Leopold von Ranke (born Dec. 21, 1795 – died May 23, 1886), leading German historian of the 19th century, whose scholarly method and way of teaching (he was the first to establish a historical seminar) had a great influence on Western historiography. He was ennobled (with the addition of von to his name) in 1865.
Sir Arthur Evans (born July 8, 1851 – died July 11, 1941), British archaeologist who excavated the ruins of the ancient city of Knossos in Crete and uncovered evidence of a sophisticated Bronze Age civilization, which he named Minoan. His work was one of archaeology’s major achievements and greatly advanced the study of European and eastern Mediterranean prehistory.
Victor Hugo (born Feb. 26, 1802 – died May 22, 1885), poet, novelist, and dramatist who was the most important of the French Romantic writers. Though regarded in France as one of that country’s greatest poets, he is better known abroad for such novels as Notre Dame de Paris (1831) and Les Misérables (1862).
Michael Parenti’s “To Kill a Nation” is a book about the fall of Yugoslavia, the media’s role in facilitating its fall by demonizing the Serbs, and the West’s efforts to force the former states of Yugoslavia into the free-market. Parenti brings to the surface various unpublished reports and articles, data from independent parties and countries, blatantly hostile foreign policies of Western powers, and a lot of other valuable but essentially unknown information that proves the picture painted of the Serbs during the 90’s isn’t as simple as the media would have us think. He draws his information from official American public policy, neutral countries’ reports on what was happening on the ground (which was contrary to what was being reported by Western journalists), and other such concrete sources, which leaves little room for speculation and further strengthens his argument.
“Just like an individual, a people that has accepted Islam is thereafter incapable of living and dying for any other ideal. It is unthinkable that a Muslim should sacrifice himself for any other ruler, no matter who he might be, or for the glory of any nation or party, because the strongest Islamic instinct recognizes in this a kind of paganism or idolatry. A Muslim can only die in the name of Allah and for the glory of Islam, or flee the battlefield.” (Page 6)
This should lay waste to claims that were made by many during the war that Izetbegović was fighting for a multi-ethnical state.
“The alternative is stark: either a move towards Islamic re-newal, or passivity and stagnation. For the Muslim peoples, there is no third possibility.” (Page 7)
This was the view of Izetbegović, but the fact is that this sort of thinking was far from shared by the majority of his people. Most Bosnian Muslims were secular and not particularly faithful. It only after the fall of Yugoslavia and almost four years of massacring of each other that his vision could be made possible.
“The Islamic order can only be established in countries where Muslims represent the majority of the population.If this is not the case, the Islamic order is reduced to mere power (as the other element – the Islamic society – is missing) and may turn to violence.” (Page 49-50)
Though it is true that Bosnia isn’t mentioned in the book, Izetbegovć of course didn’t plan to Islamize some other people than his own. He knew and many times emphasized that Bosnian Muslims were the biggest group in the country, and hence they were 7 per cent away from being in the majority and this close to establishing an Islamic order.
“The choice of this movement is always a tangible one and depends on a series of factors. There is, though, a general rule: the Islamic movement should and can start to take over power as soon as it is morally and numerically strong to be able to overturn the existing non-Islamic government, but also to build up a new Islamic one.” (Page 56-57)
This was why it was inevitable that, if Bosnia was to be independent, it would have to be as a federation. This was something which was agreed by everyone before the outbreak of the war, but Izetbegović revoked his signature from the agreement that was made in Lisbon. This happened under the influence of the United States, who encouraged him to declare the independence of a country where he still only represented a minority.
In this BBC documentary about Kosovo you will see William Walker caught in several lies, what kind of imbecile he really is, Hashim Thaci admitting that Račak was a KLA stronghold, as well as the effect of NATO’s “moral crusade” and the reality of the war.
Ever since Slobodan Milošević held his speech at Gazimestan on 28 June 1989, commemorating the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo, it has been elevated by Milosevic’s enemies, the media and the ICTY Prosecution into one of the key moments in his political career. This is because of a glancing reference he made to battles which the Serbs faced: the Prosecution alleged that the speech was a disguised call to arms. These allegations of nationalism persisted even though throughout Milosevic’s decade-long political career, none of his very numerous enemies ever once managed to produce a single quotation from him which could be called “nationalistic.”
This is of course something Milošević himself brought up at his trial on occasions when he was accused of being a vicious nationalist. Testimonies at the trial from influential people such as Lord Owen, stating that Milošević was the only leader in the region who wanted peace, and who referred to him as being not a “nationalist” but “pragmatic”, prove that Milošević was not what he is still portrayed as. (Ironically enough, Lord Owen was called to stand witness by the Prosecution, but like in the case of many of the Prosecution witnesses its expectations backfired).
The speech, well it was in the style of this: “Serbia has never had only Serbs living in it. Today, more than in the past, members of other peoples and nationalities also live in it. This is not a disadvantage for Serbia. I am truly convinced that it is its advantage. National composition of almost all countries in the world today, particularly developed once, has also been changing in this direction. Citizens of different nationalities, religions, and races have been living together more and more frequently and more and more successfully.”
