FROM AMERICA & EUROPE WITH LOVE

The peace talks, prompted partly by the Račak massacre and attempting to get Serb and Albanian delegations to sign up to an agreement giving Kosovo substantial self-government, were held at the ancient Chateau of Rambouillet near Paris in Feb 1999. The Rambouillet agreement of the NATO powers looked like a game show with no multiple-choice questions, only one contestant and limited time to answer them. Furthermore, there were no ‘Ask the Audience’ or ‘Phone a Friend’ options, and the idea of the autonomy for Serbia’s southern province of Kosovo, along with an international military presence not only in Kosovo but also in other parts of Serbia, did not really sound appealing to the Serbian negotiators. Interestingly, additional demands were introduced in the final moments of the peace talks after Serbia had already agreed to the main proposals, which practically guaranteed the negative outcome. Now the other side wanted ‘free and unrestricted passage and unimpeded access throughout the FRY (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) including associated airspace and territorial waters, without limits or obligations or concern for the laws of the country or the jurisdiction of its authorities, who are, however, required to follow NATO orders on a priority basis and with all appropriate means’ (source: Kosovo Peace Accord, Noam Chomsky). The idea of ‘complete military occupation and political control of Kosovo by NATO, and effective NATO military occupation of the rest of Yugoslavia at NATO’s will’ that the Rambouillet Agreement called for was unacceptable for the Serbian officials. We can’t really blame them, can we?

President Milošević reluctantly went back to school. With his digressive questions, he was clearly trying the professors’ patience, who (kindly) asked that all questions be asked at end of the lecture. Moreover, the U.S. and NATO were offended and humiliated in front of the whole class by his contemptuous refusal to play by the book. However, they didn’t wallow in their distress long, and decided to plan for the future. If they walked away after having their mind set on making use of those bombs…eh…bringing us democracy, it would be embarrassing, right? Of course, Kosovo cannot be viewed separately from the Yugoslav wars. The behavior of the Serbian state in Croatia and Bosnia, when the JNA (Yugoslav People’s Army) under the control of the authorities in Belgrade had the upper hand, resulted in crimes against humanity and destruction of cities. It was obviously payback time. Be that as it may, violence is Washington’s strong card, and guaranteeing the credibility of NATO a must, especially at the time of celebrating the golden wedding anniversary. What better way to do so than making others scared of ‘the Global Minotaur?’ Very scared. To avoid their credibility becoming incredible, the Bogeymen in charge said loud and clear there was NO alternative to bombing, closing the chapter and inventing the new rules. Being the usual suspect is no fun though, hands down, we were nothing but collateral damage. We came in handy, being in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was nothing personal. It was all about a fit at the given moment, which we didn’t. If it hadn’t been us, it would have been someone else. Anyhow, we were persuaded it was all for our own good, the ‘intervention/operation’ being lovingly called ‘humanitarian’ or, to be more precise, ‘Noble Anvil.’

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Every anniversary is a milestone. Long-time couples often find great romance in seeking the most memorable ways of reaffirming their love for each other. Our couple, Washington and Brussels, first went on a picnic, popping open a bottle of champagne, and viewing the incredible sunrise hand in hand, which seemed more like a sunset to us. Then, they brought back the memories when they were young and used to spend a lot of time making out. Later that day, they lit some candles, gave each other a sensual massage, and spiced things up by trying new sexual positions. The evening culminated in renewing their wedding vows, promising love till the end of times (or at least the world) and exchanging gifts. Wedding anniversary presents are often themed to the year. Sexy lingerie, chocolate, flowers and jewelry are so out. This is when they thought of us (oh my God, we are golden!), and went shooting to blow off some steam. Charming, isn’t it? Happy Anniversary! We wish you many happy returns, your love getting stronger and stronger with time by making others weaker and weaker.

After 11 hours in the torture chamber, the peace talks failed, as Milošević refused to sign the generous proposal of the States and NATO. Clinton administration thought ‘NATO should be able to act independently of the United Nations.’ According to Chomsky, the bombing of the FRY, made of Serbia and Montenegro, in March ‘99, ‘threatened to undermine a growing democratic movement in Serbia, jeopardizing the lives of 10 million people,’ but, who was thinking about democracy when there were lives to save. There would undoubtedly be many fatalities along the way, not to mention a huge refugee flow that would follow the bombing, but that’s the price of peace, n’est-ce pas?

I was an English Language and Literature student, and had been living in the city of Niš in the south of Serbia for a few years. I recall mom’s trembling voice crackling over the receiver sometime in March. Something has gone horribly wrong. There will be bombing. Take the first train home right away. Mom, what happened? You’re overreacting. Calm down. Right away, I said! For a few seconds, I was deprived of physical sensation and responsiveness. I was frozen to the point that I didn’t know what to tell my sister. We laughed when I finally did, concluding mom was blowing it out of proportions, as ever. She had been watching too many whodunits again. The thing is, she had a bad feeling, apart from listening to the news 24/7 and thought we’d be safer in a smaller town. Besides, she wanted us to be together. Eventually, we joined our parents because we knew they’d be worried sick if we hadn’t, hoping to shortly pick our lives up right where we’d left off.

