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Grief and Loss and War and Death

Oh buggerit. I am a nervous wreck in the run up to the American Presidential election.

I realise that it's all a hugely controversial and hot issue and the wise thing would be to steer clear entirely but I feel the need to get things out of my system all the same.

I am so torn about who I want to win and why. Of course, I am not American but as the citizen of a country that is likely to be highly affected either way by the results (since America has a foreign policy after all) I am feeling very very afraid and slightly ill.

I know a few people whose opinions and intellect I respect, who are Republicans. Fair enough to you and I think we can agree to disagree respectfully.

I am very very very much torn through the very fibre of my being about what I want to happen. And here's why:
If I was an American then I'd be without question voting for Democrats (of course I'm not American, so the whole point is moot, but let's not focus on that for a minute). The vast majority of people I know and love in America are Democrats and hate Bush and think he's a travesty that's ruining the country. So for their sake I hope Kerry gets into office since he seems by far the lesser of the two evils.

And yet in terms of me and my own country I am terrified that Kerry will get to power because Kerry with him brings two people most loathed by the Serbs: Richard Holbrook and Madelin Albright and that high priority of Kerry is to *sort out the Balkans* (which in practice means fuck things up royally).

As far as I understand, in terms of foreign policy Bush has no designs on the Balkans. He is too busy with the oil of Iraq and plans to bomb Iran and other fun and games in the Middle East. Also high on Bush's list of priorities seems to be bringing reactionary measures and economic ruin to his own country, which for my own egoistic agenda is really very useful in terms of keeping America's eye from focusing on Serbia & Montenegro and bringing more grief, war, death and ruin to my own country.

I cannot express how deeply I feel about this issue and how nervous I am. My hands are quite literally shaking. I've been having the motherfuckingGrandmother of all PTSD episodes in terms of crying and flashbacks. I have thrown up three times already today and my skin has broken out in a rash which bleeds from anxiety. Nor am I the only Serb who is worried (and that's just the first link I found when I googled)

So I think to save what remains about my sanity I shall just withdraw my energy from this completely and try to bring a measure of calm to my mind. Because whoever wins I stand to feel a measure of loss. And because if the thing I fear the most comes to light then I shall have a difficult enough time coping with it then, and because if I continue at this rate I shall without question be having a nervous breakdown by tomorrow morning.

Here's why I'm feeling so afraid of Kelly's foreign policy:
That in the mildest case scenario, all that will happen is that Montenegro and Kosovo will split away and get turned into American *protectorates* spit. Any further breakup of Yugoslavia will also break my heart, but I can live with a broken heart. I have done so before after all.
What I cannot live with is another Balkans War .
1999 was almost the utter end of me. Try to imagine it, those of you who cannot understand the fuss I make.
Try to imageine living with fear and uncertainty for 78 days, as night and day and night and day the land you were born in, your home , and many of those you love most in the world are bombarded, when each day there are civilian casualties dismissed as *collateral damage* when the city you love is slowly demolished, and where each time you sleep (or fail to sleep) you have no idea whether those you love will still be alive in the morning.
And this slow hell, for 78 days.

I think the only reason i could bear Bosnia, or the mass slaughter of thousands of Serbs in Croatia in 1991 was that I was a child when that happened. I was a child focusing on my own survival in foreign countries whose tongues I did not speak, and focusing on keeping myself together and resisting the efforts of those who bullied and humiliated me because I was a Serb.

And the hardest thing to bear of course, is that the grief I feel so rarely gets validated. That there's this massively propagated idea that Serbs are evil, filty beasts who engage in genocide at the drop of a hat. That we get scapegoated and cast as evil ones who deserve no sympathies or help.

My fear is that Richard Holbrooke has a definate and fairly evil agenda in the Balkans, particularly in Serbia. That he is very much an Albanian sympathiser (or even worse, on their payroll) and that by supporting Albanians he hopes to show that *Look, we Americans are not anti-Muslim. It's only those bad Muslims in the Middle East we suspect of being terrorists we don't like and seek to punish. Good Muslims who are the kind of terrorists that doesn't directly bother us, we will reward by giving them their own country and not making a noise while they kill poeple.

