Subject: anti-war declaration
From: Wolfgang Fritz Haug
Dr Kirsty Reid
ACADEMICS AGAINST NATO'S WAR IN THE BALKANS (zur deutschen ‹bersetzung)
We reject these false dilemmas:
The NATO air-strikes, forcing the withdrawal of the OSCE forces from Kosovo, have facilitated and not prevented a ground offensive by Serb paramilitary forces; they encourage retaliation against the Kosovar population by the worst Serb ultra-nationalists; they consolidate the dictatorial power of Slobodan Milosevic, who has crushed the independent media and rallied around him a national consensus which it is necessary on the contrary to break in order to open the way to peaceful political negotiations over Kosovo.
No durable solution to a major political conflict internal to a state can be imposed from the outside, by force. It is not true that `everything has been tried' to find a solution and an acceptable framework for negotiations. The Kosovar negotiators were forced to sign plan which they had initially rejected after being led to believe that NATO would involve itself on the ground to defend their cause. This was a lie which maintained a total illusion: none of the governments which support the NATO strikes wants to make war on the Serbian regime to impose the independence of Kosovo. The air-strikes will perhaps weaken a part of the Serbian military apparatus but they will not weaken the mortar fire which, on the ground, is destroying Albanian homes, or the paramilitary forces who are killing the fighters of the Kosovo Liberation Army. NATO is not the only or above all the best fulcrum for an agreement. One could find the elements of a multi-national police force (embracing notably Serbs and Albanians) in the ranks of the OSCE to enforce a transitional agreement. One could extend the negotiations to include the Balkan states destabilized by the conflict: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Albania.One could at the same time support the right of the Kosovars to self-government and the protection of the Serb minority in Kosovo; one could try to respond to the aspirations and fears of the different peoples concerned by links of co-operation and agreements among neighbouring states, with Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Albania. None of this has been tried.
We reject the arguments which seek to justify the NATO intervention:
The governments of the European Union, like that of United States, perhaps hoped that this demonstration of force would compel Slobodan Milosevic to sign their plan. Haven't they thereby displayed naivete or hypocrisy? In any case this policy is leading not only to a political impasse, but to the legitimation of a role for NATO outside any international framework of control.
This is why we demand:
EDWARD SAID, COLUMBIA
This is the very slightly edited translation of a letter signed by Pierre Bourdieu, Daniel Bensaid, Pierre Vidal-Naquet, and other leading French intellectuals and published in Le Monde, 31 March 1999.