Monday, November 19, 2012

Imperial Justice 101: The Lesson of Adis and Ante

Adis Medunjanin, a Bosnian Muslim kid from Queens, New York, who allegedly plotted to blow up New York City subway system, aiming to kill numerous Americans, was sentenced to life in prison on November 16. The same day, Ante Gotovina, the Croat general who commanded over the most horrific ethnic cleansing operation in Europe since the World War II, namely, the expulsion of more than 220,000 and murder of more than 2,000 Serbs in the Serb Republic of Krajina, in early August of 1995, was freed by the Hague Tribunal together with his partner in crime, Mladen Markač. (Another perpetrator, general Ivan Čermak, was freed last year.) These two verdicts go to show how one fares as an enemy of the North Atlantic imperial system in comparison to its friends and allies. They are a message to other potential political criminals that it is ok to kill people selected as enemies of the North Atlantic imperialism, while it is wrong and punishable to be against it.

Now, I am a New Yorker and a Serb. I condemn anyone who plotted to kill innocent civilians, not only in the city I live in, but anywhere on the planet. I know this is a moot point and a little hypocritical one at that, if you are paying taxes and buying bullets that strike innocent hearts, but, unfortunately, for billions of people, including yours truly, the only way to fight injustice is to yell "Injustice!"

Anyway, if the Medunjanin kid really was plotting to bomb New York City's subway,* I applaud the U.S. courts for dishing out the harshest punishment, thus protecting the American civilians from the enemy that its government created and let in. Yes, the Bosnian Muslims are reputed allies and, I'd say, friends of the U.S. government, whose military fought alongside them against the Bosnian Serbs. The war brought a lot of them to America, and many of them are Muslim first, Americans probably never. Some decide to act upon that difference, like Medunjanin or Sulejman Talović, the Bosnian Muslim terrorist who killed five people in Utah in 2007. While I understand when a Palestinian wants to kill Americans, I feel a special kind of contempt towards Bosnian Muslims who kill Americans. As a man of high moral standards, I condemn ingrates who stab their friends in the back, which is how these Bosnian terror cells and individuals - and Albanian ones for that matter - repay for the Americans aiding their war against Serbs.

Croats, on the other hand, knew better. When Franjo Tuđman undertook the Operation Storm, the final solution for the Serb-inhabited, UN-protected Serb Republic of Krajina, in August of 1995, he did it with American blessing and, reportedly, aid. Testimonies from the fleeing Serbs of NATO planes bombarding their convoys while the Croats were shelling and chasing them are numerous and undisputed. Ante Gotovina was the Croat hero who succeeded in liberating and cleansing this UN-protected entity of its population. He fought on the side of the North Atlantic Empire and he received a recognition for it from the legal arm of the Empire, the Hague Tribunal, which doesn't even have any legal ground for being around. Anyway, Gotovina did the imperial bidding, he wasn't trying to kill Americans but actually succeeded in killing Serbs, and that is, apparently, fine under the international law.

Oh, how convenient this rogue term "international" is... When it comes to killing Serbs, in the Operation Storm or in the NATO butchering of Serbia in 1999, the international law doesn't apply. Hell, even the U.S. Constitution goes out the window (which shows that the American nation does not hire the American military anymore, but that's a different issue), since the U.S. Congress did not approve going into war against Serbia in 1999 either.

So now we have these two simple situations: one, an alleged plot to kill Americans worthy of a life-in-prison sentence, and the other, an imperial military operation that successfully drove 220,000 Serbs out of their ancestral homes and killed more than 2,000 of those unable to run for their lives or unwilling to abandon their land. Now, under what kind of international justice system - let's pretend this is a non-imperialist category that can indeed exist - the first situation warrants a life in prison in the country that is a standard-bearer of the international rule of law agenda, while no one is held accountable for the mass murder and the expulsion of a quarter million people, a crime way more horrific than mere plotting to kill? I stand corrected: a crime way more horrific if one applies moral standards and common sense, not if one holds "the international law" principles over it.

The fact that the entire Croat nation went into ecstasy over the Hague decision to free the mass murderers and that the Serbs were astonished by the verdict, despite the court's anti-Serb history, are both effects of these two nations' understanding of their respective positions in international relations. Croats showed a continued high understanding and zealous reverence for the nationalist agenda of their leadership, irrespective of heinous crimes committed in the name of it, while Serbs were puzzled by both the fact that the Western Europe and the United States - whom they call "international community" instead of the North Atlantic Empire - would insult them like that and that Croats would show such a disregard for Serbian sensibilities. The Serbian public showed a continued and alarming lack of understanding of international politics and, what's more surprising, an astounding, even stupefying, shortage of historical memory by which this disappointment in Croats was made possible, despite early warnings of this particular outcome to this particular case.

The most important message here is the imperial one and it is clear and terrifying; to all those that didn't get it in the past two decades: killing Serbs is fine by us and if you do it, make sure you consult us, so it's done right.

*considering the numerous cases where FBI agents were reportedly initiating and fomenting potential terror cells for career gains and budgetary purposes, i.e. fabrication of a reason to operate, it is hard to believe anything that mainstream media report on these terror plots

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Voting Out of Spite: The American Serb No-Choice Ballot

I live in the United States and I voted in yesterday's general election. I'm concerned with the dilapidated economic conditions, high unemployment, increasing trade deficit, increasing debt, increasing income gaps, decreasing personal freedom, finance-controlled state subduing popular dissent, lack of preparedness and response to Hurricane Sandy, high cost of living and many other social, political and economic issues that should concern a member of a particular society. But, I am a Serb in the United States. And I don't vote on issues. Not on the domestic policy issues, at least. Now, it's not like either President Obama or Governor Romney would care about issues of common people outside the campaign rhetoric, but a participant in a democratic process should, I guess, pick a candidate who is closest to what he or she cares about, in simplest terms. An American Serb generally doesn't vote FOR anyone, but AGAINST a Biden, a Clinton, a McCain, against whoever Madeleine Albright supports, against whoever bombed Serbia, recognized Kosovo...

