Re: Ex-Yugoslavia: what can be done.: (Peace Magazine, December 1992): I find it astonishing that, 18 months into a conflict which has claimed tens of thousands of lives, Peace Magazine is still groping for explanations and justifications.
A lot of the panel's arguments seem to be a mirror image of those we've had in the European peace movement -- while we wondered why our governments were sentimentally attached to the old Yugoslav federation, and seem to be doing everything in their power to appease Serbia, your five panelists hold that Europe was doing the very opposite. I can't accept that Europe is pursuing a "German" project for the neutralisation of Serbia; the main initiative by the European Community, the Geneva talks between the Bosnian government and the Bosnian Serbs and Bosnian Croats, has at every turn legitimised Serbian expansionism.
I'm also surprised that none of the participants in your roundtable discussion paid much heed to the antiwar groups and independent media in the former-Yugoslav republics -- in Serbia in particular -- and thus failed to take on board their perspectives on the wars in Bosnia and Croatia, and the continuing threats to peace in Kosova. The Sandjak and Macedonian groups are absolutely clear that conflict began, not with Croatian or Slovenian separatism, but with the manipulation by Milosevic of the geopolitical fantasy of "Greater Serbia." The propaganda campaign against the Kosova Albanians, and the repression which followed it, was for many Yugoslavs the first indication that there could be no accommodation between Serbia and a multinational Yugoslav federal state.
As for "what can be done," members of your panel seem to be searching for familiar patterns of international intervention (in particular, the Gulf War). There's no real discussion of sanctions, of the usefulness of arms embargoes in a region which before the war hosted the world's eighth-largest arms export industry, or of the possibilities for non-violent intervention.
If your panel wants a real challenge, I suggest they open a discussion with the groups such as the International Peace Centre Sarajevo on why military intervention should be opposed and on what they see as the practical alternatives; this is a process some of us initiated in June 1992, and which was continued as part of the Italian-led "Solidarity for Sarajevo" event in December.
Ken Simons, Peace News, London, England
I enjoyed reading the most recent issue of Peace Magazine. Unfortunately, I must point out two errors that crept into my article on the GE Boycott. It was the United Methodist Church, not the United Church of Christ, that joined the list of supporters of the campaign. And, having already earned my M.Div., I'm working on my M.Th. Good work overall, though.
Brian Burch Toronto