THE LITTLETON/YUGOSLAVIA ISSUE
 
 
Quote of the Month:

“We must do more to reach out to our children and teach them to express their anger and resolve their conflicts with words, not weapons.”

William Jefferson Clinton

DAVID’S NOTES:

>>> We have been overwhelmed with comments and referred articles since the last EMAILITE mentioned that this one would attend to Littleton and Yugoslavia. Both “events” are deep in peoples’ minds and heavy on their hearts.

>>> I’ve always tried to keep J.M.E. brief; this one will be an exception. I’ve read more than 150 pages of comments and articles for this issue. I’ve pared this mass down to what I think are the most various, provocative and interesting, giving priority always to comments from individual Emailites.

>>> Following these notes is a Table of Contents with a phrase about each article or comment. At the end of J.M.E. #13 are numerous links to articles read for this issue but not included here.

>>> SPECIAL NOTE: This will be the last EMAILITE for some time. I will be away from the vast and palacial offices of THE JUDEVINE MOUNTAIN EMAILITE from the middle of May to the middle of June, first in New York City for a week of performances at The Fourth Annual Vision Festival of Avant Garde Jazz, Poetry and Dance on New York’s Lower East Side and then for two weeks as Writer-in-Residence at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, Maine.

>>> Keep those emails, articles, comments and suggestions coming in but PLEASE DO NOT expect to hear anything back until sometime after June 15th.

***********************

TABLE OF CONTENTS: A Baker’s Dozen of Opinions

1. African American Courtland Milloy looks at Littleton from her “parallel universe.”

2. Michael Ventura writes about American hypocrisy and the “war against ourselves” in Littleton.

3. Gwynne Dyer compares the habit of wife burning in Pakistan with children murdering children in the United States.

4. Coloradan Ron Chacey posses many troubling questions.

5. Lorna Chafe finds the year-long Littleton plot “chilling to say the least.”

6. Serbian Marija Marjanovic sends an open letter to the world.

7. A brief news item.

8. Teresa Williams writes about the U.S.A. as “international watchdogs and humanitarian hypocrites.”

9. James K. Galbraith points out that no war has ever been won by air power alone and wonders what the real motivation behind all this is.

10. Peter Smyth points to a blind spot in all the looking at Littleton.

11. Mumia Abu-Jamal compares the bombing in Yugoslavia to the end of World War Two.

12. Vaclav Havel says the Kosovo fight is “the first ethical war.”


 

A LOOK AT TRAGEDY IN BLACK, WHITE

By Courtland Milloy

Let me tell you about my parallel universe.

It may exist in the same physical space as, say, my racially desegregated world of work. But it is a separate emotional place shared almost exclusively by other blacks. We may see the same things as whites, but we often experience them quite differently.

Take the shootings at Columbine High in Littleton, Colo. In my parallel world, you hear comments like, “I’m so glad those killers weren’t black. You know we’d all be in trouble if they were.” This is not just to say that a certain shame is associated with black misbehavior. In the parallel universe, there is acute awareness that white America responds differently when killers are black and that its police apparatus can easily become a Gestapo-like operation-as occurred in the aftermath of Susan Smith’s claim that a black man had kidnapped her two white toddlers in South Carolina.

In that infamous 1994 case, black men were being detained in six states while Smith’s boys sat strapped in a car at the bottom of a pond where she’d left them.

In Columbine, the parents of the killers were not questioned by police for several hours after the crimes, even though police knew that bombs had been made in their homes. Had the killers been black, the parents would no doubt have been hauled off in handcuffs in front of television cameras, and everybody who knew them would be under suspicion.

In my world, you also hear, “The chickens have come home to roost.” There is a feeling that if more attention had been paid to America’s “culture of violence” when it appeared to be confined to the inner city, these rural and suburban school shootings might have been prevented.

“Why are all the mass murderers middle-class white men and boys?” Apart from the notion that black and white boys have different styles of aggression due to different ways of being socialized, there is a belief in the parallel universe that as America loses its “status” as a white nation in the next century, more and more white people will be going insane.

In Columbine, a TV reporter actually referred to one of the killers as “a gentleman who drove a BMW.” The shooters also were referred to as members of a “clique,” not a gang, and they were-we were reminded again and again-so full of academic promise.

This obvious identification with the killers, and the reluctance to demonize them as blacks would have been, did not go over well in the parallel universe.

“As the media tries to soften the racist element in this tragedy,” came an e-mail from Asiba Tupahache, in New York, “one student in the library said she heard them laugh after shooting the black young athlete and said, ‘Oh, look! You can see his brains.’ With that kind of attitude, these guys could have had lucrative careers in the NYPD.”

Writing for the Baltimore Afro American newspaper, columnist Wiley A. Hall 3rd recalled America’s knee-jerk response to gun violence when it was being portrayed as unique to urban areas. “Politicians talked about the need to crack down on what they described as tough young urban hoodlums who are terrorizing the city,” he wrote. “Sociologists blamed negligent urban parents who fail to instill civilized values in their children. Police promised to make more arrests. Prosecutors promised more convictions. And judges promised to send more teenaged offenders to do hard time in adult institutions.”

Now, in the aftermath of Columbine, the finger is being pointed at “a culture of alienation,” and there is talk of improving school curriculums, controlling guns, regulating the Internet and Installing V-chips in our TVs.

