RN:”Don’t believe anyone, not even us…& keep the faith!”


Jan Slakov

Dear RN list,    April 18

On Friday I went to a "people to people vigil for all victims of violence in
ex-Yugoslavia" (in Halifax, Nova Scotia).

One of the people who spoke there was a woman who once lived in Belgrade. I
think she purposely did not say what her background was because once upon a
time, labeling oneself "Croatian" or "Serbian" or whatever was not important
and she would like to honour that time.

She spoke about the stupidity of the bombing, how people in Yugoslavia now
find themselves between NATO in the air and Milosovic on the ground. She
spoke with deep sadness and ended her message with the salutation that the
democratic radio station B-92 used to sign off with: "Don't believe anyone,
not even us... and keep the faith".

I found tears rolling down my cheeks, tears to recognize the wisdom and
truth in that sign-off, so much is said in so few words: an embracing of
paradox and the aknowledgement that, deep down, what keeps us going is a
matter of faith.

I was going to speak too, but didn't get a chance in the end. I would have
said how amazing it is to me to think that we are at war; that in itself is
amazing. But it is even more amazing because life here continues much as it
always has, even though we are at war. I ask myself how this could be and
the answer comes to me: this war is, actually, just a natural extension of
"business as usual". We have been investing in military defence even as the
most pressing threats to our well-being cannot be solved by military means.
Our ecomonies are based on destruction and most of us have so far been
unable to find ways to live truly non-violently....Just think of all the
destruction and exploitation that is inherent in this computer I'm using!
(According to the Oct. '97 issue of the _New Internationalist_, to produce a
computer, 27,700 litres of water and 2,300 kilowatt hours of electricity are
used. Factory workers in Malaysia whose labour contributed to its
manufacture earned about $2/hr....)

Obviously, I am not prepared to forgo the use of a computer, even though I
am aware of its true cost, although I know a couple people who refuse any
such acquisition for just this reason. But I do think it is important for us
to realize how our everyday lives cause violence and destruction and to seek
ways to reduce our complicity in the death spiral.

To further this idea of being aware of the true cost of things, I will copy
below some statistics which ought to give us pause... and maybe even give
rise to some positive action, I hope.

all the best, Jan
From: Sid Shniad <•••@••.•••>
Subject: The cost of war in Kosovo
Date: Thursday, April 08, 1999 5:30 PM

The money being spent on humanitarian relief for the Kosovan 
refugees is a tiny fraction of that being spent on the bombing. 
NATO's bombs have created a crisis in one of the poorest areas of 

* The cost of one of the US's B-2 "Stealth" bombers is £1.5 billion. 
That is the same as the entire gross domestic product of Albania.

* The US has 21 B-2 bombers.  The money used to produce them 
could meet the basic health and nutritional requirements of the 
starving across the world for TWO years. That would save the lives 
of the 30,000 children under the age of five who die EVERY DAY 
because of malnutrition and easily treatable diseases.

* Every cruise missile fired costs $1 million. Experts estimate NATO 
dropped at least 120 cruise missiles in the first week of bombing 
alone. The cost of EACH ONE could provide the seeds and tools for 
50,000 poor peasants in the Third World to grow their own food for 
a year. 

from the UNDP:
The world's priorities (annual expenditures in billions)

Education for all                       $6 *
cosmetics in USA                        $8

Water and sanitation for all            $9 *
ice cream in Europe

Reproductive health for all women       $12 *
perfumes in Eurpope & the USA           $12

Basic health & nutrition                $13 *
cigarettes in Europe                    $50
alcoholic drinks in Europe              $105
military spending in the world          $780

*estimated additional cost to achieve universal access to basic social
services in all "developing" countries
I close this posting with a comment from a Maori woman in Aotearoa (New
Zealand), Makere Harawira, who was one of several people to write in with
comments about the "pushing aside mass murder?" posting. I chose hers
because it happens to mention the UNDP, the source of the statistics on
priorities above and an organization which seems to be really doing some
good things... but which may be on its way to being "sold out"...

Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 22:26:02 +1200
From: Makere Harawira <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: Pushing aside mass murder?

Well done, Jan - good response. The trouble is that so few people have any
idea of the scullduggery that has been going on underneath it all. -
including the deliberate undermining of the UN by America - see the record
of its failure to pay its dues for several years, therby forcing UNDP into
partnership with some of the biggest criminals in the world - the TNC.s
Probably the most important thing that we can do is to raise people's
understanding of the underlying agendas involved. All of which is why what
you do is so utterly invaluable. 



PS from Jan: I'm not at all so sure that what I'm doing is so "utterly
invaluable" buts thanks all the same. And thanks to all the people who wrote
in with comments; it is so good to know you care!