Fwd: jhurd_dsa-doc: Fw: Dreams and reality in Kosovo
mstainsby at SPAMhotmail.com
Sat Aug 7 02:07:09 MDT 1999
I wasn't aware that Rushdie had such horrible politics. people should hold
their noses when they read this, if they did not know this already...
> >> The Boston Globe
> >> August 6, 1999
> >> Dreams and reality in Kosovo
> >> By Salman Rushdie
> >> In the wake of the killing of Serbian farmers in the Kosovo village
> >> of Gracko, Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair has appealed to Kosovo's
> >> Albanians to set aside their enmities. ''We fought this conflict,''
> >> Blair said in the provincial capital, Pristina, last Friday, ''because
> >> we believe in justice, because we believed it was wrong to have ethnic
> >> cleansing and racial genocide here in Europe towards the end of the
> >> 20th century, and we didn't fight it to have another ethnic minority
> >> repressed.''
> >> These are good-hearted, high-minded, decent words, the words of a man
> >> who believes he has fought and won a just war and for whom justice
> >> includes the idea of reconciliation. But they also indicate a failure
> >> of imagination. What happened to the Albanians in Kosovo was an
> >> whose dark effect on the spirit may lie beyond the power of decent men
> >> like Blair to wish away. What happened may be, quite simply,
> >> Tragically, this is not the first such imaginative failure. In the
> >> conflict's early days, many Kosovar Albanians also failed to grasp
> >> the scale of the horror that was coming their way. In many villages,
> >> the men decided to flee, convinced that Slobodan Milosevic's army
> >> was intent on massacring them. They vanished into the woods, over
> >> the mountains, out of the army's murderous reach.
> >> But they made one miscalculation: They left their families behind,
> >> unable to believe that their wives and children and infirm grandparents
> >> would be at risk from the advancing soldiers. The human capacity for
> >> the atrocious proved greater than these other human beings were able
> >> to foresee.
> >> Now let us imagine the refugees' terrible return at the conflict's
> >> Nervously, hoping for joy, they near their village. But before they get
> >> there, they understand that the unimaginable has occurred. The fields
> >> are littered with bloodied garments and severed limbs. Carrion birds
> >> flap and strut. There are odors.
> >> The men of this village must now face a truth in which profound shame
> >> and humiliation mingle with great grief. They are alive because they
> >> ran away, but the loved ones whom they left behind have been murdered
> >> in their stead. The bodies that they now carry in farmyard carts to
> >> the burial ground speak accusations through their shrouds:
> >> My son, in the weakness of my old age you were not there to save me.
> >> My husband, you allowed me to be raped and slaughtered. My father,
> >> you let me die.
> >> The village's survivors tell the returned refugees the story of the
> >> massacre. They tell them how some of the Serbs in the village put on
> >> Serbian army uniforms and used their local knowledge to help the
> >> flush out the terrified Albanians from their bolt-holes. No, they said,
> >> don't bother to search that house, it has no cellar. Ah, but this
> >> there's a cellar under that rug, they'll be hiding in there.
> >> These Kosovo Serbs have fled now. But Milosevic doesn't want them
> >> in Serbia, where they are the living proof of his defeat. And Blair,
> >> wants them to go home and be protected by K-FOR. They are reluctant to
> >> return, fearing vengeance. And guess what? They're right. They're
> >> and Blair, with his vision of a new Kosovo - a symbol of how the
> >> should be - is wrong.
> >> I supported the NATO operation in Kosovo, finding the human rights
> >> evidence in favor of intervention to be powerful and convincing. Many
> >> writers, intellectuals, artists, and left-leaning bien-pensants thought
> >> otherwise. One of their arguments was, if Kosovo, then why not
> >> Why not Rwanda or East Timor? Oddly, this kind of rhetoric actually
> >> makes the opposite point to the one it thinks it's making. For if it
> >> would have been right to intervene in these cases, and the West was
> >> not to, then surely it was also right to defend the Kosovars, and the
> >> West's previous failures only serve to emphasize that this time, at
> >> they - we - got it right.
> >> The anti-intervention camp's major allegation was and is that
> >> NATO's action precipitated the violence it was intended to prevent -
> >> that, so to speak, the massacres were Madeleine Albright's fault.
> >> This seems to me both morally reprehensible - because it exculpates
> >> the actual killers - and demonstrably wrong.
> >> Set aside all emotion and look at the cold logistics of Milosevic's
> >> massacre. It quickly becomes apparent that the atrocity had been
> >> carefully planned. Now, one does not make detailed plans to wipe out
> >> thousands of people just in case a speedy response to a Western attack
> >> should be needed. One plans a massacre because one intends to carry out
> >> a massacre.
> >> True, the speed and enormity of the Serb attack took the NATO forces
> >> by surprise (another failure of imagination). That doesn't make it
> >> to blame NATO. Murderers are guilty of the murders they commit, rapists
> >> of their rapes.
> >> But if NATO was right to go in, and the war was indeed fought
> >> for idealistic motives, the idealism of the present policy looks
> >> increasingly starry-eyed. The reality, as reported by experienced
> >> foreign correspondents who have returned from Kosovo to say that
> >> they have never seen anything like it, is that there are few Serbs
> >> left in Kosovo, and it is probably impossible to protect them.
> >> The old, multicultural Sarajevo was destroyed by the Bosnia war. The
> >> old Kosovo is gone, too, very probably for good. Blair's ideal Kosovo
> >> is a dream. He and his colleagues should now support the construction
> >> of the free, ethnically Albanian entity that seems like a historical
> >> inevitability.
> >> The aftermath of a war is no time for dreaming.
> >> /Author Salman Rushdie's most recent novel is "The Ground Beneath
> >> Her Feet."/
> >> =======================================================================
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