Not to forget! 25 Years since the NATO aggression against Yugoslavia

pb. A quarter of a century ago, the 19 richest nations unjustifiably subjected the emerging country of Yugoslavia to a bombing terror for 78 days. About 3,000 civilians and 1,139 soldiers and policemen lost their lives in the war, and 10,000 people were injured. The NATO aggressors systematically destroyed civilian infrastructure and used depleted uranium projectiles – with serious consequences for the Serbian population. Under the slogan “Not to forget!” organized the Belgrade Forum for a World of Equality on September 22 and 23. March a conference on the anniversary of the NATO attack. Guests from all over the world were welcomed by the President of the forum, Živadin Jovanović. Within the framework of the congress theme “From aggression to the New Just World Order”, they presented their statements and expressions of solidarity, usually also with reference to their country of origin. The work of the two days of the congress was summarized in a resolution. Following the congress, wreath-laying ceremonies were held for the victims of NATO aggression at several locations in the Serbian metropolis.

More than 200 participants attended the conference of the Belgrade Forum.

The unjust war waged by the NATO states against Yugoslavia 25 years ago is omnipresent in the political consciousness of the Serbian population. No taxi driver who takes you to one of the memorial monuments to the war refrains from commenting on his personal dismay at the war crime committed by NATO. A war crime that has neither been atoned for nor made amends for by the perpetrators.

Serbia is still suffering from the consequences of the NATO attack

Freethinker Group at the Belgrade Congress (from left): Monika Krotter-Hartmann, Fabienne Cartreaux (Member of the Board of the World Union), Sebastian Bahlo (Chairman of the DFV), Veronika Herzig.

NATO systematically bombed civilian infrastructure such as railways, roads, bridges, airports, energy systems, residential buildings, industrial facilities, schools, hospitals and kindergartens, which were seriously damaged if not destroyed. For this alone, a damage of about 100 billion US dollars was found. However, the consequences of NATO’s use of depleted uranium munitions are even more serious. According to Serbian Health Minister Danica Grujičić, due to the toxic NATO ammunition used in the war by NATO, the number of cancer patients in Serbia has increased from 19 000 in 1999 to 40 000. As the minister further explained to RT, the disease has caused the death of 10,000 to 18,000 people in the first 10 post-war years. Other indicators, such as an increase in male infertility, autoimmune diseases and abnormalities in newborns, are attributed to the consequences of NATO war crimes.

NATO’s veiled war aims

Vladimir Kršljanin (member of the Board of the World Union of Freethinkers) and Klaus Hartmann (Chairman of the World Union).

The term “Kosovo war”, which is usually used by Western mainstream media, does not do justice to the NATO war in any way. The term refers to the fake “massacre of RaČak” and the Western propaganda creation “Horseshoe Plan”: which served NATO as a pretext for attacking the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The NATO powers were not concerned with protecting the Kosovar population from alleged ethnic cleansing. The resolution adopted at the Belgrade Conference identifies the true geopolitical goals of NATO:

  • Separation of the autonomous province of Kosovo and Metohija from Serbia and complete control over the Balkans;
  • Deployment of US troops in the Balkans in line with the strategy of Eastward expansion;
  • Establishing a precedent for subsequent interventions in violation of international law and the inviolability of the UN Security Council;
  • To justify the existence of NATO and its actions beyond the territory defined in its founding act of 1949.

“The NATO aggression embodied the abolition of the legal order of peace and security in Europe and the world, which is based on the result of the Second World War,” the resolution further notes. The Balkans are today “more unstable, Europe, militarizing with a dangerous perspective, without autonomy, identity and vision”. It is also emphasized that “NATO and its member States involved in the illegal act of aggression are obliged to compensate Serbia for the war damage caused by them”. The crimes due to non-compliance with war-related conventions are to be prosecuted and sanctioned.