It’s not just that it looks like excuses are being made for the killers at Columbine; it’s that some of them are the same ones that were so roundly rejected when used to explain violence among blacks. The one about how the killers’ status as outcasts was to blame really struck a nerve.

“Those of us whose high school experiences also included being racialized have a more compounded view of this kind of labeling, discrimination and outcasting,” Tupahache wrote. “Only our visible resistance made them drug us, call us troubled, got us abruptly reprimanded, kicked out with no questions asked. Others can wear swastikas, make disturbed videos and show it in class and all is quiet.”

Such feelings and concerns from the parallel universe occasionally break out into the other world.

In the New York Times on Friday, Harvard sociologist Orlando Patterson lamented that “there is a disturbing double standard in the way we discuss the problems of different groups of people and in the way we label deviant behavior. If the terrorist act of white, middle-class teenagers creates an orgy of national soul-searching, then surely the next time a heinous crime is committed by underclass African-American or Latino kids, we should engage in the same kind of national self-examination.”

His was an eloquent appeal for love and understanding in a world where justice is truly colorblind. In my parallel universe, however, we aren’t holding our breath.

************************

Sunday, May 2, 1999, © Copyright 1999, The Washington Post Company Circulated in the interest of Black folks by BlackNews(tm). Opera Singer, San Franciscan and Emailite, LINDA YOUNG sent us Courtland Milloy’s essay.

 

PAYMENT IN BLOOD

by Michael Ventura

[The Austin (Texas) Chronicle, © 1999]

In one afternoon at a suburban high school in Colorado, more Americans were killed than during one month of war in Yugoslavia. The same was true of the Gulf War: Many more American children died of gunfire during those weeks than did our soldiers in combat. These days it is safer to be an American soldier in a war zone than an American child in a high school. What fact could shame us more? Yet every voice of government and the media joins in a shrill chorus constantly repeating that we are the greatest nation in history. Would we need to boast so often, every day, so many times a day, if we really believed it?

The bodies of the children in Colorado were still warm — literally –when various gun advocates went before the cameras to say such an event need not and should not mean that our gun laws must be changed. Several suggested that the massacre wouldn’t have happened if teachers and guards had been armed. Their solution is more guns! But we have failed utterly as a civilization if for the first time in history schoolteachers need to pack weapons. And if we demonstrate such fear of our children, then our children have no choice but to fear themselves and to fear us, to fear and fear and fear, until fear eats away every value that education is supposed to stand for.

In fact, there was at least one armed guard at that suburban high school; he exchanged a couple of shots and then retreated to wait for reinforcements; the SWAT teams arrived while the massacre was still going on, reports now say, and they conferred for over an hour before going in. At least one person who might have been saved bled to death during their conference. So much for men with guns.

Our American infatuation with guns is our admission of cowardice; because if you need a gun to feel secure you are really saying that you feel no inner strength with which to confront a stranger. One set of numbers says it all, as reported in The New York Times: “In 1996, handguns were used to murder 2 people in New Zealand, 15 in Japan, 30 in Great Britain, 106 in Canada, 213 in Germany, and 9,390 in the United States.” There is no conceivable argument against those numbers. The other countries have strict laws about handguns; we don’t. Let’s see, we lost roughly 50,000 soldiers during 10 years of war in Vietnam; so in 1996 Americans at “peace” suffered, from handguns alone, roughly 18% of the casualties of 10 years of war.

What conclusion can be drawn but that we are at war with ourselves? That we have driven ourselves so crazy that no enemy is as dangerous as our neighbor — and our neighbor’s children? How does one stop this domestic war? With whom does one negotiate? What are the terms of a cease-fire, much less of peace? As for disarmament: The so-called “gun lobby” is financed by arms manufacturers and by men too frightened to feel strong without a weapon nearby, and we endure a political system in which legislators can be bought with “donations”; guns are in massive supply on our streets and in our homes because greed and fear are built into our system of governance. The result: The only countries with yearly casualty rates that approach or exceed ours are Third World countries in states of civil war.

How can we justify ourselves? How can we call ourselves “great”? How can we see American civilization as anything but demented and out of control when compared to any place but a Third World country ravaged by poverty and internecine strife?

The President spouts platitudes, the high school principals sputter helplessly, the parents walk in dazed horror, the gun lobby is stern and shrill–and commentators indulge in hours of blab, saying nothing because that is precisely what they’re paid for, so that viewers will be numbed by a constant spew of televised ineffectuality. After all, if the highly paid thinkers on the tube are ineffectual, how can we blame ourselves for our own helplessness? And all of this is done to mask the truth that we, as a culture, cannot face, a truth articulated by James Baldwin years ago: “We, the elders, are the only models children have. What we see in the children is what they have seen in us.”

What the children see is not hard to figure out. By and large, they see this: People who say one thing, but do another. People who profess beliefs that they do not, in any way, live by. People living a lie. For instance: in a country that overwhelmingly and stridently calls itself “Christian,” what could be more contradictory, more self-defeating, more of a lie, than a Christian with a gun? The thing children hate more than anything is being lied to, being faked. And our children are lied to every day, everywhere they look, by almost every television show and advertisement — and they know it. They’re lied to by adults who demand that their kids live by ideals while preparing these same kids, in countless ways, to live only by money. And what our kids hate and fear most is that their “education” consists largely of lessons in how to buy into the biggest lie of all: the lie that if only you have enough money you’ll be alright.

