Pushing aside mass murder?


Jan Slakov

Dear RN list,   April 16

I think the comments below by Adam Gladstone deserve a response:

Subject: RE: NATO's "humanitarian" trigger
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 09:46:26 -0400
Return-Receipt-To: "Gladstone, Adam" <•••@••.•••>

I am missing something or are you basically pushing aside the mass-murder
that is going on in Kosovo and has already been done in Croatia and Bosnia.
I don't know if you have caught the recent news but there are war-crimes
trials going on right now over the Serbs actions in Bosnia.

But don't get me wrong. I don't think that NATO is too unhappy about getting
a chance to flex its muscles and strike at a smaller and not as well equip
adversary. Especially the way that the operation is being carried out begins
to give me a feeling that Clinton and NATO are trying to perfect the clean
little war (as opposed to a "dirty little war" of recent history). Watch the
smart bombs and the planes take off from a cable TV near you. Just too
clean.... It is war... and people are dying and suffering greatly. But do
not bypass the overwhelming suffering that the Serbians have inflicted in
the past decade.

Jan's reply:
Dear Adam,      

I don't think I am pushing aside the ugliness of the Serb actions in Kosovo
or elsewhere. It is true that I am not focussing much attention on them but
am trying to concentrate more on what would be a useful response to the
situation at this point.

I think it is clear that the same group which is now bombing Yugoslavia
(NATO governments) has been fostering the growth of ethnic hatred in the
area. It certainly has put much much more resources into preparing for and
executing a military response to the violence there than into providing
humanitarian assistance. Schools and clinics and refuge for refugees helps
defuse hatred. Selling arms, vilifying one side, negotiating in bad faith
and dropping bombs are all things which make people more desperate and
encourage hatred.

We know this in terms of conflict within families as well. For example, say
the parents of a family are in conflict. If the parents keep focused on
providing for the basic needs of themselves and their children, the
situation will be much better than if they vilify the other parent, spend
family resources on court battles instead of on providing for basic needs or
even resort to violence.

Just to give you some idea of the disproprtionate resources that have been
allocated for a military response to this war, vs. the resources that have
been allocated for more useful intervention, I will include excerpts from a
posting about how we could have (and still could) be using our resources to
work towards peace.

all the best, Jan
Date: Wed, 07 Apr 1999 18:22:35 +0200
From: FERNEX <•••@••.•••>
Sender: •••@••.•••
Subject: OSCE instead of NATO

Dear friends, 
When protesting against the NATO bombings, please never forget to insist on
the alternative. The alternative to NATO is the OSCE, in spite of the fact
that the OSCE has just been betrayed in favour of NATO by its current
Chairman in Office, the Norvegian Foreign Minister Vollebaeck, who agreed to
evacuate the OSCE observers, in order to allow NATO  bombings. Of course,
the reason for this is that Norway is  a NATO member state.

>From October 23, 1998 to March 1999, the solution rested in the OSCE. 2000
OSCE observers, accepted by Milosevic in October, were due to arrive rapidly
in Kossovo. But only about 1400 came slowly, one by one, reluctantly been
put at the disposal of the OSCE by its 54 member states and especially the
richest of them, the NATO members, with unsufficient equipment, training,

Why is it possible to spend millions for one air strike  and to engaged
thousands of marine, air and communications personnel within one day only,
and why is it impossible to  send in time (October 1998) enough OSCE
observers to gain a civilized peace ?

When Milosevic refused to sign the peace agreement, an international
peace-keeping force under OSCE
mandate, with US and Canadian members, should have been deployed OSCE being
the Regional Organization
of the United Nations. Russia could not have objected and so doing,
strenghtening Milosevic even more. Russia, as an OSCE member state would
have been very welcome to send peace-keepers to Kossovo.

But the OSCE  had to withdraw, by order of its own Chairman in Office, NATO
member Norway's Foreign Minister Vollebaeck, and this will durably stay in
the books as the "undeniable" proof that OSCE is absolutely uneffective.
Exactly what was intended by NATO proponents. Well done. One cannot predict
the extent of the dire consequences this will have durably on the status of
the OSCE in the future.

The democratic, civil rights and peace movement, especially in USA and
Canada, but also here in the NATO states, is urgently asked to educate
itself about the OSCE, of which USA and Canada are members. 

Note : 
the budget of the OSCE, although it has 54 and not only 19 member states
like NATO, is one thousand times smaller than that of NATO. This shows also
a political will to keep it as marginal and uneffective as possible. The
peace movement could have made a difference, with a strong comitment to
support the OSCE while rightly fighting NATO. Gandhi said : "always engage
in a constructive program, the alternative". OSCE is clearly an alternative
to NATO, and we have almost completedly neglected to support it. It is not
too late, even now. Let us do it, and especially while protesting
during the NATO Summit in Washington.

Solange Fernex, WILPF France, IPB Vice-President, 
Abolition 2000 Working Group on European Security

OSCE : website : http://www.oce.org, email : •••@••.••• Osce
Parliamentary Assembly : email : •••@••.•••.
 Adress : Karntner Ring 5 -7, A - 1010 - Vienna, Austria. 
 The OSCE distributes free from charge a monthly newsletter in 6 languages,
also available at its website
Important notice, re : Kossovo :

The Helsinki Document 1992 made provision for OSCE peacekeeping activities,
stating that peacekeeping constitutes an important operational element of
the overall capability of the OSCE for conflict prevention and crisis
management, and that OSCE peacekeeping activities may be undertaken in cases
of conflict within or among participating States to help maintain peace and
stability in support of an ongoing effort at a political solution. So far,
however, this option has not been made use of (For more information see:
Helsinki Document 1992, chapter III, 17 - 20).