13 August 2011Feature

In recent years militaries have tried to carve out a new role for themselves by engaging in "peacekeeping" duties in conflict areas around the world. This is the acceptable face of militarism. PN spoke with Bobi from the Group for Anti-Militarist Action in Macedonia about life with NATO.

PN: For some years now Macedonia has been on the receiving end of “humanitarian” military interventions [see box below for a list of international missions to Macedonia]. NATO peacekeeping forces have been deployed in Macedonia for several years already, and will probably remain there for years to come. Can you briefly explain the different “peacekeeping” missions that have taken place in your country and what their aims were?

Bobi: The first NATO troops arrived in…

1 June 2005Review

Hurst, 2005; ISBN 1 85065 749 1; Pb 262pp; £16.00

James Pettifer has written and spoken about the Balkans for the likes of The Times and Wall Street Journal for many years. This point is important to make from the start, because when he speaks or writes he does so with both clarity and authority, qualities that many other commentators who deal with the region do not have.

The Balkans are not the most straightforward part of the world, as anyone who follows affairs there knows, and so it is an enormous pleasure to at last be able to…

3 December 2004Feature

Alice Mead argues that the UN mission in Kosova was doomed from the start and should be called what it is — a "multinational failure".

The political/social situation in Kosova in autumn 2004, which most people call by the acronym UNMIK, is a conglomerate, a complex overlay of five years of inadequate solutions and stop-gap measures.

Each decision taken since June 1999 has had only short-term goals, a means to justify the end of not-deciding, and each unprincipled step failed to promote solutions and structures that are stable andjust, being founded, as they are, not on principles but by appeasement.

1 December 2004Review

Chatto & Windus 2004; ISBN 0 70117691 1; Hb 324pp; £12.99

Few novels are reviewed in Peace News, but then few novelists have the anti-war commitment of Maggie Helwig, a PN contributor, Woman in Black and former member of the WRI Council. This novel, however, is not an anti-war tract but an enthralling work of imagination that gains much of its power from Maggie's serious and multi-angled approach to the reality of war.

The story is set at the false turn of the millennium (remember the panic about y2k chaos?) when the…

1 December 2003Feature

In 1991, the disintegration of Yugoslavia and descent into outright war picked up speed. Activists from the emerging women's, environmental and peace groups in Croatia, trying to maintain their values and keep contact with their new "enemies", began producing a magazine as part of the activities of the Antiwar Campaign. Vesna Jankovic reflects on the challenges of developing independent media during conflict and the value of making dissenting voices heard.

When it all started, back in 1991, I could hardly imagine where it would end.

In the summer of 1991 we were just a handful of people concerned about inevitability of the coming war. For more than a year the situation was “cooking”, but it still looked as if a political agreement about the future of Yugoslavia could be reached. In the meantime, in fact since 1986 when Milosevic gained political power in Serbia, Serbian nationalism became political and received academic and media…

1 September 2002Feature

In Serbia the REX/B92 cultural centre describes itself as “a laboratory for research of new fields of culture”.

The centre is a member of TEH (Trans Europe Halles), network of European independent cultural centres and the coalition of centres for creative development and use of new media (ECB - European independent cultural centres network).

REX projects include

Ring Ring. International New Music Festival (held every year in May, since 1996) Mladi YU vizuelni (Young…

3 March 2001Comment

Nonviolent revolution? Perhaps not, but certainly one of the biggest nonviolent grassroots movements to contribute to radical political change. Ippy met the OTPOR activists from Serbia.

Personal responsibility is the key to the OTPOR movement in Serbia a movement which has been credited with contributing to the fall of Milosevic. With up to 80,000 activists, a wide variety of tactics and a belief in nonviolence, OTPOR has continued to keep the pressure up on the new incumbents. Since Kostunica took office he has been warned that only the removal of corrupt power-bases in the police, military and government will be enough to stave off future mass action.

At the end…

1 March 2001Feature

Since Dayton, Croatia has been developing in the typical western model: privatisations, foreign banks, Partnership for Peace, and a new liberal government. But in this post-war society there are both unresolved and new issues that threaten to polarise the population. Drazen Simlesa reports.

Several years ago the Croatian Department of Tourism led a big marketing campaign to try to attract the long dreamed about tourists who were still afraid of the instability in the region. The Department promised a small country for a great holiday. The only thing left out of the entire advertising trick is in the title of this article.

The minister who devised this tourism slogan subsequently had to step down from government due to being exposed for nepotism, after hiring his wife who…

1 January 2001Feature

Small-scale peace teams have played an important role in supporting local groups and facilitating dialogue between divided communities. Robert Sautter reports on the work of the Balkan Peace Team in Kosov@.

I can speak both Serbian and Albanian, but which one I use sets me on one side against the other. There is no place for me here, I do not belong. As she finished speaking these words, Mersiha, a young Slavic Muslim from Prishtina, looked at me intently and demanded to know what the Balkan Peace Team was doing to address the tenuous situation in which she and individuals from other minority communities throughout Kosova are existing.

Kosova may have faded from the headlines, but…

1 January 2001News

Almost nonviolent - marred only by the deaths of two people - was it, or is it, a revolution? 

The west has hailed the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia's election of President Kostunica as the triumph of democracy - though whether Kostunica actually received over 50% of the votes will probably never be known. Nevertheless, the West is falling over itself to invite the new FRY into their gang: OSCE, UN - they'll bejoining NATO next!

For those within Serbia who spent the past decade opposing Milosevic, his wars and his policies it is a time for celebration, but also a time for…

1 January 2001Review

Syracuse University Press, 2000. 217pp, ISBN 0 8156 0602 8

Alice Ackerman's case for the Republic of Macedonia, as a rare - if not unique - example of conflict prevention by preventative diplomacy, makes a welcome addition to a relatively small body of literature which looks at how we can prevent war.

By way of introduction, she includes a brief survey of preventative diplomacy - and its critics - from cold-war attempts by the UN to keep the superpowers out of local conflicts, to the Boutros Ghali doctrine of preconflict prevention and early…