Some kids can’t bear being lied to on such a massive scale. And some, a very few, do awful things. At which the rest of us pretend to be shocked. But we’re not really shocked. We’re revealed. We sell these children the means to insulate and corrupt themselves, and we market the means by which they can kill themselves and each other, and then we blame the kids for our terror when a few are driven mad by this virulent mixture of our lies and of what we’ve enticed our children to buy.

Several weeks ago I quoted a 15-year-old student, Morgan Whirledge in another context, but his writing is well worth quoting again, because I’ve found no more cogent commentary or explanation for what those murderous boys did in Colorado, and why they did it: “What’s in? Why? The image, the look, the personality, the surface. It’s in you, whether subconsciously or consciously, it’s there. I think everyone knows and deals with this every day, minute, second of their lives.” Morgan goes on to speak of children assaulted by television, media, technology, abuse, ignorance, disrespect, and lies, and then he writes: “And so the kid sits, silent, in a mess of artificially inseminated thought. A shattered life around him, as easy to break as a mirror. He grows and eventually sees himself. A reflection. He is holding a sledgehammer, given him by his world. It is for mending the shattered pieces of fragile glass.”

In Colorado, the “sledgehammer” those boys picked up was a gun — many guns and bombs. They were not going to be able to mend anything. They had been given no hope of escape but to join a world they saw no possibility of joining. So, laughing as they killed, they murdered those whom they could neither emulate nor befriend.

Were they responsible? Of course. Were they what we made them? Of course. It is too simplistic to say it is either one way or the other; it is, most awfully, both. Their parents, their teachers, and their society, were not strong enough to give those boys the strength to stand either with or against the collective lie that is America. Their morality dissolved. They chose to join the ranks of the unspeakable. They made us feel their horror by enacting their horror. By becoming their horror. What could be a more terrible fate for a child? The others at least died innocently. That is horrible too, but not as horrible as dying stained with the greatest and most heartless sin there is.

What can we do? That’s what everybody is asking, but nobody wants to face the answer–especially because the answer is fragile and uncertain and difficult. Still it is the only answer there is: Stop living your lie.

Live in your truth, that your children may live in theirs. Your children can’t respect your truth all the way unless you’re willing to live it. The people you have to lie to, own you. The things you have to lie about, own you. When your children see you owned, they can’t help but feel owned by what owns you. When your children see you owned then they are not your children anymore, they are the children of what owns you.

If money owns you, they are the children of money. If your need for pretense and illusion owns you, they are the children of pretense and illusion. If your fear of loneliness owns you, they are children of the fear of loneliness. If your fear of the truth owns you, they are children of the fear of truth.

I say this in grief, as a sinner and a liar and a failure–my truth, like yours, is always more than I can bear. But there are two kinds of failures: the failure of honest effort, and the failure of avoidance and denial. In the failure that always accompanies honest effort, there are lessons and courage and dignity. In the failures of avoidance and denial, there is only more failure. When we choose, we are also choosing for our children. It is they who must pay for every one of our evasions.

And now, in America, the payment is often in blood.

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MARGO BALDWIN sent us Michael Ventura’s article. Margo is a co-founder of Chelsea Green Publishing Company. She is currently writing a book on her year in Mexico with family, dog and parrot. She lives in Vermont. This piece came to Margo via NATURAL STEP.

 

 

 

 

BURNING WIVES AND CHILDREN WITH GUNS

By Gwynne Dyer

Most Americans, trained from infancy to regard their country as unique, tend to lurch directly from thinking that things in the United States are uniquely wonderful (when they go right) to believing that they are uniquely dreadful (when they go wrong).

Thus the Vietnam War, for those who opposed it, was not just a stupid blunder by bumbling officials; it was the most evil war ever waged. And the Colorado school massacre, coming on top of half a dozen similar incidents in the last two years, is not just the result of stupid laws and bad behavior; it is a metaphor for the decay of the American soul.

Let us pull back and consider the horrors that happen in societies made up mostly of decent people.

Between September and December of last year, for example, 87 cases of women being horribly burned by “stove-bursts” were recorded by two major hospitals in the neighboring Pakistani cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad. The woman’s husband, frequently aided by his mother or other relative seizes his wife, pours oil over her, and then sets it alight.

The motive is usually financial: She has not paid enough dowry, or her husband has gotten a better offer. And whether she dies or survives to live out a life of mutilation and perpetual pain, she will almost never blow their cover story that the stove exploded and burned her. Even if survivors knew how to complain, the police and the courts are unlikely to listen.

Wife-burning is a plague in Pakistan, with 1,600 cases reported in the last 10 years. Yet everybody would agree that Pakistan, like the United States, is inhabited mainly by good and moral people. How, then, can this sort of thing happen?

The roots of the problem clearly are in a culture that holds women to be inferior. Most Pakistani men, not being monsters, both subjugate and “protect” the women in their families. But for the tiny proportion of men who are capable of monstrous acts, the laws and customs of Pakistan are a murderers’ charter.

Now bring it all back to the United States, where practically nobody burns their wives. Why not? One reason is that women are now regarded in the West as independent individuals. American society does a better job of protecting women than Pakistani society.

But it does a much worse job of thwarting children bent on destruction. U.S. police and courts take a much more relaxed view than those in Pakistan of houses stuffed full of guns. Americans believe that freedom of speech is so important that even Web sites peddling racist hate propaganda and telling you how to make terrorist bombs must be protected (which Pakistanis would regard as stark, raving lunacy).

