Current Concerns has always condemned the NATO war – just like all other wars before and after 1999 – and critically questioned the reporting on it. Conflicts belong at the negotiating table, solutions must respect international law and the right of peoples to self-determination enshrined in international covenants as well as the human rights of the populations concerned. With a view to the lives of all people on this one and only planet on which we and future generations want to live, it has always been our concern to draw attention to the war crimes committed in all these wars with the use of weapons: which, in addition to the immediate devastations, also destroy or impair the lives of the people affected and their livelihoods in the long term.
The motto of the conference and commemoration of the 20th anniversary of NATO aggression against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia: “NATO aggression – Never to forget!” is in this sense the task of mankind in the service of peace.
That we do not forget what was and is done to people with war – with all wars, but also with aggression against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the first war on European soil after the “Never again!” of the two world wars and all further wars – we owe that to the victims, to the present and future generations, but also to the truth and our human conscience.
As in all wars, before this war too, propaganda and manipulation tried to mislead our thinking and numb our consciences. In the name of human rights, the most fundamental rights of the people in this country have been disregarded and trampled underfoot. International law, UN Charter, international agreements – everything has been ignored in the service of the power interests of a so-called “new world order”.
Anyone who as a human being does not want to let his thoughts be taken away and wants to orient himself not only to “narratives”, but to facts and sources, knows today about the lies with which this war too was drummed.
Already in the evening before the actual conference, the guests were welcomed and invited to let the photo exhibition of the 78-day bombardment of NATO and its consequences for the people and the country have an effect on them. They are – like all pictures of war – photos of horror, human suffering, wanton destruction, which repeatedly pose the question to the viewer: Why? Why do people do this? Anyone who already dealt with the question at that time remembers the photo of the girl in Vietnam, who, hit by Napalm, runs towards the viewer. Just like that one, these photos also shout into the viewer’s conscience: “What did I do, what did we do to you?”
During the two days of the conference, 78 speakers expressed in very different ways why this war and its victims must not be forgotten, why such forgetting only makes new wars and new injustices possible, and that one of the dangers for humanity today is that those really responsible are not called to account.
They recalled how this first war of aggression after 1945 was staged on European soil without a mandate from the UN Security Council: with bold lies, unspeakable twisting of history, demonization and media drumbeats – against the UN Charter, international agreements and treaties, against other reports by high-ranking OSCE representatives and against investigation reports that had already refuted the rhetoric of war. The participants also agreed on the geopolitical dimension of the whole – there were no “humanitarian” concerns, but hard geostrategic goals that were pursued.
Clear words were also spoken by official representatives of Serbia. While the authorities have been cautiously reticent for some time, there are now many much clearer and more explicit words. The present Serbian Minister of Defence, Aleksandar Vulin, for example, characterised the war goal as an attempt to make the Serbian nation disappear, both biologically and historically – biologically with regard to the weapons used, historically with an attempt to extinguish numerous historical cultural assets and the self-confidence of the people in this country.
Although representatives of the NBC protection of the Serbian army had already discussed the consequences of the uranium ammunition fired in Serbia and Kosovo on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the bomb war, it was striking that this question was clear to all participants today: the consequences for the population are unmistakable in the serious increase in cancer and deaths, and the population is well aware of what this development is connected with.
The 85-year-old Italian journalist Fulvio Grimaldi, documentary filmmaker and long-time war correspondent, among others on Italian television RAI, also addressed the historical and cultural dimension: He had experienced everywhere how in the battlefields of the world as something of the first cultural assets are destroyed in order to attack the cultural identity of the people. The power politics of globalisation cannot tolerate this, it needs an “amorphous identity, and that means no identity,” says Grimaldi.
At the beginning of human action stands our feeling and thinking: Verifiable information and a reflection on what has been done to fellow human beings – for example in Serbia – and what will be done with the long-term consequences, this is an essential contribution that human conscience and reasonable action will one day assert themselves.
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