Saturday, March 31, 2007
"There are still some hesitations" about granting Kosovo internationally supervised independence, said Slovene Foreign Minister Dimitri Rupel after an EU foreign ministers meeting.
Slovakia, Romania and Greece were not yet ready to approve the proposal to grant the province of two million people — 90 percent of whom are ethnic Albanians — internationally supervised statehood and elements of independence including its own army, flag, anthem and constitution.
Diplomats downplayed the significance of these reservations, saying it was crucial to win UN Security Council endorsement for the plan, drafted by former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari.
"We are dependent on an agreement in the Security Council," Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said outside a meeting of the 27 EU foreign ministers.
Ahtisaari's plan faces an uncertain future in the Security Council. Russia supports Serbia, which wants the province to remain within its borders, and has implied it could use its veto power in the council if Belgrade's interests are not addressed.
Reservations within the EU about cutting Kosovo loose from Serbia have long been rooted in fears of setting a precedent for other independence-minded areas in Europe.
EU foreign affairs chief Javier Solana and Olli Rehn, the EU Enlargement Commissioner, briefed the EU foreign ministers on the significant financial and security challenges facing Kosovo if it achieves internationally supervised statehood.
They asked for sustained EU financial and technical support for Kosovo in the years ahead in areas such as security, the economy and political reforms.
The two have previously warned the Balkans could again be engulfed in violence akin to the wars in the 1990s during the breakup of Yugoslavia unless the future status of Kosovo is resolved quickly.
"It is of vital importance to the EU and the security of Europe," German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeir said. "It is our neighborhood, a top priority for us."
Kosovo has been under U.N. administration since NATO launched airstrikes in 1999 to halt a Serb crackdown on separatist ethnic Albanian rebels.
About 200,000 people are believed to have perished in a series of wars sparked by the breakup of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. The conflicts, which spread from Slovenia to Croatia, Bosnia and finally Kosovo, cost the international community an estimated US$110 billion dollars, two-thirds of which was paid directly or indirectly by EU member nations.
The EU is planning a 2,000-strong mission for Kosovo, the largest the EU has ever had. After Kosovo's final status has been determined, the EU team will move in to assist local authorities in developing autonomous institutions, police and judiciary and ensure the rights of minorities are observed. The EU also wants to prepare Kosovo for closer ties with the 27-member bloc.
Solana and Rehn have estimated that Kosovo will need international aid of up to €1.5 billion (US$2 billion) in the first three years after the final status of the Serb province is determined. The money will be needed to cover Kosovo's share of the Yugoslav debt, the cost of implementing Kosovo's status, economic development and an international military and civilian presence.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
"At the last congress in Phoenix in Arizona where I participated last October, the final conclusion of the congress was that 90% of all financial support of terrorist action in the world comes from drug dealing, and if you have on the other side the Albanian mafia, it is connected with all of these activities," says Nicovic.
Over 40% of the world heroin smuggling is controlled by the Albanian mafia, and only in the US, 30% of heroin is sold by the emerging Albanian Muslim mafia cartel.
The international recognition of Kosovo will strengthen the drug cartelization that is already taking place through arranged marriages between Muslim Albanian families in Kosovo and the drug producers in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran says Marko Nicovic.
Nicovic warns that the Kosovo Albanian familial chains with Muslim drug families in the Golden Crescent will be impossible to penetrate by the law enforcement.
"When I was appointed Chief of Police in 1983 it is the first time that I met the power of the Albanian mafia. I warned my colleagues in the West that it will be hard to penetrate because all family is involved in smuggling and that makes very difficult for undercover agents to penetrate this structure," says Nicovic.
Arranged marriages between Kosovo Muslim drug families with ones in Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan is the emerging horizontal integration of the heroin supply from the producers there to the suppliers in Kosovo and only family members will be allowed into this inner sanctum of drugs and terror.
"It will be the very big problem for the Western countries especially now when Kosovo is almost independent. After that European countries will have our Columbia in Europe," says Nicovic. "It will be the first time in history that mafia has its own country."
Nicovic says that large amount of the Albanian mafia money is invested into political activities such as lobbies that advocate independence for Kosovo.
Richard C. Holbrooke, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, on the left, enjoying company with a Kosovo Albanian Florin Krasniqi, a weapons smuggler from New York pictured in the middle, and Wesley Clark on the right at a political fundraiser for John Kerry.