The clear result: Heavily armed teenagers (and even sub-teenagers) massacring their schoolmates has become a feature of contemporary American life.

Now, if you were really serious about ending wife-burning in Pakistan, you wouldn’t wait generations for attitudes toward women to change. You would immediately pass and enforce laws that required all wife-burnings to be investigated by special prosecutors. Over the longer run, you would try to suppress the custom of giving dowries that provides the motive for most of these crimes.

Similarly, if you were really serious about ending school massacres, you would not begin by trying to reform the family. You would pass laws that make it very hard for private individuals to own guns. And you would work on ways of redefining free speech so that you can ban the kinds of films, video games and Web sites that desensitize impressionable children to the point where horrific deeds like the massacre in Littleton can seem like fun.

If you were really serious about it.

**********************

Gwynne Dyer is an independent journalist based in London. RALPH FLOOD who teaches English at Chestnut Hill Academy in Philadelphia sent us this. Ralph first read it in THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER.

 

 

QUESTIONS FROM COLORADO

by Ron Chacey

Kosovo, for me, is far away, as I refuse to watch or read the news on a daily basis. It is a conflict that has been going on for centuries, and has many complexities. Kosovo and Littleton certainly have much in common, including the ultimate underlying cause. However, Littleton is close, and I have friends who have taken children to Littleton this past weekend to visit with and support the survivors. Littleton is also a very straight forward situation with so little complexity that everyone can only say, “Why? How can this happen?” My personal response, which is different from most, is that, as much as it shocks me, it does not surprise me. I experience Littleton as the crying out of the soul of the community. I hope that it will be heard, and I fear that it will not be. Can we have the compassion to gain wisdom from the martyrdom?

Part of our community believes that the parents should be held fully responsible. Certainly our society often does not hold the family sufficiently responsible for the actions of its members, but are not children also the product of a community and a culture? Others believe that the teachers, police, and other people who are often erroneously designated to perform the control in our society are to be held responsible. Even if it were possible for these people to control and prevent such outbreaks, would it be healthy or would we care to live in a society that was so totally controlled?

Are we only looking for scapegoats so that we will not have to face the reality of the condition of our culture and our communities? The only person that I have so far encountered who would talk of the community’s responsibility was a wealthy man who was quick to note that Littleton shows that the problem is not one of poverty. While it may be true that poverty is only one of the “symptoms” of the ultimate problem, is focusing upon ones pet agenda going to uncover lasting solutions that address the underlying forces?

When the great ball of the repressed collective soul has been pushed deeply beneath the waves of our being, it will rebound to great heights. The more we repress, the more horrendous the repercussions. As a culture, over the past many centuries we have been gradually losing contact with and neglecting to nurture our collective soul, which includes our humanity as well as the world in which we live.

I am often very optimistic when I experience the great rebirth of spirituality taking place in our society. We are thinking more and more about alternative ways to understand, different ways to treat the world, and various ways of being. I start to think that we are really on the right path; we are finding the way, and then along comes a Littleton.

Spirituality is not enough; we can lose ourselves in Narcissism. The soul is earthy and not high in the sky. It appears that to discover the soul, we must grovel in the dark recesses of our being, in Littleton. Many of those who live in Littleton are being subjected to one of those dark recesses, and hopefully they will gain in wisdom. But we need more than that. Do the rest of us have the cultural beliefs that will make it possible for us to learn without having to directly experience a Littleton?

Have our many material and technological gains been at the expense of losing our soul, our humanity? Can we now find a way to learn to once again nurture our soul?

***********************

RON CHACEY lives in Colorado, decorates fine musical instruments, visits the high country often, and works to protect open space and wildlife habitat. He and The Editor of the EMAILITE went to high school together.

 

 

CHILLING TO SAY THE LEAST

by Lorna Chafe

I’ve been ambivalent on Kosovo, but generally think that we have done far more damage than might have occurred via Milosovich, and yet he had to be stopped. My thinking is that we need to use the UN or the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and we need to fund them. WE NEED TO PAY OUR DUES!!! These bodies need to be working all the time, doing conflict resolution and teaching the ideals and techniques of listening and understanding and respecting and compromising with each other, and we need a good dose of that right here at home, a la Littleton.

Granted there are in Littleton also problems of raging adolescent hormones, and moving a kid too many times, and maybe a military approach to child-rearing as well. And I think that the Harris’s may not have accepted their son for who he was, and their denial fed his pretense. But I am struck by the possibility that it was the persecution of the athletes and the “in” kids that sent him over the edge, and into the pit of our violent media and war games.

And the idea of these kids plotting this rampage for a year or so, acting their everyday selves, is chilling to say the least.

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LORNA CHAFE is a an early childhood educator, child advocate, and peace activist. She lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

 

 

A LETTER FROM SERBIA

by Marija Marjanovic

Dear friends!

Just after the war in Yugoslavia have started, I wrote a letter named “My side of the story”. I sent it to my friends from Brazil (where I spent two months taking a part in the student exchange program), and to several other friends from all over the world. This letter seems to be traveling all around the world and by this time, I have already received about 350 replying letters (maybe more). They are from Brazil, USA, Spain, Germany, Greece, France, Great Britain, Turkey, Mexico, Argentina, Italy, Austria, Finland, etc. I am very happy that we can make this beautiful contact, thanks to the modem communication. I am really touched with your reactions….Even though we may have different opinions of this situation (but I must emphasize that we most basically agree) it seems that you can all feel the empathy for the innocent people from Yugoslavia, whatever nation they belong to.

