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Ivo Skoric <>
     Re: two questions
     (Fwd) From today's Turkish Daily News--Kosovar Turks fear Alba <...>
     The elusive victory
     Re: your questions
     Independent Media in Democracy
     (Fwd) [webstock] CACAK'S VOICE OF REASON

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From: "Ivo Skoric" <>
To: Bill Weinberg <>
Date: Wed, 30 Jun 1999 01:53:34 -0400
Subject: Re: two questions

I don't know - but there was that Yugoslav lieutenant that was 
captured by KLA shortly after the 3 Americans. He was kept by 
Americans in Tirana. Pentagon (Bacon) said that he was being 
visited by Red Cross and treated accordingly with Geneva 
Convention. But his face was NEVER shown, and then the story 
just died (news that have no image are no news in the world of 
images...). Where is he now? Was he returned to Serbia or not? 
Why there is no story? Then there was that F-117 that crashed 
over Yugoslavia in the beginning of the war. The pilot was - reported 
by Pentagon - saved by the Special Forces action and then he 
went to a hospital in Italy, and NOBODY EVER saw him on TV. 
Now, I remember O'Grady who got a book deal after his plane was 
shot over Bosnia and after he ate grass for a few days until the 
Marines came to the rescue. Why nobody asks Pentagon a 
question what is going on with this pilot? Is he recovered? Can he 
give an interview? Is he a deaf-mute or something?


From:           	Bill Weinberg <>
Subject:        	Re: two questions
Date sent:      	Mon, 28 Jun 1999 16:37:29 -0400 (EDT)

What are you implying, Ivo?

> 1) Where is the pilot of the F-117 that crashed over Serbia early in 
> the war? Isn't it strange that the media did not get a hold of him 
> and that he did not yet get a book deal?
> 2) Where is that Yugoslav Army officer that KLA captured and 
> delivered to Americans in Tirana? We never saw him? Isn't it 
> strange that the free media did not yet get his face?
> ivo

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From: "Ivo Skoric" <>
Date: Wed, 30 Jun 1999 01:53:45 -0400
Subject: (Fwd) From today's Turkish Daily News--Kosovar Turks fear Alba

The enemy of my enemy is not necessarilly my friend...


------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
(This url will only get you this story today)

Kosovar Turks fear Albanian
     nationalism and oppression


     Ankara - Turkish Daily News

     The virtual end of the Serbian rule in Kosovo does not outline a bright
prospect for the nearly 20,000 Turks in the province. They believe that
Albanian nationalism is more dangerous and fear reprisal and oppression.

     Accused of siding with the Serbs during the Kosovo crisis, the Turks are
deeply concerned that once the Albanians take over the administration of the
province, they will face pressure and discrimination. And their worries are not

     The Turkish Daily News talked with Kosovar Turks who found refuge in
Turkey during the crisis. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, for obvious
reasons, the Kosovo Turks sounded pessimistic about a peaceful cohabitation
between Turks and Albanians and warned that a mass exodus of Turks could start
from the province if their security and rights are not guaranteed.

     They explained that from the very beginning of the Kosovo crisis in the
early 1990s, when the Albanians started boycotting state institutions, the
Turks came under pressure to join the rebellion. They did not. The Turks did
not support the armed resistance of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), either.

     However, they say, this had nothing to with taking the Serbian side.

     The Turks have their schools and departments of Turkish philology in the
universities, their political party and cultural associations. Radio and
television broadcasts in Turkish are available, although in limited hours. They
publish their newspapers and magazines, although with certain restraint.
Religious activities are free.

     "We are a tiny community. We had our rights, and we were concerned that if
we turned against Belgrade, we might lose what we had already gotten.  We had
to be impartial," said one of the refugees, stressing that when the Albanians
started the mass boycotts of state institutions, Turkey advised them to stay at
their jobs and continue their education.

     "Maybe the Serbs also disliked us, but at least they always respected us,"
a refugee from Pristina said.

