Monday, September 13, 2010

"Yugoslavia: Death of a Nation" by Silber and Little [8]

Chapter 9: "If we don't know how to work, at least we know how to fight"

Further subtitled "The Decisive Month", this chapter details political events in March of 1991. The opening two sentences summarize the import of these events:

"March was the decisive month. Milosevic set the country on the course to war."

That is really what this chapter is all about--the grubby details elaborating the process by which Milosevic took off the gloves, and, in certain select company, the mask of being bound by legality and of maintaining any pretense to Yugoslav unity. Faced with mass uprisings and the possibility of the people turning against him, the man who a few short years earlier had claimed the mantle of Serb nationalism by telling the Serbs of Kosova "nobody should dare to beat you" sent the riot police to beat the Serbs of Belgrade, even as his deputy Jovic was trying to strongarm the collective Presidency into authorizing the JNA to take military action against dissent. Reading this chapter alone makes one wonder how Balkan revisionists are able to maintain the fictions their delusional versions of Yugoslavias' demise require.

This chapter is crucial not only for the portrait of Milosevic nakedly throwing Yugoslavia under the bus and declaring himself committed to a de facto Greater Serbia; it also undermines the propoganda that he was merely following the dictates of public passion of the Serb people. It is worth noting that at the moment when Yugoslavia teetered towards war, the Serbs of Serbia stood against him and forced him to play authoritarian strongman.

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