18 July 2006

The Truth About Serbia

18 July 2006

Note by Moderator: Many Eastern Orthodox Proselytes have seen the United States media reports on events in Serbia, in Bosnia-Herzevogina, and in Croatia. It has been frustrating for Serbian Americans to watch the mis-information promulgated as truth. The Truth is much more profound, and even inspiring for all us Orthodox Christians, and especially to us proselytes. To begin to understand the situation from an Orthodox perspective, one must first read the story of St.Tsar Lazar and the sacrifice made on 15 June 1389. But for now please read the following which was originally on the Western Serbian Diocese website:

Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church in USA and Canada

Truth About Serbia and the Recent Balkan War
Compliments of the Greek Orthodox Diocese of Denver ©1996

"And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:32)

Contents: Bosnia - The Bloodshed and the Blame
by Nora Beloff

A Commentaryby Bishop Isaiah of Denver :

"This pamphlet is dedicated to all the innocent victims of the civil war in the former Yugoslavia."

Bosnia: The Bloodshed and the Blame

(The following article was written by Ms. Nora Beloff, who was contacted at her home in England and gave permission to reprint this article. Ms. Beloff is the former chief political correspondent of the Observer, and the author of several books, including Tito's Flawed Legacy.)

It is one of the paradoxes of Yugoslavia's tragic civil war that most of the leaders of the Jewish community favour the Croats and the Muslims, backed respectively by the Germans and the Islamic world, against the Serbs, who are fighting primarily to rescue Serb enclaves from what they see as ethnically and religiously biased rule. Every Jew must shudder at the words 'ethnic cleansing' or 'genocide' and this agonised sensitivity has been exploited, by selective reporting and unconfirmed atrocities, to make the Serbs appear as Hitlerite aggressors.

Most Serbs see themselves, on the contrary, as protectors of the Serb minorities who are living inside the internationally recognised but multi ethnic provinces of what had been Yugoslavia, as well as acquiring the access routes to reach them. Recognising this discrepancy in no way denies the appalling suffering imposed by the siege of Sarajevo and other contested areas, nor belittles the efforts to rescue Jews from this inferno.But what we also need to admit is the overwhelming evidence that, although the Serbs have the heaviest and most televisable guns, they have no monopoly on the slaughter and sadism. All three communities, Orthodox, Catholic and Muslim, incited by vicious nationalist leaders, are guilty of war crimes against hapless civilians who happen not to belong to their own ethnic group.In this respect, President Slobodan Milosevic of Serbia is no worse than President Franjo Tudjman of Croatia or President Alija Izetbegovic of Bosnia. Political and religious leaders, whether Jewish or not, cannot help being influenced by a public, enraged by daily TV news bites presented to them by reporters with no knowledge of the historical or political background and who compete against each other for the most easily accessible horrors, the bloodier the better.Wiser judgements might prevail if the origins of the present conflict were examined. For there is no good reason to suppose that the dreadful civil war need never have taken place, had it not been for German and, later, American promotion of unilateral declarations of independence by the component parts of the Yugoslav federation – despite both the mixed ethnic composition of the populations and the repeated warnings from France and Britain. The Tito brand of Communism was already in an advanced state of decomposition and, in any case, had never been run for the benefit of the Serbs. New forms of self-government within appropriate boundaries might, with the help of international mediators, have been negotiated, with little acrimony and skirmishes. For when the fighting stops, the contenders, at least those who survive, will have to go on living within the same geographically narrow confines, though the present violence may have indefinitely delayed the ultimately necessary reconciliation.The simplistic Western view is that the troubles started when Milosevic re-imposed Serb rule on the Albanian-inhabited Serb province of Kosovo. Like other Communist bosses, he had recognised that he could retain power only by playing up the nationalist issue.What the media ignore is that, in the late 1960s, Tito had transferred power from the Serbs to his Albanian cronies and, as I saw during my own visits, they built up local support by harassing and driving out the hated and vulnerable Serbs.The Serb response was, of course, excessive but so was the reaction of the Slovene and Croat nationalists who used the Kosovo issue to fuel hatred and fear of the Serbs and to incite war hysteria.Even so, violence might have been averted had the Austrians and Germans not encouraged the rupture and fostered the belief that the struggle for independence would have international support.German intervention was itself provocative. Jews should be the first to remember that, in 1941, after Belgrade had rebelled against allowing Yugoslavia to be incorporated into the Axis, an enraged Hitler had condemned the Serbs to rank with the Jews and gypsies as a people to be destroyed. He left the genocidal job to his Croat nominee, the extremist Ante Pavelic, whose daughter has now been re-admitted to Tudjman's Croatia, where she has registered a party aiming to rehabilitate her father......This article can be accessed by clicking on the following link.