network is directed by Professor Bernard J. Hibbitts, Associate Dean for Communications & Information Technology, University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, in consultation with an international Advisory Board. E-mail JURIST at JURIST@law.pitt.edu.
© Bernard J. Hibbitts, 1999. All rights reserved. These pages may not be copied, reposted, or republished, in whole or in part, electronically or in print, without express written permission.
JURIST regrets that it cannot provide legal advice. For assistance with specific legal problems, please consult a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction.