www.nettime.org
Nettime mailing list archives

<nettime> geertogram 050399 [digest]: why didn't we fight back?, budapes
Geert Lovink on Mon, 3 May 1999 23:27:51 +0200 (CEST)


[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> geertogram 050399 [digest]: why didn't we fight back?, budapest report


Geert Lovink <geert {AT} xs4all.nl>
          Kosovo Refugees: Why Didn't We Fight Back
          Syndicate: Budapest report

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
  
Date: Mon, 3 May 1999 13:57:39 +0200 (CEST)
From: Geert Lovink <geert {AT} xs4all.nl>
Subject: Kosovo Refugees: Why Didn't We Fight Back

Date: Sun, 2 May 1999 14:31:04 -0400
From: Andras Riedlmayer <riedlmay {AT} FAS.HARVARD.EDU>
To: JUSTWATCH-L {AT} LISTSERV.ACSU.BUFFALO.EDU
Subject: Kosovo Refugees: Why Didn't We Fight Back?

Roy Gutman interviewed some of the tens of thousands of expelled Kosovars
in the Macedonian refugee camps and found a growing feeling of bitterness,
directed not only at those who forced them from their homes, but also
at the failure of the Kosovars' own political and military leadership to
effectively foresee or resist Milosevic's resort to a final solution.

     [A]mong Kosovar Albanians who have been forced from their
     ancestral homes, stripped of their possessions and documents,
     the gnawing question is whether more could have been done to
     avoid the national exodus.

     The first expellees to ask it are two of the leading media figures
     of Kosovo, Baton Haxhiu, editor in chief of the newspaper Koha
     Ditore, and Aferdita Saracini-Kelmendi, head of Radio 21. [...]

     Haxhiu said the expulsion of Kosovars marked the "moral, political
     and military bankruptcy" of Albanians in Kosovo. "Where is the KLA
     now?" he said, referring to the Kosovo Liberation Army, which
     first came to international attention a little over a year ago
     and, at one point, claimed to be controlling as much as 30 percent
     of the territory of the south Serbian province. [...]

     "We were all of us idiots" for pursuing a policy of non-violent
     resistance for the past decade and not preparing for the very
     worst thing that could happen, said Saracini-Kelmendi. Her own
     personal awakening came when she escaped from Pristina, the
     Kosovo capital, on April 1 and had to go through the first
     checkpoint. "The moment I was told to pay money, I realized that
     nothing could save your life at that moment. You are just a rabbit,
     and the other side can do with you what they wanted."

     She said at that moment she appreciated the reason many Albanians
     had flocked to join the KLA. She added: "If every Albanian in
     Pristina had a gun, this wouldn't have happened." She acknowledged
     that Kosovars had organized resistance only in certain places,
     chiefly the strongholds of the KLA.

But in the end, even those rural strongholds proved not to be much of an
obstacle.  Lightly-armed amateurs, no matter how highly motivated, are
ill-equipped to resist the kind of killing power and organized brutality
unleashed by Belgrade's state apparatus.

     The KLA [...] failed to rally resistance in Kosovo. The result
     is almost astonishing, considering the tradition of armed
     resistance to invaders in the Balkans. Whole areas of Kosovo,
     even mountain villages where residents have the advantages of
     intimate knowledge of the terrain, have emptied in panic and,
     according to deportees, without a fight.

     No one among the ethnic Albanians can claim to be caught by surprise,
     for the "ethnic cleansing" of Kosovo has ample precedent in what was
     once the multi-ethnic state of Yugoslavia. This is the fourth war
     Milosevic has begun since 1991 and the third example of "ethnic
     cleansing" after Croatia and Bosnia.

Andras Riedlmayer
========================================================================
Newsday
April 27, 1999

CRISIS IN YUGOSLAVIA / Refugees: Why Didn't We Fight Back?

By Roy Gutman. WASHINGTON BUREAU


    Tetovo, Macedonia - One month after Yugoslavia began its massive
deportation of Kosovar Albanians, some of the most articulate expellees
have begun to ask whether Albanians and their leaders could have done
more to defend their lives, their families and their homes.

    From the perspective of the 19-nation NATO, the Yugoslav government's
drive to turn hundreds of thousands out of their homes and force them
to flee abroad has helped rally public opinion behind air strikes against
military targets throughout Yugoslavia that could be followed by a
ground campaign later this year.

    But among Kosovar Albanians who have been forced from their
ancestral homes, stripped of their possessions and documents, the
gnawing question is whether more could have been done to avoid the
national exodus.

    The first expellees to ask it are two of the leading media figures
of Kosovo, Baton Haxhiu, editor in chief of the newspaper Koha Ditore,
and Aferdita Saracini-Kelmendi, head of Radio 21. Unlike hundreds of
thousands of their countrymen, who can do nothing, from the moment
of their deportation they have rallied their staffs in exile, traveled
abroad to obtain financing and restarted their news organizations.

    Koha, with British government backing, resumed publication this
weekend and, yesterday, distributed 10,000 free copies of its daily
paper in exile to ethnic Albanian refugees in 10 refugee camps
throughout Macedonia. Radio 21, with commitments from the U.S. Agency
for International Development and other donors, will resume its programs
in 10 days, Saracini-Kelmendi told Newsday.

    Haxhiu said the expulsion of Kosovars marked the "moral, political
and military bankruptcy" of Albanians in Kosovo. "Where is the KLA
now?" he said, referring to the Kosovo Liberation Army, which first came
to international attention a little over a year ago and, at one point,
claimed to be controlling as much as 30 percent of the territory of
the south Serbian province. "We [the Albanian people] have only Koha
Ditore."

