CHAPTER FIVE: THE NEW IMPERIAL MODEL
3. THE TRIUMPH OF HATRED [continued]
In light of my previous posts regarding the difficulty of finding any reality-based ground on which reason might find purchase in this section, I plan to just breeze through and make note of some "highlights."
The revisionism embodied in the final paragraph of the preceding section had so much momentum, it carried without pause into the very first sentence of this one:
"The fact that Albanians had invited foreigners to bomb their country was certain to stir violent resentment among Serbs. Some of this resentment found expression in acts of violence against Albanians."
Do tell, Ms. Johnstone. It takes very little study on the matter to learn that the violence committed against Albanians was not only systematic but also committed not by local Serbs lashing out against their treacherous neighbors but by well-armed and--more crucially--well-prepared--Serb paramilitary and police forces. Whatever tenuous connection to reality existed in Johnstone's critique have been all but severed. She is acting as an out-and-out propagandist, lying at will.
It gets worse--she assures the reader that it was NATO that made the already bad relations between Serbs and Albanians go from bad to "hopeless." Not the eight years of martial law, not the years of an ever-spiraling cycle of increasingly violent and savage resistance met by ever-harsher, ever more vindictive collective punishment.
No, it was all NATO's fault:
"The main psychological effect of the war was to endorse Albanian hatred of Serbs, recognize it as justified, and give free rein to subsequent persecution of Serbs as "revenge." "
And so we discover that the victims were really the perpetrators, and that they committed their crimes simply out of "hate." It is not enough for Johnstone to completely rewrite history--she must demonize an entire ethnic group. It takes an enormous amount of chutzpah to write a sentence like that.
And yet she goes on--after claiming that there was no way to know the 'real' reasons refugees were fleeing Kosovo in droves since you would have to either believe "NATO and its Albanian allies" or the Serbian government claims that people had been ordered to leave their homes by the KLA (it never seems to occur to her to ask the refugees themselves--of course, they were all hateful Albanians, anyway), she even describes the Serb forces fighting the KLA as being "determined to root out the traitors who were helping guide the NATO air strikes." Johnstone is, of course, betting on her reader being ill-informed since the NATO air strikes were originally very limited in scope. NATO didn't widen the target field until Serb forces demonstrated that they weren't going to stop forcing Albanians to leave.
Johnstone downplays the reality of ethnic cleansing with a callousness that is stunning. She assures the reader that Kosovo is a small republic which "one can drive across it in about two hours"; she mentions nothing about the confiscation and destruction of Albanian IDs, passports, and other documentation; and she even provides a military justification for the practice of ethnic cleansing by way of explaining why the fighting was so intense near the Albanian border:
"Serb forces had strategic reasons to clear the area of Albanians who could assist infiltration of arms and fighters from Albania."
The woman is a moral vacuum; the fate of hundreds of thousands of frightened civilians driven from their homes by violence and terror and stripped of the documentation to prove who they were and where they lived--all this is portrayed as nothing more than a temporary relocation in order to avoid widespread skirmishing. The fact that there were Albanian villagers to welcome NATO troops when they arrived somehow, in her warped view, validates her thesis.
More next time...