Former Yugoslavia miscellany

Louis N Proyect lnp3 at columbia.edu
Sat Sep 23 14:19:55 MDT 1995


Louis:

1. NY Times coverage:
Ordinarily I don't have much use for NY Times reportage, but their
coverage of the former Yugoslavia has been superb. There are 3
excellent reporters over there now: Steven Kinzer, Chris Hedges and
Raymond Bonner who I have already praised. These 3 covered the
Central America beat in the 1980's and were of course pressured into
toeing the State Department line. They seem to have more freedom in
FY coverage. In the Sunday, Sept. 17, 1995 Times, there's a long
article on the Serbs by Roger Cohen, a reporter whose work I am not
familiar with. Here is an insightful passage:

"Vojna Adamovic, a refugee from Bosnia, is one of the many Serbs
who now feel betrayed by Mr. Milosevic. She fled from Sarajevo to
Belgrade on April 12, 1992, six days after the Bosnian war began,
because she felt threatened by the Muslims. But increasingly she feels
isolated in Serbia, and her ire has focused on the Government.

'I had everything in Sarajevo,' she said. "Great friends, great music,
the sea three hours away, the mountains. Everything here is so flat and
boring. I ache for the mountains and forests. The people here in Serbia
are colder, less open-hearted. They tend to think we Bosnians just
came down from the trees.'

Thus Ms. Adamovic, who is 36, has arrived at the bitter conclusion
that she is a Bosnian more profoundly than she is a Serb. It has been
thus with many Serbian refugees: They are products of the culture
from which they came more deeply than they belong to the
overarching vision that Mr. Milosevic briefly sought to promote."

2. Branka Magas, "The Destruction of Yugoslavia"
This book is by a Marxist of Croatian origin. She has written for New
Left Review, Marxism Today, Capital and Class as well as mainstream
publications. The book is basically a collection of her articles since the
crisis and war erupted. It's the only Marxist oriented book I've been
able to find. It's a Verso paperback and hard to find. Your best bet is to
order direct from the publisher, which has offices in London and New
York. The following passage is drawn from an article "Democracy and
the National Question" which originally appeared in "Labor Focus on
Eastern Europe" in September 1988.

"Over the past few years, the Federal Assembly has been visited by
striking workers from Macedonia, Kosovo, Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia.
But their slogans included no specifically Macedonian, Albanian,
Serb, Moslem or Croat national demands. The workers instead
denounced their political dispossession as a class, and demanded--in
addition to amelioration of their rapidly declining living standards--
the removal of those responsible for the country's crisis. Since the real
value of workers' wages is continuing to decline drastically, beginning
with this autumn the country is set to witness an even more powerful
strike wave, possibly culminating in a general strike. In July 1988,
police guarding the Federal Assembly buildings were instructed to
allow workers to break their cordon: so far, an open physical
confrontation between the workers and the repressive apparatus of the
state has been avoided. It seems now that this policy is now under
review. There are warnings in the press that, were the policy indeed to
change a 'Polonization' of Yugoslavia would ensue."

3. The UN as peacemaker?
Members of the list who have suggested that the UN could do anything
in the interest of peace should check out an article in the Oct. 2 Nation
called "Reseeding the Killing Fields" by John Pilger, an Australian
writer and filmmaker based in London, who has twice won Britain's
Journalist of the Year honors for his reporting from Indochina. The
basic point of the article is that the US and UN, in obvious
collaboration, have strengthened the hand of Pol Pot. Pilger says:

"The UN's false 'triumph' in Cambodia is clear in its own record. Most
of the goals solemnly declared in the accords were never met or were
abandoned. A 'secure and neutral political' environment' was never
sought. Millions of land mines were never cleared. Above all, no
attempt was made to disarm the Khmer Rouge, who were, on the
contrary, courted and restored in the name of a 'reality' that they were
'too powerful to be left out'--regardless of the fact that in 1990 the
Vietnamese and the Cambodian Army had them all but beaten. One
year later, with the UN in charge, the Khmer Rouge were allowed to
regroup and mount a major offensive, with the UN commander,
Australian Gen. John Sanderson, boasting that his forces had
'prevented the Phnom Penh army from significantly building up the
counteroffensive.'"



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