According to the unanimously adopted resolution of the Belgrade Conference, the future status of the Serbian province of Kosovo and Metohija may be resolved “only in accordance with international law and in particular with UN Security Council Resolution 1244 of June 10, 1999, which is a permanent, legally binding document”. All the provisions of UN Security Council Resolution 1244 must be “fully complied with and implemented”. Unilateral steps aimed at legalizing the seizure of national territory and the ethnic cleansing of the remaining Serbian population are also condemned.

The freethinkers lay a wreath at the memorial to all the victims of NATO aggression: (from left) Toni Brinkmann, Willi Schulze-Barantin and Klaus Hartmann.

The world is on the brink

89 Children were victims of NATO bombs in 1999. A special memorial is dedicated to them in the Tašmajdan Park.

The conference spoke out against the unipolar world order, which is based on the strategy of hegemonism and world domination with NATO as a military foundation. It was also noted with concern that Europe currently hosts a much larger number of foreign military bases and stockpiles of nuclear weapons than was the case at the time of the bipolar world and the Cold War era. Accelerated escalation of hostilities and conflicts in global relations, as well as persistent provocations, increase the imminent danger of a global conflict: “the world is sitting on the edge of the abyss”. Humanity will either restrain the rampant aggressiveness of the alienated centers of power, or fall into this abyss. Therefore, foreign military camps would have to be closed and tactical nuclear weapons of the USA would have to be withdrawn from Europe. The policy of confrontation, interventionism and interference in internal affairs must give way to dialogue, partnership, respect for the basic norms of international law and the multipolar world order. Therefore, the conference supports the process of multipolarization of global relations and their democratization on the basis of the sovereign equality of all states and peoples.

Solidarity with the Palestinian people and Cuba

The conference also took a position on current hot spots. The mass killing of the innocent Palestinian people, especially children, and “call for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and other areas inhabited by the Palestinian people”. The conference supports a two-state solution, the free and safe return of all displaced persons, the abolition of the occupation and the establishment of a Palestinian state within the pre-4 June 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, all in accordance with the United Nations resolutions. She also expressed her solidarity with the Cuban people, who have been suffering for many years from the devastating consequences of the unilateral US embargo. The Cuban people have an inalienable right to choose for themselves the ways of internal development without outside interference. The conference regards the Ukraine crisis as a logical consequence of NATO’s strategy of Eastern enlargement. A peaceful solution is possible if the causes are identified and eliminated and equal security is guaranteed to all countries. The common future of humanity is not compatible with the egoism of the golden billion.

The peace movement was represented worldwide

The tomb of the liberators is dedicated to partisans and soldiers of the Red Army who died in the fight against fascism. They were honored with a floral arrangement of the World Union.

The participants of the Belgrade Forum conference came from all continents. Most of them were activists of the national peace councils and other organizations of peace work. A respectable delegation was sent by the Chinese People’s Union for Peace and Disarmament, whose speaker Tao Tao spoke about “History as a lesson for the joint construction of a community for a secure future of mankind”. The contributions of Aqel Taqz, Coordinator of the Palestinian Peace and Solidarity Council, and Fernando Gonzáles Lort from the Cuban Institute for Friendship of Peoples (ICAP) were met with strong applause from the current background. In total, more than 60 participants addressed those present. Starting from the NATO aggression against Yugoslavia, they developed their thoughts on the current threat to peace from imperialism to the ideas of a world order of sovereign equality of all states and peoples. The respective references to the countries of origin of the speakers were also interesting. Representatives of the World Union of Freethinkers also came up with speeches: Klaus Hartmann (Germany) spoke about “From aggression against Yugoslavia to NATO war against Russia“, Vladimir Kršljanin (Serbia) about “Wars in Europe”, Christopher Black (Canada) about Complete disarmament as an alternative goal, Peter Berger (Switzerland) about Multipolar world order – a premise for the sovereignty of small states. These texts will be published here gradually.

→ The Congress resolution

Memorial ceremony at the Memorial of all the victims of NATO aggression: A Chinese group spared no effort for a musical tribute to the NATO victims despite the pouring rain.