Ustasha functionaries showed up at the predominantly Serbian village of Prebilovci on the eastern side of the Neretva and other Serb enclaves and announced to the villagers that they were all going to be deported to Belgrade. The Serbs were told they were going to be reunited with the Serbian fatherland, a prospect that took the edge off their anger and anxiety. So the Serbs showed up in their best clothes as they marched off to the train station, to become one more dislocated group in a Europe that seemed full of dislocation and people who went off in trains and never came back. The Serbs of Prebilovci were herded together with other Serbs from the western part of Herzegovina and eventually six carloads of them were sent off on a train that was supposedly to take them back to Belgrade. The train ride was much shorter than expected, at least as expected by the Serb passengers, who were ordered out of the six cars they occupied at a town called Surmanci, on the west bank of the Neretva, and marched off into the hills never to return.
Roughly three months later, Bishop Zanic’s predecessor, Aloysije Misic, ordinary of Mostar, the ornate Ottoman town a few train stations upstream from Surmanci, wrote to Cardinal Stepinac, primate of the once and future Yugoslavia, a man who would end up in prison at the hands of Tito’s revolutionary justice, and told him of disquieting reports of atrocities perpetrated against the Serbs in his diocese. “Men are captured like animals,” Misic wrote, “they are slaughtered, murdered; living men are thrown off cliffs… From Mostar and from Capljina a train took six carloads of mothers, young girls, and children… to Surmanci… They were led up the mountains and… thrown alive off the precipices… In… Mostar itself they have been found by the hundreds, taken in wagons outside the town and then shot down like animals.” Eventually around 600 Serbs, including priests, women, and children, were thrown into the pit above Surmanci and then, after throwing hand grenades in on top of them, the Ustashe thugs buried them, most probably still alive.
NATO alleged that Yugoslav forces were making massive attacks against ethnic Albanian civilians in Kosovo in pursuit of a programme of racial persecution known as ‘ethnic cleansing’. This claim lay at the very heart of the NATO case for war and of the indictment of Milošević and the other Yugoslav leaders. ‘It is no exaggeration,’ wrote the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, ‘to say what is happening in Kosovo is racial genocide. Milošević is determined to wipe a people from the face of his country.’ Blair went into overdrive: ‘Children seeing their fathers dragged away to be shot. Thousands executed. Tens of thousands beaten. 100,000 men missing. 1.5 million people driven from their homes.’
The world’s media joined in the frenzy. Lurid atrocity ‘reporting’ spread like a collective madness. Saturation coverage was provided of weeping Albanian refugees and the wildest stories about mass killings abounded. At one point, for instance, it was claimed that the Serbs, like the Nazis at Auschwitz, were burning the bodies of 1,500 murdered Albanians in the incinerators at the Trepča Mining Complex. Some of those who set themselves up as leading authorities on the Balkans fell for this blatant piece of war propaganda, even though it turned out to be completely false.
These stories were driven by the war propaganda emanating from the governments of the most powerful Western countries, primarily the United States. The US State Department produced a report in May 1999, during the bombing, entitled ‘Erasing History’, which alleged that ‘The regime of Slobodan Milošević is conducting a campaign of forced migration on a scale not seen in Europe since the Second World War.’ The report contained numerous falsehoods, from the overall allegation of genocide (which was so unsustainable that it was never included in the Kosovo indictment, not even when this was revised in June 2001, two years after the end of hostilities), to specific claims such as one that the Kosovar capital, Priština, had become ‘a ghost town’ when in fact, there were still hundreds of thousands of people living there.
Leading statesman fed the media with huge casualty figures, secure in the knowledge that their claims would be reported as fact before anything could be checked. In April, the US Ambassador for War Crimes, David Scheffer, said he thought 100,000 Albanians had been killed, a figure repeated by US Defense Secretary William Cohen the following month. Cohen’s claims were widely reported the following day as fact. The British government was a little more circumspect, preferring the figure of ‘10,000 killed’, a figure it initially mooted in June 1999 but which it stuck to until well into the following year.
These claims of genocide had a general and a particular function. Their general function was to work as war propaganda. Their particular function was a legal one. Genocide is a specific crime in international humanitarian law, coming under ‘universal jurisdiction’, and the existing treaties on it require all states to prosecute those accused of it. NATO leaders pretended that this meant there exists a right of ‘humanitarian intervention’ where genocide is occurring, while in fact there does not.
The centrepiece of NATO’s claim in this regard was ‘Operation Horseshoe’. This was allegedly a Serbian plan to drive out the Albanian population from Kosovo in order to establish ethnic Serb hegemony in that province. The NATO spokesman, Jamie Shea, referred frequently to Operation Horseshoe in his press conferences while the bombing was in progress, and the media reported it as fact. Eventually, it turned out to be an invention of the secret services of Western states. The game was given away when the document allegedly outlining it had ‘horseshoe’ written in the Croatian not Serbian form of the word (potkova instead of potkovica).