bosnia report
New Series No. 9/10 April - July 1999
 
The circle is closed
by Senad Pecanin

Six hundred and ten years after the Battle of Kosovo and ten years after Slobo dan Milosevic announced its replay, the circle is closed and the last act of the break-up of Yugoslavia is being played out. The last fascist regime in Europe is once again surprising the West and repeating in reality the scenes from Benig ni's film `Life is Beautiful' at which spectators weep. The Albanian nation in Kosovo is passing today through a Golgotha similar to the Jewish and Bosniak ones, while the Americans justify their hesitation in effectively halting the genocide with the assertion that the ethnic cleansing of the Albanians did not begin with the NATO air strikes, but before them.

As I write this editorial for issue 99 of Dani, I recall our beginnings. When in September 1992 we got together to make a newspaper, as shells and snipers rained death upon the streets, apartments, houses and hospitals of Sarajevo, the chances of the person responsible ever receiving his just deserts seemed to us remote. Fortunately, we were mistaken. So what NATO's air forces are doing today to Milosevic's army should be seen as an act of simple justice, not of venge ance. Vengeance would be visited upon the evildoer only if Atif Dudakovic had set up his guns on Avala, foreshadowing for the innocent citizens of Belgrade the three and a half years of horror through which the blameless citizens of Sarajevo passed.

If the citizens of Belgrade had at the time shown one per cent of the energy with which they are today condemning `the aggressors, killers, fascists . . .', perhaps the history of this part of the world would have looked quite different. Serbs have interpreted all the consideration the West has shown for Milosevic's lethal military machinery as a historical right to terrorize their neighbours. Now that the West's patience has run out and the most important source of their comparative advantage over their neighbours is vanishing under the attacks of the Alliance's squadrons, Serbian intellectuals are threatening the world with the vengeance of their unreasonableness.

Thus Aleksandar Tijanic writes that after this war it will take years `before any Serbian politician introduces liberalism, market economy, multiparty sys tem, democracy, free media, rule of law, and such idiocies'. Like a child bang ing its head agaÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÔ inst the wall because the grown-ups have stopped his favourite pastime of setting fires in the common building, which has led to several apart ments being burned out, Tijanic threatens the world with `Enver Hozha's Albani a'.

Despite all our pity for that part of the nation which has suffered innocently for the regime in power, we must allow the Serbs to realize Tijanic's threat if it expresses the majority Serb view today. If for no other reason, because there is no evidence that even the most stubbornly enraged child ever broke the wall with its head.

Translated from Dani 99, 12 April 1999

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