Rejecting Reality

And the Hypocrites Who Do It

In October 2004, Roger Cohen wrote a column for the International Herald Tribune titled “The Serbian Question,” arguing that reducing Serbia to a more manageable size and turning it over to the benevolent hegemony of the European Union would finally resolve the issues behind the 1990s wars. It was the ICG platform in a nutshell, reiterated just three months later in a barrage of editorials and adopted in May as Washington’s “new” Balkans policy.

Cohen revisited the issue this Wednesday, in another IHT column, titled “Years After Milosevic, Serbia’s Illusions Persist.” According to him, even though the fountainhead of all evil was deposed and sent to the Hague Inquisition, Serbia is still stubbornly refusing to come to grips with reality.

If so, then – good for Serbia! It isn’t the one that has issues with reality.

Out of Touch, Deliberately

In his screed, Cohen claims Milosevic used Kosovo as the “launching pad for crazed nationalism” in 1989. Yet even a cursory glance at the oft-mentioned but never quoted 1989 speech reveals precisely the opposite. Cohen accuses Serbia of both the creation and destruction of Yugoslavia; both “crazed nationalism” and a “chronic identity problem” (this from someone suffering from just such a problem, treacherous former Foreign Minister Goran Svilanovic). He even has the temerity to accuse the Serbs of exceptionalism.

Throughout all this, he makes absolutely zero mention of outside involvement in the Yugoslav crisis. There is no reference to Washington’s support of Croatian and Bosnian secession, its lavish funding of the separatists in Montenegro, or its financial, logistical, diplomatic, and military support for the Albanian separatists in Kosovo. The expulsions of Serbs from Croatia in 1991 and 1995; the death tolls from Bosnia that indicate it was a brutal civil war, not “aggression” and certainly not “genocide”; the NATO bombing of 1999; the KLA’s subsequent ethnic cleansing of non-Albanians from Kosovo – to Cohen, these either never happened, or do not merit mention. Instead, all of it is blamed on some sort of phantom Serbian psychosis. This argument isn’t new; it’s been used by Austria-Hungary in 1914, by Hitler in 1941, by the Communists since 1944, and is now being aggressively pushed by servants of the American Empire.

Oh, the Outrage!

On Saturday night, two Serb youths were killed and one wounded when “unidentified attackers” shot up their car near Strpce in Kosovo. It was just another in a long string of deliberate attacks aimed at intimidating the remaining Serbs into abandoning Kosovo to its Albanian occupiers. Of course, mainstream news agencies and newspapers didn’t see it that way. Reuters chose to focus on the statement of UN police commissioner Kai Vittrup that “the police consider this to be an isolated incident.”

The agency’s report also downplayed the protests of Serbian authorities, and provided a lengthy “context” section explaining that Kosovo was occupied by NATO after “Serb forces” were “accused of atrocities,” while Serb civilians “fled a wave of revenge attacks.”

“I am shocked and appalled by this senseless and tragic crime,” UN viceroy Soren Jessen-Petersen told journalists. Nicholas Wood of the New York Times (published in IHT on Monday) was so impressed with this platitude, he actually wrote it up twice in his story about the attack. Or was it the story about UNMIK’s reaction to the attack, rather? That seems to be the problem with articles about Kosovo; they are always about the opinions of NATO, UNMIK, the State Department, or the European something-or-other bureaucrat, but never about what actually happened to the people there.

Wood also quoted one Neeraj Singh, “a UN official,” who said, “Incidents may happen from time to time, but that does not establish a trend really.” Singh should be promoted to the Reality Denial Administration at once; only someone with no sense of decency, or the IQ of toast, could make such an idiotic statement after six years of “incidents” that absolutely do establish a trend. Had Mr. Singh not heard of the farmers of Staro Gracko (1999)? Or the children in Gorazdevac and the Stolic family in Obilic (03)? Or the pogrom of March 2004?! The pattern is clear as day – except to those whose job is to deny it.

