OpEd

Falsifying the past: When executioners play victims

For Vučić and other nationalist leaders, as well as for the ideologues and propagandists of this inhuman worldview, the wars of the nineties began on March 24, 1999. According to the official politics of memory, there was neither the destruction of Vukovar, nor the shelling of Dubrovnik, no crime in Ovçare, neither the four-year siege of Sarajevo, nor ethnic cleansing in Podrinje, nor large concentration camps for non-Serbs, nor the fires of Korića, nor burning alive in Visegrad, nor hundreds of destroyed mosques, nor over a hundred thousand victims, nor mass rapes , nor the genocide in Srebrenica, nor the displacement of millions of people, nor all the other countless crimes.

In Serbia, on March 24, the 25th anniversary of the beginning of the NATO intervention against the RF of Yugoslavia was marked. This year, General Vladimir Lazarević also participated in the anniversary celebration, whom the state-forming "politics" and traditionally advocate of the truth presents as follows: "legendary commander of the Pristina Corps and of the Third Army of the Yugoslav Army during the war conflicts in Kosovo and Metohija and during the NATO aggression against the RF of Yugoslavia and Serbia". Lazareviqi spoke at the unveiling of the commemorative plaque of young Kosovar braves in the crypt of the church of St. Vasil of Ostrog in Nis. In his speech, he emphasized that "25 years ago there was aggression against our country, the purpose of which was the monstrous implementation of Hitler's blitzkrieg doctrine" and that the purpose of the NATO pact "was to leave no stone unturned without moving, force Serbia to kneel and pray". The general spoke much else in a similar style, but there is no point in quoting his words. It makes no sense because Lazarevic is a convicted war criminal.

The Hague Tribunal sentenced him to 14 years in prison for crimes against humanity, violations of the laws and customs of war and other inhumane acts. Together with him, Nikola Shainović, Nebojsha Pavković, Dragolub Ojdanić and Sreten Lukić were sentenced. All were convicted for crimes committed in Kosovo. What for the Hague Court and for the whole world is a crime, for the Serbian establishment is pride, that's why Lazarevic was included in the solemnity. Not in spite of the crimes committed, but precisely because of them.

Delayed protection

The selection of a general as speaker proves that the "naprednjak" regime maintains continuity with the time of Milosevic, with nationalist ideology, with ethnic cleansing and crimes against civilians committed in Kosovo, with refrigerators and mass cemeteries. In other words, with such a choice, the Serbian authorities only confirm that NATO's intervention was necessary, so that the army, police and paramilitary formations are prevented from committing even greater crimes and completely ridding Kosovo of Albanians and other non-Serb population.

What Lazarevic says is actually a delayed defense before the court. Everything he had to say about the war against the whole Western world, he had to say in the process. The general is not the only one who is prone to present such post festum arguments in his favour, a whole host of war criminals are regular guests of the media, where they explain how they have actually done nothing wrong, that they only defended their country.

There is a good reason why all those returned from the casemates pretend that the Serbian public is some kind of people. Unlike domestic public opinion, poisoned by more than ten years of propaganda, judges do not believe easily and rely only on facts. The accused has the right to fantasize, falsify, lie and make bizarre mental constructions, but the job of the court is not to nod to those fantasies, but to determine the factual situation. And for the nationalist herd, for all crime ideologues and fieldwork contractors – facts are age-old enemies. Banish all the lies, the truth is written in the verdict.

Fragmentation of the state

At the central ceremony in Prokuplje, the inevitable Aleksandar Vučić also spoke, who, let's recall, in 1999 was the Minister of Information in the Government of Serbia, that is, part of the power that brought the bombings on us. The president said that they "wanted to destroy our homeland, destroy Serbia, tear it apart". They did not want this, but to prevent the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo, which was in full swing, under the command of Slobodan Milosevic, whose minister was Vucic.

He also included the regular point of his repertoire known colloquially as "Serbs as Gauls": "There is a small nation in Europe, in a small country in a small territory, which still stands with pride and dignity, who does not agree with the invasion and orders from outside". Vučić didn't have to bother, he could simply quote a statement from his party boss and Deputy Prime Minister, Vojislav Sešel.

Vojvoda Chetnik, at the meeting of the Serbian Radical Party on February 27, 1999, declared with satisfaction: "If NATO bombings happen, if American aggression happens, we Serbs will suffer a lot, but there will be no Albanians in Kosovo." Hand on heart, both Sesheli and the entire regime did their best to fulfill their promise, so they expelled over 850.000 Albanians from Kosovo.

