Milosevic: The message is meant for us

by Andonis Karkayannis

(“Kathimerini”, July 1, 2001)

These words are not written for Milosevic, but for us. Milosevic has lost the battle and now faces the fate of all the vanquished. What I ask you to do is to pay attention to the message they are communicating to us through Milosevic. You have all seen the video showing his abduction and hand-over. It was possible that this little piece of film might never have been shot or shown, and don’t try telling me that we owe it to some amateur who just happened to be covertly observing the scene. The film was shot quite deliberately for us all to see, and for us all to be terrorised by the savagery of the dark night which appears to be descending upon us. And to make sure we understand just how weak, impotent and defenceless we are.

There was no reason to fasten his hands behind his back, as they appeared to have done. He had absolutely no chance of escaping, surrounded as he was by dozens of guards. Even if he had had such a chance, I do not believe he would have taken it. They fastened his hands in order to humiliate him, and most of all to humiliate the people he once led. Look what we can do to you and your leaders. They abducted him illegally, like gangsters, although with a little patience they could have taken him ‘by due process of law’. They just wanted to show us that the process of law means nothing to them, that it is the ‘law’ of force and power which counts for them. The constitutional court of the country had not approved the extradition order, and the country’s elected president learnt of the abduction from the television! And most important of all: having bombed and sanctioned a whole people into a state of desperate poverty and hunger, now they buy it for thirty pieces of silver. They might have done it discreetly, without publicity, but they wanted us all to know that they have the power to extort whatever they want. That they have the power to terrorise, to humiliate, to trample on legal forms and take whatever they want by force – this is the message they wished to send us. But they needn’t have bothered. We have already understood all too well from the results and the ultimate objectives of the intervention in Kosovo, where they have set up and armed, and now protect, gangs of terrorists, in order to destabilise all the countries of the Balkans.

And just what is this International War Crimes Tribunal at the Hague, this court which will try Milosevic? It may draw its legitimacy from the UN and from international agreements, but no court is legitimate when it administers only selective justice. It will try Milosevic for crimes against humanity, but will it try the Croat, Bosnian and Kosovan leaders guilty of the same crimes? Will it try those responsible for the slaughter of thousands of unarmed civilians in the bombardment of Yugoslavia? Will it try those who used bombs containing enriched uranium (and who do not even deny it) in Yugoslavia and the Persian Gulf? Let us not deceive ourselves. The Tribunal at the Hague is a tool of the Americans, a body set up to serve political expediencies.

There is still the hope, however, that the Milosevic trial will rebound on its organisers. For if Milosevic knows his own crimes (and if he committed crimes he must be aware of them) then he certainly also knows of the crimes committed by others. No doubt his accusers will do their utmost to destroy Milosevic, morally and spiritually, to prevent him from accusing them in his turn. But he may prove too strong for them. And if that happens, we may yet see the accused become the accuser.

 

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