Part Twenty Excerpts from ANTO KNEZEVIC'S AN ANALYSIS OF SERBIAN PROPAGANDA EPILOGUE The military conflict in Croatia in 1991 was actually a conflict between two political conceptions: the Greater Serbian conception from the "Memorandum" of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (1986)[whose co-author, Dobrica Cosic, has recently been installed as President of what remains of Yugoslavia] and the Croatian conception embodied in Tudjman's Wilderness (1988). The "Memorandum" explicitly asserts that "the position of Serbia must be seen within the framework of the political and economic domination of Slovenia and Croatia" in former Yugoslavia ("Memorandum SANU", Duga, June 1989, p. 36). If Slovenia and Croatia were in fact exploiting Serbia, why then did Serbia not accept and even welcome the declarations of independence by Slovenia and Croatia? Why would Serbia want to go on living in the same state with its "exploiters?" The Belgrade press accepted the Memorandum theses about the unequal rights of Serbia and the endangerment of the Serbian people in former Yugoslavia. So, two years ago it was announced that "in Bosnia and Hercegovina the Brkovics and the Sagoljs should be cleansed", that is, the Croats and all those who disagreed with the Serbian policy. (Duga, May 26 - June 8, 1990, p. 8). The current "ethnic cleansing" of the Slavic Muslims and the Croats in Bosnia-Hercegovina is the realization of several programs for Greater Serbia. Let us consider one of the most famous political programs, "Expulsion of the Albanians, written by Vasa Cubrilovic. His lecture "Expulsion of the Albanians" was presented in the Serbian Cultural Club in Belgrade on March 7, 1937. The author of the expulsion program, Vasa Cubrilovic, was also a member of the terrorist group "Mlada Bosna," which carried out the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914. (This document is deposited in the Military-Historical Institute of the Yugoslav People's Army in Belgrade [Archive of the Royal Yugoslav Army, Nr. 2, Fasc. 4, Box 69]. The text is cited from Izvori velikosrpske agresije, ed. Boze Covic (Zagreb: August Cesarec and Skolska knjiga, 1991), pp. 106-123. From this point on in my text I give pages of this edition in parentheses.) According to Cubrilovic, Royal Yugoslavia could achieve political stability through two parallel processes: Serbian colonization of lands with non-Serbian population and expulsion of some nationalities from the country. The results of the Serbian colonization until 1937 were not satisfactory, said Cubrilovic. The country was politically unstable in "South Serbia" (Macedonia) because of the strong Macedonian resistance to Serbian settlers. Cubrilovic advised the Serbian authorities: "The colonization from the north should be reduced in the regions inhabited by Macedonians," (p. 110). However, the country is politically unstable in "North Serbia" as well because of the large number of Hungarians and Germans in Vojvodina: Hungarian and even German farm laborers and small proprietors should be sent partially to the south because in Backa [a part of Vojvodina], on the border with Hungary, they represent a danger, the more so because the Serbs in Backa comprise hardly 25 per cent of the total population. (p. 118) (In case the reader wonders why these German farmers have not appeared earlier in this book, the answer is that the "question" of the Volksdeutsch in Vojvodina was "solved" in 1944-1946, when almost all the Germans who did not manage to flee were massacred or sent to concentration camps - even those who had not collaborated with the Nazis or with Nedic.) Nonetheless, the Serbian Academician saw the Albanians as the most dangerous nationality. They should be expelled to Albania and Turkey. The expulsion of the Albanians from Yugoslavia would solve at the same time the problem of the fifth "dangerous" nationality, Slavic Muslims: "With the removal of the Albanians, the last link between our Muslims in Bosnia and Novi Pazar and the rest of the Muslim world is cut" (p. 110). Cubrilovic was aware of the difficulty of the task. The few successes already achieved in colonization he saw as the result not of good organization, but rather of the "colonizing qualities of our race [nase rase]" (p. 117). Since the gradual colonization of Kosovo was not a solution: It is impossible to repulse the Albanians only by means of gradual colonization [...], the only way and the only means to cope with them is the brutal force of organized state power [brutalna sila jedne organizovane drzavne vlasti] in which we have always been superior to them. (p. 111) The Serbian-ruled Royal Yugoslav authorities had discontinued the successful policy of former Serbian rulers ("Karadjordje during the First uprising as well as Milos, Mihajlo and Jovan Ristic") which had "cleansed Serbia of the foreign element" (p. 108). Why was the Royal government of the 1920s and 1930s less successful in "cleansing Serbia of the foreign element".? Cubrilovic found the answer in the useless attempt to copy European standards in resolving national conflicts in Royal Yugoslavia: The fundamental mistake of our responsible factors [the authorities] at that time was that, forgetting where they were, they wanted to solve the major ethnic problems of the troubled and bleeding Balkans by applying Western methods. Turkey brought to the Balkans the custom of the Sheriat, according to which victory in war and the conquest of a country confers the right to the lives and property of the conquered subjects. (p. 107) Instead of "Western methods", Cubrilovic argues for "oriental methods" in solving the Albanian question in Kosovo: When it comes to religious issues, the Albanians are very touchy, therefore they must be harassed on this score too. This can be achieved through ill-treatment of their clergy, the destruction of their graveyards [...]