"The terrorists destroyed the building, surprising everyone with
a well-planned sneak attack. The ground trembled as the structure
came tumbling down, shaking the very foundation of a nation. The
perpetrators were unknown, although government sources, the media,
and many stunned citizens indicted Muslims. Muslims had the motive
and the means, and have committed other acts of terror upon innocent
civilians. Identifying followers of the Islamic faith as the terrorists
responsible for the terrifying explosion was an easy choice for
many of the victims."
"The destroyed building was [a cultural treasure, a monastery]
located in [the Republic of] Macedonia, not the United States, and
although the destruction was much greater in New York City, the
victims from the mountainous village of Leshok understand what it
is like to suffer at the hands of terrorists."
Once again, America has gotten itself in trouble. Over the decades,
it has trained and armed people from another country to rise up
and fight in one proxy war after another only to see those very
same people eventually turn against it. The examples are several
and the most recent ones include Manuel Noriega of Panama in the
late 1980s, the National Liberation Army/Kosovo Liberation Army
(NLA/KLA) since 1993, and now Public Enemy Number One Osama bin
Laden. Those who ignore the lessons of history are sadly condemned
to repeat them.
Reactions in Macedonia to the devastating acts of terrorism in
the U.S.A. this past week varied. A candlelight vigil was held outside
the U.S. Embassy in Skopje. The president, prime minister, foreign
minister, defense minister, and the chief of staff of the Macedonian
Army all quickly sent telegrams the same day conveying their sorrow
to their counterparts in Washington.
"We never wanted this to happen to any people," said Gorgi Dimitrijevski,
a 30-year-old refugee from Lesok, referring to the destruction of
the World Trade Center. "But, it will make Americans understand
what is happening in the rest of the world. I want to give blood
for the American people because we know what it is like to suffer."
Gorgi had scanned the headlines of his local newspaper before going
to the local American Red Cross office, and knew that the United
States would certainly retaliate against the terrorists responsible
for the destruction of the World Trade Center. He said, "If the
United States can fight terrorism, why not Macedonia?" It is a question
on the minds of many Macedonians.
In February, armed terrorists crossed the border from Kosovo into
Macedonia and began fighting for "human rights" which masqueraded
their real intention to fight for a "Greater Albania" - never mind
that the Republic of Albania continues to strongly condemn such
activities. When Macedonian troops wanted to eradicate these terrorists
from their land, the Americans and Europeans all strongly demanded
that the Macedonians respond with "proportionate force." The Americans
will hardly heed their own advice. Already there is talk of destroying
one or more countries if they so much as harbor terrorist groups.
"Either you're with us or against us" a senior Bush Administration
official was recently quoted as saying.
On top of that, Western countries threatened sanctions against
Macedonia in case it defended itself too strongly and they have
worked to prevent other countries (who rely on American largesse)
such as Ukraine and Bulgaria from supplying weapons to Macedonia.
In July, the Macedonian Finance Minister moved all of the country's
assets out of American and European Union banks out of fear of sanctions
against the country and the democratically-elected government.
On Friday, 14 September, the countries of South Eastern Europe
(SEE) adopted a declaration for the combat against terrorism and
a resolution for cooperation between the SEE countries and the U.S.A.
in order to help with the investigation. These actions took place
at the 10th conference of the Southeastern Europe Cooperation Initiative
(SECI) regional crime center for combating trans-border crime.
The declaration protects the sovereignity, integrity, national
security of member states and starts legal cooperation in the criminal
sphere between these member states, the Macedonian Finance Ministry
announced. The Ministry added that this international document is
of great importance for the improvement of the cooperation through
the exchange of experts between the SECI member states.
Also at a press conference on Friday, in Skopje, NATO Secretary-General
George Robertson said, "In this week of great tragedy for the whole
world, Macedonia gives hope, showing how conflicts may be resolved
without violence but by political means."
These unbelieveably horrific actions in New York and Washington
may well have an immediate impact in changing the terms of discourse
seemingly a quarter of the world away in the Republic of Macedonia.
Since it was documented by the local Macedonian media that Mujahedin
(holy warriors) existed within the NLA/KLA hierarchy, the Macedonian
prime minister, on several occasions this year, has referred to
the NLA/KLA as offshoots of the Taliban movement. He was quickly
condemned by Western leaders for his inappropriate and alarmist
comments. Perhaps they spoke too soon.
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