January 29th 2008 08:09:30 PM
Last month someone named Anthony Loyd wrote an article titled Kosovo deserves its independence, which included the sentence:
Far beyond the borders of Serbia a sickening form of revisionism has prevailed across the years among critics of Kosovo’s desire for independence.
To translate: Far beyond the borders of Serbia a discomforting form of debunking Balkan mythology and Serb-demonization has prevailed across the years among critics of Kosovo’s desire for independence.
…A part of it derives from racism: inscrutable, impoverished, Muslim, their language and culture unlike any other in Europe, Kosovo Albanians are an easy “white nigger” target for the self-satisfied elements of Western Europe’s pseudo-political classes.
Ah. So in addition to the concerted international program to rob Serbs of their lives, economy, health and property, this bastard is now trying to rob the Serbs of a label that was in fact originally theirs: the white nigger.
I’m looking at a July 1992 issue of a now defunct British magazine titled Living Marxism — whose being in my possession can only be explained by the fact that our bizarre Balkans policies have made for some bizarre political bedfellows. This was the publication that broke the story about the British ITN (Independent Television News) crew which in 1992 shot footage of Bosnians in front of some chicken wire that was immediately circulated and published around the world as Bosnians behind the wires of a Serb-run concentration camp. Living Marxism was sued out of existence by ITN, the broadcast medium that holds the earliest responsibility for the Serbs-as-Nazis slander that easily caught on. The British court (so not exactly a court in the American understanding), as usual found for the plaintiff — not because Living Marxism was wrong, but because it couldn’t prove that ITN had intent to deceive, and therefore its original article was “libelous”.
Readers can judge ITN’s intentions for themselves by watching this half-hour documentary titled “Judgment” — and see if “journalist” Penny Marshall’s prodding of the Bosnian Muslims to say they’re being mistreated by Serbs suggests that perhaps there was some ill intention. Notice also the part where her heart seems to sink when she hears from these Bosnian Muslims that they’re happy to live with Serbs “together, in Yugoslavia.” If these parts aren’t convincing, consider that there is something called a crime of omission. For example, if footage that I shot were being splashed on the front pages of every major newspaper around the world as something that it isn’t, I might say something to set the record straight.
(This Canada Free Press article also mentions the skinny-man image that fooled the world; the Free Press article was published in the midst of the doctored-image war against Israel during the 2006 Lebanon war.)
But back to the main point of this blog — the July, 1992 cover of Living Marxism that I’m looking at. The title of the article, in enormous white lettering, reads: “The Serbs: ‘WHITE NIGGERS’ of the New World Order”
Accompanying the article is a cartoon reprinted from The Independent newspaper in UK:
The primate’s tag reads “Serbian Irregular.”
And here is an excerpt making the case for the label bestowed by the aforementioned headline:
The image of Serbia as the new villain of world affairs has been artificially constructed by the Western powers for their own purposes. The Serbs, and the other peoples of the old Yugoslavia, have got caught up in the crossfire of the struggle for influence in the post-Cold War world.
It is the latest round of Great Power politics, rather than the internal affairs of the former Yugoslav republics, which explains why Serbia has been singled out. The Serbs have been deliberately set up as the ‘white niggers’ of the new world order…The campaign to criminalise the Serbs began last year  as a German initiative. The German government escalated the conflict in Yugoslavia by coming out in support of ‘civilised’ Croatia against ‘barbaric’ Serbia, and forcing the rest of the EC [European Community] states to follow its lead…This year, however, as the focus of the fighting has shifted from Croatia to Bosnia, the American authorities have taken over the leading role in the anti-Serb crusade. President George Bush, backed by [John] Major, has pushed the UN into imposing sanctions on Belgrade and got Nato to fire warning shots at Serbia, in a bid to re-establish the waning authority of the USA within the Western Alliance.
The fact that we are looking at another round of this anti-Serb propaganda should have every American and European asking: Why are we - in 2008 - still looking for a bogeyman when we have a real and determined enemy? While we peddle the story of the Serbian “nationalist” bogeyman in the Balkans, we knowingly assist the real and determined enemy in the Balkans with its goal.
But back to our Brit-diot of the day, who stripped the Serbs even of their claim to “white niggerdom”, transferring that label from the victim to the aggressor to further paint the two as the reverse of each other. The year of the Living Marxism story in question, 1992, was also the year that George Bush Sr. issued the famous “winter warning” to Yugoslavia to not crack down on Albanian misbehavior in Kosovo. Also by 1992 the Albanians had already hired foreign PR firms, as did the Croats and Bosnians in this three-front image war against Yugoslavia and the Serbs. Lo and behold, 15 years later, not only is Kosovo Albanian, but the sympathetic 1992 label “white nigger” also belongs to Albanians.
The rest of the Loyd article is too standardly ridiculous to address, but here are some points that can’t go unaddressed:
[ “Revisionists”] advance the theory that the 800,000 Albanian refugees who fled their homes during Nato’s 79-day air campaign did so as they were frightened of the bombing rather than Serb military units.
