Ultimately I am talking
about fascism of a different sort. Right here. In this country.
It's hard to talk about fascism in ten minutes so let's start -- part one,
what I saw and I did and the analysis of the propaganda against the Serbs
these past four years. You should know that I am forced to simplify or
I would talk for days. When the civil war started in '91, I went back.
I had decided that if what I saw in the papers about Serbia was true, then
I'll never go back again. I was born there but I have lived here most of
What I saw was a drastically different image
from the one in the US press --people crying about the breakup, the wounded,
the refugees from Slavonia, and the first very mutilated kids in the hospitals.
I speak the language, I could move in and out, listen unobserved, these
were not the people described as barbarians in the Times. The Times reporter
Chuck Sudetic would set the tone, a man whose background was CROATIAN.
The essential thing is that prior to this he had a top security job in
Washington. I didn't know this at the time, I just knew something was wrong
about his reporting. Back in New York, I attempted to correct this information,
what was true, what was lies, but largely I tried to add the missing parts
of the picture. Always with names and events that could be checked. Without
attacking any other group I tried to talk about the suffering on the Serb
side. The embargo which turns the country into an economic concentration
camp, factories shut, hospitals without spare parts, doctors without plastic
gloves, operations with no anesthesia, lack of medicine, kids
dying because of the embargo, along with old people and those not so
old. When I reported these things, I was called a nationalist.
I contacted most of the papers, most of
women's magazines, television stations including PBS, Nightline, Time,
Newsweek, Vanity Fair, the Times magazine section, Mother Jones, Harper's,
the New Yorker etc. Nobody wanted to hear about doctors, or ordinary people,
or about a woman called Azra from a Muslim background who goes to Belgrade
every year from Florida. Nobody wanted to hear about Croatians living in
Belgrade or the real story how three women, me included, Muslim, Croat
and Serb, travelled together to a funeral in a village in western Serbia.
This was too peaceful for them, not exciting enough. They wanted to hear
(Got any rape stories, we want to hear about rapes) but the moment I mentioned
women raped, they were not interested.
My letter against the embargo of any of
the ethnic groups in Yugoslavia appeared in the Times badly mutilated.
All the references to Germany and the US were cut, as well as references
to Cuba, as well as US weapons sales. It was the only letter published
even though I wrote many. An essay appeared in The Nation because it was
about theater in Belgrade. Every detail in it was checked for accuracy.
My brother's essays were not published nor were thousands of letters written
by Americans, historians, anthropologists who knew the Serbs and Serbia.
Films about Serbia were not shown, either
those made by Americans or those made by documentary filmmakers in Belgrade.
Footage done by an American woman from Channel 2, Amy Bodden, about refugees
and badly scared kids, done without a single cut, with her present in every
shot, with my simultaneous translation, nobody wanted to see. Nobody wanted
to see a half-hour interview with Karadzic even though I offered to do
the same half-hour films with the same questions with Mr. Izetbegovic and
the Croatian leader in Bosnia. When I spoke on the radio about US advisers
and the CIA in Bosnia I was called a communist.
My only pleasure was that they knew I was
there watching. I would find my words used by some of them in the interviews
on TV. If I push hard, if I annoy them I get letters back, sometimes they
get angry then lose control when I call and give me very valuable information.
I try to enjoy even that tiny bit -- I made them angry. Still on a given
day, it's a lonely struggle. You grow desperate. I would tell them then,
for the hell of it, what their reporter is doing, where and who he sleeps
with. I suggested a piece for the Voice called, 'How to Spot Serbs on the
I could talk about American journalists
in Belgrade who often didn't even know where they were, but I don't have
time. They wanted someone to tell them fast fast in fifteen minutes about
history and the people but they didn't really need anything since they
knew from day one what they would write. It was easy. Many carried a sheet
Finn which told them who is the good and who the bad guy. In this war
journalists abdicated or let's say they wanted to keep their jobs. The
honest ones were barred from their papers. I learned much about journalism,
what gets printed, what not, and much about propaganda and American culture
at this moment. I lived as if in wartime, gathering information from all
sorts of people, Texas, France, Sweden, short wave radios. My telephone
bills were huge. And as in wartime things happened -- my family united
vis a vis the US bombs. We stopped arguing about politics. And as in wartime
some friends left me, others I divorced. All sorts of middle class liberals
of the Upper West side who didn't want to hear a single detail after my
many trips but would ask instead, 'Do you think Belgrade should be bombed?'
