20th January 1999
Anguish, horror, outrage.
Mere words are inadequate to describe the latest Serbian massacre in the Kosovan village of Recak.
The massacre was premeditated and the Serbs had made no secret of their intention to punish what they call “terrorists” , however, what was more shocking, said the MCB Secretary General Iqbal Sacranie was the conduct of the international monitors who took their job simply to be to ‘verify’ the ghastly killings after they had taken place instead of alerting the UN, Nato and OSCE to make sure the war criminals do not have their way.
Kosova is turning out to be a rerun of the tragic farce played out in Bosnia-Herzegovina only a couple of years ago. Recak is another Srebrenica and, predictably, the world is witnessing the same hollow outrage and motions about investigating this war crime while the three main war criminals of the Bosnian genocide still remain untouched. It now truly defies all credibility that the so-called ‘international community’ is still optimistically engaged in negotiating a peaceful resolution of the Kosovan crisis with Slobodan Milosevic of Serbia – the same ‘Butcher of Belgrade’ Slobodan who was publicly dubbed a war criminal by the then US Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger.
What has saddened and appalled the MCB all the more is the indifferent role of its own government. Any hopes created by New Labour’s promise of an ‘ethical’ foreign policy have been consumed by the hypocritical ‘double standards’ foreign policy expounded famously by Douglas Hurd that would not permit a “level killing field”. In other words – don’t let the victims defend themselves but allow the war criminals to continue with their killing!
“It is now time for Britain”, said the MCB, “to take a lead in ensuring that peace and legality are brought to Kosova and its people are enabled to determine their future themselves, and in the meantime to help ethnic Albanians to defend themselves and not be slaughtered like sheep and cattle by incorrigible war criminals”. Britain may no longer have the dubious distinction of being the sole bullying power in the world”, said Iqbal Sacranie, “but, if it chose to assert itself on principles of international legality and human rights then it certainly could emerge as an ethical super-power, commanding more respect and more infleunce than it ever did during its imperialist era”.
The MCB therefore urges Prime Minister Tony Blair and Foreign Secretary Robin Cook to give up the policy of equating the victim with victimiser and doing little more than making pious and perfunctory noises while the slaughter continues. Britain has a duty in Europe and this has to be taken seriously and ethically.