to the Sixth Edition, Budite Sebi Psihoterapeut
is the printer friendly version)
To my Yugoslav
readers---- past, present and future:
not be a normal preface. These are not normal times. It is with
feelings of great sorrow and shame that I sit down in this third
week of November, 1999 to write to you---- sorrow for the suffering
that you have endured during the 78 days of merciless bombing; shame
that it was the government of my country that inflicted this outrage
To keep the
record straight, I must underline the word "government",
as the American people by and large are decent people who were ignorant
of the true facts of the case and were brainwashed by the media
into believing that this was indeed a "humanitarian" enterprise.
Only the savvy
surfers of the internet knew better, as the mainstream media in
this country are completely controlled by the corporate interests
who stand to profit by the dismemberment of Yugoslavia, the destruction
of your industries and infrastructure, and the control of the pipelines
of oil from the Caucasus.
failed to report the growing numbers of demonstrators against the
war in this country; the much larger protests in Europe especially
Greece and Italy were downplayed in the press and on television.
We were never
told that the Pentagon had ordered 200,000 expeditionary medals
plus 7000 Purple Hearts in anticipation of the ground war
urged by the governments of the US and UK. (The Monday after John
Kennedy's assassination a Pentagon analyst revised the estimate
of American deaths in the Vietnam War based on some new information
given her. This number correctly predicted the final death figure.)
Instead we had story after similar story of the refugees flooding
into Macedonia and Kosovo they made great "visuals"
still believe that NATO was "victorious" even though the
June terms of settlement were essentially the same as what Yugoslavia
had conceded prior to March 24. (And they never knew about Appendix
B of the Rambouillet agreement.) With the inability of the forensic
pathologists to find the "mass graves" in Kosovo and the
"genocide of 100,000 Albanians" given as an excuse for
the escalation of the bombing, some of my countrymen are coming
to question the rectitude of this war against a sovereign nation.
But all too many are still in the grip of denial.
And now, nearly
six months after the end of the bombing, the war has gone down into
the Black Hole of History for most Americans who are now distracted
by East Timor, the presidential contest of 2000, or just getting
ready for Christmas. I wonder if they really understood why 10,000
Greek police and 400 FBI men were needed to keep the Clintons safe
while traveling on the deserted streets in Athens.
*** *** ***
self-awareness require that I admit how gratified my ego is that
there are Yugoslavs who are still interested in reading my twenty-year-old
words. My identification with Yugoslavia goes back much further
than the first edition of this book in 1985. I first visited Yugoslavia
in 1958 as a participant in an American Friends Service Committee
seminar on "Diplomacy East and West" which was held in
start of the seminar I spent ten days traveling in Croatia and Slovenia.
This was another period in which I was deeply ashamed of my country
this time at the lynchings and other mistreatment of the black population
in the South where I lived at that time. Yugoslavia was beginning
its experiment with a worker-managed economy then; it seemed to
me like something my country could do well to adopt. I was additionally
very impressed with the seeming willingness of the richer republics
to make sacrifices to bring up the standard of living of the poorer
republics. And I appreciated the friendliness and helpfulness of
people for a stranger traveling alone with only a Serbo-Croatian
phrasebook and a meager knowledge of Russian grammar.
of Ljubljana offered me a job teaching contemporary American literature
(although I had no academic credentials in that area.) My Ph.D.
husband, sight unseen, was offered a position in physics. I was
eager for us to accept. However, when I could not guarantee that
we would find a flat with hot running water, he declined. So it
took me fourteen years before I could return.
In 1972 I
was in charge of the first European Summer Residential Training
Program of the Gestalt Therapy Institute of Los Angeles. Since the
choice of venue was up to me, we went to Yugoslavia. And Dubrovnik
at festival time!
I didn't feel
it was right to take advantage of the lower hotel prices of a "developing
country" (a term I dislike) without giving something back.
So I essentially blackmailed my colleagues into accepting my suggestion
that we offer scholarships to Yugoslav psychologists and psychiatrists.
I wrote to the mental health departments of all six republics, but
only two responded. Croatia sent two psychiatrists and Serbia sent
had poor English skills and kept such a low profile that I wondered
what, if anything, he was getting from the ten days. However, he
was the only one of the three who asked to return the next year
to our training program in Austria. He must have spent the year
in intensive English study, as he was able to take a most active
part from then on, returning many more years, and arranging for
us to hold our training workshops at Lake Bled in 1974 and in Portoroz
in 1977 . He became Mr. Gestalt Therapy of Yugoslavia and his name,
of course, is Mladen Kostic.
background you may understand how pleased I am that my book is being
re-published. I hope you will find it useful for you personally,
even in these very difficult times. My greatest hope for the world
is that all of us become more self-aware, more responsible, and
more willing to unite and work together to correct the world's injustices.
How many of
you have heard the story of the Hundredth Monkey?
Popularized by the anti-nuclear movement in the 80s, it is a well-meaning
distortion of the observation of some animal behavior scientists
on the Japanese island of Koshima in the 1950s. In order to identify
the rhesus monkeys they were observing, the scientists would drop
sweet potatoes into the sand and then categorize the monkeys as
they swung out of the trees to get the food. Many of the monkeys
disdained the potatoes, not liking the grit with which they were
encrusted, but one enterprising young female got the bright idea
to wash the sand off her potatoes before eating them. Soon her playmates
were imitating her and washing their potatoes. A few mothers copied
their children's behavior, but the older generation basically resisted
the innovation. The children, however, taught the behavior to their
children, so that after a time it was only monkeys who were born
before 1950 that were still eating gritty potatoes.
The rest of
the story is not and thus gave the skeptics an opportunity to debunk
the entire investigation. Lyall Watson and Ken Keyes, Jr. seized
on the Koshima research and propagated the notion that after a critical
mass the hypothetical "Hundredth Monkey" had
been reached, monkeys on other islands spontaneously began
washing their yams. They postulated that a sort of "morphic
resonance" Rupert Sheldrake's term was in operation.
first (and true) part of the story provides a powerful model of
how change can occur. One monkey's behavior had, in one generation,
changed the behavior of a significant segment of the population.
Each of us has the opportunity by our actions and our words to be
a model, to influence the thinking and behavior of any number of
people who then in turn will influence additional groups.
Mead said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful,
committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only
thing that ever has."