If he receives the Guardian in his cell at the Hague, Slobodan Milosevic will enjoy today’s edition which features a shabby little hatchet job on the man who led his overthrow – murdered Serbian prime minister Zoran Djindjic.
“For the great majority of Serbs, he will be remembered as a quisling who enriched himself by selling his country to those who had waged war against it so mercilessly only a few years earlier,” is Neil Clark’s description.
It really is an appalling article full of inaccuracy and shaped by the ludicrous view that the break-up of Yugoslavia was the result of some western plot to weaken a ‘socialist’ state.
So who is this Neil Clark then?
Well, the wonders of google allow us to check out exactly what Clark thinks of Slobodan Milosevic, thanks to the Pravda website which reprints his piece from the New Statesman entitled ‘Milosevic, Prisoner of Conscience, Neil Clark raises a lone voice for a man whose worst crime was to carry on being a socialist’
This is what he believes are the reasons Milosevic is on trail for war crimes:“The trouble with Slobo is not that he is an ‘ethnic cleanser’ (three years after the original indictment, we have yet to see the evidence linking Milosevic to atrocities in Bosnia), but that he is stubbornly and cussedly an ‘old’, unreconstructed socialist. This is why the new designer ‘left’ parties of Europe have pursued him so mercilessly to The Hague.”
Of course it was. And what lays behind Neil Clark’s defence of Milosevic? In the same article we find out:
I always remember my first visit to Belgrade, in the summer of 1998. As an unreconstructed socialist, completely out of step with the spirit of the age, I had spent most of the Nineties trying to escape, as best I could, to a place where it was still 1948. So imagine my delight when I arrived in Belgrade and found a city that seemed miraculously to have escaped all the horrors of global grunge.
Bookshops, self-service restaurants and state-owned department stores abounded: a walk down the city boulevards reminded one of a British high street in the late Sixties. My delight turned to ecstasy when, on entering a state-owned bookshop, I saw on prominent display in the window a copy of that classic tome Arguments for Socialism by Tony Benn. What a truly wonderful place was Belgrade! “
And there was I thinking it was all those murdered civilians, the siege of Sarajevo, Srbenica and the slaughter in Kosovo that landed Slobo in jail, when really it was all because Tony Benn books were on sale in Belgrade.
All this would be funny if Clark wasn’t being given a platform in national newspaper to insult the thousands of victims of Milosevic’s policies and at the same time piss on the memory of a man who provided at least some hope of an escape to a better future.