in Media Global Watch Bulletins
April 1, 1999
|Special Truth in Media Global Watch Bulletins
Issue S99-21, Day 9, Update 2
FROM PHOENIX, ARIZONA Topic: BALKAN AFFAIRS
Apr. 1, 1999; 11:30PM EST - DAY 9, UPDATE
1. An American in Novi Sad: "NATO Has Rushed Where Even Fools
Do Not Dare"
2. Newborn Babies Also "Collateral Damage" of NATO's Bombs
3. Judge Throws Out Serb Orthodox Church's Suit Against Clinton
1. An American in
Novi Sad: "NATO Has Rushed Where Even Fools Do Not Dare"
NOVI SAD, Apr. 1 - A bridge and a water pipeline in Serbia's second largest city, Novi
Sad, became the latest casualties of NATO's bombs. The frightening wake up call, came at
about 5:30AM. Only six hours earlier, an American living in Paris posted an editorial on
his experiences in Novi Sad, which was forwarded to us by a friend. Here is an excerpt
from that piece by Randall Major, a language teacher, formerly of San Antonio, Texas. We
plan to post the entire text at our Web site
Date: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 22:28:46 - "Although I am an
American citizen, born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, I have lived, studied and worked
in Yugoslavia (Serbia) for almost 13 years now. I initially came to help a friend build
his house in a village near Novi Sad. Subsequently I fell in love, got married and
established my family here. I have been working at the College of Arts and Sciences at the
University of Novi Sad as a language instructor for about nine years.
In my time here, I have come to love the people of this
nation, and I am very proud of my new home here. I have friends among many of the
nationalities who live here in Vojvodina and have an enormous range of friends, from
farmers to university professors. Life here has always been a challenge, dealing with the
languages, with the economic crises, with the nearby wars. However, it has been
overwhelmingly rewarding. My life was peaceful and full of love and companionship, until
Wednesday, March 24, 1999. That evening, NATO bombs began to fall on my second homeland,
and on the town I call home. How could anyone decide to stay here in the midst of NATO air
strikes, among a people the western press claims is committing "ethnic
There are two reasons for my being here. My daughter Sara was
born at 230 a.m. on Monday, March 22, 1999 in the local hospital. My wife and daughter
came home on the very day the bombing started. They are doing well, but they are obviously
in no condition to travel. Moreover, in a state of war, it is very hard to find a means of
transportation which is adequate to their needs. The wisdom of sitting in a metal
container with a heat signature at this time and place is also questionable.
There are also the technical problems of registering my
daughter when I dare not step out of the house. You cannot cross borders with an
unregistered baby. On the other hand, I am not sure I would leave even if those conditions
were met. My life, my apartment, my work, my family, many of my friends-they are all here.
I am a loyal resident of this country. I teach, I translate, I do whatever I can to make
my community a better place to live in, just as I would if I were living somewhere in the
USA. I have been met with open arms and embraced by the people of this land. Leaving them
in this hour of need does not seem right. In the end of all things, my son Luka and my
daughter are half-Serb.
As the bombs and rockets rip the land each day, I find myself
reflecting about why this is happening. Knowing that I have freedom of expression in my
homeland, I have decided to share my reflections. I find my thoughts following two lines
of analysis. I would like to express them both in this editorial.
First Line - Citizens of Serbia
From the standpoint of the people who live here, shock was generally the first feeling
experienced when the attacks began. Now, we are all appalled at what is taking place. The
long term friendship between Serbia and the USA was destroyed when the first bomb fell. It
is true that the Serbs have a traditional friendship with the Russians, but that is not to
overshadow their remarkable ties to the US throughout this century. The media have a way
of sidelining that fact, but the history books bear it out. People here feel betrayed by a
traditional ally - the US.
Yet, the Serbs have a history of fighting against greater powers. The Ottomans, the
Austro-Hungarians, and the Germans. Now the Germans are being allowed to take part in a
new campaign against the Serbs. The Hungarians have allowed NATO to use their airspace, as
have the Croatians. The raids are being launched from NATO airbases in Italy. Seen in
terms of the Second World War, none of that comes as a great surprise. It also comes as no
surprise that, now that NATO has invaded a sovereign state for the first time in its fifty
year history (the cynics here say it was only a matter of time), people here are not in a
panic. They have faced the "big guy on the block" before, have taken some
beatings, won some victories, and survived. They feel they will survive this as well.