Thank you very much for your concern. You are so far away and still so worried about the situation in my country. I am also surprised with the fact that you are mostly very well informed about this war. I am grateful to the people who are spreading my letter….

I did not mention the refugees problem which made a lot of you think that I support this ethnic cleansing idea. On the contrary, I strongly condemn it. I do not have to tell you that we hear nothing about that on our local tv, but as I told you I have the possibility to watch many foreign tv stations so I am aware of it. I must also say that there are (not only now, but long before this war started) a lot of Albanian separatistic groups in Kosovo. They are armed (UCK), therefore dangerous and determined to realize their dream of “Great Albania” by adding Kosovo to the state of Albania. They attack Serbian citizens from Kosovo, and they also attack Albanian Kosovars that don’t share their separatistic ideas. How do you think any country should solve this problem?

Our government is obviously not capable of solving this problem (because it was always occupied only with the idea of gathering money for its members). I agree that this problem has to be solved with the international intervention. I also agree that Albanian women, children and men from Kosovo which are not acting aggressively and separtistically did not deserve to suffer. Therefore I condemn the aggression against them. On the other hand, I do not approve the methods of NATO. I will not discuss (this time) my opinion that NATO (with the USA on its top), hidden goals (spreading the market, strategic reasons, selling old weapons and testing the new ones). I honestly don’t believe that destroying factories, bridges, roads, even homes, will solve any problem. For example, some days ago, the building of the state television, situated in the down town was hit. There were a lot of civil victims (workers). To tell you the truth, this tv station was never correct. It was conducted by the government, it produced lies not only now, but long, long time before. I would be happy if this tv station would stop with its work. But what did NATO achieve by hitting it? It killed innocent people, it ruined the expensive building and technology. Who is going to pay for that? NATO could simply destroy the main antenna which is located on the hill twenty kilometers away from the down town.

This antenna is away from civilians, very expensive, even for the state fund and therefore not likely to be soon changed by the new one. The goal would be completely achieved–without human losses.

Now, the state tv is broadcasting again, it has just changed its down town office–so we’ll have the down town explosion again. We are just praying for pilots to be extremely precise.

You keep asking me about the way I spend my ordinary day under this strange conditions. In the first days of the war we could not actually realize what was going on. The alarms announcing the alerts from the sky were very frequent so people stayed in their homes or shelters, being afraid to get out. Another thing happened. When this first (psychological) shock has passed everybody started to buy everything in the supermarkets. We were frightened, that, like in any war, we are soon going to stay out of food, water, pharmaceutical products, detergents etc. Unfortunately people from here are mostly poor, so one can not buy a lot of things. The prices had increased, but not so much, at least not like I expected. After few weeks, we seemed to get used to the situation. Alerts (in Belgrade) are every evening. So by the daytime we visit each other, people go to work (there is usually nothing to do but people keep on sitting in their offices trying to make things look like “nothing’s going on”).

Now, no matter how strange it can appear to you, I am totally used to the situation. But I have fears about several things. First fear: the ground troops–I am aware that I am not a target, but let’s remember Sarajevo (Bosnia), when innocent people got killed (not deliberately, but killed anyway) while they were standing in the line waiting for bread, water, medicines. Second thing I am afraid of is the use of depleted uranium by NATO. This is a sad fact and it is just being discussed about the level of its bad influence. The third thing I am afraid of is: How this is going to end? When is this going to end? I am also afraid that we are soon going to loose these contact, because there are rumours that the main post office is going to be hit as a strategic target (unfortunately these rumours have rarely failed not to be true). If this happens, we well be completely lost in the dark.

It is 02:13 in the morning, while I am writing this, and of course, it is the alert time. Just an hour ago I heard very strong explosion (my windows have slightly opened because of the strength of the air pressure caused by the detonation). I am listening to the news but nobody has reported yet about the location of the explosion. I assume it is the main bridge or the Police Headquarters. I hope again that there are no civil victims. I have phoned to the closest family and several friends, they know nothing (just like me) and they are ok (first thing I usually do after the explosion: I call my family/friends to check out if everything is all right).

You might wonder why don’t I go to the shelter during the alert. A lot of us don’t. I hate the atmosphere of massive panic, so I prefer to stay in my house. I am also trying to study a little bit. Schools are not working. Universities do. I am writing an essay about a contemporary architecture. It is very nice to do anything else but thinking about problems. It can retain one’s mind healthy, I suppose.

You have noticed that in this letter I have not written much about the political aspect. That is because I have recently found out a web site named “Free Serbia” made by Serbian students. I find it very interesting, and by now, I can say that I agree with most everything that I have read on this site. I hope it will remain that fair. This site is full of pictures (while some of them are really disturbing). I am enclosing parts from this web site, which I hope that you are going to visit soon. I will keep on writing. Hoping that we’ll not loose this contact.

Sincerely, Marija Marjanovic

*************************

for more go to: http://welcome.to/freeserbia. This web site is maintained from Yugoslavia, under constant threat of NATO bombs and the Milosevic regime. So, please understand if it is not updated from time to time! TOM YOUNG, graduate student in dance at the University of Claifornia at Riverside, sent us Marija Marjanovic’s letter.

