MON, 04 DEC 1995 16:27:00 GMT
Montenegro after the outcome
AIM Podgorica, November 28, 1995
As soon as it was made public that an agreement on Bosnia was reached in Ohio, state media in Serbia and Montenegro started reporting about numerous telegrams of appreciation arriving to those who were most deserving for the forthcoming peace. It seems that before the war Branko Kostic advised the Montenegrins in vain to save bullets as a significant resource, since quite appropriately for the occasion, guns could be heard in Podgorica. President Milosevic was the one who appeared in picture and sound and explained the Montenegrin public the significance of Dayton signatures for the Serb cause. Momir Bulatovic, on the other hand, just phoned the spectators of state television that he had had very little sleep due to hard work in the foreign land, but that therefore they had nothing to worry about: there were very bright prospects for Prevlaka. "The package which includes that arrangement has been completely settled with the Croat delegation, especially with President Tudjman. It is somewhat more complex and so it will be effectuated after the peace conference in Paris", this Montenegrin statesman explained.
After all, something else is more important: as far as it was possible to learn, Momir Bulatovic acted in the capacity of an equal member of Milosevic's team, in which, apart from the boss, the principle of one citizen one vote was consistently applied. The high formation rank of the President of Montenegro was especially certified at Belgrade airport where, mission completed, he and the President of all Serbs landed together. Here too, Milosevic did all the work, and for some unknown reason TV cameras shot Bulatovic's bodyguard more than Momir himself. Overwhelmed with the joy of the nation, even the representative of Montenegrin television who was on a special mision at the airport in Surcin, forgot to ask his President even for his wellbeing. When Bulatovic landed in Podgorica, we saw the picture but there was no sound. Contrary to Serbia, cameras here did not stop overjoyed people in the streets; municipal committees of the ruling party did not organize ceremonious sessions, and what is somehow even more curious, neither the Second World War veterans' association nor the Association of '91 Warriors issued statements on the occasion of the accomplishments from Dayton. The current atmosphere in no way shows that about 30 thousand of Montenegrin subjects have tested their glittering arms in the battlefields in the neighbouring country, that a thousand of them were wounded there and that two hundred of them will never come home.
Such modesty of the official Montenegro in manifesting its merits for the successful agreement on Bosnia, is by no means accidental. Bulatovic and his associates had observed a long time ago that Greater Serbia has "gone with the wind". Theoretical instruction of the public that "Montenegro is just a hostage of the war" has lasted for a whole year, as well as that apart from the general humanistic support to the Serbs, it had no separate interests of its own in it. In accordance with this theory, the state newspaper "Pobjeda" has devoted much more attention to reconstruction and development than to results of the war. It would all have been much easier had it not been for the opposition. Since it was quite clear from the very beginning who is who in Montenegro, the reactions are exactly as expected.
"After Dayton, we cannot but wonder why the war had been waged in the first place and why millions of innocent people have suffered so much. The intention is obviously to transform this total defeat of the policy of Slobodan Milosevic and his Montenegrin satellites into an alleged victory for the sake of the elections which they expect to be scheduled soon. I hope that Montenegrin citizens, regardless whether Montenegrins, Serbs, Muslims, Albanians or others, will never vote for them again, because after Dayton, we must put an end to this terrible, blood-stained deception in the next elections", Slavko Perovic, leader of Montenegrin Liberals says.
The President of the party which was persistently treated as treacherous ever since the war was just designed, after the authorities have abanodoned their project across the Drina, also says: "I feel complete satisfaction, because I and my party have persistently, for almost six years, risking unprecedented persecution, pointed out to the inevitable collapse of projects of ethnic cleansing, and we were peace-makers even at the time when almost everyone else advocated war and pursued war-mongering policy". It will not be simple for the ruling party to prove that reason did its duty during all this time. Apart from the Montenegrin anti-war opposition, former allies of the regime from the fatherland front are also quite unpleasant witnesses. The Radicals have no illusions - a disgraceful capitulation was signed in Dayton, and the account must be paid by Milosevic and Bulatovic. The national Party has a similar, but somewhat more distinct stance.