In the past, the attackers were always neighbors. The current airstrikes prove that the
world has become indeed a Global Village, in the most pessimistic sense of that phrase.
President Clinton says that we have vital interests in the Balkans, and he is striking
Yugoslavia as easily as if it were a next door neighbor. The difference this time is that
there are relatively few (are there ever too few?) civilian casualties. The advanced
technology of the NATO pact is allowing precision strikes on military and not-so-military
targets. (Blowing up an old soap factory and a defunct cable factory seem to be the
questionable targets in Novi Sad itself).
A famous Serb author, Svetislav Basara, has written that such
advanced technology was not created for humane purposes. He claims that human casualties
are to be avoided because a dead enemy is a dead consumer for the global market. You
cannot sell fancy western products to corpses.
While cynical, there is a ring of truth to this. Thus, the
Yugoslavs feel they are being attacked because they refused to sign an agreement that was
being sold to them by America, one which would ensure a "global" way of life,
but one which would put NATO forces on their sovereign territory. These forces would
necessarily include American troops, by the way, no matter what the White House is
currently claiming about its unwillingness to include ground forces in this particular
package. When one reads the document signed by the Kosovar Albanians in Paris, this
becomes apparent. It contains Annex B which states that NATO would have the right to move
freely throughout Yugoslavia. In earlier times, signing such a document would be called a
"capitulation", and from a territorial stance "annexation".
Opinions about what should be done with Kosovo were divided as long as I have lived here.
Some said the Albanians were welcome here. Some said they should behave more like normal
citizens. (There are some 100,000 Albanians living in Belgrade. On Sunday, some of them
staged a protest against the bombings. This was warmly greeted by the Serbs.) Some said
that Kosovo should be partitioned off and given to Albania. Others claimed that Kosovo
should be swept clean of Albanians and resettled by Serbs. There was no consensus.
When that first Tomahawk crashed into Serbia on
Wednesday night, all divisions ceased. Kosovo will now be dealt with the way the
government here feels it should with the whole-hearted backing of the general populace. NATO
has rushed in where even fools do not dare. By declaring war on the Serbs, NATO
has set the current humanitarian problem in motion. There were always problems in Kosovo,
but the NATO strikes are clearly at fault for the fact that tens of thousands of people
are on the road out of the country tonight. Whatever people here thought of Milosevic's
regime before (and there are always varying opinions about politicians), they now back him
as their commander-in-chief. Just as people would in any other country.
There is also a sense of frustration here about the fact that Russia, China, India, and
Greece are being ignored so blatantly. The news broadcasts from the UK and US keep showing
government and NATO leaders talking about how they have the support of the
"International Community". Clearly, they have redefined the term
"International Community". For NATO leaders that means anyone who agrees with
them. Anyone who dissents is marginalized. One can presuppose that the tens of thousands
of people protesting in the streets all over the world are also not a part of the
International Community. Turning a deaf ear to opposition is not one of the hallmarks of
democracy, and is certainly incongruous with what we Americans consider to be the
The stance of international justice also seems to have gotten
muddled for those of us who reside here. In the first place, the Serbs have been hit by
NATO twice before. Once in Croatia and once in Bosnia. This newest wave of bombing proves
that NATO has something personal against the Serbs. No one can answer the logical question
of why the Serbs are always the ones to be Satanized by NATO and the western media. An
analogy will help to clarify the situation: when the Serbs attacked Vukovar and it was
left in ruins, they were labeled "war criminals". On the other hand,
pictures are now coming out of Prishtina (the capital of Kosovo). The NATO bombers have
inflicted irreparable damage to the town, leaving it looking very much like Vukovar. How
will the NATO leaders be labeled for that? The devil in me doubts that they will be
labeled little other than "heroes".