"That lobby would organize the structure that would include, for example, some Congressman, some journalist, some analysts, institutes, foundations... for the project of an independent Kosovo," says Nicovic.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
March 19, 2007 -- US needs to stand on the side of democracy and stop supporting radical and quasi criminal elements with separatist tendencies in Kosovo, says Ariel Cohen, Ph.D., Senior Research Fellow in Russian and Eurasian Studies and International Energy Security at the Sarah and Douglas Allison Center of the Davis Institute for International Studies at the Heritage Foundation.
"We live in a global and a tight communications world with 24 hours of available information on the Internet. Implications of Kosovo's independence can be dangerous if not catastrophic across the world," says Cohen.
Ariel Cohen has often been critical of Russia's President Putin's policies but in case of Kosovo, says Cohen, Russia is on the side of international law and that warrants us to listen.
"It is interesting that Holbrooke blames Russia," for any violence Kosovo Albanians are threatening to initiate if their independence drive is thwarted but "while I do not support President Putin and frequently in my texts I have been critical of Russia, I must say that when Russia stands on the side of the international law and warns that support for separatism in Kosovo would have ramifications not only in Europe but across the world, I think we need to pay attention."
In a recent Washington Post opinion piece, former US Ambassador Richard Holbrooke claimed that the forthcoming Kosovo Albanian violence if the world community does not grant them independence should be blamed on Russia because the Muslim Kosovo Albanian leadership believes that Russia should be blamed for their inability to become independent.
In 2004, Holbrooke hosted a Kosovo Albanian fundraiser which raised over half a million dollars for John Kerry's Presidential campaign and Holbrooke promised there that, if elected, Kerry will pronounce Kosovo independent. That fundraiser was attended by a well-known Kosovo Albanian weapons smuggler.
"We have to be very careful as to the degree and locations of our support for independence movements that can destroy not only sovereign states but also democracy," replies Cohen.
"I think that US should be on the side of democracy and not radical and quasi criminal elements that have predetermined political objectives," advises Cohen.
Kosovo province has been administered by the UN since 1999 and since then Muslim Albanians have expelled over 200,000 Christian Serbs, destroyed over 150 Churches, instigated a widespread pogrom and are now threatening wholesale violence in the province if UN fails to give them independence.
There are over 16,000 NATO troops in the province whose mandate is to, ostensibly, keep peace.
UNs decision on the status of Kosovo province is expected this year.
PRIŠTINA -- Albanian media in Kosovo report today the Wahhabis have been active in the province since the early 1990’s. The reports claim that the radical Islamic sect has 30 religious schools in Kosovo, adding that their activity presents the Albanian community’s identity with “a serious challenge”.
The Wahhabis mainly work to religiously indoctrinate impoverished Albanians, Bosniaks, Egyptians and Ashkalis, according to the Priština-based media.
The sect, which refers to its members as “fighters of pure Islam”, impose their “exclusive teachings” during funerals, circumcision rituals and other religious gatherings, offering their version of Koran as an alternative to natural or social theories.
The reports point to Elvis Goga from Peć as “the chief mujahedin in Kosovo”, adding that the expansion of Wahhabism in the province has been aided by the foreign NGOs that still operate under the umbrella of the joint Saudi committee for assistance to Kosovo and Chechnya.
These organizations arrived in the province in the wake of the 1999 war and stayed on in the field, obeying the Saudi government’s position to “remain as long as they’re needed.”
Wahhabis open internet cafes associated with their mosques, “in a bid to attract children to listen to ‘naslihates’ against Skenderbeg and the Albanian national renewal movement, the Western civilization and even Kosovo’s traditional brand of Islam,” the media report.
The newspapers in Priština also say that “Kosovo and international mujahedins may be preparing for a rebellion on the brink of the status solution,” adding that the characteristic Wahhabi personalities would “attract the international reporters to Kosovo in an instant.”
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Just a day before the murders Talovic told his 17 year old Bosnian girlfriend Monika, with whom he had discussed marriage plans that he was involved in a dark plot.
"Something is going to happen tomorrow that you'll never be able to forgive me about" Talovic's girlfriend told the Salt Lake Times adding that "It was supposed be the happiest day of his life and that it could only happen once in a lifetime." [source Trolley Shooting: Even to the girl he loved, Talovic a mystery to the end, http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_5431036] Monica also revealed a "vision" that Talovic had while in Bosnia:
"One evening, "as the sun was falling," Talovic heard a horse outside of his family's home in Bare, where they lived after they left Talovici. He walked out and, standing before him was a white horse "with two beautiful eyes," he told Monika. 'And he said, 'Look,' and his aunt [who was also outside] couldn't see it there,'' Monika said. It was at that moment she knew he was a "good-souled" person.
