bosnia report
New Series No. 9/10 April - July 1999
The target and the musicians
by Zlatko Dizdarevic

What is certain at this moment is that the bombing of selected targets will last and intensify. It is also true that the bloody repression against Kosovo Albani ans conducted by various gangs will be urged on by Milosevic, who has decided to make his country totally Serb by means which we can see on our TV screens. It seems too that the rock concerts at which Arkan, his wife Ceca and others appear as dear guests will gain in attendance. In the meantime the world is rocked by air strikes over which there is more moralising than can be absorbed by common sense. In Prague a demonstrator has been killed. In Italy everything is reduced to internal politics and we see marathon quasi-intellectual debates at which such `sophisticated' questions as to whether one can create democracy by non- democratic means are raised. When murder, deportations and torching are used to attack basic existence, not to speak of democracy - that is no problem. When air strikes against military targets are used in an attempt to stop those who kill, torch and deport - then that is not `democratic'. In this chauvinistic logic, it is not democracy that is at issue. We are dealing with interests and prejudices, the kind of shameless insolence which we [here in Bosnia-Herzegovina] have al ready experienced. I frequently recall Zdravko Grebo's story from the war, when one of his female friends from Belgrade, recoiling from the very idea that Bel grade too might be bombed, cried out: `How can they bomb us? Don't they know we have children here?' The professor responded: `Do you think we don't?'

A part of the world is behaving miserably in relation to Kosovo and Milosevic, believing perhaps that a singing Arkan and rockers in Belgrade do not deserve that their concerts should be stopped because of the deported, terrorised and murdered Albanians. Those political strategists who today ruminate over the `meaning and morality' of the air strikes pretend to be unaware of the well- known premise that wars are ended by wars not peace. Repentance and forgiveness, if it does happen, comes later, when everything is finished, burned down and killed. We need only remember the war in Bosnia. The drama is going on now, the war is going on now, and that war must be met with war, which may not sound very nice, not even humane or ecological. Wishes are one thing and Milosevic's brutal reality another. This man never once inspired the hope that he could be dealt with by any other means but force. It is stupid and indeed impolite to teach this to the Bosniaks.

The national consensus that exists among the majority of Serbians, and even per haps even among Serbs outside Serbia, is evidently onÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÔ Milosevic's side. Each bomb contributes to this. This fact amounts to their tragedy, created by a years-long conscious or implicit readiness to be manipulated in the most brutal manner. This acquiescence has a price which must be paid. The outcome will be hard on them, whatever the final outcome may actually be. History is a useful teacher here. The Italians gave up on Mussolini only when all kinds of miseries had been visited upon his empire, and the bonds of unfreedom did not start to break until the Allies had landed. Hitler's case was even more dramatic. Germans were dying with his name on their lips until Germany had been turned to ashes and dust. However, fifty years later, in the most prosperous country in Europe, the law still punishes those Germans who wishfully evoke his name. This is be cause the Germans have done with their Nazi past. As things are now, both the rock singers and their audience have to undergo a catharsis in order to follow this example. Until then they are right to wear painted targets, since they in deed are targeted. Their only error is to believe that these targets are NATO- made. They have, in fact, been painted by Slobodan Milosevic.

Translated from Svijet (Sarajevo), 4 April 1999


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