Wednesday, February 14, 2007

An open letter to the U.S. ambassador to Belgrade Michael Polt

A TIME OF MADNESS - By Journalist Vjekoslav Radovic

Dear Michael:

Addressing you as one American to another, I want to tell you that I was moved by your February 10 letter published in Glas Javnosti (the Voice of Public) in response to the letter by Mr. Ivan Koprivica, but I was also disappointed to see that you were able to refute nothing. Your Excellency, you will go down in history as the first ambassador of the world's greatest power to have engaged in debate with a citizen of a tiny, powerless country and to have emerged from that debate with absolutely no success. And you did this in a newspaper which is neither the "oldest", nor the "most influential" one in the Balkans.

In marketing terms, your attempt was a truly charming undertaking in an effort to shift the public opinion in Serbia positively toward Kosovo-Metohija independence so that this rip-off could appear more "democratic". In the same spirit, you would even wish us to believe that you bombed us only because you love us!

Your superior, Mr. Daniel Fried, said only a few days earlier that Serbia's public opinion was shifting toward your advantage, and he came to that brilliant conclusion based on one single article in what he called, the Balkans "oldest" and the "most influential" newspaper.

Do days in the State Department really begin by reading Politika? And yours by reading letters to editor published in Glas javnosti? If so, then my hat's off to you!

What concerns me, however, is that you are drawing your conclusions based on the opinions of children of communist generals, such as this Politika colleague. On the other hand, you choose to ignore comments like that middle finger sprawled across the front page of a Belgrade tabloid.

You of all people should know that nothing is sacred to communists and that an apple doesn't fall far from the tree. And yet, your chosen darlings and your trustees in Serbia are just that -- the children of communism -- disguised as "democrats".

We are both naturalized Americans. You were born in Austria, while I was born in Croatia. But believe me, Mr. Polt, even if I were born a Papuan, seeing what you are doing to the Serbian people would turn me into a Serb! Because, if what you are trying to do here are the supposed ideas of Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln -- then one of us is not "an American". And I refuse to accept that you are more American than I am. Is it possible that you have been overtaken by nostalgia for the Austro-Hungarian Empire?

You are telling Serbs that they should give up the cradle of their spirituality, history, faith and state. I understand that these categories might be incomprehensible to you, but would you really give up Southern California, New Mexico or parts of Texas with such ease? I know, you'll say: That's completely different and Kosovo is "an exception". Your reasoning is totally pragmatic: on the one hand there are warmongering Albanians who are threatening renewed violence and bloodshed unless their demands are fulfilled, and on the other hand there are the disunited, disoriented, humiliated, bitter, powerless and helpless Serbs. Therefore your choice, with the help of local communist generals' sons and daughters, seems easy. But don’t deceive yourselves.

One more thing: stop blaming the policies of Slobodan Milosevic for the present situation in Kosovo-Metohija. While in Pristina in July of 1999, I held in my hand - and have republished - the leaflet by which Ibrahim Rugova and KLA called on the Albanians to exit Kosovo in order to stage the phony "humanitarian catastrophe", and return under the safety of NATO's wings. If you wish, I will gladly pass that document on to you. You might also wish to review the Hague testimony given by the former KLA officer Bislim Zirapi last November. As you are fully aware, Yugoslavia was not destroyed by Serbian -- but rather by Croat, Slovenian and Muslim separatists, wholeheartedly supported by you.

Instead of facing the truth, you are issuing an ultimatum to Serbs: "Take our hand and choose the road to success, or withdraw into the past filled with rage that offers you no future..."

Don’t you understand that the hand that is stealing their Kosovo away, for Serbs will forever be the hand of a thief and a robber?

I do hope, your Excellency, that you do not find yourself bored in Belgrade, because you definitely don’t resemble that Marquez's hero that had no one to write to him. But please, do renounce the favors of communist generals' children. Not for the sake of money, but don’t forget, Your Excellency, that these are also the children who have betrayed their own parents.

Translation, courtesy of Svetlana Novko at Byzantine Sacred Art Blog

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