''He thought of it as only 'good-souled people' could see happiness and goodness,'' she said."
Two of these points are extremely significant in understanding Talovic's motivation; his statement that the mall attack would be his "happiest day" and the invocation of the "white horse" motif, as both are tied to Islamic thinking regarding jihad.
According to the The West Point Combatting Terrorism Center's section on Islamic imagery, the meaning of the white horse symbol is directly related to jihad: ....
(Excerpt) Read more at pipelinenews.org ...
NOVI PAZAR -- Police have arrested four people in connection to a Wahhabi terrorist camp discovered near Novi Pazar Saturday.
A police statement said they found a huge cache of plastic explosives equipped with trigger mechanisms, various caliber bullet rounds, protective masks, several kinds of military uniforms and hand grenades in the camp and a cave 30 kilometers from the southern Serbian town.
The four arrested were identified as Mirsad Prentić, Fuad Hodžić, Vahid Vejselović and Senad Vejselović, all members of the Muslim Wahhabi movement from Novi Pazar.
One suspect managed to escape during the raid and police said they were searching for him.
Among the material confiscated in the camp, police also discovered printed terrorist propaganda, military survival manuals, medical supplies, a saber, compasses, binoculars and maps.
The police statement said the raid that took several days to execute would continue with “intensive action to identify and locate organizers and members of this terrorist group.”
Last Updated: 11:45pm GMT 17/03/2007
A confidential study warns that Kosovo faces a violent and chaotic future after the failure of nation-building efforts by the international community.
The study, commissioned by the German government, accused Western governments, including Britain, of the "ostrich politics" of denial and found that Kosovo faced a decline into "violent riots and even revolution-like development" after the expected declaration of independence.
It claimed that the United Nations administration and the Nato-led peacekeeping mission had been infiltrated by organised crime syndicates, and accused the international bodies of mismanagement, corruption and organisational chaos.
Talks on the future of Kosovo ended in stalemate last week and have been referred to the UN Security Council, which is expected to grant limited independence according to a proposal drafted by Martti Ahtisaari, the former Finnish president.
Britain was widely regarded as the driving force behind the 1999 Nato air strikes against the regime of Slobodan Milosevic, the former Serbian president, which led to the separation of the province, with its majority Albanian population, from the Serbian state. Since then, Kosovo has been a UN-administered protectorate secured by an international military presence.
But a study by the Institute for European Politics, a Berlin think-tank, says the severely impoverished territory has little prospect of democratic progress because the building of a functioning multi-ethnic society has failed and does not exist "outside the bureaucratic phrases of the international community". The study describes the European Union's security strategy for an independent Kosovo as flawed. The authors accuse Nato and the UN of creating a culture of systematic repression of critical reports in order to present Kosovo as a success story.
The study claimed the population's belief in the advantages of independence was pushing expectations for economic prosperity to unrealistic heights. This would eventually cause a backlash and a confrontation with the international administration.
A spokesman for the Kosovo Force (KFor), the Nato-led international unit responsible for establishing and maintaining security, said: "We are aware of the study and the allegations made in it regarding KFor but we will not comment on them. The situation in Kosovo is not stable but we have a clear mission and we are sticking to it."
The authorities in Belgrade have offered Kosovo home rule and wide-ranging autonomy but have refused to accept the creation of a sovereign state, arguing that it would set a dangerous precedent and further destabilise the region.
For their part, Kosovo's Albanian leaders are not willing to engage in any kind of union with Serbia and maintain that full independence is the only possible solution.
Related Article: "The Failure of the West's 'Ostrich' Policy"
Sunday, March 11, 2007
NEW YORK -- Delta Holding owner Milorad Mišković has made it to the Forbes list of the world’s richest people.
Mišković holds the 891st spot along with fifty other entrepreneurs whose net worth has been estimated at US$ 1 bn. Next to Mišković’s name and worth, Forbes states he amassed his fortune by "doing business in the insurance and banking fields".
The Forbes Magazine has based its list on the data collected during research carried out from the beginning of 2006 till February 9, 2007.
