Thursday, March 16, 2006

A Letter From New York to the Milosevic Family

To the Family of President Slobodan Milosevic:

When I heard the news that Slobodan Milosevic had died I did not want to believe it. I did not want to believe that evil had triumphed over good, or that the evil that had been done to this brave and beautiful man could have finally killed him. When I heard it again on the news, my heart sank and I was deeply sad. His spirit and brilliant mind were indomitable, but his body was destroyed by the conditions of his arrest and the willful decision by the Hague Tribunal to let him die in prison rather than receive the medical treatment they knew he needed. And why proceed with a trial in which he had already proven his innocence? So in the end this is how the Hague Tribunal has made its mark on history - with the negligent homicide of Slobodan Milosevic.

Slobodan Milosevic was not easy to destroy; Slobodan Milosevic was killed three times. The first time was when they destroyed the country he loved and lived for - Yugoslavia. The second time was with character assassination, the preferred weapon of nameless cowards, criminals and liars. The trial itself did not kill him. He vindicated himself, his country and his people. He lived and died for us. What more can you say about a man? But ultimately with no better option before it, the ICTY decided to choke the life out of him by depriving him of the essential medical care he needed to survive.

My father was also killed by negligence and so I know the bitterness one feels after such an event. But you can take solace in the fact that Slobo died a martyr's death. He fought to defend his country, his nation, and a progressive socialist vision of humanity against the onslaught of a militarist and imperialist alliance of puppets and puppeteers. He was killed not because he was a nationalist, but precisely because he believed in multinationalist unity and justice and a just economic order inimical to the interests of multinational corporations and their financial and political institutions. He is the most famous and most courageous Serb of our time. And in light of the evidence presented at his trial, history will have to acquit him of all of the monstrous allegations made against him which the ICTY would not do even though they knew he was not guilty as charged.

Finally, as you know, I had the privilege of meeting President Milosevic several times. He had great intelligence, warmth, sense of humor and wit, wisdom, kindness and charm that I will never forget as long as I live. He was so strong and energetic despite his illness. The prison nurses came frequently during my visits and reported the news - 240 over 80 or worse. How did he survive it so long? He was amazing in every way. And then there was his smile and his penetrating stare which gave you detailed messages with a single look.

As I said before, he lived and died for us and for a better world. I know you are proud of him. I feel the same way. And one day I hope the whole world will feel this way too. If there is a better future, it will.

Barry Lituchy, New York City, 11 March 2006

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