How many civilian casualties?greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
Has anyone seen ANY figures on numbers of civilian dead caused by our benevolent bombs and missiles? Ain't information black-out great? So much for living in the age of information.
-- Spidey (email@example.com), March 30, 1999
Excellent point. But it isn't just the media's fault, basically people of any nation only care about casualties on "our side". Football mentality.
-- Blue Himalayan (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 30, 1999.
How many civilian casualties are being prevented by NATO's actions?
-- and what does it have to do w/ Y2K? (email@example.com), March 30, 1999.
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Tuesday March 30 1999
PETAR LUKOVIC of Knight Ridder
The wailing sirens are just announcing a new air strike. Radio Belgrade is broadcasting patriotic songs. There is news of yet another rally in support of President Slobodan Milosevic . . .
We are in for another night of heavy shelling and complete insanity, blackouts and general darkness. There is no trace of light at the end of this mad tunnel.
Only a few days ago, Belgrade was the last vestige of urban sophistication in Serbia: the centre of techno-happenings, art performances, current world-cinema premieres. We know that Shakespeare is in love. We have all the top 40 hits. There are hundreds of different restaurants, clubs and bars. Young people hang out at Internet cafes and surf world news, the latest music and pornography.
Even through the years of communism, Belgrade was known as the most liberal of cities, providing a whiff of fresh air amid the stagnation. During the past decade it somehow managed to remain at peace despite the years of war in neighboring Croatia and Bosnia- Herzegovina. It survived the terrible period of shortages and poverty, international sanctions and the highest inflation rate in the world. Belgrade is a good place to be in spring.
Now, it feels the war directly, and it is a huge shock for its two million inhabitants. The streets are empty (petrol is very scarce), people rush to air-raid shelters, and a state of war has been declared. And above it all, the constant, eerie and terrifying wail of those sirens.
Some people strive to maintain an air of normality. They go to work despite the fact that schools, the university, post offices and banks are closed. Most of the shops have switched to shorter hours; most private stores are locked, and in the evenings, on the ghostly, deserted streets, there are no cars or taxis. The city transport system is operating on minimum capacity. Commuting back and forth to work has turned into a day-long adventure.
An ominous, unreal silence descended on Belgrade with the first wave of Nato bombings. According to a March 10 poll in the magazine Nim, 78 per cent of the people did not believe there would be air strikes. The same poll showed that most thought that if Nato did attack, Russia and China would retaliate on Serbia's behalf. Seventy per cent of the people said they would be willing to go and fight in Kosovo.
Today, with the bombings a reality, the regime has no need for such polls. After several days of this unfortunate, politically undefined bombing, support for the Yugoslav president is stronger than at any time in the past few years. While in 1996 hundreds of thousands of Belgraders walked the city streets for months to protest Milosevic's rule, there is not a single voice today that would dare oppose him or the politics that have led us into war.
The day before the Nato air strikes began, Radio B92 - the only truly independent radio station in Belgrade through which serious political information could be obtained - was shut down. A few days later in Novi Sad, Radio 021, another station the authorities did not trust, was also closed.
Since the attacks began, most of Belgrade's television stations have abandoned their own programming and merely rebroadcast state television, RTS channel one. RTS, infamous for being a nationalistic stronghold, was one of Milosevic's most potent weapons during his previous wars. Now it has seized the opportunity to stir up national feelings through unbearable displays of patriotism.
There is absolutely no news of what's happening in Kosovo, the province Serbia supposedly cares so much about. There is no concrete information on what damage has been done by the bombing. There's not even any news about what's going on in the Serbian and Yugoslav governments.
Instead, it broadcasts hard-core propaganda, celebrating "the firm, dignified politics of Slobodan Milosevic". Nato nations are now "fascist aggressors". The president of the United States has a range of new titles: "Killer Clinton", "Satanic Clinton", "Scumbag Clinton", "Worm Clinton", "Mental case and sexual deviant Clinton", and, best of all, "Adolf Clinton, the biggest criminal in the history of the world".
