Rally in Belgrade marks 10 years since NATO bombing
Published Apr 1, 2009 4:00 PM
Thousands of people gathered in Belgrade’s Republic Square on March 24 to
mark the 10th anniversary of the beginning of the 78-day U.S.-NATO bombing of
Yugoslavia. This attack, mainly concentrated on Serbia, destroyed
Yugoslavia’s infrastructure and killed 3,000 people in the 1999 war
President Bill Clinton called “humanitarian.”
Vladimir Krsljanin, a leader of the Serbian Peoples Movement, which organized
the rally, called the event “a new horizon, marking the way out of
neoliberalism. Imperialism is crashing,” he said, noting the world
economic crisis. “Principled people—anti-NATO
anti-imperialists—are creating a new people’s liberation
Ramsey Clark, founder of the U.S.-based International Action Center, who
visited Yugoslavia twice in solidarity during the 1999 war, was a featured
speaker at the rally along with Serb, German, Bulgarian, Russian, Irish, French
and Canadian defenders of Serbia and the former Yugoslavia. Clark decried the
illegal kidnapping in 2001 of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and his
death in 2006 in NATO’s prison in The Hague.
Milosevic had waged a heroic and effective legal defense that turned the
war-crimes trial against his NATO jailers.
Though fascist thugs tried to disrupt the demonstration, the presence of many
international guests like Ramsey Clark discouraged them, and they were
In 1999, NATO powers attacked Yugoslavia in contravention of the United Nations
Charter. NATO’s 78-day war resulted in the military and political
amputation of Kosovo, the heart and birthplace in 1389 of the nation of Serbia.
Speakers noted that few of the world’s countries recognize the NATO
Throughout the rally, youths from nearby Belgrade University chanted,
“Kosovo is Serbia.” Many people carried signs with
During the 78-day war, NATO bomb and rocket attacks saturated Kosovo with
depleted uranium and cluster bombs. Thousands fled the bombing. The imperialist
propaganda machine claimed the refugees were fleeing Yugoslav attacks.
Kosovo possesses extensive mineral resources. Since its occupation in 1999, it
has been turned into a dependent colony of the West, used strategically to
spread NATO militarism eastward.
Speakers reminded the crowd that Western media and leaders from 1991 through
1999 saturated the airwaves with lies and propaganda to convince millions that
the destruction of socialist Yugoslavia was a “humanitarian”
The current pro-imperialist government of Serbia was first installed by a
U.S.-engineered coup in 2000 following a close election that should have
resulted in a runoff. The new regime immediately set about privatizing the
70-percent publicly owned economy.
Speakers at the tenth anniversary rally praised Milosevic for his refusal of
the International Monetary Fund’s neoliberal demand to restructure this
multinational sovereign nation’s economy by privatizing and opening it to
Speakers stressed the deterioration of social conditions since socialist
Yugoslavia has been broken up into six republics. Funding for schools,
hospitals, museums, parks and other public resources has been cut, while a
blatant and corrupt market economy has emerged.
Where once bookstores and cafes dotted the graceful city, McDonald’s and
Pizza Huts multiply. Coca-Cola signs and crass billboards depicting women as
sex objects now proliferate across Belgrade’s cityscape. Speakers at the
rally condemned the vulgar materialism and growing unemployment of the new
In socialist Yugoslavia, millions in the working class were able to develop in
all cultural and intellectual areas. Still now taxi drivers and seamstresses
discuss history and philosophy, people in the public markets play chess and
quote poetry. Most people say that life in socialist Yugoslavia was superior to
life under neoliberal capitalism.
Cottin represented the International Action Center at the 10th anniversary
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