     "We all admit that the Albanians faced unbelievable atrocities and
oppression. But now that they think they are victorious, they want to exert the
same oppression on us," he added.

     Albanian accusations of Turkish collaboration with the Serbs seem to be
only the visible tip of the iceberg. The detestation is deep-rooted and stems
from the Albanians' extremist nationalism, the Kosovar Turks say.

     The religious, linguistic and cultural similarities between Kosovo's Turks
and Albanians have failed to prevent the emergence of a confidence rift between
them throughout the years.

     The Turks say that the overwhelming majority of Albanians reject their
Turkish identity and maintain that they are actually Albanians. This
intolerance has lead to visible discrimination. It has been also reflected in
academic studies by Albanian scholars.

     The Kosovar Turks say that Albanian scholars such as Esat Haskuka and
Malic Osi have written theories rejecting the Turkish presence in Kosovo.

     In another example, they remember with anger an article by an Albanian
columnist in the early 1990s. The columnist, Teki Dervishi, maintained that
"the Turks are the dirtiest nation in the world." The Greeks and the Serbs were
respectfully the second and the third "runners-up" in this classification.

     The Kosovar Turks say that the Albanian head of Pristina Radio and
Television refused to give permission in the early 1990s for a limited
broadcast of TRT-INT on certain days of the week. In the same manner, the
Albanian president of Pristina University did not allow the opening of a
Turkish philology department. Permission for both was issued later, when Serbs
headed the two institutions. The Kosovar Turks also say that they are usually
discriminated against when applying for jobs in institutions headed by

     The same barriers are equally visible in the very simplest matters of
daily life.

     "If you go to a shop run by an Albanian or to an Albanian doctor, in most
cases you will not receive any service if you do not speak in Albanian... The
prices may change, depending on which language you speak," a Turkish Kosovar
woman said.

     Her husband remembered how a Turkish religious site dedicated to the
Ottoman Sultan Murat was attacked by Albanians in the years before the crisis
started, and police had to intervene.

     "How can we side with them after living throughout all this? How can we
trust [them]? What will be the gain of siding with the Albanians when they
don't even want to accept us as Turks?" the Kosovar Turks ask.

     They admit that many Turks who were fed up with the pressure and who
wanted to make their lives easier had accepted Albanian identity. "My cousin in
Ipek says that he is an Albanian," a Turkish university student from Prizren

     Now with reports coming from Kosovo about Albanian reprisals on Serbs and
gypsies, the Turks' concerns are growing.

     "We've never rebelled against the state. We will be loyal to any
government that ensures our rights, our identity and safety. We are Turks, and
all we want is to be acknowledged as such," the student says.

     He stresses that Turkey should immediately take action to protect the
Kosovar Turks.

     What the Kosovar Turks urgently ask is the opening of a Turkish consulate,
either in Pristina or Prizren. They demand more attention from the motherland
and believe that Turkey's intensive support can be their only guarantee.

     "If we continue to feel unsafe, the only way out is immigrating to
Turkey," the Kosovar Turks agree.

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From: "Ivo Skoric" <>
Date: Wed, 30 Jun 1999 01:54:09 -0400
Subject: The elusive victory

For me it is unimportant that NATO Operation Allied Force costed 
more than it is the entire Russia's military budget for this year. 
Could it be proved that this money helped save human lives, I 
would say it was well spent. But 220,000 $50,000 bombs and 
$750,000 missiles later it increasingly and disappointingly seems 
that Milosevic's armed forces are neither reduced nor substantially 
hurt. The news that the new barracks were not hit and that only 13 
tanks were destroyed are at least disturbing. NATO's target criteria 
was apparently the un-movability of the target, since Clinton 
refused to let his airplanes fly below 15,000 feet, and from there 
only targets that do not move can be seen and hit with accuracy. 
So, there is a large number of dual-use objects like bridges, 
railroads, oil refining plants, power plants and TV transmitters that 
are destroyed, promising a humanitarian disaster in Serbia this 