The enormous spirit and tremendous sense of humor among the Yugoslavs is
overwhelming. True, many are frightened, in hiding from the explosions which seem
to come from nowhere. But overall, the spirit of these people is far from broken. They
understand that NATO could have destroyed 600 targets in two days, but that the demands of
psychological warfare dictate that it be drawn out over a longer period. The unease of
knowing when and where the bombs will come is supposed to generate feelings of uncertainty
and discontent. Such tactics are failing miserably here, and the majority of the people
have decided to ignore that particular element of the game. Each day there are concerts in
Belgrade's main square, people move about their lives and jobs with additional care, but
life has very much gone on here, as if to spite what they see as the childish tactics of
the war technicians in Brussels.
One of the most startling things I have heard these days was
the comment of a young friend of mine. "They can take my life," she
said, "but they cannot take away my dignity." Her dignity is
more important to her than her fear of cruise missiles. That gives cause for reflection.
Second line - A Citizen of the United States
This is not about divided loyalties, a lack of patriotism, or schizophrenia. I have always
loved my country, and I love it today. I still feel it is the greatest place on earth. As
an ex-patriot, I am in a position to see many of the beauties of the United States from an
objective distance, and thereby my love for my homeland is perhaps even stronger than for
many of the people who live in it. Moreover, I am one of the representatives of that
country for, though I am only a private citizen, my work brings me into contact with
thousands of people. For many of them, I am the only American they have ever met, or will
meet, and their impression of the United States often depends on their impression of me.
Though I am no political or legal expert (I am just a humble English teacher), the
situation in which I find myself demands that I ask the question of what the justification
for these airstrikes can be. Article One of the NATO statute clearly states that the
organization's members are not to use their military might against any sovereign state,
unless that state attacks them. Yugoslavia has attacked no one. Yet, since Wednesday, NATO
has been pounding a variety of targets all over Yugoslavia. Logically, an organization
which violates its own founding principles must cease to exist as an organization, or it
must reformulate its founding principles. Perhaps there was a secret meeting where NATO
suddenly amended its statute so as to allow it to attack at will, to crush countries who
have rejected their offers of membership, for example. Or, perhaps they should
reconstitute themselves under a new name. NATO ceased to exist as a legal entity at 7:55
p.m. on March 24.
Second, in making the decision to bomb Yugoslavia without a specific resolution from the
United Nations, NATO cast the UN aside as a totally marginal institution. The NATO members
knew that if they put up a resolution in the Security Council to bomb Yugoslavia, the
Russians and Chinese would veto. Their excuse for the air attacks is Yugoslavia's
non-compliance (as they describe it) with earlier resolutions. This means that NATO will
now have a free hand to attack any country which refuses to comply with a resolution.
Tonight, on the sixth night of bombing, the UN has taken no firm action to reestablish its
authority. The Russian representative to the UN has tried to pass several resolutions to
stop the bombing, which are now all being vetoed by the US. Catch 22. The only conclusion
I can draw as an average citizen is that the UN must either react to what is happening, or
lose all credibility as a political factor in the world. That will destroy fifty odd years
of hard work and enormous expense, and will certainly not make the world a better place.
Furthermore, as Americans we tend to think of the cost per value aspect of any exchange.
The United States, with a population of about 250 million, the most powerful country to
have ever existed, has already spent billions of dollars of the taxpayers' money blowing
up military targets in Yugoslavia, a country with a population of about 8 million. The
taxpayers' money is also causing "collateral damage" to schools, hospitals, and
private homes, right in the heart of Europe. All of this is inconceivably illogical. Are
President Clinton and Madeleine Allbright telling us that our
enormous economic and diplomatic power could not be used to convince an ally to remain an
ally? That is clearly a fantasy.
The problem rather seems to lie in the fact that, somewhere
in the planning rooms, a program was drawn up to set the Balkans up in a manageable way.
