As early as last summer, before he became FRY president, Vojislav Kostunica was asked if he would shake hands with people like Javier Solana, Madeleine Albright and like humanitarians. He replied: "Well, if I were giving an unofficial response, then I would say that there are quite a few of them with whom I would have difficulty shaking hands. However, if my office or function required me to do so, then I would shake hands with extremely mixed feelings, to say the least. There are some things which are unavoidable in politics but the first part of my answer says quite a bit about my attitude toward people who have brought great evil upon my people, not only through the offices they held but thanks also to their personal contributions. It is an evil which cannot be forgotten. I have no right to forget it; the people have no right to forget it, either."
And that's exactly what happened. Kostunica received Solana, Carla del Ponte and the other world hygienists out of pure political necessity. He forgot none of what they did; he just had some mixed feelings. It was quite apparent.
Then the new opposition, i.e., the former regime (Bane Ivkovic and the flaming Radicals), condemned him for not continuing down the path they had chosen, the path of isolation, misery and decay. For not uttering a historical "No!" the way they uttered it. But their memory is quite bad: Slobodan Milosevic himself met with Solana and even with Clinton (Dayton, Wright-Patterson AFB), organized a referendum against foreign intervention and then ended up agreeing to the Kumanovo agreement. The guests are similar, the host has changed...
(The classic of Serbian literature, Vidosav Stevanovic, does not feel the same way, however; from Paris he notes: "After Milosevic comes a new Milosevic, except with a different name." The classic Stevanovic fled before Milosevic's torture from the position of a Communist pet into asylum; now he is paying back for the bruises).
On the other hand, Carla del Ponte is dissatisfied with our president, too; she doesn't like him. He talked about fabricated massacres, the bombing of Yugoslavia, depleted uranium - all in front of a lady! The domestic Carla del Ponte fan club was peeved. Why, we hardly need Carla del Ponte to tell us what our president is like when we have domestic resources fitting the same profile... and that is the last mention I will make of Sonja Biserko and Natasa Kandic; I only mentioned Vidosav Stevanovic to ensure equal representation of the sexes.
I wonder if the international court clerk's job description includes blackmailing heads of state and governments of foreign countries; even though I am not Vladan Batic, I know that no court, not even the Hague tribunal, should be blackmailing people. But Carla does it anyway! She showed up at the World Economic Forum in Davos. What is the prosecutor doing in Davos? Investigating corruption, blackmailing people she doesn't like? Or sledding perhaps?
Javier Solana, on the other hand, is a suffering human being. He did not comment on President Kostunica. The EU commissioner for security and foreign policy, formerly the secretary general of NATO, doesn't want to talk about the pain in his heart. "I saw a few bombed buildings," said Solana. "I am a human being; I am not dispassionate; I, too, have suffered much but I don't want to share my personal feelings with anyone."
Solana is keeping his pain buried deep inside.
Lack of honor is a global phenomenon. Solana says that his visit to Belgrade was not a provocation even though he signed ("only following orders") the order for the bombing of Yugoslavia. If he had thought it was a provocation, he said, he wouldn't have come; but he didn't think and so he came! Dostoyevsky is right: a criminal has an inner need to return to the scene of the crime, even if he is an official of the European Union to which we aspire. That's why the Yugoslav government had to tolerate this provocation.
Protocol made an effort and Solana did not see the demonstrations against him even though he is quite permissive regarding them: "It's normal that someone in this country doesn't like me; it comes with my salary!"
It's normal that someone in this country doesn't like me presumes that it is also normal that someone in this country does like me. Solana expects this from our country. And there actually are such people. Second, the job part. The order for the bombing of Yugoslavia, maintains Solana, was a part of his job. So were the victims, the collateral damage...
Formerly a theoretical physicist, the demure Catholic Solana, who is devoted to his family and to books, was against the entry of his native Spain into NATO and against the American hegemony. He cried out: "If necessary, we will send our Constitution to them in Washington so they can finally convince themselves that we are a sovereign country!" Then his salary came up and every form of sovereignty, especially someone else's sort, became a moot point.
Solana's job includes some personal sacrifices, too. "Great sacrifices would be difficult to bear if the work was not satisfying." He came to Belgrade to see the results of his work. The sacrifices are now easier to bear... "Once again I am in the country I love..."
Javier Solana at one point praised the organization which he opposed in his youth, changing his mind later as he matured, as follows: "NATO will certainly take great care to respect the norms of international law. No measure which NATO will undertake or which it would be forced to undertake at some point in the future will distance it from this fundamental principle." Then he distanced it from principle as far as Clinton wanted and signed the order for the bombing of Yugoslavia. Code name: "Merciful Angel".
Mercy had no other alternative.
Solana still lives in Brussels, separated from his family. He doesn't like to be alone but it comes with the job. He is chauffeured around in a white Mercedes. When he can't sleep, he takes a pill. When he sleeps, he sleeps peacefully. He eats only fish and fruit.
Like he said, he has suffered. Only he knows what he is going through today. That's why he visited the country he loves and the city of Belgrade, which he loves. With principle in his soul.