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Synthesis/Regeneration 20   (Fall, 1999)


  • Daniela Stojanova
  • Petros Evdokas
  • Bob Brister
  • Joel Kovel

Thank you from Daniela Stojanova,
The Ecologists' Movement of Macedonia

Dear all,

Thank you for your solidarity and expressed opinion against NATO bombing on Yugoslavia. I want to mention that I am writing this message as my personal opinion and wish to stop not only NATO bombing, but and other violence that is happening here in the Balkans, and it does not reflect the opinion of my organization, The Ecologists' Movement of Macedonia. On the border with Yugoslavia are over 100,000 refuges who are waiting to enter into Macedonia. Macedonia is small country (25,713 km2) on the Balkan Peninsula, with ~2,000,000 inhabitants. Here are living Macedonians, Albanians, Turkish, Serbs, Vlaha, Gypsy etc. We are living in peace and understanding, and I hope that it will be like that in future too.

So, you can understand that we are a small country, but very old, and a country that is always open for giving help. In the Bosnian war we accepted over 80,000 refuges, and, the Government of RM (Republic of Macedonia) before the NATO air strikes, says that we could accept only 20,000 refuges from Kosovo. But, now we have more then 35,000 refuges, and 100,000 refuges are on the way for Macedonia. The International community does not help us a lot. We are sorry for refugees, and we will accept all who want to come here, but it is really sad when you are watching small kids and babies crying, and waiting on the border for days to enter our country.

Some of them do not want to go to camps, they want to go to hotels and families, and we can not give them that. (All hotels are busy because of the NATO soldiers, and of course it is so expensive). The schools are adapted for accepting the refuges, some of sport halls, and so on. The other neighbor countries do not want to accept refuges, they only say that they will give to Macedonia and Albania humanitarian help. They are afraid from the similar problem that Kosovo is. Just imagine, only one half from refuges to do not come back in Kosovo. It will change the ethnic map of Macedonia. Anyhow, in Macedonia the number of Albanians is growing, they have a lot of children. Very soon we can ask for autonomy of Macedonia. But, I hope it will not come soon, because in Macedonia, Albanians have in Albanian language complete education, they in the Government, in all institutions and so on. Separately from these refuges in Yugoslavia, especially in Belgrade and Nish, are refuges from Kosovo of Serbian nationality. They are running away because of NATO bombings, and in my opinion it is that that Albanian refuges are running away. On TV they are saying that there are not many male refuges, and that is because Serbs are killing them. Do not believe that story. Maybe it is true, but they could be members of the Kosovo terrorist army, and they of course are staying to fight against the Yugoslav army. Nobody knows the real truth on "What is happening in Kosovo?" Only if you are living there will you understand everything.

In the last bombing on Belgrade, a gynecology hospital is located near the target that was bombed. All babies and mothers were dislocated in the shelter of the hospital. I will suggest to the Yugoslav people that we celebrate April 3 as a day of babies, because they stayed alive. NATO is making anything to Milosevic, it is doing a lot to Yugoslav people. But, they are strong, and I am really proud on them. The last nigh a lot of citizens of Belgrade went to the bridge and they stayed all the night to defend it. Concerts are going on every day on the central square in Belgrade (YU) and Skopje (RM). Yesterday evening in Thesaloniki (Greece) was the biggest concert. In Macedonia and Bulgaria we found several projectiles from NATO airplanes. So they are not so accurate, and maybe by mistake they will attack some Macedonian village near the border. A bomb was found in one Macedonian church where the priest was talking against NATO bombing and the war.

It is horrible to hear airplanes in your sky every day, and to know that they are going to attack places that you know as friendly, where your friends and relatives are living. Almost all Macedonian family has relatives there. And more then 50,000 Macedonian are living in Yugoslavia. It was really sad when the bridge in Novi Sad was bombed and destroyed and with it the water supply for this town. Belgrade is a really beautiful town, with old architecture, history, its own soul. And how not be sad and angry at NATO, when it is destroying those wonderful things.

I am not justifying the Milosevic strategy for solving the problems on Kosovo. A lot of Serbs did not like him. They tried several times to change it, but with any success. And now what did NATO do? Join the citizens of Yugoslavia in the supporting of Milosevic. Now, all Serbs are supporting Milosevic. Wrong strategy of NATO? I do not think so, I think that the aim was not to save Kosovo, and change Milosevic, but some secret wish of big heads.

You can help a lot, just participate in the peaceful protests that or going on in your countries, or collect signatures for support, or send to me or to young researchers of Serbia, the e-mail addresses of some key persons in your countries, with distributing our messages, and so on. Maybe you can give us idea how to stop this war! Everything can help. Thank you! That's all for now, I tried to give you some news, sorry for my not so good English.