From the Sunday Times of London on March 27, 1999:
Mirvei, a tall Albanian woman clutching her four-month-old baby, looked bewildered when asked if Serbian troops had driven her out. “There were no Serbs,” she said. “We were frightened of the bombs.”…Red Cross officials say many of the most recent arrivals [in Macedonia] intend to return to Kosovo as soon as the NATO bombardment stops.
From Chris Deliso’s The Coming Balkan Caliphate:
Perversely, the large-scale population displacement NATO was ostensibly acting to prevent began only after the bombs started falling.
From Andy Wilcoxson: NATO Bombing Caused Kosovo Exodus
From the UK Guardian: If This Man is a War Criminal, Where is all the Evidence?
From historian Jared Israel in an interview with the last Jew to leave Kosovo: How NATO used the Kosovo Verification Mission to Liaison with the KLA and Stage Albanian Flight
Back to the Bridiot:
I have many memories of Kosovo acquired during the time I spent reporting there between 1998 and 2000. Among the images of mass graves, burnt villages and swelling bodies that spring to mind is one of particular significance. In the fields outside the town of Istinic in southwestern Kosovo one summer day I watched some 40,000 Kosovans corralled together by rings of Serb police. The young, the old; man, woman, child, they stared in abject fear to the horizon where smoke from their villages, torched in a Serb purge from which they fled, gathered thickly in the skies. “Where is Europe? Where is America?” one refugee beseeched me.
After a day or two the Serb police pushed them back into the hinterland, driving them with stinging switches and robotic threats broadcast from tannoys mounted on the sides of armoured personnel carriers. These people had not fled from fear of Nato bombing.
The first Nato bomb was seven months away from falling. This was the summer of 1998.
I had to look up this object of his great British indignation. Turns out, Albanians were being DRIVEN FROM CAMPS - BACK HOME. Those Serbastards!
Thousands driven from camps - Associated Press (Emphasis added.)
ISTINIC, Yugoslavia - Thousands of ethnic Albanian refugees were driven from a squalid camp in western Kosovo on Saturday after Serb police in armored vehicles told them to leave the area immediately.
The refugees, who had numbered as many as 40,000 near Istinic until Friday, piled on tractors to attempt returns to their villages - many of which have been razed - or find other refugee pockets nearby.
Serb police cruised the area in an armored personnel carrier with a loudspeaker, telling refugees to immediately return to their homes. By day’s end, the pro-government Serb Media Center said all the refugees had left the Istinic encampment.
International observers still fear the refugees, who fled a nearby Serb offensive against Albanian separatists, are at risk. Their dispersal frustrated aid workers trying to feed them and treat the sick.
‘’The situation is very dire,’’ said Anthea Web of the World Health Program in Istinic, a village 45 miles west of Pristina, Kosovo’s capital. ‘’They are leaving Istinic but we are not quite certain where they are going.’’
Other pockets of trouble involving trapped or fleeing refugees were developing elsewhere in the secessionist Serbian province, wracked by a six-month war that shows no sign of ending.
Heavy fighting drove thousands of other ethnic Albanians from their villages in the Drenica region of northwestern Kosovo on Saturday, days after their cautious return to attempt resettling, ethnic Albanian sources said.
There has been no sign of a letup in the offensive by Serb security forces, who are trying to crush the rebel Kosovo Liberation Army. The KLA is fighting for independence for Kosovo, which is populated largely by ethnic Albanians.
So Loyd doesn’t even understand what he’s seeing, and doesn’t try to gain a context for it, two qualities that seem to be a requirement to be a mainstream reporter. To sum up, here is what he saw and heard: “We finished clearing the area of KLA. You can all go back now rather than pose for more ‘concentration camp’ photos by staying in the crowded, dirty camp.”
But apparently, having people in refugee camps is bad - and having them leave refugee camps is bad. It’s a lose-lose situation to be any Serbian government; all the international sympathy is reserved for the non-governmental combatants trying to destabilize what you govern.
At any rate, from the Loyd piece alone, we can know the worth of the “observations” of the Western journalists’ KLA-guided reporting (as all Kosovo reporting was in 1998-99, except in the case of the recently departed Eve-Ann Prentice), about villages that we know were KLA strongholds and therefore targeted by Yugoslav forces.
Now hold on to your seats for his depiction of the KLA:
The KLA were no angels. An everyman insurgent force (rather than a simple mafia entity as suggested by revisionists) comprising freedom fighters, intellectuals, peasants, nationalists, they also had a criminal element and their own human rights record was abysmal.