"We support the Dayton agreement because it puts an end to a preposterous bloodshed", the leader of the Nationalists, Dr Novak Kilibarda says, "and Dayton means a collapse, and I hope, the end of political adventurism without foundation produced by neo-Communist parties in Serbia and Montenegro". Professor Kilibarda quite certainly does not intend to have mercy on the ruling party in the name of their war comradeship. "A touch of fatal justice is manifested in the destruction of the illusionist policy of the Serb-Montenegrin regime. Men who have led the Serb nation to its catastrophe are now signing capitulation, as God's justice which hass acquired the form of pervert cynism: the cause-virus is transformed into the healing result. I hope that the citizens will assess what the authorities in Montenegro and Serbia have done wrong and what they failed to do both in the process of dissolution of Yugoslavia and during the four-year long bloody war", Dr Kilibarda says. Members of the National Party seem to have forgotten their own contribution to spreading war enthusiasm. Therefore, to a statement of representatives of the pro-Montenegrin Social Democratic Party that "collapse of the plan on Greater Serbia is simultaneously the collapse of the policy of the National and the Radical Party", Nationalists responded with a sharp accusation that the Social Democrats were just "satellites of the ruling partyu".
Therefore, nowadays, everybody in Montenegro seems to be in favour of a peaceful Bosnia. Opinions have still not been coordinated concerning crimes and criminals: the Liberals and the Social Democrats are without denial in favour of forwarding candidates for criminals to the competent agencies in the Hague, while for the ruling and pro-Serb parties, which have wisely kept silent so far, principled criticism would be sufficient.
"Bosnia is not 'former' any more, not even in the local state media. The most important thing is that Sarajevo will remain an integral city. Despite merciless killing, it has preserved its identity, and, I hope, ideas of multiethnic Bosnia will spread from it. The role of the international community in it will also be decisive. All criminals should be sent to the Hague, because that is the only way to start the process of denationalization of this space. Refugees must be ensured maximum security to return to their homes. I have no illusions that return of these people will be easy, nor that they will all return, but we should by no means give up on it. Dayton agreement, from the aspect of morality and justice, has inflicted damage not only on the Boshniaks, but all sincere advocates of civic and democratic Bosnia. The international community should not make a misttake now and refuse to invest into development of the Serb federal unit in Bosnia because of everything Karadzic and his supporters have done. Impoverishment of that part of Bosnia would just encourage the extremists over there, and cause new emigration to Serbia and Montenegro. What further change of its demographic structure would mean for Montenegro is not hard to understand", Zarko Rakcevic, leader of Social Democrats, warns.
After Dayton, it is quite certain that Montenegrins will remain without their own state in this round. Survival of Bosnia, though, means some hope for Montenegro too. Had by any chance Karadzic brought a half of the neighbouring country as his dowry, not even God himself could have saved this republic from becoming part of a union of Serb states. Defeated Milosevic, the Montenegrin opposition leaders are convinced, trying to find consolation, is about to put an end to everything that is still left of Montenegrin sovereignty. "Along with the process of increasing unitarianism, I am sure resistance and state-building awareness will gain in strength in Montenegro. Our republic has no future in this community. Until a powerful person emerges in Serbia who will be capable, like Villi Brandt, of kneeling in front of the victims of Vukovar, Srebrenica, Zepa, Sarajevo, it is a long list, there can be no democratic future for it. I see no such force, and Montenegro does not have the right to waste another fifty years. Conflicts within the "modern federation" have so far been in the shadow of the "struggle for the sacred Serb cause" and against the "unjust sanctions". Now these two balloons have exploded and the bare relations between Serbia and Montenegro have come out to the surface. I believe that this will help the Montenegrins realize that the basic interest of Montenegro is Montenegro", Zarko Rakcevic says.
In the meantime, Montenegrin authorities are getting ready for a long race towards the next elections, and peace-loving will be their chief support. It was already explained even to the small children in schools that war had begun in Bosnia only because the Muslims had not agreed that the joint state be organized in such a way that its different "regions be given high level of independence". This is really didactic: hundreds thousand people killed for the sake of local self-administration! Lucky children!
Esad KOCAN (AIM Podgorica)