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“Our freedom is not threatened from the outside, from other states, but from inside, from our society and state of mind”

An obituary on retiered Brigadier General Dr Heinz Loquai

Heinz Loquai was brigadier general of the German “Bundeswehr”; from 1996 to 2000, he worked as a German representative for the OSCE in Vienna. His area of responsibility was the Balkans. He became well known because of his founded and brave criticism concerning the NATO war against Yugoslavia among other things. He was one of the few who had gone public with war critical insights already in 1999, and who had been engaged for a public debate concerning the background of the aggression war against Yugoslavia, which contravened the principles of international law. Loquai, highly appreciated by his colleagues, had, initiated by the Ministry of Defence, to leave the OSCE in 2000, because he publicly mentioned, that “the Defence Minister [Rudolf Scharping] didn’t tell the truth in what he said concerning the ‘Hufeisenplan’”. The former German ambassador even managed, that Loquai could not once enter the rooms of the OSCE any more – an incredible process. After own thorough investigation and lots of discussions Heinz Loquai had to come to the conclusion that, before NATO war had started, there hadn’t been any case of genocide, which might have justified the attacks on Yugoslavia.
Even then, he branded this interpretation as western war propaganda. He published his insights in two documentations: “Der Kosovo-Konflikt – Wege in einen vermeidbaren Krieg”, (“The Kosovo-conflict – ways into an avoidable war”, 2000) und “Weichenstellungen für einen Krieg. Internationales Krisenmanagement und die OSZE im Kosovo-Konflikt” (“Setting the course for a war. International crisis management and the OSCE in the conflict of Kosovo”, 2003, both Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft).
For his civil courage he got the “Clara Immerwahr Prize” 2001. In his acceptance speech, he said: “Our freedom is not threatened from the outside, from foreign states, but from inside, from our society and state of mind.”
We became acquainted with Heinz Loquai as a courageous fighter for freedom, as a sincere, honest fellow with a high ethos and as a keen thinker.
Since his first lecture in Switzerland in 2001, he has been the guest at Current Concerns several times and had been well-known by his substantiated, engaged contributions for the readership of Current Concerns ever since. Even his participation in several conferen­ces of “Mut zur Ethik” was an important enrichment to the discussion of the pending issues. His plea, that there is always an alternative to war, runs like a golden thread through his contributions, marked by an honest and sincere love for peace. He could not accept the fact that German policy (again) had taken part in a war of aggression in such a dishonest way. For Loquai the question of war and peace belonged to the existential questions of a human community. It was his aim to find out the reasons of war in order to draw lessons for the future. Conclusion of his speech in 2001: “Not only do we need an intelligent policy, we are also in need of an honest policy. We need an honest policy, which is aimed at peace, which does not revitalize, but ban war. And I tell you that, as strange as it may sound, even as a former soldier...”
Heinz Loquai had a great appreciation for the Swiss government model that he had got to know by good Swiss friends and associates in the OSCE for many years: “Seen from the outside, this Swiss model – particularly if you look at other countries – would be an export article. It is invaluable, what Switzerland could in an exemplary manner in matter of peace techniques, of democracy for others ... languages, direct democracy, but also to stand up for defence of the own country, I can see equally realized in Switzerland. Keep and use this export article better.”
On 21 February 2016, Dr Heinz Rudolf Loquai died after a long and severe illness at the age of 78 years.
With the following (slightly shortened) reprint of his 2007 published contribution in Current Concerns, which is highly relevant today, too, we again let him have his say.

Dr Eva- Maria Föllmer- Müller