Yes, an everyman insurgent force composed of tribal clansmen, Marxists/Maoists, Islamists, hyper-nationalists and former Nazis operating on the blood code principle and committed to violence and whose opening salvo was bombing Serb refugee lines from the Bosnian war. (Subsequent attacks involved killing Serbian and Albanian police, as well as Albanians, Roma and Serbs who worked for the Yugoslav government - even if only as postmen). Tsk, tsk, KLA — clean up your “human rights record”. Back to Loyd:
But they [the KLA] reflected the majority population’s desire for independence…
Ah thank you: The KLA spoke for the majority of the Albanian population. And for those who spoke for themselves, well they’re not breathing anymore. Notice, however, that Loyd presumes to know that the KLA spoke for the majority. In fact, it’s not clear whether, at the time, it did. The truth is that we only got one perspective, since the West in classic form attached itself to, and propped up, the most radical elements of the region it was meddling in, only publicizing the KLA-approved quotes from Albanians. By now, of course, we’ve managed to convince every last Albanian that Albanians were in fact the victims. There are still some who know better and are hiding, since they live within the KLA’s grasp. In contrast, there is the Albanian diaspora living in the outside world, whose members do have more freedom to speak out. But like the Croatian diaspora who are the most zealous Ustashe, these free-world Albanians are the most rabid supporters of the KLA. Back to Loyd:
The current impasse seems solid. On one side Kosovo’s newly elected Prime Minister, Hashim Thaci, a former KLA member, is readying himself for a unilateral declaration of independence, backed by the US, Britain, France and most of the EU.
On the other Serbia’s nationalist Prime Minister, Vojislav Kostunica, backed by Russia, has made Kosovo’s status as part of Serbia a lead issue in Serb politics and has given warning of dire consequences should the EU recognise Kosovan independence.
KLA and Hashim Thaci: not nationalist. Vojislav Kostunica — the anti-Milosevic constitutional scholar who was part of the Western-installed government that got Milosevic kidnapped to the Hague and which alternately bribed and threatened with jail time a prosecution witness to give false testimony against Milosevic — that’s the nationalist. As I recently wrote, in the West, the word Serb doesn’t exist independently of the word “nationalist”. Illegal land-grabbing, on the other hand — whether Slovenian, Bosnian, Albanian or Croatian — because one doesn’t want to live as part of a multinational country but wants one’s own ethnically pure state where minorities have a lower set of rights: not nationalism. Not wanting to live under these nationalists? Nationalism.
In Kosovo itself, due to the absence of any reconciliation between the two ethnic groups since 1999, the minority Serb population exists in enclaves largely removed from the Albanians…
Code breaker: “absence of any reconciliation” = presence of many hand grenades (in Serb houses, abdomens, banks, churches etc…)
To close, here is just a guide to give us some bearings on the messy ideological breakup among Left and Right when it comes to the Balkans. It comes from a “road map to the current ideological morass” written by a Princeton professor named Gary J. Bass in an April, 1993 issue of The New Republic. According to him (and mostly confirmed by my own observations), positions on the Balkans broke down into the following categories, among others:
Liberal interventionists [the description of whom reads]:
The most prominent hawks these days are liberals. New York Times columnists Leslie Gelb and Anthony Lewis strongly favor military action agasint erbia, dragging the Times itself along behind them. Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen wants the West “to give the Serbs a swift kick to the groin.” both Cohen and Lewis compare ethnic cleansing to the Holocuast. (TNR [The New Republic] also falls into this category, and is now three-for-three in favor of post-cold war interventions: Iraq, Somalia and Bosnia.) [Indeed, TNR fully backed pummeling the Serbs again in Kosovo in 1999.]
Conservative interventionists [the description of whom reads]:
There’s a cluster of hawks on the right—cold warriors who, still fesity after taking out communism, have ammo left over for Milosevic. For hard-line anti-Serb rhetoric, Jeane Kirkpatrick is…in a class of her own. National Review…wants Clinton to arm the bosnians and suggests “we could ultimately institute a massive air campaign to cripple Serbia’s military and industrial capacity at home.” New York Times columnist William Safire is more wary but says, “We should be prepared to help pose a threat on the ground as well as in the air” to deter potential ethnic cleansers. [For fans of Jeane Kirkpatrick, please note that despite her general right-headedness on most matters, she — like many other conservatives — went retarded on the Balkans, buying into the joint media- and State Dept-issued narrative.
Right-wing pro-Coats [the description of whom, interestingly, starts with]:
Pat Buchanan, otherwise an America First isolationist…was an early advocate of U.S. recognition of Croatia and even of military intervention…
Ah yes. Isolationist Pat Buchanan made an exception for Croatia, which in the 1990s was openly pro-Ustasha, with Croatian soldiers “often pin[ning] rosaries to their uniforms along with Nazi swastikas or symbols of the Ustashe” (NY Times, Sept. 26, 1993). Croatian independence — the endorsement of which was more or less the first foreign policy move by a newly reunified Germany — Pat Buchanan made an exception to support. Enough said. By now, however, Buchanan is back to consistency and has his head screwed on a bit straighter as concerns the current Serbian crisis with Kosovo Albanians — appropriately seeing the Serbs as “hold[ing] their cradle province of Kosovo, as President Lincoln fought to hold onto the American South [while] America is supporting the severing of Kosovo from Serbia and creation of a new Islamic state in the Balkans.” Now if only he could see Palestinians as Muslim aggression against Jews instead of the other, twisted way around.