Milosevic, on the other hand, is not removed from the power. 
Instead he was given more favourable agreement to sign AFTER 
the bombing than he was presented with before the bombing in 
Rambouillet: I think everybody noticed by now that Kosovo 
Albanians lost the clause about the referendum for independence in 
three years. Clinton now wows how he is not going to give a "red 
cent" to Serbia while Milosevic is in power. Good. Milosevic is 
going to make sure that pictures of freezing, starving people from 
Serbia reach American viewer this winter, perhaps well timed with 
the beginning of the primaries. Milosevic does not care if his 
subjects die, as long as this picture provides a good proof of the 
consequences of the NATO's humanitarian intervention. There are 
and there will be people demonstrating against him, but, please, 
have no illusions: his people are weakened by this war, he is not; if 
they could not get rid off him two years ago, they stand less 
chances this winter.

Switzerland announced that they are going to freeze Milosevic's 
assets if they find them, at the time when they could not find them 
any more. Kosovo Albanians are pouring back in Kosovo, only to 
find all their property destroyed and looted. Serbs are leaving only 
to be turned back, since neither Milosevic nor NATO victory would 
be sustainable if there are Serb refugees from Kosovo. When they 
come back they find the same: their homes burned and looted by 
Albanians in revenge. Yugoslav Army left, but there are still armed 
Serbs sniping around. And there is KLA, that started as a terrorist 
organization, then became a glorified liberation front that relayed 
targeting information to NATO and now it is a bitter ex-ally that 
NATO looks to disarm and dispose off a.s.a.p. There are stories of 
killing, burning, looting, rape, internal purges and vandalism abound.

NATO was promising Russia participation in Kosovo, while in the 
meantime making that participation impossible on the ground. 
Russia then moved into the Kosovo on its own, as a rogue force. 
Yeltsin and his subordinates gave a series of conflicting 
statements in reference to that move. The entire stand-off in 
Prishtina reminds me of the bygone cold war era, very far from the 
level of cooperation between the U.S. and Russia achieved in 

Position of Macedonia is weaker than ever: ostracized by Serbia for 
offering NATO the stomping ground and ostracized by the 
Albanians who might want the autonomy there too. The entire 
region is substantially weakened by the destruction of the Danube 
trade and devastating influence that the war right before the 
summer season has on turism. And the only thing KFOR unearths 
in abundance in Kosovo are minefields and mass-graves, testifying 
to the enormous level of killing Serb forces were able to carry-out 
during (and in spite of) NATO bombing.

All this makes me question the validity of names "just war" and 
"humanitarian intervention." Maybe I fail to see the forest from the 
trees? Bill Clinton, after Milosevic signed the agreement, said: "I 
can report to the American people that we have achieved a victory 
for a safer world, for our democratic values and for a stronger 
America." I challenge him to prove me everything but the last part 
of this statement.

As he said that, the State Department announced possibility of 
closing down embassies in Africa due to the terrorist threat of 
Osama Bin Laden. During NATO bombing of Yugoslavia both the 
war between two 'rogue' nuclear powers - India and Pakistan - and 
the war between the two Koreas (South Korea sunk several North 
Korea ships) escalated substantially. One of the first orders of 
business of the new Israeli prime minister, who ascended to power 
during the last stages of the NATO war against Yugoslavia, was to 
bomb Lebanese power plants and bridges, mimicking NATO 
strategy - punishing Lebanon for providing safe haven to the 
terrorist organization Hezbolah (Hezbolah retaliated surrounding 
Israeli villages: Barak forgot that Serbia has no land border with the 
U.S. while Lebanon has one with Israel). Russia is openly 
discussing upgrading its tactical nuclear capabilities. World to me 
looks about as safe as during the Cuban missile crisis. Maybe 
Clinton lives in a different world, I don't know. 

