A couple of posts from the Edwards blog I wrote on November 05, 2003 in response to someone else's post during a discussion about the Confederate flag (the Dean vs. Edwards skirmish in the primaries). - Re:History Repeats Itself
Hmmmm, I do not pretend to be that wise, but about a dozen years ago I faught against Slobodan Milosevic and voted for a young handsome professor of philosophy named Zoran Djindjic. SM is now in the Hague, and he is there because the new prime minister ZD sent him there. Now, I am fighting to oust GWB (at least I do not have to go to demonstrations like I did before) and picked JRE as my candidate. I see a parallel here myself. SM and GWB ruined their country's economies, ruled through their cronies, pitted subgroups of their people against each other, started and lost a couple of wars each, turned the international community against their countries, and will go down in history as guys who were ousted by charismatic 50-year-olds who made their countries proud again. The only difference I want to see - I do not want the repeat of the assasination of ZD, but this is a different country.... On another parallel: I have spent last 12 years here in the South but, not being from here, I have no expertise to say much about the whole flag issue, but it reminds me of another event in the Balkans. When Croatia became independent in 1991., they searched the past to find a time in history when Croatia was independent before in order to re-introduce the old flag, coat-of-arms, currency and anthem. Well, the only time in the past when Croatia was independent was in early 1940s, as a Nazi puppet regime. Millions of Jews, Serbs, Gypsies etc., were slaughtered under those state symbols. So, of course, when these symbols were resurrected, the Serbian minority in Croatia was appalled and many left the country. The Croats did not 'get it', hey it is just statehood history, not nazism...yeah, right. Is this similar to the confederate flag issue?
Hmmmmm, way cooler? I guess in a sense of being present when the history is made. It was not fun, though, counting 40 tanks as they sped into Belgrade to squelch the demonstrations... We were taking turns over several days, making sure that there are thousands in the streets at every time of day and night. I happenned to be at home when I heard an ominous rumble. My house being on the side of town where all the military barracks are concentrated, I immediatelly knew what the sound meant. I got on the phone and called my friend in the city center to warn them, then counted 40 as they passed by my window. Fortunately, students grabbed some fire-trucks and placed them as barriers on narrow sity streets, and in the end, the soldiers refused to fire at their own people. The police was also reluctant. They were taken off the horses and beaten, and even the horses got beaten. Their veterinarian, a good friend of mine, told me the next day how badly beaten the horses were. A number of those cops I knew very well. Within days most of them resigned from the force and some left the country. That is why Milosevic had to 'breed' his own police and arm them as if they were an army (submarines and fighter jets!) just like Napoleon did with Dobermann puppies in "The Animal Farm". There are other parallels, though, between SM and GWB. Both mismanaged money before getting elected. Both got in power through 'managed' elections. SM remained in power through several cycles of fraudulent elections. He also did not follow the media, but got his news from a small circle of 'yes-men' around him. He had control of the media. Another parallel - I voted for Zoran Djindjic for Parliament just like I voted for Edwards for Senate. And both were immediate shining stars on the debating floor. And the Parliament was quite an interesting place: about half were Socialists (renamed communists) and about a half were from various opposition parties. The first half were apparatchicks, the other half were University professors, philosophers, economists, lawyers, physicians, journalists. The debate seemed as if there were 50 copies of Trent Lott and 50 copies of Patrick Moynihan debating (for a US simile). It took a long time to get the guy out of power there, but it was the people, led by guys like Djindjic, who, in the end, prevailed. I feel like it is a very similar fight we are having here in this country right now. That is why I sense that a guy like Edwards can get us where we want to be in the end. Perhaps it is personal folly, maybe fifth sense, and maybe the parallel is not as clear as I think it is, but this is how I feel and I'll follow my feelings in this to the end. As for the 'flag issue', thank you for your explanation. You are right. These symbols were resurrected by a minority in power, and most of the Croats, although happy about independence and statehood, did not like the neo-fascist symbols nor rhetoric of the new government (That party is out of power now). I can go on and on about Balkans (and I would love to know JRE's stand on it), but this is a JRE blog, so let's get back to the here and now.