Topic: General News.
And I say good riddance to bad trash. According to news reports he died in his prison cell of natural causes. His trial had been delayed many times because of his ill health, so his death is not that big of surprise, but it is unfortunate that all those who suffered from his cynical and brutal wars won't get the satisfaction of seeing him pay for what he did. Although, having gone from great Serbian hero to pathetic old man dying in a prison cell is a somewhat fitting end. Being a war criminal of the first order no one should morn his death, but of course, many will. Even some very uninformed right wing Americans will feel he was mistreated or argue that the international community had no right to have him arrested and tried.
When you consider how many Bosnian civilians were killed, how many cities and towns were destroyed, how many hundreds of thousands of Kosovars were chased from their homes and sent fleeing into Albania and elsewhere, its difficult to fathom how anyone could defend this piece of trash. And what about the Serbs of Krajina, who were sacrificed so Slobo could keep his hold on power? Radovan Karadzic himself wrote in an open letter to him in 1995, as the Croats with the help of the U.N. were ethnically cleansing the Serbs that, "You have turned your back on the Serbs. You have relented under foreign pressure which could be compared only to treason." Afterwards, even has he was launching his war in Kosovo four years later, in the name of protecting the Serbs of Kosovo, hundreds of refuges from Krajina were still living in tents in a football stadium in Pristina. That's how much he cared about his beloved Serbs. But they still love him; the fact that Karadzic and Ratco Mladic are still at large proves that. What Milosovic did in their name will hang over their heads for as long as they continue to protect the killers and the crooks that are responsible for the dilapidated state of their country and the worst example of European genocide since WW II.
Going through all the various crimes and brutalities of the Milosevic regime would take too long, but I would like to just recount an incident from the start of the Bosnian war that pretty much characterizes the MO of the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) under the command of Milosevic, although he claimed he had no hand in any of it. I quote from Yugoslavia: Death of a Nation, by Laura Silber and Allen Little, recounting the fall of the Bosnian town of Zvornik between April 8 and 10 1992.
On April 8, Serbian paramilitaries and JNA units massing outside Zvornik:
"Began shelling from the other side of the river (The Drina) --- from inside Serbia proper. Thousands began to flee --- two thousand alone heading across the bridge to Mail Zvornik. The next day, Arkan, commander of the feared paramilitary unit, known as the Tigers, issued an ultimatum, to the Muslims of Zvornik, who made up sixty percent of the town's population -- to surrender. When they failed to respond to the surrender call, Arkan moved in. Zvornik fell on April 10. Jose Maria Mendiluce, the UNHCR's most senior official in former Yugoslavia, was visiting Milosevic in Belgrade.
'He told me, as he did throughout the conflict, that he didn't have any control over the Bosnian Serbs, but he would try his moral authority.' Mendiluce left Belgrade with a promise that Milosevic would do everything in his power to support the UNHCR's mission in Bosnia. To return to Sarajevo, Mediluce had to pass through Zvornik. He chose the wrong day.
'When I arrived at the bridge [over the Drina which separates Serbia from Bosnia] I could hear explosions of artillery and mortar fire. There was great agitation on the Serbian side. Almost a kilometer from the bridge there were militiamen and JNA soldiers, all along the river.'
The Serbs and JNA forces who held that part of town were furious to find an outsider bearing witness to their storming of the town.
'I was detained for two hours. I realized I was at serious risk. I could see trucks full of dead bodies. I could see militiamen taking more corpses of children, women and old people from their homes and putting them on trucks. I saw at least four or five trucks full of corpses. When I arrived the cleansing had been done. There were no people, no one on the streets. It was all finished. There were looting, cleaning up the city after the massacre.' "
When Mediluce was allowed to leave he found five thousand refugees of the slaughter huddling in a narrow valley.
"'When I arrived in the car I was surrounded by 1000 people. They were all begging me, 'Save us, Save us!' with such despair that I stayed there for an hour trying to calm them down. There were lots of dead people, wounded children on the floor looking terrified --- absolutely terrified --- and we could hear the sound of mortar fire approaching.'"
There is no doubt that, contrary to Milosevic's contention that he had no hand in this, Belgrade was fully behind the slaughter. One of his own henchmen admitted it, extreme nationalist paramilitary leader Voljislav Seselj said "The Zvornik operation was planned in Belgrade. The Bosnian Serb forces took part in it. But the special units and the best combat units came from this side [Serbia]. These were police units --- the so-called Red Berets --- special units of the Serbian Interior Ministry of Belgrade. The army engaged itself to a small degree --- it gave artillery support where it was needed. The operation had been prepared for along time. It wasn't carried out in any kind of nervous fashion. Everything was well organized and implemented.'"
Especially the work of Arkan, Zeljko Raznjatovic, the leader of the Tigers, a band of marauders more interested in raping, killing and thieving than fighting for a "Greater Serbia." The litany of crimes committed by Arkan is long and bloody. Fortunately, he was gunned down in Belgrade in a hale of gunfire in what was suspected of being a gangland execution. To many he is still a great Serbian hero, but the fact is he was just a thug and a psychopath.
The death of Milosevic comes as the U.N. and Europeans leaders are getting down to brass tacks with the Serbian government over the final status of Kosovo, which has been a U.N. protectorate since 1999. The Serb negotiators have said they will never allow an independent Kosovo, but Jack Straw, the British Foreign Secretary Minister, said yesterday that Kosovo's independence was "almost inevitable." Negotiation begins again next week in Vienna, but I wouldn't hold my breath for any quick solution to this impasse.
UNMIK and Europeans say, "Arrivederci Roma:"
One more Kosovo related story here, which I've been meaning to write about but haven't got around to. In Mitrovica, a town in northern Kosovo which is ethnically split right down the middle by the Ibar river between Serbs and Kosovars, there's a Roma refugee that lies right on a mine that is poisoning children with lead. This situation has been allowed to go on since the end of the Kosovo war by the UNMIK and it's simply criminal. Even though, the UNMIK has finally gotten around to moving the Roma into better housing, the problem is that they're not moving then away from the danger. The mercury problem still exists. Where's the outrage?
Maybe, this explains the lack of outrage: The Europeans talk a good game about human rights and being enlightened when it comes to racism, but the treatment of Muslims in French, in particular, puts paid to that myth. And as bad as it is for the Muslims of Europe, they're lucky they're not the Roma. The European Court of Human Rights has just ruled that its A-OK for the Czechs to keep shunting Roma children into remedial schools for the mentally handicapped. The Court, said there was a problem but that it wasn't because of bigotry. Just because 90% of the children in these schools for slow kids are Roma, that doesn't mean they're being discriminated against, right? No, of course not, they're all retarded, that must be it. They're damn good at picking pockets though. So much for Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite.