Not too much sympathy in Belgrade

Barry Stoller bstoller at
Fri Sep 14 11:46:40 MDT 2001

Deutsche Presse-Agentur. 14 September 2001. Two Years After NATO
Bombings, There is Little Sympathy with U.S. Among Yugoslavs.

BELGRADE -- Terror attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon,
broadcast virtually live on local television, drew much attention in
Belgrade, but two years after the NATO bombing campaign against
Yugoslavia, the havoc on American streets won little sympathy here.

While political leaders did condemn the attack using hijacked passenger
planes as bombs, many of the people in the streets were closer to saying
that they survived similar treatment at the hands of the United States
and other NATO states.

"I am sorry for those in the World Trade Center, but not for those in
the Pentagon. Those people there bombed us," said a man in a video

"It is probably some of their friends who did it, anyway," he added,
reflecting the common belief in Yugoslavia that the United States
support ethnic Albanian extremists in the Balkans and other similar
groups elsewhere.

NATO bombed Yugoslavia for 78 days in 1999, until it forced Belgrade to
pull the police and army out of Kosovo and allow an international
peacekeeping mission into the province, dominantly populated by ethnic

Even Yugoslav leaders, including President Vojislav Kostunica, made a
point of saying that terror is the same everywhere, in the U.S. and in
the Kosovo and Macedonia, where dozens of civilians were killed in
attacks over the previous two years.

Aleksandar, an owner of a shop in central Belgrade, said that "Americans
are paying the price for putting their nose into too many places".

Responding to an objection that the people in New York had nothing to do
with the U.S. foreign policy, he said: "I had nothing with (Slobodan)
Milosevic's policy, but the Americans bombed me."

"New York is undoubtedly horrible, but Pentagon burning does not bother
me at all," he said. "Look at the defense ministry ... now they have
rubble to look at" he added, referring to some of NATO targets in
Belgrade, which are devastated but still standing.

Most people said they were horrified with images of carnage and
suffering, but blamed Washington for bringing it about.

A columnist with the weekly Vreme, Stojan Cerovic, said Washington would
have to reconsider its policies.

"Will anybody in America seriously wonder if the American foreign policy
provokes and supports these desperate attacks ... what created these
suicidal avenger and why is so much malice in the world directed at
America," he wrote in Thursday's edition of the paper.

He said that the prime suspect for Tuesday's attacks, Osama bin Laden,
is a guest of the Taliban, who were formerly trained and supported by
the U.S. to make war on the former Soviet Union in Afghanistan.

"It should conclude that its vulnerability cannot be solved by technical
means ... someone in Washington should think out how to reduce the
production of  desperate people in some parts of the world, or at least
how to take the 'made in America' label off of the product," Cerovic

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Barry Stoller

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