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nettime: Ivo Skoric/Peace and Democracy
Geert Lovink on Wed, 15 Jan 97 07:56 MET

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nettime: Ivo Skoric/Peace and Democracy

From: "Ivo Skoric" <iskoric {AT} igc.apc.org>
Subject: Peace and Democracy

Zagreb's Radio 101 and Belgrade's Radio B92 are by know the most 
listened Internet Radio stations: their broadcasts are daily updated 
on web pages around the world and hours of daily broadcasts are 
avilable from various Real Audio servers. Check them out through:


In its response to Croatian government's accusations of tax evasion 
Open Society Fund stood by its employees in Croatia, emphasising that 
they understood their position in Croatia as a humanitarian 
organization s=which was by law tax-exempt. The method which was used 
in prosecution of OSI-Croatia's top executives - to declare them 
guilty in public before the trial - underlines the political nature 
of the process. President Tudjman, on numerous occasions, accused OSI 
of working against him, his government and his state, describing 
OSI's efforts in helping independent media in Croatia as "dangerous 
alien ideology." His accusations often were untrue - like when he 
said that OSI gave money to opposition parties in Croatia. Also, 
the OSI statement describes a recent event in which Croatian police 
unlawfully seized $65,000 from two OSI employees on Slovenian-Croatian 
border crossing. You know the old proverb: the one who lies, shall 
also steal...

On January 22 Radio 101's temporary license will expire. While I 
expect that they will be allowed to broadcast for the next 8 or 9 
days until the Telecommunications Council reconvene, we cannot 
predict what will be the vote this time, and would they be able to 
win its permanent license or not. Obviously, pressuring the 
government that it must grant 101 the permanent license, undermines 
the local democratic process. Ideally, Telecommunications Council 
will apply common sense and grant that license 'cum grano salis', but 
Croatia is far from an ideal country. Telecommunications Council is a 
bureaucratic body comprised of brown-noses from different walks of 
government which makes its decisions usually arbitrary and perhaps 
capriciously against those who do not carry out the governing party 
directives. Further developments therefore should be closely watched.


During the celebration of Serbian New Year (Orthodox Christians still 
hold on to the old calendar, so holidays are two weeks later) half a 
million people crowded Belgrade streets. Police allowed holidays to 
pass undisturbed, so demonstrants and opposition leaders behaved 
victoriously. Some of them maybe too victoriously. Vuk Draskovic (who 
for some reasons irresistibly reminds me of Franjo Tudjman), tasting 
the power, had his bodyguard Zvonko Osmanlic hold student leader Cedo 
Antic for his collar in order to prevent him reaching the stage and 
wishing fellow Serbs a Happy New Year in the name of the Student 
Protest board. Is this the 'democracy' Vuk is promising to Serbs? If 
he behaves like that now (students were good to make counter-cordons 
against Milosevic's police, but they are not welcome to share the 
spotlight when the police danger is not around), what would he do if 
he actually seizes the power? Will he be just another in a sad 
procession of Balkan leaders who believe that democracy is a good 
political principle only while it serves their own political promotion?

Kristalnacht: also, during the New Years celebration the windows of Belgrade 
Mosque were smashed. It was seventh time during the wartime years that 
Belgrade Mosque was damaged. This also leaves us with a bitter taste...


In Kosovo, Kosovo Libaration Army (KLA) executed an Albanian 
collaborator with the Serbian regime. KLA, which awfully reminds of 
IRA, is however not nearly as effective. In fact, for all those years 
of war in former Yugoslavia, Kosovo Albanians kept curiously low 
profile. Of course, they were under complete military control by 
Belgrade government. Anyway, it always stroke me as strange that 
neither Tudjman nor Izetbegovic found military useful to sponsor KLA, 
let's say, to blow up a few buildings in Belgrade. Such tactics might have 
woken up Belgrade citizens against their regime much earlier. Of 
course KLA would not be able to do it without an outside support. 
Which never came. Although a thought about sponsoring a terrorist 
organization is despicable as it is, I see the logistic advantage for 
Croatia and Bosnia in doing that. The fact that their governments did 
not do it, just contributes to the various conspiracy theories about 
secret agreements... ...or maybe KLA is actually sponsored by Slobo, 
after all they killed an Albanian, and they make Albanians look bad.


The letter that Biljana Plavsic, the iron lady of Republika Srpska, 
sent to UN, if it wouldn't be considering such a serious matter like 
extradition of war criminals, would be laughable. Her main point is 
that since the war crimes are not committed any more, the war 
criminals should not be prosecuted, because they are essential for 
rebuilding of Republika Srpska's society. If she consulted any lawyer 
on the planet, she would be told that there is no statute of 
expiration for war crimes. Some of Nazi war criminals were prosecuted 
well 40 years after the war was over and Germany was already a 
prosperous democratic state, which it became without any contribution 
of its past war criminals. As for Republika Srpska war criminals like 
Dr. Karadzic being good neighbors and family men, well, we all know 
that Dr. Mengele was a good, silent neighbor and an exemplar pater 
familias as well.


One of my Croat friends wrote to me that the Balkans has a saying: 
may God help that my neighbor's cow dies. He also said that what we 
are observing now is a Serbian cow dying (Milosevic), while he always 
thought that if you hate the neighbor, why would you wish his cow - a 
relatively innocent unknowing being - to die, instead of just wishing 
your neighbor slow and painful death? I.e. he'd rather see Serbia 
destroyed (utterly, completely, like Hiroshima), than Milosevic 
ousted of power and Serbia eerily rehabilitated facing the world.

I sensed such thinking among a lot of Croats and Bosnians. It is 
emotional stance with the for Balkans not atypical lack of common 
sense: if we pulverize Belgrade with atomic bomb there will be 
radioactive dust everywhere and not long after it will cover Zagreb 
and Sarajevo as well. This is just a metaphor of how important for 
the Balkans is to have Serbia as a stable democracy, and not as a 
terrorist breeding ground and a continuous menacing threat to Bosnia 
and Croatia. But, on the other hands, maybe Croatian and Bosnian 
regime want Serbia just as it is, so that they can keep themselves in 
power based on that perceived threat.


Ivo Skoric ***** iskoric {AT} igc.apc.org
PO Box 46, NYC NY 10029, USA

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