We already forgot what's going on in Somalia or Afghanistan - but 
this does not mean that it stopped. Colombia is on the brink of civil 
war, with terrorist/liberation forces kidnapping churchfulls of people. 
Sudan has so widespread problem of child slave trade that even its 
government started asking for help. Indonesian forces are in the 
process of ethnic cleansing/genocide over East Timorese 
population. Russia had pulverized Chechenya. China has denied 
Tibet. Turkey, which is a NATO member and which continues to 
ethnically cleanse Turks, did not yet respond to the Kurdish 
leader's (Ocalan) offer to cease fire for amnesty, renounce violence 
and accept political fight under Turkish rule (similar deal that Sinn 
Fein had won in Northern Ireland). Today, the U.S. Coast Guard 
arrested and placed in the deportation proceedings several young 
Cubans who risked their lifes to reach this country in a small raft in 
the tunderstorm. We are very far from the victory for our democratic 
values. The victory for the humanitarian intervention cannot be 
accomplished if the rules of humanity do not apply to those, who 
desire to apply them to others.

On top of that, we live in the world where this story will be untold or 
at least un-noticed. News that are not accompanied with an image 
live very shortly. During the war, when Milosevic censored all the 
images leaving Yugoslavia: we saw only civilian objects being 
bombed in Yugoslavia - we haven't seen a single military target 
being hit. And the Yugoslav scores against NATO were repeatedly 
shown ad nauseam. Since there was only one airplane shot down 
(or crashed due to technological malfunction) we saw a lot of it. 
When NATO moved to Kosovo, CNN followed, so we saw a 
destroyed Serbian museum piece T-55 tank, charcoaled. And we 
saw that tank over and over, because apparently they couldn't find 
any other, since mighty Warthogs destroyed mostly inflatable 
tanks. And we never saw the pilot of the crashed F-117. And we, 
also, never saw the captured Yugoslav lieutenant (who is now 
perhaps released and back in Serbia): I find lack of interest among 
media for those two stories particularly interesting.

There is a lot of unfinished business about this war and I think that 
it is way premature to call it a victory yet.


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Date: Wed, 30 Jun 1999 01:53:45 -0400
From: Ivo Skoric <>
To: Erwin Bolwidt <>,
Subject: Re: your questions

We live in the world of images. News that come without an image 
are destined to live shortly and be easily forgotten. There is a 
reason behind not showing a picture of either of those two men. It 
seems that most of the media and the public forgot about them, 
because they haven't seen them. I got a few jovial suggestions from 
a human rights worker and from an ex-psy-ops guy from Bosnia. 
Generally, we can asume that the pilot is back in the Air-Force. I 
am sure he is not proud of loosing the "invisible" plane, and I am 
sure the Pentagon is not happy with Stealth technology now in 
Russian hands. I see good reasons why he is keeping low profile. I 
don't understand why, however, the media do not seek to find him. 
As for the Serb lieutenant, Bacon made the point that his face will 
not be shown on TV as a matter of complying with the Geneva 
Convention. But what happens now when the war is over? Does he 
go back to Serbia? He is not a prisoner any more, is he? And more 
importantly: why no Western and no Serbian media are interested 
to find that out?


Date sent:      	Tue, 29 Jun 1999 16:17:53 +0200
From:           	Erwin Bolwidt <>
Organization:   	Tryllian BV
Copies to:
Subject:        	Re: your questions

> 1) Where is the pilot of the F-117 that crashed over Serbia early in
> the war? Isn't it strange that the media did not get a hold of him
> and that he did not yet get a book deal?

Perhaps this guy is in the army and has to obey the orders of his
commanding officers?

> 2) Where is that Yugoslav Army officer that KLA captured and
> delivered to Americans in Tirana? We never saw him? Isn't it
> strange that the free media did not yet get his face?
That's easy, that's forbidden by the Geneva convention, something which
NATO took seriously, in contrast with the Yugoslavs.

