bosnia report
New Series No. 9/10 April - July 1999
Kosova and the use of force

At times the use of force is necessary. When all diplomatic efforts, dialogue and other means of pressure such as economic sanctions has failed to induce a tyrant to change his behaviour, the use of force is inevitable. Not doing so can have more tragic consequences with more loss of lives and dangers of wider ag gression.

NATO intervention in Kosovo could have been avoided if only the Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic had shown flexibility, moderation and tolerance towards the Kosovars. Those in the world who are critical of the NATO intervention should take some comfort that this time at least the predominantly Christian alliance of NATO is trying to protect a Muslim community threatened with genocide. It is one of the few moments since the second world war when a Western military alli ance has taken up the fight of a small nation for purely humanitarian reasons.

Dr Jose Ramos-Horta, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 1996 (for East Timor), Lisbon. Letter to The Guardian, 1 April 1999.

We are all Kosovars

On this Holocaust Memorial Day, we are all Kosovar Albanians. As Jews commemo rate the six million murdered by the Nazis, the call `Never Again' reverberates with an urgency unparalleled since 1945.

Once again, a whole people - the Kosovar Albanians - are targeted by a tyranni cal regime, if not for total extinction, then for persecution, expulsion, wanton killing, humiliation and spoliation; those who believed that trains would never again deport people into exile and homelessness were wrong. It has happened again, not to Jews, but to a people few had ever heard of.

The Milosevic regime, nurturing a vicious nationalism, honed its tactics of cre ating a racially pure Serbia in Croatia and Bosnia. The democracies responded with confusion and impotence, as they did in the 1930s.

Now, there is resolve, painfully gained through the realization that evil can be stopped only by force. If only the West had shown similar resolve in the 1930s, perhaps World War II and the Holocaust could have been averted.

The use of power is always problematic; it is messy, and innocent people suffer. But this is the lesson of the Holocaust, and the meaning of `Never Again.' NATO today is a beacon of light and hope for the Kosovar Albanians in a way in which the League of Nations was not for the Jews in the 1930s.

The lessons of World War II - and the West's failure in the early 1990s in Bos nia - have been learned. Today, we are all Kosovar Albanians, because by defend ing them, humanity is being defended.

Shlomo Avineri, who teaches at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, is a visiting proÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÔ fessor at the Cardozo School of Law in New York. Letter to International Herald Tribune, 13 April 1999


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