And Hellbrooke... my God I do not trust that man at all. He proved awaful enough in Bosnia, and I do not trust the agenda of anyone who wishes to work on the breakdown of Serbia & Montenegro rather than the improvements of the country's economic structure and the relations between the moderate politicians. That instead all we'll get is shit and sanctions.
I mean I hope I'm wrong. I really really do. I'd be pleasantly surprised. I'd be dancing. But it's unlikely that I'm wrong. That's what makes me sad and scared.

On the other hand, as much as I fear for my people, where the real inner conflict comes in is that I've never been very good at being a nationalist or considering only Serbs my people. I still view all the ex-Yugoslavs as my people. And in a wider perspective, my nationality is Humanity. So of course, I also want to support the wider interests in the world, and Bush & co.'s foreign policy has to me been an absolute travesty and the mockery of compassion. Nor have I been able to feel ambivalent about the quality of life of my American friends deteriorating, or about Guantanamo Bay and the absolutely apalling way Muslims have been treated in the Middle East. Nor can I possibly support anyone who will make abortion more difficult than it already is for people and ditto for gay rights. (Although I'm under no illusions that Kerry is particularly liberal in his leanings, he seems a pretty Conservative Democrat but hopefully one less keen on marrying his religious views with his policies).

So. There's this total conflict between what I feel are the interests of the majority of people on the whole, and the particular minority of people I come from and love and fear for deeply.
A bit of an unresolvable conflict actually.

So instead I'm just going to breathe. I'm not going to lend my energy to this issue either way since I'm so torn up about it. And tomorrow... bloody hell, I know not. Just face whichever music and try to deal with that which I cannot control with grace.

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( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
mzwyndi
Nov. 2nd, 2004 12:55 pm (UTC)
Now, dear, calm down. Take a deep breath.

First of all, no matter who wins, there's limits to what they can and can't do. Allbright isn't coming back, I don't think. She's ill. She's contentious. She's out of favor for things she's said in public. I doubt she'll be appointed.

Holbrooke, I can't say. But, we've a long history of distrusting Albania in this country, and any move to openly sympathize with them would be hugely countered. If the election is close, both parties will steer well away from that course of action. Old Cold War feelings are still alive and well among the old men who (sadly) still run things in a lot of places.

Remember, if Kerry wins, he's gonna have to get buy-in from the military. From the voters who are counting on him to "bring the troops home". He isn't getting us involved in any more mucking about overseas, it would be shooting himself in the foot. His only solid base is if he plays a sympathetic "we're bringing 'em home as fast as we can" role. You can't get that by committing manpower or resources to involvement in MORE conflicts.

*deep breath*

And, well, if Bush wins... I have no idea what to expect. I can't even imagine a world in which it's possible.
rainsinger
Nov. 2nd, 2004 01:14 pm (UTC)
True, I could well be very reactionary but it's hard to keep my head clear on these issues because I'm so emotionally involved. And thus far in terms of Yug I've seen little beyond nightmares manifest, although hey I'd be ecstatic if I was wrong.

He isn't getting us involved in any more mucking about overseas, it would be shooting himself in the foot.

I really really really hope so.

And, well, if Bush wins... I have no idea what to expect.

Me neither really. Although my educated guess is that a lot of people would be extremely extremely unhappy and that in someway something would break down.
mzwyndi
Nov. 2nd, 2004 01:24 pm (UTC)
And thus far in terms of Yug I've seen little beyond nightmares manifest, although hey I'd be ecstatic if I was wrong.

Well, yeah. What little I know of Yug. at all tells me that it's like a couple of other hotspots in the world... so war-torn, for so long, for so many generations... that there simply is NO solution that an outsider could offer. No easy answers. No win-win solution exists.

Ultimately, peace only comes from within. It is crafted in love and understanding and mutual respect for the pain you've all felt at the atrocities over the generations. You only get there, WE only get there, if we are all willing to say, "This is entirely unacceptable behavior on the part of my neighbors, my government, or my clan."