The list is headed by two Americans, Microsoft mogul Bill Gates with assets valued at US$ 56 bn and investment magnate Warren Buffet, whose fortune stands at US$ 52 bn. A Mexico's Carlos Slim Helu came third with assets worth US$ 49 bn.
The billionaires' combined net worth reached US$ 3.5 trillion. Two-thirds of last year's billionaires are richer now. Only 17 percent failed to keep up with last year's results and decreased their fortune, including 32 entrepreneurs who fell below the billion-dollar mark.
There’s been a recent break in the investigation of what led the shooter in Salt Lake City to kill. (KSL News) Federal agents have traced the handgun used by Trolley Square shooter Sulejman Talovic to its original owner and are now trying to figure out how it ended up with Talovic.…The Deseret Morning News also reports police are questioning witnesses again about what they saw or heard during the shootings.
So after a break in the case, the Feds have determined that they need to go back and re-interview people from the scene about what they saw or heard during the shooting. But what relevance do sounds at the scene of the crime have to a traced gun? How does the origin of the gun connect to “What did you see and hear at the scene?” Unless it has something to do with those recorded shouts of “Allahu Akbar” on a witness’s cellphone camera, which weren’t conclusive. And so the previously dismissed testimony of eyewitnesses who confirmed the inconclusive recording is now needed. For some reason. That we aren’t being told. But which has to do with the break in the investigation.
One of the only two papers covering developments in Utah and Bosnia since Talovic’s shooting spree last month, the Deseret Morning News interviewed Bosnia’s “most influential religious leader” Nezim Halilovic in his offices at the Islamic Center in Sarajevo last Monday. And he lies. A lot. The paper describes Halilovic as a distinguished-looking man of middle age, who was wearing a dark suit and a tie with a clip. His gray hair was offset by a short, dark beard. On his desk were a small, decoratively carved wooden chest; a jar of honey; a cup holding many pens; a tiny replica of a mosque; and several copies of the Quran… Read the Rest at: Republican Riot
Thursday, March 08, 2007
By Ken Mandel / MLB.comCLEARWATER, Fla. -- There are many funny, sad and heartwarming stories about John Vukovich, as there should be for a man who touched so many lives.
A person who spends 41 years in baseball, on back fields, dugouts, buses, airplanes, restaurants and hotel rooms, is bound to earn tremendous respect and pick up a lifelong friends along the way.
That's what happened with "Vuk," who lost a second battle with cancer and passed away on Thursday at age 59.
"He was a Californian who married a Philly girl and never left," said broadcaster Chris Wheeler, who joined the organization in 1971 and considered Vukovich among his closest friends. "He loved Philadelphia because he kept saying these people are tough. He loved the area for that reason."
Vukovich, a former Phillies player and coach whose ties with the club dated to 1970, when he debuted as a Major Leaguer, was tough, too.
Diagnosed with a brain tumor in May 2001, he appeared to have recovered, proudly returning to the coaching box within two months. After more than five years of relatively good health, doctors discovered that the illness had returned after Vukovich experienced headaches and impaired vision.
In true style, Vukovich kept the news private from even his closest friends, saying everything was going to be fine. Word filtered out when he missed the Winter Meetings in Orlando in December. The family asked for and was granted privacy.
Despite recent optimism, news circulated on Wednesday within the organization that his condition had worsened, and none could hide their extreme sense of loss.
"He was a second father to me," said Greg Casterioto, 30, the Phillies' manager of public relations, likely echoing the sentiments of his generation.
"He was like a brother to me," Wheeler said, echoing the sentiments of his generation.
A passionate man who always listed family first and baseball second (a really close second), Vukovich honed the fielding of a generation of infielders and wasn't afraid to tell players how they should wear the uniform.
The term often heard was "old school."
A fixture in the organization, Vukovich spent 31 of his 41 years in the sport wearing red pinstripes. The most important were the 17 straight -- from 1988-2004 -- that he spent as a Phillies coach, working with six different managers and showing extreme loyalty to each. Vukovich will be remembered this season with a black patch sewn onto Phillies uniforms.
In 2004, he passed former bullpen coach Mike Ryan to become the longest tenured coach in team history. A career .161 hitter over parts of 10 seasons in the Major Leagues, Vukovich often joked that his "second career was much better than the first."
Though the statistics won't lie about the first, Vukovich was the embodiment of a player who survived on sterling defense, personality and heart. He knew so much about the game and how it should be played.