The decision to bomb Serbia and Montenegro was ultimately made without Security Council authorization. U.S.-led NATO forces launched cruise missiles at targets in Yugoslavia, ‘plunging America into a military conflict that President Clinton said was necessary to stop ethnic cleansing (in Kosovo) and bring stability to Eastern Europe’ (source: Crisis in the Balkans, Chomsky). In a televised address, he explained that by bombing Yugoslavia, ‘we are upholding our values, protecting our interests, and advancing the cause of peace.’ Values, interests and peace. Wow, right?

“As President Bill Clinton and his coterie of ‘experts’ and media cheerleaders rejoiced in the first US ‘humanitarian’ bombs on Yugoslavia, Rep. Ron Paul was singing a different tune. ‘This cannot be a proud moment for America. Serbia has not invaded another country, but is involved in a nasty civil war with both sides contributing to the violence…Meddling in the internal affairs of a nation involved in a civil war is illegal and dangerous,’ he said on the US House Floor on March 24” (source: Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity). But, the missiles kept falling like rain. Needless to say, there’s more to this. The responsibility of the West at the time when the conflicts could have and should been prevented by supporting peace instead of military initiatives is indisputable. Let’s not forget that Milošević was once seen as ‘a factor of peace and stability in the Balkans.’

Once the party began, people started regularly sharing their most terrifying and funniest experiences under the bombs. The world went on spinning without us. I was 22, single and hopeless about life. Every evening when I’d turn in, I’d put on the headphones to muffle the sound of the planes. I made up my mind from the get-go that Bowie was ideal to die to.


 

* Originally published at Morality Park

Author: Blogging_with_Bojana

I'm diggin' Need to grow, have to push Flicking through vinyl and feeding the rush I dig for that one and I open the haunt It's takin' all day from the back to the front I'm diggin' and diggin' You know Sorry baby I'm gone diggin' www.bloggingwithbojana.com

79 thoughts on “FROM AMERICA & EUROPE WITH LOVE”

  1. Fantastic writing. I love the narration and got to know more about history (the series you are writing is amazing). It was interesting (rather happy) to know that you were an English Language and Literature student. BTW, I like the term ‘Global Minotaur’!

    Liked by 3 people

      1. He is Greek. He’s an economist and a former Minister of Finance. He explains it all in the book. I read quite a few. I love ‘Talking to My Daughter About the Economy: A Brief History of Capitalism.’ Getting ready to start
        ‘And the Weak Suffer What They Must.’

        Liked by 2 people

  2. This continues to be fascinating, the way you combine history with personal experience. That last line made me catch my breath–I’ve never had to even contemplate something like that. I was also an English Language and Literature student, for the record–good to know there are lots of us about!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Welcome to the club. I also studied English Language and Literature. Your writing is impacting, Bojana. What a horrible time spent under the bombs. As you know I want Catalonia’s independence peacefully even if that means a much longer process in time. I am sometimes so scared of the continuous uncertainty we live in since October 1 from last year…

      Liked by 3 people

  3. I’m still just in a near state of dumbfounded shock. Every new installment of this series you write is better than the one before it.

    I can’t help but feel shame regardless of the inability to impact anything. Another testament to the power of your retelling these events.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. Yes, I’ve read another and was so blown away. We learned a bit growing up in Australia, but your accounts are profoundly moving. I’m so glad you write them! I’m just not on WP as much as I used to be, so I’ve missed quite a bit. I’d love to read the other ones!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It is my pleasure! Politics and Hollywood in the west are one and the same it seems.
        I have a friend from high school who is Serbian. His perspective was interesting to me. But we haven’t talked about it for ages. I’d be so interested to talk to him again about it after all these years.
        Thanks for the links!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I can’t stop thinking of this line, “but that’s the price of peace, n’est-ce pas?”

    Ahh, but it’s all in the name of God, sister of mine. We bomb for Jesus.

    Our Ballot Monsters pull together a few popular Pulpit Pimps to perform a little playhouse theater in the Oval Office for the benefit of the press and the duly sanctified. You know, those who passed catechism or vacation bible school, but failed basic humanity.

    They sing Kumbya repeatedly in corporate owned arenas – where they remind everyone endlessly of their own greatness, their heaven-ordained manifest destiny, and their obligation to free the oppressed. Especially if the oppressed be oppressed on land rich with natural resources. Just sayin’

    [That’ll be 10% of your income please. The Pimps need private jets to spread that message and the Ballot Monster needs fighter jets to spread freedom and democracy]

    Then they’ll bomb the fuck out of your country to set you free so you can skip down the Yellow Brick Road (once you rebuild it – if you can rebuild it) to the land of democracy.

    If you can’t rebuild it, well that’s really unfortunate, ‘cause we don’t have any good hymns for rebuilding countries we blow up.

    But, fear not! There’s always the reckoning and I s’pect it’ll be a doozy. I’m guessing prime real estate will be a steal here.

    As always, your voice is incredibly potent and supremely prophetic.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You said the right thing, sis: ‘Their obligation to free the oppressed, esp.if the oppressed be oppressed on land rich with natural resources.’ And my favorite by far is killing in the name of God. Jesus died in vain…
      As Rage Against the Machine said once:
      Some of those that work forces, are the same that burn crosses.

