to the Sixth Edition, Budite Sebi Psihoterapeut
To my Yugoslav readers---
past, present and future:
This will 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 upon you.
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.
The media 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"
Many Americans 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.
*** *** ***
Honesty and 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 Kranj.
Before the 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.