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What Is The Real Milosevic Story?


By James Donahue

March 16, 2006


Back when the Balkan War was raging and there was a lot of talk about Serbian ethnic cleansing, a code name for the mass genocide of racial and religious people contrary to your own, I had an American acquaintance who was a Serb.


Dan Kovac operated a small grocery store in a resort area along the Lake Huron shoreline north of Detroit. He told me one day that he could not believe the stories about his people from the old nation of Yugoslavia and wanted to return there to find out for himself.


Kovac was a freedom fighter during World War II. He joined a band of rebels in the hills who fought against the Nazi occupation, then when fought against the Communists. When Marshal Tito rose to power as a Communist dictator, a warrant was issued for Kovac’s arrest. He fled his homeland and made his way to the United States.


He said part of his heart remained in the homeland, however.


He made that trip back to the Balkan states in the midst of the fighting. When he returned to Michigan, I interviewed Mr. Kovac to find out what he learned, and developed a story for my newspaper.


He said the stories about the Serb atrocities were created for political reasons. The Balkan war was a fight among Christians and Moslems for control of that European area. If Kovac was to be believed, the Moslems were murdering their own people and blaming it on the Serbs.


From the recent behavior by some of the radical Islamic sects in the Middle East, it is easy to find Kovac’s story believable.


Thus the four-year trial in Holland of Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic for war crimes, following that bloodbath, seemed somewhat out of balance. There were at least two, if not three sides to that conflict. Nothing was gained. Nothing was resolved. The religious hatreds still exist, just as they will in Iraq and Afghanistan long after American troops leave that area.


That some of the political foes of Milosevic should lament that he cheated “justice” by dying in his prison cell also strikes me as odd. I can think of no worse way to die than to rot away in a prison cell in the midst of a long, detailed trial for alleged war crimes that continues for years without end.


That Milosevic was in ill health, and escaping his horrors by having friends sneak drugs and alcoholic drinks to him, was a sure recipe for an early death.


If the man was evil, he paid dearly for his crimes. If he was innocent, he then may someday be viewed as a martyr. He currently is portrayed by the media as an evil tyrant who deserved all of the ill fortune that came his way. But media is fed by politics, and the political winds don’t always blow truth. The world may never know the real Milosevic story.


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