- Incompatible With Humanitarian
March 24, 1999
"NATO's unwise, counterproductive and non-legal
bombing of sovereign Yugoslavia is justified by President
Bill Clinton, EU and other Western leaders and media with
reference to humanitarian concerns. Supposedly air strikes
serve to stop ethnic cleansing, future massacres, refugee
flows, and prevent innocent children and women from being
killed. Diplomatically expressed, this comes from the
marketing department. Bombings will to produce what it
purports to prevent," says Dr. Jan Oberg, TFF's director,
right after the bombing campaign has started. According to
Oberg, this argument lacks credibility for the following
Why did the West do absolutely nothing before this crisis
became violent? There were many opportunities for a
negotiated solutions. TFF, for instance, has suggested a
variety of options since 1992 that could have prevented
violence and the killing we've seen the last year. In no
other conflict has there been so many early warnings and so
little preventive diplomacy. Kosovo's catastrophe was among
the most predictable of all. It is intellectual nonsense
that 'everything else has been tried and NATO bombings was
the only option left.'
HUMANITARIAN WORK MADE IMPOSSIBLE BY NATO THREATS
The immediate consequence of the threats of NATO air strikes
is that OSCE's Verification mission had to be withdrawn and
that almost all humanitarian organizations withdrew to
protect their staff. More refugees are now running over the
border to Macedonia. With fewer ears and eyes on the ground,
its free for all sides - NATO included - to step up the
THIS WILL MAKE SERBS AND ALBANIANS HATE EACH OTHER
NATO bombings will be perceived as a punishment of Serbs and
a clear support to Albanian hardliners. Serbs will feel that
it was the Albanian side that called this hell upon them.
Thus, the little hope we may have had about Serbs and
Albanians living peaceful together or as trustful neighbours
in the foreseeable future, is now gone. Producing hate is
the opposite of a humanitarian effort.
MANY MORE DIE IN OTHER CONFLICTS,
WITH NO HUMANITARIAN CONCERN?
The Kosovo war has caused the death of about 2.000 people
during the last year. This is serious, every human life is
sacred. However, the international community has chosen NOT
to intervene in the following when: 80.000 have been killed
in Algeria; perhaps 10.000 in the Ethiopian-Eritrean war the
last couple of weeks; 820,000 in Rwanda the last five years;
1.500,000 in Sudan the last 15 years; more than 1 million
people have died because of the Western sanctions against
the Iraqi people; perhaps as many as 500,000 have died in
Burma since 1948.
THE WORLD'S REAL HUMANITARIAN PROBLEMS ARE NOT
An estimated 100.000 people's die PER DAY, around the
world - not in wars but because they lack the most basic
such as water, clothes, shelter, food, medicine. 100 mill
people have no home; there are already some 40 million
refugees; 70 Third World countries have lower standards of
living today than 30 years ago; at least 800 million people
go hungry to bed. In money terms, a fraction of the world's
military expenditures could alleviate most of that
THERE IS ALWAYS MONEY FOR WEAPONS BUT NOT FOR HUMAN
The world's military expenditures - NATO making up most of
it - equals the combined income of the 50% poorest of the
world's population. Pentagon alone spends 20 times more than
the entire budget of the United Nations. And the UN - the
world's most important humanitarian organization - is
completely ignored in the Kosovo conflict and, these very
days, forced out of Macedonia. When will the media begin to
ask what this type of 'peace'-making costs - and what we
could do in terms of real relief and peace for a similar
THERE HAVE LONG BEEN LARGER HUMANITARIAN PROBLEMS IN
250.000 citizens are now displaced inside Kosovo or refugees
in Macedonia - about 10% of the Kosovo-Serbs and 10% of the
Kosovo-Albanians. They certainly need help. But so do the
650.000 mostly Serb refugees (according to UNHCR) who have
fled from Croatia, Bosnia and elsewhere during the
dissolution of ex-Yugoslavia, about half of them ethnically
cleansed from Croatia in 1995. from Croatia. It's Europe's
largest refugee problem - largely going unnoticed.
SANCTIONS CREATE HUMANITARIAN PROBLEMS
Why has the West upheld various types of sanctions against
the people of Yugoslavia since 1991? The majority of
citizens suffer one way or the other from that, not the
least the sick and the pensioners. They and everybody else
will stand behind President Milosevic in this crisis.
IS THIS RHETORIC AIMED TO CONVINCED WOMEN?
All the 'soft' humanitarian coating of this type of
militarist policies is probably an attempt to convince
women, soldiers' and pilots' wives and mothers and the
general do-good sentiment in the American public. But will
they still believe this when the casualty figures rise?
Says Dr. Oberg: "Our thoughts go to all friends and
colleagues of the foundation, Serbs, Albanians, Macedonians
and others in all of the region, innocent good-hearted
people who are again to pay the price for 'politics' and
power game by their own leaders and the international
community's leaders. Citizens in NATO countries were not
heard either. Thus, I draw the following conclusion about
this type of B-52 humanitarianism," says Dr. Oberg:
1) Humanitarian concerns is the rhetoric of the smiling
Western crocodile. It is either deliberate misinformation or
a view based on incomplete analysis. There IS no global
political will to do something about humanitarian problems
where they really exist.
2) In Kosovo, we risk blowing up a low-casualty war to
become a major war and creating a tenfold larger
3) It seems the only humanitarian problems in which there
is a political will to do something are those which seem fit
for 'NATO treatment' - in short, it is faked.
4) What a wonderful world it would be if the world's most
powerful nation, its president and its allies WERE
determined TO DO SOMETHING to alleviate suffering
around the world.
5) Now the combination of their limited creativity, their
unlimited cocksureness and overwhelming military power
threatens to only INCREASE the world's humanitarian
© TFF 1999
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