> ivo


Ivo Skoric
1773 Lexington Ave
New York NY 10029

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From: "Ivo Skoric" <>
Date: Wed, 30 Jun 1999 14:35:54 -0400
Subject: Independent Media in Democracy

Sometimes during the bombing campaign I watched William 
Saphire on MSNBC, I think. He did not sound quite different than 
Strobe Tallbot. They are both political columnists. Only Tallbot is 
now Deputy Secretary of State, and Saphire just sounds like he'd 
like the same job sometimes in the future. There is nothing that 
a political columnist covets more than the taste of raw power. 
American journalists are always ready to pun columnists of 
Serbian regime press, who often side with the government and on 
occassions become members of the government themselves (like it 
was the case with Aleksander Tijanic, briefly). Yet, when similar 
parrotting of government positions occur among their own they are 
ready to turn a blind eye. Saphire to me did not sound quite 
different than a Politika columnist, echoing whatever Bacon and 
Shea said that day. I accept that he might have genuinely shared 
their beliefs: however, in that case my opinion about him as a 
jornalist is severely diminished for his failure to question his 
sources, for his failure to be curious and inquisitive - the qualities 
that are conspicuously absent from the mainstream U.S. media 
more and more, as it is plainly obvious with nobody asking 
questions about the pilot of the F-117 that crashed over Serbia and 
about the Yugoslav officer that was kept as POW by Americans in 
Tirana during the bombing campaign. I see no difference between 
fierce loyalty to the status quo found among the establishment 
journalists both in Serbia and in the U.S.  Here is the example of 
how two essentially similar world crises receive different editorial 
treatment in that bastion of free thinking - New York Times - solely 
based on how they fit in the American foreign policy perspective:


------- Forwarded Message Follows -------


Similar Crises Get Divergent Treatment in The New York Times 

by Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR)  

An article in the June 24 New York Times reported on the trial in Turkey of
captured Kurdish guerrilla leader Abdullah Ocalan. The Times provided
background on the war between Kurdish separatist guerrillas and Turkish
security forces: 

"The war that Ocalan has waged has cost more than 30,000 lives and made him the
object of intense hatred. It has also made him a heroic figure to many Kurds
who live in Turkey's southeast."  

Contrast this description with the way The New York Times presents the
background of another, very similar, separatist war (3/27/99):  

"The Serbian campaign against the ethnic Albanians has seen more than 2,000
killed in the last year, with hundreds of thousands of Kosovars driven from
their homes, according to the United Nations."  

The two news articles quoted above appear to assign responsibility for
casualties in each war to one or the other side in the conflict: In the case of
Turkey, blame for the 30,000, mostly Kurdish, dead goes to the leader of the
Kurdish rebels. In the case of Yugoslavia, blame for the 2,000, mostly ethnic
Albanian, dead is put squarely on the shoulders of the Serbian authorities
putting down the rebellion.  

This disparity is typical in Times coverage of the two conflicts. In an
editorial on the Ocalan trial (6/24/99), the Times explained the Kurdish war:
"In response to Mr. Ocalan's violence, the country's armed forces have
devastated Kurdish-inhabited areas of southeastern Turkey, razing villages, and
driving tens of thousands of refugees to Ankara and Istanbul."  

On the other hand, in a March 24 editorial about NATO's bombing ("The Rationale
for Air Strikes"), the Times' editoral writers describe the Kosovo conflict
this way:  "Serbian forces are shelling and burning villages, forcing tens of
thousands to flee.  They have also been killing ethnic Albanian civilians."  

In these editorials, the two very similar conflicts are described in 
very similar terms. 

But the editorial about Turkey makes it clear that the security forces are
acting "in response to Mr. Ocalan's violence"; whereas the editorial about
Kosovo does not mention the existence of the Kosovar guerrillas at all. In
fact, a reader who knows nothing about the Kosovo conflict would have literally
no inkling, from reading this editorial laying out "The Rationale for Air
Strikes," that an insurgency has ever taken place there.  