Torturing Language, Truth, and Logic

Last week, as the show trial of Slobodan Milosevic resumed, the Hague Inquisition ran into a brick wall, when its definition of “Greater Serbia” was demolished by none other than its most outspoken advocate. According to the clear definition by the currently testifying Radical leader Vojislav Seselj, the prosecutors’ concept of “Greater Serbia” is absolutely inaccurate. The waffling prosecutors then tried to redefine the term to fit the indictment, coming up with a “definition” that easily fit the old Yugoslav federation. This prompted a sarcastic comment from Milosevic: “Three years on, and you still have no idea what you’re accusing me of!”

For, if Yugoslavia was the same as Greater Serbia, then why would Milosevic and his “co-conspirators” seek to destroy it in order to build a Greater Serbia? The sheer mindlessness of this “logic” is painful. Why, using the Inquisitors’ “definitions,” Josip Broz Tito could be indicted as a member of the “joint criminal enterprise”! And that concept, even less substantial than the ephemeral “Greater Serbia” of ICTY’s imagination, was created specifically for the Inquisition as a way of assigning guilt by perceived association. Alice in Wonderland made more sense…

Terrorists Among Us

When in the aftermath of Sept. 11 some Americans started paying attention to claims that Islamic terrorists had infiltrated the Balkans during the conflicts in Bosnia and Kosovo, the “strategic class” that had suppressed the jihad dimension of those conflicts immediately issued stringent denials. “Serbian propaganda,” was the knee-jerk response of those who had peddled anti-Serb propaganda for years.

Then Serbian authorities arrested one of the Madrid bombing suspects. The arrest was made in June, but only made public Aug. 18, to the muted reaction of Imperial press. To acknowledge that international Islamic terrorists were traveling through the Balkans, or that Serbian authorities had a hand in their apprehension, went against the grain of their Balkans reporting. Only 10 days later did the AP come up with a story that tried to smooth the jagged edge of jihad in the peninsula:

“News reports during the conflict in Bosnia suggested that outsiders joined Bosnia’s Muslims in their conflict with the region’s Serbs and Croats – though the extent of their impact in the chaos was never clear.”

Suggested? There is a mountain of evidence concerning the mujahedin presence in Bosnia, and their “impact” is similarly well-documented in snuff videos used for jihad recruiting. AP reporters also collected statements from NATO and EU spokesmen in Bosnia and Kosovo, who offered meaningless statements of “concern,” but also denied there was any al-Qaeda presence or threat.

Rubbish, claimed the Muslim weekly Slobodna Bosna. Citing the locations of jihad camps and the identity of their organizers, the magazine accused the Empire of deliberately ignoring terrorism in Bosnia as part of a strategy:

“The paper quoted former UN representative in Bosnia, Jacques Klein, as having confirmed to the Security Council that Islamic terrorists were active in Bosnia, but added that it was good they were concentrated in one place, because ‘the rest of the world would be safe.'”

Ah, the famous “flypaper” strategy that has worked so spectacularly for Madrid and London.

Snapping Back

As it becomes clear from just these few examples, it isn’t the Serbian people that lack connection with reality. Their politicians, perhaps – but even so, nowhere near to the extent of Empire’s presstitutes, bureaucrats, inquisitors, and PR hacks. It is more than a bit rich for them to accuse someone of rejecting reality, when the entire Empire is based on explicit contempt for the “reality-based community.”

Serbians do have many illusions, the greatest of which is that the Empire means them well. Right after that is a belief that in today’s world there are still laws and rules. The “reality” they are being bullied into accepting has been conjured by lies and maintained by force, and they do well by rejecting it. More people should – and will. The harder the Empire violates reality, the harder it will snap back to reassert itself.

Sic transit gloria mundi.

Read more by Nebojsa Malic

Author: Nebojsa Malic

Nebojsa Malic left his home in Bosnia after the Dayton Accords and currently resides in the United States. During the Bosnian War he had exposure to diplomatic and media affairs in Sarajevo. As a historian who specializes in international relations and the Balkans, Malic has written numerous essays on the Kosovo War, Bosnia, and Serbian politics. His exclusive column for Antiwar.com debuted in November 2000.