The bombing has also destroyed the last vestige of the independent print media. Only government-controlled publications are issued on a regular basis.
In this atmosphere of legalized repression, fear has been amplified by declaration of a state of war. All potential misdeeds can be subject to court martial.
It's the same with conscription. Although mobilization has not reached its maximum level, a great number of young people are in hiding, spending nights away from home, trying to avoid the knock on the door that brings with it the demand that they fulfill their "military obligations".
Meanwhile, the state media constantly provides updates on the "huge number of volunteers" joining the army to "defend the homeland".
City authorities have removed foreign films from movie theaters. The few cinemas still open show only old Yugoslav movies. It's been announced that theaters will stage free performances of "patriotic" plays.
This, however, creates complications, since one of the great theatrical themes here is the struggle against the Nazis during World War II. Then, Serbian partisans were allied with Britain and the US. But the primary lesson is supposed to be that the Yugoslavs can take on anyone and survive.
With diplomatic relations with the US, Germany, France and Britain severed, a preposterous anti-American, anti-French, anti-English and anti-German vocabulary has come into use among politicians. Leaders of these countries are referred to as "murderers", "criminals", "mutants", "fools", and "enemies".
The windows of the American Culture Centre, the British Council and the German Goethe-Institute have all been smashed. The monument erected in gratitude to France for its support of Serbia during World War I has been covered with a black flag.
Life grows constantly more complicated, due to the expected shortages of cooking oil, flour and sugar. Panic-stricken residents are already hoarding great quantities of bread. The exchange rate for the German mark, the favorite currency in Serbia, has soared in the past few days, from eight dinars to one mark to 12 to one. The black market in currency has also disappeared overnight. Fuel has become, in the words of Serbian Prime Minister Mirko Marjanovic, "more valuable than gold." Almost 12,000 Belgrade taxi drivers have been out of work for days, and the streets of this normally busy capital are quiet.
Some people talk about how the bombing has created a sense of war-time solidarity, with friends and neighbors coming together to cope with adversity. But if you're like me and tend to express your opinions about the regime, the media and the general insanity of Serbia, it's impossible to get through the day without getting in a furious row. Your nerves end up completely shot - a particular problem now that cigarettes are no longer available.
At least the telephone lines are, in general, working, and Internet links continue. This makes the war even more unreal: one can communicate with the US, a country with which we have broken off diplomatic relations, but it is very difficult to call a friend 100 kilometers south of Belgrade.
Not to mention Kosovo, about which we know absolutely nothing.
Petar Lukovic is a columnist for Feral Tribune and editor of XZ, a cultural magazine, in Belgrade
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-- Bobbi (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 30, 1999.
"What's it have to do with Y2K?" Penetrating the shroud of denial, in part. Of course we're killing civilians, but we don't hear a peep about it. But about Y2K, this same government/media monolith would NEVER EVER deceive us, right? So, Dr. Pangloss (or should I say Decker?), put on your rose-colored glasses because everythings just gonna get better and better. It'll be REALLY great when we start deploying the 200,000 ground troops mentioned last night on the Disney News (aka ABC). I guess the 'end justifies any means:' in Vietnam they called it 'burning the village to the ground to save it.' Can you say 'napalm?'
-- Spidey (email@example.com), March 30, 1999.
We don't give a shit about loss of civilian life. All the pablum about preventing non-existent "genocide" is a salve for our guilty consciences. There is oil in the Caspian Sea, and we have to control it, and the pipelines. About 2000 people, on both sides, had been killed in the Kosovo crisis prior to NATO bombing. We call that "genocide," when it's nothing but an ethnic conflict, one with brutal morons on both sides, that has been going on for hundreds of years. Get them to take a breather (best case outcome) is not worth one drop of American blood. But the petrodollars apparently are, in Bill & Co.'s estimation.
Calling people idiots and telling them to shut up about it, in the context of a news blackout, is one step away from forbidding them to speak of or question government policy. Where are you going, America?
-- Prepared (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 30, 1999.