Wednesday, April 08, 2009
Stand against world tyranny
This piece of mine appears in the Morning Star.
Opposition to the tyranny of the neoliberal new world order is mounting by the day.
In the last few days, we've seen London's financial heartland brought to a standstill by anti-globalisation protesters and large demonstrations against NATO in Strasbourg and Kehl. And, two weeks ago in Belgrade, peace campaigners and anti-imperialists from all over the world met for a two-day conference to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the brutal, unlawful NATO aggression against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
The event was organised by the Belgrade Forum for a World of Equals, an association set up in 2000 to promote the ideals of peace and co-operation, the equality of nations, states and peoples, the respect for social, economic, civil and other human rights and to fight all forms of domination.
The forum, which is a full member of the general assembly of the World Peace Council, supports the peaceful and just resolution of all disputes, the observance of international law and in particular respect for the UN Charter and the right of all countries, big or small, to sovereignty over their own natural wealth.
Speakers at the conference came from all over the world, including from countries which had taken part in the NATO aggression of 10 years ago.
From Britain, former Labour MP Alice Mahon, one of only 11 MPs to vote against the war in 1999, related how she had visited Yugoslavia during the bombing and saw the results of NATO's "criminal act" at the Zastava car factory, which was destroyed by 20 cruise missiles. What has emerged over the past 10 years confirms that the war against Yugoslavia lacked both legal and moral legitimacy. It set a bad example which has been followed already in Afghanistan and Iraq," she said.
Belgian anti-imperialist writer and film-maker Michel Collon also drew connections between the attack on Yugoslavia and later US-led acts of aggression.
"Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq - they are not three separate wars but all the same war," he declared. While Yugoslavia was isolated in 1999, Collon stressed the positive global developments since then and in particular events in south America, where Venezuela's Hugo Chavez has helped to inspire other countries to stand up to US imperialism.
Professor Velko Vlkanov, president of the Bulgarian Anti-Fascist Union, reminded delegates that the attack on Yugoslavia in 1999 was not only an infringement of the UN Charter but also a breach of NATO's own rules, which state that the alliance can only take military action if a member state is attacked. He urged Serbia to launch a legal action against the states who committed the aggression to the UN International Court.
From the US, former attorney-general Ramsey Clark, founder of the International Action Centre, passionately denounced NATO's actions 10 years ago and the lies that were told to justify the war.
Yugoslavia had to be destroyed because it was the last economy in central-south Europe which remained uncolonised by global capital. We can see what NATO's real objectives were by analysing its targets in the 1999 bombing campaign.
Revealingly, state-owned companies rather than military sites were specifically targeted by the world's richest nations. NATO only destroyed 14 tanks, but 372 industrial facilities were hit, leaving hundreds of thousands jobless. Not one foreign or privately owned factory was bombed.
Also present were speakers from Cuba, Palestine, Russia, Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Portugal, France and from Serbia itself.
Zivadin Jovanovic, the much respected former Yugoslav foreign minister and president of the Belgrade Forum said that NATO's 1999 assault was aimed at subduing the role of the UN and reworking international law in line with self-proclaimed "American interests" worldwide.
Sadly, many on the left fell hook, line and sinker for the lie that the attack on Yugoslavia was motivated out of "humanitarian" concern for Kosovan Albanians.
By believing the pro-war propaganda pumped out incessantly by the Western media, they failed to see the significance of NATO's actions and why it was imperative for all progressives and anti-imperialists to unite in opposition to the war.
NATO's attack was designed to send out a very clear warning to all independent-minded countries which resisted the neoliberal model of globalisation - comply or die.
"The aggression against Yugoslavia was an unveiled and grim message to all the states worldwide that they could experience the same destiny unless they sided with US policy," said Belgrade Forum director Vladislav Jovanovic.
"It did not take long for the threat contained in that message to become a reality. Afghanistan was invaded first, with an extorted blessing of the UN security council, then came Iraq as well, without the security council's approval, but with the assistance of colossal lies. The next potential target is Iran."
In concluding his speech, Vladislav Jovanovic said that the 10th anniversary of the NATO aggression against Yugoslavia should help the "dawn to replace darkness" and allow the "force of law to restore its might and prevail over the law of force."
As we survey the death and destruction caused by 10 years of US-sponsored aggression from Belgrade to Kabul and Baghdad, we must indeed all hope that this dark chapter in world history is at last coming to an end.