Friday, February 24, 2006

The wise words of Slobodan Milosevic

The following quotes of Slobodan Milosevic show his consistent opposition to nationalism and discrimination, and his belief that equality amongst nations and nationalities was the basis for peace and harmony in Yugoslavia (highlightened in bold are words that are frequently quoted out of context to make him look nationalist; seen in their proper context one can see this was not the case):

“The situation in Kosovo will improve only if the Serbs, Montenegrins, Albanians and all the others who live and work in Kosovo strengthen their ranks and enhance brotherhood and unity. Any basis for action which excludes brotherhood and unity but proceeds from intra-national intolerance and hatred is not right and we shall do everything to prevent it.” - 20 April 1987

“We neither wish nor we can classify people into Serbs and Albanians, but we should distinguish among the honest and progressive people fighting for brotherhood and unity and national equality on the one hand and nationalists and counter-revolutionaries on the other hand. If we do not create and strengthen that front, Comrades, then there will be no Kosovo, no Serbia, and no Yugoslavia either.” - 25 April 1987

“Enver Hoxha, through his policy, excluded the Albanian people as an underdeveloped society from Europe and thereby deprived them of taking part in the dynamic life of the present-day world, and this portion of the Albanian people [in Kosovo], here and now, are aspiring towards Europe and a modern society and they should not be stopped along that path. Nationalism always means isolation from others, closing in upon oneself within one's own framework. It means lagging behind in development, because without progress and cooperation on an all Yugoslav level and broader afield, there can be no progress. Every nation and nationality which isolates itself is behaving irresponsibly towards its own development. That is why it is we communists in the first place who must do everything to eliminate the consequences of a nationalist and separatist behaviour on the part of the counter-revolutionary forces in Kosovo and also elsewhere in the country.” - 25 April 1987

“Today it is the Serbs and Montenegrins that suffer most from that [lawlessness], but tomorrow this could be the Albanians, too, and that is why, unless law and order is introduced and respected in the broader social and historical sense, this will be the interest of all of the inhabitants of Kosovo. It is a very urgent matter which we must see to together in Kosovo.” - 25 April 1987

“The Serbs and Montenegrins alone cannot win the battle against these shameful phenomena [attacks on Serbs and Montenegrins in Kosovo]. Regardless of the extent of the support from the republican and Yugoslav leaderships, the position of the Serbian and Montenegrin people in Kosovo must be considerably and positively changed precisely by the Albanians in Kosovo. Honest progressive people, young people and, it goes without saying, Albanian communists, must be the first, the most persistent and successful fighters against their nationalism.This, comrades, applies not only to the Albanian nationality, but also to the Serbian, Montenegrin and any other nation in the world. It is just and moral that every nation and its most progressive people should be the first to fight against their own nationalism, against all those ugly and inhuman acts which insult and humiliate other peoples. Ultimately, these ugly and inhuman phenomena also insult and humiliate the nation whose members commit them. Albanian mothers and fathers should care more about the security of the Serbian and Montenegrin children in Kosovo than the police. In the places where the police and army take matters into their own hands freedom ceases both for those who are right and those who are wrong for everyone.” - 28 April 1987

“Any kind of flirting with nationalism or yielding to it, cannot contribute, but on the contrary can only halt, impede, slowdown and ruin a successful political development which the League of Communists has taken to be the goal. That is Tito’s brotherhood and unity which is the only basis that can secure Yugoslavia’s survival.” – 4 June 1987

“Serbian nationalism today is not only intolerance and hared of another nation or nations, but is itself a serpent deep in the bosom of the Serbian people… Serbian nationalists would do the greatest harm to the Serbian people today by which they offer as being allegedly the best thing, namely isolating the Serbian people… No one can label us Serbian nationalists because we want to, and really will, resolve the problem of Kosovo in the interests of all the people who live there.” – 24 September 1987

“The problem of Kosovo can be resolved only by strengthening the united front of Serbs, Albanians, Montenegrins, Muslims and all other nations and nationalities living in Kosovo.” - 2 November 1988

”Albanian, Serbian and Montenegrins children live there together. Why then should not their parents elect representatives who will enable their children to grow up in peace and joy at least to the extent that children in other parts of Yugoslavia and in Europe are allowed to?” – 2 November 1988

“Nobody should be surprised that all Serbia rose up last summer because of Kosovo. Kosovo is the very centre of its history, its culture, and its memory. All people have a love which burns in their hearts for ever. For a Serb that love is Kosovo. That is why Kosovo will remain in Serbia. That will not be at the expense of Albanians. I can tell the Albanians in Kosovo that nobody has ever found it difficult to live in Serbia because he is not Serbian. Serbia has always been open to everybody to the homeless, to the poor and the rich alike, to the happy and the desperate, to those who were only passing through and to those who wanted to stay. The only people Serbia did not want were evil and bad people, even if they were Serbs.