I realized I was confronting something unprecedented
in my experience, a new type of dictatorship, deadly because invisible,
subtle, like a virus, it's a part of the air and culture you breathe. It's
there even when you sleep. I call it the dictatorship of the new world
In order for the Pentagon and NATO to accomplish
their aim, they had to, together with Germany, destabilize the country,
put Yugoslavia under embargo, bomb the Bosnian Serbs with clean bombs,
killing nobody, right, eliminate
the entire community of Serbs in Krajina who had lived there for
centuries -- but first they had to create an enemy in the American
mind so it would look like a fight of good against evil, the West fighting
savages, barbarians, and everyone would cheer,feel good and hate collectively
as a replacement for suppressed hatreds here in Americans' own civil wars
The image was done in ten days. Good Christian,
God-loving Slovenes, or Croats in a family setting or church, and the Serb
looking like fascists and with a gun. Later, Muslims in Bosnia were added
as good and western too, people who are just like you and me, and they
play the piano. A Serb was a male, without women children or church. Later
his face almost disappeared and he remained as an evil presence except
when shown as a rapist or criminal.
"We had a job to do and we did it.
We are not paid to moralize,' said James Harff, director of Ruder
Finn Global Public Affairs, a Washington D.C. public relations firm
which was paid to turn Serbs into monsters, fascists and beasts. "Speed
is vital," he said, "it is the first assertion that counts. All
denials are entirely ineffective." Any means were good. Remember,
this could happen again to any other group.
As in advertising or audience research for
a movie you know your target, your aim, you know this country's obsessions
and fears (sex and violence) and you keep it going either as psycho-drama
or a soap opera. Everyone looks the same in Yugoslavia so you can use dead
or massacred Serbs and you can also in addition claim they are others,
image of dead Serbs are called Muslim or Croat by the time they reach New
York although they were something else in some European papers and in the
original photos. But the essential is how you long you keep the image on.
One entire community of Krajina Serbs disappears in four days while Sarajevo
goes on for three years. Croatia takes over one third of the territory
in one day and it's over. A few protesting letters appear. It only proves
how democratic the US is. Meanwhile entire villages disappear and here
It helps that Americans don't know the country
or the history so that too can be rewritten. Serbs, who fought against
fascism and died, exterminated in the camp of Jasenovac are now lying about
it, we are told. President Clinton invites Mr. Tudjman to the inaugural
of the museum for the victims of the Holocaust and not a single Serb survivor
is permitted to be there even through the present state of Croatia borders
on fascism and Mr. Tudjman says that the Holocaust never happened and that
killed those Serbs in the camp of Jasenovac because the Jews wanted
their money. And here are Tudjman and Clinton looking happy together. America
was always comfortable with fascism.
It helps that Americans have short memories.
The New York Times prints that Bosnian Serbs owned 64 percent of the land,
then a few months later you are told that they conquered 75 percent. It
doesn't add up but nobody pays attention. Everything gets erased and chewed
up, no past or future, just profit now. Whole landscapes disappear, and
cultures, and nobody pays attention much, nobody remembers that America
killed millions of Vietnamese then recently said it's time for us to forgive
them, nobody remembers Chile, Panama, Guatemala, Salvador etc. etc. and
they won't remember Yugoslavia either after they helped destroy it. This
is a nation run by psychopaths. We are in the new world order.
From a PR agency hired by Croatia then Muslim
Bosnia, with huge budgets which in addition include funding from outside,
secret bank accounts (America, Germany, and even the Vatican), with the
help of Washington, the image machine goes to the main papers and then
by the time it reaches TV, the word 'presumed guilty' is dropped. Instead
it says The New York Times reports.... It makes it legitimate.
The headlines are against the Serbs even
when the article is supposed to be about their suffering.
In all this, the other
side is not permitted to speak, so it looks like a jury for a black man
who has no lawyer, his mouth is taped shut and the jury is all white and
some are members of the Klan.
Exports and false witnesses appear. Gelb,
Lewis and Eagleburger, all three at once on PBS. Bomb Belgrade, Gelb wrote
day after day, then became an expert on TV. Eagleburger said, I want to
wipe the smile from the face of all Serbs. He became an expert too.
The CIA becomes a reliable informant, on
TV and the press. They are there whenever it's needed. They have pictures
from the planes of the Bosnian Muslim graves but not a single picture of
Serbs from Krajina, walking on foot in the terrible heat and bombed in
addition from the planes. Of course not. The CIA is a a part of the cleanup.
