Geert Lovink on Tue, 31 Dec 96 09:51 MET

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nettime: more from Ivo


Yugoslav Army Supports The People of Serbia

For more than 40 days students and citizens of Belgrade are
demonstrating against Slobodan Milosevic.  For those who, perhaps,
already lost the initial argument: protest begun after Milosevic controlled
electoral commission refused to accept the results of November 17
elections in which members of the opposition coalition "Zajedno" won
several key cities in Serbia.

Artists in Belgrade are rushing to make Milosevic's "black lists" by
appearing and performing at "Zajedno" and Student Protest
manifestations, or by refusing to perform at state venues.  Rade
Serbedzija, for example, a Zagreb artist who earlier made Tudjman's
black list when he moved to Belgrade, now is busy making Milosevic's
black lists.  Bora Djordjevic, whose hard rock band was once so popular
in Croatia, that a teenage girl died being run over by a mob of fans (she
fell) rushing into the Zagreb Hall of Sports to see the concert, later
became a grey-haired, pot-bellied Serbian nationalist singer, and now he
is seen among the blacklisted artists, too.

In recent days Milosevic's police packed automatic weapons and often
resorted to violence.  A student got shot by a pro-government
demonstrant.  Police broke several heads of peaceful demonstrants. 
Journalists got beaten.  Cameras were smashed.

There is no walking any more - except for stomping in place or walking
around the square.  Police declared walking as an obstruction of traffic.

Talking about traffic: Volkswagen Passat B5 was just voted for The Car
of 1997 in Serbia.  Fahrvegnuegen. And elections were not contested by
Milosevic.  After all, he bought his son a Ferrari, not a Yugo for
graduation, underlying Serbia's desperate industrial dependency on the
Western products.  

Meanwhile the voice of West is unambiguous - CSCE continues to
repeat the American message: dear Slobo, either you accept the
November 17 results in all electoral districts and respect the freedom of
the press, or we put the sanctions back in effect, have a nice day now.

Conspicuously omitting to attack the U.S. for such a brazen meddling in
the Serbia's internal stuff, the group of high ranking Yugoslav Army
officers (from APO Nis, Vranje, Pirot, Zajecar, Urosevac and Pristina)
sent a polite but decisive warning open letter to Momcilo Perisic (the YA
commander): "This a historic moment: probably the last train for Serbia. 
We should get on or we might perish. ... Long live Serbia!  Long live
Serbian people!  We are firmly with our people." While this may be
interpreted ambivalently, the open letter to Slobodan Milosevic says
clearly: "To you from your officers whom you humiliated and denigrated
so many times, particularly during the war in 91/92, for which [war]
you are partially responsible: get to your senses and stand by your

With Montenegrin government cautiously mentioning their own
currency, this is a very important development.  First - this letter sends a
signal that military has no intentions to serve Milosevic in crushing the
protests as it did back in March 1991.  Second - it signals that military
may be ready to take things in their hands: a temporary military rule to
"restore order"?  Milosevic should cleverly review this letter.  Relying
only on his police force may put him where it put Caucescu - six feet

Imagine CNN Headlines in a month: a top Serbian Military Court
sentenced ex-Serbian president to death. Obviously, I see many unhappy
Bosnian and Croat readers: Milosevic, an important witness - dead, and
Army saves face. A lot of them would rather see Serbia perish together
with Yugoslav Army, anyway, after Vukovar and Sarajevo.  Indeed,
would a coup d'etat mean that generals would get an easy ride through
the war crimes investigation for helping the West to get rid of Milosevic,
whom they found *partially* responsible for the war?

Meanwhile, a man whom many regard as the father of contemporary
Serbian nationalism, a writer whose thoughts were appropriated by
Slobodan Milosevic for his first populist political platform, Dobrica
Cosic, won the top Yugoslav literary award for his new book.  As if it
was not his intellectual judgment, also, *partially* responsible for the
war, or as if that does not matter, since Slobo will be forced to take all
the *partial* blame.

This is a very important test for students.  It is actually a required
course.  How would they deal with this sudden, although rather chilling,
support?  Failing this exam is not going to be forgiven, and there
probably will not be a second chance.  Hopefully, they will find a right


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