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April 24, 1999
. Vreme News Digest Agency No 7-Special
Kosovo Refugees

Chess with Human Figures

When, four weeks ago, NATO began the air strike on Yugoslavia, they said that the cause for their campaign was the refusal of our delegation to sign the humiliating Rambouillet 'agreement'. When it became indisputable that such a justification is unacceptable for both many NATO members and the world publicity, new, more adequate pretext was found: endless streams of refugees from Kosovo, which, from the first day of aggression, started fleeing to the neighbouring countries.

The fact that people are fleeing from Kosovo is not incredulous, as well as the fact that the real humanitarian catastrophe is taking place in that province. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Geneva claims that, since the beginning of NATO aggression, 603.000 refugees left Kosovo. The majority of them fled to Albania - about 340.000, and to Macedonia, where another 129.000 have crossed until last Wednesday. The rest dispersed in Bosnia, Montenegro and Serbia itself, while only a small number managed to reach some of the western countries. Refugees in Macedonia and Albania are in the most terrible conditions: they are lodged in improvised shelters, often in the open space, being deprived of essential life needs. As such, they represent the ideal 'food' for CNN and other brainwashing weapons of war. Pictures of those people are no longer justification for splashing bombs and rockets on the Serbs: their existence serves to unable, by means of emotional verve, any further dialogue on a theme of genuine intentions and motives of the aggressors.

For NATO, the situation is apparent: all those people are Albanians, victims of "Serbian ethnic cleansing". In spite of the fact that the illegal KLA publicly announced the general mobilisation for all Kosovo Albanians between the age of 16 and 65, the fact that there are not many males among the refugees is being explained exclusively by the alleged mass arrests. And even when it happens, as last week, that NATO at least twice bombed the same refugees, the blame is put again on the Serbian side. Besides, the fact that, neck and neck with the Albanians, there are other nationalities in Kosovo, is neglected on purpose. It sounds absurd when numbers presented by NATO on press conferences are compared with the data given by international humanitarian organisations: NATO's digits are at least two times greater, so that last week the number of refugees reached even the unbelievable 1.1 million people, while the number of disappeared was estimated "between 100 and 500.000". Such 'trickery' with great numbers tells enough about the unknown sources which NATO quotes as reliable. If one calculated the complete number of people allegedly "cleansed" by the Serbs, it would turn out to be that there is hardly anybody left in Kosovo.

If it happens that the river of refugees becomes waterless in a few days time, NATO immediately accuses Serbian authorities of hindering their escape. Thus, it seems that the Serbs are always to blame: if there are refugees, it is because they are driven out by the Serbian police, and if there are not, it is because they do not let them go away. Special attention is assigned to the "missing convoys", which have already become some sort of newspaper sub-genre. Nevertheless, each few days it is stated that a large group of refugees, seen nearby the Albanian border, simply vanished over night, without any trace. Then, the next few days are dedicated to speculations over their destiny, in order to replace their case with another similar "mystery". At the moment, Kosovo is probably the most photographed region in the world: it is pictured by way of the satellites, hunting planes, pilotless aircrafts and who knows in whichever way else. Hence, the "mysterious vanishing" of a group of several thousand people within a few hours, is an achievement in a fashion of David Copperfield.

The actual truth about the exodus from Kosovo is manifest thanks to the cold hearted statement of an American General, Charles Wald, who said at the press briefing in the Pentagon that "it would be convenient if there were no Albanians in Kosovo, because then NATO could carry out their air campaign without possibility of killing the innocent". Even better confirmation of trustworthiness of their "humanitarian undertaking" is the destiny of those refugees who have already left Kosovo: they are compelled to remain in the open space near the borders until, as the aggressors state "the conditions for their return are satisfied". In the beginning, there was an idea of evacuating the refugees to the West, but it immediately resulted that nobody was willing to accept them. Britain, which takes the leading place in the simulated care for Albanian civilians, has so far welcomed less than two hundred refugees; America has not received any of them, though initially there was the idea of scattering them around their military bases in the Pacific islands, such as Guam. In the meantime, Albania, Macedonia and Bosnia are pleading the NATO countries in vain to take over the cost for accommodating the refugees on their territories. Such help was promised more than one time, but it never arrived, supposedly due to the complicated procedure. On the contrary, the additional resources for destroying Serbia are arriving rapidly and on time, without any bureaucratic obstructions.

The long lasting destiny of Kosovo refugees is rather uncertain. At this moment, the West prefers that they stay where they are, to serve as the pretext for their continuing aggression, and, as NATO has no intentions to give up the aggression, the temporary accommodation in the middle of nowhere, along western Macedonian and northern Albanian borders could be prolongued until who knows when.

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