With the Serbs being the largest ethnic group in the Balkans, it is clear that their
country must be atomized, they must be disunited so that they are no longer a regional
power in Europe. In Paris, the Serbs were presented with a fait accompli. "Agree to
NATO presence, or we are going to blow up your army and kill your citizens." If one
looks at the events of the past decade, this idea is at least worth consideration. In
terms of buying power, those tax dollars may have been better spent on an intensive study
of the problem, a detailed analysis of the history and characters of the peoples involved,
and a carefully planned negotiation process.
I do not believe that President Clinton has ever been to Kosovo. I do not believe he has
ever seen the beauty of the 800 year-old monastery of Gracanica, which was also damaged by
the air attacks. He never saw the mosques, the synagogues, the cathedrals and
patriarchates. I have come to doubt he ever really sat down and talked with Albanians from
Kosovo, or with Serbs from Kosovo, to find out what they really wanted. I am convinced
that he could have come to Yugoslavia, sat down with the parties in the conflict, and
convinced them there was a peaceful way out. I would contend that, as the highest
representative of the most powerful nation on earth, he had a responsibility to do so, if
one of the vital interests of the United States is to ensure peace in Europe and in the
world as he claims.
Rather, without a clear understanding of the mentality of the
people who live here, after analyzing piles of statistics and military data instead of the
moral and spiritual state of the people of Yugoslavia, he decided for violent action. He
thus put the lives of American military personnel in grave danger, with very little or no
authorization from the American people. In doing so, he violated the principles of the
Presidency, the principles upon which the UN and NATO were founded, and ultimately he was
unfaithful to the American people. I am not angry at him. I feel misled and betrayed by
him and certain individuals in his administration. With such actions and policies, the
present administration is making the world an unsafe, even dangerous, place for all
citizens of the United States. That is clearly not in the interest of the average US
Let us be clear again: I am not trying to justify the Yugoslav authorities or any of their
actions. That is their business, and their experts must work on presenting a clearer
picture of their vision of their own country. BOTH sides should have sat down and worked
on a proper solution, that is obvious. What I am saying is that the people of Yugoslavia,
and especially the Serbs, are not genocidal monsters as they are being depicted by the
Clinton administration and the western media. Please heed the words of one who has lived
and is still living among them, even when they are at war with my own country. These are a
broad-minded and loving, if stubborn, people. They have criminals, and they have saints.
They are an invaluable part of the vast cultural heritage of Europe, and they deserve
respect, support and encouragement as they struggle to become a vital part of a thriving
Europe. They do not deserve to be showered with the wrath of the Clinton administration
and its dependence on its ephemeral military strength.
The situation is infinitely complicated here, and it would
require volumes to explain all the intricacies of the Gordian knot called the Balkans. It
seems that President Clinton has made the same mistake as one of his political forebears,
Alexander the Great. Unable to untie the knot, he simply took his sword and hacked it in
two. And we know the ultimate fate of Alexander and his Empire, and of all empires which
place might above right. Perhaps it is not too late, but a major turnabout is due.
To the sounds of air-raid sirens, tonight I will bathe my
baby daughter and put her to sleep. I will continue to teach my five and a half year-old
son to read and count. And I will teach both of my children to live by the principles upon
which America, and all western civilization, was founded. I will do this because I believe
the greatness of our culture is not in its material wealth or military power. It is in its
commitment to principles, justice and morality.
Tonight, light a candle and whisper a prayer for us, will
you? We will do the same for you. Peace on earth, good will to men."
Randall A. Major, Novi Sad, Yugoslavia
TiM Ed.: About half an hour after this letter had been posted on the Net, the NATO
bombs destroyed a bridge over the Danube. And tonight, if Mr. Major lives on the right
bank of the Danube, he may even have difficulties bathing his baby daughter. As you know,
NATO also knocked out today the water pipeline that feeds that part of the city.
[the "black" italicized text was excised from the e-mail version of
Mr. Major's editorial; "bold" highlights have been added by TiM]
2. Newborn Babies Also "Collateral
Damage" of NATO's Bombs
BELGRADE, Apr. 1 - We've also received the following letter from a medical doctor in
Belgrade. It needs no amplification. Here is a translation from Serbian:
"I am turning to you in the hope that this text may
reach the sleepy souls of the American people. I am a gynecologist and obstetrician, and
therefore, a witness of an entire different kind of tragedy which the NATO bombs have
Air raid sirens, bomb detonations, screaming sounds of jet
engines, have led to a syndrome of hypertension among the pregnant women, and an enormous
rise in premature births. So the newborn babies have to depend on the oxygen, and are
placed in incubators with a very high rate of mortality and morbidity.
