Regardless of our opinion about Slobodan Milosevic now, 12 years after his overthrow on October 5, 2000 or our feelings about him back then, this speech is an important historical document as well as an important warning to people living in Serbia and in other former Republics of Yugoslavia. It is also a must read for people in Arab countries that were recently a stage for the so called "Arab Spring". I doubt that young people in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya or Syria are ready to hear this message now, but I hope some of them will take time to learn from the past events in this once grand country that is now reduced to what Milosevic described in this speech: National humiliation, state fragmentation and social misery...
Belgrade - October 2, 2000
In the expectation of a second round of election, I'd like to take the opportunity to explain my views on the political situation in our country, especially in Serbia. As you know, efforts have been underway for a whole decade to put the whole Balkan Peninsula under the control of certain Western powers. A big part of that job was accomplished by establishing puppet governments in some countries, by transforming them into countries with limited sovereignty or no sovereignty at all.
Because we resisted, we have been subjected to all the pressures that can be applied to people in today's world. The number and intensity of these pressures multiplied as time went by.
All the experience that the big powers gained in the second half of the 20th century in overthrowing governments, causing unrest, instigating civil wars, disparaging or liquidating national freedom fighters, bringing states and nations to the brink of poverty - all this was applied to our country and our people.
The events unfolding around our elections are part of the organized persecution of our country and our people because we constitute a barrier to the full domination of the Balkan Peninsula.
For a long time there has been a grouping among us which, under the guise of being pro-democratic, have in fact represented the interests of the governments attacking Yugoslavia, especially Serbia.
During the elections that group called itself the 'Democratic' Opposition of Serbia.
Its boss is not its presidential candidate.
Its boss is the president of the Democratic Party. For years he has collaborated with the military alliance that attacked our country. He could not even hide his collaboration. In fact, our entire public knows that he appealed to NATO to bomb Serbia for as many weeks as necessary to break its resistance.
So the 'democratic' grouping organized for these elections represents the armies and governments which recently waged war against Yugoslavia.
At the behest of these foreign powers our 'democrats' told the people that they would make Yugoslavia be free of war and violence, that Yugoslavia would prosper, the living standard would improve visibly and fast, that Yugoslavia would rejoin international institutions, and on and on.
It is my duty to warn you publicly, while there is time, that these promises are false. The situation is quite different.
It is precisely our policy which allows peace and theirs which guarantees lasting conflict and violence, and I shall tell you why.
With the establishment of an administration supported or installed by NATO, Yugoslavia would quickly be dismembered.
|General location of the political entities known as Yugoslavia.|
The precise borders varied over the years. Source
These are not NATO's intentions alone. These are the pre-election promises of the Democratic Opposition of Serbia. We have heard from its representatives that [the section of Serbia known as the] Sandzak would get the autonomy advocated by one of its coalition members, Sulejman Ugljanin, leader of a separatist Muslim organization. This autonomy, which Sulejman Ugljanin has been advocating for ten years, would in fact mean a definite separation of Sandzak from Serbia.
Their promises also include giving [the Serbian Province of ] Vojvodina an autonomy that would not only separate it from Serbia and Yugoslavia but would in fact make it an integral part of neighboring Hungary.
In a similar manner other areas would be separated from Serbia, especially its border areas.
The annexation of these areas by neighboring states has for a long time been a hot issue in those states which have continuously incited their minorities in Yugoslavia to help integrate parts of our country into neighboring states.
Within this policy of dismembering Yugoslavia, Kosovo would be the first victim. Its present status would be proclaimed legal and final. It is the first part of Serbian territory to which Serbia would have to bid farewell, without even a hope that we could reclaim this part of our country.
The territory that would be left to bear the name Serbia would be occupied by international forces, US or some other. They would treat our land as their military training ground, as their private preserve, to be controlled in accord with the interests of the occupying power.
We have been looking at cases of such control and its consequences for decades, and especially in this past decade, in many countries around the world, unfortunately lately even in Europe, for instance in Kosovo, Republic of Srpska and Macedonia, in our immediate neighborhood.
The people of Serbia would know the fate of the Kurds, with a prospect of being exterminated more speedily than the Kurds since they are less numerous, and since their movements would be limited to a much smaller area than the one in which Kurds have been present for decades.
As for Montenegro, its fate would be left in the hands of the Mafia, whose rules of the game should be made well known to the citizens: any breach of discipline and especially any opposition to Mafia interests is punishable by death without any right to appeal.
I have presented you the fate of Yugoslavia in the event that the NATO option were accepted in order to warn you that, in addition to loss of land and the humiliation of the people, all would live under a regime of ceaseless violence.
The new owners of what had been Yugoslavia's state territory and the occupiers of what was left of Serbian territory would, predictably, terrorize the population whose territory they had seized.
The Serbian people would be forced to fight continuously for the re-establishment of a Serb state in which the people could reassemble.
