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Letter to Noam Chomsky

Zoran Janić

Dear Mr. Chomsky,
Your well-known and often exaggerated attitudes on the US role in creation of world politics, unfortunately, are to be given a tendentious interpretation in Serbian media, as was the case with your recent blog about the terrorist attack on the Magazine “Charlie Hebdo” (of 20th
January). I would like to bring your attention to the fact that great deal of publicity was due to your improper and unhappily chosen parallel between this attack and the NATO bombing of the Serbian Television (RTS) on 23rd April, 1999.

The unfortunate parallel, I’m afraid, only came in handy for local media (on which lustration has never been implemented) to place it as another, new evidence confirming that Serbia was “the victim of an unfair attack” in 1999 - as if Vukovar, Sarajevo, Kosovo exodus and genocide in Srebrenica have occurred on another continent or another planet, and as if the NATO is the only one to be blamed for the deaths of sixteen RTS employees.

As I’m certain this was not your true intention, I would like to draw your attention to the facts as follows (I addressed them more in detail in the book, titled “Silence in Aberdareva Street” the topic whereof deals with the RTS bombing ): 1) Even though the RTS was designated to be the system of strategic importance for the country much before the war - that is, according to the Government orders and the General Plan of Defence - it should have been relocated to an alternative place under war conditions - still, this has not happened; all the more, it was the only system that continued to operate as if it were peacetime conditions (and despite the NATO announcement that the RTS is considered a legitimate military target!); 2) Even though Milosevic and his Headquarters were notified of forthcoming attack from several different sources, they obviously had no interest to remove people; 3) Soon after the announcement by the NATO spokesman that RTS will be attacked - by the order of the RTS director, the night shift personnel was doubled even though, according to the regulations, it should have been substantially reduced; 4) save for technical, support staff, not a single journalist was killed in the RTS attack; all Milosevic's state propagandists came out alive, free of any consequences, except the director, Dragoljub Milanovic, that was subsequently sentenced to 10-year imprisonment; the very same directors and editors immediately made exclusive footage of demolished RTS building and sent that image to the world, because this was their goal; some of them appeared beside the destroyed building only a few minutes after the attack, which means that they waited nearby (the building was attacked at exactly 2:06 a.m. Central European Time).

If I were you, dear Mr. Chomsky, I would, first of all, ask myself whether I would receive the decoration awarded by Tomislav Nikolic himself, the current President of Serbia. Even more, since the referred Nikolic was a member of the TV Board of Directors during the RTS bombing and, as set by the General Plan of Defence, he had to ask the Ministry of Defense to give an urgent explanation about the reasoning behind the never-realized evacuation and relocation of the Television to an alternative place of work. In addition, I would also give it a lot of thought whether I would make a generalized, non-binding parallel next time, like the one you made between a single sudden terrorist act and the announced violation of Geneva Convention (which the RTS bombing certainly was); RTS in those days was standing much closer to the notorious Rwanda Radio station that invoked genocide than to the innocent editorial offices of a French satirical magazine. In this way, you not only support a Milanovic that quite intentionally pinned a target on his employees, while stating today to be Charlie Hebdo himself, but you give an opportunity to retrograding forces to review history and their shameful role in it.

You may find additional information in herein enclosed book. In addition, I hereby attach the text written by Ms. Stojanovic, the mother of one of the victims, that was published after a propaganda campaign that followed the publication of your parallel you made between the RTS and Charlie Hebdo.

Zoran Janić, writer



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