Of course, for these views, I'm pretty much labelled a raving liberal...
(no subject) - whispersinink - Nov. 2nd, 2004 01:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
concordantnexus
Nov. 2nd, 2004 01:33 pm (UTC)
I agree with Mzwyndi's analysis. :)

I recall watching "Yugoslavia - an avoidable war" at the Bloor Street Cinema in Toronto with my brother. Afterwards, we crossed the street to the Pauper's Pub and got drunk to dull the senses of what we'd seen. (We're Polish, he's Catholic and I'm neopagan.)

One thing that I got was that Serbian culture was/is too isolationist and they got severely outmaneuvred in the propaganda war to win the hearts and minds of the West (or at least befuddle and confuse them as effectively as the Bosnian Muslims did).

I recall reading various articles on the wars in the Canadian media and sensing that there was something not right or missing from the news coming out. So, seeing Yugoslavia - An Avoidable War was both a relief and a shock because it showed me the pieces that I'd sensed were missing. It instilled in me a wary distrust for Western media, especially American sources of info that will stay with me until I pass through the veil.
(Deleted comment)
rainsinger
Nov. 2nd, 2004 01:37 pm (UTC)
In the end it all comes down to: when you weep, I weep with you.

So long as you don't do the rash as well... ;)

In terms of policy Wyndi said some things I find highly soothing, which is good and it's made me a lot more hopeful than I was.
dubaiyan
Nov. 2nd, 2004 01:32 pm (UTC)
:( i don't know what to say
since 2000 after reading Ron David's book my philosophy has been to support "whoever is good for Palestine" [and by extension good for me as a Muslim] but then there are many Islams and Muslims are not a monolithic mass - which we Bangladeshis of all people should know, in 1971 3 million of us were killed by 'fellow' Muslims...certainly I loathe Albright too for her famous justification of the deaths of Iraqi children...

But the important thing I wanted to say here is that we, I, love you.
rainsinger
Nov. 2nd, 2004 02:02 pm (UTC)
Re: :( i don't know what to say
One of my biggest sorrows with what happened in Yugoslavia was the breakdown in relations with the Muslims and the breakdown of a moderate Islam.

I've had a lot of sympathies for Muslims because I think they've been scapegoated in a big way, and certainly what's happened with Palestine has been a travesty. Even as a Jew I've felt completely unable to support Israel's hardline policies because any assault on civilians really pains me and the thought of people living in fear (whether they be Jews, or Muslims, or whoever) absolutely apalls me because I cannot separate my experience of that from other people's, or condone any people living in a state of terror.

It's a terrible pity no one seems keen to consult me when they make their policies. ;)

But the important thing I wanted to say here is that we, I, love you.

Thank you :)
I love you too.
mzwyndi
Nov. 2nd, 2004 02:17 pm (UTC)
Re: :( i don't know what to say
It's a terrible pity no one seems keen to consult me when they make their policies. ;)

Nor me either. Shame we don't run it all, eh?
rainsinger
Nov. 2nd, 2004 06:43 pm (UTC)
Re: :( i don't know what to say
Nor me either. Shame we don't run it all, eh?

Yes.
It is a grevious oversight.

mzwyndi
Nov. 3rd, 2004 05:13 am (UTC)
Re: :( i don't know what to say
***hug***

You see they still haven't counted my vote from yesterday's election? I never thought our little provisional ballots would make international news.
rainsinger
Nov. 3rd, 2004 05:28 am (UTC)
Re: :( i don't know what to say
Haha, yes I was thinking of you throughout :D
Go Wyndi! :)
I hope you've been feeling accomplished and important.
mzwyndi
Nov. 3rd, 2004 05:49 am (UTC)
Re: :( i don't know what to say
No, not feeling accomplished or important. Feeling tired and frustrated. Most of my issues or candidates didn't win, and those that did were by the narrowest possible margins.