These Imperial powers do not want peace or prosperity in the Balkans. They want this to be a zone of permanent conflicts and wars which would provide them with an alibi for maintaining a lasting presence.
A puppet administration therefore guarantees violence, possibly many years of war, anything but peace. Only self-administration makes peace possible.
And there is more. All countries finding themselves with limited sovereignty and with governments controlled by foreign powers, speedily become impoverished in a way that destroys all hope for more just and humane social relations.
A great division into a poor majority and a rich minority, this has been the picture in Eastern Europe for some years now that we can all see.
That picture would also include us. Under the control of the new owners of our country we too would quickly have a tremendous majority of the very poor, whose prospects of coming out of their poverty would be very uncertain, very distant.
The rich minority would be made up of the black marketeering elite, which would be allowed to stay rich only on condition that it was fully loyal to the outside, controlling powers.
Public and social property would quickly be transformed into private property, but its owners, as demonstrated by the experience of our neighbors, would be foreigners. Among the few exceptions would be those who would buy their right to own property by their loyalty and submission, which would lead to the elimination of elementary national and human dignity.
The greatest national assets in such circumstances become the property of foreigners, and the people who used to manage them continue to do so, but as employees of foreign companies in their own country.
National humiliation, state fragmentation and social misery would necessarily lead to many forms of social pathology, of which crime would be the first. This is not just a supposition, this is the experience of all countries which have taken the path that we are trying to avoid at any cost.
The capitals of European crime are no longer in the west, they were moved to Eastern Europe a decade ago.
Our people find it hard to bear even the present crime incidence, because for a long time, from World War II to the nineties we lived in a society which knew hardly any crime. This tremendous increase in crime, such as cannot be avoided in a society such as we would become with the loss of our sovereignty and a large part of our territory, such wider crime would be as dangerous for our people, few in numbers and unused to crime, just as war is dangerous for society and its citizens.
One of the essential tasks of a puppet government in any country, including ours, were we to have such a government, is loss of identity.
Countries under foreign command quickly forget their history, their past, their tradition, their national symbols, their way of living, often their own literary language.
Our national identity would be scrutinized, invisibly at first, but very efficiently and mercilessly, and certain aspects of national identity would be selected, reducing it to a few local dishes, a few songs and folk dances, with the names of national heroes used as brand names for food products or cosmetics.
One of the really obvious consequences of the takeover of countries by the big powers in the 20th century is the annihilation of the people's national identity.
The experience of other countries shows that people can hardly come to terms with the speed with which they must start using a foreign language as their own, identifying with foreign historic figures while forgetting their own, becoming better acquainted with the literature of their occupiers than with their own, glorifying the history of others while mocking their own, so that they come resemble others instead of themselves.
The loss of national identity is the greatest defeat a nation can know, and it is inevitable under the contemporary form of colonization.
Besides, by its very nature, this new form of colonization rules out any possibility of free speech or free will, and especially rules out creativity of any kind.
Countries that are not free deny to the people who live in them the right to free speech; free speech would cause problems in the absence of freedom.
This is why torture over wrong thoughts is the most consistent and essential form of torture in a country that has lost its freedom. As for exercising free will, it is, naturally, out of the question. Free will is allowed only as a farce. It is allowed only to the lackeys of foreign masters, whose simulated free will is used by the occupiers as a justification for establishing a 'democracy' in whose name they take and hold another people's country.
I would like to stress particularly to young people, intellectuals, scientists, that countries deprived of sovereignty are as a rule deprived of the right to creative work, and especially creative work in the field of science.
Large centers and large powers finance scientific work, control its attainments and decide about the application of its results. Even if dependent states do have scientific laboratories and scientific institutes, these are not independent ones; rather they operate as branches controlled by one center. Their attainments must remain within definite limits so as not to introduce in occupied countries and occupied peoples the seed of rebellion and emancipation.
Now we are in the period before the run-off elections. The 'Democratic' Opposition of Serbia doubts it can achieve the result it needs. Therefore leaders of this Opposition are trying to stop production, all work, all activity. Using money that's being shipped into the country, they are bribing some, blackmailing or harassing others, organizing strikes, unrest and violence.
The idea is to stop life in Serbia while offering the bait that life can start again and prosper if only it is organized by those who represent, within Serbia - what do they represent? The plans and interests of the would-be occupiers.
Our country is a sovereign state. It has its laws. It's own Constitution and institutions. Serbia deserves and is duty bound to defend itself from this invasion which has begun with these staged disruptions and false promises of quick improvement.
And citizens should know, that if some do participate in this subversion whose objective is foreign domination over and occupation of their country then they will shoulder the historical responsibility not only of denying to their country the right to exist but also of losing control over their own lives.
By giving up their country to others, to a foreign will, they will also surrender to a foreign will their own lives and the lives of their children and many other people.
I considered it my duty to warn the citizens of our country about the consequences of the activities financed and supported by the NATO governments.