All Albanians in Kosovo who trust other people and who respect the other people living in Kosovo and Serbia are in their own country. I ask them now to rally against the evil and hatred of their own chauvinists, because they bring evil not only to Serbs and Montenegrins, but also to their own Albanian people.” - 19 November 1989

”Now let us remind the Yugoslav peoples, the working class, young people and communists that half a century ago even Spain was not far away. Many people then went to fight on its barricades against terror and hatred. Terror and hatred run riot in Kosovo today, and Kosovo is in our country of Yugoslavia. In the fight against evil in Kosovo, it is not necessary to sacrifice lives, as was done in Spain. One need only make an oath, which we Yugoslavs already gave each other in 1941, that in unity and brotherhood we shall share everything, both the good and the bad, as well as victory, injustice, and poverty, that we shall build a new better world.” - 19 November 1989

“Nowhere in Serbia with the exception of Kosovo, and one can see the end there too, do the working people and citizens divide themselves along ethnic lines. This is particularly obvious in multi-national Vojvodina, in Belgrade where members of all Yugoslav peoples and nationalities live, and in all other communities in Serbia where citizens of various nationalities live… Yugoslavia is a federal community of all peoples and nationalities that live in it. This means that they are all equal and that they have an equal position in the economic, political and cultural life of the country in which they live.” – 30 January 1989

“I am convinced, that in the fight for justice, equality, socialism and Yugoslavia, every Yugoslav, regardless of his nationality, in every one of our republics all our peoples and nationalities will be protected.” – 28 February 1989

“Having hailed the new Constitution, we can now roll up our sleeves, remembering the past is nice - but the present is in front of us, the future is knocking on our door. Serbia does not live for yesterday, but for today and tomorrow. I want to tell this to everybody inside and outside Serbia. Intoxicated with its victory, Serbia will not stand still. On the contrary, Serbia has begun great reforms with the support of all of its citizens and Serbia needs all of them to the same extent, regardless of their education, social origin, nationality and religion. They are all equally important and they all belong to Serbia to the same extent.” – 22 May 1989

“Serbia has never had only Serbs living in it. Today, more than in the past, members of other peoples and nationalities also live in it. This is not a disadvantage for Serbia. I am truly convinced that it is its advantage. National composition of almost all countries in the world today, particularly developed ones, has also been changing in this direction. Citizens of different nationalities, religions, and races have been living together more and more frequently and more and more successfully.

Socialism in particular, being a progressive and just democratic society, should not allow people to be divided in the national and religious respect. The only differences one can and should allow in socialism are between hard working people and idlers and between honest people and dishonest people. Therefore, all people in Serbia who live from their own work, honestly, respecting other people and other nations, are in their own republic.

After all, our entire country should be set up on the basis of such principles. Yugoslavia is a multinational community and it can survive only under the conditions of full equality for all nations that live in it.” – 28 June 1989

Six centuries later, now, we are being again engaged in battles and are facing battles. They are not armed battles, although such things cannot be excluded yet. However, regardless of what kind of battles they are, they cannot be won without resolve, bravery, and sacrifice, without the noble qualities that were present here in the field of Kosovo in the days past. Our chief battle now concerns implementing the economic, political, cultural, and general social prosperity, finding a quicker and more successful approach to a civilization in which people will live in the 21st century. For this battle, we certainly need heroism, of course of a somewhat different kind, but that courage without which nothing serious and great can be achieved remains unchanged and remains urgently necessary.” – 28 June 1989

“We have been witnessing daily an increasing expansion of bullying and primitive and chauvinist moves by the representatives of some political parties [Serb nationalist opposition parties, led by Draskovic, Seselj, etc]. Although their so-called parties have not even been constituted yet, nor registered, they are already threatening the communists and other nations and nationalities. These threats constitute their complete political programme and their complete political promotion. The state of Serbia will not let anyone carry out these ravages on its territory from Dragas to Horgos, nor will we sit back and do nothing if confronted with any kind of violence against those parts of the Serbian people living outside Serbia… The Serbian people, as no other nation in the world, knows that if there is a thing to which an end has to be put, it is fratricidal war, and a war in general. Other nations are also fed up with mutual extinction and waging wars. So, I am convinced that all Serbian citizens, all normal people in our republic and our country, are equally concerned to shield themselves and their children from conflicts, hatred and bloodshed… The foundation of new parties in Serbia should be a step towards further democratization, a step in Serbia's interests, and not a step towards conflicts and to its detriment” – 10 May 1990

“We are convinced that the idea of Yugoslavism as an expression of the strivings of all our peoples through centuries has not lost its sense, but that it should be built now on new democratic foundations within a federation in which we all together and on an equal footing will implement the joint interests, retaining the right to an independent organization of the republics.We believe that through our efforts, and the efforts of other republics and peoples who want Yugoslavia, the Yugoslav federation in its existing or somewhat changed form will successfully weather the crisis, and that the Yugoslav peoples will stay together. Anyhow, these peoples are mixed in this territory to such an extent that divisions make no sense.” – 25 June 1990

