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<nettime> the baby boomers war
lop1912 on Mon, 31 May 1999 23:03:29 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> the baby boomers war


Open letter to all the people active in '68 who today have the power to decide
between war and peace

The war that is being fought in Kosovo has been conceived and launched in the
name of the ideals of '68. The leading cultural, political, even military
powers that decided to resort to war are all children of '68: Joshka Fischer,
Gerard Schroeder, Dani Cohn Bendit, Jorge Solanas, William Clark and even
Clinton himself.
The ideological genesis of this war can be found in the theories of Glucksmann,
Henri-Levy, Finkielkraut: it is the product of a rethinking process that took
place inside the conscience of '68 during the eighties and nineties. The
utopian ideals of '68 which found a foothold in maoism have turned into a
utopia which is no less noble but a thousand times more deadly.

The utopia of '68 was an unarmed utopia. We may have acted irresponsibly at
times but we were the ones who paid the consequences. This generation is now in
power, again they are acting irresponsibly but today their utopia is armed with
guns and bombs.
The way in which today's war is being fought is no different from that of '68.
The intolerable cannot be tolerated, so symbolic objectives are chosen and
decisions turn into actions without worrying over much about the
consequences. 
31 years ago, when in May we took over the centres of almost every city in
Europe, we had no concept of winning or losing. Our only aim was to hold aloft
the banner of Justice and Freedom.
Today, those same people, I am sure with the best of intentions, are acting in
the same way, without realising that what they are doing may explode into a
horrific war that will involve the whole Eurasian continent.

The war in Kosovo will not stop at Pristina or at Belgrade, it is only the
first tiny cog in a horrendous machine, that once in motion will not stop until
the whole of western civilisation has been destroyed.
If only these '68 revolutionaries would study the history and psychology of the
Serbian nation, they would see that Serbian psycho-culture has been waiting for
centuries to immolate itself on the altar of religious nationalism in a war
against the rest of the world.
This moment has now come.
The problem is not only the intransigence of the Serb population, however. The
problem also lies in the fact that the losers in this world (who incidentally,
outnumber the winners by ten to one) have now discovered that the giant who
towers over them is not as omnipotent as he seemed. First with Saddam Hussein,
then in Somalia, then with Bin Laden and the Talibans and now with Milosevic,
Arkan and Sesely, this list of butchers and mafia godfathers continue to prove
how weak the West is. After all, it is common knowledge that bombs cannot crush
mass psychopathy and the fact that bombs excite psychopaths is surely not news
to anyone.

Paul Watzklawicz, an expert in pragmatic communication disturbances, maintains
that the best way to resolve an international or interethnic conflict is to
close the leaders of both sides in a room and to have them perform a purely
linguistic exercise. Both of them must recite to the other, the others
grievances and motives and the exercise can only be concluded when they have
both realised that the other is actually outlining their own point of view.
According to the greatest communication psychotherapist of all time
(Watzklawicz) the correct cure is not Rambouillet.
However, we all know that there was nothing systematic about '68, it was not a
psycho-relation or a communicative disorder it was dialectic. On one side
right, on the other wrong, the good versus the bad.
This is what Gluckmann had in mind when he wrote “The Art of War” celebrating
the glories of Mao Tze Tung. Today, nothing has changed, his method is just the
same, Gluckmann is an incurable fanatic, the difference is that now his
fanaticism threatens the whole of humanity.

Of all the probable solutions for the next century, the one that puts the
American government in control seems to me to be the least dangerous. The
United States is a society that has learnt more than any other how to
assimilate ethnical and technological complexities. It would not be too much to
ask for us to surrender our national identity (for what it is worth) in
exchange for a pacifist government covering the entire complexity of the
planet. 
Anti-Americanism is both rancorous and reactionary.
Deprived of an alternative international prospective, anti-Americanism borders
on fascism.
In this war, however, the decisive factor is not what the chanters of thirty
year old slogans would have us believe. The decisive factor is not the
imperialistic drive of the United States (which does exist, it would be
ridiculous to state the contrary). This is not an imperialistic war, as empires
have other means of reaching their objectives: money, image, virtualisation.
The decisive factor of this war is humanitarian fanaticism indifferent to the
consequences of its actions. The consequences of these actions fired by
fanaticism runs against the concept of global American government. They only
serve as the catalyst for a global war which multiplies all the present day
fascisms and integralisms and leads to an increase in violence and nuclear
armament.

This is why I am writing to you friends, you who live in the longstanding
spirit of '68.
I share your desire for a world in which the universal principal of human
dignity triumphs over that of national sovereignty, substituting the suicidal
principal of national self-determination (after all, what is a nation, if it is
not an entity that defines itself on the basis of its own aggression?).
I share your ideals and aims and my own experiences bear witness to it. I have
been persecuted by communists to a much greater extent than the Parisian
intellectuals who are at present preaching the gospel of a sacred crusade
against the evils of communism.
However I am convinced that the way to put an end to injustice is not to take
up arms against the Serbian criminals who hide behind men, women and children.
Violence only leads to more violence and this we should have learnt by now in
the thirty years that have passed since the days of '68. In those far off days
we reasoned in terms of violence but we did not possess the squadrons of
bombers, the world banks, newspapers and televisions that we do today.
Moreover, in the days of ‘68 it did not take us long to realise that the
violence we preached (even if it was unarmed and symbolic) could never bring
justice, freedom or peace. So why are we so sure that the violence we are
committing today, the violence that kills and maims and is no way symbolic,
can do anything other than stir up a sea of inextinguishable hate.