biascut
Nov. 2nd, 2004 01:39 pm (UTC)
Thanks for writing that. It's not a point of view that is easy to hear around here.
rainsinger
Nov. 2nd, 2004 06:41 pm (UTC)
:)
Glad to be of service.
tentaclos
Nov. 2nd, 2004 04:52 pm (UTC)
Kerry seems to have an idea of foreign policy that involves more of the world than just America and what every God tells him too or whatever. I think Kerry bringing up the whole faith thing during his campaign was more of a way to get more votes than anything else. He's not what I think of as a "good catholic"... so take some heart!! :) (if he wins that is.)
lillfive
Nov. 2nd, 2004 08:27 pm (UTC)
Oh buggerit. I am a nervous wreck in the run up to the American Presidential election.

I'm having some sort of breakdown over it tonight as well.

I can't say anything to soothe you and I wouldn't even try
since I've never been through any of the horrors you have.
But I think there is a bright side for you if Kerry wins...
it appears the house and Senate or at least Senate are still
going to be Republican controlled. That means even if Kerry
wins he won't be able to do one damn thing he'd even want to
do. And I also think these guys say a lot of things and
really have no intention of getting involved. Unless the
Baby Jesus tells them to. And Baby Jesus doesn't seem to
speak to Kerry very often.

*hugs you tightly*
rainsinger
Nov. 3rd, 2004 03:07 am (UTC)
Thank you :)
livemeat
Nov. 3rd, 2004 01:23 am (UTC)
Montenegro is splitting off anyway - 2005 i think.
Also looking for it's own representations within the EU.

Watch 'Team America'. It's good.


rainsinger
Nov. 3rd, 2004 01:56 am (UTC)
If Montenegro wants to split away, in the end that's fair play. It's a tiny state with a population of just over half a million and no industry to speak of (if you're discounting tabacco smuggling). Not everyone in Montenegro wants to split away because some are just about smart enough to realise that they cannot survive on thier own.
However, even if it does split it's not the end of the world. The point is in how it breaks away, because support from the outside for it's more radical and reactionary factions would really complicate matters.

Also Montenegro is a pretty secondary issue. The main issue is that of Greater Albania and Albanian Terrorism, because with that there is a serious risk of a big-time destabilisation of the Balkans and possibly another war.
smallblakflower
Nov. 3rd, 2004 05:00 am (UTC)
Just wanted to say that what you wrote was a very interesetoing piece, throughout the run up to the elections i've been unwaveringly beind Kerry and although i'm by no means behind Bush now you have presented some interesting points that arent often/ever raised in my hearing.

I agree with what someone said up there ^ , about Kerry shoting himself in the foot if he were to commit troops to another overseas conflict and hopefully that alone will be all that is needed to maintain peace in the Balklans.

Very thought provoking stuff...
rainsinger
Nov. 3rd, 2004 05:44 am (UTC)
throughout the run up to the elections i've been unwaveringly beind Kerry and although i'm by no means behind Bush now you have presented some interesting points that arent often/ever raised in my hearing.

:)
I think Bush is a moron and a walking travesty, so it's been very much the choice between *the man who may well screw up my country* or *the man who may well screw up the rest of the world*.

I have been feeling more reassured about the whole issue from reading people's comments/input although the Balkans are so volatile it doesn't take very much to tip them into an all out violence and craziness. Sometimes it doesn't even take a military strike, so much as the wrong sort of diplomacy with the wrong sort of people - Hellbrook is very pro-Albanian and any foreign policy of his which encourages Greater Albania (as the policies he made during Clinton Administraation did) would encourage Albanian terrorism and de-stabilise the Balkans.

(All Albanians are not terrorists, there is actually a very decent, very moderate bunch of people in the country but their terrorists are very well-organised, well armed and of a rather enduringly fanatical twist of mind).
mzdt
Nov. 5th, 2004 03:21 am (UTC)
it's things like this that are why I try to keep my friends list down in size; I didn't read this before, and only went back today after you talking about it last night.

It's important to me to understand loyalty to a country, I hesitate to use the word 'nationalism' as that means something else now. I'm I'm glad I get to hear things like this - thank you. I'm lucky, in so many ways. Hug.
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )

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