Sunday, March 12, 2006

Reactions to Milosevic's death - Subjective Truth?

I have yet to hear from my friends in Kosova about the response and reactions to Milosevic's death - but I've compiled a few of the reactions and articles from the international news sources. Reading the various reactions, I continue to think about 'subjective' vs. 'objective' truth.

“I thought I'd feel relief or closure. Instead, I feel mixture of sadness and immense anger. This one has got away.

Although he spent the last years of his life imprisoned, justice has not been served. History can't be reversed, shattered lives can't be repaired, the dead can't be brought back.

I have been participating in protests since 1991. Fifteen years ago the protests against Milosevic began and, even though I was pregnant, I was on the streets.

He put our country back 30 years and left it there. Most of my friends and family are no longer in Serbia as a result of Milosevic. Until 1989, when Milosevic started up with his nationalism, I was not aware of borders within Yugoslavia.

I was really shocked by the sudden explosion of violence. I still do not consider people from Croatia and Slovenia foreign citizens.

He left us a legacy of division and it haunts us all, like Hitler's death camps or the killing fields of Cambodia.

This is a sad time for Serbia. Many were not happy about what he did during his rule. But he defended the right of Serbia to express itself in the world.

We were denied many rights during the 1990s. We couldn't travel anywhere without a visa, sanctions left Serbia in poverty.

The death of Milosevic is the result of the arrogant criminal policy of the US and Nato.
I admired Milosevic for what he did in the late 1980s and in the beginning of the 1990s. But in 1993 he made a mistake by not democratising.

There are many misconceptions and media lies which create a negative vision of Serbia and the Serbs. Milosevic manipulated the media when he was in power. The rest of the world manipulates too.

And the crime has not ended yet. Kosovo is about to be stolen from the Serbs in favour of a national minority of non-European characteristics.

I fear that Serbia, the most tolerant and open-minded ex-Yugoslav nation in the 21st Century, will face economic and demographic catastrophe.

This is yet another Balkan issue that has ended in stalemate. He has escaped the guilty verdict.
I would be a happy man if he was pronounced guilty and died in the next second.

But by dying like this, he will become part of the Serb mythology, which already has martyrs from World War II and from the 1389 Battle of Kosovo against the Ottomans.

He will be just another one seen to be executed by Western governments.

I always considered myself a Yugoslav. I wasn't aware that I was a Bosnian and a Muslim until I had to flee my home town, Brcko, in north-east Bosnia. They set up a concentration camp there.
I had 60 members of a happy family before the war. Now only 12 are alive. Some were killed, including two in that concentration camp. Many died from stress.

I'm not a purist, a nationalist. In our family we have Serbs, Croats and Muslims. I like that unity.

I would prefer it if we were still part of Tito's Yugoslavia. We had a much better life then.

Story from BBC NEWS:


"I met Slobodan Milosevic in 1992, before the Bosnian war broke out. We were a small group of journalists, at a meeting of the nascent European union in the Dutch city of Maastrict. The Serbian president was there, posturing before the cameras of Belgrade TV and spewing the nationalist rhetoric that would soon shed blood across the Balkans. Another correspondent turned to me and said, “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” I replied: “You mean, kill him now, before he gets started?” He nodded. Earlier, in Zagreb, I had met Croatian president Stipe Mesic. Wake up, wake up, you Americans and Europeans, he almost shouted at me. “A new Hitler is rising. His name is Milosevic!” Even the CIA, in early 1990, pointed the finger at Milosevic and predicted war. Yet few listened, and so it was.

Hitler. Stalin. Milosevic. He counts among the Big Three, the great criminals of Europe’s horrendous 20th century. “Never again,” the western world promised—yet stood by. In 1992, as Milosevic gathered power, Europe was busy building the new single market of the European Union. America was distracted by Iraq and the first Gulf War. The Soviet Union was disintegrating. No one paid attention to the inferno that was about to engulf southern Europe. And when they finally did, it was too late.

… That may be true. But make no mistake: Milosevic’s passing should occasion no obituaries. There are no kind words, in memoriam, to spare for this man. Consider the toll: 250,000 dead in Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia. A million homeless and displaced, many to this day. A nation destroyed—a beautiful Western nation that had every right to expect a bright future with the end of communism, far brighter than the nations of Eastern Europe. And then Kosovo, a genocide in the making but for NATO’s intercession. …

Belgrade’s small and beleaguered cadre of westernized liberals, who see Milosevic for what he was, call it the "Serbia mind-f***, collective psychosis of guilt buried far beneath aggressive denial. This, too, is Slobodan’s Milosevic’s terrible, dark legacy. He will haunt us for decades to come."
--from “A Dark Legacy” by Michael Meyer Newsweek

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Bookish folk

I’ve been in Portland – well, West Linn, for a couple of weeks now. The grey skies and rain are conducive to my need to catch up on sleep. As I try to overcome my perfectionist bent and just WRITE, I’ve been looking for inspiration for writing – and have found the following from the books I’m reading:

“Every fairy tale offers the potential to surpass present limits, so in a sense the fairy tale offers you freedoms that reality denies. In all great works of fiction, regardless of the grim reality they present, there is an affirmation of life against the transience of that life, an essential defiance.” – Azar Nafisi
Reading Lolita in Tehran

“Mathematics contrasted strongly with the ambiguities and contradictions in people. The world of people had no certainty or logic. … After I became a novelist, I realized that the ambiguities and complexities of the human mind are what give fiction and perhaps all art its power. A good novel gets under our skin, provokes us and haunts us long after the first reading, because we never fully understand the characters. … Good characters must retain a certain mystery and unfathomable depth, even for the author. I learned to appreciate both certainty and uncertainty. Both are necessary for the world. Both are part of being human. – Alan Lightman
A Sense of the Mysterious