Vucic was also able to quote Vlastimir Gjorgjevic, who at the time of the bombings was the head of the Public Security Department of the Serbian Ministry of Internal Affairs. At the trial in The Hague, Gjorgjevic admitted that he was involved in the hiding of 744 bodies of civilian victims in the mass cemetery in Batajnica, as well as that he knew about the dumping of corpses in Lake Peruçac, so he apologized to the victims. He was sentenced to 18 years in prison for participating in the joint criminal enterprise of killing and expelling Albanian civilians from Kosovo in 1999.

The bombing was not inevitable

Unlike Gjorgjevic, Vucic never apologized for his participation in the political wing of the joint criminal enterprise in the wars of the nineties. In any other country, he would have been polished long ago, so we wouldn't be forced to listen to his lies and nonsense. Accounts of the dismemberment of the state would be comical if they did not refer to the terrible tragedy for which there are no corresponding words. That wonderful country, socialist Yugoslavia, was torn apart precisely by Vučić's comrades-in-arms, while he himself gave a modest boyish contribution to this, within his abilities.

Slobodan Milosevic and his clique caused four wars, committed aggression against neighboring countries, committed terrible crimes and genocide, and kept Kosovo in a state of apartheid, hitting the Albanians in every way. They were forbidden to study in the Albanian language, as well as publish newspapers, print books, fired hundreds of thousands of Albanians and exposed them to repression on a national basis. Socialists, radicals and their company did everything possible to expel Kosovo from Serbia, and now they complain that they succeeded in their goal.

And the bombing was not even inevitable. If Milosevic, Dacic, Sesheli, Nikolic, Vucic and the other knights of the apocalypse were not in power, the NATO intervention would never have happened. For months, the international community tried to convince the Serbian authorities to make the peace agreement, Richard Holbrooke met with Milosevic many times, Wesley Clark came many times, but the red and black coalition remained adamant. In the end they organized negotiations in Rambouillet near Paris, which lasted 17 days, but in vain, Milosevic and his clique did not agree to any agreement, even though they knew it would lead to bombings. For them, the bombing of Serbia was an interest, while they never cared about the lives of ordinary people, for them people are ordinary pawns that can be sacrificed as needed.

Coin for change

A quarter of a century has passed, and those responsible for the war with the NATO alliance still rule Serbia. Those who drove the citizens to war, give patriotic speeches, curse the Black West and play the victims. And, for 25 years they did not remember to make a list of those who lost their lives during the NATO intervention. The state does not care about the dead, they are only good as fuel to fuel nationalistic madness, as a coin for change. The Human Rights Fund determined the exact death toll and made a name-by-name record of the victims of NATO bombing.

756 people lost their lives – 454 civilians and 302 members of the armed forces. Among the civilians are 207 Serbs, 219 Albanians, 14 Roma civilians and 14 of other nationalities. State officials, regime media, but also most of the others do not know these numbers, maybe for them they are too few, maybe. For 78 days, as long as the war with the NATO alliance lasted, the Serbian army and police killed 7000 civilians.

No one stops at this last fact, it does not agree with the official narrative according to which Serbs are victims, while all others are criminals. And, these data deny exactly the executioners pretending to be victims. While they don't care about the real victims, not even about the Serbian ones, let alone the Albanian ones. Which is completely in line with the dominant nationalist ideology that despises human life.

Erasing the past

For Vučić and other nationalist leaders, as well as for the ideologues and propagandists of this inhuman worldview, the wars of the nineties began on March 24, 1999. According to the official politics of memory, there was neither the destruction of Vukovar, nor the shelling of Dubrovnik, no crime in Ovčara, neither the four-year siege of Sarajevo, nor the ethnic cleansing in Podrinje, nor the large concentration camps for non-Serbs, nor the firecrackers of Korića, nor burning alive in Visegrad, nor hundreds of destroyed mosques, nor over a hundred thousand victims, nor mass rapes, nor the genocide in Srebrenica, nor the displacement of millions of people, nor all the other countless crimes.

Milosevic's regime and its satellites for years wreaked havoc across the former Yugoslavia, shooting, shelling, torturing, deporting, robbing, raping, causing wanton suffering to innocent people, killing women, children, old people, burning villages and destroying cities. This incomprehensible evil, the extent of which is impossible to define, must be wiped away with a sponge and the murderers must be declared victims. In Serbia, the forces are weak, incredible, intellectual, political, ecclesiastical, media and all others to convince the citizens of the falsified image of the past. But even citizenship does not bring a voice, people like self-victimization, the position of the victim is comfortable, because it makes you absolutely irresponsible for anything. The symbiosis of the oppressed and the voluntarily deceived works perfectly, to the satisfaction of both parties.

*The article was taken from the Serbian portal: zurnal.info/Translated into Albanian: kdp.mk