Slobodan Milosevic

Topics: Serbs, Kosovo, Slobodan Milošević Pages: 5 (1507 words) Published: October 8, 1999
"I wouldn't mind if they needed to take [Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic] out," said Chris Walter, 23, a college student living in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. I felt the same way about Saddam Hussein. I think the longer you keep the problem around, the sooner it is going to come back and bite you."

From the Washington Post

April 18th, 1999

The horrors of the atrocities committed against Kosovo such as the targeted attacks on civilians, "ethnic cleansing", and most certainly mass murder have a greater impact globally than what may appear on the surface. On a humanitarian level, all these situations are marked by the same killing mixture of hope and despair – frightened women, terrified children, despondent old men and women, and helpless adults looking towards the corner of the street and gazing at the sky hoping for a miracle that does not happen – until they are driven out of their homes at gunpoint, and their houses looted and put to torch in front of their eyes – and they still thank God for sparing the lives of those who survived to face the next ordeal.

This story is being repeated in the Balkans for the umpteenth time. Almost a month after the most powerful military grouping in history launched air attacks on rump Yugoslavia to compel adherence to a peace accord, a human tragedy of grotesque proportions continues to unfold in Kosovo. Nearly 50 per cent of its Albanian population has been forced to flee the country under the relentless assault of the Yugoslav army and police, amid unbelievably cruel carnage of human lives and burning of villages and towns.

Kenneth Waltz's first-image theory rests on the assumption that the causes of war are to be found in the nature and behavior of man and on the role of specific individuals, as in this case Slobodan Milosevic. If you ask the question "Why is a war taking place in Kosovo?" a large part of the reply must be "Because of Slobodan Milosevic." In an interview with Newsweek's Lally Weymouth, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer bluntly linked Milosevic with the two names whose shadows still linger over modern Europe. Milosevic, said Fischer, "was ready to act like Stalin and Hitler—to fight a war against the existence of a whole people." It is Milosevic who has lit the flame of evil; if it is to be put out, he needs to be understood.

The year 1989 saw the emergence of Slobodan Milosevic, an obscure Serb banker, who decided to build his political career by exposing the cause of Greater Serbia. Addressing a huge gathering of Serbs assembled on the site of the battle of Kosovo Polje, where an Ottoman army inflicted a crushing defeat on Serbian forces 600 years earlier, he launched a campaign to restore Serbian greatness that resulted in the break-up of Yugoslavia, amid the worst atrocities and violations of human rights since the end of the Second World War. While the formidable Serb-led Yugoslav army was used against Croats too, the worst excesses and "ethnic cleansing" took place against the Bosnians, and later the Kosovars, both of them Muslims.

What effects the Balkan region is its blood-soaked history, an ethnic jigsaw puzzle and, currently the "Mad Serb Disease." Like the Bosnian tragedy, Kosovo's misfortune results equally from the dominant powers letting expediency rather than ethnicity determine the Balkan borders. Like the Bosnian muslims, Kosovar Albanians were lumped into the artificial Serb-dominated state called Yugoslavia – even though ethinicity, religion and geography bound them to Albania.

Thus, Kosovo has been a pawn in the hands of the powers that mindlessly drew and re-drew the Balkan map. Despite being 90 per cent Albanian, Kosovo is seen by the Serbs as the cradle of civilization. Its north and east have sites of religious and historical significance to them. Hence the Serb desire to "ethnically cleanse" at least northern Kosovo...
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