 

 

NEWS ITEM:

April 21st, 1999 12:25 GMT – NATO officials have confirmed that NATO forces have used depleted uranium ammunition in air strikes against Yugoslavia.

 

T.O.C.
 

LETTER FROM TERESA WILLIAMS

by Teresa Williams

“At the Center of Non-Violence Stands the Principle of Love”

—“Dr. Martin L. King, Jr.”

As an American Citizen, I firmly oppose the NATO bombings in Yugoslavia that continues to murder innocent civilians (mostly women and children) and destabilizes the Eastern Bloc countries. Violence begets violence and there must be a space established for a dialogue of peace and non-violence. I oppose the U.S. destructive engagement of these bombings, these senseless “mistakes” on proposed NATO targets (that seem to increase weekly), the billions of dollars being spent on missiles and bombs while neglecting the issues at home regarding jobs, education, community development, health, crime, poverty, violence by American youth and the structural-institutionalized violence in our society.

I am strongly opposed to ground troops being sent to Yugoslavia as proposed by the Pentagon to President Clinton. I will continue to vocalize my opposition to the United States government being the international watchdogs and humanitarian hypocrites while tolerating social injustices within this society such as police brutality, racial profiling, the rise of the prison industrial complex that is designed to incarcerate people of color at alarming rates for the 21st century and this perpetuation of the culture of violence within American society and abroad.

I encourage family, friends and colleagues to become more engaged in opposing this war and its atrocities and to support the international call for peaceful negotiations and peaceful solutions by becoming more involved with your community’s anti-war/anti-violence efforts.

There will be a major demonstration at the Pentagon in D.C. on Saturday, June 5. Let us not forget Vietnam.

In The Spirit of Peace,

Teresa Williams

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TERESA WILLIAMS lives in Cambridge (MA) and is currently a graduate student at the Boston campus of Springfield College’s School of Human Service. Her focus is on prison justice issues as an extension of slavery. She is also currently involved with the American Friends Service Committee’s Coalition of Friends and Families of Prisoners.

 

 

WAR IS HELL

by James K. Galbraith

General William Tecumseh Sherman had a clear legal right to repress the armed rebellion his armies encountered in Georgia and the Carolinas. This right was based on the authority of the United States to preserve the Union. That Sherman did so violently, that he seized civilian property and burned houses, did not diminish this. Nor did it give England or France or anyone else any legal or moral standing to intervene in our Civil War.

By what standard does the United States now claim standing to prevent the Yugoslav National Army from repressing armed rebellion in Kosovo?

In Bosnia, an independent country, we had a legal right to bomb. We were invited by the government to do so. We also had a moral imperative; in fact, our intervention there came too late. Kosovo, on the other hand, never has been independent. That its population happens to be 90 percent ethnic Albanian is irrelevant. An ethnic enclave has human rights but not national rights, and cannot invite us to intervene on its side in a civil war.

But had the war turned to something much graver, namely genocide? In Bosnia, Serb forces caused 200,000 civilian casualties in the first year of that war. That was genocide, directed against Muslims by militias that wanted them off the land. In Kosovo after one year, until our campaign started, there were about two thousand casualties, about one percent as many. The Serb strategy in Kosovo was harsh. But it was not genocidal up to the point where the bombs started to fall.

NATO’s case thus depended on the assertion that genocide would occur in the absence of our bombing. This would justify our actions –if it were true. But what was the evidence? Did we intercept plans, orders? If we had, Clinton and Albright would have said so. They have not. Instead, they refer back to what did happen in Bosnia, to crimes committed years ago, principally by Bosnian Serbs. And yet that Bosnian Serb political entity, the Republika Srpksa, continues to exist because we protected it, in the Dayton Accords, from military defeat! As an explanation for our conduct in Kosovo today, this story does not parse.

If we had evidence of plans for genocide, then we could have sought international legal authority for our actions. The correct forum for this is the United Nations Security Council. The UN did give us the authority we needed to conduct, for instance, the Gulf War. But NATO did not seek such authority for Kosovo. Why not? Perhaps the evidence was not good enough.

And perhaps our true motive is closer to what is quite openly stated: our frustration that Yugoslavia would not agree to diktat on the matter of a Kosovo peace settlement. But why should it? Agreements, by definition and by international law, cannot be forced. We have not sought, and certainly have not achieved, a settlement acceptable to Serbia.

So now we see the failure of diplomatic bluster–of Richard Holbrooke’s view that he personally could handle Milosevic by entreaty and threat; of Madeleine Albright’s effort to gain glory at Rambouillet. False routes failed, and now “our” credibility is at stake. God save us from such diplomats.

But will the war work? The first-in-history successful achievement of a political objective by air power alone has not yet occurred. In this instance, all signs are bad. Bombing was supposed to prevent genocide, but once the monitors withdrew, nothing protected the civilians, and the Serb policy became dramatically more brutal. Today, the burning villages belong to Albanians. The floods of refugees are Albanian. And the bodies are mainly Albanian. Our air attacks accelerated, and did not retard, the Yugoslav military campaign.

In response, our bombing will not remain confined to bloodless targets like airfields and TV towers. We will send in the close-support jets, looking for jeeps and armored cars. At that point, two things will happen. First, more of our aircraft will get hit, by rifles and cannon and shoulder-fired missiles. Second, even more civilians will get hurt.