Citizens, you must make up your own minds whether to believe me or not. My only wish is that they do not realize I am telling the truth when it is too late, that they do not realize after it has become so much more difficult to correct mistakes that some people have made, naively, superficially or erroneously. Some of those mistakes would be difficult to rectify and some would never be rectified.
My motive in expressing my opinion in this way is not personal; not at all. I was twice elected president of Serbia and once president of Yugoslavia. It should be clear to all, after the past ten years, that NATO isn't attacking Serbia because of Milosevic; it is attacking Milosevic because of Serbia.
My conscience in that respect is clear. But my conscience would not be clear if I did not tell my people, after all these years as their leader, what I think will happen if they let their fate be imposed by a hostile, outside force, even if it appears that they have chosen that fate for themselves.
The misjudgment they would make by 'choosing' what has been chosen for them, is the most dangerous misjudgment possible. That is why I am publicly addressing the citizens of Yugoslavia today.
In The Aftermath: The Extradition of Milosevic, trial and his suspicious death in Hague
By Gloria La RivaBelgrade, Yugoslavia
In a stunning blow to Yugoslavia's sovereignty, Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic on June 28 secretly surrendered former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic into the hands of the NATO powers that brutally bombed Yugoslavia in 1999.
Djindjic is seen as the number one U.S. agent in Yugoslavia.
This blow aroused widespread anger in Yugoslavia and solidarity with the kidnapped former president from progressive world leaders and anti-war activists. Among them was internationally known human rights attorney Ramsey Clark, who spoke at a protest rally in Belgrade the following night. Clark and this writer, Gloria La Riva, constituted a delegation from the International Action Center, which had played a leading role in organizing protests in the United States against NATO's war on Yugoslavia in 1999.
Milosevic had been taken by military helicopter to the NATO base in Tuzla, Bosnia, at 6 p.m. on the previous day and then transported to The Hague in the Netherlands. Djindjic announced the former president's extradition at 6:30 p.m.
By 8 p.m., thousands of people had taken to the streets in protest.
Only hours before the forced removal of Milosevic, the Yugoslav Constitutional Court had issued a temporary decree banning the extradition until it was able to give the matter further study and make a permanent ruling.
The court's decree was in response to maneuvers by Djindjic and current Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica to push legislation and rulings through the government that wouldmake the surrender of Milosevic to NATO legal and constitutional in Yugoslavia.
By ordering Milosevic's kidnapping, Djindjic not only violated the country's constitution, he also overrode the federal jurisdiction of Yugoslavia. The Republic of Serbia is one of the two republics left in Yugoslavia, the other being Montenegro. As a leader of Serbia, Djindjic had no legal authority over a federal matter: extradition to a foreign country.
The Yugoslav Constitution prohibits extradition of the country's citizens.
Read more here: http://www.workers.org/ww/2001/yugo0712.php
Death in Prison
The prosecution delayed the trial, first by adding charges against the president regarding Croatia and Bosnia when they realized they had no war-crimes case on the original Kosovo charges, then by bringing hundreds of witnesses to generate 500,000 pages of prosecution testimony from February 2002 to February 2004.
Each time Milosevic was too sick to continue in court, the prosecution moved to impose counsel and to take away the prisoner’s right to present his own defense. Milosevic was determined to use the trial as a platform to defend not only himself but the people of Yugoslavia, and to indict the U.S., Germany and the NATO powers for their role in the criminal destruction of his country. He welcomed the trial as the only platform where he could make the historical record. In his words to the court he constantly described why, despite his bad health, he was determined to continue.
When I met Milosevic it was in the special room that was the only place where the ICTY allowed him to work or have the court papers to prepare his defense. Whenever his blood pressure rose and he was unable to continue the court sessions, he was also barred from any access to his defense materials.
During each step of the trial Milosevic’s cardiovascular problems, especially his high blood pressure, had resulted in several delays in the trial. At each step the ICTY officials tried to use the issue of his health as they made constant efforts to deny him the right to conduct his own defense. Neither the illness nor the delays helped his defense.
The ICTY charged that Milosevic was secretly medicating himself and avoiding taking prescribed medicines. Milosevic answered this charge himself for the court record on Sept. 1, 2004: “You probably don’t know the practice in your own Detention Unit. I take my medication in the presence of guards. I’m given them. I take them in the presence of the guard, and the guard writes down in the book the exact time when I ingested those medicines.”
Despite the life-threatening cardiovascular risk raised in every dispute with the prosecution, tribunal officials refused even to secure regular check-ups of the president’s health condition. They also denied access for months to specialists who were willing to come to Scheveningen, thus delaying his care.
The president’s own explanation of his problem was more consistent and credible than the ICTY’s. In a letter addressed to the Russian Embassy two days before he died, Milosevic wrote that he had taken no antibiotics in more than four years. He asked why the medical report on the discovery of rifampicin was kept secret from him for almost two months. He wrote that he believed that “active steps are being taken to destroy my health.” He warned that he was sure he was being poisoned and that his life was in danger.