We must be free and we must have self-respect. These are the two essential prerequisites for us as a state to recover. Once we have recovered, we will be able to truly join various integration processes. Without freedom, we will not be good for anyone; first and foremost, we will not be good for ourselves.
For some time I have been thinking that there are many people here who greatly miss Slobodan Milosevic and his authoritarian, profoundly crime-ridden regime. Now I fear that the international community, whatever that term actually means, has also added its name to the list of those who regret that he is gone. There are those who will say that its name was never removed from the list to begin with, that it was just mimicry. I don't believe this is true; I would even go so far as to say that I am certain that many countries have indeed changed their positions. Nevertheless, it is a fact that some have remained firmly entrenched in their previous positions, constantly issuing demands that we must fulfill.
Our situation is exceptionally difficult. The economy is in shambles; the coffers are empty; the population is on the brink of existence; the south of Serbia is under constant threat by Albanian terrorists. In Kosovo, instead of returning to our homes, there are fewer and fewer of us, and we are in increasingly greater danger. Now terrorism has spread to Macedonia as well, endangering the entire region and clearly confirming that our border was barely protected, let alone successfully defended, despite KFOR and the Military-Technical Agreement and all the tens of thousands of troops who, judging from appearances, are only watching out for themselves. Montenegrin separatism is fiercer than ever, even when it hides behind various offers for moratoria, as feasible as the fable about the reorganization of the SFRY [Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the former Yugoslavia] as a confederal-federal state. This is nothing more than a prolongation of agony, senseless draining, materially and otherwise, of both Serbia and Montenegro, and destruction of the essence of the state. On top of all these problems, with regard to which, to be completely honest, the world has been doing more to hinder than to help us, we also have the story of The Hague and how we must hurry in order to give this same world concrete proof of our goodness.
We are asked to honor agreements which we did not sign (March 31) and also to honor agreements which others do not honor (the Military-Technical Agreement).
We are asked to develop democratic institutions and an independent judiciary; however, then, right from the start, a lack of confidence is expressed in those same courts and they are stripped of practically all authority in given areas.
What we are getting in return is a mystery unless we count verbal promises. What is certain is that big investors, which is who we need the most, are not exactly eager to invest in insecure regions. Also certain is that Kosovo, the south of Serbia and the area along the Yugoslav-Macedonian border will not become secure any time in the near future if KFOR and NATO persist in implementing the same policy.
These are our problems, then; just the most important ones, of course. To list all the others as well would require more than one whole issue of NIN. Things were easy before October 5: everything was Slobodan Milosevic's fault. His policies were unwise, inflexible; he lacked vision; he could not foresee the next move; he was completely removed from reality; he had no strategic goals; he did not understand national interests. All this, of course, was true, and much more could be added as well. What are we going to do now?
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness," it is written in the U.S. "Declaration of Independence". I hope that no one will be upset with me, a man who has defended the ideals of liberalism in politics my whole life, for quoting from this document, one of the most important political texts in history.
These are the ideals that I am now trying to defend. They are incompatible with what we are going through right now and with the demands that are being imposed upon us.
The question can also be posed in another way: what is it that the international community wants in the Balkans? If it wants multiethnic, multicultural and multiconfessional states, then it needs to seriously support FRY [the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia] instead of facilitating ethnic cleansing of areas in which Albanians are in the majority by doing nothing. If it wants mononational and monoconfessional states, then it should openly support all separatist movements, including all movements seeking integration into new states based on ethnic and religious principles. Then we will have a completely reshuffled or more accurately, divided Balkans, the same way this was done at the beginning of the Second World War.
If it wants the principle of the rule of law, that is, a state based on this principle, then it needs to allow us to carry out the enormous task of changing our legislation in a valid and gradual manner instead of imposing its solutions upon us. We have already experienced Soviet legal solutions during a post-WWII period. We have grown tired of experiments, both foreign and domestic. It is pointless to rule by decree, not only because this is essentially undemocratic but because that is how legal chaos is created. Kosovo is a case in point.