Myths shattered

FOR THOSE whose world view is shaped by the bourgeois press, especially by ‘liberal’ newspapers like The Guardian, the war in ex-Yugoslavia must indeed be unsettling. The carefully constructed demonology that has been built round the Serbs, portraying them as the ‘psychopathic’ bad guys hell bent on the creation of a neo-Nazi style ‘Greater Serbia’, has been rudely punctured by the Croatian reconquest of the Krajina region.

Slobadan Milosevic no longer looks like the ‘Hitler’ figure of folklore, backed by an invincible military machine and ready to take on the world. Indeed, he is now facing serious opposition from the right, most notably in the shape of the Serbian Radical Movement. Even more disconcerting, the Serbian masses in Krajina and elsewhere look more like innocent victims than irrational peasant red-necks driven by ‘ancient blood lusts’.

This still has not stopped some pundits from celebrating the obliteration of a 400-year old community. Martin Woollacott of The Guardian declared that the Croatian government’s “instinct to push Slobodan Milosevic to the wall is the right one, for them and for us”, and now “the road to victory is at last open” (August 12).

The sudden Croatian victories have shattered a few ‘leftwing’ myths as well. The Workers Revolutionary Party has insisted, quite fanatically, that the Western powers are colluding with the Serbs to break up Bosnia-Herzegovina, claiming that “the British government continues to support these foul aims” (Workers Press/Bosnia Special, July 29).

The truth is, of course, that the ‘Great Powers’ are divided. Michael Portillo, at least initially, strongly denounced the Croatian blitzkreig against Krajina.

The United States, on the other hand, could hardly disguise its enthusiasm. This is not surprising, as the US has been actively encouraging and supplying the Croatian military resurgence.     

Even the much vaunted ‘multi-ethnic’ and ‘democratic’ regime in Bosnia does not look so rosy these days. Many critics within Bosnia accuse the ruling DAP of wanting to turn Bosnia into a one-party regime and impose tight ‘Islamicist’ control on all key institutions.

The Bosnian regime’s current alliance with Croatia may turn out to be short lived. At a VJ-Day banquet in London President Tudjman drew an impromptu map on the back of a menu. The map saw Bosnia neatly carved up between Serbia and Croatia.

The nationalist scheme-mongering of all forces is apparent and must be condemned.

Eddie Ford