to the wolves

From Milošević’s seizure of power in Serbia onwards, the only actual chance for Yugoslavia to survive was to reinvent its formula: either Yugoslavia under Serb domination or some form of radical decentralisation, from a loose confederacy to the full sovereignty of its units. Therein, in ignoring this key fact, resides the problem of the otherwise admirable Tariq Ali essay on the NATO intervention in Yugoslavia:

“The claim that it is all Milošević’s fault is one-sided and erroneous, indulging those Slovenian, Croatian and Western politicians who allowed him to succeed. It could be argued, for instance, that it was Slovene egoism, throwing the Bosnians and Albanians, as well as non-nationalist Serbs and Croats, to the wolves, that was a decisive factor in triggering the whole disaster of disintegration.” [Tariq Ali, “Springtime for NATO,” New Left Review 234 (March-April 1999), p. 70.]

First, this argument itself asserts that the responsibility of others is of a fundamentally different nature than that of Milošević. The point is not that “they were all equally guilty, participating in nationalist madness,” but that others were guilty of not being harsh enough towards Milošević, of not unconditionally opposing him at any price. Secondly, what this argument overlooks is how the same reproach of “egoism” can be applied to ALL actors, inclusive of Muslims, the greatest victims of the (first phase of the) war: when Slovenia proclaimed independence, the Bosnian leadership openly supported the Yugoslav Army’s intervention in Slovenia instead of risking confrontation at that early date, and thus contributed to their later sad fate.

There is, however, a more crucial problem that one should confront here. The uncanny detail that cannot but strike the eye in the quote from Tariq Ali is the unexpected recourse, in the midst of a political analysis, to a psychological category: “Slovene egoism” – why the need for this reference which so clearly sticks out? On what ground can one claim that Serbs, Muslims and Croats acted less “egotistically” in the course of Yugoslavia’s disintegration? The underlying premise is here that Slovenes, when they saw the (Yugoslav) house falling apart, “egotistically” seized the opportunity and fled away, instead of – what? Heroically throwing themselves also to the wolves? Slovenes are thus imputed to start it all, to set in motion the process of disintegration (by being the first to leave Yugoslavia) and, on the top of it, being allowed to escape without proper penalty, suffering no serious damage.

Slavoj Zizek & Agon Hamza 2013 From Myth To Symptom: The Case of Kosovo


not everyone is lawful, but no one is without his/her own invented law


in turkey i guess the logic is somewhat in between (if it is special to here): for anything you do, there is someone somewhere who is authorized to clear your guilt, and you can be sure that it is ensured that he exists, but you cannot pinpoint his location, you have general distinctions, for instance you know that he is in A and not in B and you have to search and find him.


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