Sunday, September 26, 2004

Dialoguing with The Agency [from Notes 4 Yugoslavia by Mick Collins]

[This is an e-correspondence with a guy used to be a good friend, really strong supporter of CM/P's theatre stuff, until I called him from the first (and only) demonstration in Paris against the NATO terror bombing of Yugoslavia in March 1999, and he said that the Serbs should be bombed and bombed some more and some more still until they beg for mercy--and when they've begged for mercy, they should be bombed some more! Wish I could have seen his reaction to 9/11. Guy had a English language PR firm near the gare St Lazare--must have had Wes Clark and Ariel Sharon as clients. I should have known when I was writing his copy pushing old episodes of The Avengers for Canal+ exactly for whom I was really working. But this was writtten around the time Wm Walker and the OSCE staged the 'massacre' @ Raçak, which begat the Rambouillet non-negotiations, which then begat the 78-day terror bombing we were demonstrating against in the first place. It's funny how naive it all sounds today--after so many more pre-programed US/NATO terror assaults have been driven right over anything the victim states and their leaders tried to do to avoid them. --mc]


(19 January 1999 - Paris)

[The following is an exchange with a former ally. A former journalist with Business Week. And not a bad fellow at all--until the 1999 bombing started. Then the trap door in his forehead opened up and he revealed himself to be a ‘True Believer’ in the American Way.]

Mick,
Aside from the official Serbian Media Center and news agency,
you're the only person I've come across in the whole world who
doesn't think that Milosevic is anything but an unmoustached
version of the Führer. Given my professional background as
a journalist, and my general disposition towards scepticism,
I don't think I'm all that naive. Put otherwise - I think you're out
of your gourd. Not that the innocent 90% ethnic Albanians are
all that innocent. Not that the Iranians, Saudis, Algerians and
various other Islamic noodniks are not trying to stage the second
act of their Bosnian opening. Not that the US government has the
best interests of the Kosovo population in mind and might not
like to try out some of its latest doodads from 20,000 feet.
But these poor Kosovite slobs are getting the shit kicked out of
them. By Serbian soldiers and policemen. Just like half of Bosnia
got the shit kicked out of them.

Is there not a basic humanitarian issue here? Namely, how to stop
unprotected slobs from being killed by guys with tanks and big
guns. Isn't this really what matters? We_re talking about non-
combatants, for chrissake. Women and who run to hide in the hills
and find their houses blown up when they get back. If they get back
(Not that there aren't umpteen times more unprotected slobs getting
killed in Africa and other non-white, oil-poor backwaters. Not that
umpteen times more unprotected Iraqi slobs haven't been killed by
laser-guided bombs made in Missouri). In other words, what do you
do when a bunch of big guys beat up on a bunch of little guys? Sure,
you can say, yeah, well look at what so-and-so did to so-and-so.
So what? You can say, oh those little guys, they're Islamic fundament-
alist crazies (or Palestinian terrorists, or orthodox Jewish zealots, or
counterrevolutionary stooges, or dumb ass niggers) so they deserve
what they get (or it's too bad but we certainly shouldn't help them, or
they got themselves into this so let them get themselves out, or they
decided to fuck with the man and that's what happens).

This is happening right now -- right here in Europe. Never again,
huh?

Ben

PS - Please forward this to anyone and everyone you know who you
think might agree with your defense of Milosevic even slightly.



Ben,

Yeah, I do appreciate your concern for the little guys, the non-combatants, the underdogs—that's an American quality that I am especially fond of, and one I hope I have adopted to leaven my own political analyses. And all your 'not-to-say’s are very telling and well-taken indeed.

First of all, if one sees the mustachioed paperhanger, Schicklegruber, as the incarnation of absolute evil, who acted out of pure, perverse hatred of Jews, Gypsies, Bolsheviks, homosexuals, and the beat goes on; all one does is exercise some moral outrage without seeking after any understanding of the causes of his crimes, or gaining any hope of preventing their repetition. Hitler was the primary political agent of the German cartels. Most critiques of fascism and Naziism caricature Hitler, or Mussolini (or Mobuto, or Suharto) as light-operatic villains, and conceal the vested interests they fronted.

When one looks at today's incarnations of 'the evil', guys like Saddam and Milosevic, one has trouble determining just exactly for whom they serve. To concentrate on Milosevic: His current manifestation is the creation of the unnegotiated, and, one might add, Western-sponsored, secessions of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, and Macedonia, from the Yugoslav Federation. Because these secessionist republics adopted such reactionary nationalist policies (Slovenia printed a text book, funded by the EU, in support of eugenics; Croatia is the recreation of the Ante Pavelic Nazi puppet state of WWII vintage; Bosnia is led by a pre-Khomeni jihadist; etc.), Serbia and Milosevic were defined by the media in terms of Serbian nationalism. When he supported the Bosno-Serbs or the Serbs in Krajina, Milosevic was seen as trying to build a ‘Greater Serbia’, not as trying to save what could be saved of the old Yugoslav Federation. So when one looks for what Milosevic is working toward, one seems to find only the preservation of the old economic, political and cultural relations that made up Tito's Socialist Federation: Which is translated by the media into the dictator's need for absolute personal political power.

