Crisis In The Balkans


Sir, - Having been bombed now for 67 nights and days, I really find it hard to accept the word "crisis". This is not a "crisis". This is a downright cowardly, unlawful and dirty war. And I know, as I am in the middle of it all.

Night after night droves of planes fly overhead and bombs are dropped. My fear, and that of my children, is indescribable. I wake up every morning and realise that I am one of the lucky ones.

Here in Pancevo (16 kilometres from Belgrade) where I live, we have been bombed many times: the oil refinery (three times); the petrochemical plant (twice); the artificial fertiliser plant (twice); the police station (once); and a redundant aeroplane factory (three times). We hear Belgrade being bombed every night. The number of people unemployed here in Pancevo alone, as a direct result of the bombings, is about 20,000. The knock-on effect is enormous.

The number of civilian deaths is rising day by day - seven children in one day last week. On Sunday morning, 11 people were killed and over 40 injured when a bridge was bombed in the small town of Varvarin. While the local people were trying to help the injured, "NATO" came back 15 minutes later and bombed the bridge again. Words cannot express my feelings.

Hundreds of bridges, schools, hospitals, churches, factories and other civilian buildings have been either completely destroyed or damaged. Electricity stations and water supplies have been bombed on many occasions, leaving millions of people without both for periods of up to two days. Should I mention young babies, the ill and infirm, and those on the 10th floor of an apartment building?

Not only am I very angry, but I am horrified that the world can sit back and accept this as the norm. Jamie Shea continually reminds us and the world that NATO has nothing against the civilian population of Yugoslavia. Should I laugh or cry?, I ask myself. The arrogance and cynicism of those who deem to bring us into the 21st century is beyond my comprehension. We are told that NATO wishes to bring stability and peace to the Balkans, while at the same time it is using all the surrounding countries to bomb Yugoslavia. I, as a foreigner, feel such anger at the irony of this. Can you imagine the anger of the local population?

I also find it difficult to understand how a member of the German Green Party (Mr J. Fischer) can advocate and support: (a) a war; (b) the use of low-radiation bombs; and (c) the bombing of chemical plants and its ecological consequences. Is he manipulating his electorate for the sake of "NATO alliance unity" and is he "green" at all? This is an insult to all green parties in the world and to the people who believe in them.

If we are prepared to sit back and accept the bombing of Yugoslavia, we can expect the same rules to be applied elsewhere in the world in the name of peace and humanity. I have been brought up to believe in democracy, but from where I am sitting I can see only see very high standards of living, but very little democracy, and this frightens me. Is it really "I'm all right, Jack"? - Yours etc., Grainne Boyle,

Semberijska 7, Pancevo, Yugoslavia.