As Slobodan Milosevic is taken to prison in Belgrade, evidently persuaded by his family to give himself up rather than commit suicide, we catch a glimpse of Milosevic the man behind the demonology of the monster, an illusion created by the world’s press. The Israeli Daily Newspaper Haaretz interviewed ex-President Slobodan Milosevic in Belgrade. In this interview, Mr. Milosevic based the reasons for his ascent to power on historical circumstances. “I have always considered myself as a common citizen who, through historical circumstances at a certain time in my life, was thrown into a situation (where I needed) to dedicate all my life to my people, who felt totally threatened”, he said. “The territorial integrity of Yugoslavia is threatened. The separatism and terrorism of the Albanians has spread since they were forcedly and rapidly transferred after the incidents last October. The aspirations of these Albanian separatists and terrorists has spread throughout the whole of Kosovo and southern Serbia”. Answering the question why he did not arrest Kostunica and Djindjic on 5th October, when the revolution in Belgrade was under way, Milosevic replied : “Because I was a dictator.” “The great powers have a common interest in destabilising the Balkans to use this area to their own economic advantage and control it. In this aspect it is illogical that the main western countries be involved in this story. The destabilisation of the Balkans is the destabilisation of Europe. Some US politicians may have lost this perception of things but not the European politicians.” He declares that those who abandoned him after the elections were “selfish, sycophants and cowards”. Having lost the support of his country’s youth, it is unlikely that Slobodan Milosevic will again occupy a position of political responsibility in his country. His fight now is to stay out of jail. That he is a patriot, there is no doubt, but at what price to his people and to the young lives lost in the wars he so insistently embarked on? History, in its judgement of Slobodan Milosevic will have to be intelligent and flexible enough to examine the different Balkan wars in their separate contexts, paying attention to the layout of the different pieces of the puzzle at any given moment, rather than sweeping the last 15 years into the same bag and writing off Milosevic as a fool.
TIMOTHY BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.RU LISBON
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