    "We were all of us idiots" for pursuing a policy of non-violent
resistance for the past decade and not preparing for the very worst thing
that could happen, said Saracini-Kelmendi. Her own personal awakening came
when she escaped from Pristina, the Kosovo capital, on April 1 and had to
go through the first checkpoint. "The moment I was told to pay money,
I realized that nothing could save your life at that moment. You are
just a rabbit, and the other side can do with you what they wanted."

    She said at that moment she appreciated the reason many Albanians
had flocked to join the KLA. She added: "If every Albanian in Pristina
had a gun, this wouldn't have happened." She acknowledged that Kosovars
had organized resistance only in certain places, chiefly the strongholds
of the KLA.

    Both journalists were highly critical of the political leadership of
Ibrahim Rugova, a pacifist elected president of Kosovo in secret elections
who long enjoyed the unstinting support of western governments. Rugova
is still in Pristina under Yugoslav house arrest and on two occasions
in the past month, he has been shown on Serbian television, conferring
with Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic or his aides. Rugova adamantly
opposed the KLA and lost most of his popular support in the past year.

    At critical diplomatic talks at Rambouillet, France, in February
and March, which led NATO to issue an ultimatum to Milosevic to agree
to autonomy or face air strikes, Rugova and KLA leaders forged a common
position only because of the personal intervention of U.S. Secretary of
State Madeleine Albright. Since the NATO bombing began, Rugova has
remained silent.

    The KLA similarly failed to rally resistance in Kosovo. The result
is almost astonishing, considering the tradition of armed resistance to
invaders in the Balkans. Whole areas of Kosovo, even mountain villages
where residents have the advantages of intimate knowledge of the terrain,
have emptied in panic and, according to deportees, without a fight.

    No one among the ethnic Albanians can claim to be caught by surprise,
for the "ethnic cleansing" of Kosovo has ample precedent in what was once
the multi-ethnic state of Yugoslavia. This is the fourth war Milosevic
has begun since 1991 and the third example of "ethnic cleansing" after
Croatia and Bosnia.

Copyright 1999, Newsday Inc.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
  
Date: Mon, 3 May 1999 14:39:09 +0200 (CEST)
From: Geert Lovink <geert {AT} xs4all.nl>
Subject: Syndicate: Budapest report

Date: Sun, 2 May 1999 19:30:09 +0200
From: kit blake <kitblake {AT} v2.nl>
Subject: Syndicate: Budapest report

A Gathering of Differences
the Syndicate meets in Budapest
23-25 april

The diversity is immediately apparent. 35 people from more than a dozen
countries. Stories exchange in the intro session, and a multifocus picture
emerges, from the distanced telephoto of media coverage, to the zoomed-in
terror of eye contact laced with military hate. The meeting theme is
default, and the favorite word becomes the 'situation'. What to do.

Consensus over the capabilities of Syndicate influence emerges quickly.
Attitudes are realistic, experienced. Most people operate in the media
sphere, and the discussion singles out information exchange as the central
issue. We hear some facts:
- carrying of cameras - video or still - is prohibited in Yugoslavia
- writing in public is dangerous
- even gathering on the street is risky
- independent media doesn't exist (only outside, like helpB92)
- a split persona is necessary for survival - professional and private
space is military territory
- in the last 10 years Yugoslavia was killed from the inside, with
international help
- first question: what should be saved?

The complexity of the intrigue surpasses any fiction. There are many
subplots, domestic effects, conflicting beliefs and ideologies, hidden
agendas. It is entirely possible that well meaning people can - unknowingly
- endanger the lives of others. Publishing a comment  with a name, for
instance. Anonymity is paramount.

Coincidentally, the NATO summit is taking place in Washington at the same
time. The Syndicate summit spends the next day focusing on actions. A
whiteboard fills with ideas:
- residencies for protecting intellectual properties
- air drop 5000 video cameras on Kosovo
- publish diaries, reports, testimonials, conspiracy theories
- develop the intellectual communication structure
- means to export independent media

Generously hosted by C3 (Center for Culture and Communication), the meeting
unfolds in the Budapest castle. The afternoon divides into 4 groups:
residency program, media strategies, the period after, an emigrant library
- and plans are made. Some projects:

ECX - european cultural Xchange
A program to provide selected artists, academics, curators, journalists and
related cultural practitioners from the European conflict regions with an
opportunity to continue their work in an open and secure environment.
----------------------------
Alta Libra - an emigrant library, http://www.xs4all.nl/~becha/MLE/
A network of libraries with books in the languages of former Yugoslavia,
donated by emigrants. The friends of the library (donors and users) are
connected via www. On the website is an online database with books and
e-mail addresses of the friends. The physical part of the project will
start in Budapest or Amsterdam.
----------------------------
The State of Balkania
Invention of a new state with a broad territory, a totally mixed populace,
passports, information ministries - "Ich bin ein Balkanier!"
----------------------------
Inside information source
Publishing of alternative viewpoints, stories, experiences and advice,
collected at one of the network websites
----------------------------
Film and video distribution
Curation of film and video selections, for broadcast and tour, with program
indexes published online
----------------------------
Message Board for camps, shelters and cafes
A means for people to find and contact each other after displacement.
Intended for people who do not have internet access. A database driven
website generates message listings, with paper printouts posted at social
centers
----------------------------

The Syndicate at war. At dinner. In the morning. The atmosphere is good,
tensions subside, and the meeting is amazingly productive. To close,
Comrade Tito's dictum was borrowed and reversed:
We have to live
like the war will last forever
but be prepared
that peace might start tomorrow


                                                 herwig turk/kit blake

---
#  distributed via nettime-l : no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a closed moderated mailinglist for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: majordomo {AT} desk.nl and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  URL: http://www.desk.nl/~nettime/  contact: nettime-owner {AT} desk.nl