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Part of the neoliberal strategy?
A crime against humanity?


By Rocio Campos, TFF Peace Antenna


It is inevitable not to react to Pressinfo # 90 "Lift the Sanctions and Bring More Aid to Yugoslavia". To convey images with the facts and descriptions offered by TFFs conflict-mitigation team members Soren Sommelius and Jan Oberg should be the duty of responsible journalism, but it is good not to wait for that to happen and take responsible initiative.

The demolition of the middle-class seems to be the priority of the global neoliberal policies that have been adopted by most developing countries and make rich elites richer and poor masses poorer. The examples are manifold. I can think of Mexico for instance, where according to Carlos Fuentes 40 million live in poverty, and 17 million in extreme poverty. Another Mexican, Carlos Slim, is one of the richest men in the world who among many businesses owns Mexico's telephone company, Telmex. He has benefited from the privatization policies of a neoliberal state apparatus.

In the light of globalization, international sanctions have also proliferated as a measure against millions around the world. Just think of the effects of UN sanctions on Iraq, where children died because they had no medicines. Is the lack of medicine in Serbia and Montenegro a result of the sanctions too?

Could the legitimacy of international sanctions be a case for the International Court of Justice or the International Criminal Court? This is indeed a crime against humanity!

It is not completely clear to me why is the DM the present currency in Montenergo and used all over Yugoslavia and elsewhere in the Balkans? More important than that, what will happen when the European Monetary Union starts operating? Has the European Union a homogenous policy regarding the sanctions?

It would be good to let Europe know why 750,000-800,000 refugees represent a problem. Why should the West care about this? It seems crucial to talk about the effects of possible migrations in the form of unemployment, economic crisis and other issues that may raise people's awareness and concern. Those of us who believe in social responsibility and international justice should be creative enough to push the right buttons in order to get the attention and support even of those who do not share these values.

The pictures and personal stories described by Soren Sommelius and Jan Oberg are extremely helpful to us who were not there to witness what they did. They remind me of the living conditions of coloured people at the relocation or concentration camps during the South African War (1899-1902) as described by J.M. Coetzee in the novel "Life & Times of Michael K."

Will international sanctions lead to the globalization of apartheid? Will international sanctions stop if they reach economic and political elites? How far do the social costs of these sanctions need to go so they may translate into social responsibility? Once again in history, it seems obvious that there is a hidden agenda, aiming to nourish confusion with the illusion that everything is been taken care of.

The confusion of war and the illusion of peace for some money, political power, or what?

May 2000

© Rocio Campos 2000

Rocío Campos, MA
Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies
University of Notre Dame
Indiana, United States

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