Slobodan Milosevic thus has a clear strategy (while we do not). He can disperse his forces, hold his anti-aircraft fire, press his gruesome ground campaign, push out more refugees, and wait for us to start killing civilians. Soon after, international public opinion and NATO itself will begin to crack. This is not, as it were, rocket science.

Our policy in Kosovo is not only wrong. It is not only illegal. It is also not very bright.

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James K. Galbraith teaches at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. This article is distributed by The American Prospect Syndicate. Our old pal, OAF, Our Anonymous Friend, who was so helpful during the Impeachment issues of the J.M.E. sent us Galbraith’s essay.

 

 

A BLIND SPOT

by Peter Smyth

There is a remarkable blind spot in the public analysis of the shootings in Colorado. As the media rakes over the ashes of this disaster, again their is NO attention paid to the FACT that in all of these school massacres the perpetrators are male. The unrestrained urge to acquire wealth, to pursue power, to dominate women, children, other men and control one’s environment to the point of killing are all behaviors of males. I suspect that between the hype and the accepted “truth,” there is a very real possibility that non-psychological environmental factors, (what kids are listening to, seeing or even living at home), are eroding whatever mechanisms human males possess to manage inner aggressive tendencies.

Whether it is a mutation of testosterone by some chemical process, or a reaction to greater amounts of ultra-violet radiation due to the destruction of the ozone, or exposure to something in our diets, we are experiencing increases in bizarre and very violent behavior, while we are ignoring the dynamics of the phenomenon. Coupling this with THE JUDEVINE MOUNTAIN EMAILITE’S (#12) observations that our society and our orientation toward wealth and individualism [cf. “What Confucius Said”], the future looks bleak.

Hang close to your friends and neighbors.

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PETER SMYTH lives in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont and is a graduate student preparing to become a high school teacher at Johnson State College.

 

 

MUMIA ABU-JAMAL FROM DEATH ROW: “U.S. OUT OF YUGOSLAVIA”

By Mumia Abu-Jamal

As a deadly rain of high-tech bombs falls on Yugoslavia, a deadening rain of propaganda falls on Americans–media-manipulated lies designed to prime the populace into supporting harsher military measures against a sovereign nation, in the name of protecting human rights.

NATO is but a fig leaf for American “interests,” and the bombing of Yugoslavia is but a global demonstration of the ruthlessness of the American empire. A demonstration? The monstrous atomic bombing of Japan, after it was virtually beaten in World War II, was not a military necessity, but a political one, designed to demonstrate to the Russians that the U.S. was, and would ever be, boss. It was a massive, deadly demonstration.

So too, the Yugoslavia bombing treats Serbs as the U.S. treated Japanese during the war–as props to demonstrate the power of the empire. Let us consider the claims that the U.S. is concerned about “human rights” or about the “rights of ethnic minorities,” as the corporate press projects hourly. What of America’s largest national minority–African Americans? The world-respected Amnesty International group, speaking through its secretary general, Pierre San, announced just days before the bombing, “Human-rights violations in the United States of America are persistent, widespread and appear to disproportionately affect people of racial or ethnic minority backgrounds.” San, was critical of police violence and executions in the U.S. Further, internationally, let’s see how the U.S. responds to “liberation movements” of the oppressed. When fighters for Puerto Rican independence began to raise their voices, the U.S. didn’t support this “ethnic minority,” they sought (and continue) to crush, incarcerate and silence them.

Consider the case of the Palestinians, the Kurds, the East Timorese, the Colombian rebels–who has the U.S. consistently supported, the oppressed or the U.S.-armed governments? This isn’t about “human rights.” It isn’t about “ethnic minorities.” And it also isn’t about “genocide.” It’s about establishing who’s “boss” in the next century. It’s about keeping Russia in its place. It’s about keeping the European Union under the thumb of Wall Street.

The bombing of Serbia is an echo of the bombing of three other countries in the past six months–of Iraq, Sudan and Afghanistan. And for precisely the same reason–to show that it can be done, no matter what so-called “international law” states. It is to instill terror through out the world, in order for U.S. capital to institute what former President George Bush tried to do, but failed: to establish a New World Order.

Days before the bombing, NATO signed up Poland, Hungary and the former Czechoslovakia (Czech Republic) as its newest members, thereby virtually isolating Russia. Only Serbia and the Yugoslav states have refused to join NATO–their bombing is their punishment. Our brilliant, revered nationalist leader, Malcolm X, taught us to examine history. If we look at history, the bombing of Yugoslavia becomes clear. Empires are maintained, not by reason, but by ruthless terror. It was so in Rome. It is so in the U.S. The brilliant revolutionary, Dr. Huey P. Newton, founder of the Black Panther Party, explained: “The United States was no longer a nation. … We called it an empire. … An empire is a nation-state that has transformed itself into a power controlling all the world’s lands and people.” (1973)

Huey was right then, and our response then was to oppose the empire. We must do that now. Down with imperialism! Stop the bombing! NATO/U.S. out of Yugoslavia!

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Mumia Abu-Jamal has been convicted of murdering a police officer and is on death row in Pennsylvania prison. NADINE BUDBILL, sent us Mumia’s essay. Nadine is also the source of our Quote of the Month at the head of this issue. Nadie lives in Brooklyn, New York, and works for The Network of Cultural Centers of Color.