I must confess that in the first days of the war I thought that the West was
right. That we were the champions of justice, the saviours of the persecuted
Albanians.
However, although I do recognise the intolerable nature of the systematic
violence carried out by the Serbian nationalists (even if they are not the only
culprits) and although I do recognise the superiority of universal principals
over those of national sovereignty, the absolute absurdity and illegitimacy of
this crusade launched by the western '68 idealists suddenly struck me on the
day that the Macedonian government declared that they really did not have the
facilities to deal with all the refugees that were flooding into their country.
Please, they asked, please O Lords of the western world, can you not do
something to help? Can you not organise an air evacuation of at least some of
these people who are dying of hunger and disease?
For a moment I thought: sure, that can be organised, we can fly out a hundred
thousand to Italy, a hundred thousand to France, a hundred thousand to Canada
and Australia.
The illusion lasted no more than a day.
For a couple of hours the possibility of flying the refugees out to the
Guantanamo base in Cuba was discussed and then as one man, the western
governments closed ranks and replied: shelter these refugees, shelter these
poor bastards, that the glory of our humanitarian enthusiasm has thrust into
the jaws of Arkan's tigers and the Serbian army? You have to be joking.
Let the refugees that we are here to protect die in the mud. Let the people
that our idealistic intolerance of nazi-communism has come to defend die of
hunger. We cannot welcome these people into our own homes, that would be doing
Milosevic a favour and rather than do that criminal a favour we would
prefer to let a hundred thousand people die.
That is when I realised that in this war, the guardians of Auschwitz speak two
languages, one Serbian, the other English-French-Spanish-Geman-Italian. In a
crescendo of hypocrisy, the Blairs, D'Alemas and Clintons of this world all
declared that the Kosovites did not want to leave (quite how they found this
out is not too clear, did they run up an opinion poll amongst the refugees?).
Then psychological pressure began to be placed on the Albanians living in
Europe to return home and fight for their motherland. Blood and land, either
you fight or you are a traitor to your country. This bizarre party, the UCK
suddenly became a NATO favourite. Thirty years ago, who would ever have thought
that the grandchildren of Mao would one day become cannon fodder in an
Anglo-American war?

You hear some people ask: what else can we do if the Serbian nationalists have
decided to exterminate the Albanians and to repeat the tragedy of Bosnia?
What can be done?
The solution is the exact opposite of the war to defend borders. Borders
between aggressive nationalisms, borders between the West and poorer countries,
these are the taboos that must be destroyed if we wish to escape the nightmare
of planetary civil war.
The solution is to open all borders.
It is about time we began to make this voice heard: the solution is to open all
borders, to give people the means to move, from Serbia, from Kosovo, from and
to anywhere they like.
Men and women have the right to move.
Is it not a basic human right?
Rather than launching a war, it would cost less (and it would be more humane,
more original, more respectful of the well being and safety of the refugees) to
fly out five hundred thousand people to the richer western countries.
Is the creation of a Kosovo City in Canada, Australia or Basilicata a utopia?
A utopia, more utopian than the bombing of Belgrade?

The West is conducting a war against the economical and demographical
redistribution that global immigration demands. 
The redistribution of the wealth that is concentrated in the hands of a tiny
minority of humanity and global class, can only take place through the liberal
movement of citizens of poorer countries towards the wealthier ones.
In order to block this movement (which in the long term will prove impossible)
western countries are ready to wage a planetary civil war.
This war, however, will not be won.
It is destined to last for years, or tens of years and it may well devastate
the entire world that we have lived with for the past fifty years.
The scandalous nature of this iniquitous division of wealth will be attacked
from every side and perhaps this scandal will be responsible for destroying
our entire civilisation.
This is the real background to the war in Kosovo.

The '68 idealists (Clinton, Blair, Joshka Fischer, Shroeder, D'Alema and Cohn
Bendit) raise their fists with the same irresponsibility that they once did
when shouting “Long Live Marx, Lenin and Mao Tze Tung”, but then their utopia
knew nothing of weapons. It was a noble affirmation of imaginary horizons,
whereas their present day, armed utopia of humanitarian fanaticism causes only
disaster and the suffering of hundreds of thousands of people. 
The shrewd, old foxes of international politics, starting from Henry Kissinger,
have all argued against this mad war and even Pat Buchanan, the representative
of the integralist, republican right wing has asked for an immediate withdrawal
of American forces from Kosovo. At the moment they are in a minority, but how
long will this American idealistic impetuosity last if the war begins to
spread, and then what will happen?
Our friends of '68 have called up demons much greater than themselves. These
leaders have not stopped to consider that the great migrations of human
peoples, the great anthropological and social changes of history are not
commanded by the cold voice of Reason. They are brought about slowly, by
infinitely complex, patient mechanisms, they are the changing nature of minds,
bodies and language.
Just as it has devastated the lives of men and women throughout the twentieth
century, the tyranny of ideas may this time be responsible for the death of us
all. 

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