The Wars of Yugoslavian Dissolution Are Over
A not-so-random, weekend rant!
In the 1990’s, during the various stages of the progressing self-inflicted dissolution of Yugoslavia, I blogged on the Los Angeles Times Forums. It wasn’t actually called blogging back then. A bunch of us were on line, lurking, taking and giving offense, impugning the heredity of others, etc. Yeah, you could stretch and call it blogging, I guess. There were Americans, Russians, Montenegrins, Greeks and an Israeli. I remember particularly Yelena, a Russian woman in graduate school in Kansas; and a fellow Southern Californian named William Butler – an articulate and righteously vindictive polemicist – who abruptly died in the middle of a week-long, on-line spat with the Russian. (I missed him terribly - we had had each other’s back.) The LAT Forum supported HTML code for graphics, unlike Blogger’s comments, so we were outrageously creative and just plain outrageous. I remember the time … well, (I’d better save that for another time.) Let’s just say the Times struggled with formulating clear and enforceable rules of propriety that my fellow forum members were always inadvertently violating. Management would repeatedly close the forum for short intervals for sanitation reasons and ultimately recruited for a Forum Administrator. (I applied!) After one was hired, he or she promptly nuked the forum for good.
But I learned many things about Yugoslavia and ex-Yugoslavia, Slovenia, Bosnia, Sarajevo, Croatia, Montenegro, Kosovo, and Russia. I can recall many photographs and personal stories of bravery and depravity. Some of these I would be better off forgetting. I learned that I could feel deeply outraged about stuff outside my own life again – something I had not felt since civil rights days, three decades previously. Having thrown away a first class library during those 30 years, I began to refurbish my shelves with political non-fiction. I bought and read books! Then, with the Forum vaporized and Miloševic deposed, I relaxed and forgot.
Until this week.
Yugoslavia was a political apparatus contrived to govern one of the most hyper-polarized conglomerations of peoples in Eastern Europe. Three mega historical/religious/cultural intersecting traditions collided in Yugoslavia: the Catholics in Croatia, the Greek Orthodox in Serbia, and Islam in Bosnia. This was one of the places where History was said to have tied herself in a knot. And we sailors would call this a ‘hatchet knot’, one that can only be released by use of a blade. Marshal Tito, a Communist from Croatia, grabbed power when the ashes of World War II were still smoldering, defended the knot from centrifugal forces from within, and from the surrounding bi-polar Cold War forces without. For three decades or so until his death, Yugoslavia survived and was a geopolitical player. After the Berlin Wall crumbled and the Cold War stood down, much was expected of Post-Tito Yugoslavia in terms of leading Eastern Europeans out of the gloom of the ‘old ways’ of the Soviet Bloc.
Frankly, I do not remember how or why it was that Serbs anointed themselves as the primary custodians of the Yugoslavian federation. Perhaps it was because of the relative cohesiveness of the Serbian Communist party? Were Serbs dominant in the Yugoslavian military’s officer corps? Whatever. In Miloševic, Serbs bet on the wrong strategist and strategy. Blood and iron, ethnic cleansing, pogroms,and intimidation were not going to work now that hostile blocs no longer surrounded Yugoslavia. Pushing people around would only produce a push-back; blood would beget only more blood. In the aftermath of the Cold War, the last thing Western Europe wanted was to passively witness World War II-vintage genocides forcing population movements across borders with all of the destabilization that that would engender.
But it was down that bloody road the Serbs went. It will be said, there was plenty of blame and bleeding to go around. Let that be said. But it was also true that it turned out that the Serbs were the best and most unabashedly effective killers – even spectacularly so. Did they not understand television? Throughout each stage in this nauseous nightmare of Yugoslavian dissolution in the 1990's, I ranted constantly in favor of early NATO and American military intervention. I hated Clinton for his indecisiveness and Bob Dole & Co for their obfuscations. I can barely remember the names of places such as the Ormarska, Trnopolje, and Keraterm - the notorious detention centers operating in 1992. 7,000 plus were killed in Srebrenica as the U.N. watched and as the West split hairs over whether ethnic cleansing amounted to genocide. This was part of the infamy of Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, a pair of Serb perps who are still afforded sanctuary in Serbia. As we watched on our TVs, the blood flowing ankle-deep in Croatia, Bosnia and especially beautiful and Olympic Sarajevo, we knew what to expect once it inevitably came to Kosovo’s turn. At that point Serbia amounted to little more than ‘rump-Yugoslavia.
It turned out that the Serbs behaved exactly as their track record led us to anticipate.
Let me say that it also turned out that modifying Serb behavior required someone to bomb the everlasting shit out of Rump-Yugoslavia. If it wasn’t going to be NATO, than it had to fall to the good ol’ U.S.of A.
I care that the Serbs’ 1389 A.D. version of our Alamo - Boj na Kosovu - is located near Pristina or wherever. But not nearly as much as Miloševic’s supporters should have cared when they were raping and pillaging the Kosovars in 1999. It is ludicrous for them now to claim ‘Kosovo is Serbia’; as ludicrous as it would be for any inveterate and recidivist wife-beater to reclaim possession of his ‘beloved’ wife. There’s too much blood past the dam, by now.
Kosovo's ethnic Albanian leaders declared independence from Serbia on Sunday. Later in the week our embassy in Belgrade was bombed by a huge mob of dead-ending Christo-fascists, bereft of leadership from their dead fuhrer, Miloševic. I call it even with those motherfuckers.
It’s time for them and their neo-Soviet patrons to get over ex-Yugoslavia and join the 21st century. Kosovo belongs to the Kosovars.