 

 

HAVEL LAUDS KOSOVO FIGHT AS FIRST “ETHICAL WAR.”

BATTLE “GIVES HUMAN RIGHTS PRECEDENCE OVER RIGHTS OF STATES, CZECH LEADER SAYS.

by Juliet O’Neill

In an address to Parliament, a rare honour for foreign leaders, Mr. Havel distinguished NATO’s military intervention against the regime of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic as the first war ever fought on behalf of the interests of human beings rather than national state interests.

Introduced by Prime Minister Jean Chretien as “a poet, a dreamer, a statesman,” the 62-year-old Mr. Havel delivered the kind of philosophical address expected from the writer and former political prisoner acclaimed for his role in toppling communism and for eloquently advocating morality in politics.

The war over Kosovo foreshadows a future, he said, in which the nation-state no longer holds cult-like status, state sovereignty is no longer idolized and the principle of non-intervention in another state will be antiquated. “This war gives human rights precedence over the rights of states.”

The Kosovo conflict is not a war waged over oil fields or territorial claims by any NATO country, or other national interests that have traditionally driven foreign policies, he said, but “because decent people cannot sit back and watch systematic, state-directed massacres of other people.”

On top of offering comfort to NATO — an alliance the Czech Republic joined only a dozen days before the current air war began — he called for United Nations reforms, and urged Russia to accept that the quests by such small nations as Estonia to join NATO or the European Union are not “an expression of enmity.”

His repeated theme of humans before states stirred applause several times from the audience of MPs, senators, diplomats and other guests assembled for a special joint sitting of the Commons and Senate. It was a rare occasion; the most recent was an address last year by South African President Nelson Mandela.

“There is a value which ranks higher than the state,” Mr. Havel declared. “This value is humanity. The state, as is well known, is here to serve the people, not the other way around.” In an apparent reference to the lack of Czech public support for the NATO bombing campaign and the deep divisions over it within the Czech government, Mr. Havel admitted that the alliance action is neither easy nor popular, and said there can be different opinions on strategy and tactics.

“But no person of sound judgment can deny one thing: this is probably the first war ever fought that is not being fought in the name of interests, but in the name of certain principles and values. If it is possible to say about a war that it is ethical, or that it is fought for ethical reasons, it is true of this war.”

While Yugoslavia has been attacked without a direct UN mandate for NATO, he said the alliance had not acted out of aggressiveness or disrespect for international law but “out of respect for the rights of humanity as they are articulated by our conscience as well as by other instruments of international law.

“I see this as an important precedent for the future,” he added. “It has now been clearly stated that it is not permissible to slaughter people, to evict them from their homes, to maltreat them and to deprive them of their property. It has been demonstrated that human rights are indivisible and that if injustice is done to some, it is done to all.”

A tiny cluster of protesters, one holding a sign saying “Decent Czechs stand against bombing. Decent Czechs stand by Serbs,” gathered on the lower steps of Parliament as Mr. Havel gave his address. However, Mr. Havel’s line of sight to them, as he left the Centre Block, was blocked by a crowd of thrilled fans, some of whom took snapshots as he and his wife Dagmar came out with Mr. Chretien and his wife, Aline.

At a formal state luncheon later at Rideau Hall, residence of Gov.-Gen. Romeo LeBlanc, Mr. Havel gushed over the welcome he received during his first trip to Canada in 1990, shortly after he had become the elected president of what was then Czechoslovakia in the wake of the Velvet Revolution that brought about the end of Communist rule.

“I will never forget the way I was welcomed in your country,” he said in a toast to his hosts. “This kind of welcome has helped me overcome a few uneasy moments during my presidency.”

He paid tribute to Czechs who had emigrated to Canada and fought for the re-establishment of democracy from abroad, saying they had significantly contributed to achieving new freedom and civil dignity.

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© Copyright 1999 Ottawa Citizen. For more articles on Havel’s visit to and speeches in Ottawa and for an interview with him from Prague, go to: http://www.ottawacitizen.com and search April 30, 1999. HOWARD NELSON, Upstate New York poet, teacher and Emailite was in Ottawa, Ontario, celebrating his 30th wedding anniversary and saw this article in THE OTTAWA CITIZEN.

 

 

LINKS FOR FURTHER READING:

LINK: for more “alternative” comments on Kosovo go to: madcow and look for Mad Cow Digest #85

LINK: from Saratoga, NY, poet and teacher ROB FAIVRE, a recommendation to read Michael Moore’s essay “To Be Dead in Denver & Downtown Pristina.” This is the Michael Moore of ROGER AND ME fame. To read this piece go to: theawfultruth.com

LINK: for another fiercely anti-bombing position go to: The Progressive Review, 1739 Conn. Ave. NW Washington DC 20009, 202-232-5544 Fax: 202- 234-6222, E-MAIL: news@prorev.com,

INDEX : http://prorev.com,

NEWS : http://prorev.com/indexa.htm,

HEADLINE NEWS: http://prorev.com/altnews.htm,

ALTERNATIVE NEWS SOURCES: http://prorev.com/hot.htm,

FORUMS: http://dejanews.com/~prorev

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COMING IN THE JUDEVINE EMAILITE #14:

Greed: The Equal Opportunity Destroyer–or–How The Cuban Baseball Team Whopped The Baltimore Orioles.

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