Michael Pugliese debsian at
Wed Oct 18 23:32:34 PDT 2000

From the conclusion of a talk by Kostunica to the Lord Byron Foundation.

Michael Pugliese =&P=70439 ...Which of these crusaders should take primacy? How about Daniel Goldhagen, Susan Sontag, Shlomo Avineri, and many others, who allow for the possibility that Milosevic is not quite Hitler, that the Memorandum of the Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences is not quite Mein Kampf, that the Serbs did not quite try to destroy one whole nation as the Germans had tried with the Jews, but nevertheless - According to them the Serbs, just like the Germans before them, need a benign occupation, denazification of sorts, during which democratic forces could emerge and grow strong. Let me quote only one of this group, philosophy professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Shlomo Avineri. He says that the Germans were able to rejoin the community of civilized nations after 1945 not only because they became a democratic state under Allied occupation, but also because they have come to comprehend the horrors done in their name to Jews and others under Hitler's regime - and that is the destiny of the Serbs, too.

It is now quite clear that factually, politically and legally the so-called humanitarian intervention by NATO against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was not justified, that it was the intervention itself that caused the humanitarian catastrophe, the consequences of which will be felt for a long time. This view is shared by an increasing number of prominent commentators, from Noam Chomsky to Henry Kissinger. This is the view of some Western media and many international organizations, including the CSCE. Even the chief protagonists of the air war, including President Clinton himself, defend it with an ever-slackening enthusiasm. It is hard to imagine President Clinton going public today with an article claiming that the war of nineteen NATO states against Serbia was "just" and "necessary."

Today and in the future the Serbs cannot count on any "allies" in the old sense among the great powers. They can count, however, on covert and overt allies in the West, in Europe, and on the diffuse but ever more prevalent resistance all over the world to what has come to be known as "benevolent global hegemony." They can count on the growing awareness that the NATO war against Serbia was mediated in the West by lies and manipulations, by the creation of a twisted and false picture about the Serbs that justified their punishment by sanctions, bombs and indictments at The Hague.

The fact that it is increasingly obvious that the NATO war against Serbia was neither just nor necessary still has not greatly undermined that prejudiced, almost racist image of the Serbs created in the Western public. Even when the "outer wall" of sanctions is removed, it will take a lot of skill and effort to alter this image of the Serbs. As our philosopher Mihailo Djuric has said, our nation has no alternative but to endure gallantly and with fortitude this latest round of heavy suffering because this suffering is not earned by guilt, it is allocated by judgment. Indeed, the Serbs will not accept that which is unacceptable only if they are not deracinated, that is to say, if they have not ceased to be Serbs. * * * * * * *

Delivered at The Lord Byron Foundation for Balkan Studies symposium "Serbs and the West" at the Union of Writers of Serbia in Belgrade, January 24, 2000

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