November 26, 2001
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An old Serbian saying states that a lie has short legs. Will the saying be proven incorrect? Indubitably, the entire decade of the nineties has had very long legs, unremittingly denouncing the Serbs as savages, genocidal monsters, cannibals, ethnic-cleansers of the worse sort ever seen since World War II. Compared to the Nazis, their alleged crimes called a new Holocaust, the charges were hammered for years on by obedient media, PR firms, corrupt politicians and debased pundits.
Today, in November 2001, the Serbs are pretty much out of the news. Serbs are no more bugs to be squashed by our forces of "Good." The "International Community" has found another Hitler to battle, new, bigger fishes to fry... Now that we are after rooting out world terrorism, smoking the latest bad dudes out of their pigeonholes, readying ourselves to revisit the unfinished Iraqi business, the Serbs have finally gotten a breather. They are left alone, left alone at last.
Sure, their country is decimated but eh, they are out of the news and helping them won't make the economy roar again. The Mall is our patriotic destination. The Serbs will just have to wait till the season of honey and godliness fills the world in its entirety thanks to our infinite (or should one say "enduring?") generosity.
Almost forgotten, in this hall of mirrors, is an ancient trait of the Serbian culture, namely their sense of humor, at times bordering on sarcasm. The more down they are and being down, subjugated to bigger forces, is an experience that they have endured over and over again in their history the more they laugh; again, not always a liberating laughter but still a laugh!
Here is an example you may or may not appreciate to its full irony. We've made them the archenemies of the Croats, right? After all, Croats were not too kind and friendly to the Serbs some 60 years ago... Well, perhaps, yet they have another saying, "Every Serb is better than any Croat, any two Croats are better than two Serbs." Go figure!
Nowadays, the Serbs have some reasons to use their humor again. First, they ain't targeted anymore with DU. As you all know, Depleted Uranium is as good for your health as burning fossil fuels is good to the environment and the ozone layer. Who says it? The UNEP, NATO, and the oil industry (through their in-house, lavishly paid scientists and lobbyists), that's whom; all serious names to be wholly trusted! DU is now used in Afghanistan and we know how much we care about the Afghan women and their freedom! We all want DU in our yards! It's good for our health and for the economy (actually, perhaps some ingenious entrepreneur could bring DU to Mecca, oops sorry, to the Mall. We need to jump start this darn economy. Think about your pension plan...).
There are a few dissenters, here and there, such as Dr. Ajdacic and Dr. Jaksic, but they are Serbs, I mean, with such names, they have to be Serbs; a good reason enough to dismiss the issue. So, we, at Swans, are giving the two of them our modest platform to express their own sense of humor on DU, this oh-so-hillarious issue.
Serbs have another reason to rejoice. Now that we have finally discovered that El Zorro of Central Asia meant business, not exactly a business to our liking, we are also finding that this Zorro not our Zorro anymore had been involved in Bosnia, Kosovo and even Macedonia (FYROM). Now, think for a second (if this is not too much to ask), we are fighting the bad dudes who were our allies against the Serbs. Talk about irony!
Because it has been irrefutably established that our former "allies" of Al Qaeda were involved to the tilt in the Balkans wars of the nineties. Yes, indeed, talk about irony!
Al Qaeda, however, was not helping the friendly Croats who were defending themselves against the bloodthirsty Serbs (remember, Serbs are demons). All the tawdry, nasty things the Serbs have been accused of doing against their northern brothers start to take a different perspective when you read "Planning Croatia's Final Solution" in the December 2001 issue of Harper's Magazine. You can imagine that the Serbs had it all planned evildoers as they are but you should still rush, grab a copy and read the piece on page 20. It's the minutes of the September 12 and September 19, 1993 (ancient history without doubt) of the meetings of the Council for Defense and National Security of the Republic of Croatia. Harper's introduction reads, "That year, Croat forces murdered up to 400 Serb civilians in the town of Gospic; In 1995 almost 600,000 Serbs were driven from the Krajina region. This transcript is the first proof that President Franjo Tudjman planned and directed ethnic cleansing and other war crimes."
Wow! How astonishing; the Serbs did not cleanse themselves, by themselves, on their own, all 600,000 of them... Should one mean to say they got some help?
Hey, says the patriotic-go-to-the-mall-flag-waving-SUV-guzzling-god-fearing-knows-it-all-Rocky-I-love-you American, "I don't believe it. How preposterous! Obviously, they did it on their own. Remember, they are Serbs, those dastardly, bastardly, bahbadly, blahblahblah..."
Belief is everything within the hall of mirrors.
Enter Pedja Zoric.
Within the realm of beliefs, you won't believe it but Zoric is actually a goddamned believer. True conservative, faithful in god and civilization, defender of flag and family (and friends), Zoric could be a perfect American. But for one iota of exception. He loves math (beside, poor he, being depicted as a add your qualificative here).
As he wrote once, "Numbers are my hobby." While he manifestly did not major or minor in English literature he certainly knows about arithmetic more than most of us do.
One of his relentless pastimes, beside his wife Dada and newborn son, is to do the math, purely and simply. How can it be, he suggests, that the wars in Croatia and Bosnia started with reported deaths in the hundreds, then the thousands, then 20,000, then, from one day to another, 200,000, 250,000, 300,000? Former President Clinton was the first one to advance the 250,000 mark. Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl beat his American master with 300,000. Today we can hear reports that more than one million people died during the four Yugoslav wars of the 90's.
Says Zoric, in an e-mail, "In 1994-5 a 'massacre' happened in Tuzla. Seventy-one youngsters died in a café square, after one single bomb exploded in the middle. (Those damn Serbs are awfully precise, same as in Markale, same as in bread lineup in Miskin street in Sarajevo). Haris Silajdzic [was Prime Minister of the Bosnian Muslim Governement] said that was the worst single day of the Bosnian war(s) in regard to the number of dead. So, since the war lasted 3.5 years, then (365 x 3.5) x 71 = 90,702 (absolute maximum). Opposition Canadian papers put an estimate at 70 to 80 thousand. Serbs from Bosnia say there were some 25,000 dead Serbian soldiers alone; plus civilians, let's say 30,000. In a four-way war, where is the Genocide?" [ed. note: serious estimates of actual dead range from 20 to 30,000.]
Yep, where is the genocide here?
So he brings a few Canadian news organizations to task. Hey, he seems to be saying, show me the money. They do not and they won't.
Former President Milosevich was indicted on genocide charges a few days ago.
Milosevich is laughing them off, awaiting for Clown del Ponte, as Zoric calls the ICTY prosecutor, to come up with the list of all the dead and react to Tudjman's latest revelations. Serbs are laughing, whether conservative, progressive, or whatever letter of the alphabet helps to define them.
They are laughing.
Americans may one day understand at least one hopes that a lie has indeed short legs.
Meantime, laughing will keep us alive.
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This Week's Internal Links
The New Kind of Education - by Jan Baughman
The Dictatorship of Bullshit - by Stephen Gowans
Democracy? When? - by Stephen Gowans
Back to Crete - by Andreas Toupadakis
Sweeping the Truth Under the DU Rug - by Dr. Vladimir Ajdacic & Dr. Predrag Jaksic
Lie Has Short Legs - by Pedja Zoric
The Potter of Gold - by Alma A. Hromic
A Trip to the Garden - by Andreas Toupadakis
Ending or Beginning? - by Milo Clark
The Making of a Radical (Excerpt) - by Scott Nearing
The Real Freedom of Free Speech - by Scott Nearing
Three Quotes to Ponder - by R. D. Laing & Derrick Jensen