Why the discrepancy?  

The two conflicts are notable for the remarkable parallels between them. In
each case, a local ethnic minority has seen its cultural, civil and human
rights abused by the central government. In each case, members of the minority
responded by organizing an armed guerrilla force in their local territory,
aimed at secession and independence. In each case, the guerrillas used
terrorism--e.g., sniping at police officers and civilians--to provoke a
response from security forces.  

And in each case, the security forces responded with overwhelming
force--brutally clearing out villages suspected of providing support to the
rebels and committing widespread human-rights abuses against civilians--all the
while claiming they were merely preventing terrorists from threatening the
territorial integrity of their country.  

In both countries, the human costs of both campaigns were enormous. When The
New York Times published its description of the Kosovo campaign, in addition to
the 2,000 dead, an estimated 200 villages had been partly or completely
destroyed, with approximately 450,000 people displaced in one year of heavy
fighting. In Turkey, according to Human Rights Watch, 35,000 people have been
killed, while more than 3,000 villages have been destroyed, and an estimated 2
million people have been displaced in 15 years of fighting.  

But the two conflicts differ in one crucial respect: The U.S. militarily
opposed Yugoslavia's actions in Kosovo. Turkey, on the other hand, is a close
U.S. ally. As a State Department official told reporters in 1992, when Turkey's
human rights abuses were reaching a peak: 

"There is no question of halting U.S. military assistance to Turkey.   The U.S.
sees nothing objectionable in a friendly or allied country using American
weapons to secure internal order or to repel an attack against its territorial
unity."  Clearly the U.S. has a double standard when it comes to civil wars--
but that doesn't mean that The New York Times ought to.  

ACTION: Please write to The New York Times and ask them to use a single
standard when covering similar situations. If the editors believe that the
Kurdish and Kosovo situations are fundamentally different, please ask them to
explain what the differences are that deserve such markedly divergent


Andrew Rosenthal 

Foreign Editor  



W. Rabbit Sound Studio 

New York City 


                    "Love is all.  Love is the Law." 

		Aliester Crowley (1875-1947) 

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From: "Ivo Skoric" <>
Date: Wed, 30 Jun 1999 15:52:55 -0400
Subject: (Fwd) [webstock] CACAK'S VOICE OF REASON

------- Forwarded Message Follows -------


Opposition Mayor Ilic made a triumphant return at the first post-war
anti-Milosevic rally, setting the stage for further demonstrations in other
cities within Serbia.

By a journalist from Belgrade

Demonstrations in the city centre of Cacak drew thousands of people in a
enthusiastic opposition gathering--the first since the end of the war.

Serbian police prevented a few busloads of demonstrators, and some
international journalists, from reaching the rally. Local members of
opposition parties also received warnings or were detained for "informative
talks" in an effort to get them to call off the protest.

Despite this harassment, activists with the coalition Alliance for Change
mounted the first public manifestation, June 29, since the war of opposition
to the regime of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. Making his first
public appearance since going into hiding during the war, Cacak Mayor
Velimir Ilic addressed the chanting rally and waded into the crowd to shake
hands and greet supporters.

He was joined on the platform by Social Democrat leader Vuk Obradovic, Civic
Alliance of Serbia (GSS) leader Goran Svilanovic, Mayor Zoran Zivkovic of
Nis and civic activists from Cacak as well as Kraljevo. "For Freedom, For
Cacak," read posters plastered around the town.

Cacak has been a focus of opposition since its first anti-Milosevic
demonstrations in 1992. In the 1996 local elections, opposition politicians
from the Democratic Party of Zoran Djindjic, the Serbian Renewal Movement
(SPO) of Vuk Draskovic and others gained seats and took overall control.

