Wednesday, May 25, 2005

More Balkan Lies

I don't read The Guardian much. It's a bastion of "humanitarian imperialism" in the UK, which had enthusiastically cheered the NATO aggression of 1999 and continued to cheer for the occupation since. To be fair, they have also featured commentaries by Neil Clark, whose Marxist criticism of the occupation has been surprisingly well-argued, and a splendid article by Kate Hudson (the historian, not the actress) about the parallels between Kosovo and Iraq. One of their columnists, Julie Burchill, also made a good case against the Kosovo war in her own inimitable style. And, of course, they publish commentaries by John Laughland of the BHHRG, whose analyses have been proven true repeatedly.

But none of that can excuse Jonathan Steele.

As one of the many journalists who profited from channeling Imperial propaganda during the 1990s Balkans crisis, Steele threw himself passionately into the cause of "independent Kosova" this spring, first arguing that anything else would be a "victory for Milosevic," and now producing a disgusting "analysis" of the "Balkan question," so unashamedly pro-Albanian it would have embarrassed even Enver Hoxha.

For Steele, Albanians can do no wrong, and they are ever and only victims. To hear him say it, the war in Kosovo was a Serbian "campaign of ethnic cleansing and the guerrillas of the Kosovo Liberation Army sought to defend the majority Albanian community." The 2004 pogrom was "clashes and shooting between Serbs and Albanians," in which - he points out with relish - most of the 19 killed were Albanian. (Why yes, Jonathan, Albanians do get killed when they attack KFOR and KFOR shoots back.) He also repeats the deliberate lie about Serbs drowning Albanian children, without mentioning that no one had ever found so much as an indication (much less evidence) that it was anything but a malicious fabrication.

For Steele, the only good Serbs are the meek, forgiveness-begging, groveling apologists for "multi-ethnic hopes," who claim Albanians have every right to kill them if they so desire and show "great sensitivity to the much worse suffering of the Albanian community." The only good Macedonians are those who appease Albanian demands ("most Macedonian politicians saw the value of making appropriate concessions to the other community rather than going to war").

Steele laments Albanian poverty, but sees nothing wrong with KLA memorials sprouting everywhere, lavishly funded by diaspora money (and "voluntary contributions" to KLA "tax collectors", surely). A gigantic black eagle Albanians intend to erect above Tetovo will cost 40,000 Euros - about $50,000, give or take. I wonder (and Steele does not), how come the people supposedly mired in poverty, frustration and despair have all this money to throw on monuments to the KLA and provocative nationalist iconography? Steele calls it "patriotic," but he'd describe a Macedonian or Serbian monument as "ultranationalist."

Even Steele acknowledges that had 9/11 been an 8/11, the Ohrid Accords would have never happened - Ali Ahmeti's KLA spinoff, the "National Liberation Arrmy," would have been classified as terrorists. But since that didn't happen - and isn't that a relief for the Kosova-lovers of the West? - the murder of Macedonia was OK.

This facetious and execrable commentary reveals all the arrogance, ignorance, stupidity and bigotry of people who label themselves the "international community" as they traipse across the globe spreading the gospel of Empire. It was their meddling that brought the war to the Balkans in the first place, made "peace" a fraud and justice a mockery.

Now that Bush II has decided to officially embrace the Clintonist line on the Balkans, Steele and his ilk are no doubt delirious with joy. But they should not be too proud of this virtual reality they've constructed. The power to deceive the Earth is no match for the power of truth.

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