But that's not the end of the tragedy. When the sirens go
off, such preemies cannot be taken to bomb shelters, because the incubators are not
portable; not here, nor anywhere else in the world. Such a situation was the cause of
death of 40 newborn babies in Banja Luka, during the bombing of the Bosnian Serbs (in
1995). That's the horror about which no one has written.
At the moment, we have 59 such babies at the Gynecology
Hospital in Belgrade. The medical staff of the clinic has decided to stay with the babies,
regardless of the consequences.
The reason for our great trepidation is that we are very
close to the headquarters of the Yugoslav Army HQ building (about 500 meters - about
one-third of a mile), and the Belgrade Police HQ (100 meters - about 300 feet). Similar
objects have already been hit in Pristina.
To make the irony even greater, eight of the 59 babies are
Albanian newborns, whom we are all protecting with our bodies and lives.
Are the American people really as blind as it seems? Where
are the American intellectuals, American humanitarians, American Nobel Prize winners? What
does "genocide" mean to them? Who can excuse the death of the Banja Luka babies
due to a lack of oxygen or other medication?
Maybe American scientists can? America can do
(name withheld, but known to TiM)
TiM Ed.: Opposite the noble and unselfish stand for human life which these Serbian
doctors and nurses are making, stands the "mighty NATO." Goaded by Clinton
et. al., NATO wants to intimidate the Serbs into surrender by bombing downtown Belgrade.
Including the area in which the hospitals are located, like this one. How many
American parents do you suppose, would give up, versus fight to the death, if they were to
lose their newborn baby in this way?
Or is that what "Adolf Clinton" wants? Because as president of the
"world's only remaining superpower," he can do everything. Except the right
thing: stop killing innocent people. Including newborn babies.
3. Judge Throws Out Serb Orthodox
Church's Suit Against Clinton
CHICAGO, Apr. 1 - A Federal judge in Chicago threw out today a lawsuit brought by the
Serbian Orthodox Church of the United States against Bill Clinton, demanding that he stop
air attacks on Yugoslavia, Reuters reported today.
The suit contended that the President violated the U.S. Constitution by abrogating
signed international treaties. Elaine Bucklo, the judge, said the lawsuit concerned a
political question beyond the scope of the court.
Five Serbian American bishops have unsuccessfully sought meetings with Clinton and
Madeleine Albright, Reuters also reported.
Also, check out... Truth in Media Statement on Kosovo Crisis, "Wither Dayton, Sprout New War?", "On
the Brink of Madness", "Tragic
Deja Vu's," "Seven U.S. Senators
Suggest Ouster of Milosevic", "Biting the Hand That Feeds
Balkan Affairs Potpourri", "Put the U.N. Justice on
Trial", "International Justice
'Progresses' from Kidnapping to Murder", "Milosevic: 'A Riddle Wrapped in a
Mystery'...", "Kosovo Lie Allowed
to Stand", "New World Order's
Inquisition in Bosnia", "Kosovo
Heating Up", "Decani
Monastery Under Siege?", "Murder on Wall Street",
"Kosovo: 'Bosnia II', Serbia's
If the Shoe Were on the Other Foot?", "Green Interstate - Not Worth American
Lives", and/or "Clinton arme secrètement
les musulmans bosniaques"
Or Djurdjevic's WASHINGTON TIMES columns: "Chinese
Dragon Wagging Macedonian Tail," "An Ugly Double Standard in
Kosovo Conflict?", "NATO's Bullyboys", "Kosovo: Why Are We
Involved?", and "Ginning
Up Another Crisis"
Or Djurdjevic's NEW DAWN magazine columns: "Washington's
Crisis Factory," and "A
New Iron Curtain Over Europe"