"It would be the greatest second career for a .161 hitter," Wheeler said. "He was a great baseball man. He was a throwback. He felt there was a way to play and wear the uniform and didn't bend."
A third baseman selected by Philadelphia in the January 1966 draft out of American River Junior College in Sacramento, Calif., Vukovich received a $10,000 bonus when he signed hours before the deadline that would've thrown him back into the pool of eligible draftees. That summer, he tooled around his sleepy hometown in a sleek new Dodge Coronet 500, his one indulgence.
"I paid $3,400 cash for it," he later said. "My dad got a new truck."
In the Minors, Vukovich won a league championship at Triple-A Eugene in 1972. He also led his league in fielding by a third baseman four times. With Eugene in 1970, he reached professional highs with 22 homers and 96 RBIs in 138 games.
He made his debut in 1970 and played parts of seven seasons with the Phillies, including the 1980 World Series championship team. He was also a member of the 1975 Reds, who won the World Series that season, and often recalled a story of how he was once pinch-hit for by manager Sparky Anderson in the first inning.
"He loved that story," Casterioto said.
On June 23, 1971, Vukovich played third base and caught the final out of Rick Wise's no-hitter.
He made a seamless transition to coaching after retiring as a player in 1981, beginning with the Cubs in 1982 and serving as a first base, third base and bench coach until leaving after the 1987 season.
While his departure created an opportunity in Philadelphia, the story of why he left is a testament to his loyalty. In fall of 1987, then-Cubs GM Dallas Green, whom Vuk had followed to Chicago, was preparing to name himself manager/GM and wanted Vukovich as his bench coach, with the intention of making Vuk the manager the following season.
Except that a funny thing happened.
"I flew into Chicago at 9 that morning and Dallas told me I was going to manage," Vukovich recalled. "I went to Tribune Tower and met with [CEO] John Madigan. Then we went back to Wrigley Field for a 5 o'clock press conference."
Less than five minutes later, Vukovich was unemployed.
"Dallas called me in and said, 'I resigned,'" Vukovich said. "He wanted me to stay and I said, 'Like hell I will.' I listened to the press conference [of Green's resignation] on the radio going to the airport."
Vukovich flew back to his home in Voorhees, N.J., and eventually landed again in Philadelphia. His coaching role with the Phillies included first base, third base and bench coach, plus coordinating Spring Training and working with the team's infielders. Vukovich got to manage the final nine games of the 1988 season, when Lee Elia was dismissed, and he went 5-4. In 1994, he was a coach for the National League All-Star team.
In 2000, he served as a coach for the MLB All-Star team that traveled to Japan, and in 2004, he was named the winner of the inaugural Dallas Green Special Achievement Award, presented by the Philadelphia chapter of The Baseball Writers Association of America for his coaching tenure.
Vukovich left the field after the 2004 season and became a special assistant to the general manager, working under Ed Wade and Pat Gillick. He and Larry Bowa are the only two men to wear a Phillies uniform at Connie Mack Stadium, Veterans Stadium and Citizens Bank Park.
He is survived by his wife, the former Bonnie Loughran, whom he met at Veterans Stadium; two children, Nicole Stolarick and Vince, and triplet granddaughters, Anna, Lena and Stella Stolarick. Vukovich is also survived by two brothers, Rich and Bill, of California. end
Our condolences go out to the Vukovich family and all who knew and loved him. Vjecnaja Pamjat, John!
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Legal teams from Bosnia-Hercegovina and the Netherlands representing the families of the victims of Srebrenica are expected to file charges at the beginning of April against Holland and the UN for their responsibility for the events in Srebrenica, and demand damages to the tune of 2bn KM [Bosnian marks - 1.345bn dollars], writes today's [Sarajevo daily] Dnevni avaz. The paper said that the lawyers would try to prove that Dutch troops were actively assisting units of the [Bosnian] Serb army.
Source: SRNA news agency, Bijeljina, in Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian 0840 gmt 2 Mar 07 BBC Monitoring
Monday, March 05, 2007
"Dr. Peter French cancelled the lecture at Kent State having found out how the flyer announcing his lecture misrepresents what he was going to talk about. He said that he was no expert on Serbia and the quotation was taken out of context and put on the flyer creating a false impression that he is dealing with Kosovo issue rather than an ethical-philosophical one."
If Peter French did not have ANY input into the contents of the poster announcing his lecture, then SerbBlog does owe him an apology. Whatever Peter French's reasons, I do believe that he did ultimately take an ethical stand in cancelling the presentation and for that we are grateful.