American witnesses appear, like the CIA,
for credibility. Fake stories in women's magazines, fake documentaries.
Like the one narrated by an American nurse on channel seven. We don't know
where she is nor who she is. It's enough that she is American. She talks
about rapes and she cries.
An American journalist narrates in a montage
of a few shots how he has discovered mass graves. We don't see his face,
Bianca Jagger becomes an expert on Bosnia.
She cries too.
Slavenka Drakulic, a journalist from Zagreb
and a small time opportunist, uses the Times for a piece about thousands
upon thousands of rapes which she could not have witnessed. Besides her
dialogue is bad, a ten year old girl does not talk like a fifty year old
woman. I used to teach dialogue and screenplays.
By the time the correction is done, by an
independent group of doctors, this is only a few lines in The Times that
nobody sees.The figure of 20.000 victims was based on actual interviews
with four people.
On the radio new specialists, all Americans,
talk about how the Ottoman empire was wonderful to everyone.
staged massacres in Sarajevo get a splash but not the investigation
of them, nor the result. It occurs to me that maybe it was the CIA who
did the job, it wouldn't be the first time after all.
The massacres appeared always before an
important step the US would do against the Serbia and the the Serbs. The
last massacre becomes the reason why NATO or the US must bomb Bosnian
Serbs in an unprecedented orgy of missions, yet NATO decided two days before
the massacre. They lie on and on, but nobody really pays attention because
we are in the New World Order.
Words like genocide, ethnic cleansing, camps
are there to produce an emotional response yet they actually whitewash
genocides done to Serbs and Jews in the Second World War. In fact the
first ethnic cleansing was done to Serbs in Western
Slavonia at the beginning of the war and the biggest cleansing was
the USA-CIA-Croatia united effort against Serbs in Krajina. Two hundred
thousand people. Hundreds dying in the heat. And what do you call thousands
of missions against Bosnian Serbs, the largest military operation in Europe
since World War Two? What do we know about the number of dead? Zero. It's
called "low collateral damage" by the Pentagon.
The word 'Western' appears all the time
in the US media these four years. The good is Western. The Western is honest
and clean. What is the other? I ask Steven Kinzer, for whom I took pictures
as we ran to interview Bosnian Serb refugees from Sarajevo who looked like
the dead dug up. Why is it, I ask him, that Croatia which he says borders
on fascism, is called a democracy and Belgrade is called a dictatorship?
Belgrade at that time in '92 looked like anarchy, hundreds of opinions,
twenty different parties. He said Americans think of them as Western and
you not. What is western?
NATO is. Germany is, and so is the US. The
east is sly, they lie and they cheat. Serbs lie all the time, according
to the U.S media. In Nazi propaganda, Jews lie and rape Christian virgins
too but there is more to this. German fascism and American racism unite
at some point. Vanity Fair gives me a clue in an essay on how Serbs make
love, they do it with savagery, the entire hotel shakes and he, the writer,
just suffers from jealousy and horror listening to their screams. Those
savages are interrupting his sleep. So, a Serb is a male with no mother
or father, no wife or kids, he has no culture, plays no piano, and rapes
thousands. Does this remind you of anything? Who is the rapist in the American
racist mind? The answer is given to me. People I have known for many years
and those I have not known asked me these years where I was from in Yugoslavia.
Serbia I said.
'You don't look like them,' they would say
stepping back, looking scared or embarrassed. None of these people had
ever been to Yugoslavia. Why, I asked finally. You are nice, they say.
You mean civilized, I ask. Well yes, and you are so fair, you could be
a German or a Swede.
It occurred to me then that Serbs who look
the same as the other groups in Yugoslavia were actually dark in the American
mind.I can't decide if this darkness was internal or some other or both
at the same time.
While all this went on, Croatians thanked
Germany and America now, Bosnian Muslims kept crying - oh America come
help, please help, we are really western just like you while the Serbs
kept moaning - oh America why don't you love us, we fought fascism together.
In spite of all the misery that the embargo has done to present Yugoslavia,
I think they are ahead now because they know America does not love them.
Ultimately America loves nobody not even their own
children. Or there would be money for schools without rats, no leaking
roofs, money for hospitals, money for life instead of prisons here and
death with those billion dollars worth of perfect clean killing machines
in Bosnia. I am glad the Serbian and my mother's romance with the
American dream is over. It never really existed or it was a Hollywood production
that the country dumps like its garbage all over the world. You can destroy
with it, you can kill entire cultures, but that's a whole other story.