. We should distribute weapons to our colonists, as need be. In those regions, the old Chetnik action should be organized and secretly assisted. In particular, a tide of Montenegrins should be launched from the hills, in order to create large- scale conflict with the Albanians in Metohija. This conflict should be prepared by our trusted people: It should bc encouraged and this can be done more easily since the Albanians have revolted, while the whole affair should be presented with peace in our hearts as a conflict between clans and tribes and, if need be, ascribed to economic reasons. In an extreme necessity, these will be bloodily suppressed with the most effective means by colonists, Montenegrin tribes and the Chetniks, rather than by the Army. There is one more means which Serbia used with great practical effect after 1878, secretly burning down Albanian villages and city quarters. (pp. 113-114) Cubrilovic supposed that Europe with its Western standards would probably criticize these "oriental methods." But he had a prepared Realpolitical reply: [T]he world today has grown used to things much worse than this and is so preoccupied with day-to-day problems that this aspect should not be a cause for concern. At a time when Germany can expel tens of thousands of Jews and Russia can shift millions of people from one part of the continent to another, the expulsion of few hundred thousand Albanians will not lead to the outbreak of a world war. (p. 112) The most respected scholarly organizations in Serbia, the Royal Serbian Academy of Sciences and the University of Belgrade, "ought to take the initiative to organize a thorough scholarly study of the whole problem of colonization in our country." Realization of the colonization "should be entrusted to the main General Staff. Here is why. For pure reasons of national defense" (p. 118). The Army had a vital role in colonization. During the setting up of new colonies, military forces should be used where required... For this job, the Army should be given the right and possibility of creating a kind of obligatory labor duty for public purposes, just as Stamboliski did in Bulgaria (Trudova povinost) and Hitler in Germany (Arbeitsdienst) by calling up reservists for military training or extending the term of military service. (p. 122) Jovan Raskovic, psychiatrist and leader of the Serbian Democratic Party in Croatia, announced in Belgrade two years ago that the Serbian people may even make war against the other peoples of former Yugoslavia, but that this would be to the benefit (!) of the other peoples: However stupid that might appear: the Serbian people, according to the state of things today, will go on carrying. out, if not wars, then that liberating thought which will be directed towards other peoples, as a contribution to them and for their own good. ("42 aplauza za Jovana Raskovica", Duga, May 26 - June 8, 1990, p. 20.) These declarations of war and cleansing the non-Serbian population of other republics sprang from the real assumption that the Yugoslav People's Army would carry out the war and clean up the territory of other republics. The Serbian conception felt that military might could and should resolve all the open political questions of the existence of former Yugoslavia. In distinction from the Serbian conception, Tudjman started with the necessity of respecting political rights and the will of the citizens of all the republics of former Yugoslavia, including their right to their own state. Tudjman was against military might as a forcibly imposed arbiter in political questions. He supported an independent and sovereign Croatia, but he wanted to achieve it, if possible, through a confederation of sovereign states or, if that were impossible, through dissociation by agreement and not by war. However, the other side did not accept either a confederation or dissociation by agreement and threatened to crush the disobedient republic with military force. Tudjman responded with a call to the citizens of Croatia for a referendum, in which the Croats declared their support for a free and independent Republic of Croatia. The other side, the Serbian-led Yugoslav Army, responded with military aggression against Croatia. The leadership of Croatia, headed by Tudjman, found itself in an extremely difficult position: a militarily superior aggressor was taking over Croatian territory; Croatia could not arm itself because of the U.N. embargo on weapons; the international community did not send peace-keeping forces to Croatia; the European Community did not recognize the independence of the Republic, while within Croatia itself some elements were working against the attainment of independence. While the other side relied on military force and the passivity of the international community, Tudjman acted on both levels: both on the international political stage and on the battlefields of Croatia. Tudjman's government agreed to numerous cease-fires (which the enemy immediately violated), but this was a way of demonstrating to the international community who was continuing the war by violating the cease-fires, and who wanted peace. On January 15, 1927 the European Community recognized the independence of Croatia within its pre-war boundaries. In this way, Tudjman achieved the strategic goal of the Croatian political conception: the independence of Croatia. The Greater Serbian conception (along with some tactical successes) suffered a double strategic defeat: both military and political. One of the best-prepared European armies needed all of three months, with enormous casualties of its own, to conquer the ruins of one city, Vukovar. This could not be called a brilliant military victory but rather the incapacity to conquer all of Croatia. The cities of Osijek, Vinkovci, Pakrac, Sisak, Karlovac, Zadar, Dubrovnik and so on have been bombarded but not occupied. And these cities, indeed, were included into the planned Greater Serbia. The political defeat of the Greater Serbian idea is even more severe: international condemnation of aggression and the introduction of sanctions against Serbia. And so it would seem that the author of Wilderness had a better sense of history and human justice than the authors of the 1986 "Memorandum" of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, in which the plans of the acquisition of Greater Serbia were delineated.