I really hate the fact that the bridge tolls in my area cost me an arm and a leg, but even if I have a choice of voting for someone who swore not to rob me blind, I'd still vote based on his or her position on Kosovo. True, no U.S. presidential candidate stood with the Serbs since Woodrow Wilson, and no matter how hard an American Serb looks, he'd be hard pressed to find a candidate with no affiliation to anti-Serb agenda. Does that leave us with no choice but not to vote at all?

In 2004, calls within the American Serb communities to vote for George W. Bush took on a dimension of a campaign. Websites, newspaper ads and internet debates really engaged the American Serb Diaspora. Wait, was Dubya a friend to the Serbs? Didn't his administration pounce to recognize Thaci's Cartel State in 2008? Didn't the worst act of ethnic cleansing in the 21st century occur on his watch against the Kosovo Serbs in March 2004? All true, but in 2004, it was John Kerry, his opponent, who inexplicably promised to recognize Kosovo during the campaign, although Kosovo was far from being a foreign policy priority or a campaign issue. It was John Kerry who received more than half a million dollars in one evening from the Albanian-American community led by Florin Krasniqi, a well-known arms dealer, via the notorious Serb-haters Richard Holbrooke and Wesley Clark, who took the money over in the Cipriani ballroom in New York. Of course Serbs were going to vote for Kerry's opponent. The movement in the Serbian community was not ignored by Kerry, who wrote a letter to the Serbian community in Pittsburgh, addressing the issues Serbs held him in contempt over.

In 2008, the campaign in support of John McCain's opponent was not that vigorous, but a lot of Serbs did clamor for Ron Paul, a man whose Congressional voting record was clean of anti-Serbian activity. Barack Obama was a political novice and his anti-Serbian record was acceptable, but having selected another notorious Serb-hater Joe Biden as his VP choice, it was no surprise that many Serbs abstained from supporting either of the major candidates. Today, faced again with Obama, with Biden and the Clinton family by his side, it's no surprise to hear the American Serbs calling for a Mitt Romney vote. I won't be the Serb who voted for Romney, the epitome of the financierism devouring the world, just because Biden is the alternative. It is increasingly difficult for the American Serbs to find a place on the ballot to circle and not to feel guilty.

I left half of my ballot empty. I considered going "white ballot" and leave the entire ballot blank, but I felt it is my right to at least write a name in. If I wasn't a Serb, I'd weigh the issues. I'd weigh a Wall Street bankster against a sketchy lawyer for South Chicago slumlords. I'd weigh which of the two politics would provide me with less of a reason to move back to the even greater uncertainty of Serbia. I'd weight which of the two groups of very similar campaign donors is less hostile to a common man. But with financial feudalists behind Romney, with Joe Biden plus the welfare state next to Obama, it was really not a choice for me. But since I vote with the Serbian heart rather than with an American mind, if Romney extended an appropriate message into Serbian communities, Serbs like me, despite the disgust towards financierism, would be swayed.

In November of 2004, Ohio Republican Senator George Voinovich expressed gratitude to Ohio Serbs for voting Republican and helping Bush win in this swing state in which Serbs were traditionally voting Democratic due to their strong union affiliations. He even went as far as to hint at the Serbian support being crucial in communities where Serbs reside in large numbers. In 2012, no one will thank Serbs, as Serbs are politically non-existent in the United States. Now, Bush did recognize Kosovo in 2008 and the U.S. foreign policy was still strongly under the paw of the remnants of the Clinton State Department, but the mobilization momentum was very important for the gain in political weight the American Serbs carry. Perhaps influencing the presidential elections is far fetched, but there are Congressional districts where Serbs could significantly affect election outcomes, if they were organized into voting blocks.

While the election of 2004 appeared to have increased Serbian community's participation, bolstered by the hope that its choice may aid a Serbian cause, or at least prevent a greater evil, the momentum thus gained hasn't been capitalized on. The government of Serbia hasn't reached out to the American Serb community with initiatives to further utilize its voting power. The Serbian Unity Congress, for a while the most promising American Serb organization, appeared to have been completely co-opted into its leaders' personal political ambition, detached from the American Serb interests and interest of Serbdom. Serbs live in large numbers in such swing states as Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, even Florida. In Ohio, President Obama won by 100,000 votes last night. There is a lot more than 100,000 Serbs in Ohio to cajole, if they presented an organized voting block worth sucking up to. There is a voting potential vastly unappreciated and neglected out there.

The American Serbs do have numbers to posit themselves in voting blocks that could demand their voice to be heard, but the power of their numbers hasn't been shaped into a political movement nor has their voice been articulated into a message that could produce an electoral demand. Voting AGAINST a candidate, on any level, is an inadequate effort at a spiteful personal satisfaction, which is fine but largely futile, but voting FOR a candidate who promised even the slightest gain for the American Serb communities in exchange for our vote is a political engagement on a more serious level, even if the results are not seen immediately.

Meanwhile, I'll continue leaving half a ballot empty and throw dice on the rest of it as no candidate will do anything for me. And I can't blame anyone since I haven't asked any candidate to do a thing for me and my community.