However, having said that, we are still troubled by the idea that the quote itself may have from Professor French, whether "taken out of context" & exploited or not. What possible "context" could this quote represent that wouldn't be racist?
"Serbian men described themselves as compelled to rape and murder Kosovar women & children. This provoked necessity was felt and sustained by collective memories nurtured in Serbs for seven centuries...".
Professor French's philosophical and sociological theories are based on "collective moral responsibility", whether that collective is represented by a corporation or a culture. To say that an entire culture is responsible for "the murder and rape of women & children" -- without substantiation -- is to tar everyone associated with that culture. And this is especially true if the reference to the culture is simply "an assumed premise" in the greater argument of whether or not one is individually responsible or the culture is collectively responsible." An "assumed premise" is even worse for an ethnic group as it means that the assumption itself is likely never opened to argument.
This now-cancelled lecture and poster issue had already assumed a life of its own. Several blogs have discussed it, including Volokh Conspiracy and The Boring Made Dull . Some posters seem to convey the idea that Serbs have created "a tempest in a teapot" and it is "a case of overreaction" by myself and others. Those same posters have not had the fifteen-year experience of being an American of Serbian descent and not being able to turn on the TV to relax without being assaulted with TV story lines involving "Serbians putting bombs in children's toys" (never happened), or "Serbs running (non-existent) Bosnian & Kosovar rape camps" -- or being asked what nationality your last name is and when you answer "Serbian", getting the most outrageous responses based on the speaker having read some other piece of anti-Serb propaganda fiction passed off as "fact". They have also never had the experience of having one's argument to this challenged automatically dismissed as "Serbian self-pity" , when in fact this label is just another piece of propaganda about the least "self-pitying" culture I know!
This issue goes well beyond Serbs, because while false assertions are being made about "Serbian men as rapists", the real victims of Albanian sex slavery rings in Kosovo run by Muslim Albanians, are completely ignored -- as is the Albanian traffic in narcotics and guns and Islamic terrorism.
An earlier anonymous poster argued with me that presentations like the now-cancelled lecture where not, as I had asserted, the equivalent of yelling "fire" in a crowded theater because there was no "potential for loss of life or physical damage to life" by making untrue assertions about Serbs as an ethnic group , and that "psychological damage doesn't count".
I would argue that when the political fate of Kosovo is now hanging by a thread, and untrue assertions against Serbs could sway public opinion in a direction that does make a difference in eventual political outcome which could cause potential loss of life, then it is indeed "yelling fire in a crowded theater" by unfairly smearing Serbian men" as "rapists & murders of women & children" with no evidence.
Why do you think that so many journalists have lost their lives covering political conflicts in the last ten years? Because the combatants are well aware that in democracies what voters are made to believe about each of the combatants, indeed may be a matter of life and death in the formation of public policy and support for military action. This is why wartime propaganda is such a useful tool, not only in directing the masses inside the conflict, but also in affecting attitudes in the international community whose UN votes could mean the difference between military action against or material support for one of the combatants ultimately causing substantial "physical loss of life" to one or more of the parties. It is rare that anyone can point to one specific article, lecture or presentation that directly causes "a change in public opinion for military action" -- it rather usually a cumulative effect all the articles, lectures and presentations made on the subject that ultimately affects the tide of public opinion, even when the "assumed premise" of a single lecture has not been proven and even when the "assumed premise" is not even the point of the lecture!
I do believe that Peter French's ultimate actions in this case are honorable and to be applauded, as he has stated that the poster was not representative of the lecture he intended to deliver. But also understand that we had no way of knowing this until he withdrew and told us why. Had we not called the level of attention we did to this defamatory poster for the lecture, the presentation would have likely gone ahead as planned without Peter French ever even noticing the poster until he arrived to deliver his presentation. Personally, I think whoever decided the content for this poster and approved it, should be taken to task because they politicized what was likely not even intended as a political discussion.
For the last fifteen years, most American Serbian Orthodox Christians have kept their head down and their mouth shut, even when the most vile things were said about our religion and culture. But those days are now over -- it's been way too long. For once in this case, we organized and spoke out -- and I will admit that even I am quite surprised by the result. We were all hurt here -- including Peter French -- by a poster that I still believe was politically motivated by its creator -- and not just the result of "some random kid who didn't know what they were doing and went too far".