I don't in any way propose that this seeking to preserve the old Yugoslav structures is a good thing: It is at best the expression of an institutional instinct for self-preservation, conservative, even reactionary in a way. That many innocent, non-combatant Southern Slavs’ lives might have been saved if Yugoslavia had just gone quietly into a sort of neo-colonial twilight sleep under the plump duvet of European commercialism, as did the rest of Eastern Europe and the old USSR, a slumber of dependence on Western values and Western brokered gas and electric deals, of governments by, of and for Credite Suisse and Goldman Sachs; that a surrender in 1991 to the looters of the old Yugoslav commonweal and Army would have been cleaner is probably without doubt. But then if the British and the Russians and the US had just rolled over in front of Hitler, you probably wouldn't have as many of these memorials to the millions of WWII martyrs either.

The fact that Milosevic and Yugoslavia have been steadily losing geography and political sovereignty, first to the other former Yugoslav Republics, and currently, with real vigor since late 1997, to this Movement for a Greater Albania, seems to indicate that Serbo-Yugo-Milosevician aggression, like Arab aggression against Israel, has been pretty much the creation of Western marketing. It also seems that after the Soros-inspired financial pyramid schemes took the Albanians' savings, all they left them with was war-surplus ordnance. And since the cease fire in October 98, the KLA (which has consistently refused to negotiate not only with Milosevic and the Serb authorities, but with its own political representatives) has sufficiently rearmed and regrouped to reinitiate the war by kidnapping and assassinating Yugoslav (Serbian) government officials, policemen and many of your much bemoaned non-combatant civilians, who only posthumously become identified as Albanians.

One can only believe that Milosevic is 'pure evil' if one forgets the recent history from which these events were born. Early in 1998 American envoys Holbrooke and Gelbard called the KLA 'terrorists'. When the Albanians had taken control of sufficient territory in Kosovo and gained sufficient political influence in neighboring Macedonia, and thereby qualified for a chair at the negotiations for the further liquidation of Yugoslavia (and perhaps their own account with Credite Suisse/First Boston), the U.S. changed its position: Now NATO stands ready to lend its air support to the KLA.

I in no way seek to condone the massacre of the hapless and helpless men, women and children dumped in that gully outside Raçak. But one must be very careful the conclusions one draws from these terrible acts. It is the height of unreason to assume, as in the case of Saddam Hussein and the Iraqis, that the alleged butchery of civilian populations by their own political leaders justifies the infliction of more deaths by bombing or other Western military intervention. There is one important purpose for the overly simple depiction of the war in Kosovo as being between the heavily armed Yugoslav Army and a lot of feckless Albanian civilians. It's the same model as was imposed on the Bosnian conflict. This model serves to justify military intervention and eventual occupation in the name of peacekeeping, and the inevitable economic reorganization of the area in the interests of Western financial and commercial institutions. After all, while he negotiated the Dayton Deals, Richard Holbrooke was working for Credite Suisse. Is this a coincidence? Is it part of a great conspiracy? Or is it just a bitter irony?

There are plays being done about the massacre in Srebrenica. Movies being made about the genocide of Bosnian Muslims. And while the U.S. and Britain murder Muslims in Iraq, and acquiesces to the slaughters in Algeria and Afghanistan and any number of African states (as you justly pointed out), CNN works the public into a high moral dudgeon over the slaughter of Muslim civilians in the last 'non-aligned' socialist nation in the Balkans.

I think we agree that it would be better if Milosevic just went ahead and inked a deal with the Soros Foundation, or threw in with LTCM, or just somehow sold the farm, which is being painfully foreclosed on more and more each day. But to accuse him of wantonly killing his own citizens, those who put him in office, out of pure malevolence is just too cynical even for me.

If one sets aside the nomenclature created by the Western media, with its strictly 'Serb aggressors' and 'Albanians (Muslims) victims', and sees this war as being between a multi-ethnic state (Yugoslavia) and a foreign-backed insurgency (KLA), with the relationship of the living and the dead to these two sides being determined primarily by political, tactical expediencies, one sees this tragedy as being far beyond the control of Slobodan Milosevic or any other single leader. It is the people of Yugoslavia who are struggling for survival—not political or cultural or ethnic survival, but just plain breathing-in-and-out survival. If the KLA really represented 90% of the people of Kosovo as the media keeps implying with its constant repetition of this specious demographic, there would be no war: Kosovo would simply declare itself independent or part of Albania by fiat, and Rugova would be declared head of state, and no more worries. But this war is just the latest stage in the economic reorganization of the Balkans, from a predominantly independent region with strong ties to the Soviet bloc to a region completely in the sway of Western European interests. Such realignments, in the Balkans especially, are historically very violent.

And finally, the reason I doubt that Slobodan Milosevic is responsible for this atrocity in Raçak is because it serves him not at all. It is, however, the perfect excuse to abrogate the cease-fire of October 98, invite NATO air strikes, and an eventual Western sponsored establishment of an independent but pro-Albanian government in Kosovo, as is evolving in Macedonia.

So let's mourn the dead, but let's not be blinded by our grief and our anger as to why they died, and to what ends their deaths will be put.

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