      Thank you, luv. If only there were more people who think like you.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It’s horrific for me to hear people try to shape the destruction of earth and the killing of human beings or ANY living thing – as a RIGHTEOUS undertaking.

        I called bullshit on that in 1972 when I was 14 years old and opened my young eyes to SEE, ears to LISTEN, and mouth to QUESTION the brutal and savage destruction I saw nightly on our black & white television set.

        No one, and I mean NO ONE, could then or will now talk to me about their ‘JUST WAR THEORY’ again. And sister, I’m a military daughter & wife. I just don’t like Kool-Aid.

        If you need to blow shit up and kill others to prove your balls are bigger – OWN IT, MUTHAFU@$ER – don’t blame it on God.

        Call it retaliation, self-defense, fear, arrogance, greed, power grab, or just plain evil. Call it any fucking thing you want – but don’t call it righteous!!!

        As I said before, pay back’s a bitch. One truth I discovered in these sixty years of life is the boomerang effect. You can only throw your weight around so long before the destruction comes soaring back. There will always be people who get tired of bowing down and then they stand up and fight back. And they are motivated by revenge – not pretty.

        Well, that and empires aren’t known for their longevity anyway, are they 😐.

        After all, everybody wants to rule the world . . . .

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Killing in the name of God is nth new to the scarred history of mankind.
        Bullshit is easier to sell if the killing’s done in sb’s name. Jesus or Allah always come in handy. I wonder how ‘the most religious’ ones come to be so violent? Maybe because their faith knows only one god – money.
        I wonder if we’ll ever learn that violence for the sake of peace only causes more problems.

        Liked by 3 people

      3. PS – don’t think I’m a martyr of some kind, Sister of Mine. If someone attacks me, I’m gonna fight back like hell. I just won’t EVER say God made me do it 😊

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Another engaging, insightful, and educational chapter, madame. It has been too long!

    The story is as old as time. We have a peace treaty for you, we want everything you have in exchange for it, and if you don’t sign it we’ll blow you up good. Kind of like Miller, from the 5th grade: You’re my friend. Give me your lunch money. Or I’ll beat you up. God, I hated Miller.

    Had you stayed in Niš, would you have been under bomb?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The whole country was under bomb, so it made no difference where you were. Will talk about it next…

      Do what we tell you to and we’ll blow you up, either way…Or like that Miller guy. I’ll beat you up anyway…sooner or later, cos I need to let off some steam, show everybody who’s the tough guy and not to be messed around with and yes….I want your money. Your money is actually my money.

      (Thanks, Tom. Yes, it’s been too long, I agree. You’ll be happy to know I’m back to prose).

      Liked by 1 person

  6. 😦 We had just found a litter of puppies in our trash and were raising three by the bottle feeding them every three hours as we listened to the planes flying above us on a nightly basis. It felt like a terrible mistake and a bully action. I’m glad you got Bowie.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I cannot imagine what you have gone through. The account is well-written peppered with sarcasm. I learned things I had little knowledge of and I am an American. An ashamed one. I stay away from the news and politics simply because I suffer so much with illness but after reading this I have decided I need to be better informed.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Keep staying away from politicians if you want to keep your peace of mind and remain unbiased, Nancy, but please keep an eye open for real stories and real people.
      I appreciate your reading and I’d like you to join me on my trip down the memory lane, not a very fortunate one, I’m afraid, but very real. Lots of Americans have taken interest in it, which fills me with humbleness and appreciation and gives me hope for the future of mankind.
      There will be a lot more stories to tell, so stay around.

      If you’d like to hear the whole story, you need to start from scratch. I appreciate your taking the time to hear me out. I’ll paste all the posts I’ve written on pre-war and war years in Yugoslavia so far. Make sure you read them in this very order. Thank you again, Nancy.

      https://bloggingwithbojana.com/2018/02/08/the-marriage-of-heaven-and-hell/
      https://bloggingwithbojana.com/2018/02/22/the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly/
      https://bloggingwithbojana.com/2018/03/07/welcome-to-absurdistan/
      https://bloggingwithbojana.com/2018/03/23/years-of-living-dangerously/
      https://bloggingwithbojana.com/2018/05/10/the-sound-and-the-fury/
      https://bloggingwithbojana.com/2018/05/31/noise-in-fashion/
      https://bloggingwithbojana.com/2018/06/14/sleepwalking-the-minefieldbojana-stojcic/
      https://bloggingwithbojana.com/2018/06/29/putting-out-the-fire-with-gasoline-or-did-you-call-moi-a-dipshit-bojana-stojcic/

      Then comes the last installment:
      https://bloggingwithbojana.com/2018/10/23/from-america-europe-with-love/

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Whew, what an article young lady, what an article. I am going to reblog this for you, hopefully this action will help get a few more people to read this article and hopefully decide to follow your blog. You are one heck of a good writer and you have been forced to live one hell of a life. We could probably sit at a table together for several days and I would be pleased just listening to you talk, I know that I could learn alot of things from you.

    Liked by 2 people

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