Whos Ethnically Cleansing Whom in the Balkans?
Excerts from article by Mary Mostert, Analyst, May 19, 1999
Is the Chief Liar in the Balkans Bill Clinton or Slobodan Milosevic?
A reader worried that I believe too much in the "reliability of certain sources," especially as it related to two recently mentioned stories:
So, I thought this would be a good time to stop and clear the air, so to speak, about what I REALLY think. Do I REALLY "support Milosevic and the Serbs and their right to punish the Kosovos" because I hate Clinton? Well, actually, no. First, I dont hate anyone, not even the ones it is politically correct to hate in this situation - the Serbs. While I have been told by a number of people over the months about how terrible Milosevic is - frankly I have not seen proof that he has done all the different things people tell me he has done. Anger and resentment towards Milosevic ranges from complaints that he has "ethnically cleansed" the Albanians and other nationalities in the former Yugoslavia, to complaints that he has sat back and done nothing while militant minorities in Yugoslavia destroyed the country. Yet, as of 1997, Yugoslavia had experienced an increase in the percentage of Albanians living in the country from 8% in 1984 to 14% in 1997. This is "ethnic cleansing" of Albanians?
Being a logical person I just dont think both charges can be true. And, when I check my unemotional data sources, such as the World Almanac, I find that the groups Milosevic has been accused of "ethnically cleansing" have grown in power and actual numbers (the Albanians, for instance) while the Serbs appear to have LOST power and numbers.
Where are the "ethnically pure" pockets in the Balkans?
Well, Albania it the most ethnically pure - with 95% of its population Albanian, since it
got rid of its Greek minority just two years ago. Of the breakaway Yugoslav states, my
latest Almanac, for 1998, shows: · Croatia to be 78% Croatian and 12% Serb (the Serbs
were 18% of Croatia before the 1995 ethnic cleansing by Tudjman and NATO bombing, when
Serbs were driven out of Krajina and a reported 20,000 killed who didnt move fast
enough. In 1984, before Tito died and the break-up began, Croats were 20% of Yugoslavia
So, it would appear based on the numbers, whatever Milosevic can be accused of - ethnic cleansing is really not one of them. Hes got the only truly ethnically mixed state left of the former Yugoslavia. The breakaway republics, however, and Albania are ethnically pretty much ethnically cleansed of Serbs. Note, however, that while the former Yugoslavia was only 8% Albanian, the now existing Yugoslavia was 14% Albanian - with no Albanians listed in the breakaway republics of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Hercegovina.
One readers solution, which apparently the Clinton administration shares, along with CNN, is the arming of the Kosovar Albanians. Well, until recently, they WERE armed. What upset everyone and precipitated the NATO bombing was that nasty Milosevics move to disarm them. Yugoslav spokesmen - and this is verified by my trusty little World Almanacs - claim there actually were only something like 800,000 Albanians who were citizens of Kosovo before the huge influx of illegal aliens following the disintegration of the Stalinist Communist regime in Albania a few years ago. However, the Alliance is determined that 1,800,000 Albanians are going to live in Kosovo because thats the number they say were there before they started bombing and so many of them started leaving.
Did Milosevic and his army drive them out, or did the bombing drive them out? The answer to that seems to depend on who you are talking to.
And, that brings us to the second story - the one about refugee "actors" and NATO planning to bomb a refugee camp with Yugoslav type airplanes, painted with Yugoslav colors and insignia which the second writer thinks Im wrong about believing. Well, guess what? I dont believe it. Unless, of course, it happens, and it hasnt happened yet. The bombs that were dropped on Albanians camped in a parking lot in Korisa clearly did not fit that story - although they were bombed. NATO spokesman Jamie Shea claimed that Korisa was a "military target" and he "didnt know what those Albanians were doing there" but darkly suggested that the evil Serbs had forced them to camp there because they knew NATO probably would bomb the place and had forced them to be "human shields" for the military installation.
I have two small problems with that. First, although most of the 79 Albanians killed were so blown to pieces by the bombs that their body parts cannot be identified, 17 of the bodies were sufficiently intact that they were identified and I got an e-mail yesterday with the names, ages, birthplace and date of birth listed for those 17 identified bodies. And, guess what? All of the children identified were "born in the village of Korisa, Municipality of Prizren" and most of the identifiable adults were "born in the village of Korisa, Municipality of Prizren." They were in the village of Korisa because that was their home. They had come down from the mountains, were they were not finding very much to eat, because the Serbs told them it was OK. Apparently the only Serbs killed were a couple of policemen. No Serb soldier were there to kill.
Second, wheres the evidence of blown up military targets that should have been there? Why would Jamie Shea say he "didnt know what they were doing there?" Because he thinks ALL the Albanians should have left by now. Yet, he says, they are not targeting civilians. In Mondays NATO Press Conference, the CNN reporter asked: "Given where this crisis is at now, and given all that would have to be done to return all of the refugees to their homes, can that be done before winter sets in?"
Jamie Sheas long-winded response was: "We saw in the past in October, when many of them were internally displaced, they went back very quickly as soon as we had for a while a cease-fire and started to rebuild. Obviously they are going to need help from the international community particularly in terms of winterisation for their homes so that they can get through the winter but as I say, they are motivated and they live in a society with an enormous tradition of mutual help and assistance and so yes, I would expect that once the circumstances are right you'll see them returning very quickly indeed. The fact that most of them want to stay in the area rather than be evacuated to other countries shows just how keen they are to get home. "They will go back as soon as the air campaign has produced the results and the international security presence is there but they won't go home before the international security presence is there, that is clear, so the international community will have to ensure that we deploy those troops very quickly indeed to create that environment of safety but once that is there I expect they will start going back in their thousands particularly as they are very much in the region and therefore that transport could take place quickly. "
Huh? First, the residents of Korisa had stayed close to their village and, when there was a lull in the ground war between the KLA and the Yugoslav army, they went home to their village, based evidently solely on the assurance of the Serbs that all was well on the ground - only to be killed by NATO bombs. Shea ADMITS that as soon as there was a cease-fire in October, those hiding in the hills went home. They left again when the bombing started. Many of them - both Albanians and Serbs - fled Kosovo altogether. What Shea is saying in his confused way is that those Albanians in Korisa SHOULD HAVE LEFT so NATO could bomb the Serbs. Its not NATOs fault that they are dead. Its their own fault. They were supposed to leave so this bombing campaign that is not targeting civilians could kill only Serbs.
So, dear reader, never fear. I am not one to believe what either side SAYS, without some sort of empirical evidence - which is why I check population figures in World Almanacs. One side says the Croatians DIDNT drive the Serbs out of Croatia in 1995, and kill 20,000 (although 3 Croatian generals were recently indicted by the Hague for it), and the other side said they did, too. Who to believe? Check the demographics in the World Almanacs - and it says 6% of over 5 million people are no longer there - the Serbs. Thats 300,000 Serbs who disappeared out of Croatia from 1995 to 1997.
How come that didnt bother CNN and Jamie Shea, do you suppose?