ARE THE SERBS DOOMED TO EXTINCTION?

By William Markiewicz

Two outside powers show a particular interest in the Balkans: Germany and Turkey, both American allies. Germany sustains a long range dream of access to the Mediterranean, and open to receive them is the Croatian gate. Through the centuries the Croats were loyal subjects of the Hapsburg empire and many of them believe themselves to be Slavic-speaking Germanics. Turkey, after 500 years of occupation of the eastern Balkans still feels at home there, especially having left behind an important Muslim population. Those "Muslim Slavs" who abandoned their Serbian roots and throughout the centuries have been loyal subjects of the Ottoman empire, have no historical connection other than Turkish and will readily accept their only natural ally and supporter -- the Muslim world in general and Turkey in particular. The only element that doesn't identify with any foreign power is the Serbs, and if this Balkan partition has to happen over the Serbs' dead bodies, "so be it" say those powers. The first turn went to the Krajina Serbs. The second turn has to be the Bosnian Serbs and the third and definitive one will have to be the Serbian Serbs. There are enough minorities there -- in Kossovo, in Vojvodina . . . -- to serve as a pretext for some future intervention in Serbia. Serbs are a small nation with no political friends; Russia lost its status of superpower and probably has lost its interest in the Serbs.

Doesn't the USA, with no direct interest in the Balkans, go too far in support of its allies? It is not the first time the USA created a monster: in Latin America, to fight Communism, the USA created, financed and trained various paramilitary groups which with time became the tool of powerful drug barons. In Afghanistan, to fight Communism, the USA trained, armed, and financed the Islamists whose heavy weight has only begun to mark the face of the world. Croatia now, after two years of financing and training by Germany and the USA, emerges as a military super power, and it is probably at the present time the only one-party right wing state in Europe. Several months ago, one Swiss journalist investigating neo-Nazi connections in Croatia's armed forces was mysteriously assassinated "by a Serbian sniper." This was the topic of a documentary shown on CBC Newsworld, July 30th this year.

Rebecca West praised Serbs in her monumental work "Black Lamb and Grey Falcon" written just before WWII. I encountered a view that her book was a work of propaganda, but it remains to be proved. I would be surprised if in this venerable chain of British women travel writers, the most prominent among them would write a propaganda book. She simply was drawn to the anachronistic romantic character of those peasants and fighters in their perfect natural setting. And as a matter of fact she didn't write only about Serbia.

Perhaps I love lost causes like Clark Gable in the movie "Gone with the Wind." But certainly I share Rebecca West's taste for those anachronistic Romantic images represented for her by the Serbs. There are no more examples left in the Realpolitik world and we are facing a great European drama. Soon the proud mountain eagle may disappear.


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