Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Peace in Serbia Will Depend on Anti-Nationalists

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Peace in Serbia Will Depend on Anti-Nationalists

Article excerpt

AS the Clinton administration contemplates bold measures in response to Serbian aggression in Bosnia, including the use of air strikes, it is giving insufficient attention to additional and far less risky options that are critical to establishing a stable peace there.

The administration is correct to support the efforts of the international community to isolate Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, as it did last week when it tightened the economic embargo against Belgrade (though it is wrong to exempt Croatia, which is also preying on Bosnia, from punishment). Mr. Milosevic's support of Bosnia's waring Serbs has allowed the carnage to continue virtually unchecked. Only if Milosevic is thoroughly discredited in the eyes of his own people - only if he is seen to be responsible for the fierce hardship Serbia can now expect to suffer - will itGB"brzJUKZXwith whom resides the hope for a Serbia willing to live at peace with its neighbors and with its own mixed populations. And if the opposition languishes for want of support, there is no reason why a fallen Milosevic will not be replaced by an even more odiously nationalist demagogue.

President Clinton took a step in the right direction last week when he met with Vesna Pesic, a leading Serbian anti-war activist, who was in the United States to receive an award from the National Endowment for Democracy. Director of the Center for Anti-War Action in Belgrade and head of the opposition Civil Alliance of Serbia, Ms. Pesic is one of many tireless and courageous citizens struggling to keep alive the flame of tolerance and inclusive democracy in her native home.

In fact, throughout the former Yugoslavia, wherever chauvinist nationalism has reared its head, there are individuals like Pesic fighting against policies of national hatred and war - whether they are intellectuals seeking to dispel the myths that sustain the war, journalists challenging the official accounts of the war, or ordinary citizens who simply refuse to acquiesce in the pressures of the war. Even in Banja Luka, a Bosnian Serb stronghold, a small multi-ethnic group has formed to preserve the ideal of peaceful coexistence. …

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