But it was in the midst of the heaviest NATO bombing that Cacak secured its
reputation as an opposition stronghold by organising anti-regime
demonstrations despite the state of war. On May 18-20, local activists
organised a Citizens' Parliament, which held three days of protests attended
by thousands of people. After such meetings were banned, opposition-oriented
gatherings continued in panel discussions and other private meetings.

"The Citizens' Parliament was formed so that the people of Cacak could speak
openly about everything that is happening to us," explains Verica Barac, a
municipal attorney associated with the Parliament. "We wanted the voice of
reason to be heard, to fight for the last man, and not to the last man. But
it seems the regime . . . wants as many people as possible to die."

During the bombing, euphoric nationalism swept Serbia--including officially
sponsored rallies in Cacak "against the NATO aggressor." The municipal
assembly, dominated by opposition parties, and Mayor Ilic of the New Serbia
party, sought to explain to citizens that such "patriotic protests" were
staged by local representatives of the ruling Socialist Party of Serbia and
its communist partner, the Yugoslav United Left.

Thus while air raid sirens wailed, and soldiers bodies were returned from
Kosovo, citizens of Cacak condemned such patriotic defiance. Yet with the
media blockade, they had little impact. Even the local private TV station,
Galaksija 32, lent itself out as the official parties' mouthpiece.

In these circumstances, the initial aims of the Citizens' Parliament were
formally apolitical. The focus was on ending the war and saving people's
lives. A modest industrial town of 80 000, Cacak lies 120 kilometres south
of Belgrade. The destruction of its economy contributed to the feeling among
jobless residents that the patriotic fervour pumped out by the regime and
its loyal media cannot offer them a real future. With desperate young
soldiers returning from Kosovo, people in Cacak were also under no illusion
that the war against NATO could be won.

The regime responded with ham-fisted attempts to stifle dissent in Cacak.
The first to be attacked was Ilic, the assembly speaker. Based on statements
he made to Radio Free Europe, he was accused of revealing military targets
and undermining the defence of the country. The authorities attempted to
arrest him, but Ilic was able to slip into hiding, where he remained until
this afternoon.

But the persecution of Ilic only enhanced the dissatisfaction of people in
Cacak. He has enjoyed strong local support for a long time, since his
outspoken role several years ago as an activist in the SPO when he opposed
leader Draskovic for openly flirting with the regime.

Trumped-up charges were also brought against leading members of the
Citizens' Parliament for holding unregistered gatherings during a state of
war. Dr. Mirjana Hercog, a children's GP; Professor Nada Despotovic; Vesna
Bjelic, a journalist for BETA news agency; Barac, the public attorney, and
Milan Bozovic, a retired professor, were all sentenced and fined 3,000
German Marks.

"The situation in the town is extremely repressive," says Dr. Svetlana Eric,
who was also charged. "Only in Cacak were people arrested because of their
opinion." Eric says that during her hearing, she was criticised by the judge
for writing a letter to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

"According to the judge, Annan is a fascist. The UN is a fascist
organisation. You see to what extent their madness goes," Eric exclaims.

Within the town, the political initiatives appear to have widespread
support. "Serbia is shrinking year by year and its citizens are ever
poorer," says Milisav Kovacevic, an unemployed factory worker. "I am left
without a job, and what do I get in return? Bogus patriotism precisely from
people who managed to get rich . . . on other people's misery." He sees the
Cacak initiatives as a sign that people realise they have to take
responsibility for Serbia's future.

"Sooner or later the regime will have to answer before its own people," he

The question is whether Cacak's Citizens' Parliament and other activities
can emerge as a serious new political force. Similar fora have been founded
in Kraljevo, Paracin and Subotica--all gathering civic-oriented forces, and
Kraljevo activists participated in the Cacak rally. In the coming weeks,
fresh demonstrations are scheduled for Uzice and Kraljevo, where Democratic
Party leader Djindjic, the former mayor of Belgrade, is expected to speak.

The contributor is a journalist with a newspaper in Belgrade whose name has
been withheld.


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