Daniela Stojanova,
Ecologists' Movement of Macedonia

Dear S/R,

I received this letter from Cyprus, written by my long-term comrade, Petros Evdokas, who lived in a collective household with myself and other Red Balloon members at SUNY Stony Brook in the early 1980s. Petros has been back in Cyprus for around seven years now working as a natural healer and actively working with radical greens on a journal OIKOLOGIA, while taking part in the autonomous sector of the anti-war movement.

Mitch Cohen

Dear Mitch,

I work closely with a group in Cyprus which publishes OIKOLOGIA magazine. We published Branka Jovanovich's letter. It was written on the fourth day of the bombings, predicting the horrible environmental disasters from the war. Everything she said in that letter happened, factory by factory, spill by spill. We get very good news coverage here, we see the whole lot of it burning every night on TV. We work in the mobilizations against NATO here. The most popular slogan going around, painted everywhere, is a pun: "ThaNATOs" [=death]. In Greece, especially Salonica, our friends and comrades go out and stop the tanks with their bodies, spray-painting them and leaving them stranded on blocked railroad tracks. Also popular is changing the street name signs, misdirecting the NATO tanks around to the farmers' market instead of the border.

The events here have pushed the sense of solidarity of the national liberation struggles in the region, Kurdish, Balkan, Hellenic right to the forefront of popular daily discussion at the workplace, home and the streets. For us here, liberation means getting rid of the military occupation in the north of Cyprus and a peaceful re-union with our Turkish Cypriot neighbors, and this includes tossing out the British NATO bases in the south, remnants of the British Empire, still armed to the teeth.

Anyway, "we are for building up the solidarity of people of all nations and of all faiths, for freedom and equality". A few people here in Cyprus call for NATO to carry out the same obscene bombings to "bring justice to Cyprus." The OIKOLOGIA group speaks on behalf of the majority of the population in Cyprus and Greece: "we want none of that—we all want to see NATO defeated, disarmed and dissolved!"

In Solidarity,
Petros Evdokas
OIKOLOGIA magazine & Red Balloon Collective

Reply to an Open Letter to Joschka Fischer & Alliance 90/The Greens:

Dear Marc, Starlene, and Lionel,

Thank you for posting the generally excellent Open Letter to Joschka Fischer and Alliance 90/The Greens.

Unfortunately, you've run into the same contradiction that the ASGP ran into when its Steering Committee endorsed the Declaration from the European Federation of Green Parties Congress, Feb. 25-26, 1999 on the Yugoslavia war: that is, the incompatibility of our key Green value of nonviolence with endorsing a military peacekeeping force to enforce a cease-fire and a negotiated settlement. We, as Greens, cannot both embrace nonviolence as a key value and military troops, UN mandated or otherwise.

Instead, I believe that Greens should support active nonviolence (as many do), like Peace Brigades International and the Balkan Peace Team, not soldiers and guns. As I'm sure you know, nonviolence as a discipline and a theory for social change is a relatively new historical phenomena. I don't claim that nonviolence theory has a good answers for all circumstances. I do claim that violence tends to multiply and intensify itself. Means largely do determine ends.

I urge you to reconsider this issue. In my opinion, the current position of trying to claim nonviolence as a key value and supporting the use of military troops is harmful to the Greens by making us look hypocritical.

"Nonviolence is the constant awareness of the dignity and humanity of oneself and others; it seeks truth and justice; it renounces violence both in method and in attitude; it is a courageous acceptance of active love and goodwill as the instrument with which to overcome evil and transform both oneself and others. It is the willingness to undergo suffering rather than inflict it. It excludes retaliation and flight." —Wally Nelson

This pretty much conforms to Gandhi and King's versions as well, as far as I know.

I certainly don't claim to live up to it. It doesn't come naturally for me. Nonviolence is a very high standard and we Greens frequently fail to live up to it even (especially?) in our dealings with each other. But failing to live up to it in difficult personal interactions is not nearly as serious, it seems to me, as negating it in our policy statements. For Greens to claim nonviolence as a key value and then have policies that go against nonviolence harms both the Green Party and the concept of nonviolence. There is just no way to embrace both armed troops and nonviolence.

I've noticed over the years that several pieces of Green literature I've seen use the term "peace" instead of "nonviolence." To me, peace is a much lower standard than nonviolence, because every war criminal from Harry Truman and Richard Nixon on down claim that they want peace. But at least peace is a value that Greens can claim without seeming hypocritical. If Greens are not willing to live up to nonviolence in our policy statements, we should consider removing it from our 10 Key Values and replacing it with "Peace." To me, it would be a major loss to the quality of Green politics to lose nonviolence as a key value. Nonviolence is a large part of what initially attracted me to the Greens.

