Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Oz Rally: Clinton in Priština!

What is Willie doing in Kosovo?
Willie is wayyy cool!

Sculptor Izeir Mustafa. Yah, think he is going to have that 'infamous finger-pointing gesture?' LOL!

A common sight: Kosovo, USA, Albania flags flying together

After delays due to flooded muddy roads in
Pejë, we finally make it to the Bill Clinton Boulevard!

Kosovo War: The Serbs and the Albanians both felt that the land of Kosovo was theirs. The Albanians believed that Kosovo was the birthplace of the Illyrians, their ancestors .While on the other hand, the Serbians saw Kosovo as a huge part of their heritage.

During the year of 1986, a Serbian man by the name of Slobodan Milosevic showed up. He was a communist party official. It wasn't until the year 1990 when Milosevic took power. The Serbs saw him as a great guy before the Kosovo war and most of them still did even after, but Bill Clinton did not share this sentiment.

In the year 1997, things got worse after the fall of President Sali Berishma, because Albania collapsed into chaos. The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) were seen as freedom fighters by the Albanians, but they were seen as terrorists by the Serbians because of their attacks on Serbian civilians.

While all of this was going on, the United States kept an outer wall of sanctions regarding Yugoslavia and Kosovo. Afterwards, Clinton's Administration held a meeting with Rugova regarding Kosovo. While this war was going on, the Albanians and the Serbians both accused each other of genocide and ethnic cleansing. Bill Clinton, after hearing about what was going on in Kosovo, saw the situation as being extremely dangerous and felt like the United States needed to intervene. That is when troops went thru Greece and Macedonia, to get into Kosovo. They later teamed up with NATO to try to resolve the conflict. Bill Clinton basically saw Serbian leader, Slobodan Milosevic, as a war criminal.

He felt Milosevic committed genocide and crimes against humanity and that was a major reason as to why the US became involved. On May 24, 1999, Clinton addressed the nation and stated his reasons on why the US should support Kosovo and provide them with much needed air support against Serbian forces. Clinton was reluctant to send in ground troops because he feared greater casualties. Clinton had a humanitarian outlook and these were his 3 objectives.

Our strikes have three objectives: First, to demonstrate the seriousness of NATO's opposition to aggression and its support for peace. Second, to deter President Milosevic from continuing and escalating his attacks on helpless civilians by imposing a price for those attacks. And, third, if necessary, to damage Serbia's capacity to wage war against Kosovo in the future by seriously diminishing its military capabilities.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was at war with Yugoslavia, which started from around March 24, 1999, and ended at around June 10 of the same year. While this was going on, NATO was bombing Yugoslavian military units and Yugoslavian targets very heavily and viciously. The Albanian army was still bombing and attacking the Serbian forces whom they believed committed crimes against their fellow ethnic Albanians. They accused the Serbians of ethic cleansing once again. Fast forward to the end of the war, the result was a NATO, US and KLA victory.

The troops that were Yugoslavian pulled out of Kosovo and peacekeepers entered. Thousands of lives were lost by the end of this very bloody and controversial war. Slobodan Milosevic was held on trial. The result of the trial was undecided and never completed because Milosevic had heart problems and died in his jail cell (he was held captive to ensure he did not flee the country) while awaiting the next trial date as many had been postponed due to his failing health.

Today, Kosovo is mainly populated by Albanians. Back in the time of the Kosovo war, it was mostly Serbs, but due to the NATO and US alliance driving out most of the Serbians and taking out their leader, the United States feels its mission was sucessful. All throughout Kosovo you can witness the Kosovo, Albania, and United States flags flying together.

Just like the war in Iraq, this war is highly criticised. Many critics believe that when Bill Clinton lied more people died, such as, that he exaggerated a lot of things especially the amount of people that died. War carries risks. War will claim innocent civilians and many others will lose their lives regardless of their role. If other nations act as spectators and do nothing to aid peacekeeping efforts, thus delaying a cease-fire, this will result in even more loss of innocent lives. This is why the Kosovo people consider Bill Clinton their saviour.

The Bill Clinton Boulevard located in Kosovo's capital, Priština, honours the US President's support during the Kosovo War. A 3 meter tall bronze statue will soon replace the banner that is hanging on the corner of the apartment block seen in my little video. A statue of Britain's former Prime Minister, Tony Blair, will join Clinton's in the future.

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