t is difficult to argue against a humanitarian action whose aim is to help innocent civilians. However, in the case of proposed air drops of food to the thousands of people in Eastern Bosnia we have to worry. This action was doubtlessly motivated by feelings of moral responsibility to help the starving, suffering population of Bosnia. It should make us feel good that we are finally doing something constructive; but it is overflowing with problems.
hile Bosnian Muslims and Croats have been crying out for help since last May; the world has stood by quietly and done practically nothing to deal with the main cause of their suffering--the ravaging warfare.
es, many convoys and many wonderful people did come to the country and helped, delivered food, fuel, clothing, and the like; but let us not fool ourselves, those wonderful humanitarians did nothing to stop the calamity. The world seems not to have had the will or the courage to do what was necessary--stop the violence before it escalated. The balance of political and economic power in the world does not seem to be such as to truly ensure the small and the weak nations equal rights to prosperity and happiness.
n Bosnia and Hercegovina the forces of violence have entrenched themselves deeply in their inhuman endeavor to the point of almost no return. They will not peacefully allow the air-drops to proceed when the main objective of their warring is to starve out the population and make them leave the areas under consideration, thus furthering the aims of "ethnic cleansing." Consequently, we will see planes go down; we will see more casualties. This will likely be followed by more involvement which might start us down the spiral of ever increasing warfare.
n the account of Vance-Owen peace proposal which suggests ten ethnically based provinces (three Serbian, three Croatian, three Muslim, and one neutral) we have to realize that ethnic division of Bosnia and Hercegovina is impossible if one is not to in fact endorse "ethnic cleansing."
he country is so diverse and small and the three most numbered ethnic groups are inseparably joined in their history, present, and future. This is a country where three religions of the region are strongly represented, the country which is both eastward and westward oriented in its tradition, and culture.
n no way can it be successfully partitioned into some small patches of land where the largest one is no bigger than the largest county in the state of Florida. In fact, the whole country of Bosnia and Hercegovina can snugly fit between St. Augustine in the northeast, Orlando in the South, and Madison in the northwest.
ven if the division were feasible, what would it mean to call a province a "Serbian" province (or Croatian or Muslim)? Would it mean that only Serbs would participate in the government? that Orthodox Christian religion (the predominant religion of the Serbs) would be favored? that studies of Serbian history would prevail in schools' history programmes? All that to the expense of other groups in the province? I do not think that we would endorse such a division based on our own experience in the US (or would we?). Thus, if we want to see guarantees of equal participation of all groups in social, economic, religious, and political life, why are separate provinces needed in the first place?
he world community seems to wish that the problem would just simply go away without much noise. But it won't, because the noise is the same kind of noise which comes from our own neighborhoods and many other neighborhoods in the world. It is a noise of injustice and requires decisive treatment.
he world community did not act to prevent this tragedy while it was possible to do it peacefully. Now is the time to stop it forcefully and introduce a new paradigm of life. Military strategists say that we should not go in without a clear military and political objective. There is a simple, measurable, and achievable objective which would give the world an honorable solution to the problem, which would not require taking sides, and which could provide us with the framework for future conflict resolutions before the conflict becomes violent.
e, the world community should seek a total demilitarization for the whole region, followed by a long UN protectorate for it. In order to achieve this goal, the world community needs to decide to commit its resources and send in hundreds of thousands of determined peace-makers with the necessary force and authority to simply overwhelm and disarm all the warring sides.
e should seek and destroy all military hardware in the region so that no further fighting is possible. Then we should install a UN protectorate over the whole country with the goal of implementing conscious programs to redevelop local democratic processes which would assure every individual equal participation in political and economic life, and only then gradually transfer power to the local population. The program should involve at least the following points:
t is not the intensity of our courage against aggressors, but the depth of our commitment to the ways of peace that will distinguish our generation of human beings from its predecessors. This is a challenge to the world, but it is the one which we can not pass up.
t is an opportunity for us to show our true colors and determination to in fact build structures for lasting peace and not allow the life-taking, barbaric, destructive powers of the past to dominate the life-affirming expectations of people the world over.