It may also be that the closer Greens get to state institutional power, the less viable nonviolence is as an operating principle, since state institutions ultimately derive their power from violence.

The nonviolence question is not a new issue for me. I debated Howie Hawkins on this at the 1991 Green gathering in West Virginia in opposition to his policy statement in favor of a 75% cut in military spending (leaving enough for border defense, I think). I didn't think Greens, if we believe in nonviolence, should be advocating for any military budget.

So maybe we Greens, as a whole, have never really embraced nonviolence. In any case, the Yugoslavia war has brought this issue to a head and I don't think we can skirt it anymore. Thanks for hearing me out on this. I'd appreciate hearing your thoughts on this issue.

Sincerely, Bob Brister,
member, Madera County Greens & Green Party of CA (and formerly a Green organizer in FL, TX, & AZ)

All Hail the God of War!

Now that NATO forces are entering Kosovo, we can pause and survey what has been learned.

First, brute power and lawlessness will have its way, and be able to call itself just.

Second, many people of intelligence and sophistication will fall one more time for the logic of power. They, too, will call this just.

To prove their justice they will endorse certain falsehoods and forget certain truths. In the case of this war, they will parrot the official line that a "genocide" was conducted in Kosovo. As Michael Wines wrote in the Sunday, June 13, New York Times (yes, the Times is official and expresses the views of the US government-or is it the other way around?), "It was a signal week for the West, no doubt about it. Fifty-four years after the Holocaust revelations, America and Europe had finally said Eenough,' and struck a blow against a revival of genocide."

Slight problem, Mr Wines: nothing of the sort took place—that's right, no such thing as genocide, by any coherent definition of the term. A few thousand deaths (2000 was the cited upper limit) in a civil war is terrible, like any violence. But genocide it's not, nor was the large-scale forced removal of civilians a genocide—a terrible suffering that has happened to all the players in this drama, that followed the bombing-for-justice, and that was caused by it. Those who traipse about the talk show and op-ed circuit hawking the genocide line, like the ever-distinguished Elie Wiesel, are Holocaust pimps; they cheapen and sell tragedy for the ends of the national security state.

Our propagandists also forget that the forces of the higher NATO civilization deliberately provoked war when a peaceful settlement was at hand in March, through demands at Rambouillet which no one with any self-respect could accept (for example, giving NATO occupying troops unrestricted access to the whole of Serbia). In the flush of their pride over the great moral victory of the West, they will also forget that NATO could have gotten a better deal for the Kosovars back in March had it not insisted on provoking the war.

No one should doubt that the propagandists earn their pay. Without their hard work, people would miss the subtle nuances of state policy. We might use our reason and sense of history to form improper ideas, for example, that the national security state is as capable of acting on moral grounds as a crocodile. So hats off to Michael Wines for telling us that with this war, "[h]uman rights had been elevated to a military priority and a pre-eminent Western value;" and to David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, for letting us know that in this bright new day, "morality is a national interest."

Yes, and let's make sure we have the proper scapegoat, a really bad guy to pump up our morality. The villainous Milosevic must be singled out, and blamed for all the horrors inflicted in the region. Now, the legions of decency will crow, we've vanquished the evil destabilizer of the Balkans. With him out of the way, we can proceed to build the wonderful democratic, pluralistic Balkan society that Milosevic alone has been impeding, and that the US and Co. has worked so hard to bring about. Civilization's High Court will pat itself on the back and stop its inquiry. Bill Clinton will not have to undergo yet more scrutiny of his criminality, which this time consisted of violations of NATO's Charter, the US Constitution, the UN Charter, the Geneva Conventions on war crimes and the US Congress's 1973 War Powers Act. A bit more consequential than fibbing about fondling Monica's privates-but give the guy a break, he was doing it for the sake of Justice. Mass murder is the legitimate affair of the state; diddling an intern in the Oval Office, a scandal.

As the bright dawn of a new and more just day for the Balkans is breaking, let us salute the flag of Greater Albania. And let's open our pockets and give our warfare industries the wherewithal to replace the cruise missiles, cluster bombs, depleted uranium warheads and other spent instruments of Western morality. And let's transfer some more of the wealth of our working people to Bechtel, Enron and the other infrastructure boys who will fix those bridges in a twinkle, and convert them to access roads for the McDonalds to come, and even, let us prey, for the forthcoming Yugo-Disney theme park whose advanced animatronic guides will remind Serbs of their glorious past, and of the errors of their ways before the liberation.

To all patriots: get your red hot Raytheon stocks here, and join the chorus. God bless the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and the corporations for which it stands, one bloc indivisible, with justice and bombs for all.

Joel Kovel,
Woodstock Greens, Green Party of NY

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