Randall LeCocq, Charge d?Affairs of the United States of America in Belarus
I have been concerned by the lack of reality in today?s debate regarding Kosovo, where earlier speakers have tended to demonise the West and NATO and to overlook the central factor of the Kosovo situation, which was ethnic cleansing that was taking place there and which led to NATO?s actions. There has been no mention of that central fact. I am surprised by the anti- imperialist propaganda that is taking place, considering the Cold War is over. I am surprised that ethnic cleansing could be overlooked in Belarus.
I know Belarus after being here for nine months, and I know the Belarusian people. I know they do abhor violence, they have a tradition of being on the crossroads between nationalism for a long time in their history. They have suffered. They have seen their villages burned, they have seen killings, they have been dislocated, and they have been refugees. They understand personally what ?ethnic cleansing? means.
It is partly because of this that the Belarusians have done a very good job in pulling together its nationalities with different religions and living together in peace. When you talk about the national consciousness, I would think that Belarusian people, if they knew the true situation in Kosovo, would object to Serb behaviour. NATO did not go in and just choose that place to try to impose some world order or to restructure Europe. Belarusians are sophisticated; they realise that fact. NATO went in there because of the killing that was taking place. And there was Serb history in Bosnia before. The world tried to negotiate with Milosevich on Kosovo.
And yet, there has not been much addressed in the local media about Serb misdeeds. It is a shame that Belarusians are hearing only a one-sided story in the local media and press.