Geert Lovink on Wed, 11 Sep 96 08:25 METDST

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nettime: Pax Americana And Its new Embarressment

Date: Tue, 10 Sep 1996 13:28:42 +0000
Subject: Pax Americana And Its New Embarrassment

Pax Americana and its new embarrassment
By Ivo Skoric (New York)

First they lost the elections.  Then they started the war.  By means of
ethnic cleansing they carefully gerrymandered Bosnia to suit them. 
Now, since they won new elections by war, they are completely intent
on winning the war by elections.

Dayton agreement provides for displaced people in Bosnia that they can
decide to vote either in the places where they reside now or in places
where they resided before the war.  Authorities of Republika Srpska are
making sure that all Serbs vote in places they currently occupy.  They
also make sure that none of the Bosnian Muslims or Croats dare to come
close to the ballots there: just recently a single Bosnian Muslim returned
to his house in Doboj - he was severely beaten by Serbian police and he
died in an IFOR vehicle on his way to a hospital.  IFOR did not
intervene because their mandate does not include protecting individual
civilians.  Doboj has no mosques any more.  In fact they poured asphalt
over the places where mosques were and made car parking.  There is
reportedly no shortage of parking spots in Doboj now.

Elections are mostly a game of numbers.  Former Yugoslavia never
experienced a multi-party representative democracy.  What it did
experience was a brutal war launched on a platform of the ethnic
prejudice.  Obviously, we can't expect that elections, coming up so
shortly after such a war, would be guided by anything else then.  So, it
is largely expected that Croats would vote for Croat parties, Serbs for
Serb parties and Bosnian Muslims for Bosnian Muslim political parties. 
In Bosnia ethnic *is* political.  If there would be only one single
political party for each side and if all eligible voters would register and
vote, Bosnian Muslim political party would win elections, since Bosnian
Muslims are still the largest ethnic group in Bosnia, despite the efforts of
ethnic cleansers.

It is not that simple, nevertheless.  There are several Bosnian Muslim
parties.  Three of them are strong enough (Alija, Haris, Safet) to attract
larger bodies of voters, thus reducing the number of votes for a
"Bosnian-Muslim political option", making an absurd elections outcome
possible: that Serbian Democratic Party actually wins the greatest
number of votes in Bosnia.  Of course, there are several Serb parties,
too.  There is a political opposition to Mladic-Karazdic-Krajisnik option
in Banja Luka, heavily funded by the U.S., and in a desperate attempt to
distract Bosnian Serb voter, OSCE even granted Zeljko Raznjatovic
Arkan, commonly known as a war criminal (but he is not on the famous
Tribunal list of 75 alleged war criminals), mafia don and murderer
wanted by Interpol, $ 200,000 to run in Bosnian elections.  Western
media also seem to intentionally overlooks incidents where SDA tries to
consolidate its votes by beating opposition candidates (like when SDA
thugs beaten Haris Silajdzic in Bihac), realizing what an embarrassing
moment would it be for the West if Serbian Democratic Party wins.

Time magazine accurately compares the situation to an unthinkable event
of having Nazis running in German elections after 1945.  Not only Nazis
are allowed to run in the elections here, but their  sturmtruppen' are
employed to provide security at the ballots.  It is as if the creators of
Dayton wanted to make sure that Bosnia disappears.  The possibility of
having this happen right before presidential elections in the U.S. is,
however, too prohibitive for Clinton, who promised Bosnians a state. 
Therefore, while I am writing this, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations
Committee debates whether the Bosnian elections should be postponed or
not.  And various Bosnian, Croat or Serb lobbyists are trying to tilt the
decision to their preferences, thus accepting without saying it that the
ultimate fate of Bosnia is decided by the U.S., as the world arbiter (the
role that the U.S. always cherished).

Numbers: Croats would all vote for HDZ, but since they are the smallest
ethnic group, they would remain a minority.  A bigger percentage of
Serbs would vote for SDP than would Bosnian Muslims vote for SDA,
but the overall number of Bosnian Muslims is bigger than that of
Bosnian Serbs, so while it is certain that SDP and SDA would appear as
major contenders, a winner is still uncertain.  Plus, we should count on
some Lebed-Yeltsin plot in Bosnia between various Serb or various
Bosnian Muslim parties or both.  Besides, all contenders in this elections
are basically authoritarian and non-democratic, so there is a lot of people
who basically do not want to vote (particularly younger) and just want to

My friend's family is from Doboj.  They are expelled from there and
their possessions are either destroyed or looted.  Now he lives here (New
York) and next week he is bringing over his two younger brothers. 
They will get social-security numbers the very first day.  He is not going
to vote.  And he has a lot of friends who share his decision, believing
that their country is already condemned.  He also knows that a lot of his
friends who actually tried to register to vote (Bosnians are displaced to
more than 50 countries around the world) with Bosnian missions - got
rejected (like if they were underage in 1991) or their papers just got
"lost".  In fact there are 650,000 Bosnian Muslims and 450,000 Serbs
and Croats who would vote in Bosnian elections from foreign countries. 
The ratio seems strange knowing that the number of displaced Bosnian
Muslims is about 2.5 times higher than number of displaced Serbs and
Croats from Bosnia.  He blames the situation on Bosnian mission
employees: a lot of them are Croats and Serbs themselves and more
likely than not they are traitors.  This might sound well far fetched, but
it does have some ground: during the Bosnian-Croat war in 1993 a high
ranking Bosnian mission officer coordinated a faxing campaign to gather
support for Bosnian Croats cause and in support of HVO and Mate
Boban.  After the Washington Agreement he was fired.  He now works
for Croatian mission.

Therefore, it is not only important to postpone the elections - it is also
important to:
1) provide REAL (IFOR/NATO) security to average voter in Bosnia
2) independently supervise registration process of voters outside of
3) put an end to the intimidation of electorate and candidates by armed
thugs of all major contender parties (IFOR/NATO police)
4) build an independent media apparatus to cover entire Bosnia before
the elections and provide equal access to all candidates and a non-partisan non-ethnically-biased evaluation of political options (at this
moment ONLY partisan and ethnic media exist on all sides - all others
are either suppressed or severely marginalized)

Ivo Skoric

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