citizens can go to conflict regions to develop an understanding and form
an opinion. Most of us rely on the dailies, the radio and television.
The media stand between the events and each one of us. Therefore what we
obtain is not necessarily reality, but an image of it, a part of it --
some aspects and angles rather than others. It can hardly be otherwise,
But what if the coverage is systematically biased? What if there is a tendency
in what is not covered?
Once again, there is a Balkan crisis. And once again, some of us who have
been on the ground for about 10 years ask, "Do we have a free press
on which those at home can safely rely?"
Here are some examples of what could have featured prominently in the headlines
about Macedonia the last few months. Most citizens are likely not to have
heard much about them in the mainstream media. Therefore, they may not
have thought of these events and their implications.
• What is the story of the Americans who are working with the Kosovo Liberation
Army and its National Liberation Army proxy (KLA/NLA)? Why did NATO, in
contravention of its mandate in Macedonia, evacuate KLA/NLA soldiers with
American advisors and equipment out of Aracinovo?
• Why did NATO and the U.N. in Kosovo turn a blind eye to KLA/NLA operations
in the American sector and the demilitarised zone?
• Which governments, agencies, mercenary companies and arms dealers have
supplied the KLA/NLA with weapons since 1993?
• What kind of misinformation and propaganda campaigns is the press the
object of by NATO and others? For example, why did the press suddenly begin
to refer to Macedonians as "Slavs" or "Slav Macedonians",
as they have never before been called? Or why are Macedonians frequently
called "nationalists"-- a word never used to refer to Albanians
with guns in their hands?
• What about the suffering and socio-economic deprivation of the Macedonians,
not just the Albanians?
n Are EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana (NATO secretary general at
the time it bombed Yugoslavia) and NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson
(then British secretary of defence) personally responsible for the destabilisation
• Why is there no conflict journalism, but only war reporting? Was there
enough ethnic hatred in Macedonia to spark a war if the Western countries
had not meddled in their affairs?
• Why was one of the best missions in the history of the United Nations,
UNPREDEP, forced out of Macedonia in 1999 to allow NATO to (mis)use the
country for its own "peaceful" aims?
• Why has the U.N.'s Mr. Haek-kerup in Pristina, the highest authority
in Kosovo, not been asked to explain why 46,000 NATO soldiers in Kosovo
did not actually disarm the KLA/NLA -- despite the official statement in
autumn 1999 that the KLA/NLA was disarmed and declared illegal?
• How do the European politicians feel about the one-sided Ohrid "Peace" Agreement
of August 13 that demands no guarantees or obligations of the Albanians
(except for the handing in of some of their weapons) and rewards only the
Albanian extremists who unilaterally turned the conflict into war?
• The KLA/NLA has been permitted to commit two international aggressions
-- one into Southern Serbia and one into Macedonia. They are called "armed
thugs" by NATO and the European Union. Yet they maintain de facto
Western support, have been a negotiations partner of NATO, and have been
offered amnesty. Why?
• Why have the EU, NATO and the U.S. worked together to prevent the state
of Macedonia from exercising its right to self defence, according to the
Charter of the United Nations Article 51, by threatening to withdraw economic
aid if it fought back "disproportionately" when the KLA/NLA occupied
the country, bit by bit?
• Why was Macedonia never paid any compensation for putting up with 10
years of Western sanctions against its main trading partner, Yugoslavia?
Why was Macedonia never compensated for NATO's turning it into a combined
refugee camp and military base?
• Why has the KLA/NLA leadership not been arrested by NATO and the U.N.
long ago, as they have the authority to do; and why are Albanian leaders
seldom mentioned in relation to the Hague Tribunal?
• What are the relations between certain hard-line Albanian leaders and
the trade in drugs, women, cigarettes and other black market dealings that
provide most of the cash with which the KLA/NLA obtains their arms?
• Instead of writing about the noble human rights-democracy-peace-stabilisation
gobbledygook of powerful people, why are we not told about the real interests
the Western countries have in the Balkans, such as oil in the Caucasus,
geo-strategic issues, the U.S. Bondsteel base and its function in Kosovo,
the containment of Russia, the violent spreading of the market economy
and the expansion of NATO.
• Having had no international mission before, how could former Danish defence
minister Mr. Haekkerup be given the top position as peacemaker in Kosovo;
and why was Danish General Gunnar Lange assigned to head NATO's "Essential
Harvest"-- even though Denmark contributes no troops to it.
• Why does General Lange grossly underestimate the military strength of
the KLA/NLA by requesting it to hand in only 3,300 weapons to be considered "disarmed" and "disbanded"?
• Why does NATO, after only two days in Macedonia, side with the aggressor
KLA/NLA in accepting their estimate of numbers of their own weapons and
not with the legitimate government of the country whose estimate is at
• General Lange and NATO spokesman Daniel Speckard state repeatedly that
if the Macedonian government does not accept what NATO says and does, "The
alternative is clear; the alternative is war." This is untrue and
it is blackmail.
• The Western media and decision-makers allegedly care so much for minorities
and refugees. Then why do they do virtually nothing to focus on and help
600,000 refugees in Yugoslavia -- innocent, ordinary citizens of Serb origin
who have been driven out of Croatia, Bosnia-Hercegovina and Kosovo?
• What are the real reasons the U.N. has not been involved in Macedonia
the last six months. It is a classical case for the U.N. Security Council
and the U.N. is the organisation that knows this country best. Why did
Kofi Annan keep quiet? Why was the issue of Macedonia not taken up in the
Security Council? Why has no one mentioned the perfectly obvious idea of
setting up a U.N. peace-keeping mission in Macedonia?
If the major media generally do not address issues such as these, can they
claim to be free to publish the news or should we see them as complicit
in power politics -- as servile and politically correct? Do the Western
media manage to preserve their integrity and critical investigative capacities
when their own governments go to make peace, but in reality, make war?
Does "free media" really mean that they can be as biased as they
please, or that they have been advised to be biased by powerful circles?
The usual argument is that there are individual journalists, reporters,
columnists and editors who actually address issues like these; and that
is true. Unfortunately, they remain a tiny minority in the margins of the
generalised media picture on the basis of which the great majority of citizens
form their opinions.
What YOU can do
Cut out or copy this article and send it to such major Canadian papers
as The Globe and Mail and The National
Post, as well as to your own
local newspapers. Send a covering letter asking them if they are giving
proper coverage to such world events as the conflict in Macedonia --
or are they simply letting people know a slanted view of the facts.
Ask if they have covered the points outlined in this story and if not,
We must always think about things, and we must think about things as
they are, not as they are said to be.