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Orwell and Kosovo

April 9, 1999

This letter appeared in the Wall Street Journal, April 9, 1999:


It is bizarre to think that the bloc we were recently allied with is now our enemy, and that yesterday's enemy bloc is our friend. Just over 50 years ago, George Orwell's prescient masterpiece "1984" was published, and here we are witnesses to the dystopia of the world he imagined.

To read your April 2 editorial page is to find oneself being hectored by the loudspeakers of the Ministry of Truth, informed that Oceania is allied now with East Asia, while yesterday it was Eurasia allied with Oceania, and so around again. Last month, NATO was extended to include (for defense) Central European countries. This month, Gen. Odom urges it to take the easy blitzkrieg road from Hungary into Serbia, which suffered greatly in this century, twice, from Hungarians allied to Germany, and now to us, too.

Have those feckless politicos and generals, our leaders, considered that Kosovo was 75% Serbian until 1940, or that more than 100,000 of the postwar remnant population of Serbs were driven from Kosovo after 1970? Not to mention the one-third million driven out of their Western homes a couple of years back by our dear friends the Croatians? Have they asked themselves how Kosovo came in these latter decades to be so full of Kosovars? Don't these recliner-chair strategists read history? Don't they imagine how very many Serbs will have to be killed in order to dismember a nation that is not our enemy?

Jascha Kessler
Professor of English and Modern Literature
Santa Monica, Calif.

See also Hawk Still Rules the White House and True Patriotism.

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