Belgrade Forum for World Equality Belgrade, March 17, 2005
This month, March 24th specifically, marks the sixth anniversary of the beginning of the NATO pact’s 1999 aggression against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. During the aggression, which lasted 78 days, thousands of people became casualties, a large number of whom were wounded and rendered disabled for the rest of their lives. The result was the destruction of the road and rail network, schools, hospitals, petroleum facilities and cultural monuments. The direct material damage is estimated at US$ 1 billion. The use of depleted uranium has lastingly polluted land and water the length and breadth of Serbia and Montenegro, particularly Kosovo and Metohija. The consequences on the population, particularly infants and children is being seen in terrible birth defects and this is just the tip of the iceberg which will only get worse with time. The ghosts of ruined buildings are still visible in the center of Belgrade.
The aggression of NATO on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia represents a previously unseen strike at the international legal system and relations and the entire United Nations system. Its motives and consequences represent the most important occurrence in world affairs since WWII. It was a war against Europe whose consequences are only now being accurately seen. NATO’s aggression against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia represented the thin wedge of the doctrine of unilateral use of force in international relations and, after the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq the question asks itself, “Who is next?”
In the course of that aggression NATO became allied with the terrorist KLA. The results of this association is felt to this day in the continuation of terrorist activities against Serbs and other non-Albanians throughout Kosovo and Metohija, witnessed by the destruction of Christian cultural monuments and the ethnic cleansing of Serbian and other non-Albanian populations. The most visible evidence of this state of affairs occurred in the period of March 17- 19, 2004, when Albanian terrorists cleansed additional thousands of Serbs from the homes and hearths in which they have lived for centuries as well as destroying an additional 35 Middle Age Serbian churches and monasteries.
The consequences have been the maintenance of ties and the presence of ‘sleeper cells’ of Al-Quaidi in the Balkans. A further consequence is that over 250 thousand Serbian and non-Albanian refugees, who were forced from Kosovo during the 1999 NATO attack and afterward, have been denied the ability to return to Kosovo, contrary to all promises to the contrary.
The thesis regarding ‘frustrated Kosovo Albanians’ was manufactured and forwarded with the object of justifying NATO’s illegal attack and to move forward the detaching of Kosovo and Metohija from Serbia, and the creation of a ‘Greater Albania’ to the detriment of the lands of Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Greece. The Albanians in Kosovo Metohija aren’t frustrated; that thesis was launched to expedite the implementation of plans for the changing of internationally recognized borders in the Balkans. Why does no one speak of the fact that Serbs are frustrated, particularly those in Kosovo and the over 250 thousand who can’t return to their homes? Are they unconcerned about the state of affairs? The Balkans and Serbia Montenegro need peace, stability and development. That is only possible within existing borders. Before the so-called final decision on Kosovo Metohija there must be a way found to return the 250 thousand refugee Serbs to Kosovo Metohija.
Attack on civilians
During the NATO aggression on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from March 24-June 10, 1999, NATO aircraft committed many multiple attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure. In those attacks children, the sick, travelers, people on the streets, in the markets, refugee columns all suffered. Hospitals, homes, schools, churches and bridges were all attacked and destroyed. The spokespersons of NATO called these kinds of attacks ‘collateral damage’, even though the evidence shows that the purpose of these bombings was to terrorize and destroy the moral of the civilian population.
We remind the readers of some of the occurrences in which civilians were casualties:
April 4 – Heating plant in Belgrade (1 dead) April 12 – Passenger train at Grdelica (20 dead) April 14 – Refugee column in Kosovo Metohija (73 dead) April 23 – Radio Television Beograd (16 dead) May 1 – Bridge in Kosovo (39 dead) May 2 – Civilian bus near Savinih voda in Kosovo (17 dead) May 7 – Chinese embassy in Belgrade (3 dead) May 7 – Nis (14 dead) May 8 – Bridge in Nis (2 dead) May 13 – Refugee camp in Kosovo Metohija (48 to 97 dead) May 19 & 21 – Dubrava prison at Istok (99 dead) May 30 – Bridge at Varvarin (10 dead)
This is only a small number of the innocent civilians of NATO’s aggression. As humans, a people and a nation we have the moral obligation to honor all the other casualties of that aggression. On that other list of casualties let us remember 2 year old Milice Rakic from Batajnice, a suburb of Belgrade, the casualties of the bombing of the children’s ward of Dragisa Misovic Hospital in Belgrade and many others. Let us remember the thousands and thousands of wounded who are still with us, often without the basic minimum for existence.