“Nationalism and discrimination belong to the Middle Ages. The future must be built on the basis of the policy of national equality and nothing else. Serbia is strongly in favour of this and of peace since no one wants to die.” – 19 March 1991

“If the human rights of Albanians really were threatened in Kosovo-Metohija, we certainly would not hesitate to protect them. We are proud that Serbia is not conducting a nationalist policy and that no one in Serbia is discriminated against for being a Slovene, Croat, or a member of another people or national minority. No one in Serbia is or will be a second-class citizen, apart from Serbs and Montenegrins in Kosovo-Metohija if we accept the ultimatums and pressures that we have been subjected to.” – 30 May 1991

"We can be a happy, good and successful country if we overcome this crisis of nationalism and nationalist confrontations." - 7 August 1991

“The Muslims [of Bosnia] are not a factor of instability although political adventurism by certain SDA [Party of Democratic Action, the party headed by Alija Izetbegovic that lead the Muslims] leaders could create that impression. However, it would be unfair to the Muslims and, I believe, to most SDA members if we were to entertain suspicions with regard to them only because of the senseless actions by individual extremists within their ranks. Everyone has extremists. Serbs have them too. If by some fortuitous chance they were in power in Serbia, Serbia would have been in black a long time ago. We must take into account the fact that extremism on one side gives rise to extremism on the other side, and if they should escape control and grow strong the conflicts would escalate''. - 29 December 1991

''It is my personal opinion that for the Serbian and Muslim peoples in Bosnia-Hercegovina, and this means in Yugoslavia too, to live together and on an equal footing is in the interests of both nations. I believe that Serbian nationals in Bosnia-Hercegovina by and large express these sentiments.” - 29 December 1991

“Bosnia- Hercegovina is made up of three equal nations, three constituent, three constitution-making nations. By definition, Bosnia-Hercegovina has been such a state from its very creation. If Bosnia- Hercegovina were an island in the ocean, if it did not have Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, or any other country around it, this principle of equal treatment of interests of all three nations would still have to be applied.

Therefore, I would like to remind you that from the very beginning we have been striving for the crisis in Bosnia-Hercegovina and relations in it to be regulated on the basis of consensus and equality of all three nations. We even said before all this that to help such a process and such a principled approach we would respect any solution that these three peoples reached on an equal footing. This is the beginning and the end. I do not see any other solution. I do not seen any other solution to this agony in Bosnia-Hercegovina other than for hostilities to stop immediately and for the conference that was in fact based on this principle of equality and consensus of the three constituent nations to resume immediately.” – 28 May 1992

“Always, not now or a year ago, but much earlier, we made the Serbian stance on this issue [Bosnia] very clear, namely, that we do not have any territorial pretensions. This is on the record and in the last two years, before all these clashes started, nobody who is honourable could say that we were striving for the creation of a Greater Serbia or something similar. I am glad that we have now started to join forces in our efforts to stop all these bloody events, and everything that is absolutely bad, and this unjust war… Only insane people can believe that such a sort of ethnic cleansing could be something good. This is a crime that cannot be accepted or justified, regardless of the side.” – 28 August 1992

“You [Kosovo Serbs] must do everything to develop unity, but not only within the Serbian nation but unity, understanding, and love with all those who live in Kosovo. We know that there are many Albanians in Kosovo who do not approve of the separatist policy of their nationalist leaders. They are under pressure, intimidated, and blackmailed, but we shall not respond with the like. We must respond by offering our hand, living with them in equality, and not permitting that a single Albanian child, woman, or man be discriminated against in Kosovo in any way. We must, for the sake of all Serbian citizens, insist on the policy of brotherhood, unity, and ethnic equality in Kosovo.” – December 17, 1992

“For this country, and not only in Kosovo and Metohija but for the entire country, there is no other way, no other policy but a policy of national equality. We will stick to the policy of national equality, and every citizen will be equal to us regardless of his nationality, his religion, profession, or political inclinations, since this is the state of all the citizens of Serbia, and it must remain so [loud cheering]. Only like that can it be successful.

We cannot forget the cruelty that one part of the Serb population in Kosovo was exposed to in the early 1980’s, when the great exodus took place from this region, but just so that it does not happen again, we have to remember that such cruelty should not be repeated again against anyone, not against the Serbs, not against the Albanians, not against the Turks, not against the Muslims, or any other nationality that lives in this region. The Serb people, being the largest and most populous in Serbia and the Balkans, have the greatest responsibility to take in and protect those who are weaker. This has always been the tradition of the Serb people. They have to, and I know that they want to offer the hand of cooperation, of understanding, equality, and coexistence to everyone. I am convinced that not a long time will pass before Kosovo and the south of Serbia generally, becomes exactly such a region of mutual understanding, cooperation, and coexistence in progress and prosperity.

This is why I want to say again: For this country there is no other policy but a policy of national equality.” – 20 July 1995

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